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947 Paris to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

We chose this ship for its itinerary on the Seine. We were truly looking forward to Vernon and Monet's Garden, which was spectacular, but we fell in love with every inch of France we saw!! Avalon knows how to treat passengers like ... Read More
We chose this ship for its itinerary on the Seine. We were truly looking forward to Vernon and Monet's Garden, which was spectacular, but we fell in love with every inch of France we saw!! Avalon knows how to treat passengers like royalty. From the captain to the chamber maids this crew was exceptionally talented at their job and very eager to assist passengers in any way possible. The cruise director works for a different company, and while she was pleasant enough I felt she had no empathy, and lacked a bit in the customer service area. Unfortunately I became ill on an excursion, and was essentially abandoned. When we did get back to the ship we had to seek her out. It was hours later, and she didn't call, come by the cabin, or leave a note. This ship is clean and beautiful. Every single morsel of food was delicious! Everything was absolutely first class. We stayed in a smaller cabin on Indigo deck, and it was roomier than we'd find on an ocean cruise, and nicely appointed. The bed was roomy and very comfortable. We would most definitely recommend this cruise and would definitely sail with Avalon again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Everything is possible on this cruise. The officers and crew on board are very friendly and helpful. The drinks and food are all very good. The outings are thoughtfully planned with consideration of the capabilities of the guests. While ... Read More
Everything is possible on this cruise. The officers and crew on board are very friendly and helpful. The drinks and food are all very good. The outings are thoughtfully planned with consideration of the capabilities of the guests. While most of the guests are retired and generally senior in nature, many are very friendly and became friends towards the end of the trip. The most interesting nature is that this is an all inclusive trip with all drinks included (including premium liquor and wine, all the guests drink responsibly with none over indulge, this shows the quality of the guests this cruise line serves and hopefully strives to serve. We preferred the all inclusive nature of the cruise line, which is priced in local currency depending on the country of the guests (rather than in USD) so that the guests know exactly the cost of the trip. In this way, we pay for the trip with a smile beforehand rather than settling the bill with a frown and anxiety at the end of the trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I have cruised on Avalon before and found them to be a wonderful and relaxing way to travel. I travel as a single. Their staff is very helpful in providing information on things to see and do on your own. You meet other nice travelers ... Read More
I have cruised on Avalon before and found them to be a wonderful and relaxing way to travel. I travel as a single. Their staff is very helpful in providing information on things to see and do on your own. You meet other nice travelers from all over the world. You see sites that you would never see unless you got off the beaten bath. Many UNESCO sites that would be missed if you sailed a larger ship. The food and wine are delicious. The staff is friendly and helpful. I chose a French cruise because I was interested in the history and the architecture of that region. The cruise provided both. The tour guides were knowledgeable and were locals who really knew the area. Unfortunately the water was high so we were unable to visit some of the cities that were scheduled. But just another reason to do this very same cruise or another Avalon cruise that incorporates the cities I missed. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My wife's father was in the D-day invasion and we wanted to visit the Normandy beaches. Pros of this line and ship: Excellent staff Good itinerary Good food Clean Excellent handling of air reservations and pick up ... Read More
My wife's father was in the D-day invasion and we wanted to visit the Normandy beaches. Pros of this line and ship: Excellent staff Good itinerary Good food Clean Excellent handling of air reservations and pick up and drop off at airport Informative enrichment programs Cons Wi-Fi is not secure Staterooms were tiny Only four TV stations: Sky Sports 1 CNN Fox News and CNBC. Four other stations did not work. I am somewhat disappointed with Viking. Most of my complaints are minor. However my biggest complaint was that they advertise a stay on the boat in Paris on the first and last nights. The boat was NOT in Paris. It was in a suburb resulting in a bus ride of anywhere from 30 minutes to as long as 2 hours. This is not good. Added to shore excursions that were too long made for an exhausting and not relaxing vacation. Shuttle buses to and from Paris were only pick up and drop off separated by six to eight hours. Thus on our own on day one we chose to pay for a cab to return to the boat early. I don't care if they charge more. They absolutely need to dock closer to the city. The promotional information is therefore misleading. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise for the destination--Paris to Normandy, and for the quality of the food, wine, service, day excursions and entertainment...all excellent. All of the crew were gracious all of the time to passengers, taking the extra ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the destination--Paris to Normandy, and for the quality of the food, wine, service, day excursions and entertainment...all excellent. All of the crew were gracious all of the time to passengers, taking the extra step to make everything wonderful for each of us. Day excursions went to important places and were planned well--coordinated buses, excellent knowledgeable tour guides who were locals and well informed. Most all days there was a choice of 2 or 3 different excursions, all interesting. Electric assist bikes were available at many ports along with a brief lesson for those who can ride a bike but never rode electric. A pianist played at lunch and after dinner in a lovely lounge. Other entertainment was also brought in a couple of nights--for example a parisian singer and a 60 rock group. The cruise director seemed to know everyone and was always ready to assist with particular needs. She organized the most amazing disembarkation--specialized to each passengers needs. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I chose this cruise because Avalon waived the single supplement which saved me quite a bit of money. The cruise itself was fantastic. I liked my room which was plenty big enough for me and the bathroom was a nice size. The food was ... Read More
I chose this cruise because Avalon waived the single supplement which saved me quite a bit of money. The cruise itself was fantastic. I liked my room which was plenty big enough for me and the bathroom was a nice size. The food was excellent and the land tours were led by enthusiastic and informative guides.I had flown into Paris the day before the cruise, and made my own hotel arrangements for that part of the trip. I'd advise anyone to have an extra day in Paris. I really enjoyed the tour of Normandy and the optionals to Honfleur and Versailles, although Versailles was super crowded. I was so impressed with Avalon that I have already booked a trip in 2020 with them. There was a nice lounge area on the back of deck three where you could get all sorts of coffee and pastry as well as hot chocolate. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We have just returned from Scenic Tours’ Spectacular South of France river cruise. This was our fourth river cruise with Scenic and it was every bit as enjoyable as the previous three. The crew on the Scenic Sapphire could not have ... Read More
We have just returned from Scenic Tours’ Spectacular South of France river cruise. This was our fourth river cruise with Scenic and it was every bit as enjoyable as the previous three. The crew on the Scenic Sapphire could not have been more accommodating and helpful. Our room was cleaned perfectly every morning and every evening by our wonderful room maid, Gabi. The waiters in the lounge and restaurant provided us with fast, efficient and friendly service. We were very well-served by them during our voyage by the waiters (I hope the spellings are correct) Bogdan, Mihal, Valentin (thanks for the extra butter!) and Radzan. Istfan, the executive chef, is a creative wonder. His meals were always delicious and very nicely flavoured. Each morning, we started the day with a fresh, tasty omelette prepared expertly by chef Gabriel. As well, other crew members whose names, regrettably, we have missed or forgotten, were always polite and eager to please. All of the Scenic Free Choice excursions (included in the price of the trip) were wonderful. Local guides gave us lots of information on the many great sites and medieval villages that we saw. The two excursions not to be missed were the Abby at Cluny and the Pope’s palace in Avignon. The whole trip was very enjoyable for us. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We toured with Avalon last year on the Danube and had a wonderful experience. So we decided to go with Scenic expecting an even higher level of service. The Scenic Diamond is a relatively new ship with all amenities. The service on board ... Read More
We toured with Avalon last year on the Danube and had a wonderful experience. So we decided to go with Scenic expecting an even higher level of service. The Scenic Diamond is a relatively new ship with all amenities. The service on board was above and beyond at every level. Sadly, the two most important parts of the on-board experience came up short. The food and wines were nowhere near the level of Avalon at any time. We tried to find wines to suit to no avail and the decent meals we had were off menu items. The entertainment was 50-60 year old music mostly for the 80 year olds on board. Many of the bus tours were delayed by hours due to poor scheduling resulting in more busing than cruising. Due to the confinement in buses my wife and I both ended up getting a virus which lasted two weeks after the voyage. I guess 3 stars may be be too high. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise as it was something my elderly mother and father had always wanted to do. My father passed away before they had the chance to go so we did a mother daughter trip. The ship was beautiful and the staff were incredible ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was something my elderly mother and father had always wanted to do. My father passed away before they had the chance to go so we did a mother daughter trip. The ship was beautiful and the staff were incredible with their service no matter what role they had on the boat. The food was amazing - as was the wine selections it was truly a wonderful experience and a wonderful way to see the Seine and its rich history. The organised trips were good although my only feedback on these were some were very arduous for any one really elderly or with mobility impairments. Although in saying this the cruise director was very good at describing each tour option the evening before. This was a lovely experience and total "all inclusive" so the price covered everything except the hairdresser or the massage, no tipping required. We could not really fault this except the weather could have been a little kinder :-) Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Chose this cruise because the ship went to Normandy, and we had never been to Paris. The ships was fairly new, and was excellent in every way. All inclusive, so never paid for anything else but a little laundry, cruise director Valerie, ... Read More
Chose this cruise because the ship went to Normandy, and we had never been to Paris. The ships was fairly new, and was excellent in every way. All inclusive, so never paid for anything else but a little laundry, cruise director Valerie, was exceptional. Food and beverage was outstanding. I think you would be hard pressed to find a better cruise line than scenic. I would highly recommend this cruise line. Shore excursions were handled by experienced professionals who were very well versed on subject matter. Ship could have had a few more onboard activity’s. Average age of travelers was about 75. All of the employees were helpful and courteous. We have cruised on larger ships before, but never again. Smaller river cruise is better, we were double parked many times with other ships, and very few were as nice as scenic. Tauck was the only other one that looked as nice, but the ship was older. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Travel agent recommended. Everything was wonderful. We enjoyed the room very much except for the septic odour that was prevalent on a number of occasions and the lighting, which was not very good, especially for the application of ... Read More
Travel agent recommended. Everything was wonderful. We enjoyed the room very much except for the septic odour that was prevalent on a number of occasions and the lighting, which was not very good, especially for the application of make-up. The cleaning staff did an excellent job of taking care of any requests we had and tried on a number of occasions to get rid of the door, with some success but it did not last long. The odour did make it difficult to sit on the balcony for any length of time. The staff was absolutely wonderful, extremely helpful and very personable. They made the trip as wonderful as it was. I would recommend Scenic to my friends based on the excellent service the staff provided. The food was excellent and the selection of shore excursions gave everyone an opportunity to see many various parts of the country. Great job again by the crew. 6 stars out of 5********. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I had done the Rhine River Cruise before and thoroughly enjoyed it. This one was equally as brilliant but maybe a little less “hectic”. A joy from beginning to end. The staff were so friendly, welcoming and professional. The food ... Read More
I had done the Rhine River Cruise before and thoroughly enjoyed it. This one was equally as brilliant but maybe a little less “hectic”. A joy from beginning to end. The staff were so friendly, welcoming and professional. The food was exceptional. The scenery and tours were all first class, five star all the way! Everything was so well organised that you knew every day exactly what time to expect everything to happen. The executive chef, captain, crew, manager, cruise director bar attendants, restaurant, waiters and waitresses were all very professional and friendly. Every excursion we went on was extremely interesting and the guides were very interesting and friendly. I would not hesitate in recommending this cruise to anyone. The only thing I would advise is to make sure you are reasonably fit because even the tours said to be easy walking etc could be very tiring. Do it now! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise initially because we were attracted to the itinerary which included Monet and Van Gogh homes and the Normandy beach Memorials. We chose Avalon because the rooms were spacious and bed faced out on sliding doors instead ... Read More
We chose this cruise initially because we were attracted to the itinerary which included Monet and Van Gogh homes and the Normandy beach Memorials. We chose Avalon because the rooms were spacious and bed faced out on sliding doors instead of balconies limiting inside space. We were so pleasantly surprised! All of the cruise employees spoke English, were very pleasant and helpful and spent their day making sure everything was well taken care of. Our cruise director Jean Loup was always available, and coordinated all of the excursions with attention to detail to assure that we arrived early so that we dodged the crowds and all of the guides were knowledgeable and pleasant! To the very last day even when we left the ship he worked tirelessly to make sure all went smoothly! Our room was just as advertised, it and the ship were immaculately clean, the food was outstanding and the ride was smooth as silk! Special shout out to Octavian, Simone, Valentin, and George on the wait staff they were always there if we needed something! Our only negatives were not against Avalon. France as is much of Europe is not an accessible trip, it is difficult at times to navigate, though Avalon did twice hook us up with so all trolleys which got us to the top of Etratat’ and to the top of Montmartre, which we would have never seen otherwise! And, Paris was like any Metropolitan City difficult on your own (when you are of a certain age). All in all Thank you Avalon for making our trip the best it could be! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise because we were going to explore the wine regions of Bordeaux and area. We were also interested in the culinary classes. We were also very interested in the bike tours. We began the trip in Paris. I highly ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were going to explore the wine regions of Bordeaux and area. We were also interested in the culinary classes. We were also very interested in the bike tours. We began the trip in Paris. I highly recommend that you start the tour by spending a few extra days in Paris. There is so much to do and see and one day is far from enough time. We rode the train to Bordeaux. The transition went very smoothly because the Scenic team was very organized. We were welcome onto the ship by the friendly and courteous staff. I felt the room was a little smaller (not much) than a previous cruise I had taken, however I was not too concerned because we spent very little time in our room. The rooms (and ship) were always very clean. There was always a variety of entertainment in the evenings ranging from jazz, music trivia and disco nights. The port and shore excursions were excellent. We were able to a visit a variety of chateaus, try a variety of wines from different farms. The excursion to Remy Martin was very enjoyable. The bike tours through the vineyards were breathtaking. The one area I feel was a little disappointing was the culinary cuisine class. I thought it would be hands on participation and it wasn’t. However, I believe that the space limitation wouldn’t allow for that. It still was an enjoyable experience. Finally, I can’t express enough how friendly and courteous the staff were, often going above and beyond to make our stay pleasurable. I definitely feel that I would most likely enjoy a scenic tour in the near future but I would like to explore another area of the world. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We are serial river cruisers but this year we were only able to make a relatively late booking, due to unforeseen domestic circumstances. We had not experienced Shearings river cruises before but, at fairly short notice, Shearings were the ... Read More
We are serial river cruisers but this year we were only able to make a relatively late booking, due to unforeseen domestic circumstances. We had not experienced Shearings river cruises before but, at fairly short notice, Shearings were the only company that could fly us out of Bristol to Paris CDG. Our transfer from CDG to the ship was by a private hire car - very impressive - although we were quite concerned about the driver who seemed to spend lots of time looking at his phone and drifting into adjacent traffic lanes! We didn't see any of the well known parts of the city during the 30 minute drive, and finally stopped at a small and un-cared for river berth in a seedy part of the city about 15 miles from the centre of Paris. On all the other river cruise companies that we've used, a different and interesting excursion is included in the price each day. Shearings included only 3 excursions, and the others were 'optional' and had to be paid for. The highlight of the cruise was an included coach trip from the rather insignificant town of Caudebec-en-Caux to the Normandy landing beaches, which were most interesting. But the long coach trip each way could have been significantly shortened if we had moored at the beautiful harbour town of Honfleur at which the more upmarket river cruisers moor. Honfleur is a great favourite of most travellers and many our fellow guests were quite disappointed not to visit there. Perhaps this was something to do with port charges, In Rouen, we moored about a mile from the town centre while other river cruise ships were moored at the closest point to the town. Did this also have something to do with port charges for prime positions? Apart from Rouen, all the other stopping places were pleasant - but small and quite insignificant towns along the river. We spent a day and a half in Rouen, which was far too long, but at Vernon we only had half an hour to go ashore, following an interesting excursion to Monet’s garden. Why were we charged £22 for that excursion when the ticket entry price was only 8 Euros and the Shearings coach we used had been shadowing us throughout the cruise? Dining ! What can we say? There were two quite separate and different dining rooms available, separated by a kitchen and a mish-mash of alleyways in which buffet style food was laid out for each meal of the day. For almost £2,000 a week each, we would have expected table service, at least at lunch and dinner, and at no time were told that all meals would be buffet style. One of the corridors intersected at 90 degrees with the kitchen entry/exit door, resulting in frequent conflict with plate carrying stewards when removing plates from the tables or delivering drinks. In other areas of the buffet alley ways, passengers continuously got in each others' way which became frustrating at times – there simply was not enough space for passengers to easily access the buffet. The food was principally German in style and flavour - often salty or greasy and without any traditional English dishes available. e.g no bacon, beans, pork sausage or poached eggs for breakfast, and marmalade only available for 2 days before it appeared to run out. Also no British 'roasts' except for some pink-in-the-centre sliced beef and lamb on two occasions The principal language on board was German, with about 120 Germans against less than 50 British guests However, we were only told that we would meet 'International guests' and nothing about the main language on board being German and that the German theme would also extend to the food and the music. We have nothing against our German friends, but we feel that Shearings were rather economical with the details in this area. In general, cabin and catering staff were from various European countries, as seems to be the norm on river cruise ships, and they were generally very friendly and eager to please, although not all had a good grasp of English. We were happy to leave a gratuity which would be shared amongst all the crew. The German Cruise Director and the ladies on the reception desk all spoke very good English and were most helpful. Basically a very, very poor pre-cruise description, leaving passengers to discover that everything is not always as the Shearings glossy brochure presents. So our advice to potential guests would be to ask some searching questions about the above points before booking a Shearings/A-Rosa river cruise. For, unlike many of their competitors, Shearings don't have their own ships, so sub contract their passengers onto German flag vessels, which seems to be a consistent problem for several of the writers of some on line reviews I have read. Shearings took four weeks to respond to our letter (above) but did not acknowledge or specifically comment on much of what we had said, except for saying ‘sorry’ several times. Would we choose Shearings for a holiday again? No. Would we recommend Shearings river cruises to others? Definitely not. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This barge hotel cruise on and along the Marne river was absolutely fantastic! It is by far the most relaxing way to travel I've ever experienced. Plenty of on board activities from which to choose during the cruising portion. ... Read More
This barge hotel cruise on and along the Marne river was absolutely fantastic! It is by far the most relaxing way to travel I've ever experienced. Plenty of on board activities from which to choose during the cruising portion. Interesting daily excursions to learn of the local history, observe a different way of life and take in all that France has to offer. The crew were very attentive and hospitable. One of the biggest, if not THE biggest, highlight of the trip was the food. Breakfast was a typical French style buffet with all the trimmings. Lunch and dinner were menus, in the French style, prepared by our Chef and paired with a variety of wines and cheeses from around France. Each meal was unique and full of variety culminating at the end of the week with our Gala Dinner. One of the excursion highlights, and a major reason why we chose this particular cruise, was the falconry demonstration at Chateau Thierry. It was very well done and quite a moving presentation, which included an American Bald Eagle and, even more surprisingly, Storks. If you are looking for a more intimate way to cruise, Passenger to Crew ratio was 17 - 6, consider barge hotel cruises. We are most definitely looking forward to our next barge hotel cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
A romantic river cruise? The A Rosa Viva advertising is more alluring than the experience. I echo the English speaking commentaries about a distinct lack of staff training. Even attempting to point out the lack of respect shown to us from ... Read More
A romantic river cruise? The A Rosa Viva advertising is more alluring than the experience. I echo the English speaking commentaries about a distinct lack of staff training. Even attempting to point out the lack of respect shown to us from a waitress, the maitre de brushed it off as normal behaviour. The cleaning personnel were the friendliest, and not as pompous as their colleagues. The engine broke down and we were forced to look at a berthing wall for three consecutive days in Rouen, France. We were offered a 20% discount on a next A Rosa cruise (in a German letter, of course), but even that will not entice us to choose this Company again. Whilst we accept the Caveat Emptor principle, we can only caution other potential disappointed passengers.We spoke to passengers travelling on a Viking river boat, and were jealous of their obvious joy in their cruising company. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This is our second time with Scenic, the first being 14 nights from Amsterdam to Budapest. The Scribe in Paris was our pre cruise hotel and it was wonderful. The room was very comfortable and the staff very friendly. Scenic was able to ... Read More
This is our second time with Scenic, the first being 14 nights from Amsterdam to Budapest. The Scribe in Paris was our pre cruise hotel and it was wonderful. The room was very comfortable and the staff very friendly. Scenic was able to extend our stay with their rates for 6 nights which helped for a smooth transition. We bussed from Paris to Chalon Sur Seone where we embarked. Bus ride was about 5 hours excluding a stop for lunch along the way. Embarkation was easy! We stayed in a Royal Balcony Suite which was great. The extra space was well worth the extra cost and our butler and cabin attendant were terrific. Maybe it's because we were in France but the food and wines were outstanding. The entertainer was very versatile and good. Ports were fine although we wondered why we stopped at Vienne, but my guess is because of spacing and availability for the boats along the river. There was not much to see and we were only there for a few hours. The "special experiences" offered by Scenic were also great...Scenic enrich, sundowner cocktails, and the two specialty dinners. The best part of everything is included. It's always nice to leave with no need to pay for anything else. Granted you pay it in the fare but it's still nice not to get charged for "extras" like so many other cruise lines do. I would travel with them again and highly recommend. They are two for two with us! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our second Uniworld cruise (our first was on the Rhine) and my first time in Paris! I don't think it's possible to not have a great time when you start and end in Paris. The boat was beautiful! Not everyone likes ... Read More
This was our second Uniworld cruise (our first was on the Rhine) and my first time in Paris! I don't think it's possible to not have a great time when you start and end in Paris. The boat was beautiful! Not everyone likes the Uniworld decor but I felt it was reflective our where we were touring. The food was delicious and service was great. I thought the cruise director, Theirrey (I'm not sure that I spelled his name incorrectly), was very good and encouraged us to take a few tours that really made our trip (motorcycle side-car tour of Montmartre). I'd also like to thank, Augustine, who was professional, pleasant and witty, and always served our late night drinks with a smile. Overall, our fellow travelers were very friendly and social. Our party made friends with a great couple that we keep in contact with and will see this year in Florida. Groups seemed to mix very well on this trip. There was a lot of socializing after dinner and the entertainment for two nights was very good and had the dance floor packed. This was a very tour intensive trip. I did not realize that the Masterpiece Selection tours were going to be available, albeit for an extra cost. There were so many noteworthy things to see as I have outlined below. Unlike the Rhine, there did not seem to be a lot of traffic on the river. Most of the time, there were no boats visible as we were cruising. We arrived a day before embarkment and stayed in the beautiful St. Germain area, or 6th arrondissement, at the Hotel Esprit St. Germain. We loved this boutique hotel and we stayed for a reasonable price, probably due to it being the end of August. We walked to the Jardin du Luxembourg, walked by Notre Dame and toured Sainte Chapelle right before closing, so it wasn't busy. We ended the day dining outdoors at the restaurant recommended by the hotel. The next morning we enjoyed breakfast with our travel companions at Cafe de Flore. After that, we headed over to the boat around 10:30am. Apparently, everyone else had the same idea. While it wasn't on the agenda for the day, we went on a cruise of Paris on one of the main tour companies, perhaps because so many people showed up on the early side. Unfortunately, it was very hot, over 90 degrees and the boat was very crowded. No fault of Uniworld but this would have been much more enjoyable on a different day, when the temperatures were more moderate and the crowds lessened. Day 2 of Seine Cruise: We had two excisions with the first being Chateau de La Roche Guyon, an interesting castle first built in the 12th century with additions in the 14th and 18th centuries. In 1944, Rommel requisitioned the castle and used it as his headquarters. After the tour, back to the boat for lunch and then a short bus ride to Giverny to visit Monet’s house and gardens. Some folks from the cruise biked about 4 miles along the Seine to the property. Beautiful! Day 3 of Seine River Cruise - Normandy Beaches The Normandy beaches were a three hour bus ride from where our boat was docked but was well worth the trip. We visited two of the five landing beaches of the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, Utah and Omaha Beaches (the American landings). The Canadians in our group visited Juno Beach. We also visited Pointe du Hoc, the highest point of the American landings which was scaled by rangers, Sainte Mere-Eglise, and the American cemetery. Day 4 of Seine River Cruise - Golfing at Etretat and shopping in Honfleur The guys golfed at Etretat, a course with spectacular views of the Normandy Coast while the ladies chose to visit Honfleur, a picturesque village, the subject of many painters. Loved Honfleur! We finished the day off by walking to the cathedral at Rouen at 10:00pm, to watch an amazing light and sound display. Rouen is the city where Joan of Arc was martyred. Days 5 & 6 on Seine River Cruise - Mont Saint-Michel and Versailles Drove several hours to UNESCO site, Mont Saint-Michel, an island that is home to a medieval Benedictine monastery and a former pilgrimage destination. We took the shuttle but independent travelers, not on our cruise, can hire a guide to walk in during low tide, which is dangerous due to quickly changing tides and quick sand! The following day we visited Versailles. No lines and we toured the private apartments. Only 3 kings lived at the palace, Louis XIV, XV and XVI. Final Day of Seine River Cruise - Retro Sidecar in Montmartre and an evening at the Moulin Rouge No history or culture today! Started the day with a little shopping and stroll along the Champs-Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe. Headed back to the boat to take our motorcycle-sidecar tour. Loved the ride and our brief time in Montmartre. Returned back to the area at night to go to the Moulin Rouge. Quite an experience! Sorry, photos of the show are not allowed! We spent a few more days in Paris after the cruise and toured the Louvre, L'Orangerie (to see Monet's waterlily panels), Jardin de Tuilleries, and ate at the Jules Verne restaurant in the 2nd platform of the Eiffel Tower (made a reservation months prior). My theory on river cruises is that so many different things can impact your experience. The weather, crowds, water levels, people on board, service,... However, so far, we've had two great cruises on Uniworld and are booked for the Danube next year. The River Heritage Credit for being return customers and the early booking, pay in full, 10% discount has made Uniworld and attractive option for us (plus a couple of complimentary bags of laundry). I hope future travelers have a great experience on the Joie de Vivre as well! Bon voyage! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This is our fifth cruise with Scenic and it has been impossible to find fault with any of them. We have found on this cruise, as with the other cruises, that all of the staff go “the extra mile” to ensure that you have an enjoyable ... Read More
This is our fifth cruise with Scenic and it has been impossible to find fault with any of them. We have found on this cruise, as with the other cruises, that all of the staff go “the extra mile” to ensure that you have an enjoyable voyage. There is a variable and high standard of cuisine with quality wines and a large variety of alcoholic beverages. There is also a 24/7 self service machine for coffee and other hot drinks. Transfers at both the start and end of the voyage are arranged and carried out efficiently with the occasional chauffeured pick up and return to home on some voyages. The guides on the various inclusive tours are also friendly, knowledgable and fully fluent in English as well as other languages. We believe that Scenic “all inclusive “ prices give the best value for money. We chose this cruise because it was in a part of France that we had not visited before. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We were originally scheduled to do Gems of Northern Italy but the ship was damaged in a port accident so we switched to the Grand France tour. The first week was on board the S. S. Catherine (reviewed separately) with a high-speed train ... Read More
We were originally scheduled to do Gems of Northern Italy but the ship was damaged in a port accident so we switched to the Grand France tour. The first week was on board the S. S. Catherine (reviewed separately) with a high-speed train connection between Lyon and Paris to begin the second leg. The train trip to Paris was fantastic. Everything was looked after by our lovely escorts and we arrived without incident. The ship: Decor was classic; beautiful and well-maintained. The maintenance staff worked hard to keep everything clean and shiny. Because we switched at the last minute, we were not able to get the same category cabin as we had booked on the Venice cruise so we were in the "basement". The room was larger than the one on the first leg of the trip. We didn't spend a lot of time in our room, so the size and location wasn't a huge issue. The guest laundry was located on this floor which was very convenient. However, the only coffee station on the ship was next to the bar on the other end of the boat which was very inconvenient. We had the same issue with the a/c on the Joie de Vive as we did on the Catherine; it was not nearly adequate given the temperature in France at the time. Even with the thermostat set as low as possible (5C), the temperature in the room never got cool enough. I was extremely uncomfortable, especially at night, and even though I requested a fan, none was provided. The pool was indoors in the middle of the bar - very unappealing location. It was covered over at night. The main lounge and rooftop deck were comfortable and it was wonderful to sit there and watch castles float by. The staff: By and large, we found the staff to be excellent. Most of them are from Eastern Europe but speak English well. I took the time to learn a few pleasantries (good day, please, thank-you) in Bulgarian, Romanian and Hungarian which they seemed to really appreciate. It was an ice-breaker that got them chatting about their countries and families. The food: I had high expectations for the food and was rather disappointed. It was fine, but not great. We took a cruise up the coast of Norway on Hurtigruten in 2018 and their chefs sourced local ingredients throughout the whole trip; the food was outstanding. We expected elegant French cuisine but it was all rather uninspiring. Service in the dining room was excellent compared to the Catherine. The ports: We loved all of the ports but did run into a couple of hiccups. At Giverney, there was an option to bike to Monet's gardens or take the bus. During the port talk, I asked if the biking was on level, paved trails and we were told it was. I am a casual biker, used to riding on level, paved trails, so I decided to sign up. At the muster point, there was a huge van dumping off bikes and bags of helmets. No one was available to help adjust seats or generally get you ready. The first thing we had to do was ride uphill onto a very busy bridge that was under construction. One of the participants fell off and suffered from bad road rash but he had to continue to walk his bike to the destination as there was no way to get back to the boat or the gardens. When we approached Giverney, we had to pedal up another steep hill, all the while dodging cars and pedestrians. Needless to say, I shouldn't have been on this tour and never would have participated if it had been adequately explained at the port talk. The tour guide was very frustrated with the inexperienced riders on the tour and complained about us to the more experienced riders. Monet's gardens were absolutely mobbed with tourists, but they were beautiful and it was worth the harrowing bike trip to get there. I got some amazing pictures. My takeaway is don't attempt a Go Active tour unless you are a real sports enthusiast :) We were looking forward to the tour to Juno Beach and the Canadian cemetery in Normandy. Unfortunately, these were add-ons to Omaha Beach and the American cemetery and we just didn't have enough time. We understand that most of the passengers are from the US and it probably doesn't make financial sense to have a Canadian beach tour. Our suggestion to Uniworld is they have an optional tour to the Canadian and UK beaches. It could probably be covered in a couple of eight-passenger vans and I certainly would have paid extra to have time to fully enjoy the experience. The opportunity to visit our beaches was a very special memory of our trip. We had an onboard credit that we decided to use to go to Moulin Rouge. The show was professional and very entertaining. However, six people were jammed together in tables meant for four which made it hard to fully appreciate the dinner and show. The food was mediocre and some of the champagne served at our table was flat. The entertainment: We usually spent some time in the lounge after dinner each evening and enjoyed the singers. There wasn't as much passenger participation on this cruise as the Catherine. The experience: This was our first river cruise and we will definitely do another one but not Europe in July or August; it's just too hot The all-inclusive policy on Uniglobe is very appealing as you aren't constantly being dinged for every drink, tour and tip. This was a lovely introduction to river cruising; it's going to be hard to top this experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
If you are not German stay away from this ship. We signed up for a Seine cruise with English company Saga who miss sold this cruise. The excursions were in German. The food was advertised as Mediterranean but was German and very low ... Read More
If you are not German stay away from this ship. We signed up for a Seine cruise with English company Saga who miss sold this cruise. The excursions were in German. The food was advertised as Mediterranean but was German and very low quality. The ship was in need of an upgrade. The officers were grumpy apart from French Captain and First officer who were helpful. Crew were good and helpful. Drinks on premium class were good and free. but whole cruise was about getting extra money out of you. Was meant to be all inclusive but was not. The food service was a mess with different foods all over the place. Drinks service at table was good. Stops were appalling we stopped in two little villages with nothing open one we did an overnight stop when every where was closed. All other cruise lines were going on to Honfleur. We were told we were sailing from Paris but in fact we left from a cement yard in St Denis and never got near Paris in the boat. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This cruise was a present from my parents and for a range of reasons I took my son, so our family group ranged from 16-76 years old. I was a bit anxious about this, assuming (rightly) that he was going to be decades younger than most ... Read More
This cruise was a present from my parents and for a range of reasons I took my son, so our family group ranged from 16-76 years old. I was a bit anxious about this, assuming (rightly) that he was going to be decades younger than most people. It didn't make a difference! We had an absolute ball. We were picked up efficiently, fed on arrival and then the secret luggage fairies delivered our bags to our room...with check in being earlier than expected. The cabins were a delight - the window came down to give the impression of a balcony...beds were comfy, shower strong and loads of storage space. The food was brilliant - obviously we ate too much and I had plenty of excellent wine. I bought the extended drinks package, so for a small additional amount, had free flowing wine and beer.Without this, the drinks were slightly expensive. The staff were just brilliant - a special mention to Miguel - the hotel manager - he was everywhere - loading bags, serving ice cream, moving bikes. The company is lucky to have him. Our excursion guides were all slightly' quirky' - funny, knowledgable and at no point turgid or boring. There were a range of walking groups, from a bit of a hike to gentle walking - so catering for everyone. We were rubbish at the quizzes, but at least there were plenty we could try. There is a swimming pool and gym (not huge, but OK) on board, lots of cycles, yoga and aqua. It didn't make a dent on the food I ate - but it could have been much worse! So I have gone from being slightly anxious to discussing our next trip with Emerald! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose Scenic as we had travelled with them once before. We were not disappointed. The whole time we felt cared for and nurtured. The cabin was beautifully appointed with an airy balcony and plenty of space. Dining options were numerous ... Read More
We chose Scenic as we had travelled with them once before. We were not disappointed. The whole time we felt cared for and nurtured. The cabin was beautifully appointed with an airy balcony and plenty of space. Dining options were numerous and all food and drink was fantastic quality. Entertainment included an onboard pianist, in addition to performers being brought aboard from various ports. We were even treated to a recital by a classical quartet in a Château, where Scenic docked just for the evening performance, then sailed on. Very special! Most of all, the staff were welcoming, attentive, competent and caring, which always makes a trip. There was always a personal touch. The cruise director was amazing - a French national who was full of wonderful insights into her native country. Hotel Manager ensured all F&B ran seamlessly. Food and drink choices were incredibly varied and top quality. Highly recommend! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I have enjoyed it thoroughly. The cruise members are so great.I enjoyed the cruise director jokes. Loved the way she give us informations. Loved our tour guide Virginia, such a funny ,lovely,personality.Christian, the manager is such a ... Read More
I have enjoyed it thoroughly. The cruise members are so great.I enjoyed the cruise director jokes. Loved the way she give us informations. Loved our tour guide Virginia, such a funny ,lovely,personality.Christian, the manager is such a nice person. The bar cruise are very nice, they spoiled us. Non stop service,very cheerful personality.The dining staff are so lovely, tried there best to please everyone. We where spoiled by the room attendant,very clean room. They are very attentive. Entertainment is great. Great pianist. I loved the duo.I particularly enjoyed the cruise member who sung. She should sing regularly, in my opinion. I have enjoyed the concert in one of the chateau,what a magnificent musician. One of the best experience is Dune du Pilat, what a magnificent place. In my opinion, should spend more time in this excursion.I recommend to see more places in Bordeaux city. It seems it has more to offer. Over all it is a great trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019

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