Viking Chateaux, Rivers & Wine

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#1
316 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
My wife and I are going this cruise in 2014 and thought I would start this thread so anyone can ask questions, share any plans, or ask for suggestions. As this is new cruise there may not be a lot of past experience to draw upon. That's why I'm thinking this is better at this point then setting up a roll call for the specific cruise.

Right now we are in the process of figuring out when/where we are on our own and looking at options. I will fill everyone in on what I find and if you could as well we will all be pretty smart before we go.

To start out with:

We will be Going mid July so we expect it to be hot. We decided get a French Balcony room to get more air in the room. Do we really need a Balcony if we are not spending that much time traveling (it looks like everything is pretty close.) Are we over-thinking the heat?

We booked the are though Viking and will be extending our trip with the Viking Paris tour afterwards. Should we do all of that on our own and bypass Viking?
I kind of like the fact the Viking takes care of the transfers and such but am I missing something?

Thanks in advance for your help.
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#2
372 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
We always did air and transfers with Viking and never had any issues: very good flight schedule and always ontime. Btw, why you did not take "Loire Valley" extension instead of Paris? It seems to be one of the best they offer.
#3
Queens, NY
2,161 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Thanks for starting this thread ~ hopefully we can learn from each other and passengers on other cruise lines who've experienced the Bordeaux area.

We're booked on this cruise in October 2014. We booked early since I was sure it'd be a sell-out - maybe I was mistaken! But still really looking forward to the experience. DH is a wine enthusiast ~ main reason we took the Rhone River cruise last year! We booked a balcony hoping October would be warm enough to use it even in port - maybe we overspent but wanted it!

We haven't fully decided on pre/post plans but, as of now, thinking of a few days on our own in Paris pre-cruise and perhaps remaining in Bordeaux a few days post. Still have to check out Bordeaux - but thinking of a Loire Valley day trip from the city.

We did 4 days in Paris pre-cruise last year and had a great time - just not long enough!!! I enjoy doing the trips on our own since then we can choose where we'll stay. Just a matter of personal choice.
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Peg
Viking Forseti 10-4-2014 Bordeaux
Viking Rinda 12-7-2013 Christmas Markets
Viking Neptune 10-21-12 Rhone River
Celebrity Constellation 9-7-2011 Amsterdam-Istanbul
Celebrity Constellation 7-3-2010 Baltic
RCCL Voyager of the Seas 2-14-2010 Caribbean
Celebrity Summit 6-16-2008 Mediterranean
SS Rembrant 7-20-2000 St. Lawrence
M/V Atlantic 8-28-1988 Bermuda
#4
316 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by id est
We always did air and transfers with Viking and never had any issues: very good flight schedule and always ontime. Btw, why you did not take "Loire Valley" extension instead of Paris? It seems to be one of the best they offer.
We always wanted to go to Paris, we plan to do all of the expected things and hopefully get back some day to dig a little deeper. That said my impression of the "Loire Valley" extension was that it would be similar to some of what we would be seeing on the cruise. I did not give it much consideration however and will take another look.
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Viking Torgil April 2016
Emerald Princess July 2015
Viking Forseti July 2014
Carnival Splendor June 2012
Carnival Dream August 2011
Sapphire Princess March 2011
NCL Star March 2010
Carnival Elation - August 2007
Carnival Conquest - July 2003
American Family Cruises American Adventure - February 1994
#5
316 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by FotoPeg
Thanks for starting this thread ~ hopefully we can learn from each other and passengers on other cruise lines who've experienced the Bordeaux area.

We're booked on this cruise in October 2014. We booked early since I was sure it'd be a sell-out - maybe I was mistaken! But still really looking forward to the experience. DH is a wine enthusiast ~ main reason we took the Rhone River cruise last year! We booked a balcony hoping October would be warm enough to use it even in port - maybe we overspent but wanted it!

We haven't fully decided on pre/post plans but, as of now, thinking of a few days on our own in Paris pre-cruise and perhaps remaining in Bordeaux a few days post. Still have to check out Bordeaux - but thinking of a Loire Valley day trip from the city.

We did 4 days in Paris pre-cruise last year and had a great time - just not long enough!!! I enjoy doing the trips on our own since then we can choose where we'll stay. Just a matter of personal choice.
We have done Italy on our own a few times but I spoke the language. I'm a bit intimidated by France and thought that doing the package would help get our feet wet and help us be more comfortable doing it on our own the next time. My wife and I have been learning about wine and that is what attracted us to this trip as well.
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Viking Torgil April 2016
Emerald Princess July 2015
Viking Forseti July 2014
Carnival Splendor June 2012
Carnival Dream August 2011
Sapphire Princess March 2011
NCL Star March 2010
Carnival Elation - August 2007
Carnival Conquest - July 2003
American Family Cruises American Adventure - February 1994
#6
Redditch England
1,718 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
July is the hottest part of the year in the Bordeaux region. You should expect with temperatures ranging from a pleasant 15 to a warm 26 degrees Celsius (60 - 80 F)

Of course, like all of Europe, this is only possible to predict accurately a couple of weeks ahead at most.
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“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Søren Kierkegaard
#7
Pittsburgh
55 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Originally posted by vcgeno
Do we really need a Balcony if we are not spending that much time traveling (it looks like everything is pretty close.) Are we over-thinking the heat?
Hey vcgeno, that looks like a great cruise - I think it will be the next cruise we take in another year or two. As I said on my review of the Portraits of Southern France tour, while a balcony would be nice, I don't think I would go for it as we really spent very very little time in our room. The window was large enough and opened wide enough to provide plenty of fresh air into the room if you need it.

Originally posted by vcgeno
We booked the are though Viking and will be extending our trip with the Viking Paris tour afterwards. Should we do all of that on our own and bypass Viking?
I kind of like the fact the Viking takes care of the transfers and such but am I missing something?
The Viking transfers are well worth it imo. We did the post cruise extension in Paris. Viking took care of the room with a daily breakfast (not very good actually but I blame that on Marriott, not Viking). Our Viking rep gave us a quick 1 hour tour of the area when we arrived and explained how to use the Metro and to be careful of the various pickpockets and scam artists that prey on tourists in Paris. Very useful information.

The first full day Viking provided a half day walking tour that included metro tickets and a tour of the City Island area that includes Notre Dame. After that, we were on our own for the next day and a half until a Viking arranged transfer took us to the airport for our flight home. I would definitely use Viking again for transfers and pre/post extensions.
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#8
316 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Thanks for all of the posts. I did a quick run through of the itinerary to read up on the "on your own" cities. If i am reading things right I have the following:

Day 1: Bordeaux Arrival time unknown. Looks like any time you are there is on your own time. Ship does not leave until Day 2.

Day 2 Travel to Pauillac (Margaux) in the morning. Wine tour in the afternoon. Evening on your own.

Day 3 Travel to Blaye (Cognac) in the morning. City Tour followed by some free time or optional tour of Cognac (assuming some tasting is involved but don’t know that).

Day 4 Libourn (Saint-Emilion) Morning tour of Saint Emilion (wine tasting involved) Optional Tour of Bergerac in the Dardogne or do things on your own for the remainder of the day.

Day 5 Cadillac (Sauternes) Cruise all morning. Sauterns tour and tasting in the afternoon. Evening on your own.

Day 6 Cadillac and Bordeaux. Walking tour in the morning then set sail. Afternoon and evening on your own in Bordeaux.

Day 7 Bordeaux. City Center Tour in the morning. Afternoon and Evening on your own. Optional afternoon excursion to Arcahon.

I am going to be researching on your own options. Any thoughts on the optional tours? In general how expensive are optional tours?
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Viking Torgil April 2016
Emerald Princess July 2015
Viking Forseti July 2014
Carnival Splendor June 2012
Carnival Dream August 2011
Sapphire Princess March 2011
NCL Star March 2010
Carnival Elation - August 2007
Carnival Conquest - July 2003
American Family Cruises American Adventure - February 1994
#9
Pittsburgh
55 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Originally posted by vcgeno
I am going to be researching on your own options. Any thoughts on the optional tours? In general how expensive are optional tours?
Optional tours on our cruise were anywhere from 39 to 49 Euros per person (depending on things like wine tasting, length of trip, etc). I may back down the optional tours a bit the next time, not so much due to the expense, but more because I'd like to have a bit more time to explore the towns on my own.
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#10
316 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by Huffy2k
Optional tours on our cruise were anywhere from 39 to 49 Euros per person (depending on things like wine tasting, length of trip, etc). I may back down the optional tours a bit the next time, not so much due to the expense, but more because I'd like to have a bit more time to explore the towns on my own.
Huffy2k

How would you rate the quality of the optional tours?
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Viking Torgil April 2016
Emerald Princess July 2015
Viking Forseti July 2014
Carnival Splendor June 2012
Carnival Dream August 2011
Sapphire Princess March 2011
NCL Star March 2010
Carnival Elation - August 2007
Carnival Conquest - July 2003
American Family Cruises American Adventure - February 1994
#11
Queens, NY
2,161 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Last year on our Portraits tour we dod 2 optionsla tours - one to St. Remy/Les Baux and one to Pont du Gard. We felt both were fabulous!

My onlu "problem" was that the main purpose of the cruise was wine, especially Chateauneuf du Pape. In Avignon Viking ran 2 optional tour at the same time: one to Chat and one to Pont - we wanted both! Solution was to remain in Avignon 2 days and take a private tour to Chat - it was an all day tour that was fantastic!! Well worth the additional expenses!!! (actually DH's Christmas present that year and forever!!!)

But I'll add that going north to south he optional tours were at the end of our trip! The first sailing day there was an OT that no one took - I think everyone had the same thought - let's experience sailing!!!

I went on the River Cruise with a BIG ? in my mind - I'm not a fan of ship's excursions - we usally DIY or book small group tour. But I'll admit I was VERY impressed by Viking's tours and their guides! I will say, however, that I can agree with Huffy2k - there should be a more "active" tour along with the "leisure" tour - although I don't remember anyone slowing us down.
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Peg
Viking Forseti 10-4-2014 Bordeaux
Viking Rinda 12-7-2013 Christmas Markets
Viking Neptune 10-21-12 Rhone River
Celebrity Constellation 9-7-2011 Amsterdam-Istanbul
Celebrity Constellation 7-3-2010 Baltic
RCCL Voyager of the Seas 2-14-2010 Caribbean
Celebrity Summit 6-16-2008 Mediterranean
SS Rembrant 7-20-2000 St. Lawrence
M/V Atlantic 8-28-1988 Bermuda
#12
Tennessee
63 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
We are booked on this cruise for departure on April 12. We have been on 6 River Cruises and are really looking forward to this one in particular. The exposure to the bourdeaux region is very exciting. If you enjoy wine, this cruise is the one to take. The new longship Forseti also was a real draw to us. We booked in cabin category E, knowing you spend very little time in your cabin. We have not booked a pre trip at this time but will be doing looking into the Loire Valleywith interest. As for the optional tours I am intrigued with the trip to Cognac as well as Bergerac. Cannot do it all so I must do some research. I will be happy to report my experiences at the end of my trip in April 2014.
#13
Tennessee
63 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
Thanks for the information you exoperienced on your Longship river cruise. We are really looking forward to our trip. Did you purchase the 'SILVER SPIRITS' beverage program? It sounds very expense on the face of things. Are the drinks at the bar & in the lounge pricey? Your thoughts please.
#14
Pittsburgh
55 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Unless you and your wife are big big drinkers I would avoid the silver spirits package. Drink prices are reasonable and even with a couple drinks a day, you will come in well under 300 €.
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#15
Tennessee
63 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
That is my thinking. I like a martini before dinner and a single malt after. I thought the Silver Spirits was a little ridiculous in price since both cabin mates must take the package. Thanks for the info,
#16
Queens, NY
2,161 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
DH also enjoys his Martini(s) but, with beer & wine at lunch and dinner, our bar bill was very, very small!! We didn't buy the beverage program and didn't miss it!!!
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Peg
Viking Forseti 10-4-2014 Bordeaux
Viking Rinda 12-7-2013 Christmas Markets
Viking Neptune 10-21-12 Rhone River
Celebrity Constellation 9-7-2011 Amsterdam-Istanbul
Celebrity Constellation 7-3-2010 Baltic
RCCL Voyager of the Seas 2-14-2010 Caribbean
Celebrity Summit 6-16-2008 Mediterranean
SS Rembrant 7-20-2000 St. Lawrence
M/V Atlantic 8-28-1988 Bermuda
#17
423 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Nancy and I are booked on the September 13th sailing and we'll be celebrating her birthday on the Bordeaux cruise. We're doing the pre- and post-cruise extensions as well.

. . . someone said there may be an opportunity for tasting wine . . .
#18
316 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
http://www.frommers.com/destinations/bordeaux/
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Viking Torgil April 2016
Emerald Princess July 2015
Viking Forseti July 2014
Carnival Splendor June 2012
Carnival Dream August 2011
Sapphire Princess March 2011
NCL Star March 2010
Carnival Elation - August 2007
Carnival Conquest - July 2003
American Family Cruises American Adventure - February 1994
#19
Dallas
76 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by Go Pack
Thanks for the information you exoperienced on your Longship river cruise. We are really looking forward to our trip. Did you purchase the 'SILVER SPIRITS' beverage program? It sounds very expense on the face of things. Are the drinks at the bar & in the lounge pricey? Your thoughts please.
My wife and I enjoy wine, but with its' availability at lunch and dinner, I find that the beverage packages are a bit expensive. We were on a Viking trip once with friends; their children had bought one for them as a gift and their comment was that they themselves would not have gone to the expense. Just one person's opinion!
#20
Dallas
76 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
By the way, we are on the 9/27/2014 trip; looking forward to it. We have been on several Viking (4) and one Avalon river cruises. This is a river we haven't been on and so as soon as we saw this offering, we began to make plans.