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25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
On whole, the trip met our expectations and we will most likely take a future river cruise with Viking, but there were some quirks that folks should understand if they are not familiar with Bordeaux or if they are new to river cruises (or ... Read More
On whole, the trip met our expectations and we will most likely take a future river cruise with Viking, but there were some quirks that folks should understand if they are not familiar with Bordeaux or if they are new to river cruises (or Viking river cruises in particular). From prior posters' reports, we knew in advance that there would not be much cruising on this trip. If that had been a surprise, we would have been very disappointed. We spent 3 of 7 nights docked in the city of Bordeaux, and the other 4 nights in tiny ports with virtually nothing to distinguish themselves by other than their proximity to shore excursions and the opportunity to witness the crew docking the vessel. Bordeaux is a beautiful city with accessible public transportation, and the vessel's dock was adjacent to a tram stop, making it very easy to get around independently while in port. In hindsight, I'd have preferred that we just stayed in port in Bordeaux each night, and integrated the cruising element by some day cruising up and down the rivers. This was my husband's second Viking River Cruise, and my first. He oversold me on the culinary experience based on his first cruise on the Rhine. We were both underwhelmed by most of the food on the Bordeaux cruise (although there were some notable exceptions) and I disliked the rigidity of the dinner service. On several days we had private all-day winery tours that included lovely three course meals in local restaurants. The last thing we could handle was a full-on heavy dinner on board ship at 7pm sharp. It would have been nice to have the option of having a light meal served later in the evening. We were also somewhat disappointed by the Chateau Kirwin meal on Thursday. The venue was nice, but Chef thought it would be fun for the Americans to serve them turkey on Thanksgiving, not realizing that you can't replicate a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal for 120 people and that many of us traveled over Thanksgiving to get away from tradition. The Chateau Kirwin wine they served was disappointing and the wait staff refused to open the superior wine that we'd brought with us. I realize in hindsight that it would have been in poor taste to drink someone else's wine at the Chateau Kirwin but I resent having been forced into that situation in the first place. If we'd been docked in Bordeaux instead of Pauillac that night, we could have just gone into town and had a nice dinner on our own instead, but that wasn't an option. If you prefer the group travel experience to independent travel (and frankly, that is the demographic that Viking is reaching out to), you would certainly have enjoyed this trip and would find my disappointments a bit puzzling. For the group traveler, the choice of shore excursions was varied and comprehensive. I think that is one of the things that Viking really does well. The program director on this cruise, Lorin, is a gem and Viking should be commended for its employment of his many talents. He was entertaining, thought-provoking, hard working and genuinely engaged in the mission of bringing local culture to the Viking guests. The ship was very clean, our stateroom had plenty of storage capacity and the staff was hard-working and friendly. We chose this Viking cruise as a marital compromise (I dislike group travel of any sort, and especially boats, but my husband does not share my feelings. More than anything, he hates to pack and unpack and the pressure of selecting a restaurant to dine in each night, and he enjoys the socialization that is available on-board). The trip met or exceeded my low expectations, and it also met or exceeded my husband's higher expectations. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was our second cruise with Viking. The first one was Budapest to Amsterdam which we enjoyed so much we decided to book this one. It was a lovely cruise through the French wine region. Our only negative was the fact that too often ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Viking. The first one was Budapest to Amsterdam which we enjoyed so much we decided to book this one. It was a lovely cruise through the French wine region. Our only negative was the fact that too often we were not docked close to towns and often way out in the boonies requiring buses to get into town. I understand this is not Viking's choice but the French government who determines which cruise line docks where each week. All the tours were good. The buses they hire are excellent and walking tours well done. We saw lovely scenery along the way and the stops to enjoy the wineries were excellent. When at the end we didn't dock in Avignon but quite a distance away again in the boonies, Viking hired taxis and buses to take us to final destination. The food was great. The staff all excellent and helpful. Rooms are tiny but have everything you need and all amenities are first class. I would recommend this river cruise from Lyon to Avignon or vice versa. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
This was our second Viking cruise and we've already scheduled a third. As always we were met by a Viking representative to guide us to our motor coach. Paris no longer allows River Cruise boats to dock in the city so we had to ... Read More
This was our second Viking cruise and we've already scheduled a third. As always we were met by a Viking representative to guide us to our motor coach. Paris no longer allows River Cruise boats to dock in the city so we had to travel to Le Pecq by motor coach to board, which was almost an hour away. However, Viking made sure that we spent plenty of time in Paris. Our favorite stops were Monet's Gardens, the American Cemetery at Normandy and of course Paris. You will also stop at other small French cities such as where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake and Richard the Lion Hearted's Castle. If you have any difficulty walking you may want to take a cane or walking stick as some of the streets are cobble stones or very uneven. The scenery is more sedate along the Seine River, mostly French homes currently occupied. The food was gourmet all the way and the service outstanding. At the end of the cruise Viking makes sure you get to the airport of time and problem free. There is a Viking rep waiting for your motor coach to arrive and guides you all the way. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Definitely a top-notch cruise ship and cruise line. The pros included friendliness of all staff, ports and scenery (the light presentation at Rouen cathedral at night is a must-see!). Aquavit Terrace for dining in the evening is ... Read More
Definitely a top-notch cruise ship and cruise line. The pros included friendliness of all staff, ports and scenery (the light presentation at Rouen cathedral at night is a must-see!). Aquavit Terrace for dining in the evening is apparently a well-kept secret. We actually dined there almost as many nights as in the formal dining room....a fabulous experience to enjoy gourmet food al fresco on the bow of the ship while cruising at dusk.....however less than a dozen fellow passengers partook in this option on the nights we dined outside. The cons included having a few tour guides that almost ruined our experience: one on Giverny excursion who liked to hear himself talk, dragged the group along and whose French-accented English was very difficult to understand (and I even speak French). We finally broke away from group and toured garden and house on our own. The second guide on the Normandy excursion was completely offensive as she opted to use the long bus ride to get on her soapbox and offer political opinions that were clearly inappropriate. It takes a lot to offend my husband and he was livid. As much as I would like to say that I would recommend a Viking Cruise to adults over 50 I really feel that if we ever have the opportunity to experience Viking again (and we hope to), it'll be at least ten years before we do so. We're both 56 and were often frustrated by older passengers for whom we had to wait, and slowed down our excursions. I love and enjoy senior travelers but we wanted to pack as much as we could in this once-in-a-lifetime trip, and felt we could have easily done more if we hadn't felt pulled back. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2016
This was a last minute trip for my wife's 70th birthday. We loved the ship, food, service, and met many delightful people. Bordeaux is a lovely region of France, and we learned a lot about wine making and tasting. The atmosphere ... Read More
This was a last minute trip for my wife's 70th birthday. We loved the ship, food, service, and met many delightful people. Bordeaux is a lovely region of France, and we learned a lot about wine making and tasting. The atmosphere throughout the whole trip was relaxed, We enjoyed meeting new friends which is easy because the cruise only has a maximum of 200 passengers. They met us at the airport and took care of all the details in transition to the ship. The same excellent service was there for our departure. Get off the fence and go!! Viking cruises are totally great. Can't wait for the next one!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was our fourth Viking cruise (supposed to be fifth but low water forced an unexpected cancelation previous year). All of our Viking cruises have been superb, this particular cruise exceeded that. Crew was incredible, condition of ... Read More
This was our fourth Viking cruise (supposed to be fifth but low water forced an unexpected cancelation previous year). All of our Viking cruises have been superb, this particular cruise exceeded that. Crew was incredible, condition of vessel couldn't have been better, food out of this world and the sites spectacular. Viking takes unbelievable care of it's guests without micromanaging them. The bang for the buck, even coming from the U.S. is excellent. My wife an I are both still in the active workforce, yet we already have two more Vikings on the books already. We also did an add on in Paris pre cruise and post cruise in Nice. We were well taken care of in both of these locations as well, touring both on our own and with Viking leadership. We always had a Viking representative close by that had a wealth of local knowledge. Our Nice representative even assisted us in getting a luggage repair from the hotel maintenance crew. We are very much fans of Viking. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We selected this cruise because we wanted to see the south of France and this seemed like a nice way to accomplish that. Prior to this, we had not taken a river cruise and thought that this would be a memorable experience. It was! It ... Read More
We selected this cruise because we wanted to see the south of France and this seemed like a nice way to accomplish that. Prior to this, we had not taken a river cruise and thought that this would be a memorable experience. It was! It was great to have Viking take care of the travel arrangements and transfers, making that part of our trip worry free. After arriving in Marseille, we were promptly met and delivered to the Buri in Avignon. In a very short time we were able to access our cabin. We selected a standard cabin and while it was small, it was nicely appointed with enough space to store our belongings. Having the in-room safe was a great feature and something that we used each day. The bathroom was adequate also and featured nice toiletries that were replenished as needed. Housekeeping did a very good job in the cabin each day. The cruise director on the Buri was quite personable and informative. She was able to answer any questions and always made herself available to help. She set an upbeat tone to the cruise and made the experience fun. In the ports of call, we found the tour guides to be excellent. They were most informative and entertaining. There was always plenty to eat onboard the vessel and the food was tasty. It was nice to have the option to order from the menu for lunch or to access the buffet. The wait staff was attentive and helpful if we had questions about the entrees etc. It is nice to be able to enjoy complimentary wine or soft drinks at lunch or dinner while onboard the Viking vessels. The included wi-fi service on-board was also a welcome addition to have. Overall, the cruise was memorable for all of the right reasons! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was our first cruise (of any kind), and our expectations were mixed. We utilized Viking air service on both ends of the trip and the embarkation and disembarkation were flawless. We arrived at the ship just in time to get settled and ... Read More
This was our first cruise (of any kind), and our expectations were mixed. We utilized Viking air service on both ends of the trip and the embarkation and disembarkation were flawless. We arrived at the ship just in time to get settled and ready for dinner. The ship was marvelous. Our stateroom with balcony was well appointed and contained all of the necessities. It was not overly spacious -- but then we didn't spend a lot to time there. The lounge was comfortable and the staff friendly and welcoming. We particularly liked the open seating at meals, as that gave us the opportunity to meet and get to know a number of other couples. Some we enjoyed several meals with, others only one -- but all were enjoyable. We learned a lot form these experiences. Shipboard entertainment was limited, and that suited us just fine. The piano bar in the lounge was fun and entertaining. The service on board ship was excellent. From the Captain, to the Program Director, Concierge, to the wait staff and the housekeepers -- all were friendly and extremely helpful. One evening, in celebration of Viking's Travel and Leisure #1 ranking we had an opportunity to celebrate with the "whole" crew, including kitchen staff that we seldom saw. That was a particularly memorable evening. The ports of call, Arles, Avignon, Viviers, Tournon, Vienne, and Lyon were delightful. Having the opportunity to "drop out" and explore on our own was great. Several cities we visited were in the midst of festivals that added excitement -- but also crowds. Local shopping opportunities were a fun past time. My wife and I look forward to traveling with Viking again! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Great time. Ship and Staff was first class. Lorin, the Program Director does a great job. All of the excursions were very well done. All of our tour guides were excellent and spoke very good English. Getting on and off the ship was a ... Read More
Great time. Ship and Staff was first class. Lorin, the Program Director does a great job. All of the excursions were very well done. All of our tour guides were excellent and spoke very good English. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. This is a cruise that is definitely wine-centric, but there were some cruisers just along for the ride. Food and beverage offerings were nice. We were a group of 6 and there was always something on the menu that we liked. Bordeaux, the city, is a nice place to visit and would recommend spending a day pre or post cruise. St. Emilion, one of the ports, is a city that is worth spending more time. The ship is kept very clean and the staff goes out of their way to make sure you are having a good time. We will definitely look at another Viking cruise in the future. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Had not spent a lot of time in provence wanted to see provencal life. Food on board was always fabulous. The tours for the most part were great. Viver was a bore as was the guide. Loved the no pressure on board. When you river cruise ... Read More
Had not spent a lot of time in provence wanted to see provencal life. Food on board was always fabulous. The tours for the most part were great. Viver was a bore as was the guide. Loved the no pressure on board. When you river cruise you must be prepared for the locks, high water, and climbing over other boats something we learned but Viking made everything happen smoothly. We obviously enjoyed the cruise because was are taking another one in 2017 this time in Portugal. We have been on several ocean cruises but really liked the small ship cruise much better. If we ever take another ocean cruise it will be on a small ship with only a few hundred passengers. Viking is always there to serve the customer as it should be since the cost of a river cruise is not low end, We are really looking forward to the next river cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Friends had recommended Viking River Cruises. Everything exceeded expectations. Food, cabin, tours were uniformly excellent. All crew members were attentive. Whenever the slightest inconvenience arose our crew chief, Susie, ... Read More
Friends had recommended Viking River Cruises. Everything exceeded expectations. Food, cabin, tours were uniformly excellent. All crew members were attentive. Whenever the slightest inconvenience arose our crew chief, Susie, miraculously appeared on the scene to fix things. On our final departure we had a problem with the airline, but Viking representatives never left our side until everything was resolved. Could never have handled it ourselves, as all negotiations were in French. We took the three day extension in Nice and Viking people were excellent. Nice is a wonderful place. So sad to hear of their recent tragedy. Highly recommend the evening tour to Monaco. We took the optional tour of the abbey at Cluny and, once again, our guide was terrific. The most surprising place was Lyon. Never dreamed it was such a wonderful place. We hope to return some day when we can spend more time there. Viking is a little pricey, but I believe the money was well spent! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
The trip was great. The crew was great. Could not say enough about the food. Very well prepared and service was great. The tour that came with the cruise where set up well, and took you to interesting places. The extra tours where also ... Read More
The trip was great. The crew was great. Could not say enough about the food. Very well prepared and service was great. The tour that came with the cruise where set up well, and took you to interesting places. The extra tours where also well done. The tour guides did know a lot about what they where taking you and answered all the questions that they where asked, if they didn't know off the top of there head they found the answers. The crew that took care af the cabins took there job to heart and keeper the cabin clean and well stocked with towels and soap when needed. The tour director keeped you informed on what was going to happen the next day and made sure you enjoyed what happened that day.. The rest of the crew was helpful when you ask a question or had a problem. The experience was great. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2016
A friend chose this trip because it find into her working schedule. I had taken a Viking cruise before and knew that it would be well run, have interesting side trips. At the last minute my friend had to cancel because of illness and ... Read More
A friend chose this trip because it find into her working schedule. I had taken a Viking cruise before and knew that it would be well run, have interesting side trips. At the last minute my friend had to cancel because of illness and surgery, but another friend took her place. She is disabled and had an extremely difficult time walking. The crew could not have been more helpful to her and supportive of her disability and saw to it that she participated as much as any other traveller on the cruise. Kudos to Viking and their staff!! Cabin was lovely, dining was fine; service was wonderful [attentive and friendly but not hovering]. The best shore excursion was a tour of a vineyard and a sublime luncheon on the estate. Also was lots of fun was the trip to the cognac chateau and the crafting of our own blend. All in all, I never regret traveling on a Viking trip and will do it as often as possible. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
River cruise: Avignon to Lyon. Mostly elderly couples. As a single, felt unwelcome by crew and passengers. At dining times, told empty places at table "saved" for others. On shore excursions, many passengers unable to walk ... Read More
River cruise: Avignon to Lyon. Mostly elderly couples. As a single, felt unwelcome by crew and passengers. At dining times, told empty places at table "saved" for others. On shore excursions, many passengers unable to walk without assistance. Need plenty of change for tips on shore excursions. Optional shore excursions (many) were expensive. Most time spent on tour bus; very little time spent cruising river. Gangways to ship can be slippery. Cannot sit in the Aquavit Lounge without being asked if you want to purchase a drink. Extremely dark and treacherous stone steps with rope "handrail" in winery to sample Beaujolais. Optional painting class in Arles a waste of time except for the lunch at a local restaurant; superb chocolate shop in St.-Rémy-de-Provence recommended by tour guide at stop there. Excellent optional cooking class in Lyon attended by only three passengers; made cream puffs (for an army) in a very detailed French way with fresh pear mixed into the whipped cream. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
This Chateaux and Wine Country cruise on the Viking Forseti during the week of Christmas was one of the best gifts we've ever received. We traveled with our family group of 8. A "Viking" met us at the Bordeaux airport, ... Read More
This Chateaux and Wine Country cruise on the Viking Forseti during the week of Christmas was one of the best gifts we've ever received. We traveled with our family group of 8. A "Viking" met us at the Bordeaux airport, helped us fill out lost luggage forms, and then whisked us off to the modern, sleek Viking Forseti in one of the fleet of clean & swift buses that are part of the Viking fleet. Our cabin had a French Balcony. The cabin had plenty of room for everything we brought with a large closet. We LOVED the heated tile floors in the surprising large bathroom. ,Although the cabin was smaller than what we were used to on ocean cruises it was more than adequate for our week's stay. The public spaces on the Forseti are lovely. The Aquavit Terrace is a perfect place to have casual meals. Speaking of casual, we loved the casual, cozy feel of this river cruise. No formal clothes required. (and speaking of clothes, our lost luggage was retrieved by the Viking staff and brought to our cabin before dinner that evening!) The first night we went on a Night Walking Tour of Bordeaux. The buildings in Bordeaux are beautifully lit and make it magical. The Opera House, Grand Hotel are perfect for lovely photos...they are a prelude to the spectacular Place de la Bourse (old stock exchange). This stunning square has the world's largest water mirror which reflects the beautiful trio of lit buildings. Our guide was knowledgeable and friendly. She spoke perfect English, making it very easy to understand all of the interesting facts and stories about the area. We enjoyed the walking tours. Seeing the markets, the housing gave us a small taste of each town we visited. Since the Forseti was able to dock close to the town centers we were immediately immersed in the French towns! The Christmas markets with their street food, crafts, and wares were particularly lovely. One highlight of many was optional tour and lunch at Chateaux Siaurac. This stunning 19th century classic style mansion is set among a lovely vineyard and park. We learned about the 'terroir' which makes each wine unique. This cruise is centered around the 'terroir' and wine. We learned more about wine, vineyards, wine tasting and making in 7 days than we had in our lifetime. Given the chance to travel this way was truly an eye opening experience. We'd cruised on over 12 large cruise ships prior to this and found the river cruise to be very different, in a good way. No crowds, no loud music blaring in all of the public places...just a relaxed atmosphere. WE loved this experience and have already booked our next adventure with Viking. They are a first class operation. The staff goes out of its way to meet every need. The food was superb and fresh. We liked that they included any wine or beer at meal time, too. I believe a river cruise is one of the best and most economical ways to see Europe! Viking has won our loyalty with their excellent service, friendliness, and hospitality. Each of our tour guides was exceptional. Viking does an great job providing these excellent ambassadors to guide us. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2015
It was our 44th Wedding Anniversary on the 18th December so my husband and I thought that the River Seine itinerary would be perfect for such a romantic occasion. As we had travelled with Viking on previous occasions, we knew that we ... Read More
It was our 44th Wedding Anniversary on the 18th December so my husband and I thought that the River Seine itinerary would be perfect for such a romantic occasion. As we had travelled with Viking on previous occasions, we knew that we would not be disappointed in any way. This turned out to be an accurate assumption. On arrival we were given an immediate stateroom upgrade, which was a lovely surprise. We also knew some of the staff from an earlier river cruise, so it was great to get reacquainted and hear of career successes and promotions. As expected the whole vacation went along beautifully, we were lucky to have some super weather for the month of December and our trips out to the Normandy Beaches and on another occasion to learn about Van Gogh's last days in Chalon sur Ouse was very moving. Making friends with like minded people is always easy on Viking cruises so we soon were able to find good company each evening. Our meals were scrumptious as usual with chef's suggestions always a hit so too the choices for accompanying wines. Finally, the staff, they have to be congratulated on their care and attention to every detail. They also were great fun and their attention to each individual holiymaker was something to behold. In short their contributions to our holiday made it very special. As for our anniversary evening on board, a cake was presented to our table with lots of singing and good cheer. It was really heartwarming. Thank you to Carlos and his team on Viking Rinda. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
This was our third cruise with Viking, and once again we had a great time. We were met by a Viking representative and literally whisked through the Paris airport, We were met at the ship with smiles from the staff, offered drinks and ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Viking, and once again we had a great time. We were met by a Viking representative and literally whisked through the Paris airport, We were met at the ship with smiles from the staff, offered drinks and given warm towels for our hands. The food was excellent and there was always a variety at breakfast and lunch. Dinners were wonderful with always an alternative to whatever was planned. Paris and the Eiffel Tower was spectacular at night! We were also there at the time of the Christmas markets in Paris where we found beautiful hand blown glass made by a local artist. The highlight of our trip was Normandy. It was the most emotional experience we've ever encountered. Seeing firsthand the remains of the German pillboxes above Omaha Beach and the guns gave us a glimpse of how they were able to kill so many of our servicemen. The American cemetery which is beautifully kept seemed to go on forever. It was hard to comprehend that so many of our military are buried there. A special service honoring our servicemen took place at the cemetery where relatives were acknowledged and every person was given a rose to place on a grave. We chose a Pennsylvania soldier since we live in that state. The museum was also very interesting and educational. Although it was December, we were fortunate that the weather was actually warm for the season. Our cabin's accommodations with the veranda was comfortable and very attractive. It was beautiful scenery as we glided down the river. Although it was a little too cool to totally take advantage of sitting out on the veranda most of the time, we still enjoyed the view. We couldn't ask for more in both quality and service throughout our trip. As in our other cruises,we have found that the staff has always been very helpful with any questions and courteous at all times. The evenings have always been very enjoyable - no matter what the entertainment might be. In every cruise, we met other couples who we could converse with about so many different travels we all have taken. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Our trip started in Lyon and ended in Nice. (We did the extension.) The Staff and Crew of the Buri paid attention to virtually every detail with warmth and friendliness. The accommodations were lovely. The bed was very comfortable and ... Read More
Our trip started in Lyon and ended in Nice. (We did the extension.) The Staff and Crew of the Buri paid attention to virtually every detail with warmth and friendliness. The accommodations were lovely. The bed was very comfortable and details such as 110-120v outlets in key places in the state room were so helpful. The food was outstanding as was the service in both the dining room and the lounge. The daily excursions were so well organized with top notch guides and "quiet boxes" so you didn't miss anything. We were delighted with visits to several wineries, beautiful towns, the many opportunities to meet local residents, visit historic sites, and just take in the Burgundy and Provençal regions. The extension to Nice was enjoyable. Accommodations were satisfactory (although we were spoiled by the level of luxury on the Buri). Nice is beautiful, but we truly enjoyed the day trips to the surrounding medieval towns. We love visiting France anyway, but the river cruise was uniquely special. I cannot overstate what a wonderful time we had. I strongly recommend Viking and this specific trip. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
The cruise lived up to the description in the literature we received. Service on board was excellent as was the food. The excursions were quite good and two of the excursions were excellent. In particular we enjoyed motoring across the ... Read More
The cruise lived up to the description in the literature we received. Service on board was excellent as was the food. The excursions were quite good and two of the excursions were excellent. In particular we enjoyed motoring across the Gulf of Arcachon, seeing and learning about oyster farming and harvesting, sampling local oysters, and finally having an excellent lunch at a local restaurant. The restroom equated bus transportation was always first class. Our guides were friendly, knowledgeable and very informative. The Viking Forseti is a lovely ship and our cabin was well appointed. Our cabin was always clean and we were quite comfortable. The staff were helpful, polite, and able to provide us with whatever we needed, From the moment we arrived at Bordeaux airport until we were guided through the airport for the flight home we were well taken care of. we were sad when we had to leave and vowed to take another Viking cruise next year. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our first Viking Cruise and I can't say enough about how great it was. It was the Châteaux, Rivers & Wine of the Bordeaux region. It was fantastic. The crew was outstanding. The Cruise Director made the trip. He had ... Read More
This was our first Viking Cruise and I can't say enough about how great it was. It was the Châteaux, Rivers & Wine of the Bordeaux region. It was fantastic. The crew was outstanding. The Cruise Director made the trip. He had an outstanding personality and was very warm and friendly throughout the entire cruise. He always made you feel at home. All the Service provided were superb. The food and wine was also outstanding. They had a few cooking demonstrations while on board the vessel. We enjoyed every meal and the wine paring was right on target. The onboard lectures provided by the staff were very informative and helpful. The shore excursion were outstanding as well. We didn't take any of the optional excursion but we made everyone of the included excursions. The guides were very informative and very helpful. We met some fantastic people on the cruise, that we have managed to stay in touch with since the cruise. They actually sold us on taking another cruise with Viking. We are going on the Romantic Danube cruise in 2017. The two couples we met were on their 8th and 9th Viking Cruise. They had nothing but great things to say about Viking cruises. Since that cruise they each have added to their Viking cruise numbers. Viking cruise provided first class service from start to finish, as I said it was the best vacation I have ever experienced. It felt like home on the vessel. We are very much looking forward to our next trip with Viking. Read Less
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