Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Travel Topics > Cruises
Reload this Page >

Uniworld's Bordeaux, Vineyards & Chateaux River Cruise

Uniworld's Bordeaux, Vineyards & Chateaux River Cruise

Old Jan 12th, 2016, 04:13 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 578
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Uniworld's Bordeaux, Vineyards & Chateaux River Cruise

A few days ago I posted my October France travel report on the Europe Forum since I had spent the first five days in Paris. In retrospect, I'm thinking I'll post just the river cruise section here for those specifically interested.

After five days in Paris I boarded an early morning TGV to Bordeaux from Gare Montparnesse to meet up with a very much anticipated third River cruise. (The first was on Tauck through Provence and the second on Avalon through Netherlands/Belgium). Three hours later I cabbed it to the quay where Uniworld's River Royale was docked and awaiting passengers. Suffice it to say, it was an awesome week of river cruising, visiting chateaux and tasting wine after wine while traveling from vineyard to vineyard on each day's excursion. Ah yes, a real bacchanal. Well, it felt that way to me.

Loved my double rather ornate cabin with floor to ceiling windows (I upgraded on reserving when the single supplement was dropped). A friendly, easy going, well traveled group of 100-110(?) on the ship ensured lots of good conversation along with excellent menu choices, well prepared meals and accompanying wines. Drinks in the lounge included in the fare before and after dinner, along with nightly entertainment made for a lot of happy cruisers. Afternoon tea with finger sandwiches and sweets was served daily, a nice touch I enjoyed very much.

Unlike the two other cruises I have been on, there is no mini fridge in the cabin. Uniworld's policy of "going green" involves drinking water being replaced/refreshed each day in a glass carafe and a Uniworld metal container is provided for "take with" water. Shampoo and liquid soap are dispensed from pump bottles in both sink area and shower, rather than individual containers. This took some getting used to. The bar of soap I brought with me came in handy so I didn't have to reach up to pump the soap each time I washed my hands. The ever present large jar of wrapped candies on the credenza took the place of a chocolate on the pillow at turndown. That I liked!

The itinerary for this River cruise was very well paced, with built in leisure time which I appreciated after the other two, where the activities were back to back. This one provided opportunity for a breather here and there, without feeling that something vital would be missed. Of the three cruises I've been on, this one was the most enjoyable in terms of the ship's amenities, the itinerary and the ship staffing.

The River Royale is beautifully appointed. In addition to the lovely cabins, there is a library with comfy sofas, a coffee room off the main dining room, casual choice lunch restaurant on the top deck, as well as spa/exercise room, expansive sun deck - seating open and covered, whirlpool tub area with lounge chairs. Adjacent to the main dining room is a formal, intimate dining space for dinner, with seating for eighteen or so and available on reservation. The main dining room could be configured a little better. The booth-like window tables were isolating. Having experienced the rounded into the room booths of the other two ships, I believe they were more comfortable, although for those couples preferring their own company they were certainly better placed for that.

Three buses were provided each day for the various tours, one designated for "slow walkers". Walking sticks were available as well as bicycles offered as an alternative touring choice. It was a surprisingly fit group and many did opt to bike through vineyards or towns each time the choice was available. The local guides for each of the tours were outstanding in their knowledge and very personable. Our Tour Director would hold a briefing each evening for the next day during cocktail hour in the lounge and a written schedule would be placed in the cabin to that effect during the dinner hour as well. Florence was a hands on, extremely competent Tour Director, totally engaged, keeping everyone under her warm, watchful eye.

An ancient walled city, Bordeaux at night is magnificent. The optional cooking class I chose on the final day at The Grand Hotel Bordeaux was truly a highlight and I have the apron to prove it. Lunch in a bistro in Bergerac with my new ship acquaintance from Sydney was memorable. The chateaux in Sauternes where we lunched one of the days accompanied by three - you guessed it - Sauternes of that region - excellent! St. Emillion is a beautiful place and we toured the area and grotto where the saint was known to have lived. Dark, very dark. There were jaunts to Cadillac and Bourg. Seven days of fabulous, it was.

Weather wise, it could not have been better. Just a few rain drops, cool comfortable scarf wearing temps most days with a few warm ones here and there, excellent walking conditions. All in all, a perfect week at the end of October, my favorite time to travel.

I arrived home on November 1st, planning to write up my TR once recovered from jet lag and before the memories began to fade but the tragic Paris events of November 13 have overshadowed. One never gets over such atrocity, let alone forget, but as another contributor on this site has written, somehow one must pick up and move on. Paris, I stand with you.

I'm now researching where and when my next river cruise might take place. I seem to be addicted to this mode of travel!
travelchat is offline  
Old Jan 13th, 2016, 02:27 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,930
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Great report - glad to hear that everything went so well.
Rhea58 is offline  
Old Jan 13th, 2016, 03:05 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I concur with everything in your report. My and husband and I, along with another couple, took the very same cruise in May. In a word, it was the BEST vacation ever! The Uniworld staff was fantastic! The food was delicious, and the wines were good selection of those available locally.

We opted to be part of the gentle walkers group, and it met our needs perfectly fine. This was our first Uniworld cruise and we loved the experience o much we elected to take another cruise with them in May, 2016, on the Rhine River.
mouseford is offline  
Old Jan 13th, 2016, 05:00 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 578
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Rhea58
Thank you for your much appreciated compliment/comment. When agonizing over the composition of a trip report I ask myself, as I painstakingly reconstruct each travel day, whether anyone would really be interested and/or take the time to post a reply.

mouseford
Appreciate your post, too! So often it's the negatives that appear. We may have started a trend! Indeed, Uniworld is doing something absolutely right in the river cruise field. I am hoping to go on one of the Rhine River voyages in 2017. So very happy to hear your experience was as marvelous as mine.
travelchat is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2016, 12:45 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,288
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have been looking into Uniworld river cruises, so very much appreciate your report. Thanks!

It sounds like a wonderful experience.
Kathie is offline  
Old Jan 14th, 2016, 06:48 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 69,934
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Wonderful report (Uniworld should put you on the payroll )

One question >>(I upgraded on reserving when the single supplement was dropped).
janisj is offline  
Old Jan 15th, 2016, 07:45 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 578
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
janisj
Put me on the payroll? Better yet, maybe offer me a guest spot on a Danube River Cruise? I could handle that.

Seriously though, Re: Single Supplement question - in the case of this, my first cruise on Uniworld, dates when the SS does not apply are indicated on their web site. When I called to reserve, I then requested an upgrade to a mid-level cabin (stationary floor to ceiling windows) which was just a bit pricier than the SS cost would have been. Of course, if you are interested in a date that does not indicate such, it wouldn't hurt to call and inquire. You never know.

But, for the Avalon Tulip Time cruise where SS applied, I called several months ahead of the date I was interested in to inquire if they would notify me if and when the SS was dropped. I'm pleased to say they did call and I immediately upgraded to mid level, this time to a Juliet balcony with a sliding glass door.

There is no SS charge at all on Tauck line (I did their Paris and Provence-it was fabulous) for the lower level single cabins which have two large windows high up, just above the water line.

I like to spend time enjoying my cabin during any little down time as the ship is cruising, so having a full window allowing for a view makes for a more enjoyable experience. The mid level cabins aren't necessarily larger than the lower level. The top level cabins are though, some with a sitting area and and/or a larger bathroom, depending on the ship.

Hope this info is helpful and thanks for your comment!
travelchat is offline  
Old Jan 15th, 2016, 10:35 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,288
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
janisj, there are a number of cruise lines that eliminate the single supplement on cruises that are off-season or even shoulder season. We took a fabulous cruise in Northern Burma this year on Pandaw, and many of their sailing dates have no single supplement.
Kathie is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2016, 01:18 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 130
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Was just looking at that cruise for this October so thanks for the report. One question can you arrange your own private tours? Would really like to see the Caves at Lascaux which is in the area. Wasn't sure if that was an issue do that.
travel_princess is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2016, 04:02 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 578
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
travel_princess
An excursion to the caves at Lascaux was not offered as an optional tour with this cruise. However, since the cruise begins and ends in Bordeaux you could plan on doing such on your own at either end by booking through a local touring company.
travelchat is offline  
Old Feb 3rd, 2016, 01:53 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 849
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Travel_Princess,

It will take you two hours to get from Bordeaux to Lascaux. I'm not certain how long you will get to spend in Lascaux III, certainly available in October, but I suspect you will be spending far more time on the A 89 than in reportedly magnificent cave reproduction.

If you have the opportunity to make your visit at the end of your trip, see if you can get a flight from Aeroport de Brive, some 20 minutes away from Montingac. There are frequent flight to Paris Orly, as well as flights to Stanstead, London City, and Amsterdam.
Jeff801 is offline  
Old Feb 3rd, 2016, 01:18 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 130
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the feedback. That is a good idea to add it on at the end.
travel_princess is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
annhig
Europe
148
Dec 16th, 2018 05:21 PM
pandagirl
Cruises
6
Jun 2nd, 2011 03:11 PM
sssteve
Europe
6
Nov 26th, 2009 11:35 AM
oberost
Europe
8
Apr 27th, 2003 12:28 PM
Lolo
Europe
4
Feb 5th, 2003 08:11 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information