I’m offered vodka by the flight attendant, but I hold out because what can one do when heading to the heart of wine country, in a wine country because for the next 8 days Viking River Cruises will guide me through a seriously wine-heavy vacation.
After a Parisian layover I deplane at Bordeaux airport where I’m greeted by Lindsay, clad in Viking’s familiar scheme, a bright red blouse with their Longship logo in white. I am one of 16 on this flight and as we head for the transfer vehicle, Lindsay tells us to leave our bags by the hold because Viking elves “will magic our luggage directly to your stateroom … you are on vacation now.”
In half an hour we’re dockside and as we step aboard the Longship Forseti where one Viking crewmember offers cooled face towels and bottled water while I am greeted by Feliz the ship’s program director who welcomes guests with a perfect blend of warmth and information, we’re invited to board, and informed we can hit the buffet until she offers her “Life On Board” familiarization talk for all guests in the ship’s salon. Stepping fully into the lobby and presenting our passports, each guest is given keys to their stateroom in a check-in process that takes about 10 seconds each.