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5 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
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
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
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

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