This cruise was not a good match for us. We have been to France many times, most recently in April of this year, always on our own, and are both reasonably fluent in French. What we thought would be a spectacular voyage along the Saone and Rhone was overall a disappointment. The trip started and ended with excellent transfers provided by Tauck, and our first encounter was at the Intercontinental Grand, accommodations which were below what we normally book.
In Paris we started with dinner at Fouquets which was quite good, but oddly enough there was no pre-dinner gathering so we could get acquainted with our fellow travelers. The next day was a useless bus ride around the sights of Paris at the height of the rush hour, an odd choice for travelers who had all been to Paris. This was followed by a brief trip to the museum of your choice. The guide there was excellent, as were all of the Tauck guides and cruise staff. The next day the TGV train was fine and we arrived in Lyon and boarded our boat. The boat was excellent, state of the art and new, and our level 7 cabin was outstanding. There were only 71 passengers on the boat the advantages and disadvantages I will leave to the reader to contemplate.
Service aboard the boat was quite good, but we soon faced our greatest disappointment: the quality of the food. There was almost always one, meat, one fish, and one vegetarian choice for dinner along with the usual backup of steak, salmon and chicken. One problem was the awful quality of the fish. Tilapia being served on a cruise that was $10,000 a person? Salmon that was farmed? Rolled cod that was made from small pieces of fish? We would not eat this at home; why should we settle for less on a luxury vacation? Most dishes were served in a variety of heavily creamed sauces, which we always try to avoid. While the fresh fruit was good, simple green salads were rare. Even the croissants for the next 9 days were awful. The drinks in the bar were good, as were the wine selections.