July 14, 2013 Saone and Rhone River cruise with Scenic Tours, 14 days
We were not familiar with Scenic Tours but booked their Rhone river cruise because of the itinerary. It seemed very expensive, but it is an all-inclusive, so tips, alcohol and all of the tours were included in the price. We had a fabulous 2 week holiday on the Scenic Emerald and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys smooth sailing, the ability to walk directly into small towns along the river, and who loves food and wine.
Accommodations: Our cabin was comfortable and had plenty of closet space. We had a balcony large enough for 2 chairs and a table, which we would sit on in the morning and have our coffee and in the evening with a glass of wine and thento feed the swans that kept swimming by! Our bathroom had a Villeroy and Bosch sink, a large shower with great water pressure, and LOccitane products. Our stewardess cleaned the room twice a day, and refilled our bar with juice, pop and alcohol.We had a butler who would bring us food, drink or press our clothes, all included in the price.
Food and drink: Breakfast and lunch were both buffet and order from the kitchen. Supper was full service and there was a small restaurant called Portobellos that you could reserve seats Tables were arranged as 4, 6 and 8 tops and you could sit where you pleased. Champagne, wine and beer were available and servings were generous. The wine was from the Rhone area, some Italian whites. There was a table for specialties of the region and one memorable lunch it was oysters and champagne! The bar was always open and again, pours were generous.
Tours: We so enjoyed the creative and interesting tours. We went to wineries in Beaujolais, Burgundy and the Rhone, met the owners and sampled their wines. We went to a truffle farm where the wife slathered baguette with truffle butter and served us white wine from the region, then her husband and their trusty truffle sniffer, Chinook the dog, showed us how they find the truffles. We went to Paul Bocuse Culinary School for a cooking lesson in Lyon, and visited an olive oil farm in Provence. The rose flamingos at the Camargue Wetlands refuge were amazing. We had lunch at a bull farm and one night, you could sign up for supper at a local familys home! I have done many tours in Europe and felt that this tour group really provided something more interesting and creative than seeing the local cathedral.