Next week, I’ll fly to Bordeaux to board Scenic Diamond for an eight-day voyage in France’s renowned wine-producing region. The itinerary is impressive, which I’ve outlined below, but it’s the ship that I am most curious to see. Scenic redesigned its France-based Space-Ships this year to include a private cooking emporium offering tailored cooking classes.
Scenic Culinaire is a new onboard cooking school using dedicated space that features cooking stations and a cheese and wine cellar as well as real-time cameras and screens to ensure each participant (including me) can see every cooking move in detail. Fresh ingredients are sourced from local markets and the cooking instructors will introduce guests to regional recipes based on the itinerary regions.
Other highlights of the redesigned ships include a reduction in the number of cabins/guest to 78/155 from 84/167 while keeping the same crew count for even greater personal service; two new 510-square-feet Royal Owners Suites; expanded wellness centers; and vitality pools. See Scenic Redesigns France-Based Ships With Larger Cabins, New Cooking School
Our Bordeaux Affair Itinerary
Our itinerary, courtesy of Scenic’s website.
June 10. Bordeaux > Saint-Émilion – Enjoy a relaxing morning on board as you cruise in style into the beautiful 13th century port of Libourne. While cruising, perhaps drop into Scenic Culinaire for a French cooking class. You’ll spend the afternoon in the nearby town of Saint-Émilion, an absolute visual feast and the jewel of this ancient wine growing region. You’ll also get to explore the underground catacombs of the Monolithic Church – a true trip highlight.
Scenic Sundowners: Celebrate the 2,000-year history of wine by enjoying a glass at the exclusive estate of Château Siaurac. Boasting a glorious château and garden that has been recognized as a national heritage site in France due to the significance of the estate’s architectural and cultural heritage, the sheer tranquility of this picturesque property is captivating.
June 11. Libourne > Pauillac – Awake in charming Libourne and enjoy a guided tour and view its quaint 16th century town-house and Gothic church. Alternatively, explore the exclusive estate of Château Franc Mayne and taste its Grand Cru Class wine, or view the eclectic city of Bergerac and enjoy foie gras tasting at a charming local farm.
After your afternoon at leisure, opt to enhance your culinary prowess in Scenic Culinaire or simply soak in the riverside panoramas while cruising to Pauillac. Enjoy an evening of local entertainment on board tonight.
June 12. Médoc – Travel the scenic Médoc wine route today and discover why this region is viewed as the world’s leading red wine producer. Afterwards, sample the region’s finest at the Château Gruaud-Larose estate, or cycle to Château Lagrange, featured on Napoleon III’s 1855 Classification, for a wine tasting.
Scenic Enrich: The spectacular Médoc countryside boasts many fine aristocratic châteaux but none more opulent than Château Giscours. You’ll be escorted to the charming 18th century Farm Suzanne on the Giscours estate to enjoy unforgettable four-course dining with Grand Cru Class wines and live musicians performing classical masterpieces for your enjoyment.
June 13. Pauillac > Cadillac – Soak in the Garonne River vistas as you spend a luxurious full day aboard the Scenic Diamond. Cruising the picturesque landscapes of the Garonne River into Cadillac provides some of the most beautiful scenic cruising in all of the Bordeaux region.
June 14. Cadillac – Venture into the Sauternes region for a tasting of the prestigious Château Guiraud dessert wines. Alternatively, cycle through the rolling vineyards of Sauternes to the Grand Cru Class estate of Château Myrat for a tasting. Visit Roquetaillade Castle. Founded by Charlemagne, the castle is one of the region’s most impressive historic sites and you’ll tour it with the family that now lives within its walls. Alternatively, discover the medieval village of Saint Macaire, or perhaps enjoy a 12-kilometer roundtrip hike from Cadillac to the neighboring village of Loupiac.
June 15. Bordeaux – Shop with a Chef at a local food market and cook up a storm in Scenic Culinaire afterwards. Or enjoy a guided tour of Bordeaux and her many attractions. For the more energetic, cycle the historic regions of Bordeaux. Cross beautiful bridges to witness sites such as the Royal Gate and the Palais Rohan, before cycling through public gardens back to the luxury of your floating hotel.
A city that exudes atmospheric charm, you’ll enjoy a full afternoon at leisure to immerse yourself in the culture of the Bordelais. Enjoy a special dinner on board showcasing regional delicacies before an illuminations cruise on the Garonne River.
June 16. Bordeaux – Disembark and transfer after breakfast to Bordeaux Airport or Bordeaux Train Station.
How much? The eight-day Bordeaux Affair cruise starts at US$3,895 per person for an October 7, 2017 departure. The itinerary begins at $4,345 in June; $4,245 in July and $5,810 in September.
Full disclosure: I will be part of a media group invited by Scenic on this cruise to review Scenic Diamond and the Bordeaux Affair itinerary.
An avid traveler and an award-winning journalist, Ralph Grizzle produces articles, video and photos that are inspiring and informative, personal and passionate. A journalism graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ralph has specialized in travel writing for more than two decades. To read more cruise and port reviews by Ralph Grizzle, visit his website at www.avidcruiser.com.