We booked Viking Forseti out of Bordeaux on 26 April, 2014. We traveled first to Paris and stayed 3 nights catching the TGV high speed train to Bordeaux, a delightful experience.
We had received an e-mail from Viking prior to sailing that explained that while all venues would be seen, the sailing schedule to them might be altered due to river conditions and delayed French approval of the ship's planned itinerary.
When we arrived, the ship's personnel were very courteous and were fabulous throughout the cruise. They were a highly enthusiastic crew and exceeded the on board experience we had received on two prior Viking sailings-Christmas Markets and City of Lights. The dining experience was extraordinary with gourmet meals presented at every seating. Kudos to Victor, the head chef, Thomas the Hotel Director and Mieke, the Cruise Director for what was a special experience on board.
Especially fabulous was the chateau dinner, wherein the entire dining team moved their act to a chateau ashore.
As the chateau dinner was served on Sunday night we received word from Mieke that the mayor of Blye had cancelled our ship's visit to Blye as the weather was expected to be stormy; instead the ship returned to Bordeaux that night and we took buses to Blye instead. In Blye at the citadel we noticed the long boat that was parked alongside us in Bordeaux was parked there. Later, Meike explained that this was due to the Forsetti's length when compared to the other boat and that the strong currents could have possibly been a problem for our boat at the dock in Blye.
Another excursion to Cadillac and the Sauternes Vineyard was also modified to be a bus trip and this was explained to have been because the French government had yet to approve this itinerary.
Seeing the Bordeaux countryside more from the bus than from the ship was unexpected and not what we thought we were getting, but the buses were new and the views were impressive for a region of France we had never seen before.
In summary, this was a cruise with pluses and minuses. The ship and dining experience was unsurpassed in our 25 years of sailing. The Viking personnel were great. The problem is that when we see those great Viking commercials showing the long boats passing by wonderful venues with spectacular vistas, we expect the cruise we book to replicate this. This one did not.
What we had was a land/sea tour of the wine country in and around Bordeaux. The accommodations were excellent, the personnel extraordinary and the dining and wine experience, superlative. The tours to the various vineyards, castles and and chateaux's were very fine indeed, especially the chateaux dinner and the Sauternes Vineyard tour. If you are a wine lover and want to learn of the specifics of the Bordeaux wine industry, this trip is for you as long as you don't care if you get to the venues by bus or by boat!