1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. French Country Waterways
  4. French Country Waterways Cruise Reviews
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise based on previous reviews and talking to the staff in Massachusetts directly. The service, wines, cheeses, and varied menus daily were all 5 stars! During the week we experienced 18 different cheeses at lunch and ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on previous reviews and talking to the staff in Massachusetts directly. The service, wines, cheeses, and varied menus daily were all 5 stars! During the week we experienced 18 different cheeses at lunch and dinner as well as 22 different wines from the region. I had a birthday onboard and they went out of their way to make it super special including all of my favorites for dinner. Fresh pastries from a local bakery were brought in each morning. The cabin was very comfortable and had all the amenities that we needed. We especially liked the shower and heated towel rack. Hot water was abundant and unlimited bottled water appeared in your cabin. Though you never saw the hostesses go in and out of the staterooms, the cabin was always kept tidy. The crew knew our names from the get go and were always very attentive and friendly. There were enough bicycles onboard for cycling. The countryside was just as we thought it would be -- maybe better! The slow pace was enjoyable.We thought this would be a once in a lifetime adventure, but we now think we are going to do it again!!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
We were looking for a quiet, pretty cruise through the heart of the Burgundy wine country. We got that but we also got far more. The crew was extremely nice; every single individual was friendly, helpful, and cheerful. The ... Read More
We were looking for a quiet, pretty cruise through the heart of the Burgundy wine country. We got that but we also got far more. The crew was extremely nice; every single individual was friendly, helpful, and cheerful. The "host", Charlie Pope, went out of his way to see that every single guest had a great time. But the thing which was not emphasized enough in the advertising was the quality of the foods and wines. If you are a foodie, this is the cruise for you. Every meal was an absolute delight. Interesting and (at times) creative dishes, nicely plated, and accompanied by great wines. Whites and reds with each lunch and dinner and a great percentage of the wines were either Grande Crus or 1er Crus and they never served the same wine twice. The chef did a fantastic job and can't be praised enough. The only disappointment was at the 3-star restaurant which was included in the tour, Lameloise. Lameloise is an unbelievable restaurant, better than any I have ever eaten in from the point of creativity, imaginative flavor combinations, great flavors, not to mention elegance and service. What was the problem then? It was the local Charlerois beef. The beef was tough enough that I had to saw my way through the meat. And when I was able to get some on the fork, it was tasteless. In the US it could never be called prime. I didn't expect wagyu but this was not worthy of even an average steakhouse. Fortunately, the other dishes made up for the beef so we still came away satisfied. The last point to mention was the cleanliness and beautiful presentation of the barge. Oh, and the French captain, Greg, was a delight to spend time with. Constantly joking and enjoying life, he could have been a host himself had Charlie not handled that job so well. The only thing we would have liked to have was a laundry service; bringing enough clothes for seven or more days and anticipating possible cold or hot weather, was a minor hassle. We can't recommend this tour enough. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We cruised for 6 nights upon the luxurious and warm setting of the barge Adrienne. We were picked up from Paris, France and driven to Dijon on a private luxury bus which followed the barge for subsequent excursions. We were welcomed ... Read More
We cruised for 6 nights upon the luxurious and warm setting of the barge Adrienne. We were picked up from Paris, France and driven to Dijon on a private luxury bus which followed the barge for subsequent excursions. We were welcomed aboard by 6 fabulous, humorous, and charming crew. All the cabins were similar in set up with either twin or king bed, writing area, and marble bathroom with Bulgari toiletries. Food was incredible. Prepared by a masterful chef, Frederic, each dish was presented to us highlighting preparation, regional ingredients etc. Lunch and Dinner included wine tastings and cheese tastings. We travelled off the boat in the morning on foot or on bicycle, strolling along the pastoral farm lands near the canal, popping into small villages or wineries. After lunch, we were shuttled to various regional highlights, Beaune, Chalon sur Saone, medieval castles, and ancestral homes. Crew: Louise, Camille, Charles, Loic, Frederic and our Captain, Anna. Enough cannot be said about how quickly they made us feel at home and comfortable. Because we travelled with teenagers, Anna accomodated some changes and found an amazing excursion in Givry called Acrogivry. The teens proclaimed it the highlight of their trip to France! We dined at the Lameloise restaurant where we were delighted by the creative cuisine. On final day, we were taken to TGV and delivered safely back to Paris. Don't hesitate to join the Adrienne! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2011
We had several reservations about booking this trip, but our travel agent's endorsement, along with glowing reviews in the NYT and Huffington Post, convinced us. And we are so glad we did. This was an incredible, delightful ... Read More
We had several reservations about booking this trip, but our travel agent's endorsement, along with glowing reviews in the NYT and Huffington Post, convinced us. And we are so glad we did. This was an incredible, delightful experience. I'll start by giving our reservations, and why they turned out to be groundless, and then add whatever is not covered that way. 1. The rooms/boat will be cramped, uncomfortable and/or shabby. This was based in part on our experience on the Le Ponant a couple of years ago, and partly on the company's online photos. Turns out, the Nenuphar was beautifully updated, and much, much nicer than the Le Ponant. In particular, the bathroom was much more spacious, with the shower being about twice the size of the one on Le Ponant. The bedrooms were small, but we had a king, and it was so well laid out that there was actually enough room for two full-sized adults to get around in--even at the same time. The public rooms were similarly comfortable, with the right amount of seating and space. The finishes were also lovely, with dark wood and granite in the bathrooms and on the bar, and really lovely cherry walls and ceilings. (You'll have to take my word for it--the photos don't do it justice.) 2. The food will be mediocre. This was based on experience with Celebrity, which ranged from bad to better than average, and the Le Ponant, which was average to somewhat above average. In contrast, the Nenuphar's food was generally excellent to really superlative. I can be a bit demanding, but I had no reservations whatsoever, and in fact, I still fantasize about the incredible lunches we had every day. In addition, every lunch and dinner includes very thoughtfully selected white and red wines from the region, including premier and grand crus both red and white. Lunch and dinner also includes three cheese selections, which are presented with a discussion of their origin, history and flavor (which is done with the wines as well). 3. Our fellow passengers will drive us crazy, and there will be no escape. Turns out that our fellow passengers were by and large lovely, and I'd jump at the chance of travelling with most of them again. And again, we can be a bit hard to please, so I'm not just being a Pollyanna here. I will note that, human nature being what it is, a couple of folks had some quirks, but there was enough space that the quirks did not become overbearing. (Fortunately, we're free of quirks ourselves!) I think that there's some self-selection going on here--discussions with fellow passengers who were veterans of FCW said that the experience of good fellow passengers is the norm. 4. The boat will be claustrophobic. This was my husband's worry. He really struggled with the idea of a barge that only goes 100 miles in a week. Turns out there's plenty of opportunity to get off the boat as there is a tow path the entire route and passengers walk, run or bike ahead of the boat. In addition, there is an outing to a winery, historic site or town planned for every day of the trip, so this further reduces the time on the barge. 5. The French crew / the French people will be snobbish. The crew were amazing--fun, smart, incredibly helpful--regardless of nationality. And they all spoke excellent English. Really, I've never had more helpful crew on a voyage. As for the French people we encountered off of the ship, they were as friendly and helpful, or more so, than the people I encounter in Austin or Houston. Certainly, they were more tolerant of my mediocre foreign language than most Americans... 6. Daily sightseeing excursions will be overwhelming. Sightseeing excursions lasted four hours at the outside, and involved a minimum of walking and driving, so they were actually pretty relaxing. Two of them involved visits to wineries, where the hardest work was going down to see the wine cellar. Another visited the hospice at Beaune, followed by some shopping in the area. Tough, but we managed it. And finally, if you manage to get worn out by even this relaxed pace, you have the option of staying with the barge. Final notes: This was an incredibly relaxing trip, with the right blend of history, culture, food and countryside. There are a few things you should know before you go: 1) You will have to be up, dressed and out of your bedroom by 9:30 every morning (9:15 if you want breakfast). This is due to the need to clean rooms. Generally, everyone is asleep by midnight, so this tends not to be an option. 2) The food is fantastic, but as there are 12 passengers max, there are no menu options--you get what the chef makes. (There is, however, an opportunity before you arrive to inform them of food allergies, which they will then make every effort to accommodate. At least, that's my understanding.) 3) This is a very comfortable cruise, but it is not like a big ship--no entertainment, no spa, no pool, etc. It's very comfortable, but it is not a big, luxury, suite-type experience. But that being said, we're ready to go again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2002
It has been two years since my husband and I took a barge trip on the Esprit. Since there is no other review here I thought I would share some of our impressions of the Esprit. We have been on 24 cruises, and we both agree that this was ... Read More
It has been two years since my husband and I took a barge trip on the Esprit. Since there is no other review here I thought I would share some of our impressions of the Esprit. We have been on 24 cruises, and we both agree that this was the very best. To give you an idea of what we expect from a cruise line, our mainstream cruise line of choice is Crystal, plus we have sailed on Silversea and Radisson. While the Esprit is very small and a bit more basic than your average cruise line, it was, without a doubt, the most amazing cruise experience we've had. The barge holds only 18 passengers and the staterooms are very small. However, they are well-planned with plenty of storage space so that we were able to completely unpack our suitcases. The main deck consists of a living room, dining room, and outdoor deck area. The food and the service were amazing beyond description. Steve was our chef, and he had complete creative freedom based on what inspired him and what looked good at the local markets. Lunch was buffet style with freshly made salads, a meat dish, a vegetable dish, and a quiche of the day. White and red wines, either Premiere or Grand Cru, were free flowing. The bottles were set on the table and we refilled our glasses at will. When the bottle was empty, it was replaced. Lunch was always followed with a selection of three French cheeses. Lunches lasted from one-and-a-half to two hours. Evenings always began with a social time with champagne or other aperitifs. When dinner was ready, we'd go to the dining room where we were never disappointed in the evening's fare. Again, wine was free-flowing. We started with an appetizer, then the main course, followed by cheese and then a dessert. Dinners lasted three or more hours. The service and friendliness of the staff were incomparable: our captain, the chef, one deckhand, and three young ladies to take care of us while on board. We also had our guide who drove the shuttle bus and was our tour guide. These tours were included in the cruise price and it was always just our group--we never joined any other groups. Plus, if someone didn't want to go on the excursion, no problem. We visited chateaux, wineries, and local towns. When we weren't sightseeing, we were cruising and going through the locks on the canal. It was very easy to step off the barge and walk along the tow path or take one of the bicycles that are kept onboard and ride off into the next town. If you love food and wine and want to see the beautiful countryside of Burgundy, definitely take a cruise on the Esprit. Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise