Many guests had booked full day excursions, and those of us not touring all day used the morning to explore nearby Soulac-du-Mer, a charming French village on the Atlantic Ocean.
We had booked a Crystal Symphony afternoon bus tour that would guide us through the Bordeaux wine region before rejoining the ship in the city of Bordeaux. We thought this half-day tour was just as we expected--a great introduction to the region and the vineyards. As our bus rolled along, we passed hundreds of acres of vineyards and numerous famous chateaux, stopping for photos as we went along.
All of the first growth chateaux were a thrill for wine lovers to see, even if just from the outside. We also had a winery tour and tasting at Chateau Palmer (a third growth chateau). It was a perfect afternoon, and gave us a real "taste" of the different appellations and "growths".
Many Crystal Symphony passengers had scheduled tours with private guides that got them inside some of the first growth Bordeaux chateaux. Our cruise companions highly recommended two private guides--Bernard Atia at FinestWine.com, whose email is firstname.lastname@example.org and Dewey Markham at DMJ Wineworks, whose email is email@example.com. Bordeaux is truly a wonderful region of France!