Suckling tapped to cultivate and develop an industry-leading wine list for the cruise line

SEATTLE, March 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Holland America Line is tapping into the expertise of one of the world’s most acclaimed wine critics, James Suckling, to curate an extensive new wine list that will be featured on all ships in the premium fleet. As Holland America Line’s official Wine Curator, Suckling will lead the design and development of the premium line’s wine offerings and provide wine selection tips on the menus and wine lists of all shipboard dining venues and bars.

Holland America Line currently features more than 300 labels from more than 30 countries, and Suckling is working with the cruise line to review and craft a new vision for the wine program. When the list is complete, a large majority of the selection will have an impressive rating of 90 points or higher — based on Suckling’s own 100-point scale. Holland America Line expects to have the new list in place fleetwide by the end of 2018, in time for the launch of Nieuw Statendam.

“Wine is a big part of the cruise experience for many of our guests, and having the best wine list at sea, or anywhere, allows us to guide novices to find their new favorite label or indulge an aficionado who appreciates our deep selection from global wineries that can be hard to find,” said Orlando Ashford, president, Holland America Line. “It is an honor to welcome James Suckling as our wine curator, and we know he’s going to create an unrivaled list and further develop our wine-pairing program so our guests can have the perfect wine with every meal.”  

“What better way to enjoy and learn about wine than on a cruise with Holland America Line,” said Suckling, who last year rated more than 17,000 wines with his team around the world. “Wine is an experiential product that brings family and friends together and enhances life, just as the special travel experiences delivered by Holland America Line.”

About James Suckling
Suckling began his wine critic career in 1981 as an assistant editor for Wine Spectator magazine. Four years later he moved to Paris, France, to establish Wine Spectator’s European bureau. This put him at the center of European wine production and cemented his relationships with thousands of vintners, as well as contributed to his expanding knowledge of wines throughout the continent. In total, Suckling spent nearly 30 years as senior editor and European bureau chief of Wine Spectator and as European editor of Cigar Aficionado.

In 2010 Suckling launched, a site that evolved from seeing a need for wine information to be communicated in a more modern way. Suckling and his team of critics rate about 17,000 wines a year, and Suckling estimates that he’s tasted close to 200,000 wines in his career.

Suckling also promotes and creates pieces for Lalique, the famous French crystal manufacturer. He also makes documentary movies. In 2017 Suckling received a knighthood from the Italian government — Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia — for his decades-long coverage of Italian wines. He also recently received an honorary citizenship from the town of Montalcino for his almost 40 years of writing about and rating Brunello di Montalcino.

Suckling is the father of Jack and Isabel. Jack is the tasting editor for and has tasted 5,000 wines for Suckling’s wife, Marie Kim-Suckling, a former wine merchant originally from Seoul, South Korea, is vice president of the international wine media company. He still lives near Florence, Italy, part of the year, as well as in Hong Kong, China, and in Napa Valley in California.  For more information, visit Visit James Suckling on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and WeChat as well as

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About Holland America Line [a division of Carnival Corporation and plc (NYSE:  CCL and CUK)]
Holland America Line’s fleet of 14 ships offers more than 500 cruises to more than 400 ports in 98 countries, territories or dependencies around the world. From shorter getaways to 113-day itineraries, the company’s cruises visit all seven continents, with highlights including Antarctica explorations, South America circumnavigations, Cuba cruises and exotic Australia/New Zealand and Asia voyages; four annual Grand Voyages; and popular sailings to the Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico, Canada and New England, Bermuda, Europe and the Panama Canal. The line welcomed Koningsdam in 2016 and has a second Pinnacle-class ship, Nieuw Statendam, to be delivered in December 2018. A third Pinnacle-class ship, due for delivery in 2021, recently was announced.

The company is undergoing $300 million in brand enhancements to secure its position as the leader in premium cruising. Fleetwide, the ships feature innovative initiatives and a diverse range of enriching experiences focused on destination immersion and personalized travel. Guests can expand their knowledge through an exclusive partnership with O, The Oprah Magazine; during an America’s Test Kitchen show; at Explorations Café presented by The New York Times; and by taking a Digital Workshop powered by Windows. Outstanding entertainment fills each evening at venues including Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard and B.B. King’s Blues Club. The dining experience can be savored at a variety of restaurants with menus that feature selections from Holland America Line’s esteemed Culinary Council, comprising world-famous chefs who design dishes exclusively for our guests.


Sally Andrews





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