Two ships, five countries, and one very festive Live Voyage Report
Three years ago at this time, I had never taken a river cruise. Today, I am a river cruise fanatic â particularly when it comes to sailing through Europeâs Christmas Markets. As fantastic as the warm summer months are for enjoying meals in outdoor cafes and cycling along Europeâs many pathways, thereâs nothing like the storybook winter wonderland on showcase during the months of November and December.
Beginning November 22, 2014, Iâm doing double-duty with Viking River Cruises as I travel first to Bordeaux, France to experience their brand-new Chateaux, Rivers and Wine itinerary before carrying on to Budapest, Hungary for a weeklong Christmas Markets sailing on Vikingâs Danube Waltz cruise to Passau, Germany.
I had a tantalising glimpse of Vikingâs new Chateaux, Rivers and Wine itinerary earlier this year during the Viking Longship Christening Ceremonies. Itâs a brand-new run for them, sailing aboard Viking Forseti roundtrip from Bordeaux.
Bordeaux alone would be worth going back for. Locals told us that prior to 2000, Bordeaux had fallen into a state of disrepair and neglect, which is hard to imagine when presented with the immensely-romantic city it has developed into today. Itâs as clean and modern as Nice, but as statuesque as Paris.
The real pull of this itinerary, though, can be found in the French love of fine wine, great food and exceptional cognac. Over the course of seven days, guests have the option to sample all three in abundance, as Viking Forseti sails the Dordogne, Garonne and Gironde rivers to Saint-Emilion before returning to Bordeaux.
The full itinerary, both here and onboard:
|November 22, 2014||Bordeaux, France||Arrival; free time.|
|November 23||Gironde River / Pauillac, France||Scenic Cruising / Medoc and Margaux wine country visit; wine tasting & evening at leisure|
|November 24||Blaye, France||Tour of Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage site; afternoon free time or optional excursion to Cognac|
|November 25||Libourne, France||Tour of Saint-Emilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site & Pomerol wine region; afternoon at leisure or optional excursion to Bergerac|
|November 26||Garonne River / Cadillac, France||Scenic Cruising / Excursion to Sauternes wine region & wine tasting|
|November 27||Cadillac, France / Bordeaux, France||Morning city tour / evening at leisure in Bordeaux|
|November 28||Bordeaux, France||Tour of city|
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