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Sail Date: August 2018
My husband and I have traveled all over the world and have taken many very special trips. Our cruise aboard the Adrienne on the canals of Burgundy France ranks among our top four (Tanzania, Adrienne, Cambodia/Vietnam, Australia/New ... Read More
My husband and I have traveled all over the world and have taken many very special trips. Our cruise aboard the Adrienne on the canals of Burgundy France ranks among our top four (Tanzania, Adrienne, Cambodia/Vietnam, Australia/New Zealand). One of the reviews called this a 4 star experience. I would say 5 stars. The food was exquisite. Chef Christian does not repeat any meals during the barging season but always comes up with something new, according to what is in the local markets each day. Luscious breads and pastries, fruit, and other items for breakfast; a varied--but light--buffet lunch with at least two salads plus a prepared dish of some sort; and a sumptuous dinner with appetizer, main course, 3 cheeses and wonderful imaginative desserts. The wines were top drawer (mostly Burgundies as we were in that region). We celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary on board and Christian made a special plaque out of sugar icing and a wonderful cake for all the passengers to enjoy. Laura and Caroline, the barge's hostesses kept our cabin and the barge in tip top clean shape. Our bathroom linens were refreshed 3 times a day. These two ladies really worked hard. They also helped present the wine and cheese selections for each meal. Scott, the pilot and Aurailian, the first mate, guided our barge through the many locks on the Canal du Centre and the Canal de Burgundy with great expertise. They also helped with the on-board ambiance (passing out hors d'oeuvres before dinner and having refreshing drinks ready when we returned from our excursions). Matthew, a British man living in Burgundy, was the Captain and our guide to Castle Rully where we met Count Raoul de Rully, owner of the castle that had been in his family for hundreds of years. Matthew also was our guide in the vineyards, helping to explain the various vintages. He took us to other areas in the Burgundy region and always had good stories to tell us about the area. He would go out every day on his bicycle to round up provisions that Christian had requested for our wonderful meals. There are a number of companies touring the canals of France but I don't think any of them could surpass the Adrienne. The ambiance of only 12 passengers, spacious rooms (the king size bed was the best we had in our total of three weeks in France) and great bathrooms with plenty of room for two people to be in them at the same time (if necessary)--the hot water was almost instantaneous and we were encouraged to use as much as we needed). The relaxing salon and sun deck were great for reading. While WiFi in the morning was generally not great, the evening we had good connectivity so one could check email and read newspapers on line. I can't say enough about French Country Waterways and the Adrienne and its crew Cabin Aexcept to say that we will be on another of their barges at some time in the future. Kudos!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was incredible. The crew could not have been more accommodating. The Captain set the tone and made the entire experience positive. Even when faced with challenges they all rose to the occasion, meeting our every need. The Chef was ... Read More
This was incredible. The crew could not have been more accommodating. The Captain set the tone and made the entire experience positive. Even when faced with challenges they all rose to the occasion, meeting our every need. The Chef was outstanding in preparing 3 great meals a day (time for a diet!) and interacting with passengers with a passion and enthusiasm. The entire staff did so many little things that added up to a surreal experience. The shore excursions were interesting and the Michelin Star restaurant was a special night - actually were able to go into the kitchen and meet the chef! The wines were spectacular and we had 24 different cheeses, not a bad one in the bunch. The scenery towards the end was very nice as we approached Saverne and the town itself was outstanding. We would definitely do another cruise with these folks! Thank you Captain Gaiton and your crew! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise based on previous reviews and talking to the staff in Massachusetts directly. The service, wines, cheeses, and varied menus daily were all 5 stars! During the week we experienced 18 different cheeses at lunch and ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on previous reviews and talking to the staff in Massachusetts directly. The service, wines, cheeses, and varied menus daily were all 5 stars! During the week we experienced 18 different cheeses at lunch and dinner as well as 22 different wines from the region. I had a birthday onboard and they went out of their way to make it super special including all of my favorites for dinner. Fresh pastries from a local bakery were brought in each morning. The cabin was very comfortable and had all the amenities that we needed. We especially liked the shower and heated towel rack. Hot water was abundant and unlimited bottled water appeared in your cabin. Though you never saw the hostesses go in and out of the staterooms, the cabin was always kept tidy. The crew knew our names from the get go and were always very attentive and friendly. There were enough bicycles onboard for cycling. The countryside was just as we thought it would be -- maybe better! The slow pace was enjoyable.We thought this would be a once in a lifetime adventure, but we now think we are going to do it again!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Cuisine, wine, staff and excursions were exceptional! Nothing was less than perfect! Cabins are small yes,,,but we were only in them to sleep. Meals were incredible...always fresh, local farm to table and felt/tasted like 5 star for ... Read More
Cuisine, wine, staff and excursions were exceptional! Nothing was less than perfect! Cabins are small yes,,,but we were only in them to sleep. Meals were incredible...always fresh, local farm to table and felt/tasted like 5 star for many meals. Wine, cheeses...over the top. Staff was unbelievable! They were all knowledgeable, friendly, accomodating and nothing was left undone. Could not have asked for better service. Excursions were interesting and fun. Charlie knew everything about everything related to the cruise....Wines, local sites, cruising/canal questions...you name it. This was a trip of a lifetime and FCW can accomodate any needs you could possibly have. Our group did a lot of side cycling from rookies to the accomplished cyclist. Staff was accomodating to meet all of our needs. The Burgunday cruise was full of history and incredible beauty. I think everyone enjoyed the excursions. I initially thought the price for the week was high, but after this experience have no doubt that it was worth every penny. I think my cruise mates would agree. Thanks for an incredible week! Would highly recommend to others! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
We were looking for a quiet, pretty cruise through the heart of the Burgundy wine country. We got that but we also got far more. The crew was extremely nice; every single individual was friendly, helpful, and cheerful. The ... Read More
We were looking for a quiet, pretty cruise through the heart of the Burgundy wine country. We got that but we also got far more. The crew was extremely nice; every single individual was friendly, helpful, and cheerful. The "host", Charlie Pope, went out of his way to see that every single guest had a great time. But the thing which was not emphasized enough in the advertising was the quality of the foods and wines. If you are a foodie, this is the cruise for you. Every meal was an absolute delight. Interesting and (at times) creative dishes, nicely plated, and accompanied by great wines. Whites and reds with each lunch and dinner and a great percentage of the wines were either Grande Crus or 1er Crus and they never served the same wine twice. The chef did a fantastic job and can't be praised enough. The only disappointment was at the 3-star restaurant which was included in the tour, Lameloise. Lameloise is an unbelievable restaurant, better than any I have ever eaten in from the point of creativity, imaginative flavor combinations, great flavors, not to mention elegance and service. What was the problem then? It was the local Charlerois beef. The beef was tough enough that I had to saw my way through the meat. And when I was able to get some on the fork, it was tasteless. In the US it could never be called prime. I didn't expect wagyu but this was not worthy of even an average steakhouse. Fortunately, the other dishes made up for the beef so we still came away satisfied. The last point to mention was the cleanliness and beautiful presentation of the barge. Oh, and the French captain, Greg, was a delight to spend time with. Constantly joking and enjoying life, he could have been a host himself had Charlie not handled that job so well. The only thing we would have liked to have was a laundry service; bringing enough clothes for seven or more days and anticipating possible cold or hot weather, was a minor hassle. We can't recommend this tour enough. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We cruised for 6 nights upon the luxurious and warm setting of the barge Adrienne. We were picked up from Paris, France and driven to Dijon on a private luxury bus which followed the barge for subsequent excursions. We were welcomed ... Read More
We cruised for 6 nights upon the luxurious and warm setting of the barge Adrienne. We were picked up from Paris, France and driven to Dijon on a private luxury bus which followed the barge for subsequent excursions. We were welcomed aboard by 6 fabulous, humorous, and charming crew. All the cabins were similar in set up with either twin or king bed, writing area, and marble bathroom with Bulgari toiletries. Food was incredible. Prepared by a masterful chef, Frederic, each dish was presented to us highlighting preparation, regional ingredients etc. Lunch and Dinner included wine tastings and cheese tastings. We travelled off the boat in the morning on foot or on bicycle, strolling along the pastoral farm lands near the canal, popping into small villages or wineries. After lunch, we were shuttled to various regional highlights, Beaune, Chalon sur Saone, medieval castles, and ancestral homes. Crew: Louise, Camille, Charles, Loic, Frederic and our Captain, Anna. Enough cannot be said about how quickly they made us feel at home and comfortable. Because we travelled with teenagers, Anna accomodated some changes and found an amazing excursion in Givry called Acrogivry. The teens proclaimed it the highlight of their trip to France! We dined at the Lameloise restaurant where we were delighted by the creative cuisine. On final day, we were taken to TGV and delivered safely back to Paris. Don't hesitate to join the Adrienne! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
There are so few reviews on cruise critic for this company that I just had to add one. First of all, don't be fooled by the FCW website - its light on info, but its designed to whet your appetite and call the office. First of all ... Read More
There are so few reviews on cruise critic for this company that I just had to add one. First of all, don't be fooled by the FCW website - its light on info, but its designed to whet your appetite and call the office. First of all the office is fantastic. She is what any rep of a travel company should be...enthusiastic and able to answer all questions that come her way, plus offer suggestions. Planning a trip with her was easy and that was the start of a great trip. So the test of any business is how they handle things when something goes wrong. And FCW proved that they truly were a great travel company. Three days before our barge trip we got a call that the Princess was taking on water and was going out of service. But they were putting the Esprit back into service and we would be traveling in Burgundy rather than Champagne. They offered a generous compensation for our inconvenience and told us of the modified plans. We were picked up in Paris as planned and driven by Johnathan our tour manager to Dijon to meet the Esprit, our new home for 6 days. Once onboard we met the rest of the staff - a total of 6 for 6 guests. We realized very quickly this was going to be a first class experience and not once were we disappointed. The staff are fantastic, willing to do anything to make your week special. The food prepared by Daniel, our chef, was superb in every way... rivaling the best restaurants we have gone to in France. Each day at lunch we would have 5 dishes on the buffet, a cheese course with beautiful hand selected (by Anne and Jess) regional cheeses all presented by the knowledgeable staff and 2 wonderful wines. Dinner was by candlelight and 4 courses including perfect cheeses and outstanding wines. The excursions were interesting and Johnathan was an excellent and enthusiastic tour guide. We loved walking along the tow paths as the barge followed at its slow rate. Our fellow guests were interesting and overall it was a very wonderful and relaxing week where we were pampered. The only down side is the cabins on the Esprit are very tiny....but there is no reason to stay in your cabin, when you have a comfortable salon and the countryside of Burgundy out the window. By the way, it was a treat to watch Thibaut handle the locks along the waterway and sit with Gregoire the pilot while underway and have to duck down while going under the low bridges. We look forward to taking another FCW barge trip - perhaps we'll get to go on the Princess to Champagne next time. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
This trip report covers our June 2015 week on the French Country Waterways’ “Nenuphar”. Our barge journey in Burgundy, France, became the most pleasurable and perfect vacation we have had in 54 years of marriage. There is limited, ... Read More
This trip report covers our June 2015 week on the French Country Waterways’ “Nenuphar”. Our barge journey in Burgundy, France, became the most pleasurable and perfect vacation we have had in 54 years of marriage. There is limited, non-professional, documentation on barge cruising and I had planned to prepare a vacationer’s report that would cover, in depth, our travels and all the events on the barge. After less than one day of cruising, all thoughts of thorough documentation, writing a report on my computer, or the “real world” had disappeared. Prior to the cruise, the staff at the U.S. home office of French Country Waterways (FCW) answered every possible question I presented. My questions ranged from the availability of soymilk in the morning, to what we should wear on board and when visiting the many towns of the Burgundy region. We departed home on Thursday, arrived on Friday, and went to the Hotel Regina in Paris. FCW had recommended this hotel for pre-cruise and handled all transportation and booking arrangements for us. Sunday afternoon we went to the hotel bar, enjoyed drinks, and met our three fellow barge passengers. For this cruise, only three of the six cabins on the barge were booked. There was a total of five passengers… a couple from Canada, an artist living in both the U.S. and France, and my wife and me from the U.S. East Coast. Exactly on time, a gentleman who said; “I’m here to take you to the Nenuphar”, approached us. Everyone’s luggage was already in the van. This van would eventually follow the Nenuphar on her journey and serve as our daily transportation into the countryside. We were welcomed at the barge by our crew: Matthew –captain and our daily guide, Loic – pilot, Sam – matelot, Louise and Jane – hostesses, and Tadec – chef. We were soon to learn that every member of the crew served in many different capacities. Our captain was a wine expert. Our hostesses were cheese experts. Loic and Sam would sometimes be lock keepers. And, Tadec would be responsible for adding almost six pounds to me (and my wife) in six days! It was after enjoying these amazing hors d'oeuvres with several glasses of a local, fantastic, Chablis, and relaxing in this luxurious atmosphere that I knew my plans for an, in-depth, well documented, review of the week to come had been totally destroyed. I became totally incapable of taking daily notes or documenting each event in the manner required of a quality travel reporter. Each day of the cruise was comprised of travel through the locks, visit to a local town/market/vineyard, enjoying the beauty of the countryside, classes in local cheeses and how to eat them, classes in the local wines and how to drink them, and a multi-course lunch and dinner. There was Internet service every evening when we were stopped at a port. I am aware of the lack of web reviews on barge cruising, especially with French Country Waterways, and truly wanted to help others who are contemplating it. The crew of Nenuphar, the time spent enjoying the barge and all that FCW delivers, lulled me into a state of relaxation that I have not experienced for many, many years. I will end my short report with a personal comment that this cruise on the Nenuphar delivered everything promised and in a way that exceeded our wildest expectations. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2011
We had several reservations about booking this trip, but our travel agent's endorsement, along with glowing reviews in the NYT and Huffington Post, convinced us. And we are so glad we did. This was an incredible, delightful ... Read More
We had several reservations about booking this trip, but our travel agent's endorsement, along with glowing reviews in the NYT and Huffington Post, convinced us. And we are so glad we did. This was an incredible, delightful experience. I'll start by giving our reservations, and why they turned out to be groundless, and then add whatever is not covered that way. 1. The rooms/boat will be cramped, uncomfortable and/or shabby. This was based in part on our experience on the Le Ponant a couple of years ago, and partly on the company's online photos. Turns out, the Nenuphar was beautifully updated, and much, much nicer than the Le Ponant. In particular, the bathroom was much more spacious, with the shower being about twice the size of the one on Le Ponant. The bedrooms were small, but we had a king, and it was so well laid out that there was actually enough room for two full-sized adults to get around in--even at the same time. The public rooms were similarly comfortable, with the right amount of seating and space. The finishes were also lovely, with dark wood and granite in the bathrooms and on the bar, and really lovely cherry walls and ceilings. (You'll have to take my word for it--the photos don't do it justice.) 2. The food will be mediocre. This was based on experience with Celebrity, which ranged from bad to better than average, and the Le Ponant, which was average to somewhat above average. In contrast, the Nenuphar's food was generally excellent to really superlative. I can be a bit demanding, but I had no reservations whatsoever, and in fact, I still fantasize about the incredible lunches we had every day. In addition, every lunch and dinner includes very thoughtfully selected white and red wines from the region, including premier and grand crus both red and white. Lunch and dinner also includes three cheese selections, which are presented with a discussion of their origin, history and flavor (which is done with the wines as well). 3. Our fellow passengers will drive us crazy, and there will be no escape. Turns out that our fellow passengers were by and large lovely, and I'd jump at the chance of travelling with most of them again. And again, we can be a bit hard to please, so I'm not just being a Pollyanna here. I will note that, human nature being what it is, a couple of folks had some quirks, but there was enough space that the quirks did not become overbearing. (Fortunately, we're free of quirks ourselves!) I think that there's some self-selection going on here--discussions with fellow passengers who were veterans of FCW said that the experience of good fellow passengers is the norm. 4. The boat will be claustrophobic. This was my husband's worry. He really struggled with the idea of a barge that only goes 100 miles in a week. Turns out there's plenty of opportunity to get off the boat as there is a tow path the entire route and passengers walk, run or bike ahead of the boat. In addition, there is an outing to a winery, historic site or town planned for every day of the trip, so this further reduces the time on the barge. 5. The French crew / the French people will be snobbish. The crew were amazing--fun, smart, incredibly helpful--regardless of nationality. And they all spoke excellent English. Really, I've never had more helpful crew on a voyage. As for the French people we encountered off of the ship, they were as friendly and helpful, or more so, than the people I encounter in Austin or Houston. Certainly, they were more tolerant of my mediocre foreign language than most Americans... 6. Daily sightseeing excursions will be overwhelming. Sightseeing excursions lasted four hours at the outside, and involved a minimum of walking and driving, so they were actually pretty relaxing. Two of them involved visits to wineries, where the hardest work was going down to see the wine cellar. Another visited the hospice at Beaune, followed by some shopping in the area. Tough, but we managed it. And finally, if you manage to get worn out by even this relaxed pace, you have the option of staying with the barge. Final notes: This was an incredibly relaxing trip, with the right blend of history, culture, food and countryside. There are a few things you should know before you go: 1) You will have to be up, dressed and out of your bedroom by 9:30 every morning (9:15 if you want breakfast). This is due to the need to clean rooms. Generally, everyone is asleep by midnight, so this tends not to be an option. 2) The food is fantastic, but as there are 12 passengers max, there are no menu options--you get what the chef makes. (There is, however, an opportunity before you arrive to inform them of food allergies, which they will then make every effort to accommodate. At least, that's my understanding.) 3) This is a very comfortable cruise, but it is not like a big ship--no entertainment, no spa, no pool, etc. It's very comfortable, but it is not a big, luxury, suite-type experience. But that being said, we're ready to go again. Read Less
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