Calling all gin lovers. This is the ultimate booze cruise: a ship that claims to have the largest collection of gin at sea, a total of 32 bottlings.
On board the Europa 2, which cruises from Dubai to Cyprus, as well as along Norway’s picturesque coastline, the ship carries 16 gins from England, ranging from Beefeater and Tanqueray to bottlings few U.S. passengers will know, such as Fifty Pounds London Dry (named after the £50 fee levied on English gin makers by George II in 1736), six from Germany, three each from Scotland and France, and just one apiece representing Austria, the Netherlands, Spain and the U.S. (that’s No. 209, out of California).
“We have been seeing a large rise in gin makers in Europe over the last few years,” says Erik Schütze, the manager of the luxury cruise liner’s Herrenzimmer bar. In addition, “with gin you get a huge variation in tastes and flavors that isn’t the case with other liquors these days.”
Of course, it’s not the same as a visit to San Francisco gin palace Whitechapel, which offers a staggering 400-plus gin bottlings. But it’s still a significantly broad array. Add to that the selection of four tonic water brands and garnish decisions (lemons, limes, mint, cinnamon sticks, grapefruit slices, etc.), and guests can choose from 140 ways to enjoy a Gin & Tonic on board.
The most popular combo? Germany’s Monkey 47 (reputed as one of the most expensive gins on the market, at $45 for a 375 mL bottle) with Fentimans tonic, the cruise line reports.
Not bad for a ship that bills itself as “the most luxurious ship at sea” and includes a caviar night, when caviar is on every menu in every restaurant on the ship. So shhh, let’s not tell this gin-soaked pleasure ship that the traditional accompaniment to luscious caviar is vodka.