Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Join a local historian for a guided tour of the Musée d’Aquitaine, home to treasures from prehistory to the 20th century.
  • Head out with a conservationist on a bird-watching hike at the Teich Bird Reserve, where water birds, eagles, and all manner of migratory species have been spotted.
  • Venture into the Grotte de Pair-non-Pair to see prehistoric cave art with a private guide, and meet with a researcher to learn about other significant finds here.
  • Attend a private party at the Château Siaurac, where we’ll enjoy special access to the estate’s art collection, play lawn games, and watch a local artist live paint the event.



Discover the diverse treasures of the most famous wine region in the world as we ply the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers through the rolling hills of southwest France. Venture into ancient towns and villages where half-timbered houses and medieval churches meet Renaissance gems, and enjoy a warm welcome at some of the most prestigious wine estates in Bordeaux. Set out on walks and bike rides to explore a gentle countryside that—like its wines—begs to be savored, and sample award-winning vintages from world-class appellations like Saint-Émilion, Médoc, and Sauternes. Along the way, soak up the insights of the National Geographic expert and a National Geographic photographer on excursions and onboard talks.

Day 1: Bordeaux, France

Arrive in Bordeaux and settle into your suite aboard the Scenic Diamond.

Meals Included:Dinner

Scenic Diamond for the entire voyage

Day 2: Libourne/Saint-Émilion

Cruise to the port town of Libourne, and perhaps enjoy a cooking class along the way. In Saint-Émilion, tour the 12th-century monolithic church and catacombs, carved out of a limestone hill. This evening, attend a private party at the glorious Château Siaurac, where we’ll enjoy special access to the estate’s art collection, play lawn games, and watch a local artist live paint the event.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Libourne/Bergerac/Pauillac

Choose from the following excursions today: visit the Château Franc Mayne to taste its grand cru classé, or journey to historic Bergerac and sample local specialties at a nearby farm. Alternatively, bike past vineyards to historic wine estates, including a chateaux owned by relatives of National Geographic Explorer Jacques Cousteau, who was born in this region.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: Pauillac/Médoc

Travel the scenic Médoc wine route today, gaining insights from our expert and capturing images alongside our National Geographic photographer. Opt to explore the region on foot, walking from one historic wine estate to the next and sampling local vintages along the way. Or cycle to Château Lagrange, featured on Napoleon III’s Official Classification of Bordeaux wines in 1855. This evening, enjoy an exclusive classic musical performance at the medieval Château d’Agassac, one of the oldest wine estates in the region.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 5-6: Pauillac/Cadillac/Sauternes

Glide along the Garonne River, and enjoy a performance by local entertainers on board the ship this evening. The next morning, discover the Sauternes region, known for its dessert wines. Cycle to Château de Myrat for a tasting of grand cru classé wines, or visit the Château Guiraud to try its prestigious vintages. Enjoy a master class in French cuisine aboard the ship, or hike to the village of Loupiac. Alternatively, visit the historic Château de Roquetaillade with the family that has owned it for centuries, or stroll the medieval village of Saint-Macaire.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 7: Bordeaux

Immerse yourself in the vibrant rhythms of Bordeaux today. Join a chef at the market to select produce and then cook it up during a culinary class on board. Or take a guided tour–by vehicle or by bicycle—of the city. Then join a local historian for an exclusive private visit to the Musée d’Aquitaine, which traces the tumultuous history of the region. This evening, attend a performance given by a classical musician on board our ship.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: Bordeaux/Arcachon

Enjoy a day on the Arcachon Bay, edged by nature reserves and long sandy beaches. Join a local conservationist for a bird-watching hike in the Teich Bird Reserve. Alternatively, stroll the town of Arcachon, climb the highest sand dune in Europe, or take the tram to the new Cité du Vin museum.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9: Bourg or Cognac/Blaye

Tour the Château de la Citadelle in Bourg, then visit the Grotte de Pair-non-Pair with a site researcher on an excursion specially arranged by National Geographic. Discovered in 1881, the cave has yielded thousands of ancient artifacts and wall paintings. Alternatively, enjoy a brandy tasting at the Rémy Martin property in Cognac. Relax on the sun deck as we sail into the historic port of Blaye this evening.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10: Blaye/Bordeaux

Tour Blaye and its historic citadel; or go biking along the Captain’s Road, named after World War I captains who purchased homes along the waterway. Join a final cooking class in Scenic Culinaire, or just relax on board as we make our way back to Bordeaux. Gather for a farewell dinner tonight.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11: Bordeaux

Transfer to the airport or train station in Bordeaux for your journey home.

Meals Included:Breakfast