9 Paris River Cruise Reviews

This was our first river cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, though the dock area was a bit funky and dirty. The excursions were very well done with local guides. That said, there were a couple of excursions that had too ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, though the dock area was a bit funky and dirty. The excursions were very well done with local guides. That said, there were a couple of excursions that had too many people. The boat and accommodations were nice, and the room was quiet. The pricing for drinks at the bar was a bit high. There is a happy hour, though we bought drinks one evening about three minutes before happy hour and were charged full price. With regards to dining, the service was good, though the food was just average. It seemed a bit silly to have a big celebration for the kitchen staff at the end of the cruise. I would be willing to pay more for better food and all inclusive drinks. We enjoyed the lectures and would recommend more of these educational opportunities. We went with friends and had a lot of fun. I don't think we would have enjoyed it as much without our companions. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Started in Paris and stops along the way to Normandy and at the end, a transfer to the train for the chunnel to London. The ship was a new ship and we thoroughly enjoyed the window setup and the ship itself with one exception. In many ... Read More
Started in Paris and stops along the way to Normandy and at the end, a transfer to the train for the chunnel to London. The ship was a new ship and we thoroughly enjoyed the window setup and the ship itself with one exception. In many ports, you have to go through another ship to get to your port. I understand that this is normal and unavoidable (I guess). However, we had to go up and down and over to get through the other ship. The stairs were metal and many times, damp. I was told by a member of the staff that this was a flaw of the new ship. Most ships, and we experienced this on another river cruise, you are able to walk directly through one ship to another without all of the stairs. The food was just OK at best. No where near the amount and quality of the big cruise ships. It was difficult to obtain an extra portion or go astray from the menu. At least I was able to do this on Grand Circle. Service was great! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
My wife and I purchased a river cruise package from Scenic which including the airfares cost over $60,000. This was a Paris to Paris cruise along the Seine followed by a cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest with an ad on in Paris at the ... Read More
My wife and I purchased a river cruise package from Scenic which including the airfares cost over $60,000. This was a Paris to Paris cruise along the Seine followed by a cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest with an ad on in Paris at the beginning and an ad on in Prague at the end. The first cruise along the Seine was enjoyable as the ship sailed mostly in the day and moored at small French towns during the evening in contrast to the second where the ship sailed mostly at night and moored in industrial areas a lot of the time. The cabins were fine and as traffic on the Seine was not as busy as the Rhine we did not have to raft up with other vessels when mooring unlike the Rhine. The Hotel Manager was very friendly and went out of his way to provide a good service, however the food was not 5 star and my wife who is vegetarian found the restaurant staff very inflexible and unaccommodating to provide vegetarian food if it was not on the menu despite plenty of notice. We attended their Table La Rive fine dinning experience where despite plenty of notice they could not provide vegetarian food other than cherry picking a couple of dishes from the menu in the main dinning room, very disappointing seeing as she paid the same amount of money as everyone else and they state that they will attempt to meet any guests requests. The excursions to the Somme and D Day landing sites were scheduled early in the cruise for some inexplicable reason whilst the ship was close to Paris. This involved bus trips over two and a half hours in each direction plus a trip to a restaurant for lunch which left little time at the actual venue. A few days later the ship was closer to the coast and the attractions were only a short distance away. We booked this cruise late last year to be told that only one cabin on B deck was available. However after talking to fellow passengers I found that some had booked only recently and been given cabins on the top level which is what we wanted, plus some passengers had been given free upgrades to the top cabins which is what I requested and was willing to pay for. The transfer from Paris to Amsterdam was stated in the itinerary and confirmed by my travel agent when booking as by high speed train with First Class travel including meals taking 3hrs 40 min however the Tour Director to save money used a charter bus despite our protests and the fact that I offered to buy a train ticket for my wife and I even though it was included in the package, so 9hrs later we arrived in Amsterdam by bus having stopped at truck stops so the driver could take his mandatory rest stops and where we had to buy the less than satisfactory food and drink. Scenic owes us money plus a day of our life back. The food was not 5 star the wines were ok the dinning room was noisy the service at busy times was slow as they do not have enough wait staff. the entertainment was like something you would find in a retirement village they would be better off without it. The Tour Director was very friendly but a bit touchy feely with the women and attempted to be a stand up comedian without much success and when push came to shove was unwilling to do much out of the ordinary. We do not believe these cruises represent value as the operators attempt to provide the lowest standard that they can get away with where as other operators in this price bracket attempt to provide the best available. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I will start with the good things we liked about the cruise. It was wonderful sitting on the deck with a glass of wine and very relaxing DURING THE DAY. The excursions were outstanding, especially Normandy and Giverny. That's about ... Read More
I will start with the good things we liked about the cruise. It was wonderful sitting on the deck with a glass of wine and very relaxing DURING THE DAY. The excursions were outstanding, especially Normandy and Giverny. That's about it. We felt the staff (bar and wait staff especially) were sometimes rude, ignored us, or did not listen to our needs. Sometimes they would try and make jokes but they were really inappropriate, I felt. The food was not up to my expectations. I had it in my mind that it would be better than what I got on a larger ocean cruise ship since it was smaller. Not so. It was only ok. Dinner was 2 hours long every night because they served 150 people at the same time and had only 8 waiters. We did not get our main coarse each night until 1 1/2 hours into the dinner. I think it should have been divided up into 2 groups. Also, there should have been a disclaimer in their brochure or website that the forward cabins below would hear loud noises from the thrusters as they went through the locks at night. No sleep the first night due to this. Security was also very lax. We felt that anyone could board the ship they way they did it. Also, on the last day, at dinner, they gave us these cheesy 50 cent key rings of the Eiffel Tower that you could find all over Paris. Not the greatest experience aboard the ship. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
The Avalon Poetry 2 is a very pretty smaller ship. The staterooms are very nice and the bathroom is the nicest of any cruise vessel I have been on. Everything is immaculately clean. The angling of the bed to look out the window is ... Read More
The Avalon Poetry 2 is a very pretty smaller ship. The staterooms are very nice and the bathroom is the nicest of any cruise vessel I have been on. Everything is immaculately clean. The angling of the bed to look out the window is wonderful. The window opening to make the stateroom into a balcony is also very nice. The downside, is not being able to keep window or curtains open while docked next to another boat. This is a well known problem with river cruising. Lots of ships and only limited places to dock. You may be stacked up several deep and have to walk through a few to get off. One very annoying thing, is the extremely loud intercom messages you receive in your stateroom. Often as early as 7 am. and thru out the day. It is intrusive and gives you the vibe of being herded and every minute planned. Since this is my first River cruise, I don't know if that is standard practice. On ocean cruises, this only seems to happen in public areas. There is good closet space and the bed is comfortable. The food has varied from horrible to very good. If food is your big thing, I would look into another line. For the price of the cruise, it seems nit picky and cheap that they do not include wine or beer at lunch. However, your glass is never empty at dinner. Cocktails etc are reasonable at the bar and there is a happy hour, daily. It seemed like the included tours would justify a higher price point. In reality they are a slow walk around the local area with a guide and listening devices. You could easily do this yourself and not have to keep up with the glacially slow pace. We thought we could start with them and then go off on our own if we wanted. 90% of the time on this southern France itinerary the ship moves to the next port as soon as you leave for the tour and you are bused to the next location, so not possible to do your own thing without risking missing the bus. Very disappointing. The 3 wine tasting/ countryside optional (paid) tours were very nice and reasonably priced. Still, for the price, it seems they could have been included. I believe they are on some River cruise lines. Next time I would research a bit more thoroughly. Fellow passengers are, as expected, older. My dyed red hair, stuck out like a sore thumb in a sea of white locks. There are many groups of friends and families traveling together. While everyone is friendly, Australians, Canadians, etc seem to stick together. It becomes tiring listening to boring or laughable opinions while eating. There are no tables for two. We found we could sit in one table for 4 in the corner and generally no one else would sit there. Our cruise was not full. So one might have to deal with endless conversation. Some will love it, just wasn't something I wanted to do all the time. Part of river cruising, like it or not. No one dresses up. Don't worry about your clothing. Many of the older men, dressed like they were going out golfing, rain or shine. Once or twice they said no shorts at dinner. That was about it for any dress code. We have done about 20 ocean cruises, most of them on the smaller sized ships of Oceania, or Azamara, also tried Windstar. In the end I personally prefer the ambience. However, it's hard to beat the experience of floating down a river, watching swans and birds, seeing charming villages and castles. The area of Southern France is really beautiful and I highly recommend the itinerary. The down side is the several changes of plans and this is when the weather is beautiful. Don't fall in love with one certain place as you may not end up going there. There is way toomuch bus time, in my opinion. I know from reading other reviews that many cruises turn into a bus trip. It's easy to see once you are on a river. Not just the river boat companies we see advertised in the US, but many,many others. Lots of traffic. Our very nice cruise director, a Jean Loup, said they need more rivers, not more ships. True words. Would I do it again? I would have to give it some thought. The idea of it is fabulous, but the changeability of weather, river level, flooding etc. and constant changes of port stays, make it a harder decision. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our 4th Vantage river cruise and 5th Vantage trip. We were disappointed after having loved the first 4 trips. We had the owner's suite on the River Discovery II which was large and beautiful as was the ship in general. As ... Read More
This was our 4th Vantage river cruise and 5th Vantage trip. We were disappointed after having loved the first 4 trips. We had the owner's suite on the River Discovery II which was large and beautiful as was the ship in general. As occupants of the owner's suite we were supposed to have been picked up at the Airport-this was verified twice with the Boston office and our flight info was given them.. We were NOT picked up at the airport. The cruise director said he did not have our flight info (and evidently was too unconcerned to check with the office in the U.S.. Previously the strength of Vantage cruises (which they highly touted) was that these large riverboats had 4 cruise directors on board all of which were excellent in our experience- and you were assigned to one of them for the cruise-which was excellent. Now there were no longer 4 directors but only one who didn't lead tours but acted more like a cruise director on a ship-sightseeing tours left to local guides. This was not nearly as good. The director was stand-offish in our opinion and quite pompous. Tipping of the 4 previous directors with whom you traveled each day was optional and we always tipped them generously..Tipping of the one cruise director whom you seldom interacted with was automatically added to your bill unless you specifically arranged to stop it. The same was for the "concierge" who was automatically tipped even though you may never have uses the concierge service. The food was also not up to previous standards-several days courses were served no longer hot or even warm. Even though we were in France the bar did not have Grey Goose Vodka which they could have purchased in any port since it is made in France. We used to love Vantage but the recent policy changes they have made has ended that along with our patronage. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I looked for a cruise to fill in a week at the end of another cruise with Avalon and found Croisi. I was aware that this cruise was a lot cheaper than most of the others I looked at but I should have researched a bit better. Cruise line is ... Read More
I looked for a cruise to fill in a week at the end of another cruise with Avalon and found Croisi. I was aware that this cruise was a lot cheaper than most of the others I looked at but I should have researched a bit better. Cruise line is obviously for French speaking people, meals were set menus with no choice, seating was determined by staff at the beginning and that was your table for all three meals per day for the whole cruise. Not a good way to meet other travellers at all which is one of the best parts about travelling! The shore excursions were all extra which is probably the reason for the lower price of the cruise. No, I won't be travelling with them again, I don't care how cheap they are. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Most nights we were docked back at Bordeaux. It's just a crazy cruise itinerary. Seeing the same place over and over was a tad boring. All of the bus trips took hours and hours to get to the area. By the time you got back to the ship, ... Read More
Most nights we were docked back at Bordeaux. It's just a crazy cruise itinerary. Seeing the same place over and over was a tad boring. All of the bus trips took hours and hours to get to the area. By the time you got back to the ship, there was no time to do local walking except after dark. The tour guides on the bus would tell you to go to sleep because there was nothing to see on the way to the truffles, Bay of Arcachon & Cognac. The tours themselves were worth the drive, but our legs swelled up from all the sitting. We could not do some tours because the other ones conflicted. On the drive through PAUILLAC (MARGAUX), FRANCE we were driving around and around the same areas back and forth. The dinner at a chateaux was not really in a chateaux, but rather a new building built to hold events. We were not allowed in the real chateaux. The food was prepared and served by the same Viking staff from the ship. Wine was from the local vineyard. I did not like this cruise and would advise people rent a car to see the region. The rivers are a muddy run off mess with nothing to see along the way, unlike the Elba Viking cruise we had been on previously. Our room was large and we had a balcony, which was below the dock most of the time. Useless for views. Most of the time traveling was at night. The trip to SAINT-ÉMILION was a fiasco with busses not appearing on time and people feeling stranded by the guides. The town is not an easy walk for some people and the cripples were not warned. I am glad I saw it while still in good health. They should rename the cruise "Bordeaux to Bordeaux". Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
My family and I recently came back from our 21 Day Romantic Seine & Rhone Paris to Barcelona APT tour in June 2013 on board AmaLegro and AmaDagio. We all had a wonderful time there and I would like to use this opportunity to share my ... Read More
My family and I recently came back from our 21 Day Romantic Seine & Rhone Paris to Barcelona APT tour in June 2013 on board AmaLegro and AmaDagio. We all had a wonderful time there and I would like to use this opportunity to share my experiences and thoughts with everyone. Hopefully, people would find my article useful in their decision making and preparation for their trips with APT and/or AmaWaterways. There are 2 parts of my review: part 1 covers 3 days in Paris and 7 day on board AmaLegro, and part 2 covers 7 day on board AmaDagio and 3 days in Barcelona. This is part 1 of my review. Our trip started with 3 days in Paris where APT organised various tours. After 3 days in Paris, we were transferred to Seine River on Day 4 late afternoon where our luxury river ship, AmaLegro, awaited. Compared to our previous experiences with AmaBella and AmaVerde travelled from Amsterdam to Budapest in 2011, AmaLegro is very similar to those 2 ships but a few years older. There are public lounges in the front and back of the ship, free internet and Wi-Fi access, and gym. The cabins are well equipped and reasonably spacious. The food and shore excursions were certainly the highlights of my cruises. The quality of the food (3 meals, morning tea, and afternoon tea) was excellent and services from the restaurant and bar staff were very attentive and always do their best to anticipate customers’ needs. For example, unlike AmaBella and AmaVerde where I always had to ask (or should I use the word “beg”) to have my water and non-alcoholic drink refilled during my meals, AmaLegro is the only the ship where my drink always being refilled before it ran out, I never had to ask. My favourite shore excursions along Seine River were (1) Giverny where we visited the home of Claude Monet and its famous gardens; (2) Rouen, heart of Normandy region; (3) picturesque Honfleur; (4) beautiful Les Andelys and Chateau Gaillard built by Richard the Lionheart; (5) Chateau de Malmaison, home of General Napoleon and Josephine. All passengers on walking tours were accompanied by Quietvox and people could join different groups to suit their fitness level. There was daily information session every afternoon by the tour director informing everyone the details of shore excursions for the next day. We had a really bad experience with the night walk to the Rouen cathedral for Rouen cathedral light show at 11pm. On the way walking from the ship to cathedral with our tour director Peter Whitehead gave us no information about where to meet after the light show and he didn’t organise any torch for us. So after the light show, all of us were very confused with what to do next, and it took us a while to find Peter Whitehead because there were many people and limited light in the square, then we had to walk back to the ship in the dark by ourselves. There is a critical safety concern associate with the design of the spiral staircases to level 1 cabins. Compare to all other stairs in the ship, the tight construction of these stairs with narrow staircase width, steep gradient, and handrail on only one side, they are not easy for the elderly passengers to use. With majority of the passengers on board over the age 50, every day I saw elderly passengers struggling with these stairs. I am a much younger person and even I found the stairs gradient very challenging. I felt climbing up these stairs was like a rock climbing exercise because these stairs are too steep. When we raise our concern about the stairs to level 1 cabins, and asked if we could have an upgrade to upper level cabins e.g. either we paid extra or for free, given the ship was not at its full capacity. Tour Director, Peter Whitehead said that he would investigate but he didn’t think upgrade would be possible. He never got back to us. During the same conversation, Peter Whitehead also indicated that “we got what we paid for” and we should already know there are stairs to level 1 when we booked our trip. I found Peter’s comments quite condescending. Later, I found out tour director’s room is on level 2, so he might not aware of how difficult these stairs are to elderly passengers. We were aware of the existences of the stairs at the time of booking, but we didn’t know the design and shape of the stairs to level 1 is so “elderly user unfriendly”. There was neither information nor photos on APT brochure providing any indication on the shape and design of the spiral staircases to level 1 cabins. If we were given clear information (e.g. photos) about the design and shape of the level 1 stairs at the time of booking, then we would be able to assess the situation accurately and make an informed decision, e.g. we would not have chosen level 1 cabins. All other stairs in the ship are quite easy to use. I filed a formal complaint to APT after the tour to raise my concerns. APT addressed my concern about the night tour swiftly. APT told me that because the night tour to Rouen cathedral was an informal tour, therefore our tour director, Peter Whitehead, thought there was no need to do any coordination. APT was initially sceptical to my concern about the level 1 stairs and told me that these staircases comply with European safety standards and since nobody ever complaint about the stairs and have been no accidents recorded, then it must be an isolated problem. Our tour director, Peter Whitehead, declined any wrong doing in telling us “you got what you paid for”. So I had no choice but to liaise with other level 1 passengers and encourage them to contact APT and tell APT what they thought about level 1 stairs. In the end, APT agreed to pass on my suggestions regarding a second handrail to AmaWaterways for future consideration, and APT would encourage anyone who has disclosed their mobility concerns to book cabins on level 2 or 3 in the future. APT refused to refund us the portion of gratuities that would go to tour director, Peter Whitehead, because that was already included in the overall fee. I was very disappointed with their decision because I thought gratuities were supposed to use to encourage good performance, not insulting customer. Overall, we had a lovely time in Paris and on board AmaLegro. It could have been perfect holiday for us if it wasn’t the dangerous stairs and humiliating experiences with the tour director, Peter Whitehead. We do not hold any grudge or vendetta against APT or AmaWaterways, but we want to share our experiences with people who are considering taking the European river cruise with APT / AmaWaterways, so people would be much better prepared than us.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013

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