My husband and I took a Vantage Seine River Cruise from Paris to Honfluer, France because many of our friends recommended a river cruise as a great way to see Europe. The state rooms were small but well-organized with plenty of storage. The bathroom was larger than on any previous cruise ships we’d been on and the water in the shower was powerful and easily-adjusted. The service onboard was outstanding, including our cabin attendant, the office staff, the dining room waiters, and the cruise director. The food was very good; freshly-prepared omelets and pastas were available for breakfast and lunch, and a five-course meal was offered each evening. There was also a “lighter fare” menu, but those who selected that said the food was adequate at best. Boarding and disembarking were well-organized and efficient. If we stopped reviewing the cruise here, we would give it a “5.”
Perhaps the biggest disappointment were the tours on shore. They averaged about 2-2½ hours, were led by guides of mixed quality, and we had a great deal of free time. On two days, this free time was in very small towns whose museums happened to be closed and which had minimal shopping opportunities. Even the “full-day” at the Normandy beaches was shortened by a 3-hour round-trip bus ride. On a positive note, all activities started and ended on time.
If you are seeking a vacation in Europe with all the amenities of America (including a 110v outlet in each cabin), then a river cruise is a good option. However, for those who seek a more authentic overseas experience, there are better options. This was our first river cruise and, despite the excellent service and food, will probably be our last. We have travelled extensively and have been to all seven continents. When we travel, we live on the economy, staying in bed and breakfasts, eating local foods, and struggling with the differences in language and customs. We found that we missed the “uniqueness” of France while on the river cruise. Fortunately, we had been to Paris and Normandy on our own and in a rental car several times before, so do not feel that we missed too much. This part of the cruise, therefore, would get a rating of “1.”
The state rooms were small but well-organized with plenty of storage. The bathroom was larger than on any previous cruise ships we’d been on and the water in the shower was powerful and easily-adjusted.