For our first foray back into cruising my DH and I chose a Tauck Rhône cruise “Savoring France” beginning with 2 nights in the Intercontinental Paris Opera. We began our Paris visit at a different hotel with 6 nights at The Peninsula so it was a nice touch at the beginning when Tauck still provided a transfer from CDG to that hotel. We were on our own to take an Uber over to the Tauck hotel but that was easy and inexpensive. After a glorious stay at The Peninsula, the Intercontinental was quite a letdown mostly because of the poor service and tiny mediocre room. However it was well-located and we have a great view of the Opera and the breakfast and food in general was very good.
The first evening’s event was a dinner at Fouquet’s. This was very average but again, the nice Tauck touch was live music and festive atmosphere. The following day was a fun walking tour of an interesting foodie street followed by a stellar macaron class at the Cordon Bleu. The food-centric aspect of the tour and cruise was beginning to take shape but the results were mixed throughout the trip. We had free time that evening and next morning before boarding the train for Lyon.
Embarkation was smooth and well organized. The Emerald is a terrific ship, in excellent condition and our Category 7 suite was very comfortable and quite a marvel of space and comfort on such a small ship. There were only 70 pax onboard yet we had 3 tour directors and according to the cruise director there were staffing issues onboard but service-wise we didn’t notice any problems. All staff were very friendly and professional. We had a bit of laundry and it was returned same day every time. All the meals started off as buffets on the first 2 nights, including dinner which was a big surprise to pax who had cruised on Tauck before. We had never had a buffet for dinner. After numerous complaints, dinner service reverted to standard on the third night and the quality of the dinners improved steadily. Because of the reduced capacity, Arthur’s was not operating as a dining venue, only for coffee and tea. There was always entertainment after dinner in the lounge and some food and wine related events in the afternoons. The breakfast room service for suites was eliminated on this cruise, perhaps an indication of reduced staff.
Spacious with plenty of storage and a walk-in closet. Never noticed any noise from other cabins.