This was the second part of our Grand France Uniworld itinerary. The first part was on the River Baroness from Paris to Normandy. This part for us began in Paris, with a high speed train TGV to Lyon, where the SS Catherine awaited us. We were glad we did our itinerary in this order for several reasons. Since I have a track record of buying lots of presents when we travel, we had a lot more storage room on the Catherine than on the Baroness for me to amass my gifts. Although the Baroness is a nice ship with a great crew, the Catherine is full of creature comforts, something we would miss if we went to the Baroness after the Catherine. Finally, after doing Paris for a week, and then doing Normandie and Versaille, this second part was more relaxing and less physical, and thus more enjoyable.
We arrived at the Catherine in Lyon, in the early afternoon, after a very relaxing and enjoyable train ride, about 280 miles. Its a new riverboat, which was christened at the end of March 2014 by its godmother, Catherine Deneuve. Its specs are: 443 feet long, with about 160 guests and close to 60 crew. The lounge is called the Van Gogh Lounge, with the Cezanne Restaurant, and Matisse Terrace. There is a lot of artwork all over the ship. In the Leopard Lounge in the stern, there is a small swimming pool with jacuzzi jets. I used it after an long bike ride on the third day, and it was great! The room itself was comparable to some hotel rooms we have had. Our French balcony had a window the length of the room, and several times while cruising, we lowered the screen and opened the window. The bathroom was completely marbled and the floor is heated. As on the Baroness, we had free wi-fi, so we were always in touch with home, and I was able to post my pictures on Facebook.
A minor thing to some folks, but not to me: since we were prior Uniworld cruisers, we had free laundry twice during the itinerary.
The stateroom is midships, port side. The room was comparable in size to some hotel rooms we have had, and without a doubt the biggest river boat room we have had. There is plenty of storage space. The huge windows open, with lowered screens, a nice touch, so you do not have to look through a screen all the time. The marble bathroom, with L'Occitane products is quite large.