We chose the Bordeaux cruise because most of the other European River Cruises were sold out by the time we decided to go (rather last minute, I'm afraid). We liked the idea of Bordeaux because we enjoy fine wines and we had never ... Read More
We chose the Bordeaux cruise because most of the other European River Cruises were sold out by the time we decided to go (rather last minute, I'm afraid). We liked the idea of Bordeaux because we enjoy fine wines and we had never seen that part of France. We arrived in Bordeaux by high speed train from Paris, after spending 3 nights there on our own.
We boarded the Forseti almost immediately, which was fine because this particular itinerary returns to the City of Bordeaux several times during the week. That is because three rivers meet there, and we took trips down each of them on different days. For this reason, we had a chance to explore the City of Bordeaux in mid cruise and again the night before we disembarked. This area is full of chateaux, but not royal castles as in some other parts of Europe. The Chateaux are mainly related to vineyards. There is a lot of World War II history to learn, and some very old and charming villages. We went to one fort that was first used in the Middle Ages and updated several times, through WW II.
We found this itinerary very relaxing - we went to a different village or historical site each day, taking shore excursions on foot. The local guides were very knowledgeable and interesting, and we learned a great deal about the history and culture of this lovely area. The only bus rides were short ones to wineries for tours and tastings, and one to a Chateau for dinner. There were some optional bus trips to farther spots, but we didn't take them.
Viking has an amazing organizational plan. For instance, we never saw our room maid, yet our room was always cleaned when we returned from breakfast. It was also refreshed every afternoon or evening, yet again, we never saw a maid. The luggage and transfers were effortless on our part. All the daily disembarkations were easy - the staff handed us water bottles as we left, and once, umbrellas. There was never a delay or congestion. After disembarking, we flew from Bordeaux to London for 3 days. Viking arranged our taxi and the luggage transfer, an effortless process for us. We had not signed up for their airport bus, because we had had disembarkation delays from other big cruise ships and I was afraid we would miss our flight. We needn't have worried - there were others on our London flight who had taken the Viking transfer bus instead of a private taxi.
The Cruise Director was amazing, both in his charming personality and in his knowledge of all we would be seeing and doing. He gave us daily briefings before dinner, and he was very entertaining. The pianist in the lounge was excellent also. The food was exceptional. The dining and bar staff were perfect - attentive, yet never in one's face at the wrong time. We loved the big tables, because we felt comfortable saying "may we join you?" to different groups each night - so we got to know a lot of very nice people. All meals involve ordering from menus - fine dining on your own schedule. There is a lunch buffet option, which we tried once when we were in a hurry. Excellent soups, salads and sandwiches there. There are coffee and tea stations at several spots on the vessel, and there are usually cookies and other fresh baked goods there also. There were no extra charges for anything, which we liked. Wine was included with meals and with extra events, such as cheese tastings. Fresh water bottles appeared in our cabin daily.
As for children, I did not see any young ones on our vessel. There were a few multi-generational groups where the youngest members might have been in late high school or college.
We would take another Viking Cruise immediately, if we could! Read Less