This was my first Viking Cruise, as well as my first river cruise. Prior to this cruise, I have only been on 2 other cruises. I was traveling with 3 others, that have been on previous Viking river cruises. I will say, if I had been choosing the itinerary, this particular itinerary probably wouldn't have been something I would have chosen. However, I thoroughly enjoy it. We also did the pre-cruise Loire Valley tour.
Once we got through the horrific mob of people trying to get through customs at CDG (it took over 2 hours to clear customs, not Viking's fault), and found our Viking rep, we were escorted to our vehicle right away. The driver was just about to exit the airport grounds, when he was called by dispatch to swing back around and pick up to more people. Much to our dismay, after being in a mob of people so long. We just wanted to get to our hotel. Unfortunately, the driver had an issue finding the 2 other passengers, so that was an added 15-20 minutes. Once he found them, we were on our way to the hotel. Thankfully.
Check in at the hotel was smooth. Our Viking rep told us everything we needed to know for the next day. We went to our rooms, freshened up and headed out on the streets of Paris. The hotel was in a good location. There was a subway station nearby and plenty of options for lunch.
The next morning, we hopped on the bus with our tour guide Carmen and off we went to the Loire Valley. Carmen was an excellent tour guide and the places we visited were wonderful. As was the hotel for our 2nd and 3rd night.
On Saturday, we arrived in Bordeaux around 4:00 pm and were greeted by many of the staff, when coming aboard. Including the captain.
I can't say enough good things about the staff on the Viking Forseti. Everyone was friendly, helpful, funny, kind, hard working, etc, etc.
I was in room 208, with a French Balcony (basically a sliding glass door, so you can stick your head out). The room was super clean, but it is small. Very little room to walk around. Granted, your not in your room much, but tripping over each other, while getting ready in the morning is no fun. However, despite it's small size, we felt there was plenty of storage and closet space for our things.
The food was wonderful, except one meal, I felt like the veal was overcooked, but that might just be me. I tend to like my beef med-rare. The wine was free flowing at lunch and dinner. It is a wine cruise, after all.
The tours were great and very informative. I learned a lot about French history and French wine making during our trip. No complaints with any of the tour guides. The water level was low, so we did have to take a bus to Cadillac. Viking can't control water levels, so they do the next best thing, by busing us there.
It's truly some of the little added things, that are really appreciated. Like water. I drink a lot of water and it was nice not to have to continually buy bottled water. They hand out water each day, when you're headed out on a tour. They provide bottled water in your room. There's water available at the coffee station. And you can also get it from your waiter or bartender. Thank you Viking for keeping me supplied in water. Oh, and then there was the day we came back from a morning tour and the chef was at the door greeting us with little pastries. OMG, the best pastry I had all week. I asked our lunch waiter if he could see if there were any left over (I had just seen the chef headed back to the kitchen) and our waiter came back with a plate full for me. He was my new best friend.
Viking truly takes care of everything from the time you get off the plane, until the time you have to get back on the plane. At the Bordeaux airport, they had 2 reps helping us get our boarding passes.
My only other minor complaint, is that on some of the tours, I wish we had a little more free time. But, I guess if we were given more free time, then we would be learning less. So, it's a trade off.
I can't recommend this cruise enough. Especially, if you're a wine lover. Oh, and initially at looking at the itinerary, I thought that there was going to be too much time spent in Bordeaux. I was wrong. I could have easily spent more time there. It's a beautiful city. I actually like Bordeaux more then Paris.
Great location. Very clean. Comfortable bed. Plenty of storage space and closet space for your things, but very little room to walk around. We were tripping over each other, getting ready in the morning. Thankfully, not much time is spent in the room.