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“Your Wine Tab, Sir.”

While on Celebrity’s Millennium, I came as close as I will probably ever get to an outrageously expensive bottle of wine, a 1949 bottle of Petrus. Had you, or your parents, bought a magnum (equivalent of two regular bottles of wine) or two of this wine in 1949 and stuck it away in a cool, dark place for 56 years, you would be a very happy wine investor today. Each bottle would be worth a cool $12,000!

For that $12,000, charged to my shipboard account, the bottle could have been mine. The fact that my new American Express Blue card only has a $1,000 limit was only one reason why buying the Petrus wasn’t an option.

My tour of the ship’s wine cellar was graciously given to me by the cellar master, who also pulled out a 1907 bottle of Champagne which was the same make and vintage of that served aboard the Titanic. The particular bottle he showed me spent several decades on the bottom of the Baltic Sea as a result of a cargo ship that sank. For $7,000, that Champagne could have graced my dinner table that night.

The wine cellar was as extravagant as the bottles of wine that it held. The paneling came from the original MS Olympic, as did the light fixture and the gold-plated sink. In the middle of the cellar was a table, where just three weeks prior to my visit, a patron had consumed a $5,600 bottle of Chateau Cheval Blanc.

While I easily resisted the urge to spend $19,000 on the wine for my evening meal, I enjoyed my visit to the wine cellar. It was well worth the price of admission, which was free.

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