5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise based on the timing since this was at the end of a 4 week Europe vacation. There were only 2 cabins available at the time and both were on the lower deck. While we found the food and the entertainment provided was ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on the timing since this was at the end of a 4 week Europe vacation. There were only 2 cabins available at the time and both were on the lower deck. While we found the food and the entertainment provided was great (talented duo, Kapka and Dimcho, and on one night the Gypsy Band) there were a few things that meant our experience was not so enjoyable as it might have been. Cruisers need to be aware that this boat seems to cater for group tours (and those on this cruise were of an average age of about 80 - much older than us). This meant there was not much mixing and we were confined to a set table for meals so did not get to meet many people (our table companion rarely had meals in the restaurant). This is disappointing if you enjoy meeting people on your travels. The excursions are all extra - even the walking tours that other cruise companies usually include. And these rivers are not particuarly interesting in themselves (lots of industry along the river bank) so you need to go out to experience Burgundy and Provence because you can't do this from the boat. However, because Amadeus use local guides, it also means that the quality of the experience can vary. But the worst aspect for us was the cabin which was extremely noisy on the lower deck. The ship uses a vacuum system for the toilets and every time anyone used the toilet on the decks above us, it sounded like a train going through a tunnel. (We did get used to it and it is not a problem on the upper decks.) When we went through a lock, there was loud banging and it sounded as if water was rushing into the cabin - quite scary the first time I heard it - and I never got used to that. It always woke me up since we went through many locks at night. (Again, this is not the same for the upper decks.) The other thing that you need to be aware of (no matter what cabin you choose) is that the beds are pushed together to make a double but there is a substantial crack between them and they are made up as singles. One morning I woke up in the crack with a very stiff neck. Our table companion said she could not sleep at all because the bed was too hard and had 2 quilts laid under the sheet to make it softer - though this did not bother us so much. With these issues. it was fortunate that the crew were so delightful and so well organised. Our cabin was cleaned and tidied twice a day and we could not fault the service we received. The public areas on the ship are comfortable (though the coffee station is way down the back of the secon deck which is odd) and the system of getting on and off the ship worked well even with a slow and elderly group. The fitness room looked well fitted out though I did not use it - too busy sight-seeing on most days. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
Everything on the boat was excellent. The food, the staff and service were top shelf. We stayed in a Veranda Suite. The tours were average but the scenery was not very interesting while cruising, unlike our previous Viking tour from ... Read More
Everything on the boat was excellent. The food, the staff and service were top shelf. We stayed in a Veranda Suite. The tours were average but the scenery was not very interesting while cruising, unlike our previous Viking tour from Budapest to Amsterdam. Every place we stopped was over crowded with tourists. At several stops we had to stand in long lines to see the attraction. It was extremely hot most of the week (this was our fault for choosing mid July). On one tour, after walking around the city we were taken the top of a very high site, by a tram, that overlooked the city and river which was very interesting, but it started raining at the top of the hill. The tram took us about 1/3 of the way back to the boat and dumped us off in pouring rain. Only 1 couple had an umbrella so everybody got 'soaked to the bone' walking back to the boat. On our next cruise we will go either early or late in the season, but definitely on Viking. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Wanted to try something different for a vacation and several friends recommended Viking River Cruises. It was all that we expected and more! Excellent cabin, food, service, excursions, etc. Our transfers between airports and the ship ... Read More
Wanted to try something different for a vacation and several friends recommended Viking River Cruises. It was all that we expected and more! Excellent cabin, food, service, excursions, etc. Our transfers between airports and the ship were excellent. Our cabin was large, comfortable, and included many amenities that we have never received on prior trips - fresh fruit and cookies every day, wine, soft drinks, and champagne in our fridge. Plenty of comfortable seating, not only in the cabin, but on the top deck, the dining room, the library, etc. The waitstaff all spoke perfect English and were extremely attentive. It was nice to be able to sit wherever and with whomever we wanted at the meals. The smaller number of travelers made it easier to get to meet almost everyone on the ship. The food was incomparable! Never had something I didn't like, and I was able to try a variety of foods that were new to me. This will definitely not be our last Viking River Cruise! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
Really wanted to try "Eastern Europe", but timing sent us to Southern France. Being a "skipper" when 3 or 4 passengers is more than enough really wanted to try river cruising - love the ocean but 3000 pax is about 2999 ... Read More
Really wanted to try "Eastern Europe", but timing sent us to Southern France. Being a "skipper" when 3 or 4 passengers is more than enough really wanted to try river cruising - love the ocean but 3000 pax is about 2999 too many. The whole experience was way beyond what I was expecting; I was able to say G'day to almost everyone on board (passengers and crew) and with around 200 people on board even got to know most of the names. Organising excursions must be a nightmare for the Cruise Director; we started out thinking that all was set in stone only to find out that many last minute changes were accommodated without a second thought. If the most recent cruise is the measure then I will certainly consider another Scenic cruise. (As an aside, we dined with a couple who had a similar background and has already completed over 15 cruises with Scenic; don't think I will be around long enough to meet that 'frequent cruiser' level, but it it a good recommendation.) Yes, reckon we will go on another Scenic Cruise (Antarctica beckons but need a couple more pennies in the bank). Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We had the opportunity to book the Departures Epicurean and Wine Cruise from Lyon to Avignon. This was a busy one with excursions booked through the day and visits to Chateaus, historic cites and even a lunch at an olive producers ... Read More
We had the opportunity to book the Departures Epicurean and Wine Cruise from Lyon to Avignon. This was a busy one with excursions booked through the day and visits to Chateaus, historic cites and even a lunch at an olive producers backyard. Everything was well organized and the crew could not have been kinder. Our fellow travelers were all interesting people and we enjoyed meeting them all. The wine and food aboard were fabulous and the exceptional epicurean and wine experiences off ship were so special. Our room was always in perfect shape due to the meticulous attention paid by the staff. There was also a wonderful masseuse aboard. The past river cruises we have been on had larger rooms, but none were available this time. I would recommend booking one of the suites if there is one available. That said, the smaller cabin worked well and we had ample closet space and drawers to stow our things. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We travelled on Scenic’s 13 day South of France cruise on the Scenic Sapphire, departing on 29th April 2017. We stayed in a private balcony suite, on the diamond (top) deck. We had previously been on Jewels of Europe cruise with Scenic ... Read More
We travelled on Scenic’s 13 day South of France cruise on the Scenic Sapphire, departing on 29th April 2017. We stayed in a private balcony suite, on the diamond (top) deck. We had previously been on Jewels of Europe cruise with Scenic in 2015, and we loved it, telling all our family and friends how good it was. Before that we had travelled with Scenic to Australia in 2011, and that was also fantastic. So we set off on this latest trip with Scenic with high expectations. Sadly, in some ways we ended up being disappointed. For those of you who cannot be bothered to read the entire review, you should take note of the following points if you are thinking of booking a river cruise with Scenic: • Do not book the first cruise of the season: the crew have not yet got their act together. • When it comes to picking a cabin, as with other things, size matters. • Daily itineraries can be changed between the time you book and the time you travel, and even after you arrive on board. What was good: • The staff, (with one or two exceptions – see later), were very pleasant, friendly, and helpful. • Staff (normally the more senior ones) who had been with Scenic on previous cruises were good at their jobs. The butler service was excellent. • Bar service in the lounge was consistently good. • Excursions were impeccably organised, with excellent, knowledgeable, local guides. The coaches were modern, clean and comfortable. A nice touch was that they always took the scenic (!) routes to destinations. The excursions were well chosen: we visited chateaux, quaint medieval towns and roman ruins. In some cases, the timing of the trips was made to ensure that we got there before the hordes. Walking over the Pont du Gard roman aqueduct, and being the only party there, was wonderful. • The Scenic Enrich experiences (particularly the private dinner at the Pope’s palace in Avignon) were genuinely memorable. • The food was generally (but not always) to a high standard. We had a couple of meals that were truly excellent. There was always a wide choice available at every meal. • With one exception (see later), our room was always cleaned to a high standard. • The all-inclusive package means that Scenic’s claim that you can leave your wallet at home is true – the only additional costs we incurred were in buying souvenirs. • As an early booking incentive we were provided with a car to take us to and from the airport in the UK, saving us about £150. But I have to point out that this was what we had expected, and had paid for! What was bad: • There were huge problems in the dining room, particularly at dinner. The waiters were inexperienced and poorly trained. Some had very poor command of English, and so could not understand what customers wanted. One waiter, if he could not understand, would go to another part of the dining room and not return to our table. For the first couple of nights, the sense of panic amongst the serving staff was palpable. Cutlery was often not matched to the food being served. (Have you ever tried to eat something served in a cocktail glass with a soup spoon?). • The chef apparently had the most wonderful system for managing food orders: no food left the kitchen until every single guest had sat down and placed their order. For the first few days, early arrivers were kept waiting for up to an hour between ordering and being served their first course. On day four we complained to the restaurant manager, who was highly apologetic, and acknowledged the problems. He told us that he had informed Scenic head office about the chaos in the dining room, and had not received any practical help. He also said that he had started to over-rule the chef’s serving system. He sent an excellent bottle of wine to our cabin that evening by way of apology. To be fair, things did improve steadily after that, but even by the second week it was still not up to Scenic’s normal standard. In that second week, a breakfast was made memorable when it took four requests, to two different waiters, over a 10 minute period to obtain a pot of tea. When it eventually came, it had been made with cold water! • On several occasions, I found dirty plates amongst the clean ones at the breakfast buffet. Twice we were served drinks in chipped glasses. • On a cruise in France, I had expected that the wines being served with dinner would be excellent. In fact, they were generally fairly average. We did discover that better wines were available if you asked. • Again in the first week, one particular day’s excursions started earlier than normal, but the time of breakfast in the main dining room was kept the same, making breakfast a real rush. Some of us tried to go into breakfast 15 minutes early but were shooed out by the staff, who then locked the doors to prevent anyone else trying to get in early! Of course, we could have gone for an “Earlybird” breakfast in the lounge if all we wanted was a croissant (but no butter or jam) and a coffee. After complaints, by the second week the timing of breakfast was brought forward if there were early excursions. • So, as far as the dining room was concerned, it certainly was not a five star operation. • At each of the two entrances to the dining room a hand sanitiser was placed. They were badly sited at the side of the staircase, so you had to pause on the stairs and lean to the side to use them. We witnessed two people who fell down the last steps when trying to use the sanitisers. For four days, one of the two sanitisers was not working, and on at least one day, neither was working. This was despite reporting it to reception each time. • When we travelled on the Rhine with Scenic, we had a deluxe balcony suite of 225 square feet. This class of cabin is not available on the Scenic Sapphire in France, so we had a balcony suite of 205 square feet. It was only 10% smaller, but the difference was very noticeable, particularly in the reduced wardrobe space and the cramped bathroom. When sitting on the toilet, the toilet roll holder dug into your arm, and you needed to be a contortionist to wash your feet in the shower. • The Scenic Sapphire was built in 2008, and is now getting a bit old. Its’ sister ship the Emerald was sold off at the end of last season because we were told it was too expensive to refurbish. The Sapphire had been “refreshed” for this 2017 season, though this did not seem to have included our cabin. The bathroom was “tired”: not all the shower functions worked and the shower door leaked; the chrome was coming off the sink waste cover, and the silvering was beginning to disappear off the bottom edge of the mirror. • Sometime before we travelled, we were notified by Scenic that one of the Freechoice excursions on one particular day would not be available. We were not unduly bothered about this. Then, when we received our travel documents about a week before travelling, they included a little pamphlet giving the tour itinerary. We glanced at it but did not really read it in detail. That was a mistake. When we subsequently compared it to the itinerary in the brochure at the time we booked in 2016, we found a number of significant changes. Several Freechoice options had been deleted on different days. On some days where the brochure listed an excursion in the morning followed by a Freechoice activity later in the day, the morning’s excursion had been lumped in with the other Freechoice activities so that you could only do one. On day six, all the activities listed in the brochure had been deleted, so the day was spent cruising on the boat. To be fair, some other additional activities had been added in, but overall the choice was reduced. We feel strongly that Scenic should have pointed out the changes to us in advance, rather than via a pamphlet sent with the travel documents. Even when we were on the cruise, further changes were made. • On our second day we found a dirty plate under our bed. We had not had food in our room. This was the first cruise of the season, so obviously the room preparation was not as thorough as it ought to have been. Thereafter, we had no reason to complain about the housekeeping. • A final aggravation was being told on the last day that we had to complete Scenic’s customer satisfaction questionnaire before we left the ship, and it had to be done online. We were told it would take no more than 30 to 40 minutes – in fact it took everyone we spoke to about an hour and a half, which is a big chunk of your last afternoon. Amazingly, the computer system in the cabin would not link to the Scenic website, so the survey had to be completed on a tablet or smartphone, which made writing comments slow and tedious. Also you could not stop part way through and save what you had done. I tried it and lost what I had already done. So, overall, we could only rate this cruise as 6 out of 10. We knew that Scenic are one of the more expensive river cruise operators, but our previous experience was that we got what we paid for. This time it was not the case – we do not feel that we received full value for the not inconsiderable sum of money the cruise cost. A month ago, if we had been asked if we would travel with Scenic again, the answer would have been an emphatic yes. Now the answer would be “perhaps”. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This was my second cruise with Uniworld. We had such a great time we decided to try it again. We couldn't believe that it surpassed our expectations. The ship, crew, room, food, excursions, and entertainment were all top notch. I ... Read More
This was my second cruise with Uniworld. We had such a great time we decided to try it again. We couldn't believe that it surpassed our expectations. The ship, crew, room, food, excursions, and entertainment were all top notch. I was speaking to two couples who had been on a river cruise on every line. They said that by far this was the best. to quote them "we feel pampered". The concierge, Valerie, did a fabulous job. Every tour was well planned. They had strenuous activity and a gentle walkers group with everything in between. We had arrived in Lyon several days early to enjoy the city. I, however, got a big surprise. Everything in Lyon was in full bloom and I got an allergy attack. Valerie arranged for a doctor to come on board. The doctor gave me several prescriptions to have filled. Just as I was getting ready to go to have them filled I received a call from Ivana, the manager, and she told me that she would be happy to do it for me. Talk about great service. The food was delicious and had great variety. They had several excursions to pick from each day, and they also had varied entertainment each evening. Our cabin, 303, was lovely and kept spotlessly clean. Our waiter, Daniel, was super. All in all it was a great trip. We are planning another one for November. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Sponsored by a winery where we are wine club members, 38 of us in the group. All inclusive, no surprise bills at the end, making it easier to budget up front. The ship was spotless, always in tiptop shape. Rooms beautifully appointed. ... Read More
Sponsored by a winery where we are wine club members, 38 of us in the group. All inclusive, no surprise bills at the end, making it easier to budget up front. The ship was spotless, always in tiptop shape. Rooms beautifully appointed. Loved having onboard laundry facility, will not take as many clothes next time because of that. Wines were great, enjoyed the sommelier's knowledge base and education talks about French wines. Food was incredible and nicely varied, open seating allowed us to meet many of the other passengers. Ship was not fully booked, being the first trip of the season which was great. Shore excursion guides were great, buses very clean and drivers just wonderful. Service in lounges, restaurant and room was first rate. Staff always friendly, engaging and helpful. I can't recommend Uniworld highly enough. We'll be doing another Uniworld cruise as soon as we can get the budget in order. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
Our wine club, Shadow Mountain vineyards, sponsored the cruise and we gladly signed on. An awesome experience. We had the royal suite and our own butler Valentina..so amazing. Our room, view, comfy bed, cleanliness,beauty..excellent. ... Read More
Our wine club, Shadow Mountain vineyards, sponsored the cruise and we gladly signed on. An awesome experience. We had the royal suite and our own butler Valentina..so amazing. Our room, view, comfy bed, cleanliness,beauty..excellent. The ship was elegant and staff so attentive. The food exceptional and dining staff wonderful especially Demi who served us so professionally while keeping us laughing the entire time. I want to commend especially Ivana, Valentina and Demi..I would choose a ship especially if I knew they would be on board. The day trips to charming villages wonderful and Tania did a fine job organizing activities. Thank you all for making this a once in a lifetime experience. I enjoyed being on the ship as much as day experiences off ship. Didn't feel a thing when sailing although I preferred day sail so could experience scenery and the lock experience. We had only one glitch which was readily made so right..Thank you Ivana. Everything that could have gone right DID go right. Thank you, Carol and John Tyrrell Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This is an amazing cruise! We begin in Paris for the Normandy section of the cruise and then followed up with Burgundy and Provence. The entire trip was flawless from beginning to end. The S.S. Catherine was beautiful and well appointed ... Read More
This is an amazing cruise! We begin in Paris for the Normandy section of the cruise and then followed up with Burgundy and Provence. The entire trip was flawless from beginning to end. The S.S. Catherine was beautiful and well appointed in every aspect including the cabins. We found luxury bedding and choice of pillows, a beautiful marble bathroom with heated floors, and two huge windows that lowered. The service on board was amazing as was the food. They are happy to hear about any food allergies and watched over each passenger with great care at every meal to ensure that they are eating a menu that is right for the individual. Uniworld does not leave you alone for a minute. They met us at the airport, accompanied us on the bullet train down south, and took us to the airport when we left. On every tour there was a representative as well. The shore excursions were well planned, covered a variety of topics, and most were included in the price of the cruise. The guides were informative and well versed in the area. On one of our excursions, our guide took us to her family home that had harbored Jewish refugees during WWII. We were shown the tunnel from which they escaped the Germans, which were housed two doors down the block.. That was the most impressive day we could wanted. If you plan this trip, I hope you are lucky enough to have Adrian John as you Cruise Manager and Ariel as your butler. They made our trip so memorable. We have traveled to many place and taken many cruises, but none compare to Uniworld. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
After sailing with Uniworld on the Countess in Venice last year it was obvious we would choose none other than Uniworld again for our south France river cruise. The SS Catherine is nothing short of breathtaking and I implore anyone ... Read More
After sailing with Uniworld on the Countess in Venice last year it was obvious we would choose none other than Uniworld again for our south France river cruise. The SS Catherine is nothing short of breathtaking and I implore anyone reading this review to book and truly see for yourself. The design , decor , room layouts and colours are simply stunning.Every single detail has been thought about from mass storage space to gorgeous locally produced la occitane bathroom essentials. You could not wish for a better stateroom cabin if you tried. The lounge and dining room are nothing short of spectacular with food to die for and service that is unrivalled in any other 5* hotel I have ever stayed in.the chefs Uniworld choose are nothing short of genius and I have the extra 6kgs to prove it!! As with most ports we usually docked next to another ship and we could not believe the difference between our stunning grand double height mirrored reception area complete with stunning curved elevator and bespoke murano glass horse and chandelier when compared with the drab depressing clinical smelling reception of other ships such as Viking we had to walk through to disembark, my advice is book Uniworld rather than the inevitable " look what you could have had" feeling if you don't! Truly we had the best week of our life , we have been privileged to travel a lot and experience luxury all over the world but from an all round perspective of decor, design, service, breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner,drinks Uniworld are totally unmatched, thank you team for a truly wonderful trip. We have already rebooked for later this year!! Whether it's a special occasion or just for a break you won't find better....treat yourself this is one experience everyone should enjoy again and again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
We chose this cruise to coincide with our 50th wedding anniversary and I requested at the time of booking that flowers and champagne be provided on our anniversary date. I also confirmed this with the cruise director on embarkation. It ... Read More
We chose this cruise to coincide with our 50th wedding anniversary and I requested at the time of booking that flowers and champagne be provided on our anniversary date. I also confirmed this with the cruise director on embarkation. It did not start well as Air France lost our luggage and we spent an hour filling in forms at the airport. Fortunately the taxi transfer waited our arrival but then we were taken on a tour of the industrial heart of Lyon to the ship. I explained to the driver that we were to pick up the ship in Chalon but he said "non Lyon". We then spent 20 minutes while the driver rattled gates, blew his horn and drove up and down the road before two cruise staff came walking through a small park to accompany us to the ship which was the scenic sapphire and not the emerald as we had been informed. The cruise director then explained that the ship had been changed due to high river levels making it impossible for the cruise to start in Chalon due to low bridges upstream. He took charge of chasing up our luggage but we had to miss the tour on the first day as we had to shop for essentials. Fortunately the luggage arrived that evening but again we missed the following days excursion with unpacking and sorting out creased clothing. Cruising was delayed due to a lock keepers strike which meant a noisy overnight sail and missing the programmed "sundowners" excursion. The food on board was best described as average, do not expect Fine Dining as on one evening we, together with others on our table, returned a main course which was inedible. The cabins are well appointed and comfortable however beware of catching toes on the shower door and scraping arms on the sharp toilet roll holders! Our butler, Bogdan, was extremely helpful and attentive as were all the staff on board. Our anniversary arrived but the champagne and flowers did not. I mentioned this to the cruise director on disembarking, he apologised saying that he knew of an anniversary but did not know the name of the guest!! I have emailed scenic on our return and received an automated email saying they deal with these matters in chronological order and it could take up to 28 days for a reply - maybe an indication of the number of complaints, however I have now received a response to my observations with apologies and some flowers and champagne for my wife. Scenic managed to make our golden wedding anniversary a memorable experience but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
In my 40 plus years of travel I'very got to say this trip with Vantage on the Discovery II was the worst. From the start when we arrived at the Lyon and met the Vantage rep. There was no porters. Everyone had to drag there ... Read More
In my 40 plus years of travel I'very got to say this trip with Vantage on the Discovery II was the worst. From the start when we arrived at the Lyon and met the Vantage rep. There was no porters. Everyone had to drag there luggage thought the terminal up 2 elevators and across and elevated walk way to our bus. A 15 minute plus walk, many older people required assistance for some of the younger folks on the tour. We arrived at the boat in Chalon-sur-Saone after a 2 hour bus ride and check in was quick. It was early enough for my wife and I to take a quick walk around town and stop and get some money at an ATM. Before leaving the boat we stop at the tour desk to get any information about the town and what there was to see. Person at the desk did point us to an ATM and gave us a map with a walking tour highlighted on it. After returning back to the boat and our room, we discovered that we had no hot water or heat in the room. Checked with reception desk and they looked surprised to hear we had no hot water or heat in our cabin (214) and they would have some check it. We later heard from many other passengers during dine that they to didn't have any hot water. Next day was the same, no hot water, and a stop at the reception desk the crew continue to be surprised we still was having issues with the hot water. It wasn't until the 2nd evening on the boat that one of the senior staff admit there was a problem with the hot water. The solution was going to require us to leave the boat for 4 days while they made repairs. So what was supposed to be a relaxing cruise along the river turned into a business tour. The first 2 nights we spent in Lyon at a hotel outside the main tourist area which require a shuttle bus ride if you wanted to go into town. The food at hotel was OK, but no choice, only one option was available and no where the quality of on the boat. Food was served in a dark (on windows ) conference room , nothing compared to the views from the boats dining area. So for 4 days and 3 nights we lived off the boat. In this time off the boat we found out that the hot water issue wasn't a new problem and the boat had experienced the same problem the cruise before us and that Vantage had booked the hotel's before we ever got on the boat. Finding this out really upset manyof the pessangers, feeling that the crew has done nothing but lie to us the whole time. So after 4 day off the boat it was announced the the boat was fixed and we would be returning to the boat. But to the surprise of many of us when we return back to the boat and was reassured that things were fixed, hot water was sporadic in most cabins. Work crews continued to work on the issue everyday while we were off the boat touring. Ino the 7 night'so on the boat my wife and I had a total of 3 showers were there was hot water for the total shower. On day 8 as we were cruising down the river the captain ran the boat aground. The boat scraped along the shore for a couple hundred feet before stopping. The boat was completely blocking the the river, bow on one shore and stern on the other, stopping all river traffic for almost an hour before the crew was able to straighten the boat and get it moving again. I was announced that this was a minor incident, but a lot of the crew admitted that this was a first for them. There was many other incidents on this cruise but above are the major ones. Most people on the boat were very disappointed and unhappy with the constant lying from the staff. So after 2 notes to Vantage customer service over 2 weeks ago, absolutely no responses. I am sorry to say this will be my last time traveling with Vantage if this is how they treat there customers. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This was our second Uniworld cruise and it was even better than the first (which we LOVED). The SS Catherine is a beautiful ship, every detail has been considered. The public spaces are very impressive with works of art, chandeliers and ... Read More
This was our second Uniworld cruise and it was even better than the first (which we LOVED). The SS Catherine is a beautiful ship, every detail has been considered. The public spaces are very impressive with works of art, chandeliers and a two-story water feature. Uniworld has collected an all-star staff. Everyone - from our butler, Valentina, to our housekeeper Daniella, and our waiter Ivan, our bartenders Emil, Christian and Ariella and wine steward Laurentia and restaurant manager Tihomir - they were all fantastic. Personable, interesting and engaging while providing superior service. We felt very fortunate to have met them all. We enjoyed the ports and regular tours and took advantage of some of the optional excursions as well. The Paul Bocuse Institute cooking demonstration and lunch was memorable - not to mention delicious. We also enjoyed the Truffle Farm visit and Chateau-Neuf du Pape wine tasting. We did hear from others that the Olive Farm visit was too commercial for their taste. The tour guides were generally informative and engaging - Jean being our favorite who did tours of Lyon and Tain-L'Hermitage. Our cabin was a Suite which we can highly recommend if the extra cost is within your budget. The extra space is very nice and the butler service is definitely special. Your every need is met and extras abound. The suite has 3 tv's - one viewable from the bed, one in the large mirror in the seating area and one in the mirror in the bathroom - yes - the tv comes on inside the mirror. Lots of channels (mostly international news) and lots of movies (if you find time.) The "balcony" with retractable window was very nice - even though the weather was cold-ish. The bathroom was very large - double sinks and huge shower. Mini fridge which was restocked daily and Nespresso machine (a must!). The laundry was another big plus. There is a self-service laundry but Suite residents get complimentary laundry service which was a great surprise. There are also niceties such as cookies every day and an evening snack before dinner provided by our Wonderful Valentina. The food and wine on the ship were excellent. There were interesting selections in the main dining room every night and on the nights we had dinner in the Leopard Bar, the menu was the same both nights, but very good. Our only regret was missing the Rack of Lamb in the main dining room one night. (Next time!) And every evening Laurentia provided lovely wines to accompany the meals. Breakfasts and lunches were very nice buffets with a huge variety of offerings. How do you ever get hungry on such a ship? The entertainment was similar to our previous cruise. There was one entertainer we missed - to my regret - who was only there one evening. The lectures that we attended were reasonably interesting. Leaving the ship fairly late on the disembarkation day, we were able to stay in the lounge which was comfortable. We were offered lunch, but after having another huge breakfast - it wasn't necessary. However, it was very nice that it was offered. Our single criticism is that the suites offer sleeping space for a 3rd person - i.e. a small sleeper sofa. That, in itself, is good idea. The problem is that the sofa sits against the wall where the tv is in the mirror. That means you have nowhere to sit to watch the big tv - except on the bed - or to drag the chairs off the balcony into the room. It's a bit awkward. From the website - all the suites on the Catherine have the same configuration - 3rd person option. It would be far preferable to have two chairs that would face the tv. (we even tried to turn the couch around - it's too big to make that work). So - that's my only complaint. And it didn't detract from our overall enjoyment of the cruise. Next time I'll ask for a suite that does not accommodate a 3rd person. One other comment - we went on the first cruise of the season - which means the weather can be less than spectacular. We encountered the Mistral - the cold wind of Provence - four days in a row. It's unpredictable and can be pretty daunting - but it didn't diminish our experience. It did stir up some white caps on the river - but our Captain somehow was able to navigate into the locks VERY smoothly in spite of the wind. Other than seeing the white caps out the window - we would hardly have known the difference. So - YES , YES, YES - We LOVED it!!! And we can't wait for our next cruise!!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
This trip was wonderful from start (Lyon) to finish (Arles). Our cruise manager, Dejan, looked after everything and everyone from our pre-cruise start in Paris to our post-cruise finish in Barcelona. The tours were well planned, ... Read More
This trip was wonderful from start (Lyon) to finish (Arles). Our cruise manager, Dejan, looked after everything and everyone from our pre-cruise start in Paris to our post-cruise finish in Barcelona. The tours were well planned, informative and well executed. The hotel accommodation at both ends was lovely. The ship was fantastic. In really good condition. The crew couldn't do enough for you. Every meal was a joy and the wine was excellent and you were never in want for a top up. We will definitely cruise with AMA again and if Dejan was our Cruise Manager again that would be the icing on the cake. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Our third Viking River cruise. Service , food and staff usual high standard. Ship was beautiful - modern , airy and clean. New outside terrace too - fortunately we had good weather so ate outside several times . Tables were quickly taken ... Read More
Our third Viking River cruise. Service , food and staff usual high standard. Ship was beautiful - modern , airy and clean. New outside terrace too - fortunately we had good weather so ate outside several times . Tables were quickly taken at lunch time but everyone appeared sociable and were willing to share . Perhaps a few tables for two are needed as sometimes we didn't feel like chatting and would have preferred a romantic lunch together. Oliver the director was outstanding- chatty, fun and had some clever acts up his sleeve which were displayed several evenings . [ His background was a professional in the circus/ entertainment field]. Itinerary was a little disappointing .. to many visits to Roman remains for us . We enjoyed the wine tastings and learnt a great deal about wine . [ It all gets you drunk whatever you pay for it !!] We felt more free time for wandering or shopping was needed but lunch beckoned on board .Morning excursions were included , afternoon ones were optional and charged for. We didn't go on the afternoon excursions. We went for a walk along the river or relaxed on board . We had the 'drinks' package. We totted up our daily alcohol and fancy coffees and it definitely worked out cheaper for us than paying[ individually ] as a total at the end of the cruise. Our cabin was 106, with a small high window [lower deck ] and suited us perfectly,we wouldn't have sat outside on a balcony on October. Luxurious toiletries as usual. Bed comfy and with the climate control adjusted to out desired room temperature at night , we slept well. Disembarkation was smoothly organised and transfer to Marseilles airport on a luxury coach . Met at the airport by a Viking rep. who steered us through check in and answered any queries. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
My husband booked this river cruise from Lyon to Arles in honor of my birthday, so I was expecting the best and was not disappointed! The S.S.Catherine is an elegant ship with Venetian glass fixtures, original artwork on all of the walls, ... Read More
My husband booked this river cruise from Lyon to Arles in honor of my birthday, so I was expecting the best and was not disappointed! The S.S.Catherine is an elegant ship with Venetian glass fixtures, original artwork on all of the walls, good-sized staterooms and L'Occitane amenities. The food was always prepared to perfection for ALL meals and finished by delicious desserts prepared by two pastry chefs! Each evening before dinner, everyone would meet for cocktails and information regarding the next day's activities. The tours and activities are geared for the sedentary up to "Go Active." We did two "Go Active" tours: a bike ride of Lyon and a hike up into the vineyards of Burgundy. We also did one special excision for an additional charge to the castle of a French Count who saved us wine and lunch. Well worth the extra money! UniWorld's guides were excellent in both their presentation and knowledge. UniWorld has their own fleet of tour buses, too. Our cabin was the perfect size with a little sitting area off to the side so we could watch the countryside or the many locks we went through. We did enjoy the entertainment in the bar area after dinner. Embarkation and disembarkation were a non-event - they were so easy. We decided that the staff must be trained to never use the word "No" as everything was wonderful. We would recommend UniWorld in a heartbeat and hope to enjoy one of their other ships in the future! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Until 2015, having never experienced either cruising or a crossing with a major company, I was hesitant to try. Because of friends, we first signed on for a crossing in June 2015 on the QE2, which was an excellent experience; however, this ... Read More
Until 2015, having never experienced either cruising or a crossing with a major company, I was hesitant to try. Because of friends, we first signed on for a crossing in June 2015 on the QE2, which was an excellent experience; however, this created doubt about how good could a river cruise be? But, because of other friends, we signed on for the Rhone River cruise this past October. Our week was beyond expectations, from the moment we boarded the SS Catherine in Lyon to our disembarkation in Avignon a week later. Everything, the ship which was practically brand new and maintained as she had been delivered on her first day, our very nicely appointed cabin, the crew who was professional and very attentive, the excellent meals, the options for entertainment, etc, were all perfect. The only negative was that it came to an end. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
My wife and I (both in our early 50s) were looking to do something special for our 30th wedding anniversary when I came upon the idea of going on a river cruise. Being from Florida we have had our fair share of experiences with the large ... Read More
My wife and I (both in our early 50s) were looking to do something special for our 30th wedding anniversary when I came upon the idea of going on a river cruise. Being from Florida we have had our fair share of experiences with the large Caribbean cruise ships and a river cruise from Lyon to Provence seemed the perfect antidote to that experience. We realized that these type of all inclusive river cruises would attract an older, retired crowd but did not expect to be the youngest couple on board by far. The average age must have conservatively been in the 72-75 range easily. The cruise manager advised me that this was fairly typical for them and indeed from what I saw disembarking from the competitor lines (Viking, Scenic and Avalon) in port, fairly typical for European river cruises in general. After the initial shock of our situation we decided to make the best of it and AMA Waterways made it very easy. The ship (one of the oldest in the line) was in excellent condition although the elevator was out the entire trip. Nonetheless, our state room was clean and ample in size with a wonderful french balcony sliding door that allowed us to watch the world glide away from the comfort of our room. The meals were definitely on the formal side with each night bringing a wonderful creation based on the cuisine in the area we were traveling. The wine was free flowing with frequent refills of your glasses. There is an optional Chef's Table restaurant which we visited one night but frankly I found the food in the main dining room just as delicious. The staff and crew of the Amadagio were top notch with special kudos going to Abel our cruise manager. Entertainment on board was okay mainly consisting of the ship's organist with special guests being invited to perform on a few nights. The included tours were very good, educational and fun. Everything is perfectly organized with all transfers to the sites included. We ultimately met some very nice people and enjoyed their company immensely. Nonetheless, I cannot recommend this cruise to anyone under 60 unless you are traveling with 2 or more couples or friends. Small children and teenagers will be completely lost/bored on this type of trip. I certainly would recommend AMA Waterways based on their service, attention to detail and wonderful itinerary, however I feel that it will be more than a few years before my wife and I are eligible to return. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We were three couples booked on the Viking Heimdal going from Chalon to Avignon over seven days at the beginning of July. The cruise was recommended by friends, but was extremely expensive, so perhaps we were expecting great things. ... Read More
We were three couples booked on the Viking Heimdal going from Chalon to Avignon over seven days at the beginning of July. The cruise was recommended by friends, but was extremely expensive, so perhaps we were expecting great things. Extensive tv advertising also boosted our expectations. We caught a very early morning flight from Heathrow to Lyon. We had to wait a long time at Lyon because other passenger's luggage had been mislaid on the flight. Eventually we were loaded onto a second coach (the first one having long departed) for a 1 hour 45 minute ride north to Chalon. However it was 100+ degrees and no water was supplied. So several of us trooped back into the terminal to buy water for all the passengers. Eventually we arrived and were allocated our cabins. I cannot fault the friendliness of the staff. We then stayed moored in Chalon for almost two days with daily coach trips offered to see local sights. On the second night we departed back in the direction of Lyon! Each day basic coach trips were offered; some requiring very early starts. The places of interest were of very mixed quality. With one exception all of the extra cost excursions were rejected by the passengers. When we did move down river we were often removed from the top deck where we were sleeping or sun-bathing because the super-structure had to be lowered to negotiate the numerous low bridges. The food was at best average; certainly not compatible with the overall price paid. For the last three days of the cruise the air-conditioning on the boat failed. It was well over 100 degrees on each day. Eventually the captain apologised, said that all four Viking boats in the area had the same problem and it was related to the temperature of the water in the river! Essentially the design of the cooling systems could not cope with the ambient temperatures. Regardless of the exorbitant price paid we were given a recommended scale of gratuities. A quick calculation showed that if followed, the tour director would receive £2000 for her efforts. When we settled our extras bill we were asked if they could add the recommended gratuities. We declined. One week prior to boarding there was a serious terrorist attack in Lyon with loss of life. Regardless of this the security on the boat was non-existent requiring a letter to the management. On only one occasion subsequently were shore tickets collected at the head of the gangplank. On all other occasions anyone could have walked on or off of the boat and committed any kind of atrocity. We felt there was no point in complaining to Viking because the most we would be offered would be a credit on another cruise. No thank you! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
Boy did we have a great time! The food was unbelievable. The chef made a real effort to ensure we were experiencing the fruits, cheeses and wines of the season and area we were travelling through. No request was too small and nothing was ... Read More
Boy did we have a great time! The food was unbelievable. The chef made a real effort to ensure we were experiencing the fruits, cheeses and wines of the season and area we were travelling through. No request was too small and nothing was overlooked. We had a silver package which meant we could imbibe with the appropriate wines and before dinner cocktails without worry of an enormous bar tab at the end. The entertainment was all good; a nice variety of music and musical programs to listen to, sing along with and dance to if the mood took. A nice size boat; so we got to know quite a few fellow travellers and were on nodding terms with the rest. Our state room was well maintained through-out the cruise and I enjoyed coming back to the room at the end of the evening to discover new towel sculptures, flowers and fresh fruit! We really enjoyed the shore excursions; just the right combination of walking, sightseeing and commentary. Once again, there was variety, steam train, vineyards, art galleries etc - a good mix - something for everyone Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
This was our first river cruise with Vantage, a smaller operator not in the advertising mainstream like Viking. Perhaps that is how they keep their prices down, and give more value for the money spent. The ship was fairly new (3 yrs) and ... Read More
This was our first river cruise with Vantage, a smaller operator not in the advertising mainstream like Viking. Perhaps that is how they keep their prices down, and give more value for the money spent. The ship was fairly new (3 yrs) and in excellent condition. The lounge and dining rooms are spacious, and the cabins are what we expected small, yet enough room. Dining was good to excellent, with some outstanding menus (Rack of Lamb, Lobster) to chicken and pork on other evenings. The included wines were very good (and I like wine) there is no need to "Buy" a higher end wine that is offered. Dining service at dinner was a bit slow, as a waiter and assistant are assigned 6-7 tables, so you will have to call them over when you need more wine, or try to get something else. We thought we would be treated a little more "special", however as on most cruises we have been on, they are a little overworked. The cruise director (George) and the Concierge (Maya) were outstanding, never ever making you feel that you were imposing on them even were they were obviously very busy. The only disappointment was the evening entertainment, which was only on some evenings and was just not good. The only exception was a group called LeStrada- they were excellent. The itinerary (southern France) was wonderful, we loved the choices. We chose this cruise with Vantage based on three main reasons: Price, Reviews and 10 days instead of 7 on most lines. We are glad we did, as the pace was slower, never rushed, and had more free time at each location. I would not want to do this cruise in 7 days. I would recommend Vantage and use them again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Our first and last river cruise with Scenic. I totally agree with the poor review on this website. Our cruise was supposed to be a gastronomique and wine cruise in France. Well the classical French dishes were nowhere to be seen let alone ... Read More
Our first and last river cruise with Scenic. I totally agree with the poor review on this website. Our cruise was supposed to be a gastronomique and wine cruise in France. Well the classical French dishes were nowhere to be seen let alone resemble classical French dishes. Bouillibaise, French Onion soup, mussels, crepes suzettes, coq au vin etc where did they get the recipes from? The cabin was small in comparison with cruise ships. The waiters understood little English. One night we asked to see the Maitre D and got a pot of tea. We complained to the hotel manager about the food and was told that we cater mainly for Australians. Is that an insult to Australians or is it an insult to Brits, Canadians and Americans who were on the ship. As like the poor review we paid in excess on £11000 for what is classed as a luxury cruise and by far this is the worst cruise we have been on. This was our 15 cruise but our first river cruise. The company advertisers itself as top market. I would have thought that being if France the food would be as advertised in brochure, no where near. The chefs hands are tied by a moron in head office. The housekeeping and reception were excellent along with literally one or two waiters/butlers. Would I recommend Scenic, never in a month of Sundays Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Excellent ship on French Waterways (Rhone) with Tauck. Once you are on the ship, everything is included (well, we don't ask for laundry, so can't comment on it). But all drinks (soft/hard/wine) are included. Food are excellent ... Read More
Excellent ship on French Waterways (Rhone) with Tauck. Once you are on the ship, everything is included (well, we don't ask for laundry, so can't comment on it). But all drinks (soft/hard/wine) are included. Food are excellent and tasty, available in dining room (menu for dinner/buffet for B/L) and Bistro for dinner with reservation. Lounge/Bedroom/Restaurant are beautiful and tastily decorated. Staffs are eager to please and speak English. Land excursion and guide are excellent, divided into smaller groups and usually one 'leisurely' group for those with limited mobility. The only area of improvement is the entertainment and presentation. But, with majority travellers at retirement age, people don't seem to mind. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We also had a disappointing trip on the Southern France Cruise. We stayed in lyon from Wed to Sunday and then the boat went to Avignon. We were bussed around every day instead of cruising down the river as the water levels were too high. ... Read More
We also had a disappointing trip on the Southern France Cruise. We stayed in lyon from Wed to Sunday and then the boat went to Avignon. We were bussed around every day instead of cruising down the river as the water levels were too high. Viking knew this but took our money $8,400.00 which we paid $1,000.00 for a balcony, which we did not use and found out that a ship is parked next to you the whole time we were docked. They give you a little book just before you go and it has all this covered in small print, after you have paid for your trip. What an expensive lesson learned. Viking sent a letter which has the Customer Service Manager name and number, when you call, she does not take calls, what a joke for Customer Service, the rep told us all they would do is 15% off a future cruise, good only for l year. She also said very snarky comment that is you go to Hawaii and it rains all week you do not get your money back, not the same. Very expensive lesson learned about this cruising down the rivers, I was also told that sometimes the river levels are too low. Be Warned. Read Less

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