Wine expert Olly Smith to host web-tastic tasting sessions with P&O Cruises

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27 Aug 09 – TV wine expert Olly Smith is to host four online wine tasting sessions to celebrate his latest venture, The Glass House, on board the newest P&O Cruises superliner, Azura.

A different ‘webisode’ will be shown each Thursday throughout September, with the first going live at 7pm on Thursday 3 September 2009. They are viewable at www.pocruises.co.uk/wine.

Each week viewers at home will taste along with Olly and can also enter a competition to win a case of their preferred wine. On the final week Olly will host a live web chat, answering questions on the wines and his latest ‘at sea’ venture.

The culmination of the ‘webisodes’ will be a grand prize draw to win places on a trip with Olly to the Settesoli vineyard in Sicily to see how the house wine blend for Azura has been created and to be the first to taste it.*

Olly Smith said: “The Glass House wine bar and restaurant on Azura is my most exciting project to date and I hope that each and every passenger on board feels welcome to come and get stuck in. Wine is for sharing, it’s for relaxation and enjoyment. My mission is to make people happy, not mildly amused or satisfied, but utterly delighted and looking forward to coming back.

“These videos will give a sneaky little preview of what we’re going to be offering on board and through the tastings, people will hopefully learn a little bit more about my favourite tipples. I’m looking forward to chatting to people online and meeting the two lucky winners in Sicily later this year. Cheers!“

A must for wine lovers, The Glass House menu will feature different wines recommended with each course, all served by the glass and expertly matched by Olly.

The Saturday Kitchen star will act as consultant in the creation of the drinks menus for Azura’s other bars and restaurants and will travel regularly throughout the year to host light hearted tasting sessions in his own irreverent style.

P&O Cruises, managing director, Carol Marlow, said: “Olly’s excitement and enthusiasm is infectious and The Glass House is going to be the place to be seen on Azura. Wine tastings can be intimidating and dull but there is no danger of that with Olly around. He makes it fun, entertaining and interesting, so even if you’re a complete wine novice you will get something out of his sessions.”

One white and one red wine will be featured each week. The ‘webisodes’ last approximately five minutes and include information and stories about the wines and vineyards, followed by the tasting of each wine. The full list of wines is available at www.pocruises.co.uk/wine and email reminders will be sent to all those who register their interest. Wines are priced between £5.99 and £8.99 and are widely available from supermarkets and wine merchants.

Azura will be a sophisticated haven and will offer relaxing and indulgent holidays and an authentic, British cruise experience. Azura will be named in Southampton in April 2010 and depart on her maiden voyage to the Mediterranean on 12 April 2010. The ship will be based in Southampton and offer holidays of between two and 16 night duration in the Mediterranean, Baltic and Canary Isles. 15 night fly-cruise holidays from Barbados will be offered from October 2010 to April 2011.

Azura will feature 18 single staterooms, a first in the P&O Cruises fleet, and two large suites for extended families or groups of friends to share. The ship will offer a record 900 staterooms with private balconies and a select number of spa staterooms, offering exclusive access to the Oasis Spa and added in-cabin extras.

New design highlights include an open air cinema by the Aqua Pool and a secluded on deck spa area, The Retreat, with private cabanas for al-fresco massages, luxurious sun loungers and personal waiter service.