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12 Nice to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

We have sailed on a number luxury ocean cruises (Seabourn and Silversea) and decided to try a river cruise, at the suggestion of our travel agent, we chose Scenic Sapphire. We were quite disappointed by what was labeled as a luxury ... Read More
We have sailed on a number luxury ocean cruises (Seabourn and Silversea) and decided to try a river cruise, at the suggestion of our travel agent, we chose Scenic Sapphire. We were quite disappointed by what was labeled as a luxury cruise. Embarkation in Nice was a mini disaster as the ground agent had no idea what was happening, the buses were late and the driver was tired so we had to make an unscheduled stop. In addition, two passengers missed the bus so we had to go back and fetch them. The cabins are ok, but the food needs major overhaul. Breakfast and lunch are primarily buffet style while dinner is served from a menu. The selections for breakfast were limited - only a few fruits (no berries), low end hard cheeses (no white cheese) and poorly made baguettes.For lunch we were given a limited choice of fresh fruit a d vegetables along with some hot entrees that were tasteless, and on occasion, even recycled. Dinner was served from a limited menu but the food tasted like cafeteria offerings. The wines were mainly low end table wines. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
My husband had been researching France for the past couple of years when we saw the Scenic information seminar. It took us going twice to make the decision to book - definitely one of the best decisions we have made! The Sapphire is a ... Read More
My husband had been researching France for the past couple of years when we saw the Scenic information seminar. It took us going twice to make the decision to book - definitely one of the best decisions we have made! The Sapphire is a beautiful ship. The rooms are well appointed- over the top clean, the food is outstanding- the chefs are very accommodating and the staff - I can’t say enough about these amazing people! They made our trip! Our travel agent - whom we met at the seminar - was great! She was totally informed about every aspect of Scenic - what we should expect, all the ports we will be stopping at. The boat is the perfect size - small enough that you can socialize with almost everyone Would I recommend Scenic - with absolutely no hesitation! Only complaint I have - should have booked a two week cruise. THANK YOU SCENIC Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We had a wonderful experience on Poetry II. The intercontinental hotel in Nice was fabulous. We were right on the The Mediterranean and had a lovely time befor we got on the ship. We also stayed in the Intercontinental in Paris and ... Read More
We had a wonderful experience on Poetry II. The intercontinental hotel in Nice was fabulous. We were right on the The Mediterranean and had a lovely time befor we got on the ship. We also stayed in the Intercontinental in Paris and that was equally as nice and in a wonderful location. Once on the ship the room food was excellent, the staff outstanding and the excursions were informative and enjoyable. We went with great friends and made some new friends that we really enjoyed and hope to see again. The cocktail hour was very popular for us as we got together with friends and discussed the day. We enjoyed the entertainment that was provided and took part in all that was offered to us. The staff was extremely helpful and always available for questions. We appreciated the meeting helps almost every nigh keeping us on target for what was expected of us. This was our second Avalon Cruise and we would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We have traveled with Avalon before. We thought this would be a nice trip. It was! Our travel guide was excellent. The pamphlets we were given ahead were informative, clear, and concise. We had a guide every step of the way, including the ... Read More
We have traveled with Avalon before. We thought this would be a nice trip. It was! Our travel guide was excellent. The pamphlets we were given ahead were informative, clear, and concise. We had a guide every step of the way, including the trips on the train. I had an injury in Monoco. Our guide was able to direct me to a local hospital. I received very good care. I could have used less walking and less free time. I would prefer the option of free time or returning to the ship. I would have liked to have known how much time was allotted to the major sites: Louve, Buckingham Palace, and Windsor Castle. The cruise was for our 50th Anniversary. Food, wine, food tastings were excellent. We did not go to the late night entertainment. We were too tired. We got plenty of exercise with the walking. I would like some transportation like a mini van or a golf cart to take us all the way to the next attraction. Even though a coach took us to the general area, there was still too much walking. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
My most recent trip in June was a disaster. This was my 3rd trip with Tauck. My first riverboat trip was 3 years ago and it was magical and wonderful, this trip was awful. The ship was worn and in dire need of updating. The hot tub ... Read More
My most recent trip in June was a disaster. This was my 3rd trip with Tauck. My first riverboat trip was 3 years ago and it was magical and wonderful, this trip was awful. The ship was worn and in dire need of updating. The hot tub was not working, nor was there any water in it. They ruined my blouse that I sent to laundry. The food was adequate but not good. The Riverboat part of our trip did not exist. The water was too high to safely float and get through the locks safely. We called Tauck day before leaving and they told us there was no problem with the water level. I understand that could happen, but we were put on buses the whole day from early in the morning for 8 entire days to towns that offered no value. They never gave us an option to return to the States or go to Paris early like other Riverboat companies did. The compensation they offered was insulting and inadequate. Tauck is supposed to be the best, and I paid a very high price for the best quality. I will never travel with Tauck again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Arranged our own flights to Nice. Spent a night in Nice before joining the tour. Lovely city worth the visit. The Bordeaux cruises were booked for that time of year so chose the Rhone as the option. The cruise was great staff ... Read More
Arranged our own flights to Nice. Spent a night in Nice before joining the tour. Lovely city worth the visit. The Bordeaux cruises were booked for that time of year so chose the Rhone as the option. The cruise was great staff excellent, ship good, food great, wine & bar excellent. But no gym and no pool as advertised? The bus rides from Nice and to Paris were a negative. Standing in a line to get a stale sandwich at a road stop is not my idea of what Scenic are advertising on television. Marriott Opera Paris Hotel is not equipped for group bookings. Up to hours wait to check in then 2 hours for luggage (I retrieved my own luggage from the porters room) some Scenic people were still waiting for luggage 3-4 hours after check in. Next time I will book my own hotel in Paris as Scenic must be delusional if they think this Marriott meets any standards. So all in all Scenic does the cruise so well the rest do it yourself. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Our "Enchanting Rhône" cruise had many 5 star features. The service and food were terrific! In fact, the food was the best we've ever experienced on a cruise of any kind. The lunch and breakfast buffets had many ... Read More
Our "Enchanting Rhône" cruise had many 5 star features. The service and food were terrific! In fact, the food was the best we've ever experienced on a cruise of any kind. The lunch and breakfast buffets had many delicious choices. The sit-down dinners were gourmet quality. Our Captain, Franck, was friendly, welcoming and very visible. The shore excursions were very good. Yvonne, the Cruise Director was very hard working, available, and helpful, as was the rest of the staff. On-board customer service was top-notch. Everything really was included in the price of our cabin, even two wonderful specialty dinners. The itinerary was great fun. Our Junior Suite was roomy enough, with a nice balcony and very large bathroom. Butler service was part of our package, but it really didn't add much value. However, I will NEVER again travel on Scenic as we were cheated with false advertising. Specifically, Scenic LIED ABOUT HAVING A SMALL POOL & FITNESS ROOM. There is none. (We spoke with a number of other passengers that were under this same mistaken impression.) When our Cruise Director, Yvonne, mentioned there was no fitness center during our orientation briefing on the first night, I told her that this was NOT what we were told and what's SPECIFICALLY DESCRIBED & LISTED ON THE COMPANY WEBSITE. The Deck Plan depicted on the company website lists both a "Vitality Pool" and a fitness center. Yvonne said something like she would have to look into that and that she would be able to find me a fitness facility to use in Avignon and Lyon. If we had known there was no fitness center, we would NOT have booked this ship! Also, the airport transfer from Nice was awful -- disorganized, chaotic, poor communication with passengers spread out in a fairly wide area of the terminal. The bus ride was more than 3 1/2 hours from Nice to Tarascon, with no beverages, even water, provided by the bus company. When you pay more than $10,000 for a cruise, you expect a more reputable company than this. I believe Scenic should reimburse us about 50% of what we paid for enticing us on this cruise with false advertising. I sent a letter to Scenic's CEO, Glenn Mulroney, but haven't heard back from him in over a month. No one responded to our post-cruise questionnaire. Our dealings with the corporate office prior to the cruise were also marked by unresponsiveness and haphazard service. Our cruise travel agent was similarly frustrated in dealing with the company. On board = 5 stars The Scenic Corporation = 1 star Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We took the cruise from Arles to Chalon Sur Saone on the Scenery after having been met at the Nice Airport by an Avalon-contracted shuttle service, as Avalon also booked our flights and arranged all airport transfers. Basically the land ... Read More
We took the cruise from Arles to Chalon Sur Saone on the Scenery after having been met at the Nice Airport by an Avalon-contracted shuttle service, as Avalon also booked our flights and arranged all airport transfers. Basically the land transfer services were spot-on. Our driver from Nice to Monaco (where we stayed the first night) was originally from Brazil and he was great. Knew a great deal about the locale and people. Very enjoyable. I am not a big fan of Monaco, as it is ridiculously expensive, without great attractions. In fact Avalon had a tour the next AM from Monaco to Nice. Ironically Nice is about 45 minutes closer to the Arles embarkation point than Nice. So, Avalon why not make your first night stay in Nice instead of Monaco ? Our bag transfers went very smoothly the whole trip. On arriving at the ship, our bags were waiting for us in our assigned cabins. They were also delivered to our assigned rooms in Paris and when we changed rooms, they sent the remaining bag to the new room promptly. They also picked up bags at the Paris hotel rooms for our airport transfers. The cruise director, Danielle, was fantastic. She attended to everything, had a great sense of humor, and helped make the cruise very enjoyable. The rest of the staff was equally terrific, including the waiters, housekeeping, crew and the piano player who entertained every night after dinner. Can't say enough about them. Hard working, very friendly and really attentive. Offshore excursions were very good for the most part. Avalon has selected some very good local guides who were entertaining and informative. They usually also allotted enough time for free roaming at most stops. My only disappointment was the excursion to Tournus which was all free time. Three hours in that small town with no local guide to explain things was a waste of time. It was accentuated by the fact that it was raining, the shops were closed on a Monday and the local restaurants were rather sparse. Wouldn't recommend that particular excursion. Paris excursions were good for the most part. On the optional tour of the Louvre, we had an exceptional guide, Samantha. She also was the guide for the walking tour in the AM. Don't know about Versailles or Moulin Rouge tours as we didn't take them. I thought the cabins were well appointed, of adequate size and they were promptly cleaned up every AM. Can't ask for anything more. The lounge was adequate. Maybe a bit outdated, but it had comfortable seating. Food and beverage was just OK. I thought the chef, while a very personable guy, was average at best in terms of his quality. Presentation of all dishes was great, but nearly all the fish selections were poor - either the fish wasn't fresh or it was overcooked and fishy tasting. There was one veal dish that was excellent but that was at lunch. Beef and lamb dishes were generally well prepared as were dinner soups and salads. Breakfasts and lunches were pretty much the same fare every day. Would have liked more variety and in particular more local type dishes prepared. Wasn't overly impressed with the wine selection either. They did have a nice French Chablis and the Bordeaux was decent. But there was little variety. They did not have a Burgundy red which was disappointing. It was also disappointing that the bar did not stock a greater variety and higher quality of wines. Sure, the happy hour prices for a glass of wine were great - 3 Euros. But I gladly would have paid 6-7 Euros for a better quality of wine with more to choose from. Finally the "fitness center" was pathetic. It was so small as to be unusable with a treadmill, bicycle and two small free weights. Maybe the newer ships will have a bigger area that have several weight machines along with more free weights. My summary though was that this cruise was very good, well done and the many hits drowned out the few misses. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Boat and crew were fabulous but the river was not. We were not allowed to go on top of the boat during cruising due to low bridges. We have been on three other river cruises and that is one of our favorite parts. I would recommend Viking ... Read More
Boat and crew were fabulous but the river was not. We were not allowed to go on top of the boat during cruising due to low bridges. We have been on three other river cruises and that is one of our favorite parts. I would recommend Viking but I would not recommend the Rhone River. Shore excursions were crowded and not real interesting most of the time. Exploring on our own where possible was much more enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This is the first review I've written on Cruise Critic but the 8th cruise I've taken on Avalon. I felt I needed to share just how professional, service oriented and wonderful the trips have been with Avalon. This most recent ... Read More
This is the first review I've written on Cruise Critic but the 8th cruise I've taken on Avalon. I felt I needed to share just how professional, service oriented and wonderful the trips have been with Avalon. This most recent one we started in Cannes and ended in Paris with 6 friends on the Poetry II. From beginning to end the service was top notch and there could not be a better, more humorous and competent Cruise Director than Danielle Oosterwal. She was consistently patient with people yet fun and outgoing and is a wonderful reflection on Avalon. Our beginning hotel, The International Carlton at Cannes and our final hotel, The Hotel du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe in Paris were both top of the line. The entire staff was wonderfully accommodating and could not have been more service oriented. The ship itself is lovely, the excursions were outstanding and we would all rate this trip a solid 5! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
March of 2015 was our 2nd Avalon cruise in 18 months and it is a pleasure to obtain consistent and excellent service. We thoroughly enjoyed the crew , the professional services and Cruise Director Danielle as we went North on the River ... Read More
March of 2015 was our 2nd Avalon cruise in 18 months and it is a pleasure to obtain consistent and excellent service. We thoroughly enjoyed the crew , the professional services and Cruise Director Danielle as we went North on the River from Arles to Dijon. The choices for optional tours and onboard events hits the mark for us. (cheese and local meats tasting, "French Life" Historian, etc).. We would recommend Avalon as they are very accommodating and keep you informed of the daily events that again are up to you to participate. We found the ride very quite as all are very respectful of your vacation time.. But it is the connections made with all the great International People onboard that makes a life memory... Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was our first river cruise - not sure quite what to expect, but the experience FAR exceeded our expectations! Sliding peacefully along the Rhone, watching fishermen, grazing cows, herons, swans, and more swans!, sitting up on the top ... Read More
This was our first river cruise - not sure quite what to expect, but the experience FAR exceeded our expectations! Sliding peacefully along the Rhone, watching fishermen, grazing cows, herons, swans, and more swans!, sitting up on the top deck without getting our heads blown off was truly magical. Avalon was attentive to every need, whether for local history, medical needs or special meal requirements. We chose not to take many of the optional shore trips because we like to explore on our own, but everyone we spoke to thought the optional trips were great. We did take one in Lyon - the Beaujolais wine-tasting and it was definitely the highlight of our whole vacation! We passed through 15 locks on this trip, some in the middle of the night and some during the day - very interesting! Sit up top and watch how the captain manoeuvers into the lock, often with only 6 inches of clearance on each side! There are detailed maps of each port in a folder in each stateroom on arrival which have sights of interest, history at a glance, shopping highlights, local specialties and other valuable information. The challenge is to make time to read it all! We had a mix of Australians, Brits, Americans and Canadians; everyone on vacation and friendly. We are both runners, so we really enjoying our runs along the river banks in each port. We got out of the towns and found some really cool country roads to explore; it was fabulous! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011

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