Bordeaux River Cruise
The Garonne, Dordogne
and Gironde Estuary
7 night Bordeaux to Bordeaux Cruise
Optional 2 nights pre cruise stay in Bilbao Spain, 2 nights San Sabastian and 2 nights post cruise in the Loire Valley plus 1 night Paris De Gaulle
The Garonne Bordeaux,France
…the Dordogne and the Gironde Estuary wind through the
famous world of gourmet flavor known as the Bordeaux
region – home to the most highly coveted blended wines
in the entire world.
In the corner of southwestern France, the Garonne and Dordogne rivers merge together to form the Gironde Estuary – that naturally divides the famous Bordeaux region into Left and Right banks. Our Taste of Bordeaux itinerary takes you to experience the most impressive winegrowing areas and their signature blends.
Bordeaux is the largest controlled wine region in France, made up of several subregions. Each subregion has its own strictly governed appellation, unique climate, and terroir that define it. Unlike most wines around the world, the quality of Bordeaux wine is determined by these factors rather than the grape varietal. Producers combine many grape types together to create food-loving blends. While Bordeaux is acclaimed for its legendary red blends, the small percentage of white blends from this region also make a big impression. The left and right banks of the river have different soil types that bring these exceptional blends to life.
The flatter, gravelly lands of the left bank embrace the heat of the sun south of the Gironde, giving life to many rich red blends and sweet white blends – like those of the Médoc and Sauternes regions. Dark fruit, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignons rule this side of the river, blended with Merlot, Cab Franc and Petit Verdot grapes.
The limestone and clay soils of the right bank are perfect for Merlot, the most popular grape used as a base for blends in Bordeaux. Prestigious appellations like Bourg and Saint Emilion produce some of the best Merlot based blends that are combined with Cabernet, and other grapes, to achieve significant structure and supple fruit flavors. Bordeaux's perfectly carved countryside and historic landmarks will take your breath away.
Saint Emilion, France Bordeauc
Begin with a two-night stay in Paris, the magical "City of Light," and enjoy a panoramic tour of the city's top sights. Continue on to Bordeaux, the capital of Aquitaine in Southwestern France and one of the world's undisputed wine capitals. You'll discover stately chateaux, abundant vineyards and stunning scenery as you sail along the Garonne and Dordogne rivers and the Gironde estuaries, calling upon port cities like Cadillac, Saint Emilion and Libourne. Enjoy tastings of some of the region's most distinguished wines and visit notable sights before concluding your journey with a three-night stay in the Loire Valley.
Bordeaux Wine Labels
When you take a look at the wine labels here, something seems to be missing - the type of grape. That's because, in Bordeaux, blends rule the world and the grape variety simply isn't as important as where the grapes are grown. So, rather than being named "Cabernet Sauvignon" or "Merlot," you will find that these wines are named after the château and appellation they come from.
Sauternes blends account for a very small amount of the wine production in Bordeaux, but contain a great amount of flavor. These highly sought-after wines are made from various grape varieties, are available in many styles, and achieve a mouthwatering balance of sweet and tart. Their notes of rich honey, peach, apricot and nuts pair wonderfully with savory French cuisine.
DAY 1, BILBAO, SPAINCheck into your hotel for the beginning of your Basque Country land program. (D)
DAY 2, BILBAOTravel to the Basque town of Guernica, infamously bombed by German and Italian air forces during the Spanish Civil War and the subject of one of Picasso's most renowned paintings. Immerse yourself in culture and visit the open-air market where you will find a variety of local specialties, from cheese to peppers to fish. Later in the day, take an informative walking tour through Bilbao and learn how to order Basque tapas, known locally as pintxos, and revered for their small size and big taste. (B).
DAY 3, BILBAO - SAN SEBASTIANTake a deep dive into the contemporary art within the world-famous Guggenheim Museum, a work of art itself. Designed by architect Frank Gehry, the museum features a daring and innovative facade and showcases work by such artists as Andy Warhol, German artist Anselm Kiefer, and Basque masters Eduardo Chillida and Jorge Oteiza. You will also travel to the Basque town of Guernica, infamously bombed by German and Italian air forces during the Spanish Civil War and the subject of one of Picasso's most renowned paintings. Later in the day, transfer to San Sebastian and check into your hotel. In the evening, enjoy a guided stroll through Old Town, the second oldest neighborhood in the city, where distinctive architecture and pintxos bars beckon, made even more romantic by the evening light. (B)
DAY 4, SAN SEBASTIANDiscover the charms of the “City by the Bay of Biscay.” Known in the Basque language as Donostia, San Sebastian was once a prominent fishing village and was burned to the ground in 1813 after being occupied by Napoleonic troops. However, by 1887, after rebuilding, the city flourished as a popular tourist destination and spa resort. Later in the day, enjoy some free time in the city renowned for holding the second highest number of Michelin stars per square meter. (B)
DAY 5, SAN SEBASTIAN - BAYONNE, FRANCE - BORDEAUX - EMBARKATIONCheck out of your hotel and transfer to Bordeaux via the French Basque town of Bayonne. Later, embark the ship in Bordeaux for your Taste of Bordeaux cruise. (B,D)
DAY 6, BORDEAUX - LIBOURNETake in the romance of Bordeaux as you pass iconic sights on a scenic morning cruise. Later in the day, dock in Libourne, a gateway to one of Bordeaux's most elite wine regions. Join an excursion to Saint Emilion, known for its celebrated vineyards, and while here, explore the monolithic church carved out of one piece of limestone rock, and then go under the church to discover its catacombs and caves. Afterwards, enjoy a Grand Cru Class wine tasting at either Chateau de Ferrand or Chateau de Pressac. If you prefer a more active adventure, pedal through the vineyard-rich countryside to Saint-Emilion and then to Chateau Soutard for a Grand Cru Class wine tasting. You can also choose to tour the magnificent Chateau Vayres, one of the most prestigious historic buildings of Aquitaine. (B,L,D)
DAY 7, LIBOURNE - BLAYEStroll through the colorful, open-air market, tasting some of the region's specialties. Or, you can get your heart pumping by venturing deeper into town on an invigorating bike tour or hiking through one of Libourne?s renowned vineyards. Later in the day, set sail for Blaye, where you will enjoy an evening at your leisure. (B,L,D)
DAY 8, BLAYE - BOURGOnce in Blaye, you can join a tour of its 17th-century citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For a more active excursion, take a bike ride around Blaye. Later in the day, you can choose to bike from Blaye through the idyllic French countryside to Bourg. While in the ancient village of Bourg, take a walking tour and visit the Carriage Museum, which houses a wonderful collection of horse-drawn vehicles. Later in the day, experience the hospitality of this charming medieval village with an exclusive wine festival. Meet the local wine growers and taste the fruits of their labors as well as enjoy live French music and dancing. (B,L,D)
DAY 9, PAUILLACPauillac, a lovely village on the Left Bank of the Gironde Estuary, is gateway to the famed Medoc region, renowned for producing some of the world's finest Bordeaux wines. You will see some of the most beautiful and famous wine estates, including Chateau Latour, Ch?teau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Pichon Longueville. You will then visit either Chateau Gruaud Larose or Chateau Leoville Poyferr for a tasting of Grand Cru wines. (B,L,D)
DAY 10, CADILLACVisit the impressive Castle of Roquetaillade, an amazingly preserved masterpiece of medieval military architecture owned by the same noble family for 700 years. Next, travel to the Sauternes wine region to either Chateau de Rayne Vigneau or Chateau Guiraud to taste the highly prized golden-hued sweet wines produced here. In the evening, enjoy a spectacular illumination cruise, gazing at the iconic structures of Bordeaux as they glow against the night sky. (B,L,D)
DAY 11, BORDEAUXThe breathtaking capital of the wine world, Bordeaux is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and classified as a “City of Art and History.” You’ll have an opportunity to experience much of the rich culture and architecture on a city tour followed by a visit to the immersive and interactive Bordeaux Wine Museum, housed in an awe-inspiring building. Bike enthusiasts will wish to join a tour along the city’s amazing network of bicycle paths. (B,L,D)
DAY 12, BORDEAUX - DISEMBARKATION - TOURS - AMBOISEDisembark the ship and transfer to Chateau before arriving in the Loire Valley, where you will check in to your Amboise hotel. (B)
DAY 13, AMBOISEVisit three of the Loire Valley’s regal chateaux starting with the Chateau de Chenonceau, one of the most beautiful castles in France. This chateau has been referred to as the “Women’s Castle” since it is the only castle in the region that has been built, inhabited and saved by women during the Renaissance. Chateau du Clos Luc was Leonardo da Vinci’s last home where he completed some of his most famous works under the patronage of the King of France. The Chateau d’Amboise, perched on a promontory overlooking the Loire River, was the first Renaissance chateau built in the Loire Valley and features extravagant residences, gardens and a Gothic chapel, where Leonardo da Vinci is buried. (B)
DAY 14, AMBOISE - PARISCheck out of your Amboise hotel and, en route to Paris, visit two more majestic chateaux. While Chateau de Chambord, located at the heart of Europe's largest enclosed wooded park, began as an unassuming hunting lodge, it is now the biggest chateau in the Loire Valley with 426 rooms, 77 staircases and 282 fireplaces. Next, either marvel at the residence of seven kings and ten queens of France at the famous Chateau de Blois where you'll discover the secrets of the French court, or enjoy free time. Afterwards, transfer by motorcoach to your hotel at Charles De Gaulle Airport. (B)
DAY 14, PARISBid farewell to Paris and prepare for your flight home. (B)
2021 Per Person Cruise Fares
Lower Deck -
Lower Deck -
Cat D w/window
Middle Deck - Cat C
Middle Deck - Cat B
Upper Deck - Cat A
Upper Deck - Suite
** "In Celebration of Wine" Themed Cruise"
Port Charges are an additional $196 (2021) per passenger // Single Supplement 50% of twin, Suite 100% of twin
Extend your stay with a pre hotel stay in Bilbao and San Sebastion for $1300 per person (2021)
Extend your stay with a post hotel stay in the Loire Valley/Paris for $1500 per person (2021)
Ship has 2 single cabins - Cat B at 140 sq. ft. Use Cat B pricing.
or SLIDING GLASS DOOR CABIN or CABIN WITH A USEABLE BALCONY, excursions, free internet, and wine with dinner and daily Happy Hour before dinner
LINK TO AMA SHIP DETAILS AND PICTURES: AmaDolce
LINK TO AMA DECK PLANS: AmaDolce