Just Back From A River Cruise in France

Viking River Cruises® had us at Bordeaux—and wine.

The Viking Longship® Forseti

Photo: Viking River Cruises

Best known for its river cruises throughout western Europe and beyond, Viking River Cruises began offering itineraries in the famed Bordeaux wine region of France in 2014.

We love French wine and food, so the line’s already-popular eight-day, seven-night “Châteaux, Rivers & Wine” cruise was particularly appealing. Viking Longship Forseti’s itinerary, which starts and ends in the city of Bordeaux, varies because of shifting tides and water levels, but our experience is typical of what to expect. Our spacious not-so-standard Veranda Stateroom featured a private bathroom with shower, premium bath products (with bathrobe and slippers upon request), a flat-panel TV, a telephone, a safe, a refrigerator, a hair dryer and individual climate control. (All of these amenities are standard in every Viking Longship stateroom.) Highlights of the itinerary included river cruising on the Garonne and Dordogne, as well as the Gironde Estuary; walking tours of Bordeaux, Saint-Émilion, Libourne, Bourg and Blaye; wine tastings in the famed wine communes of Pomerol and Sauternes, the Médoc region and more; creative French fare from chef Pascal Mullier (who is slated to return to Viking Longship Forseti in 2016); dinner, with wine, at Château Kirwan; onboard receptions and events; and two optional excursions that we booked for reasonable fees.

Along with our two highly recommended optional excursions—lunch at Château Siaurac, where our group was joined by the owner, and a tasty tour of the sprawling Bordeaux market with chef Mullier—other appealing add-ons for Viking River Cruises in France’s Bordeaux region include truffle hunting and tasting, which includes lunch; a Taste of Cognac tour, wherein participants leave with a bottle of self-made cognac; and an excursion to the coast for a taste of famed Arcachon oysters, which also included lunch. In addition, this itinerary offers appealing pre- and post-cruise experiences, with a four-day Loire Valley pre-cruise extension and a four-day Paris post-cruise stay on the menu.

Bon voyage and santé—that’s “Cheers” in French!

*$200 per person AAA Member Benefit shipboard credit offer is available to AAA members on Viking River Cruises itineraries ranging 14 days or more. $125 per person AAA Member Benefit shipboard credit offer is available to AAA members on Viking River Cruises itineraries ranging from 8-13 days. Shipboard credits can only be applied when booked directly by AAA travel agents. Must request shipboard credit offer at time of booking. This offer is only valid on river cruise itineraries and combinable with group rates, Special Savings/Early Booking Discounts, past passenger discounts, refer a friend credits and future cruise vouchers. Offer is not combinable with FAM rates, travel agent reduced rate, interline and wholesale bookings and is not applicable to Egypt or Southeast Asia itineraries. Onboard credit has no cash value and cannot be applied to onboard gratuities. Valid only for Viking River Cruises sailings. CST#2052644-40

Book a Viking river cruise in Europe now and receive a shipboard credit up to $200 per person on itineraries of 14 days or more*. Call 877-396-7159 to contact a AAA Travel Counselor or book online today.

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Marco Ruiz, AAA Travel Counselor, Monterey, Calif.

I love to suggest Italy and Spain because of the culture and the flair of the people–their fashions, language and way of life. They take time to enjoy life's pleasures. When you're there, you feel it, too.

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