Our Grand France trip on Uniworld in August was 5-star. Both the River Baroness and River Royale exceeded our expectations.
The trip began in Paris, which was the least of our favorite due to the large number of tourists, pick-pocketers and an environment lacking authentic French culture. Paris today doesnt compare to how we remembered it from our first visit 10 years ago.
The Baroness welcomed us with a lovely lunch, after which we were led to our 1st class cabin draped in fine fabric and offering a luxury bed, refurbished bathrooms, luxury bath robes and toiletries.
Our tour director for the entirety of the trip was Alexandra she was very knowledgeable and well-organized, as well as willing to accommodate all of interests in local history.
The ships restaurant offered open-seating, allowing us to socialize with others and make friends right away. Of course there is the option of keeping to yourself, but this seems less fun. All of the waiters were very hard-working and provided attention to all of our needs.
We would like to thank Vasil and Violetta on the Baroness, as both made every meal so special for us. We would also like to thank Georgiev on River Royal, who served us wonderful meals with a smile, even through the pain of his injured foot.
Another thank-you goes to our wonderful chef Carlos Benedito - for all the lamb, fish, and escargot prepared in a small hot kitchen. You name it, he had it. Carlos was always interested in our approval and criticism and was attentive to our food restrictions. Merci beaucoup, Carlos.
The scenery and little towns were amazing, as were the bigger cities like Roeun, Lyon, Avignon. Our visit to the Normandy beaches was very special, as was Alexandras presentation and explanation of the history.
Entertainment on the ship was very relaxing it included a piano player, invited performers, a French-singing couple and violinist.
The local guides were very knowledgeable: Christian and Laurent, to name just a couple, exposed us to so much history and local flavors. We found Quietvox to be very helpful, especially when taking 1,000 pictures and at the same time listening to the presentation.
We went on 4 optional trips: to the Cider farm and Versailles in the north, and to the truffle and olive farms in the south. All were very interesting and special, and we would definitely recommend them.
We met a lot of great people from Australia, the US, Israel, England, Taiwan, Hong Kong and France, not to mention our waiters who were from Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and other Eastern European countries.
We also would like to thank our hospitality directors Georgina on Baroness and Eric on Royale for the smooth and personable service and great coordination of the staff. Eric thank you for a wonderful gift shop.
We returned home reenergized, with many new experiences, new friends and the best memories in our hearts. Not to mention all the pictures we took along the way.
Thank you Uniworld for smooth sailing along the Seine, Saone and Rhone. We wont forget this wonderful trip, which we took for our upcoming 30th Anniversary. Thank you for the celebration of my birthday, too, with the cake and warm wishes.
Alex and Elena.