We loved the Bordeaux area cruise aboard Viking Forseti. The optional 2 day pre-cruise tour of the Loire valley and chateaus was terrific. Outstanding guide. Meridien hotel in Paris had nice rooms. We walked 100 yards/meters to a family run restaurant ORESTO for an excellent meal with a carafe of wine reasonably priced. Great service by the young owner. Highly recommended.
The Clarion Hotel Chateau Belmont in Tours had nice clean & modern rooms across from the older chateau/dining area; the food was just OK. A frenzied waiter spilled 2 dinners, one on a woman's dress next to me. Next night, several couples walked down the street to a fun modest dinner at the nearby restaurant Bistro de la Tranchee recommended by our guide.
Folks need to know that because the Bordeaux area is subject to ocean tides, the exact sequence of tours posted is likely subject to change. Each week the Captain gives the Tour Director the ship sailing schedule and the TD re-plans accordingly. For example, because of tides we could not sail to Cadillac and were bussed instead, no big deal. Of course your Viking Daily and the briefings cover this.
Optional Tours: onboard we signed up for the Home hosted Chateau Siriac tour. Great tour, the inside of the chateau (a home) is gorgeous as was the beautiful setting and food of lunch for the 30 of us. You'd think my wife would be old enough not to fall for it, but the owner invited her upstairs to tour his bedroom. Nice wines tasted and consumed for lunch. Well worth it. Unstated in the pre-cruise documents, but this tour ALSO takes you to Saint-Emilion so you do not miss that included tour.
The other optional: oyster tasting @ the beautiful Arachon estuary was excellent. Several folks did not eat oysters but still loved the tour. First stop onshore was an oyster farming 10 minute explanation, followed by oysters & wine in a seaside nice setting. Then back on the boat for 10 minutes to an excellent lunch at a seaside restaurant, with the always included tons of Viking wine. Fun aboard the boat and the sailings were broken into 3 stops, one for oyster tasting, one for lunch, and finally the sail back to the marina for the bus.
Others aboard liked the pricey optional cognac tour. We skipped that one.
The numerous included walking tours and wine tastings were all well done, keeping us busy. Too many great choices at breakfast, made to order omelets, and especially fine French breads and cheeses. Lunch for us when not away touring was the buffet on the bow's Aquavit Terrace. Dinners were very good with half a dozen entree choices each evening.
A superb highlight is the included hosted dinner at the beautiful facilities of Chateau Kirwan, after a wine tasting at a different chateau. Viking caters the dinner but the wines are from Chateau Kirwin, another gorgeous dining facility (like Chateau Siriac) and setting.
Ended the cruise with our last night dinner out on the Forseti's Aquavit Terrace at sunset. In effect we had private service for 4 tables of 2. Met 2 couples whom we really, really liked, sadly just as we were to depart.
Slightly more interior room vs French Balcony