Cruising the rivers of Bordeaux Region (the Garonne, Gironde and Dordogne) in April was wine-soaked and wonderful.
As expected, the Viking longships are among the best for river cruising, providing comfortable cabins at all levels. Being almost totally sold out well ahead of time, we were luckily able to get Category "E" staterooms for ourselves and our travel companions (my son and his husband). The rooms were very comfortable and sufficiently spacious, with many thoughtful touches: extra pillows, bathroom amenities, fully equipped closets, and both 120V and 240V plugs.
Having said that, we were hardly ever in the rooms except for a good night's sleep. The attractive lounge areas (including a very nice library with lots of books on the local area) and friendly fellow cruise companions meant that we enjoyed as much time out of the room as possible.
Both the included shore excursions and the optional trips were interesting, and a good mix for both wine lovers and history buffs alike. The wine tours were educational for both beginning wine lovers looking to learn a bit more and for oenophiles. There local wine choices provided with lunch and dinner, but also the option to purchase the Silver Spirits package for more select vintages. Viking as well allows guests the bring their own wines on board, which the wait staff will happily serve without a corkage fee.
With one exception, the docking locations are all located within walking distance of the town or city being visited. One could easily leave for a local lunch or dinner, though the food served on board was consistently fresh, well-prepared and delicious.
The highlight of the tour is a private dinner in the orangery of a local wine chateau. To ensure the consistently high quality expected on a Viking cruise, Viking brings their own chefs and waitstaff (by now you know the friendly waitstaff quite well) to provide you with amazing food and service in this enchanting, off-site location.
This was our fourth Viking River Cruise, and we enjoyed it so much we would choose the same one again were there not so many other enticing choices.
Cabin is comfortable and one is able to move around. Large suitcases stow under the bed (we brought only carry-on luggage, which we put in the closet). The closet is reasonably large and contains a selection of regular and pant hangers (much appreciated). There are also a couple of large drawers for stowing other clothes.
The bathroom is a tad tight is you are a large person but it contains all the amenities needed and we had no issue with it. There were plenty of towels and lots of hot water.
The housekeeping staff are very helpful and amenable as well.