Very interested in learning more about French wines, having a luxe experience and taking our first river cruise, the 11 Day Bordeaux trip on the Diamond jumped out at us. We paid in full over a year prior to sailing and were expecting a 5 star experience. The trip fell a bit short of exceptions. First of all, the entire crew was five star, headlined by Yvonne, cruise director, Miguel, assistant cruise director, Igor, Hotel manager, Alexandra, Ivan at reception, Claudia, restaurant manager, Sorin, waiter, bartenders, Marian, Alexandra and Dennis, butlers Mike and Armin, Niku and Chef Dragon and the two extraordinary house keepers on deck three who were the best stateroom attendants we ever experienced.
So why the 3.5 Orr 4 stars? This trip is way too regimented. you must report to the lounge, showered and dressed for dinner at 6 or 6:30, with dinner at 7. No flexibility. Dinners in the MDR were chaotic and disjointed several nights and 4 nights the food was served cold and/or dry. The wines were quite good and dinners in La Rive and L'Amour were fantastic, 5 star experiences, however. We absolutely loved shopping with the Chef, the classical concert, the pink Floyd show with Dali, the excursion to the dunes and the bike rides. it seemed like the excursion in St Emillion was confused and disjointed -- with not a second to spare to taste wines. it was frustrating to tie up in Medoc, the heart of borrdeaux at 4 PM and be stuck looking at an old fort. There should have been options available for independent wine tasting that afternoon or the following afternoon in Medoc. It was frustrating to try to figure this out with no guidance from Scenic. on our morning in Medoc, we randomly went on one of 4 or 5 buses. I sadly chose the bus that went to Bergeron. The wine, especially the second label was pretty vile and not worthy of a five star experience. The morning excursions rigidly needed to be back for "lunch" and truly we would not starve if we missed lunch or if they served a later lunch. There should be options for a second excursion for those who are up for it. The other passengers trended heavily into their 70's or even 80's so maybe this was not the best choice for a 65 year old. Scenic touts its tailor-made app. it was a disgrace. It never worked and was highly frustrating limiting our ability to do any independent touring. Last but not least, this really was not a cruise. we moved back and forth along the rivers and never "cruised: more than two hours. Although Bordeaux city is wonderful, I think we ended up there about 4 days total. Finally, we loved our guides: Nathalie and Christiana are stars, the best in the business and the crew, as noted above was fantastic. We are still weighing whether we want to do another cruise and how we fit in with the older demographic