Michael Dowd, CEO of Grand Circle Cruise Line, has announced a new Bordeaux River Cruise Tour for 2016. The 11-day La Rochelle to Bordeaux: Vineyards & Châteaux of France River Cruise Tour begins at $2495 per person ($227 per day) and represents a newly improved itinerary from Grand Circle’s 2015 itinerary by increasing sailing during daylight hours, improving the pacing, and adding more opportunities for cultural immersion. Should a traveler find a comparable cruise for a lower price, Grand Circle will match it with its Best Price Guarantee.

“We are committed to offering travelers itineraries that connect them with local people, culture, and ways of life—at an exceptional value,” said Dowd. “For 2016, our Bordeaux itinerary offers travelers an intimate, well-paced, and culturally rich River Cruise Tour itinerary with a mix of travels by land and by river aboard our privately owned, 90-passenger River Chanson.”

Grand Circle’s La Rochelle to Bordeaux: Vineyards & Châteaux of France itinerary will bring travelers to La Rochelle, Marennes, Bourg, Libourne, Saint-Emilion, Blaye, Pauillac, and Bordeaux. Travelers will fly into Bordeaux and then to the seafaring town of La Rochelle, where they’ll spend three nights before embarking on a seven-night cruise along the Gironde Estuary and the Garonne and Dordogne rivers.

Throughout the journey, Grand Circle promises that travelers will experience the timeless beauty of western France, savoring renowned vintages and culinary specialties, discovering a rich regional history, including several UNESCO World Heritage sites, and enjoying the landscapes, villages, and estates that have inspired wine lovers and artists for centuries.

Included in the rate are accommodations:(three nights in La Rochelle; seven nights aboard the River Chanson); 26 meals (10 breakfasts, seven luncheons and nine dinners), including Captain's Welcome and Farewell receptions and dinners and complimentary beer, wine, and soft drinks during all onboard lunches and dinners; six exclusive tours with personal headsets; four Discovery Series events; services of Grand Circle’s resident Program Director; airport transfers upon arrival and departure with the purchase of Grand Circle's airfare; all port charges—a value of $165 per person; gratuities for local guides and motorcoach drivers on the main trip; baggage handling for one piece of luggage per person, including tips; and 5% Frequent Traveler Credit applicable towards theirr next Grand Circle trip—an average of $285.
Tours include La Rochelle, Bourg, Saint-Emilion, Blaye, Pauillac, and Bordeaux, while Grand Circle’s exclusive Discovery Series events include lesson French language lesson, an oyster farm visit, a French cooking demonstration, and a Home-Hosted Visit to a family-owned vineyard. For travelers who wish to extend their journey, Grand Circle Cruise Line also offers a pre- and post-trip extension. New for 2016 is the 4-night pre-trip option to Paris& the Loire Valley, from only $1095, while the 4-night post-trip extension option is Toulouse& Carcassonne from only $945.

Grand Circle acquired the Chanson, formerly the River Cloud II, in March 2014, adding it to a fleet that for the past three years has been rated the “World’s Best River Cruise Line” by readers of Condé Nast Traveler. The 90-passenger ship provides an intimate cruising experience for just two groups of no more than 45 travelers, each with its own expert, resident program director. The vessel has 47 cabins—all with a private bath, flat-screen color TV with DVD player, radio, telephone, in-room safe, and individual heating and air conditioning controls; dining room with informal, single seating; lounge; bar; small library; teak-covered Sun Deck, and an English-speaking staff.

Grand Circle’s La Rochelle to Bordeaux: Vineyards & Châteaux of France River Cruise Tour is one of four river and small ship itineraries in France. The others include The Seine: Paris to Normandy; The Rivieras: France, Italy & the Isles; and Cruising Burgundy & Provence to the Cote d’Azur.