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22 France Romantic Cruise Reviews

Scenic asked for our opinion after our first ever cruise. Here it is. The Bordeaux Affair was a fabulous cruise experience except for the total failure of the sanitation system on the ship, and partial for the remainder of the week. ... Read More
Scenic asked for our opinion after our first ever cruise. Here it is. The Bordeaux Affair was a fabulous cruise experience except for the total failure of the sanitation system on the ship, and partial for the remainder of the week. This failure was complete at times (leaving cabin toilets full of waste and no working toilets at all for an ENTIRE DAY). Sometimes the blockage was partial, however as our week went on, the smell of human waste increased in the hallway and was unsanitary and distressing. Our cruise director promised the entire ship would receive compensation - however for Scenic, this only amounted to an offer of 20% off everyone’s next cruise. The Scenic promise is a disappointment. We chose Scenic because of their reputation for excellence - and the cruise was excellent - however when an issue as large and disruptive as this happens - the customer should be compensated AND offered a discount on their next Scenic Cruise. The cruises are very expensive and with such poor customer service it is too risky to invest that amount of money again. It is a shame and we are very disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Chose itinerary. Loved Provence countryside. Guided tours were always well paced, informative, and the guides were pleasant and very entertaining. The ship was contemporary simple; beautiful really with all the orchids scattered about. ... Read More
Chose itinerary. Loved Provence countryside. Guided tours were always well paced, informative, and the guides were pleasant and very entertaining. The ship was contemporary simple; beautiful really with all the orchids scattered about. Can't say enough about the responsiveness of all staff on the ship. Cruise director, Tony, was outstanding, very involved, always a presence, and attentive to any questions or issues. Our bags were handled every step of the way; from our arrival to our departure. We enjoyed onboard tastings....cheese, wine, and confections. As a frequent large ship cruiser I found the river cruise by comparison to be more relaxing, the ship more friendly, the service more personal. No problems with motion sickness as the ride was smooth and motionless. The many locks along the way were a surprise and added to our adventure. A few hours at an outdoor market offered up fresh bread, cheese, dried meats, honey, nugat, and fresh picked strawberries and other produce. Thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and will consider this type of adventure again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We just returned from a Cannes to Cannes cruise which stopped at ports in Italy, Corsica and Sardinia with excursions to Pisa and Mt. Carbonne in Elba among other offerings. This was our 1st Clipper cruise but we will sign up for ... Read More
We just returned from a Cannes to Cannes cruise which stopped at ports in Italy, Corsica and Sardinia with excursions to Pisa and Mt. Carbonne in Elba among other offerings. This was our 1st Clipper cruise but we will sign up for another without a doubt. With about 200 passengers, a 3rd from the US and the rest from Europe mainly, it was easy and comfortable meeting each other especially with the open seating policy for dinner which we particularly appreciated. Due to minimal winds, we motored for the most part but when leaving a port, all the sails are down, the send off music plays and the magic is felt. We found the food very good and the room sizes quite adequate and comfortable. The staff from program director, waitstaff, cabin crew to the chef and captain could not have been more professional, friendly and attentive. We recommend this ship in particular but the Star Clipper line without reservation. The whole experience left me nostalgic and yearning to return even 2 weeks after it ended. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
On whole, the trip met our expectations and we will most likely take a future river cruise with Viking, but there were some quirks that folks should understand if they are not familiar with Bordeaux or if they are new to river cruises (or ... Read More
On whole, the trip met our expectations and we will most likely take a future river cruise with Viking, but there were some quirks that folks should understand if they are not familiar with Bordeaux or if they are new to river cruises (or Viking river cruises in particular). From prior posters' reports, we knew in advance that there would not be much cruising on this trip. If that had been a surprise, we would have been very disappointed. We spent 3 of 7 nights docked in the city of Bordeaux, and the other 4 nights in tiny ports with virtually nothing to distinguish themselves by other than their proximity to shore excursions and the opportunity to witness the crew docking the vessel. Bordeaux is a beautiful city with accessible public transportation, and the vessel's dock was adjacent to a tram stop, making it very easy to get around independently while in port. In hindsight, I'd have preferred that we just stayed in port in Bordeaux each night, and integrated the cruising element by some day cruising up and down the rivers. This was my husband's second Viking River Cruise, and my first. He oversold me on the culinary experience based on his first cruise on the Rhine. We were both underwhelmed by most of the food on the Bordeaux cruise (although there were some notable exceptions) and I disliked the rigidity of the dinner service. On several days we had private all-day winery tours that included lovely three course meals in local restaurants. The last thing we could handle was a full-on heavy dinner on board ship at 7pm sharp. It would have been nice to have the option of having a light meal served later in the evening. We were also somewhat disappointed by the Chateau Kirwin meal on Thursday. The venue was nice, but Chef thought it would be fun for the Americans to serve them turkey on Thanksgiving, not realizing that you can't replicate a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal for 120 people and that many of us traveled over Thanksgiving to get away from tradition. The Chateau Kirwin wine they served was disappointing and the wait staff refused to open the superior wine that we'd brought with us. I realize in hindsight that it would have been in poor taste to drink someone else's wine at the Chateau Kirwin but I resent having been forced into that situation in the first place. If we'd been docked in Bordeaux instead of Pauillac that night, we could have just gone into town and had a nice dinner on our own instead, but that wasn't an option. If you prefer the group travel experience to independent travel (and frankly, that is the demographic that Viking is reaching out to), you would certainly have enjoyed this trip and would find my disappointments a bit puzzling. For the group traveler, the choice of shore excursions was varied and comprehensive. I think that is one of the things that Viking really does well. The program director on this cruise, Lorin, is a gem and Viking should be commended for its employment of his many talents. He was entertaining, thought-provoking, hard working and genuinely engaged in the mission of bringing local culture to the Viking guests. The ship was very clean, our stateroom had plenty of storage capacity and the staff was hard-working and friendly. We chose this Viking cruise as a marital compromise (I dislike group travel of any sort, and especially boats, but my husband does not share my feelings. More than anything, he hates to pack and unpack and the pressure of selecting a restaurant to dine in each night, and he enjoys the socialization that is available on-board). The trip met or exceeded my low expectations, and it also met or exceeded my husband's higher expectations. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We booked this cruise through great rail journeys. We had originally booked to go through champagne region, but a couple of weeks before they contacted us and said we couldn't go because of lock maintenance. We were offered a ... Read More
We booked this cruise through great rail journeys. We had originally booked to go through champagne region, but a couple of weeks before they contacted us and said we couldn't go because of lock maintenance. We were offered a refund, a later date or an alternative route. After much conferring, we chose the alternative route, which embarked at Joigny. When we received our itinerary we noticed that they were sending us on a dog leg route, quite pointlessly sending us on another train after the Eurostar, and then a long coach ride. After this was pointed out, it was changed, and we had a two hour trip on an extremely uncomfortable mini bus. Not the greatest start! We were a party of eight, and we discovered that the rest had cancelled. The barge has the capacity for 24, so we were more than delighted to have it to ourselves. When we arrived we were warmly welcomed by a crew of six, all of which were absolutely fantastic. They were Laurie, Sylvie, another Sylvie, Nicky, Mohammed, and Alain the captain. Nothing was too much trouble, the food was excellent, all the excursions were brilliant, with knowlegeable guides, and the barge was superb. We enjoyed cycling along the tow paths. We spent our last day seeing Paris, and moored under the Eiffel Tower. Champagne in the hot tub is recommended. So do book this fabulous trip, but do it direct with croisi Europe. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was the year of the great French roast, Paris at 35ºC and similar to that all the cruise long. The payback was clear blue skies, no rain and great photos.The ship was 100% full, hence the service levels in the public areas were ... Read More
This was the year of the great French roast, Paris at 35ºC and similar to that all the cruise long. The payback was clear blue skies, no rain and great photos.The ship was 100% full, hence the service levels in the public areas were stretched. This cruise is a mixture of great French wines and cheeses (approx 450 different cheeses to be tasted), as far as scenery goes the highlights are the cities. The visit to an old hospital and nearby wine tasting at Marche aux Vin was very interesting, as was our first tasting of French nougat which is based on egg white and honey, as was the truffle farm (with charming hosts & dog). The Sundowners excursion (a walk to a nearby fortress tower) for wine/beer/nibbles with live musicians in a cool afternoon breeze was very hard to take. The itinerary was exactly as published. Compliments have to be given to all the bus drivers - they were very professional, safe drivers who helped some of our fellow passengers with their walkers. Driving through the French countryside was most enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Definitely a top-notch cruise ship and cruise line. The pros included friendliness of all staff, ports and scenery (the light presentation at Rouen cathedral at night is a must-see!). Aquavit Terrace for dining in the evening is ... Read More
Definitely a top-notch cruise ship and cruise line. The pros included friendliness of all staff, ports and scenery (the light presentation at Rouen cathedral at night is a must-see!). Aquavit Terrace for dining in the evening is apparently a well-kept secret. We actually dined there almost as many nights as in the formal dining room....a fabulous experience to enjoy gourmet food al fresco on the bow of the ship while cruising at dusk.....however less than a dozen fellow passengers partook in this option on the nights we dined outside. The cons included having a few tour guides that almost ruined our experience: one on Giverny excursion who liked to hear himself talk, dragged the group along and whose French-accented English was very difficult to understand (and I even speak French). We finally broke away from group and toured garden and house on our own. The second guide on the Normandy excursion was completely offensive as she opted to use the long bus ride to get on her soapbox and offer political opinions that were clearly inappropriate. It takes a lot to offend my husband and he was livid. As much as I would like to say that I would recommend a Viking Cruise to adults over 50 I really feel that if we ever have the opportunity to experience Viking again (and we hope to), it'll be at least ten years before we do so. We're both 56 and were often frustrated by older passengers for whom we had to wait, and slowed down our excursions. I love and enjoy senior travelers but we wanted to pack as much as we could in this once-in-a-lifetime trip, and felt we could have easily done more if we hadn't felt pulled back. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was a last minute trip for my wife's 70th birthday. We loved the ship, food, service, and met many delightful people. Bordeaux is a lovely region of France, and we learned a lot about wine making and tasting. The atmosphere ... Read More
This was a last minute trip for my wife's 70th birthday. We loved the ship, food, service, and met many delightful people. Bordeaux is a lovely region of France, and we learned a lot about wine making and tasting. The atmosphere throughout the whole trip was relaxed, We enjoyed meeting new friends which is easy because the cruise only has a maximum of 200 passengers. They met us at the airport and took care of all the details in transition to the ship. The same excellent service was there for our departure. Get off the fence and go!! Viking cruises are totally great. Can't wait for the next one!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
The name of this cruise is "Spectacular South of France". This cruise spends most evenings in ports large and small. The first night is is in Paris, which is not on the river cruised; Saone and Rhone rivers. We gathered for a ... Read More
The name of this cruise is "Spectacular South of France". This cruise spends most evenings in ports large and small. The first night is is in Paris, which is not on the river cruised; Saone and Rhone rivers. We gathered for a nights stay at the Scenic's host hotel in Paris. Nice 4 star hotel. The next morning our bags were collected from the hallway at the designated time and we were bussed to the train station for our day trip to Dijon. We were given a short tour. Then we boarded a bus and were transported to the ship that was docked in Chalon-sur-Saone. This is almost an all-inclusive cruise, All drinks, meals, tips, great internet service and shore excursions are included.We also had several special events off the ship that were also included. We visited Tournus, Cluney, Macon, Lyon, Tournon,Viviers, Ardeche National Park, Chateauneuf-du-pape, Avignon, Arles and Tarascon via bus or port. This cruise line obviously caters to Australians and Brits, most of whom were third,fourth or five time regulars with Scenic. We had a blast being one of two American couples. The Australians, in particular, were fascinated by our politics and gun rights. We found the "aussies" to be much more sociable than our American associates back home. We were invited to dine with several separate couples and made some great friends. I can not say enough about the quality of the river cruise experience. On this cruise, you sit where you want, lounge where you want in a wonderfully appointed river "Spaceship". Go on shore excursions where and when you want. The food was top notch, service was impeccable; these guys do not skimp. Our butler "concierge level room" made my wife feel like a queen which made my trip wonderful. Two things I particularly liked about this cruise was the ability tour on your own by foot or electric assisted bike with a "GPS like device" that would self guide you through the port towns. You can also use this device to give you facts about places you see from your balcony while cruising and it is also used for tour guided trips to help you hear better.. We will return to travel with Scenic. The rooms, and bathrooms were balconies were kept clean and the refrigerator was stocked twice a day. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was our fourth Viking cruise (supposed to be fifth but low water forced an unexpected cancelation previous year). All of our Viking cruises have been superb, this particular cruise exceeded that. Crew was incredible, condition of ... Read More
This was our fourth Viking cruise (supposed to be fifth but low water forced an unexpected cancelation previous year). All of our Viking cruises have been superb, this particular cruise exceeded that. Crew was incredible, condition of vessel couldn't have been better, food out of this world and the sites spectacular. Viking takes unbelievable care of it's guests without micromanaging them. The bang for the buck, even coming from the U.S. is excellent. My wife an I are both still in the active workforce, yet we already have two more Vikings on the books already. We also did an add on in Paris pre cruise and post cruise in Nice. We were well taken care of in both of these locations as well, touring both on our own and with Viking leadership. We always had a Viking representative close by that had a wealth of local knowledge. Our Nice representative even assisted us in getting a luggage repair from the hotel maintenance crew. We are very much fans of Viking. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Absolutely outstanding in every respect. This was our first experience on a hotel barge, and we could not have been more pleased. Deluxe 2 cabin hotel barge run by Belmond. Cabins are spacious with luxury amenities, great beds, large ... Read More
Absolutely outstanding in every respect. This was our first experience on a hotel barge, and we could not have been more pleased. Deluxe 2 cabin hotel barge run by Belmond. Cabins are spacious with luxury amenities, great beds, large closets, and generous washrooms. The barge is always rented as a charter, meaning that you have both cabins and a great ability to tailor the meals and tours to your timing and tastes. Meals prepared to your liking and timing by superlative chef. Each meal expertly paired with local wines and cheeses (forget your diet for this week) Exceptional guide with van takes you to local attractions, tailored to your interest. On board bikes and trails along the canal provide opportunity to get some exercise along the scenic canal. Talented Captain and charming hostess round out the fantastic staff. Canal du Midi is scenic and charming, you cruise through pastoral wineries through the 17th century canal and it's historic locks. Absolutely everything is included and top quality Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Travelling as a mature couple we loved the cruise - right down the middle of France. The pace was ideal - our previous Danube cruise with Scenic was a little frenetic! We picked excursions a bit different to the usual churches, ... Read More
Travelling as a mature couple we loved the cruise - right down the middle of France. The pace was ideal - our previous Danube cruise with Scenic was a little frenetic! We picked excursions a bit different to the usual churches, castles & grand houses -- learning to cook, olive oil, chocolate & lavender factories. Our first day we were torn between all 3 trips, wine tasting in Beaune, visiting a mustard factory or a museum of old Fiat Arbarth cars, warplanes and so much more. Wine tasting was almost obligatory, but we were shown what to look for, how to view it & smell it - but I never managed to master the 'spitting out' bit! I never realised that there could be so many vinyards & wineries, they stretched as far as the eye could see. But with names like, Beaune, Chateau neuf du Pape, Macon etc who is complaint. A very enjoyable cruise - except for the temperature on the boat - far too cold even in July! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Our trip started in Lyon and ended in Nice. (We did the extension.) The Staff and Crew of the Buri paid attention to virtually every detail with warmth and friendliness. The accommodations were lovely. The bed was very comfortable and ... Read More
Our trip started in Lyon and ended in Nice. (We did the extension.) The Staff and Crew of the Buri paid attention to virtually every detail with warmth and friendliness. The accommodations were lovely. The bed was very comfortable and details such as 110-120v outlets in key places in the state room were so helpful. The food was outstanding as was the service in both the dining room and the lounge. The daily excursions were so well organized with top notch guides and "quiet boxes" so you didn't miss anything. We were delighted with visits to several wineries, beautiful towns, the many opportunities to meet local residents, visit historic sites, and just take in the Burgundy and Provençal regions. The extension to Nice was enjoyable. Accommodations were satisfactory (although we were spoiled by the level of luxury on the Buri). Nice is beautiful, but we truly enjoyed the day trips to the surrounding medieval towns. We love visiting France anyway, but the river cruise was uniquely special. I cannot overstate what a wonderful time we had. I strongly recommend Viking and this specific trip. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
As elite celebrity members we dicided to sample a RCi cruise on the new Anthem of the Seas. We were ported automatically to Diamond class which was giving us similar benefits that we have been used to on Celebrity. Our first ... Read More
As elite celebrity members we dicided to sample a RCi cruise on the new Anthem of the Seas. We were ported automatically to Diamond class which was giving us similar benefits that we have been used to on Celebrity. Our first impressions were as follows Southampton check -in only half the check in desks were being used and although were were priority boarding , had to wait about half an hour in a line which was longer than the non - priority line. It seemed that all classes of crown and anchor was in same line and not split into different ones depending how high up you were, so with 4500 passengers it was pointless. Once upon ship, the first impression was wow, big, but beautiful. We are avid coffee fans so looked for the equivalent of celebrity s class cafe bacio.... Oh dear. A self service Starbucks where you had to ask for a cup rather than cardboard which was the preference of the staff. Opposite on the esplanade was a cafe with free coffee where you helped yourself from machines. Ughhh. No seating apart from a couple of tables on the concourse. So people got their cup and took up seats on the patisserie where we paid for our cappuccino. No waiter service and no atmosphere .. Not a place to relax and read or meet fellow passengers. The stateroom was released at 1.30 so we decided to get lunch. Having been many years ago on independence of the seas , we remembered Johnny Rockets were we had. a great time with singing waiters . What have they done ??? A self service area open to the elements , similar to the burger mast cafe on s class (which is complimentary ). Nice burger , but no entertainment. We then went to cabin. Very nice , similar to a standard balcony on s class , same glass shower cabinets...plenty of space to move about. We unpacked then decided to get a cold drink, we went to two 70. , an amazing venue which comprises a cafe, show room for spectacular shows and a bar.. We asked for some sparking water. To be told sorry we have run out...the ship hadn't even left Southampton, I suggested going to the supermarket down the road to stock up.... We left there and went to the schooner bar to be told the same thing....not very good. We had booked our dining venue some 6 weeks before which was the cleverest thing we did, night 1 we went to chops , a pay for speciality restaurant. Night two the American icon ,(complimentary) which. We lined up for a half hour even though we had pre booked , we did not like the choices of the other complimentary restaurants so night 3 went back to chops , btw they had San pelligrino by the bucket load, so why not the bars. Entertainment was the best, we will rock you (again had to book or not get in). Was fantastic. , nearly two hours of queen music, couldn't go wrong. Good bar entertainers BUT not one venue where we could sit and relax to a nice jazz trio...for us it was too busy, noisy And not relaxing...this was our second foray into RCI world, but will stick to Celebrity, a premium line is by far the more relaxing for us. The better thing was diamond club gives a dedicated lounge to relax in and get away fom it all, but the continental breakfast was no way as fresh and well presented as the one we get in Tuscan on s class. Apart from the gripes, we had an interesting weekend , but wouldn't want to be on for longer. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I knew that Arosa is German owned and operated when I booked the cruise. I did not realize the extent to which that would matter until too late. But's let begin with the positive. The room was stylish, very clean and more ... Read More
I knew that Arosa is German owned and operated when I booked the cruise. I did not realize the extent to which that would matter until too late. But's let begin with the positive. The room was stylish, very clean and more spacious than I had expected. The bed was comfortable. The French doors could be opened completely, allowing us to bring the countryside into our cabin. We had no complaints abut the bathroom or shower. We were very happy with our cabin. The food tasted excellent, the variety (excluding desserts) was sufficient and presentation was as good as good can be for a buffet. But that was the problem; every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner for seven days was a buffet, unless you paid extra for an a la carte dinner. And the food was German, making for the surreal experience of eating sauerkraut and schnitzel while cruising the French countryside. Even though the vast majority of people on our ship were English speaking, German was the first language. The poor grammar and vocabulary in the materials translated into English should have been embarrassing, though we found them funny. What we did find annoying was the announcements being in German first, particularly when sitting on deck, watching the sites. We would see a castle; an announcement in German would describe it. Then the English announcement would be heard, by which time the castle was no longer visible in the distance. The day trips by bus were excellent; all of our guides were good and one was amazing. One of our big disappointments, though, was that the guided bike tours that were to have been included (and were one of our main reasons for choosing Arosa) were not offered on our trip. And the evening entertainment was non-existent or awful. Finally, connecting to the internet was impossible all week, not just for us but for everybody. When I holiday, I do not expect to check emails all the time, but we would have liked to have been able to share our experience with family and friends, particularly given that I paid extra for European cellular service. Our cruise was not terrible; neither was it great. In future, we will choose ships that are English owned and operated. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Absolutely amazing week in the South of France from Avignon to Lyon. The staff is unbelievably attentive to your every need and will do the utmost to offer something incredible that you didn't know existed. The executive chef ... Read More
Absolutely amazing week in the South of France from Avignon to Lyon. The staff is unbelievably attentive to your every need and will do the utmost to offer something incredible that you didn't know existed. The executive chef (female) and the sous chef (male) just grabbed us and waltzed around the dining room with my husband and I, what a treat. Their food was a "party-in-your-mouth" each meal was more and more delicious. The service by the entire staff was always friendly and like family (only nicer.) We had beautiful weather, light rain only one morning, sunny the rest of the week 75 to 85 degrees and dry. Our cabin Veranda A #333 with a balcony was ideal, it was on the starboard side of the ship that was never tethered to another ship, so we always had a water view. Our favorite tour was of a French woman's home in Chatenauf-du-Pape. We learned about her father's love of art and his display of his paintings were terrific, he also had a scarf on display that was signed by Picasso! Our second favorite was the French culinary school where we learned how to make cream puffs with caramelized peaches (YUM!) The wine in this region is incredible from Burgundy to Chatenauf-du-Pape it was all exquisite. No complaints whatsoever, we shall return to Europe via Viking! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our first cruise and was a 50th birthday present from my wife . The ship was fabulous with a friendly and attentive staff . The rooms were port side state rooms and were well appointed and comfortable . A generous Double bed with ... Read More
This was our first cruise and was a 50th birthday present from my wife . The ship was fabulous with a friendly and attentive staff . The rooms were port side state rooms and were well appointed and comfortable . A generous Double bed with TV and fitted wardrobes completed a very smart space . The small but perfectly functional bathroom was clean and well appointed with shower , basin and toilet . Clean towels every day and a make and turn bed down service every day also with fresh fruit daily and chocolates at the end of each day . The entertainment was limited but very well produced with commitment from the entertainment team . The food onboard was exceptional and no matter which of the 4 diners/ restaurants you dined at the food in each was as good as the next . The only down side was we booked a package to include the Monaco Grand Prix , we felt this was miss old as the tickets were for a spot which had no view of the Grand Prix . We feel this is a con and 5000 other people were also conned . This should not be sold as a viewing point . On the other hand the remains part of the cruise was great and the ticket for the GP issue will be dealt with directly. All in all a lovely trip on a very nice friendly ship . Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Before this cruise I had only been on NCL 5 times, so I had expectations of Royal Caribbean to exceed the experiences I have had on NCL. Unfortunately I was disappointed in several areas, and amazed at others. So in the round it was ok, ... Read More
Before this cruise I had only been on NCL 5 times, so I had expectations of Royal Caribbean to exceed the experiences I have had on NCL. Unfortunately I was disappointed in several areas, and amazed at others. So in the round it was ok, but there are lots of issues. Boarding: This was an absolute joy, we were given a time to arrive to board the ship. We were foot passengers so finding where to leave our luggage was not signposted but not impossible. This was the only blip in the perfect boarding. We had previously uploaded photos and arranged a payment card on the website, much to our advantage. Once we entered the terminal we were greeted by a guy with a tablet who found our details very quickly, logged our luggage barcodes, and checked our passports. This took about 2 minutes! We then proceeded to security which was very quiet, this took about 5 minutes. We were on time so could proceed straight to the ship and board. That was it, about 15 minutes from arrival to ship! Interior Stateroom: We had an inside stateroom, which is where we found our sea passes and chipped wristbands, more on those later. Our room was spacious, well planned and had lots of storage. I had been in an interior stateroom on NCL Breakaway and that had felt compact, and tight. This was the opposite, we didnt feel our stateroom was just a bed, it was also a space you didnt mind spending a bit of time in. The TV balcony was excellent, a large TV on it's side displayed a live feed from a webcam, with sound if wanted. Complete with curtains and remote control it added a touch of excellence to this fine stateroom. The bathroom felt nice and spacious also. The Ship: A beautiful ship, very well presented and very clean. Lots of things available to choose from such as the Waverider, the skydiving thing we called the Blender, the North Star viewing POD, a large theatre, a casino, shops and numerous bars and restaurants. We particularly like the Solarium at the front on deck 14 with its relaxing pools and atmosphere. Other than the top decks the ship is really missing some nice outside space, I suppose we were spoilt on Breakaway but that new ship really catered for spending time outside. Getting Around: There are only 2 lots of lifts although one lot had 10 lifts and the other had 8 lifts. But because they are concentrated in 2 areas it means they are often not near to where you want to get to. Our stateroom was a 5 minute walk from the nearest lift, maybe that was bad choice on our part? Buffet & Restaurants: Being on the ship for only 3 nights meant we couldnt try everything, but we got a good idea. The buffet was standard fayre, in fact I felt they didnt have as much variety as you get on even the smaller NCL ships. But the bread counter was lovely and offered freshly baked cookies all day long. For breakfast you have to visit the correct egg station or you get told to go away as they only do omelettes! One morning we went to Silk one of the main dining rooms for breakfast. It all started so well, nice welcome order taken, coffee, water and juice. My huevos rancheros was 2 fried eggs with some sliced tomatoes & avocado, and a couple of chilli rings. I was disgusted, but no-one asked how we were doing, no-one offered any more coffee or anything. We noticed this was not just our problem as you could see people all over lacking coffee refills. Needless to say I ate my 2 fried eggs and then went back to the buffet. Of course we proceeded to tell the restaurant manager about our bad experience, who took our stateroom number and then we never heard anything else. For my partners birthday we made the tragic mistake of visiting the American Icon main dining room, we had seen online before our cruise a lovely menu. What we got offered was a mish mash of tastes from all 4 main dining rooms. Nothing matched each other and it was not very good at all. The following night we went to Chops Grille which thank god was amazing, the best food on the ship. The Devilishly Divine or something similar restaurant provided a very nice lunch buffet one day too. The hot dog stand & Johnny Rockets were tasty too. The shows and other activities: We Will Rock You is the resident musical and was expertly put on, I believe it was not edited from the West End version I had seen before. Bingo did not make an appearance until the last night when we were eating at Chops Grille at the only time we could book. I did notice a quiz going on once, but most promoted activities were the things built into the ship. Crew were not being utilized to engage with passengers, no dancing classes, no daily bingo, no poolside line dancing. So if you dont wanna pay to rock climb, get blended or WaveRider then all thats pretty much left is to swim or drink more alcohol! Crew: This is where my biggest gripe is. On NCL the crew really engage with passengers and try to make everyone feel special, they make the cruise special. On Anthem the passengers felt incidental. Only the room stewards said hello, and ours was great. They did not seem happy, or pleased to serve or make anyone's experience a great one. It just made me frustrated that they were so distant. There was only one crew member who was amazing, she was our waitress in Chops Grille, she was so attentive and happy to do anything to make us feel like valued guests. She was what was missing across the rest of the ship. If it hadnt been for her I would probably avoid Royal Caribbean in the future. If they have one member of crew like her, there is hope that other ships will have more of them. Wristbands: We were provided with wristbands that we could use to open our stateroom door with and pay for stuff, but they were just annoying to us so we just used our sea passes instead, but we could see some good advantages for kids etc for them. Leaving The Ship: This was a nice simple process, you were given bag tags which related to a departure time, our time was reasonable and after breakfast we only had to wait about 20 mins before our number was called to depart. We got off quickly and found our bags easily. No issues here. Overall: The ship is lovely, maybe missing some outside dining possibilities. Our stateroom was great, and the food was distinctly average until you went to a paid for restaurant, where the quality went up dramatically. The crew were dismissive and inattentive. Getting on and off was very easy and stress-less. We did not choose to pay for any of the extremely expensive excursions so no opinions of how they were run. There were no organised gay meetups, you had to visit the library to see the gay noticeboard to see if anything was happening. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I've been on a number of cruises, none with Royal Caribbean before and never on a ship so fantastically technological - it was an experience. Firstly; Royal Caribbean were very good. Their embarkation; provided you fill in all the ... Read More
I've been on a number of cruises, none with Royal Caribbean before and never on a ship so fantastically technological - it was an experience. Firstly; Royal Caribbean were very good. Their embarkation; provided you fill in all the forms online prior to arriving; is the best I've ever used. From port to ship in under 5 minutes - basically just walked on. Their service on board was very good, a few rough edges, but it's a new ship. The amenities and facilities on board are out of this world, never have I seen so much to do & been so spoiled for choice. Secondly; their technology is breaking waves. It's certainly out there, on the right tracks but needs some refining and tweaking here and there. I loved the ability to open my room door with the RFID tag wrist bands and I liked that this could be scanned for a number of things including dinner reservations and purchasing drinks. However, this is where it falls down a little bit, after scanning the band to pay for drinks I still needed to sign the receipt, this for me, just interrupts and spoils the customer interface with the technology. Same at the Bionic Bar - another great idea, but it's slower than a bar tender & you have to collect drinks on at a time. Like I say, they are on the right tracks, but refinement is required. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This trip was for me a check on a long held item on my bucket list. I have been to France, Paris and the area just north of the Pirineos, before. But, as a former history teacher, there was a great desire to sail north on the Seine and ... Read More
This trip was for me a check on a long held item on my bucket list. I have been to France, Paris and the area just north of the Pirineos, before. But, as a former history teacher, there was a great desire to sail north on the Seine and visit Normandy and especially the area of the D Day invasion. From the first minute at Charles De Gaulle, the Viking staff was wonderful in gathering us as a group and getting us on our way to the ship. The ship was delightful, the cabin was well looked after and the service was superb. The staff did so many little extras that it was wonderful, from the warm beverage when we returned from a tour to the towel bunny and Easter eggs in the cabin on Easter Sunday. The cruise on the Seine and the stops that we made were all interesting and historically speaking very meaningful. To visit the Normandy beaches on Easter Sunday was so moving and Viking providing the flowers for us to place at the graves and the ceremony at the American cemetery was very emotional. Viking even provided an alternate tour for those passengers from the Commonwealth countries. I wish I could have taken that one also. I especially liked the cruise on the Seine and seeing the countryside and small towns along the river where we stopped. Rouen and the Joan of Arc tour as well as the history of that city were also favorites. All in all, a wonderful experience, with excellent food and wine and those desserts and cheeses. So special and so well remembered. Can't wait for next year to go on another. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Scenic Emerald – South of France July 14th 2014 Cruise Review We arrived in Paris after a long delay in Singapore so were pretty ratty and ready for a rest. Thankfully, our luggage wasn’t lost, we passed through immigration without a ... Read More
Scenic Emerald – South of France July 14th 2014 Cruise Review We arrived in Paris after a long delay in Singapore so were pretty ratty and ready for a rest. Thankfully, our luggage wasn’t lost, we passed through immigration without a hitch and met up with our Scenic transfer driver in the arrivals hall. All good so far The Marriot Ambassador is ok for a major chain hotel. Expensive bar, ordinary breakfast buffet and small room but then I think that’s pretty standard for Europe hotels. We met our fellow cruisers on the Sunday night (the night before Bastille Day) subsequently everything was closed, even the hotel restaurant ! We were left there all wondering what we were supposed to do for dinner. Hubby and I decided the pasta we had for lunch was laying pretty heavy so decided to skip dinner and headed to bed early. The morning of the ‘cruise’ package started with everyone clambering for breakfast which apparently caught the hotel out as they ran out of juice glasses, coffee cups etc. I don’t think this was their first rodeo so was a bit surprised but we were looking forward to our cruise of a lifetime and nothing was raining on this parade ! We had been instructed to put our luggage outside our rooms the night before as this was to be transported to the ship by truck to save us all having to drag it onto the TGV. Great idea ! The transfer to the TGV was smooth and without incident and we were on our way. After a very smooth 2 or so hours we arrived at Dijon where we disembarked the TGV and were loaded onto luxury coaches. A quick lunch stop in Dijon was delicious with some local fois gras with toast. Yum. Back on the coaches and finally on to Chalon-sur-Saone where the shiny lovely Scenic Emerald awaited us. We felt like royalty boarding with all the staff on deck with their dress black uniforms on and welcoming us aboard. When inside the foyer we were allocated a hospitality crew person who escorted us to our cabin balcony suite 207. We highly recommend this suite. Just far enough away from the noise but really close to all facilities. The room was sparkling clean and bright. The bathroom ensuite was very reasonably spacey with a great selection of shampoos, soap etc. At 5.30pm we all had to assemble on the top deck for a safety discussion and instructions on how to put on life jackets etc. With all accounted for we went back down to the Emerald lounge for a well-earned champers. I cannot understate how hard the crew work on the ship. The bar boys are just phenomenal with their energy and funny antics. They really make the day bright when you see their smiling faces and they have a bit of a joke with you once they get to know you a little. They remember names and what your ‘usual’ is too ! Amazing ! Day one we visited the Patriarche Cellars for a wine tasting. The wines we tasted were ‘green’ and acidic and we were really surprised that they gave us such young undrinkable wines to taste as there was no way we were going to part with any Euros in their showroom upstairs ! pity because the cellar and underground tasting rooms were a lovely experience. Back to our home on the river and treated to a magnificent dinner. I could rave about each night’s dinner and lunch but to be honest just be assured the food is aplenty and of 5 star standard. A special night was our dinner date with some new friends we made in the ‘La Mour’ restaurant. Everyone gets to book one dinner there where the service is only to cater for about 30 people (instead of the usual whole ship in the main dining room seating about 140ish people each sitting). The LaMour restaurant is a very special experience indeed. 6 courses of absolutely deliciousness. One comment on the main dining room would be the NOISE ! I don’t know if everyone had their hearing aids turned down but god it was noisy !! I think Scenic need to consider some foam tiles on the ceiling or something because often it was so bad we couldn’t have a conversation across a table. (one of my very few complaints !). With regard to shore tours, we were predominantly interested in wine tasting as this was one of the main interests for choosing this cruise. The wine tastings varied from undrinkable to yum I’ll buy a bottle. It’s all very subjective and I would still encourage anyone interested in the local wines to do the tastings as it is still really interesting to get a different slant on wines and not just our one sided Aussie pallets. One tour that was one of the highlights of our tour was the visit to the Paul Bocuse Culinary Institute in Lyon. What a fantastic experience. If you consider yourself a bit of a ‘foodie’ then this is the trip for you. We were treated to a masterclass with one of the Executive chefs. He cooked a delicious red mullet dish that was to die for. We got the recipe and full instructions so we could make notes etc too. He was so lovely and helpful and happily signed our recipes at the end of the class. Another highlight among our tours was the villages of Luberon region Gordes and Fontaine de Vaucluse. Beautiful villages with lovely medieval cobbled streets with little shops and delicious cafes. However, the absolute highlight of the cruise for us was our visit to Avignon. This place is definitely on our must do again list ! It is perfectly preserved walled city which includes the Palais-des-Papes (palace of the Popes). We were lucky enough to be there when the annual performing arts festival was on so every street and corner had a different act ranging from soccer ball tossing acrobats to a didgeridoo playing Aussie to a whole troupe of bagpipe playing artists. Just phenomenal and a real experience. The video camera got a real workout that day! If there was one tour I would not recommend it was the ornithological park. To be honest it was quite hot and there was little shade. The birdlife wasn’t that interesting to us and we were happy to get back on the air conditioned bus. It came as part of the full day touring that everyone did so I guess we were pretty much locked in to going but given a choice I’d rather stay on the boat and sail on to the next port to meet the coaches. Kurt our cruise director was absolute gold. He was professional, friendly, funny, very careful, extremely competent and caring. He worked so hard to make sure everyone was having the best time. If we do another Scenic cruise I certainly hope he is on it ! All the crew were terrific. Our personal butler Ica and lovely housekeeping lady Simonetta were always looking after us. Nothing was too much trouble and we felt very special. Hubby had a ‘slept on the pillow chocolate’ incident ! Simonetta took it in her stride saying that he wasn’t the first person to do it and she definitely knew the difference between chocolate and any other um stuff you might find in a bed. All in all she made an embarrassing situation funny and let him off with a small wag of her finger hahaha ! The mini-bar was refreshed at least twice per day with chocolates, pringles and white wine. We loved to sit on the balcony before the daily cruise report by Kurt at about 6.30 before dinner. We loved the balcony and having that private area where we could retreat for an hour or so to gather you thoughts before we went into the next activities of eating and frivolity! The night time entertainment was mixed with the onboard pianist (who put up with our karaoke !) and a mixture of ‘Gypsy Kings’ type band, a fabulous piano acordian player and a local gypsy dancing group. All in all we were happy just to catch up with new friends for a few drinks (which were always kept topped up !) in the Emerald lounge. There is also a great area at the front of the dining room where you can sit open air for light lunches and was also great for when we were casting off and setting sail for a new port. Also great for going through the numerous lochs. That was an interesting experience too. One of the lochs was a 23 metre drop ! It was so funny on the way down they played the theme from Titanic ! When were down to the required level and the exit doors opened the theme changed to the Love Boat ! crazy musical director haha ! We would highly recommend this cruise. We found that we were of the ‘younger’ age group being in our early 50s. I would guess the average age somewhere up around mid to late 70s. Most were still pretty able but there were a few that were quite physically challenged needing walking sticks etc. However, they were all there for a fun time and we didn’t feel that the age of the clientele was any problem. Everyone mixed with most people and with no fixed seating in the dining room you could either sit with your regular new friends or seek out new ones if you moved tables. Scenic have got a great strategy for their river cruises and are to be congratulated for tailoring these holidays for the Aussie market. There were a few Canadians, a few British and a few NZ but 98% Aussies. We will definitely consider doing the Amsterdam to Budapest cruise as many on this cruise had done it before and highly recommended it also. Thankyou to Scenic and your crew for making this a cruise of a lifetime and a holiday we will remember very fondly in many years to come. Five star and all inclusive all the way !   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I must say after reading some of these reviews, we were more than a little bit worried about cruising with Cunard! But We were very pleasantly surprised. I really can't see what Anyone would have to moan about?! I'm a non ... Read More
I must say after reading some of these reviews, we were more than a little bit worried about cruising with Cunard! But We were very pleasantly surprised. I really can't see what Anyone would have to moan about?! I'm a non confined wheelchair user, in other words I can, on a good day, walk a Little. We drove to southampton and had prebooked our car in with CPS. We were directed to the kerb and I was helped out of the car into my chair whilst my husband unloaded the luggage. The luggage was taken on board and placed in our room whilst a very chatty gentleman wheeled me through security, passports and check in and then to our room! The room was more than big enough with 2 doubles and 1 single wardrobe, several drawers a table and sofa, dressing table, fridge, hair dryer etc and the bathroom although small had everything you needed plus complimentary toiletries. Everything was so simple and nothing was too much bother. Every single member of the crew greeted us with smiles and fell over themselves to help. Each meal time ( we decided the Lido was a better fit for us) they carried my tray reached over and got whatever I asked for and then escorted us to the table. They would come over several times to ask if you wanted anything else! The food was varied and plentiful, even a fussy eater like myself was able to find plenty to eat from the selection of cold meats, cheeses, salads, breads, fruit, vegetables, hot meat, fish, etc. oh and dont forget the pudding 😊 there is also a grill by the pool at lunch times for hotdogs/burgers etc, a pizza bar, vanilla & chocolate ice-cream on tap as well as nightly specials. From 6am until 11pm there is food available and soft drinks, tea & coffee. We had one night in the Britannia restaurant and they even did me a special meal with plain chicken when I couldn't find anything I liked on the menu! The jacuzzis and pools were great, everything was clean and the bar service excellent. Disembarkation was just as easy, there were lots of men waiting to help with the disabled passengers (make sure you advise them of your disabilitys and fill in the medical questionnaires when you book) they took us straight down to check out, straight through customs and was met by another man that collected our cases and then both took us to our car and helped pack the car up. FANTASTIC! The only thing that would have made it better for me would be to have a parasol as I did burn quite badly but other than that it was perfect. Very mobility friendly and We will definitely be going again.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014

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