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Cruise from Bordeaux in South West France

Explore the Bordeaux area of Aquitaine and the top French wine growing areas along the Dordogne and Garonne rivers, with excursions to chateaux and along the Wine Route and its famous vineyards

The city of Bordeaux has long connections with the English and the wine trade. A World Heritage Site, Bordeaux has many 18th century buildings around the Grand Theatre and impressive facades lining the quays along the river. The city centre has extensive pedestrian areas and street cafes to enjoy the city bustle.

  • Aquitaine Cruise Map
  • Pont St Pierre, Bordeaux
  • Chateau Lafite Rothschild
  • The dune of Pilat

About Bordeaux Cruises

This part of Aquitaine came under English control with the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henry II in 1152. The border with France was fortified by Henry II and his successors, leaving ancient castles and fortified medieval bastide towns across the landscape and overlooking the Gironde river. Returned to France in 1453 after the Hundred Years War, the whole area is packed with interesting historical sights.

There are some 10,000 wine producing chateaux in the Bordeaux region, including some of the most expensive wines in the world. Five ‘premier cru’ wines - Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Margaux, Haut-Brion are here. Visit Pauillac, capital of the Medoc area, and Blaye, both noted centres for wine culture.

Between the rivers Garonne and Dordogne is the Entre deux Mers wine area. Up the Garonne river from Bordeaux is Cadillac, a bastide town fortified by the English king in 1280 and subsequently a chateau built for the Dukes of Epernon. On the Dordogne call at the market town of Libourne, and from here or Cadillac travel to the village of St Emilion, noted for its catacombs and huge underground church as well as its wine.

The citadel at BlayeThe citadel at Blaye St EmilionSt Emilion

Cruise Collection

All of our Bordeaux cruises are shown below. Tick the boxes to filter by date, company, duration and type.

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    • CroisiEurope Ship - Princesse d'Aquitaine
      Choice of Ships
      • Journey from Bordeaux with the opportunity to see prestigious wine areas including St Emilion and the Medoc. Unlimited complimentary house wine, beer, mineral water and soft drinks on board, with optional shore excursions

      • River Cruise
    • Save 5% on cruise only!

    • CroisiEurope Ship - Princesse d'Aquitaine
      Choice of Ships
      • A new itinerary with plenty of opportunities to visit some of Bordeaux's best-known wine-growing towns and villages. Unlimited complimentary house wine, beer, mineral water and soft drinks on board, with optional shore excursions

      • River Cruise
    • Save 5% on cruise only!

    • CroisiEurope Ship - Princesse d'Aquitaine
      Choice of Ships
      • Journey through the wine country around Bordeaux, with optional excursions to the Medoc, St Emilion and Entre Deux Mers areas. Unlimited complimentary house wine, beer, mineral water and soft drinks on board

      • River Cruise
    • Save 5% on cruise only!

    • Viking River Cruises Ship - Viking Forseti
      Viking Forseti
      • Discover scenic terraced vineyards, magnificent World Heritage Sites and spectacular architecture on this superb itinerary on Viking Forseti. Includes excursions and flight package from the UK

      • River Cruise
    • Save £1000pp on 2017 dates!

    • CroisiEurope Ship - Princesse d'Aquitaine
      Choice of Ships
      • Explore the rivers and wine-growing areas around Bordeaux, plus the picturesque coastline of the Arcachon Basin and the amazing Dune of Pyla. Unlimited complimentary house wine, beer, mineral water and soft drinks on board

      • River Cruise
    • Save 5% on cruise only!

    • Uniworld Ship - River Royale
      River Royale
      • Discover magnificent chateaux, terraced vineyards and traditional cuisine in Bordeaux on board River Royale. Includes guided excursions, unlimited complimentary drinks and gratuities

      • River Cruise
    • Save up to £1400pp on 2016 dates! Exclusive package from just £1785pp!

    • AMA Waterways Ship - AmaDolce
      AmaDolce
      • Discover the history of the Bordeaux region and sample the sweet Sauternes wines, the popular Medoc wines and the exquisite blends from St Emilion. Includes guided excursions and wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner

      • River Cruise
      • 2016 - Sep, Oct, Nov
        Included with this holiday ...

    • Fly-cruise package now from just £1799pp!

    • Choice of APT Ships
      Choice of Ships
      • An all-inclusive Royal Collection cruise through the heart of Bordeaux with visits to magnificent chateaux and wine tastings. Includes flights from the UK, unlimited complimentary drinks on board plus excursions and Signature Experiences

      • River Cruise
    • Save £800 per couple on 2017 departures!

    • Scenic Ship - Scenic Diamond
      Scenic Diamond
      • Sample the best wines of the Medoc and Bordeaux, taste the local gastronomic delights and visit historic chateaux on this all-inclusive river cruise. Includes shore excursions, travel package from the UK, butler service, complimentary drinks and gratuities

      • River Cruise
      • 2016 - Sep
        Included with this holiday ...

    • Save up to £1200pp!

    • Uniworld Ship - Joie de Vivre
      Choice of Ships
      • This holiday combines a 7-night cruise along the River Seine, made famous by Impressionist artists, with a 7-night cruise through the wine region of Bordeaux. Includes guided excursions, unlimited complimentary drinks and gratuities

      • River Cruise
    • Save up to £900pp on 2017 departures! Exclusive package from just £3649pp!

Bordeaux Highlights

Blaye (France)

The landmark of Blaye is the vast citadel built by Vauban which encloses a Gothic castle where the former King of Aquitaine, Charibert II is buried. Excursions might include a drive along the Corniche, a cliff-top road through picturesque fishing hamlets, or a trip to Bourg.

Blaye

Bordeaux (France)

Bordeaux is a large and elegant city on the Garonne River, and the ideal starting-point for a river cruise in one of the world's most important wine-producing regions. Stroll in the Jardin Public, the pretty district of Saint-Eloi and the beautiful bridge of Pont de Pierre.

Bordeaux

Libourne

The pleasant town of Libourne is the capital of wine-making in the northern Gironde. The pretty arcaded square is bordered by merchant houses, and in the interesting Fozera area is the Tour du Grand Port, the remains of a gateway in the town's fortifications.

Libourne (France)

Pauillac

On the River Gironde, Pauillac is the gateway to the Medoc wine-producing region. Tours may take in the villages and chateaux of distinguished producers like Margaux, Haut-Medoc and Lafite-Rothschild.

Pauillac (France)

St Emilion (France)

This historic hill-top town is laced with cobbled streets and ochre-painted houses. Beneath the town is an underground church and catacombs, dating back to the 8th century. Wine tastings at one of the many vineyards in the region may be possible.

St Emilion

Customer Reviews

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Just a note to say how much we enjoyed our recent river cruise. The boat (Princess D'Aquitaine) was lovely, the crew friendly and the food fabulous. We were the only English passengers on board but were made very welcome by the crew, many who spoke English and went out of their way to ensure we were included in everything (we speak some French so were actually able to manage anyway). Even some of the French passengers chatted to us once they realised we could understand them a little!

Raquel, the hostess, was particularly helpful and friendly, and if possible we would like you to send on our thanks to her at CroisiEurope. Also Jean Pierre the musician. He was from Durham so we were able to have some late night chats with him. The waiting staff were all attentive, in fact we found all the crew (25 of them) lovely - bar staff, cleaners, Purser etc. We would definitely recommend the company & cruise, and are planning a trip on the Rhone cruise at a future date.

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We enjoyed the cruise immensely. The boat, crew, food and service could not be faulted. Comparing it to last year on the Douro the only thing not so good was the show put on by the crew. Last year's was more amusing and more professional. The pianist however was really good and we enjoyed his playing.
We didn't find the Dordogne cruise so scenic and the two outings we went on were ok, but again the one in Portugal had much lovelier scenery and the fact that this time, the river was so much wider most of the time, made for less to see. The area is not so interesting. We were given some English translations on the tours but as we were only 4 English speakers on the boat and the other two didn't go on the tours, we realised that this was difficult. Having said that the guides were good and gave us as much time as they could.
We did enjoy it and on board was someone who works at the head office in Strasbourg. She was on holiday but obviously interested to see how the cruise was doing. She told us that you were the best firm to deal with! If we cruise again next year we will book with you and probably use Croise Europe as their standards are so high.

"Delightful Bordeaux" by J.Marshall5 star

We have just completed a river cruise on the Cyrano de Bergerac from Bordeaux to the surrounding areas.

As long-time cruisers - both ocean and river - this is the first time I have felt compelled to report back! The whole holiday was absolutely faultless. The ship was immaculate, the entire staff efficient and extremely pleasant, the food was French cuisine at its best and we could not have enjoyed the holiday more.


Your organisation, especially the fact that all the final documentation was expertly forwarded to us in France, was first rate also.

"Bordeaux Wine Country" by N.Warrington5 star

We very much enjoyed our recent cruise. The quality of the ship, the food and the staff were fabulous.
Husband's very strict Gluten Free diet was very well catered for.
Our favourite spot on the ship was the outside seating area at the back of the ship down the steps from top deck with its own little bar behind it. It was lovely to be sailing along enjoying the passing scenery and having a nice young lady serving you whatever drink you wanted.. all included in the price.

All the staff were very very pleasant and helpful, they worked together as a team very well and it was clear that they were a happy bunch.

Bordeaux is a great city and easy to get around using the tram system.

It really was a lovely week cruising through Bordeaux with CroisiEurope.

The boat appeared to be brand new, clean, very comfy beds and food was first class. We have no complaints sbout anything and will certainly use Croisi again

This was our third trip on CroisiEurope - the previous were also short 5 day cruises to the Rhine and the Douro. CroisiEurope is a family owned company and this is the atmosphere that their staff try to create. It is very low key and friendly. The crew are quite small and double up on duties (the Captain and Cruise Manager were helping serve dinner on the Gala evening for instance), but the lynch pin of the team is the Cruise Manager, who on our Bordeaux cruise was Jose. He was excellent. Although predominantly catering for French speaking passengers (it is a French company), most of the crew are bi- or even trilingual and all announcements are in French and English. The tours are run in both languages too. Sometimes here more emphasis and lengthier explanations are given to the French contingent, but this is understandable. Passengers are given the wireless audio guides to use, but none of our tour guides used them as the groups were quite small. On previous cruises there have been enough English-speaking passengers to warrant a dedicated English-speaking guide with separate tour bus for our group, but on the Bordeaux trip we were only six english speaking passengers (ourselves, another English couple, and two Australians). Likewise, dining is grouped by language, so we have always had english-speaking dining companions.
CroisiEurope caters for a number of groups but they have never been large enough for one to feel that the cruise has been taken over by the group.
On this cruise, we did take all the excursions, and were told by Jose, the host on board, that the newer lines to the region (Uniworld, Viking) have based all their tours on CroisiEurope's so are in effect offering the same tours. The tour round the Haut Medoc region was the weakest. We found that the guide directed her comments at length to the French contingent, and the English group, being only 4 on this occasion were given short shrift. If you look at the reviews on the Viking Forseti Bordeaux cruise, people there were also not happy with the 'drive past' of the major chateaux. Our guide also took us to a Chateau Beychevelle to which she had exclusive private access which was a nice extra. Our wine tasting was at Chateau Loudenne which interestingly is now Chinese owned. Both these properties had lovely river front settings.
Embarkation and disembarkation were swift and efficient and we were not pushed off the ship early as happens so often - if one was spending the day in Bordeaux you had the option of leaving your luggage on board to pick up later, as the following cruise was not departing until the next day.
We travelled to Bordeaux by Eurostar and TGV with an overnight stop in Paris on the outward journey. The quai is an easy tram ride from the the railway station (with a single change) costing Euro 1.40 or a quick taxi ride costing about 15Euro.

The cabins are basic but comfortable with large picture windows (some of the newer ships have French balconies) - Holiday Inn as opposed to Inter-continental (which maybe equates to Uniworld or Viking). The shower is particularly small but very powerful with plenty of hot water. Towels were replaced daily. Toiletries are provided. The cabins are made up early. This may be a three star ship but I do not think you get a three star experience. The ship was sparkling having had a complete refit in 2011. The carpets and soft furnishings look new. This year for the first time all drinks (except for champagne and premium wines) are included not only at meals but at all times. This is a nice touch - I like not having to worry about payment for extras whilst on board. The lounge-bar is where all activities and relaxation takes place, there is also a small library collection and travel guides relating to the destinations. At each stop, maps were distributed as well as information about the ports of call. The dining room has one sitting and once allocated a table you remain there for all meals. There was an excellent buffet breakfast with fresh fruit, cereals eggs,hams cheese, breads, pastries etc. Juices, teas and coffee were served too.

 

The two other tours were both excellent, one to the corniche along the river at Blaye, the troglodyte houses and the fisherman's huts plus the village of Bourg (where there was a local market, but not enough free time here) and a tour of Blaye Citadel,and the third and final tour (we were on a four night itinerary) was to St Emilion, which was just marvellous and was only marred by poor weather as it was cool and raining. This is such a picturesque village and the visit to the winery Chateau Soutarde was outstanding. This was in contrast to the the Haut Medoc visit as we were given a number of wines of differing vintages to taste and the process of tasting and manufacturing was fully explained. This chateau has had major investment in it by a French finance house and is now equipped with state of the art equipment. The tour guide and the chateau guide between them ran an excellent simultaneous commentary in both languages.

At all stops and we could get off and wander on our own when not on tours - entry on and off the pier were secured by code locked entry gate. We disembarked at Liborne, Blaye and Paulliac, all of which were pretty sleepy, Liborne more so as it was a Sunday and everything was shut. We also elected not to take the Bordeaux at night tour when we returned on our final evening, and spent some time wandering round this attractive city on our own.

We found the crew to be delightful and very helpful. The Captain and the Purser even helped with the service on the Gala evening. The purser, Jose who I thought was excellent told me that he had originally started at CroisiEurope as a waiter and had been promoted. This strikes me as a very positive sign: a good company that promotes their own staff from within the ranks. We were even asked if we would like a drink when we were relaxing on the sun deck. However, (thankfully it would seem), there were no entertainments offered other than the crew show, the wine tasting on board, and the daily exercise class. That suited us just fine. There was a musician in the lounge most of the time but we did not care for his heavy handed plonking on the keyboard!

We found the food not as good as on previous trips but it did get better towards the end. There are certain things we don't eat and as long as we gave notice we were always given acceptable alternatives. We had a superb magret de canard on the last evening. The gala evening meal was also good: Foie gras, quail, baked cheese, and baked alaska, all served with aplomb. I think a choice of wines - three reds, whites and roses at each meal and in the bar is more than acceptable - I'm not sure that we've been offered more on Seabourn or Silversea as standard! We also found plenty of choice in the breakfast buffet with different fresh fruit on offer each day. I don't drink coffee at breakfast so can't comment but there was a good selection of teas, and the coffee from the espresso machine in the bar was very good (at no extra cost). Free wifi was a bonus since our trip last year, as well as all inclusive drinks at all times including meals, and we found it worked in the cabin too.

 

 

In summation, we would return on CroisiEurope - we like the short itineraries they offer and the pricing is very good, and as long as one is aware of the limitations it's a very good river cruising option

The Cyrano de Bergerac is a beautiful boat. The crew and staff were wonderful. Nothing was too much trouble. The food was excellent, and there was no problem in providing an alternative if you did not like what was on the menu. I really liked having a set table - it made all the difference. I've cruised rivers with several companies, including Uniworld, but I'd now choose Croisi Europe anytime. All five in our party had a fabulous holiday.

Blue Water Reviews

Chateaux and Vineyards of South West France - Review

Fri 31st January 2014

As a fan of French culture and wines, in particular the reds of the Bordeaux area, this CroisiEurope river cruise exploring the chateaux and vineyards of the Aquitaine region of south-west France proved an excellent holiday choice.

Beginning with an overnight stay in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bordeaux, where the superb tram system in the city lends to a simple way of getting round to seeing the sights, I spend time visiting the gothic cathedral of Saint Michel, enjoying lunch at one of the French brassieres in the historic old town and walking along the bank of the river Garonne admiring the architecture of the 18th-century Place de la Bourse with the fountain of Three Graces and the modern water mirror 'Miroir d'Eau' which attracts people of all ages for a paddle!

The second day sees the beginning of the 6-night river cruise which visits the towns of Cadillac, Libourne (for Saint Emilion), Blaye and Pauillac. The optional excursion package I booked meant I was able to make the most of the places at which we stopped. Coaches took me though the beautiful French countryside and small towns passing vineyard after vineyard to local chateaux were I learnt how the regions wines were made and had the pleasure of sampling the produce. This also included a stop at the famous wine growing area of Saint Emilion, with its picturesque town and unique monolithic church and underground catacombs – only available on a tour and certainly worth a visit.

Other optional excursions included visits to the magnificent medieval Chateau Roquetaillade, with its exquisite history and beautiful décor and furnishings created by the French architect Viollet-le-Duc, a coach trip along the Corniche Road with its picturesque gardens and fisherman's huts, a visit to the famous Medoc wine region which included a tour along the chateau route featuring some of south-west France's greatest chateaus including Lafite-Rothschild and a tour of the 17th-century, UNESCO World Heritage listed Citadel at Blaye.

See the 18th-century Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux Spectacular Fountain of Three Graces in the Place de la Bourse Explore the town of Cadillac Princesse d'Aquitaine moored in Libourne From Libourne, visit the famous wine growing area of Saint Emilion Explore the charming narrow streets of Saint Emilion See the magnificent Monolithic Church in Saint Emilion Wine cellar at Chateau de Ferrand, Saint Emilion Discover the medieval Chateau Roquetaillade in Mazeres Enjoy a coach trip along the Corniche Road Visit Chateau Margaux Discover the vineyards at Chateau Simon Enjoy wine tasting at Chateau Prieure Lichine, Margaux Relax in the lounge on board Princesse d'Aquitaine Enjoy superb cuisine in the restaurant Upper Deck cabin on Princesse d'Aquitaine

The river cruise ship, Princesse d'Aquitaine is one of CroisiEurope's 2-deck ships and my cabin, which is on the upper deck, is spacious, clean and very simple with plenty of storage space, flat screen television and a bathroom which, as with most river cruise ships, is small but perfectly formed. The large window offers excellent views of the river.

Dining on board is very much a French affair! The buffet breakfast offers a selection of meats, cheeses, breads, croissants, fruits and cereals as well as cooked options of eggs, bacon and sausage. Lunches on board are a set 4-course menu and dinner is served in one sitting and is a set 3-course menu, both with wine, beer and soft drinks included. I am impressed to find that the included wine is by the bottle and we are provided with a wine menu offering several choices of reds, whites and roses. Table sizes range from 4 to 8 and I am seated with other English-speaking passengers. The food is very good, but it is important to note that lunch and dinner are set menus so passengers with dietary requirements must inform their booking agent.

All in all an excellent holiday on a small and comfortable river cruise ship, with plenty of culture, good food and wine.

Blue Water Blog

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