Europe River Cruise - Château de Chenonceau in Loire Valley, France. Photo via Flickr:vbieusong
Europe River Cruise - Château de Chenonceau in Loire Valley, France. Photo via Flickr:ploync

Bordeaux – Saint-Émilion – Bordeaux 2014

Châteaux, Rivers & Wine

Caressed by Atlantic breezes, the vineyards that cover the rolling hills along the rivers of Aquitaine have for centuries produced France’s most remarkable wines: Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Sauternes, Médoc and Margaux are but a handful of the appellations that make Bordeaux wines world-famous. At the region’s heart, the city of Bordeaux stretches along the river bank, inviting visitors to savor its grand architecture, tempting cafés and superb museums. Celebrate joie de vivre in this land of wine and oysters, truffles and cognac, as you cruise the Dordogne, Garonne and Gironde Rivers.

Please Note: The Garonne, Gironde and Dordogne Rivers are part of a tidal river system which results in changing water levels in the region. Every effort is made to keep the scheduled itinerary, however, based on tides it may be amended or modified as required. In such cases the sequence of events may change or substitute visits to other sites of interest may occur.

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All meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches & 7 dinners

day-to-day itinerary

Day #1


Fly to Bordeaux. We meet you at the airport and take you to your ship*; the rest of the day is yours to relax or begin exploring Bordeaux a little bit on your own. Second only to Paris in French historic monuments, Bordeaux’s beautifully preserved 18th-century urban areas make it a desirable film location and its graceful port on the Garonne River is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We remain docked overnight. (D)

Day #2

Pauillac (Margaux)

Sail along the Gironde River this morning, docking at Pauillac in the Médoc region before lunch. This afternoon, take a wine country tour featuring several wine-tasting opportunities, including the area’s famous full-flavored Margaux. Travel through the rolling hills covered in vineyards to a château for dinner accompanied by the château’s own wines. Relax on board this evening, or explore Pauillac’s marina and the Plaza Lafayette—Pauillac is where the Marquis de Lafayette set sail to the New World. Undisputed capital of the Médoc wine region, Pauillac is home to Châteaux Lafite Rothschild, Latour and Mouton Rothschild, among others. You may also catch a glimpse of the lighthouse on the Île de Patiras in the middle of the Gironde. (B, L, D)

Day #3

Blaye (Cognac)

Early this morning we sail to Blaye, arriving during breakfast. Blaye boasts an extraordinary 17th-century citadel dramatically set on a rock beside the river, which incorporates the ruins of an ancient Gothic château. The château contains the tomb of Charibert II, king of Aquitaine—and legend has it that the Frankish hero Roland, who served Charlemagne, is also buried there. The citadel of Blaye, its city walls, and two other forts are collectively listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a guided tour of the citadel, then enjoy some free time in Blaye—or you may choose to take an optional excursion to the charming medieval town of Cognac, birthplace of one of the world’s best-known types of brandy. Here, you will tour the family business of Camus, one of the most tradition-steeped Cognac houses in the area, to try your hand at blending. We lift anchor late this afternoon and dine while sailing toward Libourne, where the Isle and Dordogne Rivers meet. (B, L, D)

Day #4

Libourne (Saint-Émilion)

Begin your day with a leisurely stroll to Libourne's picturesque city square, lined with buildings dating as far back as the 16th century. Later, a tour takes you to Saint-Émilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you see the town's superb medieval lanes and delightful views over the surrounding vineyards from the upper town. Spend a pleasant afternoon exploring the town's streets and shops-or participate in one of two optional excursions: an exploration of the Bergerac area in the Dordogne, to learn more about truffles, a great French delicacy, or a tasting of some local vintages, both from the Saint-Émilion and the Pomerol appellations, at a nearby château. (B, L, D)

Day #5

Cadillac (Sauternes)

Enjoy scenic cruising along the idyllic Garonne River all morning, stopping after lunch at Cadillac. Disembark for your excursion to Sauternes. Learn how the area’s sweet dessert wines are made and taste some examples during your tour. Return aboard for dinner. (B, L, D)

Day #6

Cadillac & Bordeaux

Begin sailing along the Garonne toward Bordeaux and enjoy a quiet morning sailing. Tour the city center upon arrival to see some of Bordeaux’s highlights, including the Place des Quinconces, one of the largest squares in Europe; the neoclassical Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux; and several spectacular churches. We remain docked overnight so you are free to explore the city’s restaurants, bars and nightlife. (B, L, D)

Day #7


You have a full day at leisure, giving you more time to appreciate the well-preserved architecture by Louis XV favorites Jacques Ange Gabriel and son and to taste the city’s cuisine and wine appellations—perhaps pick up a few bottles to take home with you. Do not miss the Place de la Bourse, with its mirror-like reflecting pool—impressive by day but absolutely stunning at night. You also have the option of taking an afternoon excursion to Arcachon, a commune on the Atlantic coast, to see the Victorian-era villas, walk on the boardwalk and taste the oysters, a local delicacy. Or you have the option of participating in a market visit with the Viking Chef to see where the local chefs of Bordeaux find their fruits, vegetables, meats and fish (B, L, D).

Day #8


After a final onboard breakfast, disembark and we take you to the airport for your flight home.* Or, extend your journey with 3 nights in Paris. (B)

Bordeaux – Saint-Émilion – Bordeaux 2014 sailings

Sailing in 2014

Please choose a sailing date:

DateShipRates fromAvailability
29 November 2014Viking Forseti$1,755/person
06 December 2014Viking Forseti$1,855/person
13 December 2014Viking Forseti$1,855/person

Bordeaux – Saint-Émilion – Bordeaux 2014 ships

  • Viking Forseti
    Length442 ft

    Viking ForsetiLongship river cruise shipDesigned by legendary naval architects Yran & Storbraaten, the team behind The Yachts of Seabourn, these new vessels offer state-of-the-art engineering, patented design* and luxury. The Viking Longships provide guests with more ways to personalize their trip. Choose from a variety of stateroom classes, onboard entertainment options and ship locations from which you can enjoy sailing through the scenery, all the while enriching your time in some of Europe’s most remarkable destinations. Two Explorer Suites feature spectacular 270° views with a private wraparound veranda. Veranda Suites feature two full rooms with a veranda off the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom. Enjoy the indoor-outdoor Aquavit Terrace at the bow of the ship, or relax on the Sun Deck. These “green” ships, featuring energy-efficient hybrid engines, solar panels and an organic herb garden, were named to honor prominent members of the Norse pantheon. Each ship carries 190 guests in comfortable, understated elegance, with hotel-style beds and amenities like 40” flat-panel Sony® TVs and in-room refrigerators. * (Corridor configuration designs) European Community Design Nos. 1832106-0001 to 1832106-0011.

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