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22 France First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

A fabulous 4night cruise on the iconic Marco Polo. I loved this ships art deco interior and it reminded me of an episode of my favourite Hercule Poorly series! Unable to disembark at the Isles of Scilly due to bad weather, the ... Read More
A fabulous 4night cruise on the iconic Marco Polo. I loved this ships art deco interior and it reminded me of an episode of my favourite Hercule Poorly series! Unable to disembark at the Isles of Scilly due to bad weather, the entertainment manager put on a range of great activities including a traditional Captain's Reception! The visits to Honfleur , Rouen and afternoon cruise back down the Seine were memorable! We thoroughly enjoyed visiting historical places and the markets! The accommodation on board was a cabin on level 4,bijou but we loved the portholes, we were able to watch the Seine early morning. The dining room was a little cramped,but the tables were great,there was a great menu and the food was delicious, enjoyed with great dining companions!! The staff were second to none and my friend and I thoroughly enjoyed this short cruise.We felt this was traditional cruising at it's best ....the Marco Polo is now 50 years old! For us..it ..what is not to love !! It was reassuring that many passengers were older with some having a disability, the teams appeared to support them well. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We have just returned from a 2 night "Taster" cruise that was originally booked for Bruges, however due to the recent attacks, the destination changed to Le-Harve. This was OK with us as it was more about what holiday life on a ... Read More
We have just returned from a 2 night "Taster" cruise that was originally booked for Bruges, however due to the recent attacks, the destination changed to Le-Harve. This was OK with us as it was more about what holiday life on a ship would be like as this was our first cruise experience before we think about booking a longer 2 or 3 week holiday. On the back of this experience, I would not return to P&O. As with a lot of other passengers, we were considering booking a cruise as our main holiday and thought this would be a good way to try things out. Although the ship itself is great, clean, plenty of space in public areas, the whole experience from check in to disembarkation was one of the worst examples of customer service and service delivery I have experienced. Check in staff - Can’t recall one of them cracking a smile. When you board and go through security, our cards were snatched out of our hands before we could present them and then were pointed to a queue to join with as little enthusiasm and engagement as possible. Its difficult to give further examples of the poor service level as there simply wasn’t any. Remember, this is supposed to be a taster cruise.... a chance to sell and promote a product and this is the first experience we have. Once on-board, the experience continues in the restaurants. Waiting staff simply looked borderline angry, little dialogue, interaction, recommendations. I asked for a jug of water and was told "No....is not possible” before I could respond...he had turned his back and walked away. When asking for a clean cup, the waiter gave a long sigh followed by him walking away again with no idea if her was coming back. a short time later, he returned with a cup and just put it on the table....no dialogue, no interaction, no eye contact. They would be better placed in some kind of zombie movie, as Oscars would be a guarantee. Waiting time for drinks - gave up, and asked if we could order drinks and actually have a look at a menu as none on table. Again, remember...taster cruise....a chance to sell and promote a product. As for checkout - carnage. a 200+ queue to exit that had no organisation - people joining the queue wherever rather than the back, people jumping the cornered off areas whilst staff just stood there presumably rehearsing for the upcoming part in P&O Zombie "Apocalypse at sea" movie. Its such a shame as the Britannia as a ship is large, quality finished ship. The rooms are good and the beds are very comfortable. The whole experience is let down by those on shift over this last weekend. I am not sure if the tie in with Ant and Dec's Saturday Takeaway is part of the problem, in any case, as a paying customer, it shouldn't matter as part of customer service is delivering this in a reliable and predictable manner. We will not be booking P&O Cruises again and encourage others to avoid at least until some explanation comes from P&O to explain or justify such as poor delivery of there product. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Our trip started in Lyon and ended in Nice. (We did the extension.) The Staff and Crew of the Buri paid attention to virtually every detail with warmth and friendliness. The accommodations were lovely. The bed was very comfortable and ... Read More
Our trip started in Lyon and ended in Nice. (We did the extension.) The Staff and Crew of the Buri paid attention to virtually every detail with warmth and friendliness. The accommodations were lovely. The bed was very comfortable and details such as 110-120v outlets in key places in the state room were so helpful. The food was outstanding as was the service in both the dining room and the lounge. The daily excursions were so well organized with top notch guides and "quiet boxes" so you didn't miss anything. We were delighted with visits to several wineries, beautiful towns, the many opportunities to meet local residents, visit historic sites, and just take in the Burgundy and Provençal regions. The extension to Nice was enjoyable. Accommodations were satisfactory (although we were spoiled by the level of luxury on the Buri). Nice is beautiful, but we truly enjoyed the day trips to the surrounding medieval towns. We love visiting France anyway, but the river cruise was uniquely special. I cannot overstate what a wonderful time we had. I strongly recommend Viking and this specific trip. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I took my first ever overseas trip with Scenic Crystal in October 2015 and I can say it was the best experience I could have ever have hoped for, it was truly a dream come true. From the moment I arrived in Prague and met tour director ... Read More
I took my first ever overseas trip with Scenic Crystal in October 2015 and I can say it was the best experience I could have ever have hoped for, it was truly a dream come true. From the moment I arrived in Prague and met tour director Grabriella who was so knowledgeable, helpful and friendly to finishing the trip in Paris with Bernard, also a wonderful tour guide I experienced nothing but pure luxury, friendliness, kindness and dedication to detail. The cruise part of the trip on the Scenic Crystal was amazing and the cruise staff so fantastic, every detail and daily tours so professionally organised I knew I had chosen the best trip I possibly could have. The cruise director Daniella was amazing and knew ever passengers name by the first day and nothing was too much trouble, the allocated butler Vanya was friendly and very organised and efficient. The cabin staff couldn't do enough and the wait staff and chefs were always efficient and so well mannered and eager to please and the food was absolutely perfect. Erica the waitress was an absolute breath of fresh air and engaged with every passenger, I felt I had known these wonderful people forever. The Captain was also fantastic and mingled with the passengers and crew at every opportunity. Your staff and crew are an absolute credit to you Scenic, thankyou for making my first overseas trip a dream come true, I will recommend you to everyone and if I should have the opportunity to travel overseas again then Scenic will be my first choice. Kind Regards:Wendy Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We were travelling for a surprise birthday party for our relative which was held on board the cruiser. The ship was exceptional, furnishings and decoration throughout the ship was first class with every detail thought out, not only design ... Read More
We were travelling for a surprise birthday party for our relative which was held on board the cruiser. The ship was exceptional, furnishings and decoration throughout the ship was first class with every detail thought out, not only design but comfort also. Everything was well signposted and ships information and activities were communicated to us the day before in order for us to plan ahead. Our cabin service was outstanding and our cabin steward attended to anything extra which we required (one of our party has mobility problems) big thank you to Nigel Davenport. There was a lot on offer for excursions for those who wanted them. Port experiences were good with staff on hand to direct us to buses and taxis as we wanted to make visits to other places previously seen. Dining was a good experience and we tried several restaurants although I preferred the Windjammer which offered a very wide selection of International food and specialist foods (gluten and sugar free). Lots of entertainment on offer to suit most tastes and I enjoyed everything I saw. Embarkation and disembarkation were well organised and there were no hold ups. Checking in for embarkation the staff came to our group to accommodate our wheelchair member. All staff were courteous, helpful and made us feel special. The only suggestion I would make is perhaps to offer coffee sachets in addition to tea in the cabins. A thoroughly enjoyable experience for us - congratulations to all staff and Royal Caribbean for a memorable experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Absolutely amazing week in the South of France from Avignon to Lyon. The staff is unbelievably attentive to your every need and will do the utmost to offer something incredible that you didn't know existed. The executive chef ... Read More
Absolutely amazing week in the South of France from Avignon to Lyon. The staff is unbelievably attentive to your every need and will do the utmost to offer something incredible that you didn't know existed. The executive chef (female) and the sous chef (male) just grabbed us and waltzed around the dining room with my husband and I, what a treat. Their food was a "party-in-your-mouth" each meal was more and more delicious. The service by the entire staff was always friendly and like family (only nicer.) We had beautiful weather, light rain only one morning, sunny the rest of the week 75 to 85 degrees and dry. Our cabin Veranda A #333 with a balcony was ideal, it was on the starboard side of the ship that was never tethered to another ship, so we always had a water view. Our favorite tour was of a French woman's home in Chatenauf-du-Pape. We learned about her father's love of art and his display of his paintings were terrific, he also had a scarf on display that was signed by Picasso! Our second favorite was the French culinary school where we learned how to make cream puffs with caramelized peaches (YUM!) The wine in this region is incredible from Burgundy to Chatenauf-du-Pape it was all exquisite. No complaints whatsoever, we shall return to Europe via Viking! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was an outstanding river cruise that featured all he best in river cruising. relaxing river cruising during the day, very good regional food with a dinner at a French Chateaux, tours of wineries plus various local wines at lunch and ... Read More
This was an outstanding river cruise that featured all he best in river cruising. relaxing river cruising during the day, very good regional food with a dinner at a French Chateaux, tours of wineries plus various local wines at lunch and dinner that changed daily. Bordeaux is a very beautiful city and we spent plenty of time there to enjoy it, we had a evening walking tour, a bus tour, a museum visit, plus a stretch you legs walk on our first day. My wife and I rented city bikes and rode around the city for half the day, this was on her bucket list. We visited Sauternes, Cadillac, Libourne, Saint-Émilion, Blaye, Bourg, and had an excursion to Pauillac, Médoc and Margaux. The dinner and wines and Chateau Kirwan were the highlight of the trip.There was a nice evening horse and buggy ride in Bourg after dinner with a wine tasting in the city square. One afternoon my wife was able to take a painting lesson on the boat and she enjoyed tit very much.. Michael Stamm our manager and Lorin Dragan our program manager did a fantastic job and everything was first class. This was our 5th river cruise and our 4th viking river cruise and this may have been the best one ever. I would highly recommend this river cruise if you enjoy food, cheese and wine. The Bordeaux region is very beautiful and this was a perfect trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our first river trip and we picked the Seine trip so we could travel along the river and spend a little time in Paris. We made a small mistake with our flights. Boarding doesn't take place until around 4pm but we arrived in ... Read More
This was our first river trip and we picked the Seine trip so we could travel along the river and spend a little time in Paris. We made a small mistake with our flights. Boarding doesn't take place until around 4pm but we arrived in Paris much earlier. Avalon have a lounge in a hotel where passengers can wait until the ship is ready. Drinks were available and the area is pleasant to walk around but next time, I would organise a flight that arrived closer to the boarding time and also to the departure time on the last day. This ship was launched in March 2015 and so is quite new. The ship was in beautiful condition and it was a revelation to go on board and see our cabin and the rest of the ship. Our cabin was very comfortable and very well maintained by the cleaning staff. The food on the ship was excellent and we ate far too much but managed to walk it off during the daily excursions. It is possible that the choice of excursions might change but the ones we went on were all most enjoyable, fascinating and sometimes very moving. All the tour guides we had were knowledgeable, helpful, funny and a pleasure to listen to. The staff on board were without exception professional, organised, friendly, helpful and happy to go the extra mile for the passengers. For instance, some passengers asked for adjustments to some of their meals - items removed or added, meats cooked rarer, absolutely no seafood and so on - and the staff didn't hesitate in doing all they could to accommodate everyone. We had a wonderful time on the ship and I can't compliment all the staff enough for making our stay so comfortable. I would definitely go on another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
It was our first Celebrity Cruise, we were looking forward to it, until two days before the date of embarkation when we received a very strange e.mail from agent informing us that Celebrity does not allow a holder of a Syrian passport ... Read More
It was our first Celebrity Cruise, we were looking forward to it, until two days before the date of embarkation when we received a very strange e.mail from agent informing us that Celebrity does not allow a holder of a Syrian passport aboard the ship ! However, after so many prolonged e.mails providing proof of documentations to seek a final decision, only 'by the day of boarding', someone from the company in USA did call and confirmed that it was wrong information given by the Immigration Officer on this Ship. No compensation of the stress caused or even apology of any kind has been delivered to us for that awful time, unknowing if we were going on our holiday or not after we booked a taxi and an overnight Hotel in S'hmton. Leaving that unforgettable tensed experience behind us, we were extremely satisfied during the express embarkation process, helpful desk staff, early boarding and ready room at 11AM. The ship was absolutely beautiful and modern, great dinning restaurants and to our taste. Very smiley and welcoming staff in general. Relaxed dress code in all occasions. Entertainment was very good especially the ship own show and the singer (Ben). Buffet Food and beverages were tasty, good variety and presentation. Select Dining was great in all means, Personalized friendly service which was a credit to them (Jesus, Sheilish and Alina), loved the New York Steak and Onion soup. We had easy wondering across the floors/amenities using the panoramic lifts, and enjoyed the different ambience of the public rooms. The ship motion was very stable and smooth. Missing on the excellent: - Dining/Buffet (night buffet was poor, buffet restaurant's carpet needed frequent vacuuming) - Embarkation (ship was noticeably vibrating when disembarking at ports, had to pay shuttle bus to zeebrugge 12 Euro return ! - Definitely needs diversity of activities for Young adults, LGBT and new movies in the Cinema. - Entertainment in other areas than the Theatre was unrecognized - Lack of directions to the Sauna made us unaware of its existence till the last day, and no steam room. - Some public rooms were unutilized or required some promotion - Shore Excursions were highly priced - of course as a Cruise fanatic, I will always ask for additional discounts towards the cost. I Will Cruise Again on this Ship - if Celebrity made some courtesy towards the mess they created on my expense. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our first cruise and was a 50th birthday present from my wife . The ship was fabulous with a friendly and attentive staff . The rooms were port side state rooms and were well appointed and comfortable . A generous Double bed with ... Read More
This was our first cruise and was a 50th birthday present from my wife . The ship was fabulous with a friendly and attentive staff . The rooms were port side state rooms and were well appointed and comfortable . A generous Double bed with TV and fitted wardrobes completed a very smart space . The small but perfectly functional bathroom was clean and well appointed with shower , basin and toilet . Clean towels every day and a make and turn bed down service every day also with fresh fruit daily and chocolates at the end of each day . The entertainment was limited but very well produced with commitment from the entertainment team . The food onboard was exceptional and no matter which of the 4 diners/ restaurants you dined at the food in each was as good as the next . The only down side was we booked a package to include the Monaco Grand Prix , we felt this was miss old as the tickets were for a spot which had no view of the Grand Prix . We feel this is a con and 5000 other people were also conned . This should not be sold as a viewing point . On the other hand the remains part of the cruise was great and the ticket for the GP issue will be dealt with directly. All in all a lovely trip on a very nice friendly ship . Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
High water on both the Rhone and Saone from flooding (heavy rain and snow melt) altered our itinerary. Viking emailed us one day prior to tell us to meet the boat in Lyon instead of Chalon-sur-Saone. We never did get to see Chalon. Then we ... Read More
High water on both the Rhone and Saone from flooding (heavy rain and snow melt) altered our itinerary. Viking emailed us one day prior to tell us to meet the boat in Lyon instead of Chalon-sur-Saone. We never did get to see Chalon. Then we remained docked in Lyon for four nights, taking a bus to Beaune, Vienne, and Tournon. Cruise director then announced that cruise itself was "cancelled" and that we could go to all of our remaining sites by bus instead. Quite a few folks accepted Viking's offer to refund the UNUSED portion of our non-cruise. Then, the next night, the message changed that the Heimdal would indeed proceed down-river the next morning. We could choose to skip the next tour by remaining onboard for the first cruise of the week or take a bus to Tournon. We took the bus option and were glad we did because it was the highlight day of our trip. We never got to see Viviers either because the ship needed to get to Avignon while the water and bridges were cooperating. To be fair to Viking, the meals were wonderful (same white wine every day though) and quite varied, and they had no control over water levels. But they did know that the high waters would not recede quickly and that our "cruise" was in jeopardy. A cruise-by-bus was not what we paid for. And the short five hour (4-9 pm) cruise that we enjoyed was overpriced. We await a response from Viking about compensation or incentive for another cruise at this time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We had an amazing staff on the Neptune. They made our trip exceptional. We enjoyed all of the stops along the Seine - the Monet Gardens were in 'spring bloom'; saw the Bayeux tapestry and the Pegasus bridge on our trip to the ... Read More
We had an amazing staff on the Neptune. They made our trip exceptional. We enjoyed all of the stops along the Seine - the Monet Gardens were in 'spring bloom'; saw the Bayeux tapestry and the Pegasus bridge on our trip to the Normandy beaches. Les Andelys was a delightful town - including the walk uphill to the castle. Our program director, Nico Favoreel, did a wonderful job of taking pictures, keeping us informed, and sharing historical tidbits. Our captain, Nicolas Pasquereau and our hotel manager, Richard Godwin, were very attentive to everyone, but especially to several with special needs. Janka Cabadajova, our Maitre d' and Sebastian Lorenz, our chef delighted us each evening with their charm, smiles and messages about the 'specials' of the evening. We were pampered throughout the trip - and it was a fantastic cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Viking Has It Down to a science. Having never traveled with them before,I had no expectations one way or the other. I just wanted to see some of France without having to move hotels,etc. The Paris/Heart of Normandy cruise was perfect for ... Read More
Viking Has It Down to a science. Having never traveled with them before,I had no expectations one way or the other. I just wanted to see some of France without having to move hotels,etc. The Paris/Heart of Normandy cruise was perfect for that. Viking representatives met us at the airport and behaved as if they had just been *hoping* for the opportunity to know us. In fact,that is a constant theme here...Viking staff/crew all acted as if they hadn't just done this the week before. We had people leaving the ship from the last cruise and the crew was cleaning like mad,but instead of being annoyed that the new guests had shown up,they were all very welcoming. The program director,Nico,hustled the whole trip. Nothing was beneath him. No job,no detail of service,he worked hard and was always pleasant and smiling. The concierge,Anna Maria,always had a smile and a ready answer when you needed something. Well done there,too,Viking. Same with Adam the Omelet Guy,Peter the Waiter,and Teodora the Cabin Stewardess. (She went above and beyond the call of duty with cleaning.) That was the easy part to quantify. Clean ship,great crew. The rest of the trip isn't as easy to grade. Individual experiences may vary and so forth. Some tours and tour guides were better than others. Laurent on the sightseeing tour of Paris was good. Lexi for the D Day/Normandy tour was EXCELLENT. In fact,after she was pulled from being our guide for Versailles the next day for unknown reasons,there was an air of mutiny the next day when we had a "meh" guide for Versailles. Lots of grumbling up and down the bus about how Lexi would have handled this or that,etc. Veronique the guide for Monet's house/garden was also good. I am sure there would be confusion from the older folks about their Vox devices if the guides didn't keep talking at all times,but I sure could have done with some silence. The bells at Notre Dame were ringing unexpectedly when we arrived. Monet's gardens were still in bloom in October. I ripped out my little ear thingy more than once to escape the constant chatter. Enough! Can we not just enjoy this? It also might be good for Viking to know its audience a little better. I didn't meet a single person who didn't have (or appear to have) at least a college education. Maybe the guides are used to doing tours for school kids. Lots of "water is wet" material. Again,nothing wrong with a little silence now and then. Paris,Vernon,Rouen and Arromanches were all very worthwhile stops. Les Andelys was charming but brief (2 hours or so) and kind of pointless. Conflans looked interesting but I didn't get a chance to find out. I took the 1/2 day at Versailles thinking I would get to see Conflans later,but no. It was an "either/ or" situation. The boat departed as soon as we got back from Versailles and took forever to get to Paris. I am sure Les Andelys and Conflans stops had to do with docking and port fees,but I didn't ask. I didn't go to the painting class or the chocolate lave cake thing...or any of the other lectures or activities for that matter. I chose to sit on deck and read a book or watch scenery. I spoke to people who went to some of these activities and lectures and they said they enjoyed them. So nothing negative there for Viking. I didn't expect them to entertain me,just give me safe passage on a clean boat from point to point. Since I determined my own fate and struck out on my own here and there, I had a blast.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Had a great 7 Night cruise to France our first time on Fred Oulson we have cruised mostly with P and O must say we enjoyed the smaller ship as it was very friendly.We had one and a half days in Rouen must say what a very nice place to ... Read More
Had a great 7 Night cruise to France our first time on Fred Oulson we have cruised mostly with P and O must say we enjoyed the smaller ship as it was very friendly.We had one and a half days in Rouen must say what a very nice place to visit we walked into the Town don't be fouled by paying for the bus as it is not far to walk. We took the trip the next day to Paris that was a good trip to go on must say the weather was not very warm. The next stop was Honfleur that was a most stunning place we also walked into the town would have liked to see it in the sun shine but again it was not warm and it also rained never mind still enjoyed it. The 3rd place was La Pallice for La Rochelle again DONT!!!! pay to get the bus into La Rochelle as the local bus takes you for 1 euro 30cents and people had paid £18 pounds but they don't tell you till the day before many people were not happy as they had booked it on line. The ship itself was great and we had a great time the staff were very friendly, the meals in the dining room were excellent ,we asked for a table of 2 and got it next to another table of 2 and we got on well with them. The entertainment was very good,except we didn't like the magicion but I am sure other people did you cant please everybody. The drinks package is a no brainer we had our moneys worth and I don't drink much just soft drinks alone would add up nearly to ten pounds a day. All in all we had a very great time and would go with Fred Oulsen again.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Awawaterways and the crew of the AmaLegro exemplify excellence in customer service. From moment we stepped onto the quai in Paris and were greeted by the crew, who took charge of our luggage and invited us to relax and partake of ... Read More
Awawaterways and the crew of the AmaLegro exemplify excellence in customer service. From moment we stepped onto the quai in Paris and were greeted by the crew, who took charge of our luggage and invited us to relax and partake of refreshments in the lounge and get acquainted with some of our fellow traveller, we felt welcome and pampered. It was a charming touch for the Captain to personally greet all the ladies in the lounge, offering each a luscious red rose that continued to bloom in my cabin throughout the cruise, in a thoughtfully provided bud vase. Captain Erno continued to charm the passengers with his amusing anecdotes and by actually succeeding in making a normally tedious but important safety briefing amusing and more easily memorable. It was a nice touch for the crew to be introduced to everyone as well. The Cruise Manager’s daily briefings about the ports we would be visiting and the tours were also quite educational and enjoyable also due to his witty humour. My spouse also enjoyed the opportunity to visit the bridge and the spotlessly clean engine room and discuss technical aspects of the ship and its operation with the Captain and the engineer. The attention to detail was impeccable! I honestly can’t think of a single thing that was lacking or where improvement was needed. It was comforting to be greeting by crew upon returning from our daily tours, with a warm washcloth to freshen up and a small refreshment. Each and every crew member was friendly and approachable and diligently professional about their duties. Our cabin was spotless clean and, on our steward’s birthday, he very sweetly shared chocolates he’d been given with us! Laszlo, the Maitre d’hotel, seemed to be everywhere at once! Always smiling and ensuring everything was perfect with our meals. Meals were delicious and the serving staff provided prompt, courteous service. Special requests were never a problem and were swiftly satisfied. The wine servers rarely allowed glasses to be emptied before being at the ready to pour more should you wish it. Hristo also provided enjoyable brain-stimulating puzzles as diversions during dinners as well. A good selection of excursions/tours were available to appeal to different interests and activity levels. The very knowledgeable, English-speaking guides made each tour education and enjoyable. It was also pleasant to have the opportunity to borrow the ships bicycles, which were adjusted by the crew to ensure a comfortable and safe ride, for our own excursions into the villages we visited to explore and work off some of the delicious foods and wines we enjoyed on the cruise. The only disappointment was not one with the cruise or it's crew, but with arriving at the Castle Keep at Chateau Gaillard on a Tuesday to find it closed to the public. I would think that the village would keep it open on days the cruises were in port and close on an alternate day! Every evening we enjoyed the opportunity to linger over dinner, chatting with new friends met on board, followed by more chatting and dancing in the lounge to the selection of tunes played by Krassie, or by some of the local entertainers brought on board. This was my first time in Europe and first time on a river cruise for my spouse and me. We hope it will not be our last! We were so sorry for the journey to end. We were pampered and spoiled by this dream vacation aboard the AmaLegro, and hope to enjoy the hospitality of Amawaterways again in future as so many of our fellow travellers have done! Amawaterways attention to detail did not end when we disembarked. A handwritten thank you card arrived by at my home, sent on behalf of the Cruise Manager, Captain and Hotel Manager. My thanks to every member of the crew of the AmaLegro for making this a memorable and magical experience that I will share with everyone, recommending they try Amawaterways hospitality for themselves.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My cruise on the Rhone River from Lyon to Avignon, France with 3 days in Paris to start, was perfect. I have zero complaints regarding anything whether it be about the ship or the excursions. I have traveled little and am from the Midwest ... Read More
My cruise on the Rhone River from Lyon to Avignon, France with 3 days in Paris to start, was perfect. I have zero complaints regarding anything whether it be about the ship or the excursions. I have traveled little and am from the Midwest USA. Our initial stay was at the Marriott Rive Gauche in Paris where concierge service, by Viking, was provided and appreciated. Our transfers from airport arrival to ship to airport return were dependable and perfect. The ship was fabulous- well appointed, comfortable with service "over the top." Daily information meetings during cocktail hour were needed and appreciated. Every excursion was delightful. I bought 3 extra excursions. A small complaint here would be that I would like "shopping" time in the towns and villages. I'm not a souvenir collector, but, having a fine arts back ground, I would appreciate time to scout out authentic French products and creations. On board food was so fabulous I had not desire to dine elsewhere! Evening entertainment was professional and fun. As I said at the start, this cruise was perfect in every way. I recommend Viking River Cruises to everyone knowing I will be thanked. And thank-you, Viking, for helping me have an experience of a life time. The end result is that I have plans to return to France! Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
I must say after reading some of these reviews, we were more than a little bit worried about cruising with Cunard! But We were very pleasantly surprised. I really can't see what Anyone would have to moan about?! I'm a non ... Read More
I must say after reading some of these reviews, we were more than a little bit worried about cruising with Cunard! But We were very pleasantly surprised. I really can't see what Anyone would have to moan about?! I'm a non confined wheelchair user, in other words I can, on a good day, walk a Little. We drove to southampton and had prebooked our car in with CPS. We were directed to the kerb and I was helped out of the car into my chair whilst my husband unloaded the luggage. The luggage was taken on board and placed in our room whilst a very chatty gentleman wheeled me through security, passports and check in and then to our room! The room was more than big enough with 2 doubles and 1 single wardrobe, several drawers a table and sofa, dressing table, fridge, hair dryer etc and the bathroom although small had everything you needed plus complimentary toiletries. Everything was so simple and nothing was too much bother. Every single member of the crew greeted us with smiles and fell over themselves to help. Each meal time ( we decided the Lido was a better fit for us) they carried my tray reached over and got whatever I asked for and then escorted us to the table. They would come over several times to ask if you wanted anything else! The food was varied and plentiful, even a fussy eater like myself was able to find plenty to eat from the selection of cold meats, cheeses, salads, breads, fruit, vegetables, hot meat, fish, etc. oh and dont forget the pudding 😊 there is also a grill by the pool at lunch times for hotdogs/burgers etc, a pizza bar, vanilla & chocolate ice-cream on tap as well as nightly specials. From 6am until 11pm there is food available and soft drinks, tea & coffee. We had one night in the Britannia restaurant and they even did me a special meal with plain chicken when I couldn't find anything I liked on the menu! The jacuzzis and pools were great, everything was clean and the bar service excellent. Disembarkation was just as easy, there were lots of men waiting to help with the disabled passengers (make sure you advise them of your disabilitys and fill in the medical questionnaires when you book) they took us straight down to check out, straight through customs and was met by another man that collected our cases and then both took us to our car and helped pack the car up. FANTASTIC! The only thing that would have made it better for me would be to have a parasol as I did burn quite badly but other than that it was perfect. Very mobility friendly and We will definitely be going again.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
There were four of us in our small group of older women and I can honestly say we had the best time. From the moment you are welcomed on board until the time you leave you are made to feel very special. We loved every minute, the staff ... Read More
There were four of us in our small group of older women and I can honestly say we had the best time. From the moment you are welcomed on board until the time you leave you are made to feel very special. We loved every minute, the staff are great, the activities are well thought out and the guides on the tours are mines of local information. The cabins are well laid out, there is no wasted space and it has everything needed, the toiletries provided are quite luxurious and the housekeeping staff do an amazing job, we especially loved the laundry service on our cruise! Possibly the best value for a cruise from what we heard from other passengers (this being my first time cruise), we also really enjoyed the silver spirits package we received free because we paid early, so can thoroughly recommend doing that. In fact I enjoyed it so much I have booked another cruise with this company (and this time with the husband), really looking forward to 2016 to do an ocean cruise on one of the new ocean cruise ships around Italy. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
I have nothing bad to say. The trip was flawless and wonderful. I had some flight problems on the trip over. With a few phone calls I was on a back up flight and the Viking representatives were there to greet me in Paris. The ship's ... Read More
I have nothing bad to say. The trip was flawless and wonderful. I had some flight problems on the trip over. With a few phone calls I was on a back up flight and the Viking representatives were there to greet me in Paris. The ship's crew, especially the Social Director and girls on the desk, were great. As were the maid, the waiters and staff. This was only the ship's first or second cruise so the cabins were great and the boat was immaculate. All of the tours were well organized and interesting. The food was delicious including the cookies put out for snacks. And our extensions in Paris and Nice were wonderful. Although the rooms in the hotel in Nice felt like they were second class and set aside for cruises. All things considered, I'd go again in a minute ... but it would help someone paid for me. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We just got back from our Paris to Normandy cruise with Avalon and have nothing but positive to say. Embarkation: We arrived a few days early on our own and were able to get directions from the cruise director to give to our taxi driver. ... Read More
We just got back from our Paris to Normandy cruise with Avalon and have nothing but positive to say. Embarkation: We arrived a few days early on our own and were able to get directions from the cruise director to give to our taxi driver. We were told to be there between 4 and 5, but due to being a little neurotic arrived at 3:30. As we walked up to the ship to just hang out until 4, the crew saw us and allowed us to board. They grabbed our bags and took us to the reception desk. Within minutes we had our key and were settled in our room. The Room: We were in suite 306. This was on the Royal Deck. The room had a floor to ceiling sliding door that went just about the whole way across the wall. We had a beautiful view of La Seine. The bed was roomy and comfortable (queen size with a thick foam top). There was a fluffy, white comforter on top. The room was subtly decorated with a burgundy geometric carpeting, a large mirror over the desk across from the bed and simple picture over the bed. There was ample storage under the desk and in the entrance way for all of our clothing. On either side of the bed were nightstands with reading lights and plugs for charging your phone, ipad, kindle, etc. In addition to the storage under the desk was a stocked mini fridge. The pricing were actually quite reasonable. Under the bed was ample room for storing our suitcases out of the way. Finally, a small flat screen TV was over the corner of the desk. Our only complaint on the cruise would be the lack of US channels. We understand we were cruising, but just one or two channels of something other than news or finance would have been great. They did offer on demand shows and movies, which did provide a nice alternative. Considering we were on a tour that covered WWII history, there was a nice selection of movies related to that topic. The bathroom had tons of storage along the sink and was stocked with amenities from L'Occitane. A hairdryer was included in the cabinet. The shower was roomy with excellent water pressure. The hot water was very hot. There was ample lighting and towels were replaced daily. The food The main breakfast was a buffet with many selections. There were always fruits, breads, cereals and cheeses. The chef had a specialty each day. The bagettes were delicious and addictive! The staff kept your coffee or tea filled and removed used plates quickly. There were several juice choices including champagne for mimosas. Along with the buffet items were some standing items you could get from the kitchen. You just needed to ask the waitstaff. In addition to the main breakfast (usually from 7-9), there were early riser and late riser options that were mainly breads and cereals. Lunch was also a buffet with new chef selections each day at the carving station, using including a pasta. As always, lots of breads and cheeses. There was always a salad bar and two soup choices. Beer and soda were included with the meal, if requested. There were standing items that could be ordered off the menu. If you were in the mood for something a little lighter, a smaller lunch was offered in the lounge. It was a nice alternative as it wasn't as crowded and the pianist would play. Dinner was at a standing time each evening. It usually consisted of 4 courses - salad, soup, entree and dessert. On a few nights, we had an amuse bouche to start us off and on the second to last evening was a gala - more on that in a bit. The table had bread and a choice of butter or oil/spices for you to get started. there was usually a different salad each evening in addition to the standing Caesar (which was delicious). The soups followed, which were amazing. You always had a choice of two. For the entree, the chef would prepare a choice of two or three dishes and if you weren't inclinded to those, there were standing items - Caesar salad, steak, chicken or salmon. Finally, there were several dessert choices. For the gala, we had a 7 course meal with wine pairing. The baked alaska dessert was brought out by the kitchen with the lights out and sparklers lit - a nice touch. The seating was always open so you could sit with the same folks or move around and meet new ones. We chose the latter and met so many wonderful people from all over. The nice thing about the smaller ships is you really do get to know people. You'll see them again when you're out in town or walking around the ship. It's an intimate experience. A selection of local wines and beers were included with dinner, in additon to soda. You can see how hard the waitstaff work. They're trying to keep the meals coming while refilling the glasses and clearing the plates. A big kudos to these folks. On several days, there was cake and coffee/tea served in the lounge in the afternoon. And, at any time you could get coffee/capuccino/water/juice and a snack from the aft lounge. This was quite a popular area for people to gather. There were also daily news postings and games for people to use. The ship We found the size to be perfect. Not too big, not too small. There was always seating to be found no matter where you were on board. The dining room was on the second deck and had walls of windows on either side. It was roomy and you never felt like you were right on top of anyone else. The lounge was on the 3rd deck front area of the boat and was surrounded by windows. There were comfy seating groups including couches and club chairs, with table to put your drinks and snacks. The bar was also in here and the piano player. You could reach a small outside seating area from the lounge. The snack area was on the 3rd deck in the aft area. Plenty of seating and windows with doors leading to another outside seating area and steps to the upper deck. The upper deck was immense! Tons of lounge chairs, table with chairs, covers from the sun and a hot tub. My husband and I made good use of the hot tub. Given that we were among the youngest on the ship (we're 44/50), we usually had it to ourselves for as long as we wanted. The only issue we had was that it closed at 8. After a long day of walking, it would have been nice to hop in it to relax the muscles, but dinner didn't end until around 9 each night. The itinerary After the standard safety drill, we set sail from Paris in the evening the first day. While dining, we swung by a great view of the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty. Great way to take off! We sailed all evening and awoke to the small town of Vernon. We chose to go on the tour of Monet's home. We were fortunate to have wonderful weather the entire time and spring had sprung early in France so the flowers were in bloom. It was a lovely location. We did not do the afternoon bus tour but chose to walk around Vernon on our own and did some hot tub time. We arrived in Rouen the next day. We awoke to being right in the city. There was a train that woke us up and we worried about spending two nights there, but it was only an issue when we first arrived. We did our own walking tour of the city in the morning - a really great place. Along the river it looks modern, but a few blocks in and your in the old world, with a beautiful town square containing a memorial to Joan of Arc making where she was burned at the stake. There were also many, many churches to explore. Rouen is know as the spire capitol and you can see why. The afternoon trip was to Honfleur, an artsy little port town with really cool buildings and loads of side streets filled with shops and galleries. It was one of my favorite places on the trip. Our next day had us up bright and early to head to Omaha Beach. It took about an hour and a half to get to the first stop - the WWII museum where the artificial harbor was built - fascinating. Next stop was at the cliff overlooking Omaha beach. This was an amazing spot with lots of German bunkers still remaining and a gorgeous view - well worth the stop. We hit Omaha Beach next and just spent a few minutes there. I'm sure there was alot to see, but we were cramming alot into the day. Our final stop was the cemetery and there just aren't words that express what it was like there. I will say that I'm proud of how they've taken such care to give our boys such a beautiful resting place. A little after we arrived, they had a short ceremony which included the playing of the national anthem. I don't think there was a dry eye to be found. Just a beautiful, meaningful experience that I will never forget. Our itinerary had us waking up in a new location in a tiny town with one small street and Richard the Lionhearted's castle on top of a hill. When we first started out, it was foggy and you couldn't even tell there was a castle up there. But, we did the hike up the hill (about 20-25 min) and after waiting about half an hour were rewarded with the fog lifting and the most amazing view ever. We explored the castle, made our way into town and walked around a bit, then headed back to the ship. This was the only tour that day as we headed out at lunchtime onto our next stop. It was fantastic because we were exhausted from the first few days of going non stop. The weather was gorgeous so we headed to the hot tub - of course!! With the sun shining and the boat crusing along, we spent a glorious afternoon recouperating. It was perfect timing. We pulled into Conflans that late that evening and docked for the night. The next morning, we chose to do a self walking tour of the town. There was a great market going on that we went to then just explored. A really interesting place to check out. We chose not to go to Van Gogh's or Napoleon's summer home. We just preferred to take it easy. The next day we sailed back to Paris. It was another great day of sailing with beautiful weather. In the afternoon a group headed off to Versailles that we would pick up along the river closer into the city. That night was our gala followed by a bus tour of the city at night. It was a great evening and nice to get out and see Paris lit up. Our last full day was in Paris with loads of options for excursions. We chose to take the metro to Montmartre. After all that walking, guess where we spent our afternoon? Yes! The hot tub. I know we spent more time in there than anyone else, but hey, it was our vacation and with returning to work the day after we got back home, we needed some relaxation in addition to the exploration. Just sitting up on that top deck in the hot tub with the Eiffel Tower in the back ground was a surreal experience. I highly recommend it if you go on the cruise. Disembarkation The night before a poster was put up telling everyone what time they would be leaving. In addition, they gave colored ribbons to be attached to your suitcases. We were told when to have our suitcases outside our stateroom and when we would be getting on the bus. Jean Loup was checking all the flights and making sure if there were delays, he worked with the folks impacted. The morning of departure we had time to get breakfast and relax a few minutes before heading into Paris traffic and the nightmare that is CDG airport. A few things of note Our cruise director, Jean Loup, was simply fantastic. He answered every question, kept people informed and managed to get everyone where they needed to be. He would leave a sheet on our bed each evening while we were at dinner with the next day's itinerary, a map of the area and a weather report. He was a large part of this cruise being so good. My husband and I are low key so we didn't spend a lot of time in the lounge, be we did go to the staff show that was really entertaining and Jean Loup arranged for a string trio to play one evening while we were sailing. It was so lovely to listen to them and watch the scenery go by. The boat was smooth. You could hardly tell you were moving unless you looked out the window. The captain was very good, squeezing us into several locks and was always smiling. When we would set sail, he would play the music from 'Columbus' - very cool. One final note - I should disclose that we won this cruise through an Avalon Facebook contest. I do feel that if we had paid for this we would have gotten our money's worth. Avalon did not require/ask that we give this review. We are not receiving any compensation for writing this review.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We've never cruised before so thought this would be a good way to try it. Check-in was amazingly easy (although I was in my wheelchair which mean skipping the HUGE queues). Staff were really helpful & whisked our luggage away ... Read More
We've never cruised before so thought this would be a good way to try it. Check-in was amazingly easy (although I was in my wheelchair which mean skipping the HUGE queues). Staff were really helpful & whisked our luggage away before assisting us onto the ship. We loved IOS. Amazing service in the dining room each evening& our room attendent was brilliant. Staff were great with my son. He did rock climbing, ice skating, swimming, golf. He was interested in the kids club but that was disappointing - staff ignored us when we went to register, they didn't give him a tour of the facilities and as such, he wouldn't go to the club. It didn't matter but given that it is meant to be an award winning kids facility, it was a shame. DIsappointing that other passengers were so greedy... on the formal night, with the Captain's reception, people tended to grab 3-4 glasses of champagne which meant that lots of people didn't get any. Room service was appalling - we tried it twice, just to order tea & coffee but both times it took over an hour for it to arrive. Cabin was wonderful - clean, bright & plenty big enough (although door wasn't wide enough to accomodate my wheelchair without collapsing it, despite having mentioned it when I booked), lots of storage, lovely spacious balcony & decent shower. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This was my first river cruise ever, so forgive my starry-eyed perspective! Loved almost everything about this cruise: Topping the list: the itinerary: Giverny, Honfleurs, Normandy Beaches, Rouen, Les Andelys, and Auvers les Oise. Close ... Read More
This was my first river cruise ever, so forgive my starry-eyed perspective! Loved almost everything about this cruise: Topping the list: the itinerary: Giverny, Honfleurs, Normandy Beaches, Rouen, Les Andelys, and Auvers les Oise. Close behind: the food & wine, plus the dining service. Next: Sebastien, Cruise Director: Competent above all, then entertaining, friendly, funny and expert in a crisis! (Crisis was NOT AMALegro's fault.) One of the locks on the Seine broke. It was late Saturday night into Sunday, and we were at the mercy of French divers! All told, ship stalled 14 hours. Sebastien and his crew were masterful to minimize interruption to passengers. The first 8 hours or so, passengers were mostly sleeping, but then it was time for excursions. AMA brought their busses some 30km away from where we were supposed to be to pick us up. Guides met us at excursion launching locations. Crew made makeshift gangplanks to offload all passengers. All told, it was an adventure handled extremely well, even though unexpected. Everything else worked like clockwork. I know reviews are supposed to be balanced with the minuses as well as the plusses. Only "minus" that comes to mind is that one of the Guides, a Frenchwoman who accompanied us to the Normandy Beaches, had extremely inaccurate pronunciation of English/American words, so it was a lot of work to understand the huge amount of information she had. And it was such a serious topic. We wanted to learn everything there was to learn, but ended up missing so much because we got behind regularly, puzzling over the translation. The other guides, two Italians and another French woman, were, simply put, fabulous! Funny, interesting, informed, energetic, and all around delightful. OH! And by the way, maybe all the cruise lines do this for excursions, but we were offered, on all outings, the choice of "active, regular or gentle" walking groups, and I found that to be extremely passenger and service oriented. A great beginning to river cruising. Thank you AMA! Read Less
Sail Date August 2013

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