Founder’s Grand Cruise

Bordeaux,
Wine & Bulls

Cruise & Land Tour


Departing
June 25, 2022 –
13 nights/14 days
July 12, 2022 –
12 nights/13 days

Pamplona, Spain
and the Bordeaux Wine Country


Discover Ernest Hemingway’s favorite spots in Southern France and Northern Spain in the Founder’s Grand Cruise. The Running of the Bulls® has partnered with Authentic Voyages to offer guests an incredible Cruise & Land experience.

You’ll embark on a cruise to Bordeaux – known as the Wine Capital of the World and home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites. The itinerary includes a 4-day VIP experience at the world-known San Fermin Festival in Pamplona either before or after the Bordeaux portion of the trip (depending on the itinerary you select). The journey includes the best Running of the Bulls inventory and exclusive activities.

The perfect combination of Bordeaux Wine & Bulls makes an all-round experience for all travelers. From the excitement of Pamplona’s World’s Largest Fiesta, to the relaxing scenic sailings through Bordeaux’s iconic wine region, the Founder’s Grand Cruise is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Explore Europe just as Hemingway once did

Founder’s Grand Cruise –
Bordeaux Wine & Bulls Route

Bordeaux, France – The Founder’s Grand Cruise “cruise” portion of the trip starts off with a scenic sailing on the SS Bon Voyage. You’ll sail through the iconic Garonne River from Bordeaux toward the Gironde Estuary. The first port of call is Blaye Fortress (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Bourg sur Gironde. As the voyage channels into the Dordogne River, guests will get to experience destinations around like Cussac Fort Médoc, home to the Chateaux Margaux – Hemingway’s favorite winemaker. Get a feel for French culture by immersing into the picturesque French towns that surround the rivers like Pauillac la Fayette, Libourne, Saint-Émilion, and Cadillac. Taste some of the world’s best wine and explore the traditional vineyards in the region.

Pamplona, Spain – The “land” portion of the journey incorporates a drive through Pyrenees Mountains, a portion of the Way of St. James, and The World’s Largest Fiesta. As you arrive in Pamplona, you’ll get to experience the infamous San Fermin Festival as Hemingway once did. You’ll get to witness the thrill of the bull run from one of our best balconies, learn the art of the matador cape in an authentic bull ranch, immerse in the culture of Pamplona fiesta, and even explore Hemingway’s favorite fishing spots outside the city.

Enjoy the journey with our founder and team

This Hemingway-esque trip can only be better in the company of our founder, Mark, who will be traveling with the group throughout the adventure. The Running of the Bulls and Authentic Voyages teams will make sure every detail of your itinerary comes out as planned for a flawless experience. With our 35+ Pamplona guides and our staff onboard, we’re on a mission to make this journey an effortless experience for you. We want our guests to make the most out of Pamplona, Spain and the Bordeaux Wine Country and enjoy this an unforgettable vacation.


Founder’s Grand Cruise: Day-to-Day Itinerary

June 25, 2022 – 13 nights/14 days

Bordeaux, France

June 25: Arrive in Bordeaux

Arrive in Bordeaux via the Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport. Make your way to your hotel with our included airport transfer. That evening, after some time to adjust to the time zone, enjoy a welcome dinner hosted by our founder to prepare you for the Bordeaux river cruise.

Bordeaux, France

June 26: Embark from Bordeaux

After a good night’s rest at your luxury hotel, you’ll begin the river cruise portion of your journey. With transport provided, you’ll arrive at the SS Bon Voyage to a warm greeting from its staff. That evening, you’ll set sail throughout the Bordeaux region, which Hemingway himself helped bring renown to among the English-speaking world.

Blaye Fortress, Gironde, France

June 27: Visit Blaye & Bourg sur Gironde

Arrive in the historic Blaye Fortress for a guided walking tour by a local expert. The historic citadel, designated a UNESCO World Heritage in 2008, has been an essential part in many wars and other historical events, protecting the larger city of Bordeaux. Here, you can opt to enjoy a driving tour on the beautiful Route de la Corniche Fleurie or stay at the Blaye Fortress to align your chakras with with yoga in a tranquil, historic setting.

Once you return to the ship in the evening, you’ll be invited to the Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner to be officially welcomed by your Uniworld captain.

Included Excursion Options:
– Bourg Sur Gironde Walking Tour and Panoramas of Route de la Corniche Fleurie with Blaye Fortress
-Bourg Sur Gironde Walking Tour and “Let’s Go” Yoga in the Historic Heart of Blaye Fortress

Pauillac, France in Médoc Wine Region

June 28: Explore Cussac Fort Médoc & Pauillac la Fayette

Tavel to the famous Médoc Wine Region. Arriving in the historic commune of Cussac Fort Médoc, you’ll find chateaux’s framed by limitless vineyards while touring the sought-after wine region that’s home to Ernest Hemingway’s favorite winery – Chateaux Margaux.
Enjoy a fresh oyster tasting before heading off to your chosen excursion. You’ll have the choice between a driving tour of the Médoc region and a private tasting, a World War II bunker tour, or bicycling through the vineyards.

Afterwards, cruise the Garonne River to the Gironde River to find the riverside town of Pauillac la Fayette. Here, you’ll be able to explore the Médoc region’s gateway before returning to the ship.

​Included Excursion Options:
– Fresh Médoc Oysters Tasting and Médoc Châteaux Route with Private Wine Tasting
– Fresh Médoc Oysters Tasting and Bunker Archaeology Tour
– Fresh Médoc Oysters Tasting and “Let’s Go” Bike in the Médoc Vineyards

Cadillac, France

June 29: A Taste of Cadillac

The beautiful town of Cadillac, officially founded in 1820, was once the location where King Henry IV and Queen Margot fell in love. There’s no doubt that you’ll fall in love with this historic commune, with its rich history, beautiful buildings, and incredible dessert wines. You’ll have the choice between visiting a castle that the king and queen once stayed in, Château Royal de Cazeneuve, or visiting Château de Malromé, the home of famous French Post-Impressionist painter Henri de Toulouse Lautrec.

This portion of the Garonne River can be prone to flooding. If the river is flooded during your cruise, a transfer to Cadillac via motorcoach will take you to your excursion.

Included Excursion Options:
– The Colorful Life of Toulousse Lautrec at Château de Malromé
– Private Owner’s Tour of Royal Château with Sauternes Toast

Saint-Émilion, France

June 30: Tour Historic Saint-Émilion

Arriving in the city of Libourne, you’ll head to the beautiful town of Saint-Émilion. This destination is filled with medieval architecture and all the hallmarks of a quaint French village. You’ll enjoy a walking tour of Saint-Émilion and its historic sites before heading to a Saint-Émilion-based Grand Cru estate for a wine tasting.

In the world of wine, Grand Cru is the highest classification in this region for the quality of a vineyard and the soil it produces grapes from. You’ll go underground into the winery’s cellar for your Grand Cru wine tasting, which is certain to be a memorable experience.

Included Excursion:
– Saint-Émilion Walking Tour with Wine Tasting

Libourne, France

July 1: Journey through Libourne’s Farming Tradition

On day six of your cruise, you’ll head into the city of Libourne to explore its colorful culture and incredible food scene. In this Southwestern region of France, agriculture plays a major role in the food that’s produced. Ingredients are fresh, seasonal, and always delicious. You’ll have the chance to visit Libourne’s legendary farmer’s market to sample local specialties, from specialty cheeses and breads to freshly picked fruits and vegetables.

Included Excursion:
– Libourne “Village Day” with Farmer’s Market

Bordeaux, France

July 2: See Bordeaux’s Best Features

Arrive back in Bordeaux along the Garonne River to explore the city. In the “Wine Capital of the World,” you’ll have countless opportunities to immerse yourself in the culture and explore history. Your excursion for the day includes a visit to the Cité du Vin Museum, which hosts exhibits, presentations, and films on wine.

Built during the Age of Enlightenment, Bordeaux’s Port of the Moon area is designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You’ll explore the area and more with the second part of your excursion – either a walking or bicycling tour through the city.​

Once you return to the SS Bon Voyage in the evening, you’ll be able to join the Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner for a formal farewell from the staff.

​Included Excursion Options:
– Cité du Vin Museum Visit and “Do as the Locals Do” Bordeaux Walking Tour
– Cité du Vin Museum Visit and “Let’s Go” Bike Bordeaux Backstreets

Drive the Pyrenees Mountains

July 3: Disembark in Bordeaux and Drive to Pamplona

As the French part of your Hemingway journey comes to an end, disembark your ship for a leisurely drive through the Pyrenees mountains. You have the choice of joining us in our luxury minibus – the Authentic Voyages Pyrenees Express – or upgrading to a private car to explore the mountains at your own pace. When you arrive in Pamplona, settle into your luxury golf resort accommodations as you prepare the San Fermin Festival.

Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage Route, Spain

July 4: Explore the Way of St. James from Pamplona

After resting up with a great night’s sleep at your luxury resort in Pamplona, you’ll officially begin the second part of your Founder’s Grand Cruise journey. On a guided tour, explore the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, which translates to the Way of St. James in English. If followed for its entirety, the path will take you to the Galicia, Spain cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where a shrine to Saint James exists.

Along the route, you’ll stop along the Irati River to find several of Hemingway’s favorite fishing spots. This river is famous for its fly fishing, and a must-see for anyone that loves the outdoors.

Pamplona Bull Ranch, Spain

July 5: Visit a Pamplona Bull Ranch

Experience a rare treat, enjoyed by only a few: receive instruction in the art of Capea – learning how to mange the matador’s cape – from one of the most famous living Spanish bullfighters. Eduardo Davila Miura played host to King Felipe when he attended his first bullfight as the king of Spain, and now he’ll host you for an experience you’ll never forget. We will spend the day at an idyllic bull ranch not far from Pamplona, enjoying the food, the ambiance, and the unique lifestyle of the Spanish finca.

San Fermin Opening Ceremony in
Pamplona, Spain

July 6: Take in San Fermin’s Opening Ceremonies

Take your VIP spot overlooking Plaza Consistorial (Town Hall Square) as you witness the raucous Opening Ceremonies of the Fiestas de San Fermín. From your fantastic spot – only Pamplona’s mayor has a better view – you’ll experience the medieval mayhem as 10,000 celebrants pack into this small square to kick off eight days of The World’s Largest Fiesta™. Receive an introduction to the bull run and running the streets of Pamplona from Dennis Clancey, an acclaimed expert runner and filmmaker of the documentary Chasing Red: winner of “Best of the Fest” at the L.A. Indie Film Festival.

Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain

July 7: Witness the Running of the Bulls®

Get a front-row seat for the Running of the Bulls®. You’ll watch the event from our private VIP balcony as 3,000 runners face down 6 bulls and 6 steer on the famed streets of Mercaderes and Estafeta. From the pageantry of the Mayor’s ceremonial inspection of the route, to the anticipation of the runners contemplating their own mortality as they prepare to face the bulls, this is one of the few remaining visceral things on earth.

Pamplona City Hall, Spain

July 8: Head Home from Pamplona

Wake up to catch the one more lively bull run, and possibly even run in it yourself, before saying goodbye to Pamplona. Beginning the final part of your journey, heading home, you’ll have transport provided to the airport for your arranged flight.


July 12, 2022 – 12 nights/13 days

Pamplona City Hall, Spain

July 12: Arrive in Pamplona

Arrive in Pamplona, Spain to take in the last three days of The World’s Largest Fiesta™. Receive an introduction to the bull run and what happens on the streets of Pamplona from Dennis Clancey, an acclaimed expert runner, and filmmaker of the documentary Chasing Red – winner of “Best of the Fest” at the L.A. Indie Film Festival.

Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain

July 13: Watch the Running of the Bulls®

​With a front-row seat for the Running of the Bulls® from our private VIP balcony, watch as 6 bulls and 6 steer chase approximately 3,000 runners through the famed streets of Mercaderes and Estafeta. From the pageantry of the Mayor’s ceremonial inspection of the route to the striking fear and excitement of each runner as they contemplate their own mortality, preparing to face the bulls – this event, like Hemingway put it, is a measure of the man.

San Fermin Closing Ceremonies,
Pamplona, Spain

July 14: Witness San Fermin’s Closing Ceremonies

​On the last day of the The World’s Largest Fiesta™, wake up to watch the final bull run take place — possibly even taking the opportunity to run yourself. Enjoy the last full day of the festival, capped-off with a VIP penthouse terrace party overlooking the Closing Ceremonies at Midnight.

Pamplona Bull Ranch, Spain

July 15: Visit a Pamplona Bull Ranch

Experience a rare treat, enjoyed by precious few: instruction in the art of Capea — learning how to use the matador’s cape — from one of the most famous living Spanish bullfighters. Eduardo Davila Miura played host to King Felipe when he attended his first bullfight as the king of Spain, and now he’ll be hosting you for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. We’ll spend the day at an idyllic bull ranch not far from Pamplona, enjoying the food, feel, and unique lifestyle of the Spanish estate.

Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage Route, Spain

July 16: Explore the Way of St. James from Pamplona

Spend your last full day in Pamplona on a guided tour of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, which translates to the Way of St. James in English. The Camino de Santiago is a beautiful route through Northern Spain, eventually ending in Galicia, Spain at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

You’ll also stop at several spots along the popular fly fishing destination, the Irati River. Many of Hemingway’s favorite fishing spots were found here, so you’ll truly get to follow in his footsteps.

Drive the Pyrenees Mountains

July 17: Cross the Pyrenees to Bordeaux

Leaving Pamplona behind, join us for a scenic drive through the Pyrenees mountains. As you continue on your Hemingway-esque journey, you have the choice of joining us in our luxury minibus — the Authentic Voyages Pyrenees Express — or upgrading to a private car and driver to explore the Pyrenees at your own leisure. Arrive in time to board the Uniworld S.S. Bon Voyage and begin your Bordeaux River Cruise.

Blaye Fortress, Gironde, France

July 18: Tour Blaye Fortress & Bourg sur Gironde

Arriving in the Bourg commune, enjoy a guided walking tour through the historic Blaye Fortress from a local, English-speaking expert. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008, the citadel was essential for protecting the city of Bordeaux from incoming attacks. Once your walking tour is over, you’ll be able to choose between a driving tour on the beautiful Route de la Corniche Fleurie, or stay at Blaye Fortress for yoga right in the middle of this historic and peaceful spot.

Returning to the SS Bon Voyage that evening, you’ll be invited to the Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner to be officially welcomed by your Uniworld Captain and his crew.

Included Excursion Options:
– Bourg Sur Gironde Walking Tour and Panoramas of Route de la Corniche Fleurie with Blaye Fortress
-Bourg Sur Gironde Walking Tour and “Let’s Go” Yoga in the Historic Heart of Blaye Fortress

Pauillac, France in Médoc Wine Region

July 19: Visit Pauillac la Fayette & Cussac Fort Médoc

Visit the Médoc Wine Region, Bordeaux’s most famous winemaking area. The area is home to numerous many award-winning wineries, including the famed Chateaux Margaux — Hemingway’s favorite winemaker, for which his granddaughter was named. Enjoy a fresh oyster tasting before exploring the rest of the region, with its endless miles of vineyards and beautiful architecture. You’ll be able to choose between a drive along the Médoc Chateaux Route paired with a wine tasting, a World War II bunker tour featuring the “Atlantic Wall,” or a bicycling journey through the local vineyards.

Afterwards, the SS Bon Voyage will bring you to the Gironde River, where the riverside town of Pauillac la Fayette awaits. Here, you’ll explore the gateway of the Médoc region before returning to your ship for some rest.

​Included Excursion Options:
– Fresh Médoc Oysters Tasting and Médoc Châteaux Route with Private Wine Tasting
– Fresh Médoc Oysters Tasting and Bunker Archaeology Tour
– Fresh Médoc Oysters Tasting and “Let’s Go” Bike in the Médoc Vineyards

Cadillac, France

July 20: Take in Historic Cadillac

Founded in 1820, visit the location where King Henry IV and Queen Margot fell in love. You’re bound to fall in love with Cadillac too — this beautiful town is filled with rich history, beautiful buildings, and incredible dessert wines. Upon your arrival to Cadillac, choose between Château Royal de Cazeneuve, the castle that the king and queen once stayed in, for a tour and wine, or Château de Malromé, where you’ll tour the home of the French Post-Impressionist painter, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec.

This portion of the Garonne River can be prone to flooding. If the river is flooded during your cruise, a transfer to Cadillac via motorcoach will take you to your excursion.

Included Excursion Options:
– The Colorful Life of Toulousse Lautrec at Château de Malromé
– Private Owner’s Tour of Royal Château with Sauternes Toast

Saint-Émilion, France

July 21: Tour Historic Saint-Émilion

Coming to port of call Libourne, you’ll head off to explore the historic town of Saint-Émilion with a walking tour. The UNESCO designated town is filled with medieval architecture, with shops and landmarks that make you feel like you’re in early France. Afterwards, you’ll head to a surprise Saint-Émilion Grand Cru estate for a wine tasting.

You’ll go underground into the winery’s cellar for your Grand Cru wine tasting, where you’ll see barrels of wine fermenting. Since the days of Napoleon, Grand Cru has been the highest classification in this region for the quality of a vineyard and the terroir it produces grapes from.

Included Excursion:
– Saint-Émilion Walking Tour with Wine Tasting

Libourne, France

July 22: Explore Libourne’s Agriculture Community

Head into the city of Libourne for a “Village Day” on day six of the Founder’s Grand Cruise, where you’ll get up-close and personal with life in the city. In this Southwestern French city, agriculture is an essential part of the way of life. Exploring a local farmer’s market, you’ll find fresh vegetables, fruits, cheeses, breads, and other local specialties produced just outside the city. Make sure you sample some of the seasonal goods, as they’re always fresh and delicious.

Included Excursion:
– Libourne “Village Day” with Farmer’s Market

Bordeaux, France

July 23: Tour the Wine Capital of the World

Sail back into Bordeaux to enjoy a full day of exploring the city. In the “Wine Capital of the World,” a favorite city of Ernest Hemingway, you’ll immerse yourself in the culture just as he once did. Your excursion for the day includes the beautiful Cité du Vin Museum. Here, you’ll get to explore many exhibits, presentations, and films documenting the region’s winemaking history.

With the second part of your day seven excursion, you’ll explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bordeaux’s Port of the Moon. Built during the Age of Enlightenment, this area of town is filled with historic architecture. You’ll have the chance to see it all via a walking or bicycle tour.​

Once you return to the SS Bon Voyage in the evening, you’ll be able to join the Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner for a formal farewell from the Captain and his crew.

​Included Excursion Options:
– Cité du Vin Museum Visit and “Do as the Locals Do” Bordeaux Walking Tour
– Cité du Vin Museum Visit and “Let’s Go” Bike Bordeaux Backstreets

Bordeaux, France

July 24: Disembark in Bordeaux

​Disembark the SS Bon Voyage in Bordeaux to begin the final stretch of your journey — heading home. An included transfer will take you to the Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport for your flight home.


Founder’s Grand Cruise Inclusions

Dining Inclusions

  • On the cruise, 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 7 dinners are prepared with locally sourced ingredients by culinary experts on your cruise
  • Unlimited alcoholic beverages, including local wines, beer, and liquor
  • Unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, including coffee, tea, soft drinks, water, and specialty espresso drinks
  • Captain’s Welcome Dinner and Reception
  • Captain’s Farewell Dinner and Reception

Experience Inclusions

  • Experience the best of Southwestern France, including cities like Bordeaux, Libourne, and Cadillac. 
  • Experience the Running of the Bulls, the famed event made even more popular by Hemingway
  • Visit multiple UNESCO World Heritage sites in Southern France and Northern Spain
  • Experience entertainment from local artists on board the SS Bon Voyage
  • Participate in Signature Lectures, taught by local experts on culturally relevant topics
  • Receive the Uniworld experience from their astoundingly professional management and staff
  • Onboard gratuities are already included for all ship staff and crew
  • Arrival and departure transfers are included with the price of your cruise, so you don’t have to worry about finding outside transportation

Accommodation Inclusions

  • Riverview rooms on Uniworld’s SS Bon Voyage ensure you’ll always be able to see breathtaking views along the ship’s course
  • Enjoy 7 nights in a Savoir® Bed of England, one of the top cruise beds according to Cruise Critic
  • Sleep in the comfort of 100% Egyptian cotton bedding, the highest quality duvets, and a number of pillows to choose from
  • Stay in a luxury Pamplona golf resort for your time at the Running of the Bulls
  • Free internet and Wi-Fi

Excursion Inclusions

  • 6 days of Bordeaux excursions hosted by English-fluent local experts
  • Uniworld Choice is Yours excursion options
  • Immersive cultural programs guided by locals, including “Do as the Locals Do,” Let’s Go,” and “Village Day”
  • Use your personal Quietvox audio headset on guided excursions, so you don’t miss a single detail
  • Nordic walking sticks and bicycles are included, so you can explore the Bordeaux region in the best ways possible

Founder’s Grand Cruise Pricing

To be announced.


Trip Extensions

Post-Cruise: 2 Nights in Paris, France*

  • Enjoy a 3-day, 2-night stay at the Hôtel du Louvre
  • Breakfast is included for all 3 days
  • Service charges, taxes, and porterage are included
  • Explore with an Opera Garnier Discovery Walk
  • Be guided by a local, English-speaking expert
  • All transfers are included

*Pricing available upon request


Learn more about the SS Bon Voyage

Your entire European river cruise will take place upon the elegant Uniworld River Cruises’ SS Bon Voyage. This ship is part of the Uniworld Super Ship line, which are designed to navigate the rivers of Europe with all the comforts of a five-star hotel. This Bordeaux river cruise ship mirrors the feel of traveling in the most picturesque parts of France.

Uniworld’s attention to detail seems to have no bounds. Focusing on delivering the most immersive of experiences with onboard locations like the Le Salon Champagne bar – designed with Yves Saint Laurent’s famed Villa Majorelle in mind – the cruise line offers one of the best experiences in Europe. Like the bar, other areas of the ship have pulled from France’s most famous destinations to create something truly remarkable, that can only be fully experienced in person.

The ship features three different restaurants: the La Brasserie, the Le Grand Fromage, and the Le Cave des Vins. A number of public spaces and sun decks invite you to gather with other cruisers to share experiences from the day. Afterwards, you can retire to a recently updated room that features a Savoir® Bed of England, marble bathroom, and other comforts that would typically belong in a luxury hotel. Learn more about Uniworld’s SS Bon Voyage.