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7 Night Europe Cruise from Paris

7 Night Europe Cruise from Paris

Joie de Vivre
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Joie de Vivre

Joie de Vivre - Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection


Unparalleled cuisine, decor and evening options; delightful crew


Additional cost for dining in new venue; poor Wi-Fi at times

Bottom Line

Celebrate the "joy of life" through river cruising at its best

Cruise Reviews

This was our second Uniworld cruise (our first was on the Rhine) and my first time in Paris! I don't think it's possible to not have a great time when you start and end in Paris. The boat was beautiful! Not everyone likes ... Read More
This was our second Uniworld cruise (our first was on the Rhine) and my first time in Paris! I don't think it's possible to not have a great time when you start and end in Paris. The boat was beautiful! Not everyone likes the Uniworld decor but I felt it was reflective our where we were touring. The food was delicious and service was great. I thought the cruise director, Theirrey (I'm not sure that I spelled his name incorrectly), was very good and encouraged us to take a few tours that really made our trip (motorcycle side-car tour of Montmartre). I'd also like to thank, Augustine, who was professional, pleasant and witty, and always served our late night drinks with a smile. Overall, our fellow travelers were very friendly and social. Our party made friends with a great couple that we keep in contact with and will see this year in Florida. Groups seemed to mix very well on this trip. There was a lot of socializing after dinner and the entertainment for two nights was very good and had the dance floor packed. This was a very tour intensive trip. I did not realize that the Masterpiece Selection tours were going to be available, albeit for an extra cost. There were so many noteworthy things to see as I have outlined below. Unlike the Rhine, there did not seem to be a lot of traffic on the river. Most of the time, there were no boats visible as we were cruising. We arrived a day before embarkment and stayed in the beautiful St. Germain area, or 6th arrondissement, at the Hotel Esprit St. Germain. We loved this boutique hotel and we stayed for a reasonable price, probably due to it being the end of August. We walked to the Jardin du Luxembourg, walked by Notre Dame and toured Sainte Chapelle right before closing, so it wasn't busy. We ended the day dining outdoors at the restaurant recommended by the hotel. The next morning we enjoyed breakfast with our travel companions at Cafe de Flore. After that, we headed over to the boat around 10:30am. Apparently, everyone else had the same idea. While it wasn't on the agenda for the day, we went on a cruise of Paris on one of the main tour companies, perhaps because so many people showed up on the early side. Unfortunately, it was very hot, over 90 degrees and the boat was very crowded. No fault of Uniworld but this would have been much more enjoyable on a different day, when the temperatures were more moderate and the crowds lessened. Day 2 of Seine Cruise: We had two excisions with the first being Chateau de La Roche Guyon, an interesting castle first built in the 12th century with additions in the 14th and 18th centuries. In 1944, Rommel requisitioned the castle and used it as his headquarters. After the tour, back to the boat for lunch and then a short bus ride to Giverny to visit Monet’s house and gardens. Some folks from the cruise biked about 4 miles along the Seine to the property. Beautiful! Day 3 of Seine River Cruise - Normandy Beaches The Normandy beaches were a three hour bus ride from where our boat was docked but was well worth the trip. We visited two of the five landing beaches of the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, Utah and Omaha Beaches (the American landings). The Canadians in our group visited Juno Beach. We also visited Pointe du Hoc, the highest point of the American landings which was scaled by rangers, Sainte Mere-Eglise, and the American cemetery. Day 4 of Seine River Cruise - Golfing at Etretat and shopping in Honfleur The guys golfed at Etretat, a course with spectacular views of the Normandy Coast while the ladies chose to visit Honfleur, a picturesque village, the subject of many painters. Loved Honfleur! We finished the day off by walking to the cathedral at Rouen at 10:00pm, to watch an amazing light and sound display. Rouen is the city where Joan of Arc was martyred. Days 5 & 6 on Seine River Cruise - Mont Saint-Michel and Versailles Drove several hours to UNESCO site, Mont Saint-Michel, an island that is home to a medieval Benedictine monastery and a former pilgrimage destination. We took the shuttle but independent travelers, not on our cruise, can hire a guide to walk in during low tide, which is dangerous due to quickly changing tides and quick sand! The following day we visited Versailles. No lines and we toured the private apartments. Only 3 kings lived at the palace, Louis XIV, XV and XVI. Final Day of Seine River Cruise - Retro Sidecar in Montmartre and an evening at the Moulin Rouge No history or culture today! Started the day with a little shopping and stroll along the Champs-Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe. Headed back to the boat to take our motorcycle-sidecar tour. Loved the ride and our brief time in Montmartre. Returned back to the area at night to go to the Moulin Rouge. Quite an experience! Sorry, photos of the show are not allowed! We spent a few more days in Paris after the cruise and toured the Louvre, L'Orangerie (to see Monet's waterlily panels), Jardin de Tuilleries, and ate at the Jules Verne restaurant in the 2nd platform of the Eiffel Tower (made a reservation months prior). My theory on river cruises is that so many different things can impact your experience. The weather, crowds, water levels, people on board, service,... However, so far, we've had two great cruises on Uniworld and are booked for the Danube next year. The River Heritage Credit for being return customers and the early booking, pay in full, 10% discount has made Uniworld and attractive option for us (plus a couple of complimentary bags of laundry). I hope future travelers have a great experience on the Joie de Vivre as well! Bon voyage! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We were originally scheduled to do Gems of Northern Italy but the ship was damaged in a port accident so we switched to the Grand France tour. The first week was on board the S. S. Catherine (reviewed separately) with a high-speed train ... Read More
We were originally scheduled to do Gems of Northern Italy but the ship was damaged in a port accident so we switched to the Grand France tour. The first week was on board the S. S. Catherine (reviewed separately) with a high-speed train connection between Lyon and Paris to begin the second leg. The train trip to Paris was fantastic. Everything was looked after by our lovely escorts and we arrived without incident. The ship: Decor was classic; beautiful and well-maintained. The maintenance staff worked hard to keep everything clean and shiny. Because we switched at the last minute, we were not able to get the same category cabin as we had booked on the Venice cruise so we were in the "basement". The room was larger than the one on the first leg of the trip. We didn't spend a lot of time in our room, so the size and location wasn't a huge issue. The guest laundry was located on this floor which was very convenient. However, the only coffee station on the ship was next to the bar on the other end of the boat which was very inconvenient. We had the same issue with the a/c on the Joie de Vive as we did on the Catherine; it was not nearly adequate given the temperature in France at the time. Even with the thermostat set as low as possible (5C), the temperature in the room never got cool enough. I was extremely uncomfortable, especially at night, and even though I requested a fan, none was provided. The pool was indoors in the middle of the bar - very unappealing location. It was covered over at night. The main lounge and rooftop deck were comfortable and it was wonderful to sit there and watch castles float by. The staff: By and large, we found the staff to be excellent. Most of them are from Eastern Europe but speak English well. I took the time to learn a few pleasantries (good day, please, thank-you) in Bulgarian, Romanian and Hungarian which they seemed to really appreciate. It was an ice-breaker that got them chatting about their countries and families. The food: I had high expectations for the food and was rather disappointed. It was fine, but not great. We took a cruise up the coast of Norway on Hurtigruten in 2018 and their chefs sourced local ingredients throughout the whole trip; the food was outstanding. We expected elegant French cuisine but it was all rather uninspiring. Service in the dining room was excellent compared to the Catherine. The ports: We loved all of the ports but did run into a couple of hiccups. At Giverney, there was an option to bike to Monet's gardens or take the bus. During the port talk, I asked if the biking was on level, paved trails and we were told it was. I am a casual biker, used to riding on level, paved trails, so I decided to sign up. At the muster point, there was a huge van dumping off bikes and bags of helmets. No one was available to help adjust seats or generally get you ready. The first thing we had to do was ride uphill onto a very busy bridge that was under construction. One of the participants fell off and suffered from bad road rash but he had to continue to walk his bike to the destination as there was no way to get back to the boat or the gardens. When we approached Giverney, we had to pedal up another steep hill, all the while dodging cars and pedestrians. Needless to say, I shouldn't have been on this tour and never would have participated if it had been adequately explained at the port talk. The tour guide was very frustrated with the inexperienced riders on the tour and complained about us to the more experienced riders. Monet's gardens were absolutely mobbed with tourists, but they were beautiful and it was worth the harrowing bike trip to get there. I got some amazing pictures. My takeaway is don't attempt a Go Active tour unless you are a real sports enthusiast :) We were looking forward to the tour to Juno Beach and the Canadian cemetery in Normandy. Unfortunately, these were add-ons to Omaha Beach and the American cemetery and we just didn't have enough time. We understand that most of the passengers are from the US and it probably doesn't make financial sense to have a Canadian beach tour. Our suggestion to Uniworld is they have an optional tour to the Canadian and UK beaches. It could probably be covered in a couple of eight-passenger vans and I certainly would have paid extra to have time to fully enjoy the experience. The opportunity to visit our beaches was a very special memory of our trip. We had an onboard credit that we decided to use to go to Moulin Rouge. The show was professional and very entertaining. However, six people were jammed together in tables meant for four which made it hard to fully appreciate the dinner and show. The food was mediocre and some of the champagne served at our table was flat. The entertainment: We usually spent some time in the lounge after dinner each evening and enjoyed the singers. There wasn't as much passenger participation on this cruise as the Catherine. The experience: This was our first river cruise and we will definitely do another one but not Europe in July or August; it's just too hot The all-inclusive policy on Uniglobe is very appealing as you aren't constantly being dinged for every drink, tour and tip. This was a lovely introduction to river cruising; it's going to be hard to top this experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We just returned from another perfect cruise with Uniworld but it’s what we expected being return customers. Every time we get on board it’s like coming home again, we always see some cruise members from a previous cruise on other ... Read More
We just returned from another perfect cruise with Uniworld but it’s what we expected being return customers. Every time we get on board it’s like coming home again, we always see some cruise members from a previous cruise on other boats. This time it was the head chef and our waiter Alexander. This particular cruise pays special attention to the D-Day landing sites in Normandy. For those of you interested in history and the sacrifices our young men made to free the world of terror, this is the cruise to take. Being there in person gives you a whole different perspective than what you got from the history books. On board we enjoyed a plethora of gourmet meals accompanied by a superb selection of quality wines. Try the La Cave du Vin for cozy, hands on, fine dining in the boat’s wine cellar. Book as soon you get on board because it fills up quickly. There is an extra charge for this but worth it. And the bar in the Salon Toulouse will amaze you with the selection of fine beverages from all over the world. Cleanliness on board is beyond reproach as is the friendliness and the service of the entire crew. Special thanks for service above and beyond go to our Hotel Manager Maria and our waiters Nikolay and Alexander. And the shore excursions are always well orchestrated and professionally guided through interesting places. But as with everything in life there are always some glitches, minor in this case but annoying. This boat was just refurbished so they added some “improvements”. The faucet in the bathroom sink has separate hot and cold water controls. The hot water is scolding hot so it takes you a while to temper it to a usable temperature with the two handles. But the bigger problem is the water spout which comes out from the wall and almost to the outside edge of the sink. It makes it impossible to bring your face over the sink and to bring the water to your face to wash it. You have to stand back and the water goes over your feet and the floor. Hint to the designers; shorten the spout by at least six inches. The other goof is the new “Do not disturb” notification. They’ve done away with the door handle sign and replaced it with an electronic touch pad inside the cabin. However, this very sensitive unit is just below the wall slot where you insert the key card to turn on the room utilities. It is almost certain that you will touch it inadvertently and alter the setting when you insert and remove the key card. And when the card is in the slot it hides the indicator light. So when we didn’t get our cabin made up for two days I went to the reception desk for an explanation. They knew immediately what was going on because it has happened to others and they very kindly explained how this new system functions. And lastly, the room thermostat control is another touch pad unit. It is preset to 23 degrees Celsius and has a wide range of temperature settings. But regardless of what temperature you change it to the room temperature never changes from the preset temp. But these minor glitches will not deter us from sailing on Uniworld again. As a matter of fact, while on board we booked the Bordeaux cruise for May 2020. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
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