Châteaux, Rivers & Wine – My First River Cruise Experience

Bordeaux. Finally we are in Bordeaux. The bus ride was not terrible, but its still a bus ride! We made a couple of “convenience” stops so that folks could stretch their legs, get a coffee or snack, or whatever. But eventually we pulled into the dock at Bordeaux.

River cruise docks are not ocean cruise docks. I am not sure what I was expecting, but after 15 or so ocean cruise check ins, I at least expected a terminal. Nope! We got off the bus, said goodbye to our extension tour guide and walked on to the Viking Forseti. Our river boat was actually lashed to another river boat which was lashed to the dock…certainly not like an ocean cruise! We had to walk onto and over the first river boat to get to ours. Once we got there, check in was a breeze, almost more like checking into a hotel. We got our keys, then a porter gathered our bags and took us to our room. Sigh…the rooms.

As someone who likes to cruise a lot, I always choose the least expensive cabins (not interior because I need a window!). A splurge for me is a balcony stateroom. I say this so you know that I do not usually cruise in suites. This cabin was the smallest room I have been in since I spent that one night in jail (don’t ask, I’m not telling that story!). It was clean and neat, but small. I had a French Balcony for this trip, rooming with a friend of my mother. My mother and another friend of hers had the cabin directly across from us, which was a full balcony cabin. It might have been a smidge bigger, but not by much!

Thats the whole thing. Behind me is a closet and the door to the amazingly small bathroom.

Yep, those are my jammies, don’t judge!

As you can see, it is all very Scandinavian: sleek, modern, and useful. No wasted space. And as much as I am talking about the size, it was fine. This is not the type of trip where you spend a bunch of time in the cabin anyway, so I never had an issue with the size. In addition, there are plenty of open seating areas around for when you want to just sit and relax.

Overall, the Viking Forseti is beautiful, but quite a change from what I am used to!

We had some time to unpack and get settled, and then it was time to meet our ship mates and learn about our trip. We all gathered in the lounge (with a beverage!) to listen to our cruise director give us an overview of our schedule. We then had the inevitable safety drill…Ocean or River…This stays the same! After muster, it was time for our first dinner! This was another major change from my experience with ocean cruises. There is only one dinner seating and there are no set tables. Everyone just walks into the dining room and sits at a table. I think that this was my least favorite difference. We LOVE sitting at large tables with people we have not met. We have met (and kept in touch with) some of the most amazing people ever! Part of the reason we are able to get to know them, however, is that everyone sits in the same seats every dinner. Not on river cruises. You change every day so we never had the chance to get to know people as well…still, the food was amazing and the company was certainly interesting!

I think its fairly well documented how much I love mussels. In addition, if you label something “Regional Tasting Menu” chances are I am going to try it. And it was yummy!!

After dinner, there was an excursion scheduled. Of our group of four, I was the only one that went. We would have plenty more time in Bordeaux for everyone else to see the sights, but for me there is something magical about seeing a city at night!

Tomorrow we start with a Panoramic tour of Bordeaux (in the daytime!) and then we move to Cadillac and visit our first winery! Oh, its also Easter Sunday!

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