The Joie de Vivre lives up to its name. From the luxurious bedding to the push-button draperies and windows and the marble bathroom, the cabin exemplifies the joy of living well. The whole is beautifully decorated with the comfort of the passengers always considered. There were a couple of small glitches, the bathroom floor warmer did not work and the entry waterfall gave out after the first day; but there was less than might be anticipated with such a new ship.
The crew could not have been more attentive and pleasant. At first we were a little disappointed because, as retired language teachers, we were looking forward to using our French on board, and the hotel crew was mostly from eastern Europe; however, they were so delightful and efficient that our disappointment quickly faded. Moreover, the cruise manager, chef, and marine staff were all French and were happy to communicate with us en francais.
The daily excursions also gave us ample opportunity to immerse ourselves in the culture. As frequent travelers to France, we were familiar with most of the excursion sites. Still we enjoyed and learned a great deal from the excellent local guides, some of whom followed the ship and met us on successive days. Even the long, almost three hour, bus ride to the beaches at Normandy was made less onerous by the introduction and history given by the guide on the bus. Every day brought another positive experience; the beauty of Giverny, the Cathedral of Rouen, the picturesque harbor of Honfleur, the tapestry at Bayeux, the Chateau of Malmaison, and more. As Uniworld offers less strenuous and more active options, we were always able to find a suitable choice.