This was our first river cruise. We are 62 years old and were probably the youngest on board. No problem with that at all. The clientele was lively and closed down the bar almost every night. About 98% were American and we had four Canadians, maybe two Brits, and two Spanish speakers. Our cruise was 7 days and ran from Lyon, France to Arles, France. The included tours were the best part of the trip. A wide variety of tours depending on ability which included bicycles, if you chose. The cruise director was a super guy, Serbian by nationality, and could not do enough for the passengers. He was amazing!
We selected the largest cabin on the ship and it was spacious as was the bathroom. Fantastic! Our cabin steward was a lovely Romanian gal and really wanted to please us. She did great. One problem with the room was the smell of raw sewage just as you walked into the room. It did not come from the bathroom or anywhere else. Just smelled when you walked in. We spoke to the Hotel Manager and he said if was either coming from the locks we were going through or the ship moored next to us. In other words, it’s normal. Really? We found that hard to believe.
Based on the write up for this cruise, we were expecting local dishes (this was a French intensive cruise), but we didn’t feel that coq au vin on day five or beef bourgonion on day four and French onion soup on day one were enough. Escargot was served as an appetizer (already shelled) and six pieces were to be shared by two people. Never saw another escargot after that. Everything was salty and the soups were consommé and not creamy with dehydrated vegetables used instead of fresh. Vegetables were used as a garnish… one small piece of carrot, one broccoli floret, one tiny fingerling potato. Usually it was the same garnish every meal. We had been cruising near fields of asparagus yet never had one stalk! Disappointing! Advertisements claimed we would have local produce. One night we had lamb medallions, and I swear it was beef made to look like lamb. The Chef’s Table, which everyone could try once, was the highlight, but Minnesota perch fish was served as one course and we couldn’t understand why a local fish wasn’t used. How fresh could that perch be coming all the way from the USA?
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