My husband and I were on the maiden voyage of the Bordeaux trip from Viking. I must say that we were pleasantly surprised. We travel extensively throughout the world, taking cruises and land travel. We have never experienced a river cruise. We make it a point when travelling to eat in some of the finest restaurants in the world. While the food onboard the Forseti was not exactly what I would call 5 star I never expected it to be. We never had a complaint except for the last evening. Supposed to be steak on the menu? Pot roast! Were there people who complained? Absolutely. If something was ordered not to our taste then we ordered something else. No problem.
Granted the weather played havoc with our tours, but it didn't stop us from enjoying them. Leaving the boat were umbrellas for all (it rained almost everyday) and bottles of water. The buses were brand new with fully appointed bathrooms. The guides were superb and very knowledgable about the area. Were there ports we could have done without? Yes, but this was the maiden voyage,there are kinks to work out.
One of the highlights was dinner in a Chateau within a vineyard. Viking brought over the entire kitchen and wait staff, china, silverware centerpieces and kitchen equipment. They prepared a lovely meal. Did some complain? Of course! What would a trip be without whiners?
The included tours were lovely and everyone was told whether there would be a lot of walking so there was an option as to participation. The miedeval town of Blye was interesting, the wine tasting at Chateau Lynch-Bage,superb and the walk around Saint-Emilion charming. We make an unplanned stop at Chateau Margaux for a photo op.
The extra tours, while they were pricey were unbelievable. and really worth the money. we went truffle hunting and after the hunt the farmer's wife prepared a three course lunch for 32 people. Every course had truffles in them. Delicious! Another trip was to the beach town of Arcachon and Cape Ferrat. It took 2 hours to get there but was definitely worth it That day the sun was shining and it was beautiful. We went to a small oyster fishing village by catamaran. We had fresh oysters served to us by the fisherman with wine and bread. Returning to Arcachon we had a wonderful seafood lunch in a restaurant La Scala, next to the water.
We found the staff to be lovely, constantly asking how everything was and were very concerned with our answers and suggestions. The rooms although small were spotless.
The activities on board are non-existent, but we made friends with fellow passengers and talked and laughed every evening.
Our experience was so positive that we are considering another Viking cruise next year. We have found that a smile and a kind word go a long way for making any trip memorable.