Published on May 5th, 2017 | by Rhonda English
Travelling in Style, With Viking River Cruises and my Mom.
When I was growing up my mom was always there for me. From sewing my dresses as a toddler, to playing games in the backyard to teaching me how to bake – she always made time. I have never forgotten this and when I had the chance to take a Viking River Cruise in Bordeaux France, she was the first person I thought of to accompany me on this wonderful adventure. We also live in different cities so having the opportunity to spend quality time with her was a big plus. Not to mention seeing and exploring a new country together and making wonderful memories of our experiences.
When I first told her that we were embarking on this journey, she was beyond excited. She has travelled, but has never been on a cruise ship, yet alone a river cruise.
Why did I Choose a River Cruise?
With a river cruise, you get to see several destination cities/towns up close while being able to stay in one room on the ship and not have to unpack and repack repeatedly. The ship docks right at the shores of the towns and there is time to explore the destinations as the ship doesn’t sail during the evenings. Bordeaux, because it is a beautiful area in France, covered with vineyards and gorgeous chateaus and I happen to be very interested in tasting and learning about wine and I love great bread!
The day finally arrived and we were like two school girls – giddy with excitement. My mom could not get over the fact that she was actually boarding a river cruise ship and about to set off on a fabulous voyage.
We were warmly greeted by the staff and fellow guests. Our stateroom was nicely equipped and offered a few surprises – a heated bathroom floor and ample closet and drawer space – essential for two ladies. Our room became our ‘home’ and we settled in with ease.
In the days that followed, we experienced many great shore excursions. Every day was filled with excitement as we toured the regions, tasted their wines and learned interesting facts.
Some of the Highlights of our Trip?
Dinner and wine tasting at Château Kirwan in Margaux was exceptional – it even included a different “bread” tasting with each course!
We also had the privilege of going on a home-hosted visit to Château Siaurac. Upon arriving at the château, the owner came out with his wife and 16-day old baby boy to greet and welcome us into his home. We toured some magnificent rooms and then enjoyed lunch and a wine tasting with our hosts.
We also enjoyed the lounge on the ship. After dinners, several evenings were spent socializing with other passengers, listening to the music of our ship’s piano player and singer and taking a few steps on the dance floor!
Saint-Émilion was one of the most beautiful places we visited in Bordeaux. It is a small medieval town built from local yellow limestone with steep, narrow streets, historic ruins, exquisite churches (including one underground), cafes and artisan shops and spectacular views. A must see!
One final highlight was our last evening – ‘The Perfect French Dinner’ hosted by Viking in a spectacular warehouse space in Bordeaux. For our appetizers, there were several stations set up serving caviar, foie gras, charcuterie, shrimp, oysters and bread and of course a variety of wines to accompany the food. We then all participated in creating the perfect French dinner – from arranging flowers for the tables to hands-on cooking lessons from our ship chefs – a spectacular farewell dinner!
What was our Favourite Moment?
Our favourite time was when mom and I visited Camus, a family owned and run 5th generation cognac producer in the town of Cognac. We were hosted by the Master Blender and the Ambassador of Visitor Relations, who educated us on the finer points about cognac, walked us through a cognac tasting and helped us to blend our very own bottle of Camus Cognac, complete with a personalized label and wooden box for transporting.
My mom wasn’t too precise with the blending quantities and overfilled her bottle – what else to do but take a few sips (haha). A great laugh for us and our Viking guide!
What was our Lasting Impression from this Trip?
Being on a river cruise ship for the first time, we were struck by how personable and relaxed the entire experience was – a casual atmosphere but excellent hospitality and professionalism from a knowledgeable and genuine crew. Although a river cruise ship by nature needs to be minimalist, it provided everything we needed and offered an easy way to have a window into life in Bordeaux.
There is no greater gift for mom and me than time spent together. We had an experience that was unsurpassed. We laughed, ate, explored and most of all – had the time of our lives. I encourage anyone to go on a trip with your mom, it’s something that you will always cherish.
Let us help you create your own memorable vacation with your mom by contacting a CAA Travel Consultant at 1-855-660-2292 or visit your local CAA Store.
© 2017 CAA South Central Ontario
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