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Scenic Gem Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
66 Reviews

Give your Wallet Moths a holiday! - Scenic Normandy Cruise

Scenic Gem Cruise Review by Australian Travel Guru

1 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Sep 2018
  • Destination: Europe River

I will openly admit that I was sceptical about why anyone, myself included, would want to take a 10-day Scenic cruise up the Seine River from Paris to the coast, when you can drive it in 2 hours! I thought it would be boring with too much time doing nothing…

How wrong I was…

Scenic Cruises have once again exceeded my expectations, as has the countryside and places we visited throughout Normandy on this very leisurely ‘must do’ river cruise.

Full credit to Scenic for making this a 10-day cruise and not a 7 day, as most other river cruise operators do. Those extra few days turn a short getaway into a genuine relaxing holiday, one that will be remembered for many years to come.

The itinerary is very well thought out with a mix of culture, cruising, experiences and diversity that I wouldn’t have thought possible in just the one ‘department’ (state, county) of France.

Normandy has so much to see and do. From quaint inland villages to coastal seaside towns. Rolling hills to tidal flats and chalk cliffs. There is something for everyone on this cruise.

As always Scenic do it in style. That’s why they are the leaders in River Cruising, all others simply copy. It’s the staff that make your holiday a truly great experience, with attentive care, attention to detail and a smile whatever the time, day or night (do they ever sleep I wonder?). I came on with an old pair of shoes and left with what looked like a new pair – a tribute to the butler service.

Some travellers are initially put off by the price but believe me it works out better value than many of the competitors when you take into account all the inclusions. You could give the moths in your wallet a well-earned holiday as everything is included, from meals, drinks, tips, to choices of excursions you could easily go the full ten days without opening your wallet nor spend a single Euro.

I was particularly impressed with Scenic’s attention to detail. Their ship ‘The Scenic Gem’ is purpose built for this river, made slightly shorter, with less cabins solely so it can dock in Honfleur instead of Le Havre as many of the other companies are forced to do being as their vessels are too long.

Honfleur was a highlight of the cruise and being able to moor up in the quaint historic coastal town centre was a plus. (Le Havre is a major industrial port, no comparison!).

The evening concert at the Chateau was also a great experience not to be missed, so unique, something not possible anywhere else in the world.

This was my forth Scenic River Cruise and it did not disappoint. I came away feeling totally relaxed and satisfied that I had tasted all Normandy had to offer – and done it in style.

Note: If you are under 60 years you will enjoy the cruise but do not expect to meet too many new friends of your age group. It primarily attracts an older crowd, perhaps due to the excellent excursions to WW1 & WW2 battle fields (Somme & Normandy Landing) which catered to not only Australians, but Canadian and American history buffs.

But don’t despair, as with all Scenic Cruises there is always a choice of day tours so if these did not rock your boat then you could go explore the spectacular Chalk cliff coast line and its delightful seaside towns, or perhaps a Castle or a culinary experience.

The onboard meals are of the highest standard, all made from local produce complimented by a range of fine French wines. The fresh seafood from Honfleur was up there in the ‘yum’ stakes, as were the scrumptious desserts.

This raises the question: ‘Has any Scenic passenger ever got off the ship lighter than when they boarded?’ I seriously doubt it. If you did you were a temptation diehard freak with the world’s greatest will power to resist the local French delicacies and pastries on offer every day.

This cruise comes highly recommended and would be an ideal add on to any European tour, a great way to end any visit to the continent.

Don’t forget to book a couple of extra nights at the beginning or end of your cruise so you can do Paris justice, there is so much to experience in this captivating city.

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Paris is overrated. Security measures have killed off the romantic ambience

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