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88 Paris to Europe - All Cruise Reviews

This is our 9th time river cruising with Ama Waterways and once again tour experience was exceptional. Our cruise included a pre-stay in Paris and the a seven day cruise to the Normandy coast and back. Timing of all departures and ... Read More
This is our 9th time river cruising with Ama Waterways and once again tour experience was exceptional. Our cruise included a pre-stay in Paris and the a seven day cruise to the Normandy coast and back. Timing of all departures and excursions was outstanding and transportation, when required, was with Ama Waterways own buses which were clean and comfortable. The ship (AmaLyra) is not one of there newest ships but has been kept up remarkably well. Our cabin had a French balcony which we consider the best for river crising where your room is your balcony giving you that extra room with picture perfect views. Our cruise director was Maddy and this is our third experience with her - we consider her one of the best we have ever had. As usual, the staff were excellent and always there to help when needed and have great interaction with the guests. Dining was excellent and representative of the areas where we travelled with some special twists. Entertainment is restricted due to the nature of river cruising but local entertainment, some of which we have seen before, was brought on board a few evenings and did a wonderful job. With all the activity during the day, late evenings ae a premium. Ports were beyond expectation and selection of optional cruises made it even more so. There was a good blend of excursions mixed with daytime sailing that made it very enjoyable. The presentation given by the cruise director the day prior made selections so much easier when there was some confusion on our part as to which one to cruise. We have now been on all the rivers that Ama Waterways travel including a reapeat of the Douro river but would not hesitate to go again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Suberb,clean,modern,well organized ship.Armin, room steward and Michael cruise director were charming helpful and kind.Great staff, meals and itinerary.ThanksCaptain Stamen for great leadership! The included on shore trips were great. ... Read More
Suberb,clean,modern,well organized ship.Armin, room steward and Michael cruise director were charming helpful and kind.Great staff, meals and itinerary.ThanksCaptain Stamen for great leadership! The included on shore trips were great. HOWEVER, those with canes, or disabilities don't have equal access to sites which require extensive walking,climbing .However, staff at the sites eg Vienna private show helped with special access to elevators and seating. The music shoe in Viea was outstandin and worth every penny. Loved the Hungarian band and dancers on board the Sky Glad to have all tips included in price.Easy! The buses to and from sites were well organized . Luggage handled by staff boarding and debarking. Weathe was great for the end of August on the Danube from Nuremberg to Budapest except a bit tpp warm om Aug 30 to Aug 31. I would recommend this trip and itinerary. Just add more otions for those with disabilities and perhaps seat these people first on buses. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Word of mouth and previous cruises with Scenic Staff and cabins are good and the price is all inclusive. Off boat trips are well managed and tour guides very helpful. Transfers and flights are well organised and airport transfers ... Read More
Word of mouth and previous cruises with Scenic Staff and cabins are good and the price is all inclusive. Off boat trips are well managed and tour guides very helpful. Transfers and flights are well organised and airport transfers are well catered for. Cruise director and manager were very helpful and service was great. Room are good size and well serviced and the staff are very helpful. Top deck vantage points are excellent and full bar service is available The battlefields tours were excellent and the D Day memorial was first class. Weather was a problem on a couple of days but there were enough umbrellas to assist with the tour Coaches were good and very good drivers and guides Some more time Could have been spent at a couple of the venues but overall was well presented Overall this was a great cruise and would recommend this for a river cruise Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Delicious food, wonderful service, gorgeous boat and well planned trip from Paris to Normandy! A week in heaven! Each excursion was well Planned .... met a monk in Monastery, Givenchy to see Monet’s gardens, castle of Lionheart, ... Read More
Delicious food, wonderful service, gorgeous boat and well planned trip from Paris to Normandy! A week in heaven! Each excursion was well Planned .... met a monk in Monastery, Givenchy to see Monet’s gardens, castle of Lionheart, Normandy beaches and so much more! The meals were eloquent five course meals. Small boat so we made lots of friends. Sunsets on sky deck was the perfect ending to your busy day! We grew very attached to the staff with lots of ice cream and wine. Beautiful arrangement of fruit waiting for us upon check in. Our suite was throughly cleaned every day. The captain gave my dad a special tour of engine room and wheelhouse with explanation of locks. Cookies and Snacks and coffee 24 / 7. We lacked for nothing and were spoiled royally! The tours had wonderful and knowledgeable guides. We had air conditioned buses filled with water. Head sets and microphones made the tours easy to understand and navigate. We learned so much! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was our fourth Scenic cruise and we have to admit it was the best one yet. That's not to say the previous ones weren't excellent, because they were. It was just everything about this particular cruise made it so memorable. ... Read More
This was our fourth Scenic cruise and we have to admit it was the best one yet. That's not to say the previous ones weren't excellent, because they were. It was just everything about this particular cruise made it so memorable. As usual, everything on the ship was pristine, the staff were brilliant notably the cruise director Sonja who ensured everything ran smoothly and was a bundle of energy. Restaurant manager Doru who once finding my wife was vegetarian ensured her dietary requirements were more than met! Robert, the chef was a culinary master and special mention to our two main waiters, Cattalin and Eduardo. Our cabin attendant Thomas was first class and our butler Coco always at hand. All in all an excellent experience, enjoyed all the excursions and the company of our fellow passengers who predominantly Australian were great fun and a pleasure to be with. In between the cruise, our transfer both from airport to ship and visa versa went without problem, Thank you Scenic for everything. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Previous Scenic Cruise in 2008, inspired us to travel this destination again. Scenic have all aspects of the luxury cruising experiences covered. The suites are spacious with the added comfort of the balcony with a large outdoor window. ... Read More
Previous Scenic Cruise in 2008, inspired us to travel this destination again. Scenic have all aspects of the luxury cruising experiences covered. The suites are spacious with the added comfort of the balcony with a large outdoor window. The food is fresh and varied. The crew happy to meet every request. Destinations are varied and available to people with limited ability most of the time. The fact that the Scenic Spaceships can dock right in the centre on a city makes walking much easier in these European cities. We can only highly recommend Scenic cruising for any one planning a European river cruise as an all inclusive holiday experience. The Danube Main Rhine rivers offer unique views of endless views of vineyards, villages hundreds of years old, castle ruins, remnants of Roman times. A Scenic Cruise offers the opportunity to sample the culinary delights from many countries as well as wines from many regions. Enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My husband, son, daughter-in-law and myself all thought the trip was great. My son and his wife had never taken a river cruise and I wasn't sure they would like it. But they found their own enjoyment and had a ball. The food was ... Read More
My husband, son, daughter-in-law and myself all thought the trip was great. My son and his wife had never taken a river cruise and I wasn't sure they would like it. But they found their own enjoyment and had a ball. The food was terrific, the rooms, although not large were very nice. The staff, including the captain and the cruise director were exceptional. We joked that every where you looked the captain was there.He was there greeting you when you left the ship and when you returned. And finally the stops were, especially for someone who appreciates art, top notch. Monet's gardens were beautiful. In Rouen it was great to see the Cathedral that Monet painted multiple times. But of course one of the reasons we selected the trip was the day in Normandy which did not disappoint. It was beautiful, thoughtful and a tribute to the thousands who were buried there. This was our first Avalon cruise, but it won't be our last. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Cannot say enough good things about Scenic. Everything is 5 star plus! This was our second cruise with Scenic and the ship, crew, program, food and accommodations were all fantastic. I highly recommend river cruising. The smaller ... Read More
Cannot say enough good things about Scenic. Everything is 5 star plus! This was our second cruise with Scenic and the ship, crew, program, food and accommodations were all fantastic. I highly recommend river cruising. The smaller ships make it so easy to meet all of your fellow traveler’s. You always have sight of the shore and the scenes that you are passing as you cruise. When docked in a town or city, you are usually only a short walk from local attractions. Scenic also have 4 luxury coaches that take you to distant attractions and an average of three activities to choose from each day. The ship is a very comfortable home for the duration of the cruise. We had a balcony room on the top level (the Diamond deck). When you board you unpack your case and hang your clothes in the cupboard and slide your case under the bed ... you are home. The dining room is 5-star all the way with excellent choices in food and wine. The lounge has an excellent selection of top-shelf alcohol which is available at all times plus there is a mini-bar in your room that kept stocked. Scenic is all-inclusive and great value for your money. Highly recommend Scenic cruises. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I did explore Paris before embarkation. Saw all the local attractions and enjoyed the local restaurants. Did not like having people smoking in restaurants, hopefully this will be addressed in the near future. Welcome dinner was lovely ... Read More
I did explore Paris before embarkation. Saw all the local attractions and enjoyed the local restaurants. Did not like having people smoking in restaurants, hopefully this will be addressed in the near future. Welcome dinner was lovely with the beautiful city as a backdrop. . Dining experience was very good. Entertainment was good and enjoyed Chef’s cooking experience. Service was excellent. Some of the ports were littered with rubbish but that was not Scenic’s problem, local authorities should look into this problem. Shore excursions were very good , except the day of the Somme Battlefields excursion, the restaurant that day was not up to standard, food was terrible and were not offered anything other than the local cheap red wine. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly, thanks to the Cruise Director. Cabin was clean and very comfortable , servicing the cabin was prompt , with friendly service by staff. All in all, a very enjoyable cruise and I would highly recommend this trip. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Having cruised the Rhine also with Scenic, we needed another holiday where we would also be spoilt, and so we decided to go with them on the river Seine, visiting WW1 and 2 battlefields, and many other interesting historical places. The ... Read More
Having cruised the Rhine also with Scenic, we needed another holiday where we would also be spoilt, and so we decided to go with them on the river Seine, visiting WW1 and 2 battlefields, and many other interesting historical places. The crew of the Gem are brilliant, and there is honestly nothing bad that can be said about them, they are attentive, dedicated staff who will do anything for you. Lots of great wine and cheese to be tasted. Watch your waistline on this cruise, as France is famous for it food, and the Gem's chefs are brilliant, and produce some absolutely great meals, and of course if you don't like what's on the menus they will make you anything. Once your on-board put your wallet and CC's in the safe, you will not need them. Everything on this cruise was included, including alcoholic drinks, and by the way there is a massive range of cocktails, which can be skippered or slurped on the upper deck in a light breeze as you sail down the river. Scenic Gem can get into harbours other cruise ships can not visit, so you are alone sometimes whilst docked, brilliant! Try this you will not be disappointed, but you will be spoilt. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
-We were hoping to discover France's culture and French food, but only discovered Avalon's version. -Since we joined this Cruise from another Avalon cruise, there was no welcome aboard, only surprise from the staff ... Read More
-We were hoping to discover France's culture and French food, but only discovered Avalon's version. -Since we joined this Cruise from another Avalon cruise, there was no welcome aboard, only surprise from the staff when we asked for a daily activity sheet.(never did receive one) -Very nice accommodations, loved the large sliding window. -Loved the intimate lite meal options , in the Panorama Lounge. We do not care for the noise of a 'dining hall'. -Liked the option of a top sheet and blanket, instead of a duvet, for the bed. ( not a duvet fan) -Better description of activity levels is needed for excursions, some people on excursions should not have gone due to physical limitations, food restrictions, ect. Staff and or Cruise Director could have resolved these issues and saved some guest embarrassment. -Staff customer service could be improved on. Staff interaction improved as it got closer to the end of the cruse ( tip time) -Disliked the Big ship feel, even though there were only a little more than 120 guests. -Upper deck almost unusable due to height of bridges. -We went with this trip to experience the Seine and experience the 75th Anniversary of D-Day . D-Day remembrance was good, however none of our group had an idea of the plan for the ceremony. Even though we found out that there was a schedule available, Avalon did not supply one. *Probably will not travel with Avalon again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was our first river cruise, first time with Viking, and first trip to Europe. Throughout the entire journey, the Viking staff was very attentive, well-trained and polite. They truly want their passengers to have a good experience. ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, first time with Viking, and first trip to Europe. Throughout the entire journey, the Viking staff was very attentive, well-trained and polite. They truly want their passengers to have a good experience. The room: We were in Veranda Cabin 339 toward the end of the ship, but still convenient to everything. The room was clean, and up-to-date, with everything working properly. (same with the rest of the ship). We chose to have the balcony room, but I think we would have been fine with the lower level small upper window. However, it was nice to have a view of the shore, and keep an eye on the weather. Good sound-proofing; rarely heard any outside noise. The bathroom is small, thick and thirsty towels, and good bath products. Water pressure was fine, even to wash and rinse my long hair. Hairdryer is provided. The food: Food was very good, featuring the regional favorites, which I enjoyed since almost all our meals for the 8 days would be onboard, and I wanted some French cuisine. Each night there are varying chef specialties on the right hand side of the menu. The Chateaubriand was incredible. My favorite was the Goat Cheese Souffle. I ordered two! Order them while you can, because they are not repeated. The left side of the menu has more basic items, that are repeated each night. A similar light buffet is also an option. Alcoholic Beverages: We opted not to get the Silver Spirits Beverage package, but those who did, said it's a better value than other cruise lines. We occasionally ordered a drink, since I like sparkling wines, and they were not offered in the free wine that comes with lunch and dinner. In addition, there are times the crew provides free bubbly for toasting, or a small cocktail sample as we returned from a shore excursion. There were also free mimosas on the breakfast buffet. Crowding: There is none. You don't have to rush anywhere to save a seat. Getting on and off the ship is a breeze. Not like the cattle call of an ocean liner. Just show up where you need to be and there will be room for you. We booked our excursions in advance, but I believe that on most of them, you could still sign up the day of. Onboard Entertainment. There is a low-key piano man in the lounge. Plus a few other nightly programs such as learning French phrases, learning about cheeses, and one we didn't do: a watercolor painting class. Also dancing one night. The entertainment is one area that could use some improvement, however, it was not a high priority for us. As for in-room TV, I watched a few travel videos, but didn't spend any time watching TV or movies. Hey, it took me 58 years to get to France, and I'm not going to watch movies. In our limited free time, I planned our next day and wrote down our adventures in my travel journal. Wi-fi was not great, but this was my time to disconnect. Shore Excursions: We did the following included tours: Napoleon's Chateau de Malmaison (very interesting), Vernon Walking Tour (visited a Cathedral, with a little free time to shop), Monet Foundation Giverney (my absolute HIGHLIGHT of this trip--the Gardens were SPECTACULAR! with enough time to enjoy them), Normandy Beaches US. (good overview, but not much time spent at each stop). Panoramic Paris day trip (saw some highlights of the City, but yikes, only 15 minutes at the Eiffel Tower !?!). We paid extra for some upgraded tours: Rouen Farm and Countryside (toured the apple farm, watched a border collie herd sheep, sampled hard cider and Calvados apple brandy with a few light bites including a small apple tart.) La Roche Guyon (nice ride in the countryside to tour a Chateau, probably the least memorable of our excursions) and Paris by Night (hmm...City of Light? Saw many of the same buildings as the day trip, and only 10 minutes at the Eiffel Tower) Tour Guides & Devices: All of our tour guides did a good job, definitely looking out to not lose anybody in narrow streets and passageways. Helping those with mobility issues. You're provided an audio device to wear for each guided tour that you keep charged up in your room. Considering retirees are not always the sharpest in learning electronics, these were pretty easy to use, with minimal problems getting people hooked up, and we could hear well throughout each excursion. Weather: there is a reason Europe is so green and beautiful. It rains a lot. So be prepared with layers. Viking crew members hand you an umbrella as you depart for each excursion, if you want one. We knew the forecast for our trip was not great, but decided to have a great time anyway, and never really got poured on. Only had about a day and half of sunshine. Shipmates: At age 62 & 58, my husband and I were one of the youngest couples onboard. Almost all retirees, but fun, active, well-behaved pleasant people we enjoyed getting to know. Almost all of them had taken multiple Viking cruises! It's open seating, so use the opportunity to get to know some wonderful people and find out about their travels. Their are no children on Viking ships. I also noticed that not one person had any complaints about anything not working properly in their rooms or on the ship. Everyone seemed to be very happy. Crew: None stood out at huge personalities, but all were attentive and if anyone had a need, they were on it. Magali, our activities director, was working hard around the clock to make sure everyone was happy with their experience. Oftentimes, the Captain himself and other crew members greeted us as we returned each day. The Executive Chef was always present too, with food demos, explaining the specials, and even helping load luggage as we departed. Everyone seemed to be very happy. If there were any behind-the-scenes problems, we were never aware of them. What you don't have on the Rinda: No spa, no pool, no fitness center, no casino, no sales pitches. Negatives: The itinerary for Paris and Normandy lists Paris three times. The reality is that you will be nowhere near the heart of the city on the first two days. Timing was bad to have the only full day and night there on the last day of the cruise. If you really want to explore the main attractions in the heart of the city, you would need to add additional days. Tips to Viking: A photographer would be a nice addition to capture trip highlights. Although I don't need a full-service spa, a couple massage therapists with a massage chair would be awesome to work out those aches and pains. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This cruise was chosen because of the itinerary which turned out to be as expected. The visits to WW1, WW2 Battlefuelds and Giverney were good. However the on-board experience was not as expected - overpromised but underdelivered. The ... Read More
This cruise was chosen because of the itinerary which turned out to be as expected. The visits to WW1, WW2 Battlefuelds and Giverney were good. However the on-board experience was not as expected - overpromised but underdelivered. The 'personal butler' was hardly seen during the 10 day cruise and the services to be given by that person did not happen. Many people had difficulty with the app for a smart phone that was to be used with one's own personal device when on guuded excursions. It either did not work, or the quality of the sound was poor. There were a very limited supply of devices from Scenic, but one was not available when the app did not work on my phone. It was after 3 requests from 3 different people that the technical problems were largely resolved. The waiting staff were attentive but at times appeared to be more interested in refilling wine glasses than providing other services. As one who does not drink alcoholic beveriges, requests for alternatives at times were not met. As with many enterprises, the plans and intentions were good but some staff did not perform to expectations. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise because we have wanted to go on a river cruise vacation and at the same time experience France. My husband and I could not have been more pleased, actually we were blown away. We arrived in Paris Saturday morning, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have wanted to go on a river cruise vacation and at the same time experience France. My husband and I could not have been more pleased, actually we were blown away. We arrived in Paris Saturday morning, departure was Sunday and was seamless. The staff went above and beyond to make our trip enjoyable and memorable; to name a few Francoise, Coco, Vita, Danika, Christian, David, Eduardo, Irena and Alexandro! The manager Thomas and Valerie our cruise director were outstanding. Our cabin was room 322. It was a balcony suite and I would highly suggest that. The storage was very cleverly thought out and the bathroom was very ample for a ship this size. Meals were delicious! The ports and shore excursions were first rate as were our tour guides. Our favorite being Monet's Garden and Normandy. The towns we visited (Les Andeleys, Rouen, Honfleur especially) were beautiful and just to walk around was so enjoyable. We stayed at the Westin Hotel before and after our cruise and that too was a great experience. It was in a great location. I cannot give a negative and highly recommend Scenic. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We had been to many of the cities along the European river cruises and we wanted to go somewhere different. Our cruise experience met our expectations especially with the daily fine dining. All of the ship crew were extremely helpful and ... Read More
We had been to many of the cities along the European river cruises and we wanted to go somewhere different. Our cruise experience met our expectations especially with the daily fine dining. All of the ship crew were extremely helpful and at all times displayed a very professional application to their individual roles. The Cruise Director, Eric, was very personable and very organised throughout the cruise. The variety of off ship excursions allowed individual choices to be made. All of the tour guides were well educated about the area that we were visiting and it made the excursions very enjoyable. One of the highlights for us was the gala dinner and classical concert in one of the grandiose rooms of the Pope's Palace in Avignon. Our cabin was very comfortable and the balcony with its motorised window allowed us to enjoy the passing French country side when sailing. One negative regarding disembarkation was that we were transferred to the Marseille Airport but we were not leaving France at that time which meant we then had to take a taxi to our hotel in the centre of Marseille which is some distance from the airport. There were a number of guests in this situation and it would have been better for us to be transferred into Marseille itself. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our third Viking River Cruise (previously did 7 day Rhine and 7 day Danube, both of which I cannot recommend highly enough). Viking does an outstanding job, somethings I wish I had taken into consideration before leaving (which ... Read More
This was our third Viking River Cruise (previously did 7 day Rhine and 7 day Danube, both of which I cannot recommend highly enough). Viking does an outstanding job, somethings I wish I had taken into consideration before leaving (which are completely out of Viking's control). 1. Our cruise began on the Thursday before Easter, this led to crowds and closures at various points of our trip. 2. In preparation for the 2024 Olympic games, Paris has construction projects taking place everywhere, traffic getting in and out of the heart of the city is absolutely dreadful (this from someone born and raised in Los Angeles) 3. Another factor for crowds, a European explained to me, springtime is when many school children take field trips to various locations. 4. Finally, the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral led to increased tourist traffic at other locations. The Viking staff from booking to final departure were fantastic. We did not take the extension on either side of the trip, but booked our flight to arrive in Paris in the late morning. This allowed us to get our bags on the boat and spend several hours at the Louvre, which otherwise (due to other booked excursions) we would not have been able to see. Embarkation was great, the ship staff are outstanding. Excursion highlights, we took every included excursion (except those that conflicted with paid excursions) - several stops (after leaving Paris) include houses built in the Middle Ages that are incredible to see (Vernon and Rouen). Monet's Garden is beautiful. Out of Rouen we paid for the Farm and Country Tour which was a nice view of the Normandy country side, the farm is a neat experience. The excursion to the beaches of Normandy will leave you with a sense of profound gratitude for the soldiers of the D-Day Invasion. Having studied the history, then touring the site, I still cannot fathom the courage of the men that day. Paris at night was a treat, especially seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. Our cabin steward Filip was great, the room was always perfect. I've seen other reviews where people complain of the size of the cabin, it is not spacious, but sufficient. The only time we are in our cabin is basically to sleep. I cannot speak to the entertainment options in the lounge in the evening, we never attended. We try to stay in town as long, doing as much as we can, after dinner, we're ready for bed. Several people we talked to mentioned the different events were a good time. The food is always top notch and the dining staff attentive to your orders and requests. The guides at each of the locations are always outstanding, usually locals who give you some much more than a guide who read a book about where you are going. At the tour in Versailles, it was absolutely packed, (literally shoulder to shoulder, front to back with people in some rooms), almost impossible. Our guide (I forgot her name) went out of her way trying to keep us together, inform us about the artwork, history, etc, and made the most out of the trip, she was phenomenal there. We will undoubtedly taking Viking again (Portugal, Rhine at Christmas, and the Norwegian Fjords for starters). It was the crowds that took the shine off this trip for us. So if that is an issue for you, the Fall would probably be a better time to book this trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Wanted to revisit Normandy and visit Monet's home. As always Viking is very efficient and once on-board you can relax and enjoy all the wonderful amenities! We had been traveling on our own for a couple of weeks and loving it, but ... Read More
Wanted to revisit Normandy and visit Monet's home. As always Viking is very efficient and once on-board you can relax and enjoy all the wonderful amenities! We had been traveling on our own for a couple of weeks and loving it, but walking into our room and unpacking was like coming home! Experienced Paris by letting Viking do all the planing and as always a great job. I would just caution travelers not to go during Europe's spring break time! I also think Viking should warn travelers that the crowds will be much more intense during this time. Food and service is excellent, We loved our room. It is kept spotlessly clean and equipped very well. And if you need anything it will be delivered quickly. My only complaint this trip was the nightly "oversell" by the crew. I at times felt I was listening to a timeshare presentation. Please, not every night over dinner. Keep up the great work and we are looking forward to our next Viking trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My wife, 12 y/o granddaughter and I had a trip of a lifetime on the AmaLyra last month. The planning and execution by AmaLyra staff throughout the cruise experience was exemplary. Their transfer services were well worth the money. ... Read More
My wife, 12 y/o granddaughter and I had a trip of a lifetime on the AmaLyra last month. The planning and execution by AmaLyra staff throughout the cruise experience was exemplary. Their transfer services were well worth the money. During our arrival at CDG Paris we were met by AmaLyra reps and driver and proceeded easily to our transportation. Vehicle we rode in was very comfortable. Arrival at our hotel Paris Renaissance Parc du Trocadero was just right. Rooms were ready and while waiting to register we were greeted by Ama's sensational cruise manager Christian (more on him shortly). When we learned about our hotel change (Intercontinental to Renaissance) we were disappointed but we were highly satisfied with our experience at the Renaissance (Marriott property). Super location, rooms were well appointed, good breakfast and nice garden area for afternoon coffee/tea. We enjoyed the tours of Paris and the guides selected were quite impressive. I have visited Paris over 50 times on business but never took the time to learn about all the rich historical aspects of the city. Our tour guide/hostess was fabulous. She led us through Notre Dame (just 4 days before the fire) and our Paris at Night guide Annie, could not have been more gracious, funny and charming during our evening visit to Monmartre. She accepted our invitation to dinner and we enjoyed a wonderful discourse about the culture of France, things the French people value, life in general, etc. etc. Upon completing the two days in Paris, arrival on AmaLyra was perfect. Cabins were clean, orientation swift and all the passengers seemed to enjoy the wonderful welcome to AmaLyra's welcome aboard buffet of light snacks, drink and dessert. During the Captain's welcome reception I realized a river cruise was going to be much more intimate than your standard ocean cruise. The ship's officers were introduced which seemed to delight the passengers. The Hotel/Restaurant manager Violetta stole the show. She has an effervescent personality and was highly visible throughout the cruise. My wife particularly enjoyed the white wine (Sauvignon Blanc) served during the welcome reception and Violetta made sure it was available to my wife at lunch and dinner for the rest of the cruise (same goes for the Merlot offered at the welcome reception). The remainder of staff was excellent and we offer high kudos to several staff members. First goes to Wellness Director, Vladimir. He has enormous credibility by virtue of his study of anatomy in university. Having trained numerous world class athletes and being a former professional basketball player himself, Vladimir kept our attention as he demonstrated how to do particular core strengthening and stretching exercises but also added the why they are done a certain way and the benefit of following his technique. Since many of the early morning classes weren't highly attended it felt like a personal training session for the 4-5 regulars. Outstanding! Our head waiter Ioan, who was assisted by bar waitress Alexandra, made our meal times so special. Both were extremely accommodating in honoring our requests. Their people skills are exceptional and I was so impressed with how they handled insensitive remarks and unusual requests. Our granddaughter thoroughly enjoyed her interactions with Ioan. He really made her feel special which delighted my wife and me. Having been in the people business for almost 40 years, I especially appreciated the high level of professionalism in which they served the AmaLyra passengers. We sat in their section for every single meal - - that's how much we enjoyed our week with them. We were very sad to say goodbye to Ioan and Alexandra. Our dining experience really could not have been better. Our cabin attendant George was excellent as well and we loved his dry Romanian sense of humor. He worked very hard during our week and our cabins looked like Day 1 newly made - - every single day - - which wasn't easy considering some of the messes the girls made in their cabin - - LOL. I don't remember the name of the head chef but he and his staff did an excellent job with menu selection and overall food prep. We gravitated to the chef's recommendations each night and were especially impressed with the high standard of roasted/rotisserie meat preparation at dinner. Some of the entree offerings at lunchtime were wonderful surprises. I loved the champagne and oyster reception hosted by the captain on our 6th day prior to lunch and then the delicious steamed mussels finished in a garlic cream sauce served at lunch. Unbelievable how good that dish was! Lastly the cruise director, Christian, offered a level of enthusiasm and professionalism that would be hard to match at any cruise line (Ocean or River). He was exceptional. He never took anything for granted. His briefings on board about shore excursions were highly useful; his attention to detail to ensure nothing was overlooked (by staff or passengers) was world class. One of my favorite expressions throughout my sales leadership career was, "People don't care how much you know - - until they know how much you care". Every passenger on the AmaLyra knew Christian cared deeply about each of us having a special experience. This was best highlighted by Christian's extraordinary behind the scenes actions to ensure that one of the AmaLyra passengers injured during a biking tour, was well cared for in a Rouen hospital while the ship continued to sail. He also made sure the injured passenger's wife was updated on a regular basis and ensured she was well cared for while her husband was in hospital. If the owners of AmaLyra could have seen Christian in action, they would have been so proud. Just amazing, and inspiring. It was a wonderful, unforgettable memory we made with our granddaughter. We look forward to sailing with Ama again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We wanted to see the Normandy battlefield and see more of Paris. We loved the smaller towns we docked at and toured. Highlights were the Normandy beaches, Monet home and grounds, and seeing Notre Dame before the fire. The food and ... Read More
We wanted to see the Normandy battlefield and see more of Paris. We loved the smaller towns we docked at and toured. Highlights were the Normandy beaches, Monet home and grounds, and seeing Notre Dame before the fire. The food and staff on board were both excellent. We appreciate the right sized food portions that let us indulge in appetizers and dessert. We went on almost every included tour and continue to be impressed with the quality of the guides. I also like the large tables in the dining room where we met a lot of fun and interesting people on board. We paid extra to set our own departure airfare and spent an extra week outside Paris and saw much more in the area including Reims Verdun and Provins which I would highly recommend We’ve enjoyed both Viking river cruises we’ve taken and are looking forward to another one. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
7 days, Good destinations. Normandy was incredibly worth going to. The only big disappointment was the 3 hour bus tour in Paris. I had expected to be able to stop more often for photo opportunities - not just the Eiffel Tower. The ... Read More
7 days, Good destinations. Normandy was incredibly worth going to. The only big disappointment was the 3 hour bus tour in Paris. I had expected to be able to stop more often for photo opportunities - not just the Eiffel Tower. The staff on board were superb. The program director was marvelous. Everyone really seemed to care about our journey. It was December and cold, and whenever we returned to the boat from an outing, the crew welcomed us with hot soup or cider or something like that. They provided bottled water constantly when we got off the boat. Some of the local guides were hard to understand (dialects) but some were excellent. I was very disappointed that we did not get to stop at the artist Monet home and gardens, as they said it was closed. There was one experience that was superb. At one of the shore excursions we went into a small art gallery. I wanted to buy a small piece of art, but the gallery owners spoke no English. We rushed back to the ship with the telephone number of the artist, and I asked if someone could possibly call the artist to be sure we were understanding one another. The wonderful gal concierge said yes. The captain of the boat was standing nearby, so she asked him! The Captain called the artist, we understood everything, and returned to purchase the art. Now THAT was something very special, and sets the tone for the rest of the staff. The onboard experience was simply lovely. The longboard do not have fitness, no children under 18, specialties or entertainment, other than a pianist who played from time to time during cocktail hour. The lounge was a very comfortable place to socialize or read or just enjoy being. The daily briefings were well done and extremely helpful. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We sailed on two Uniworld cruises prior to our first Viking River Cruise. The itinerary and date on the Viking Rolf matched what we were looking for to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. The only low point was that several excursions ... Read More
We sailed on two Uniworld cruises prior to our first Viking River Cruise. The itinerary and date on the Viking Rolf matched what we were looking for to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. The only low point was that several excursions were cancelled, including Versailles, due to the riots in Paris. Most attractions were closed during the organized demonstrations on the weekends in December. Highlights of this Cruise were: Touring all the sights with no Summer crowds; Normandy, Vernon, Rouen; Cruise Director Michael Brightman — hIs genuine enthusiasm for this area of France is contagious; Meeting great people! The best part was the post-excursion to The Loire Valley — a must do! We ended up having a “semi-private” tour of this wonderful area. There are no words to describe Château de Chenonceau at Christmas! Thank you Viking Rolf for your attention to detail, outstanding service, and making this an extra special trip! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
My husband and I had enjoyed one previous Viking river cruise (Danube Waltz), and we planned and booked this trip nearly 21 months in advance. I have a particular interest in World War II history and have visited Pearl Harbor several ... Read More
My husband and I had enjoyed one previous Viking river cruise (Danube Waltz), and we planned and booked this trip nearly 21 months in advance. I have a particular interest in World War II history and have visited Pearl Harbor several times, so I was very much looking forward to spending time at the Normandy D-Day invasion sites and the American cemetery at Colleville-sur-mer. Our good friends and travel companions, of whom he is a retired U.S. Army brigadier general, had not traveled on Viking before this trip. We were proud to share with them all of the exceptional aspects of quality and attention to detail for which Viking is famous. Our cabin was perfect and always spotless. All of our meals were absolutely delicious, and we appreciated the variety available at each meal. "Blondie," the amazing gentleman who entertained us at the piano, was, by himself, worth going on the cruise. His talent and lovely personality enhanced every evening in the lounge. Nearly every crew member was pleasant and welcoming, and acted as though taking care of the passengers' needs was enjoyable and fulfilling for them personally. I know they all work hard and we tried to be very generous with them at the end of the cruise. Our shore excursions were delightful as well as informative; we particularly enjoyed Montmartre and Lyon. The highlight, of course, was the full day at the D-Day invasion sites. The sites, the commentary from our guide, and my feelings of deep gratitude mixed with sadness, will stay with me forever. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We were able to add three days in Paris before we boarded. There were activities available to us through Viking for those days - very nice! The ship was elegant, uncluttered. The cabin looked small but lived large. There were spaces ... Read More
We were able to add three days in Paris before we boarded. There were activities available to us through Viking for those days - very nice! The ship was elegant, uncluttered. The cabin looked small but lived large. There were spaces imaginatively carved out of seemingly no room. The food was very good: breakfast was standard buffet, dinner was delightful. Each wine was chosen for the menu and I was not accustomed to such excellent pairings. The service was prompt and cheerful. The included shore excursions had a lot of medieval half timber buildings, and at least one church (always named Notre Dame, which I didn't know was standard in France). The tour guides were particularly good in the churches. Other than Normandy and the beaches, the churches were our favorite part. My husband and I traveled by ourselves yet never lacked for good company among the other passengers. The one thing I would like to have more of is cruising during daylight hours. We loved sitting on our balcony in the crisp air watching castles, churches, and fall colors. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was our first-ever river cruise. MUCH prefer the small ship experience to the big cruise ships. The Avalon Paris-Normandy trip itinerary was appealing, especially since my husband is a WWII buff. I really loved the visits to the Monet ... Read More
This was our first-ever river cruise. MUCH prefer the small ship experience to the big cruise ships. The Avalon Paris-Normandy trip itinerary was appealing, especially since my husband is a WWII buff. I really loved the visits to the Monet and Van Gogh home sites. Each stop was fascinating, however. Thoroughly enjoyed every single day! Avalon's service is superb. Cannot say enough good things about the dining and bar wait staff - excellent. Our dining room waiter Andre was charming and super attentive. Marie in the bar knew what we drank and was always a sweetheart. The cruise director Tony was also top notch. No request was too much. He went out of his way to ensure the ship's passengers were happy. The tour guides each day were also extremely impressive; very knowledgeable, organized, and accommodating. And I forgot the food. Very good!! Fresh, creative, and very tasty. One night my husband noted that his portion of lamb seemed small and was quickly offered a double portion, no problem. One criticism: The day trip to Normandy beaches was very rushed. Understandably difficult, since getting there takes 1.5 hours each way. But perhaps instead of a formal lunch, which ate into the day, I would recommend a quick box lunch. Realistically, it would be much better to extend Normandy into a two-day experience. There is so much to see - the one-day tour is but a little taste of what that area offers. But overall, we had an absolutely AMAZING trip. I highly recommend Avalon Waterways, without reservation. They are excellent in pretty much every area. Hard to beat! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was our second Scenic cruise. We did the Duoro river in Portugal last fall. We have also been on 3 Uniworld 1 Viking river cruise and an Avalon cruise. .This itinerary - Paris to Paris and the cruise length were ideal. As well, our ... Read More
This was our second Scenic cruise. We did the Duoro river in Portugal last fall. We have also been on 3 Uniworld 1 Viking river cruise and an Avalon cruise. .This itinerary - Paris to Paris and the cruise length were ideal. As well, our previous experience with Viking was reason enough to go with them again. I had been cautioned by an acquaintance that the food on his Scenic cruise in Bordeaux earlier this year was not very good. I have to agree with that. At best the food was medioce. The best meal was the Rack of Lamb. All other meals were forgetable. On our last evening, we ate at the l’amour restaurant. Our table had the duck confit. The flavour was good, but the meat was extremely dry and tough. Everyone I spoke to (who had the duck) had the same comment. It was a good way to end the cruise. In general, the breakfast and lunch buffets were very good. The food was kept hot, was varied and tasty. In all cases the desserts were excellant. The staff on board were extremely efficient and very friendly. Our cabin was made up promptly. Special kudos to Sophia, Daniel, and the rest of the wait-staff. As well, Benjamin was an excellant cruise director. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018

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