4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise based on the timing since this was at the end of a 4 week Europe vacation. There were only 2 cabins available at the time and both were on the lower deck. While we found the food and the entertainment provided was ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on the timing since this was at the end of a 4 week Europe vacation. There were only 2 cabins available at the time and both were on the lower deck. While we found the food and the entertainment provided was great (talented duo, Kapka and Dimcho, and on one night the Gypsy Band) there were a few things that meant our experience was not so enjoyable as it might have been. Cruisers need to be aware that this boat seems to cater for group tours (and those on this cruise were of an average age of about 80 - much older than us). This meant there was not much mixing and we were confined to a set table for meals so did not get to meet many people (our table companion rarely had meals in the restaurant). This is disappointing if you enjoy meeting people on your travels. The excursions are all extra - even the walking tours that other cruise companies usually include. And these rivers are not particuarly interesting in themselves (lots of industry along the river bank) so you need to go out to experience Burgundy and Provence because you can't do this from the boat. However, because Amadeus use local guides, it also means that the quality of the experience can vary. But the worst aspect for us was the cabin which was extremely noisy on the lower deck. The ship uses a vacuum system for the toilets and every time anyone used the toilet on the decks above us, it sounded like a train going through a tunnel. (We did get used to it and it is not a problem on the upper decks.) When we went through a lock, there was loud banging and it sounded as if water was rushing into the cabin - quite scary the first time I heard it - and I never got used to that. It always woke me up since we went through many locks at night. (Again, this is not the same for the upper decks.) The other thing that you need to be aware of (no matter what cabin you choose) is that the beds are pushed together to make a double but there is a substantial crack between them and they are made up as singles. One morning I woke up in the crack with a very stiff neck. Our table companion said she could not sleep at all because the bed was too hard and had 2 quilts laid under the sheet to make it softer - though this did not bother us so much. With these issues. it was fortunate that the crew were so delightful and so well organised. Our cabin was cleaned and tidied twice a day and we could not fault the service we received. The public areas on the ship are comfortable (though the coffee station is way down the back of the secon deck which is odd) and the system of getting on and off the ship worked well even with a slow and elderly group. The fitness room looked well fitted out though I did not use it - too busy sight-seeing on most days. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Everything on the boat was excellent. The food, the staff and service were top shelf. We stayed in a Veranda Suite. The tours were average but the scenery was not very interesting while cruising, unlike our previous Viking tour from ... Read More
Everything on the boat was excellent. The food, the staff and service were top shelf. We stayed in a Veranda Suite. The tours were average but the scenery was not very interesting while cruising, unlike our previous Viking tour from Budapest to Amsterdam. Every place we stopped was over crowded with tourists. At several stops we had to stand in long lines to see the attraction. It was extremely hot most of the week (this was our fault for choosing mid July). On one tour, after walking around the city we were taken the top of a very high site, by a tram, that overlooked the city and river which was very interesting, but it started raining at the top of the hill. The tram took us about 1/3 of the way back to the boat and dumped us off in pouring rain. Only 1 couple had an umbrella so everybody got 'soaked to the bone' walking back to the boat. On our next cruise we will go either early or late in the season, but definitely on Viking. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Wanted to try something different for a vacation and several friends recommended Viking River Cruises. It was all that we expected and more! Excellent cabin, food, service, excursions, etc. Our transfers between airports and the ship ... Read More
Wanted to try something different for a vacation and several friends recommended Viking River Cruises. It was all that we expected and more! Excellent cabin, food, service, excursions, etc. Our transfers between airports and the ship were excellent. Our cabin was large, comfortable, and included many amenities that we have never received on prior trips - fresh fruit and cookies every day, wine, soft drinks, and champagne in our fridge. Plenty of comfortable seating, not only in the cabin, but on the top deck, the dining room, the library, etc. The waitstaff all spoke perfect English and were extremely attentive. It was nice to be able to sit wherever and with whomever we wanted at the meals. The smaller number of travelers made it easier to get to meet almost everyone on the ship. The food was incomparable! Never had something I didn't like, and I was able to try a variety of foods that were new to me. This will definitely not be our last Viking River Cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
Really wanted to try "Eastern Europe", but timing sent us to Southern France. Being a "skipper" when 3 or 4 passengers is more than enough really wanted to try river cruising - love the ocean but 3000 pax is about 2999 ... Read More
Really wanted to try "Eastern Europe", but timing sent us to Southern France. Being a "skipper" when 3 or 4 passengers is more than enough really wanted to try river cruising - love the ocean but 3000 pax is about 2999 too many. The whole experience was way beyond what I was expecting; I was able to say G'day to almost everyone on board (passengers and crew) and with around 200 people on board even got to know most of the names. Organising excursions must be a nightmare for the Cruise Director; we started out thinking that all was set in stone only to find out that many last minute changes were accommodated without a second thought. If the most recent cruise is the measure then I will certainly consider another Scenic cruise. (As an aside, we dined with a couple who had a similar background and has already completed over 15 cruises with Scenic; don't think I will be around long enough to meet that 'frequent cruiser' level, but it it a good recommendation.) Yes, reckon we will go on another Scenic Cruise (Antarctica beckons but need a couple more pennies in the bank). Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We had the opportunity to book the Departures Epicurean and Wine Cruise from Lyon to Avignon. This was a busy one with excursions booked through the day and visits to Chateaus, historic cites and even a lunch at an olive producers ... Read More
We had the opportunity to book the Departures Epicurean and Wine Cruise from Lyon to Avignon. This was a busy one with excursions booked through the day and visits to Chateaus, historic cites and even a lunch at an olive producers backyard. Everything was well organized and the crew could not have been kinder. Our fellow travelers were all interesting people and we enjoyed meeting them all. The wine and food aboard were fabulous and the exceptional epicurean and wine experiences off ship were so special. Our room was always in perfect shape due to the meticulous attention paid by the staff. There was also a wonderful masseuse aboard. The past river cruises we have been on had larger rooms, but none were available this time. I would recommend booking one of the suites if there is one available. That said, the smaller cabin worked well and we had ample closet space and drawers to stow our things. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We travelled on Scenic’s 13 day South of France cruise on the Scenic Sapphire, departing on 29th April 2017. We stayed in a private balcony suite, on the diamond (top) deck. We had previously been on Jewels of Europe cruise with Scenic ... Read More
We travelled on Scenic’s 13 day South of France cruise on the Scenic Sapphire, departing on 29th April 2017. We stayed in a private balcony suite, on the diamond (top) deck. We had previously been on Jewels of Europe cruise with Scenic in 2015, and we loved it, telling all our family and friends how good it was. Before that we had travelled with Scenic to Australia in 2011, and that was also fantastic. So we set off on this latest trip with Scenic with high expectations. Sadly, in some ways we ended up being disappointed. For those of you who cannot be bothered to read the entire review, you should take note of the following points if you are thinking of booking a river cruise with Scenic: • Do not book the first cruise of the season: the crew have not yet got their act together. • When it comes to picking a cabin, as with other things, size matters. • Daily itineraries can be changed between the time you book and the time you travel, and even after you arrive on board. What was good: • The staff, (with one or two exceptions – see later), were very pleasant, friendly, and helpful. • Staff (normally the more senior ones) who had been with Scenic on previous cruises were good at their jobs. The butler service was excellent. • Bar service in the lounge was consistently good. • Excursions were impeccably organised, with excellent, knowledgeable, local guides. The coaches were modern, clean and comfortable. A nice touch was that they always took the scenic (!) routes to destinations. The excursions were well chosen: we visited chateaux, quaint medieval towns and roman ruins. In some cases, the timing of the trips was made to ensure that we got there before the hordes. Walking over the Pont du Gard roman aqueduct, and being the only party there, was wonderful. • The Scenic Enrich experiences (particularly the private dinner at the Pope’s palace in Avignon) were genuinely memorable. • The food was generally (but not always) to a high standard. We had a couple of meals that were truly excellent. There was always a wide choice available at every meal. • With one exception (see later), our room was always cleaned to a high standard. • The all-inclusive package means that Scenic’s claim that you can leave your wallet at home is true – the only additional costs we incurred were in buying souvenirs. • As an early booking incentive we were provided with a car to take us to and from the airport in the UK, saving us about £150. But I have to point out that this was what we had expected, and had paid for! What was bad: • There were huge problems in the dining room, particularly at dinner. The waiters were inexperienced and poorly trained. Some had very poor command of English, and so could not understand what customers wanted. One waiter, if he could not understand, would go to another part of the dining room and not return to our table. For the first couple of nights, the sense of panic amongst the serving staff was palpable. Cutlery was often not matched to the food being served. (Have you ever tried to eat something served in a cocktail glass with a soup spoon?). • The chef apparently had the most wonderful system for managing food orders: no food left the kitchen until every single guest had sat down and placed their order. For the first few days, early arrivers were kept waiting for up to an hour between ordering and being served their first course. On day four we complained to the restaurant manager, who was highly apologetic, and acknowledged the problems. He told us that he had informed Scenic head office about the chaos in the dining room, and had not received any practical help. He also said that he had started to over-rule the chef’s serving system. He sent an excellent bottle of wine to our cabin that evening by way of apology. To be fair, things did improve steadily after that, but even by the second week it was still not up to Scenic’s normal standard. In that second week, a breakfast was made memorable when it took four requests, to two different waiters, over a 10 minute period to obtain a pot of tea. When it eventually came, it had been made with cold water! • On several occasions, I found dirty plates amongst the clean ones at the breakfast buffet. Twice we were served drinks in chipped glasses. • On a cruise in France, I had expected that the wines being served with dinner would be excellent. In fact, they were generally fairly average. We did discover that better wines were available if you asked. • Again in the first week, one particular day’s excursions started earlier than normal, but the time of breakfast in the main dining room was kept the same, making breakfast a real rush. Some of us tried to go into breakfast 15 minutes early but were shooed out by the staff, who then locked the doors to prevent anyone else trying to get in early! Of course, we could have gone for an “Earlybird” breakfast in the lounge if all we wanted was a croissant (but no butter or jam) and a coffee. After complaints, by the second week the timing of breakfast was brought forward if there were early excursions. • So, as far as the dining room was concerned, it certainly was not a five star operation. • At each of the two entrances to the dining room a hand sanitiser was placed. They were badly sited at the side of the staircase, so you had to pause on the stairs and lean to the side to use them. We witnessed two people who fell down the last steps when trying to use the sanitisers. For four days, one of the two sanitisers was not working, and on at least one day, neither was working. This was despite reporting it to reception each time. • When we travelled on the Rhine with Scenic, we had a deluxe balcony suite of 225 square feet. This class of cabin is not available on the Scenic Sapphire in France, so we had a balcony suite of 205 square feet. It was only 10% smaller, but the difference was very noticeable, particularly in the reduced wardrobe space and the cramped bathroom. When sitting on the toilet, the toilet roll holder dug into your arm, and you needed to be a contortionist to wash your feet in the shower. • The Scenic Sapphire was built in 2008, and is now getting a bit old. Its’ sister ship the Emerald was sold off at the end of last season because we were told it was too expensive to refurbish. The Sapphire had been “refreshed” for this 2017 season, though this did not seem to have included our cabin. The bathroom was “tired”: not all the shower functions worked and the shower door leaked; the chrome was coming off the sink waste cover, and the silvering was beginning to disappear off the bottom edge of the mirror. • Sometime before we travelled, we were notified by Scenic that one of the Freechoice excursions on one particular day would not be available. We were not unduly bothered about this. Then, when we received our travel documents about a week before travelling, they included a little pamphlet giving the tour itinerary. We glanced at it but did not really read it in detail. That was a mistake. When we subsequently compared it to the itinerary in the brochure at the time we booked in 2016, we found a number of significant changes. Several Freechoice options had been deleted on different days. On some days where the brochure listed an excursion in the morning followed by a Freechoice activity later in the day, the morning’s excursion had been lumped in with the other Freechoice activities so that you could only do one. On day six, all the activities listed in the brochure had been deleted, so the day was spent cruising on the boat. To be fair, some other additional activities had been added in, but overall the choice was reduced. We feel strongly that Scenic should have pointed out the changes to us in advance, rather than via a pamphlet sent with the travel documents. Even when we were on the cruise, further changes were made. • On our second day we found a dirty plate under our bed. We had not had food in our room. This was the first cruise of the season, so obviously the room preparation was not as thorough as it ought to have been. Thereafter, we had no reason to complain about the housekeeping. • A final aggravation was being told on the last day that we had to complete Scenic’s customer satisfaction questionnaire before we left the ship, and it had to be done online. We were told it would take no more than 30 to 40 minutes – in fact it took everyone we spoke to about an hour and a half, which is a big chunk of your last afternoon. Amazingly, the computer system in the cabin would not link to the Scenic website, so the survey had to be completed on a tablet or smartphone, which made writing comments slow and tedious. Also you could not stop part way through and save what you had done. I tried it and lost what I had already done. So, overall, we could only rate this cruise as 6 out of 10. We knew that Scenic are one of the more expensive river cruise operators, but our previous experience was that we got what we paid for. This time it was not the case – we do not feel that we received full value for the not inconsiderable sum of money the cruise cost. A month ago, if we had been asked if we would travel with Scenic again, the answer would have been an emphatic yes. Now the answer would be “perhaps”. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This was my second cruise with Uniworld. We had such a great time we decided to try it again. We couldn't believe that it surpassed our expectations. The ship, crew, room, food, excursions, and entertainment were all top notch. I ... Read More
This was my second cruise with Uniworld. We had such a great time we decided to try it again. We couldn't believe that it surpassed our expectations. The ship, crew, room, food, excursions, and entertainment were all top notch. I was speaking to two couples who had been on a river cruise on every line. They said that by far this was the best. to quote them "we feel pampered". The concierge, Valerie, did a fabulous job. Every tour was well planned. They had strenuous activity and a gentle walkers group with everything in between. We had arrived in Lyon several days early to enjoy the city. I, however, got a big surprise. Everything in Lyon was in full bloom and I got an allergy attack. Valerie arranged for a doctor to come on board. The doctor gave me several prescriptions to have filled. Just as I was getting ready to go to have them filled I received a call from Ivana, the manager, and she told me that she would be happy to do it for me. Talk about great service. The food was delicious and had great variety. They had several excursions to pick from each day, and they also had varied entertainment each evening. Our cabin, 303, was lovely and kept spotlessly clean. Our waiter, Daniel, was super. All in all it was a great trip. We are planning another one for November. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Sponsored by a winery where we are wine club members, 38 of us in the group. All inclusive, no surprise bills at the end, making it easier to budget up front. The ship was spotless, always in tiptop shape. Rooms beautifully appointed. ... Read More
Sponsored by a winery where we are wine club members, 38 of us in the group. All inclusive, no surprise bills at the end, making it easier to budget up front. The ship was spotless, always in tiptop shape. Rooms beautifully appointed. Loved having onboard laundry facility, will not take as many clothes next time because of that. Wines were great, enjoyed the sommelier's knowledge base and education talks about French wines. Food was incredible and nicely varied, open seating allowed us to meet many of the other passengers. Ship was not fully booked, being the first trip of the season which was great. Shore excursion guides were great, buses very clean and drivers just wonderful. Service in lounges, restaurant and room was first rate. Staff always friendly, engaging and helpful. I can't recommend Uniworld highly enough. We'll be doing another Uniworld cruise as soon as we can get the budget in order. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
Our wine club, Shadow Mountain vineyards, sponsored the cruise and we gladly signed on. An awesome experience. We had the royal suite and our own butler Valentina..so amazing. Our room, view, comfy bed, cleanliness,beauty..excellent. ... Read More
Our wine club, Shadow Mountain vineyards, sponsored the cruise and we gladly signed on. An awesome experience. We had the royal suite and our own butler Valentina..so amazing. Our room, view, comfy bed, cleanliness,beauty..excellent. The ship was elegant and staff so attentive. The food exceptional and dining staff wonderful especially Demi who served us so professionally while keeping us laughing the entire time. I want to commend especially Ivana, Valentina and Demi..I would choose a ship especially if I knew they would be on board. The day trips to charming villages wonderful and Tania did a fine job organizing activities. Thank you all for making this a once in a lifetime experience. I enjoyed being on the ship as much as day experiences off ship. Didn't feel a thing when sailing although I preferred day sail so could experience scenery and the lock experience. We had only one glitch which was readily made so right..Thank you Ivana. Everything that could have gone right DID go right. Thank you, Carol and John Tyrrell Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This is an amazing cruise! We begin in Paris for the Normandy section of the cruise and then followed up with Burgundy and Provence. The entire trip was flawless from beginning to end. The S.S. Catherine was beautiful and well appointed ... Read More
This is an amazing cruise! We begin in Paris for the Normandy section of the cruise and then followed up with Burgundy and Provence. The entire trip was flawless from beginning to end. The S.S. Catherine was beautiful and well appointed in every aspect including the cabins. We found luxury bedding and choice of pillows, a beautiful marble bathroom with heated floors, and two huge windows that lowered. The service on board was amazing as was the food. They are happy to hear about any food allergies and watched over each passenger with great care at every meal to ensure that they are eating a menu that is right for the individual. Uniworld does not leave you alone for a minute. They met us at the airport, accompanied us on the bullet train down south, and took us to the airport when we left. On every tour there was a representative as well. The shore excursions were well planned, covered a variety of topics, and most were included in the price of the cruise. The guides were informative and well versed in the area. On one of our excursions, our guide took us to her family home that had harbored Jewish refugees during WWII. We were shown the tunnel from which they escaped the Germans, which were housed two doors down the block.. That was the most impressive day we could wanted. If you plan this trip, I hope you are lucky enough to have Adrian John as you Cruise Manager and Ariel as your butler. They made our trip so memorable. We have traveled to many place and taken many cruises, but none compare to Uniworld. Read Less

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