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For Shore: The Grape Escape

Exploring France’s wine country with Uniworld

By Steve Leland

The memory of the first time never fades away: first date, car, job, or virtually first anything. My first cruise back in 1980 altered the trajectory of my entire life. Then, 35 years and more than 500 ocean cruises later, the summer of 2015 found me being baptized into the emerging world of river cruising as I embarked on Uniworld Boutique River Cruises’ S.S. Catherine. That elite experience proved to be a cruise criteria game changer. Looking back, could anything have been that good or was it a first kiss memory clouding reality?

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Fast-forward two years and I found myself sailing from Bordeaux, France, on a wine country cruise on Uniworld’s highly lauded River Royale where I rekindled fond recollections of our first experience and aptly fulfilled lofty expectations. Posh furnishings coupled with upscale suites are standard on this polished gem, and the intangibles of the river-based itinerary of chateaus, hillside villages, and captivating landscapes exemplify the essence of this boutique-style cruise.

On the Vines

Historical village visits coalesced with the fruits of renowned vineyards create a potent blend of intoxicating….


Photo: Uniworld


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