Review of CroisiEurope Bottecelli 7 night cruise from Paris to Honfleur and return to Paris.
Ship was docked in the heart of Paris just about a 10 minute walk from the Eiffle Tower. I arrived at around 4.30 which was too early to check in (usually 6.00 pm). However by 5 many passengers were arriving and the purser began checking everyone in. At check in passengers were allocated dining tables according to language spoken. This works very well and everyone from the U.K. who I spoke to found this totally satisfactory. In fact a large group from a tour company spread over 3 tables nearly revolted when their rep suggested table hopping to get to know each other better.
I was shown to my cabin which was on the main deck. I had a twin for sole use which had t.v, safe, hairdryer, mirror,desk and chair. The bathroom consisted of w.c, shower cabinet and rubbish bin.
During dinner on the first night the ship sailed upstream and moored mid river until it was dark. We then had a cruise along the Seine to see Paris illuminated by night. Some of the bridges are very low so passengers were only allowed on the sun deck proving they sat down and had to remain seated for safety until the cruise was over. I sat at the front on the main deck which gave just as good a view. Not all ships are able to offer this as I noticed many would have been far too tall to go under ther bridges.
Being a French line all announcements are in French followed by English and then by any other languages needed. This cruise it was Spanish. The nationalities on board consisted at least of French, British, Spanish, Norwegian, Australian, Mexican and Russian. This time I do believe the French speakers were outnumbered by the English speakers.
Dining is a buffet breakfast comprising of cereals, breads, fruits, cold meat, cheese, hot eggs, hot sausage, hot bacon bits, croisants, yogurts, teas and cofee and possibly many things I have already forgotten. Lunch and Dinner are either 3 or 4 course meals to a set menu. Main courses included veal, chicken, pork, rabbit, venison and fish. The menu is posted on the information chanel on the T.V. and should you not like what is on offer a substitution was available. Indeed one course was not for me I just told reception in the morning and received an alternative without hesitation. I noticed some passengers were obtaining a vegetarian meal daily. Waitresses/waiter are not allocated to specific tables so you get to see and speak to them all. Drinks are included with meals and throught the day when the lounge was was open. I understand that some of the wines were excellent but as I do not drink it I cannot comment.
Entertainment consisted of a bi-lingual chap at an electric piano plus 1 night when a local singer and accordianist performed and another night where a folk troup performed. In addition we had the crew show which was based around the decades that the company has been in existance. Using film and live performers this was the best crew show I have seen on CroisiEurope.
Rafting did rear its head a few times. On the second day sister ship Seine Princess moored alongside from 2 till 7. In Honfleur we docked alongside a Viking ship and our passengers had to alight via the sun deck. A little later the Seine Princess slipped in between the Viking ship and us. At Honfleur we docked against and alighted through the Seine Princess and finally back in Paris we docked alongside and left through sister ship France.
Excursions were offered but as I am still recovering from a knee replacement I decided to explore the towns where we moored at my own pace. The exception being Paris where I went on a 3 hour panoramic tour of the city. The guide was excellent as was the driver. At €40 I thought this good value. My dining companions went on other excursions and I never heard any complaints.
As I said we had many nationalities but we also had a mixed age group. 3 children who I would have estimated to be between 5 and 12 a few in their 30's and 40's with many 50 to 80 year olds.
I am pleased that CroisiEurope still have a policy of tipping via a sealed envelope which is shared throughout the crew. Many unseen crew members do jobs which help our holidays run smoothly such as the kitchen staff and the engineers. This trip visits were made to both the wheelhouse and engine room but silly me missed out as I did not hear the announcement.