Enjoy the Dom Pérignon Experience aboard Oceania Marina

After several days aboard Oceania Cruises’ Oceania Marina, just when I was pretty sure I’d enjoyed the finest cuisine in the most sumptuous settings at sea, a small ad in the daily program catches my eye: The Dom Pérignon Experience, a six-course gastronomic triumph that showcases the finest Champagne on earth.

I was intrigued and more than a bit skeptical, believing that no dish could be more triumphant than the rich, gravy-drizzled foie gras encased in a flaky pastry crust that I enjoyed at Jacques, the glorious banana-leaf-wrapped sea bass at Red Ginger, Toscana’s tender tagliolini arrabiata with lobster or Polo Grill’s filet mignon with a pungent gorgonzola crust. Yet, human nature being what it is, I booked my spot and, the following evening, headed up to Deck 12 and the Dom Pérignon Experience.

Even the executive chef, head sommelier, servers, and chefs seem to struggle to suppress their excitement as our small group files into La Reserve by Wine Spectator, the sophisticated private venue that hosts this special event only once per cruise for a maximum of 24 guests. In the warm glow of La Reserve, surrounded by sparkling displays of fine wines set into wood-paneled walls dotted with artwork and tapestries, we settle at the elegant dining table adorned with floral arrangements and candelabras and find ourselves in a privileged world within a world aboard our ship.

The Dom Pérignon Experience is the result of a collaboration between Oceania Cruises’ corporate chef Franck Garanger and the executive chef of Moët & Chandon’s La Maison Dom Pérignon, Marco Fadigo, who together created dishes designed specifically to showcase the nuances of three outstanding Champagne vintages. The experience is so exclusive that it is available only aboard Oceania Cruises’ Oceania Marina, Oceania Riviera, and, soon, Oceania Vista, or at the Moët & Chandon property in France.


I’m not usually a fan of education sprinkled into my dining experiences but tonight, I eagerly absorb the history of this fascinating bubbly that is widely acknowledged as the best in the world, and the fanatical precision that makes it so. Every bottle of Dom Pérignon contains only extraordinary pinot noir and chardonnay grapes harvested in a single year. If that particular year’s grapes are second rate, no Dom Pérignon vintage is produced at all. Now, that’s a commitment to perfection!

As one whose knowledge of Champagne is pretty much limited to celebratory toasts, I find The Dom Pérignon Experience to be a delicious eye opener: from the very concept of pairing champagne with food, to the unexpected….

Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.