“That’s a tough one!” Exclusive chat with Ricky Ponting about his new cruise venture

“That’s a tough one!” Exclusive chat with Ricky Ponting about his new cruise venture

Travel Weekly sat down on an imagined embankment at a picturesque cricket oval for an exclusive chat with Ponting about the announcement.

Royal Caribbean International has uncorked an exclusive partnership with Ponting Wines, cofounded by one of Australia’s most celebrated cricketers – Ricky Ponting – and known for its uncompromising, premium wines.

From October 2023 to April 2024, wine lovers and connoisseurs alike can raise a glass of handpicked rosé, red or white wine on 2- to -18-night getaways from Brisbane and Sydney this summer.

As a massive cricket fan, having a chat with Ricky was a pretty amazing way to kick off the day. While being a staunch Black Cap fan, there’s no denying how amazing the man is as a player and an all-round human.

I’d spent many days at Eden Park watching him play against our national team. I was keen to share this brief backstory with him when the interview was kicking off.

“It’s quite a hostile place to play, Eden Park. Great fun though, especially as a batsman being the way it is. It can be very entertaining,” he said.

From October 2023 to April 2024, Royal Caribbean guests can raise a glass of high-quality rose, red or white wine with friends and family on all summer getaways departing from Brisbane and Sydney.

Six hand-picked varieties will be available onboard all Ovation of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas sailings, including Ponting First Session Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc and Ponting Mowbray Boy Tasmanian.

The carefully crafted collection from Ponting Wines will be on offer across all restaurants and bars and will be available as part of the Deluxe Beverage Package for cruise-goers who want to elevate their holiday.

Ovation of the Seas in Sydney (Supplied)

The collection will be on offer by the bottle or the glass across all restaurants and bars including Jamie’s Italian, signature steakhouse Chops Grille and Vintage’s Wine Bar.

It will be available as part of the Deluxe Beverage Package for cruise-goers who want to enjoy unlimited drinks all holiday-long.

Ponting says anyone who knows him will agree that even drinking wine let alone wine producing is probably the furthest thing his early days.

“I grew up in the northern suburbs of Launceston in Tasmania. I very much grew up in a beer and a barbecue sort of family environment where there was never, I mean, never at all, a glass of wine or a bottle of wine on the on the table,” he said.

“But since I met my wife we started to enjoy drinking wine together. She was more of a wine drinker than I was when we met. But, about four years ago, I got a call from a friend of mine saying, What do you think about starting your own wine label? And I smiled, my ears sort of perked up. And I said, just give me a minute. I’ll just have a chat to Rianna for a minute and see what she thinks. And it was literally three minutes back on the phone within a minute saying, Yes, we’re gonna do it.”

Ponting at the launch of his collaboration with Royal Caribbean (Supplied)

Despite years of knowledge about how the climate affects soils and growth, Ponting says he’s very much a novice when it comes to the actual science of the wine making.

“Just listening to the knowledge of our winemakers has been a great learning process for me. Pretty much every year we sit in his lab and we and we go through the whole blending process with him to sit there and see what they can do and how they can change wine is quite remarkable.

“So all the learnings for us has been not just the business side of it, but the learnings about about winemaking and industry has also been a lot of fun for me, having come in with no real previous knowledge on any of that stuff.”

Ponting’s love of the red ball crosses over into his love of wine, preferring reds on the dinner table as well.

“I’m more of a red wine drinker than a white wine drinker. But, we’ve got great whites and reds coming out of Tasmania. We’ve got two Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. And, being being a Tassie boy, I’m in love with the two Tasmanian pinot’s. So, I’m probably more skewed towards those two.”

Ponting’s love of cricket and cruise couldn’t be more on display! (Supplied)

Kathryn Lock, director of marketing in Australia and New Zealand for Royal Caribbean International said the deal raises the bar of the company’s already extensive food and beverage offerings.

“As Royal Caribbean gears up for the Australian summer season, our goal is to offer the best holidays to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, which will now be enriched by the exceptional wines curated by the talented Ricky and Rianna Ponting alongside Ben Riggs,” she said.

“We strive to choose partners and products that adhere to sustainable practices and are committed to engaging local Australian suppliers. Through this collaboration with one of Australia’s most premium winemakers, we look forward to elevating our guests’ holidays even further. The Royal Caribbean team is celebrating this exciting partnership with a glass of Ponting’s The Pinnacle McLaren Vale Shiraz.”

The deal has of course also gone down well with the Ponting children who will be heading to sea this summer.

“As soon as I mentioned to the kids are there’s a chance that this might be happening, it was like okay, we can’t wait to sample some of the great things these cruises in the Kimberly can provide for kids and family. So really, really excited about this partnership. Hopefully can be a long and fruitful one for both parties,” he said.

My final question put Ponting’s love for both cricket and wine to the test.

What is worse, a corked bottle of wine, or getting out for 99 against New Zealand?

“That’s a tough one. Remembering that my retirement gift from Cricket Australia was 41 bottles of Grange. For every test 100 I got I got gifted a bottle – so you get 41 test hundreds hence the 41 bottles.

“If I happen to sit back and open one of those and it’s a corked bottle then I don’t imagine my response would be that good. A tough question. I think I’d take 99 runs in the bank rather than not being able to have a sip of Grange,” Ponting said.

Ponting Wines will be available onboard all Ovation of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas sailings this 2023/2024 season, guests will be able to join a variety of Ponting’s six award winning wine varieties.

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