We wanted to see the Normandy Beaches. That was a high point but all the stops along the Seine had their own appeal. Actually, travelling along the Seine during the day was a relaxing experience. I did some exercises on the top deck as the boat moved along. We enjoyed climbing to Richard's fortress in little LesAndelys. Rouen was fabulous. We had an entire day there. Honfleur was delightful. One Sunday we decided not to go on an excursion and walked the little town of Conflans, which was having its local market. I find that doing something very ordinary, like visiting a street market or goong to a "pharmacie" and interacting, makes me feel much closer to a place and immediately illustrates the differences in such a positive way.
All the local guides were excellent, especially Clarice, who took us through Versailles and thr Ile de la Cite. We had been there before but without such entertaining narrative.
The crew was excellent. The bar crew was friendly. I found that the crew remembered you day to day in a way I had not experienced on precious cruises. They would make conversation and joke around but never in a way that was too casual.
The seminars that were held when the boat sailed during the day were quite good. One seminar highlighted pastry making with a local chef. I finally learned how to use a pastry bag corrctly. The D-Day scholar was exceptional. He was a well-known British scholar. My husband attended a wine seminar. He is quite knowledgeable but said he learned a few things.
One nice touch that I don't remeber from previous cruises was the free afternoon tea and cakes. It's a nice way to wind down before dinner and before th happy hour. The food was fabulous.
The logistics of embarkation and disembarkation, as well as the day-to-day excursion travel were smooth. Our cruise diector was responsible for this. She held a daily meeting and was very clear about when and where. I think that was key.
One other improvement from previous cruises was the new hotel. It seems every tour of any kind used that same huge hotel near the Arc de Triomphe. This time we were in the Montparnasse Pullman. We almost got off to a bad start because another perrson on a different tour at a different hotel took my husband's bag by mistake at the airport. Fortunately, his cell phone number was on the outside. It was the Pullman concierge who got the bag back to us that day.
As it happenned, even the passengers were just the right mix and friendly. As always the Canadians were their wonderful selves. That is one thing I like about Avalon cruises. There is a mix of English-speaking travelers that gives you a nice international flavor but everyone speaks English.
We would go again in a heartbeat. I am hoping to see a Portugal trip and a Garonne River trip, which were hinted at in one of the Avalon surveys.
This was an older ship but still intact, clean, well-maintained, and did I mention clean. Bedding has improved since my last cruise to mattress toppers and duvet arrangement.
We skipped the line. It's worth it, having done it before on our own.View All 46 Eiffel Tower Reviews
Delightful walk through this marvelous city. Then stayed around on our own for lunch and to shop.View All 38 Highlights Tour Reviews
This was a wonderful city. Lovely to be in, exceptional shopping district, very, very nice experience. Then back to the boat for tea and cakes.View All 10 Rouen On Your Own Reviews