4 French Country Waterways Esprit Cruise Reviews

Cuisine, wine, staff and excursions were exceptional! Nothing was less than perfect! Cabins are small yes,,,but we were only in them to sleep. Meals were incredible...always fresh, local farm to table and felt/tasted like 5 star for ... Read More
Cuisine, wine, staff and excursions were exceptional! Nothing was less than perfect! Cabins are small yes,,,but we were only in them to sleep. Meals were incredible...always fresh, local farm to table and felt/tasted like 5 star for many meals. Wine, cheeses...over the top. Staff was unbelievable! They were all knowledgeable, friendly, accomodating and nothing was left undone. Could not have asked for better service. Excursions were interesting and fun. Charlie knew everything about everything related to the cruise....Wines, local sites, cruising/canal questions...you name it. This was a trip of a lifetime and FCW can accomodate any needs you could possibly have. Our group did a lot of side cycling from rookies to the accomplished cyclist. Staff was accomodating to meet all of our needs. The Burgunday cruise was full of history and incredible beauty. I think everyone enjoyed the excursions. I initially thought the price for the week was high, but after this experience have no doubt that it was worth every penny. I think my cruise mates would agree. Thanks for an incredible week! Would highly recommend to others! 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
Sail Date September 2017
There are so few reviews on cruise critic for this company that I just had to add one. First of all, don't be fooled by the FCW website - its light on info, but its designed to whet your appetite and call the office. First of all ... Read More
There are so few reviews on cruise critic for this company that I just had to add one. First of all, don't be fooled by the FCW website - its light on info, but its designed to whet your appetite and call the office. First of all the office is fantastic. She is what any rep of a travel company should be...enthusiastic and able to answer all questions that come her way, plus offer suggestions. Planning a trip with her was easy and that was the start of a great trip. So the test of any business is how they handle things when something goes wrong. And FCW proved that they truly were a great travel company. Three days before our barge trip we got a call that the Princess was taking on water and was going out of service. But they were putting the Esprit back into service and we would be traveling in Burgundy rather than Champagne. They offered a generous compensation for our inconvenience and told us of the modified plans. We were picked up in Paris as planned and driven by Johnathan our tour manager to Dijon to meet the Esprit, our new home for 6 days. Once onboard we met the rest of the staff - a total of 6 for 6 guests. We realized very quickly this was going to be a first class experience and not once were we disappointed. The staff are fantastic, willing to do anything to make your week special. The food prepared by Daniel, our chef, was superb in every way... rivaling the best restaurants we have gone to in France. Each day at lunch we would have 5 dishes on the buffet, a cheese course with beautiful hand selected (by Anne and Jess) regional cheeses all presented by the knowledgeable staff and 2 wonderful wines. Dinner was by candlelight and 4 courses including perfect cheeses and outstanding wines. The excursions were interesting and Johnathan was an excellent and enthusiastic tour guide. We loved walking along the tow paths as the barge followed at its slow rate. Our fellow guests were interesting and overall it was a very wonderful and relaxing week where we were pampered. The only down side is the cabins on the Esprit are very tiny....but there is no reason to stay in your cabin, when you have a comfortable salon and the countryside of Burgundy out the window. By the way, it was a treat to watch Thibaut handle the locks along the waterway and sit with Gregoire the pilot while underway and have to duck down while going under the low bridges. We look forward to taking another FCW barge trip - perhaps we'll get to go on the Princess to Champagne next time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
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
Sail Date October 2002
Esprit Ratings
Category Editor Member
Rates 3.0 5.0

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