Sail Date: August 2019
We chose Scenic as we had travelled with them once before. We were not disappointed. The whole time we felt cared for and nurtured. The cabin was beautifully appointed with an airy balcony and plenty of space. Dining options were numerous ... Read More
We chose Scenic as we had travelled with them once before. We were not disappointed. The whole time we felt cared for and nurtured. The cabin was beautifully appointed with an airy balcony and plenty of space. Dining options were numerous and all food and drink was fantastic quality. Entertainment included an onboard pianist, in addition to performers being brought aboard from various ports. We were even treated to a recital by a classical quartet in a Château, where Scenic docked just for the evening performance, then sailed on. Very special! Most of all, the staff were welcoming, attentive, competent and caring, which always makes a trip. There was always a personal touch. The cruise director was amazing - a French national who was full of wonderful insights into her native country. Hotel Manager ensured all F&B ran seamlessly. Food and drink choices were incredibly varied and top quality. Highly recommend! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
I chose this cruise because I had great interest in Normandy. Our ship departed from Paris & we had planned on spending 2 days before boarding to explore the city. I am very glad that we did! Paris is a delightful way to start our ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I had great interest in Normandy. Our ship departed from Paris & we had planned on spending 2 days before boarding to explore the city. I am very glad that we did! Paris is a delightful way to start our trip. Embarkation was easy & our stateroom was perfect & our friendly attendant was helpful and kept our cabin neat. Our meals were thought out & the accompanying wine was perfect and plentiful. This was not our first river cruise with Avalon and all that we had come to expect was even better! The Tapestry11 is a well laid out ship, with convenience & comfort in mind. Evenings were spent listening to a wonderful keyboard player and dancing the night away. The crew was wonderful and thoughtful and friendly. Our captain was hands on and open to all our questions. He mixed with guests frequently making everyone feel special. The shore excursions were interesting and our guide was knowledgeable. I would definitely take this cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Having cruised the Rhine also with Scenic, we needed another holiday where we would also be spoilt, and so we decided to go with them on the river Seine, visiting WW1 and 2 battlefields, and many other interesting historical places. The ... Read More
Having cruised the Rhine also with Scenic, we needed another holiday where we would also be spoilt, and so we decided to go with them on the river Seine, visiting WW1 and 2 battlefields, and many other interesting historical places. The crew of the Gem are brilliant, and there is honestly nothing bad that can be said about them, they are attentive, dedicated staff who will do anything for you. Lots of great wine and cheese to be tasted. Watch your waistline on this cruise, as France is famous for it food, and the Gem's chefs are brilliant, and produce some absolutely great meals, and of course if you don't like what's on the menus they will make you anything. Once your on-board put your wallet and CC's in the safe, you will not need them. Everything on this cruise was included, including alcoholic drinks, and by the way there is a massive range of cocktails, which can be skippered or slurped on the upper deck in a light breeze as you sail down the river. Scenic Gem can get into harbours other cruise ships can not visit, so you are alone sometimes whilst docked, brilliant! Try this you will not be disappointed, but you will be spoilt. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We'd had a family member travel with Scenic before and preferred them over Viking because Scenic's prices are ALL INCLUSIVE. You won't spend another nickel for anything on the boat -- not drinks or excursions or bike trips. ... Read More
We'd had a family member travel with Scenic before and preferred them over Viking because Scenic's prices are ALL INCLUSIVE. You won't spend another nickel for anything on the boat -- not drinks or excursions or bike trips. This takes the pressure off thinking, Should I do this? Everything is open and available. The ship was sparkling clean and well-designed. Not brand new, but not suffering. Our cabin was well-organized and comfortable. The food on board was excellent -- they accommodated special dietary needs of two of our traveling companions without any problems. The liquor, if that's your thing, is all top shelf. The meals were creative, delicious, and offered many choices. This is not a boat full of casinos, shows, and entertainment. IF you want that, take another cruise. This is a small ship: around 115 guests. We were happier without all the chaos of a bigger ship. There were good talks in advance of the next day's port. Each day was FULL of activities from which to choose, or you are free to go off on your own. We biked (on E-bikes), walked through cities, toured villas, and explored Paris. BEST OF ALL: the service provided by EVERY Scenic staff member. From the housekeeping staff to the ship's captain, every single staff member was well-prepared to do their job and were thoughtful and polite to all of us. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My wife, 12 y/o granddaughter and I had a trip of a lifetime on the AmaLyra last month. The planning and execution by AmaLyra staff throughout the cruise experience was exemplary. Their transfer services were well worth the money. ... Read More
My wife, 12 y/o granddaughter and I had a trip of a lifetime on the AmaLyra last month. The planning and execution by AmaLyra staff throughout the cruise experience was exemplary. Their transfer services were well worth the money. During our arrival at CDG Paris we were met by AmaLyra reps and driver and proceeded easily to our transportation. Vehicle we rode in was very comfortable. Arrival at our hotel Paris Renaissance Parc du Trocadero was just right. Rooms were ready and while waiting to register we were greeted by Ama's sensational cruise manager Christian (more on him shortly). When we learned about our hotel change (Intercontinental to Renaissance) we were disappointed but we were highly satisfied with our experience at the Renaissance (Marriott property). Super location, rooms were well appointed, good breakfast and nice garden area for afternoon coffee/tea. We enjoyed the tours of Paris and the guides selected were quite impressive. I have visited Paris over 50 times on business but never took the time to learn about all the rich historical aspects of the city. Our tour guide/hostess was fabulous. She led us through Notre Dame (just 4 days before the fire) and our Paris at Night guide Annie, could not have been more gracious, funny and charming during our evening visit to Monmartre. She accepted our invitation to dinner and we enjoyed a wonderful discourse about the culture of France, things the French people value, life in general, etc. etc. Upon completing the two days in Paris, arrival on AmaLyra was perfect. Cabins were clean, orientation swift and all the passengers seemed to enjoy the wonderful welcome to AmaLyra's welcome aboard buffet of light snacks, drink and dessert. During the Captain's welcome reception I realized a river cruise was going to be much more intimate than your standard ocean cruise. The ship's officers were introduced which seemed to delight the passengers. The Hotel/Restaurant manager Violetta stole the show. She has an effervescent personality and was highly visible throughout the cruise. My wife particularly enjoyed the white wine (Sauvignon Blanc) served during the welcome reception and Violetta made sure it was available to my wife at lunch and dinner for the rest of the cruise (same goes for the Merlot offered at the welcome reception). The remainder of staff was excellent and we offer high kudos to several staff members. First goes to Wellness Director, Vladimir. He has enormous credibility by virtue of his study of anatomy in university. Having trained numerous world class athletes and being a former professional basketball player himself, Vladimir kept our attention as he demonstrated how to do particular core strengthening and stretching exercises but also added the why they are done a certain way and the benefit of following his technique. Since many of the early morning classes weren't highly attended it felt like a personal training session for the 4-5 regulars. Outstanding! Our head waiter Ioan, who was assisted by bar waitress Alexandra, made our meal times so special. Both were extremely accommodating in honoring our requests. Their people skills are exceptional and I was so impressed with how they handled insensitive remarks and unusual requests. Our granddaughter thoroughly enjoyed her interactions with Ioan. He really made her feel special which delighted my wife and me. Having been in the people business for almost 40 years, I especially appreciated the high level of professionalism in which they served the AmaLyra passengers. We sat in their section for every single meal - - that's how much we enjoyed our week with them. We were very sad to say goodbye to Ioan and Alexandra. Our dining experience really could not have been better. Our cabin attendant George was excellent as well and we loved his dry Romanian sense of humor. He worked very hard during our week and our cabins looked like Day 1 newly made - - every single day - - which wasn't easy considering some of the messes the girls made in their cabin - - LOL. I don't remember the name of the head chef but he and his staff did an excellent job with menu selection and overall food prep. We gravitated to the chef's recommendations each night and were especially impressed with the high standard of roasted/rotisserie meat preparation at dinner. Some of the entree offerings at lunchtime were wonderful surprises. I loved the champagne and oyster reception hosted by the captain on our 6th day prior to lunch and then the delicious steamed mussels finished in a garlic cream sauce served at lunch. Unbelievable how good that dish was! Lastly the cruise director, Christian, offered a level of enthusiasm and professionalism that would be hard to match at any cruise line (Ocean or River). He was exceptional. He never took anything for granted. His briefings on board about shore excursions were highly useful; his attention to detail to ensure nothing was overlooked (by staff or passengers) was world class. One of my favorite expressions throughout my sales leadership career was, "People don't care how much you know - - until they know how much you care". Every passenger on the AmaLyra knew Christian cared deeply about each of us having a special experience. This was best highlighted by Christian's extraordinary behind the scenes actions to ensure that one of the AmaLyra passengers injured during a biking tour, was well cared for in a Rouen hospital while the ship continued to sail. He also made sure the injured passenger's wife was updated on a regular basis and ensured she was well cared for while her husband was in hospital. If the owners of AmaLyra could have seen Christian in action, they would have been so proud. Just amazing, and inspiring. It was a wonderful, unforgettable memory we made with our granddaughter. We look forward to sailing with Ama again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
I did in depth research of cruise lines for guest services, itinerary and value. Viking offered the best of everything I was looking for, especially visiting Omaha Beach and Normandy in general. I particularly enjoyed Rouen, Vernon, and ... Read More
I did in depth research of cruise lines for guest services, itinerary and value. Viking offered the best of everything I was looking for, especially visiting Omaha Beach and Normandy in general. I particularly enjoyed Rouen, Vernon, and Giverny (Monet home and gardens). Viking staff greeted us on arrival at CDG airport and the transportation to our ship was effortless. Viking staff again greeted us at the ship and were escorted to our cabin and given an overview of the accommodations and services available. The Viking ship “Rolf” and it’s crew provided a very friendly and accommodating atmosphere. The cabin was extremely comfortable. The food and wines were incredible and worth the price of the trip by itself. We were provide information at the end of each day about the next day’s scheduled activities - including a description of the available tours and brief history of the places we would visit. Overall, this was the best vacation I have ever experienced and am planning another trip for late 2021. I highly recommend this particular cruise (Paris to Normandy) and the Viking cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Concierge at the hotel for 3 days in Paris prior to embarkation was very sweet and helpful, she suggested great restaurants and sights to visit. Definitely recommend the three days in Paris before the cruise. Take the time to adjust to ... Read More
Concierge at the hotel for 3 days in Paris prior to embarkation was very sweet and helpful, she suggested great restaurants and sights to visit. Definitely recommend the three days in Paris before the cruise. Take the time to adjust to the jet lag and just enjoy some sights one on one. The crew was unbelievable on board and the staff made every effort to get to know us and make all dining fun and enjoyable. My wife has a gluten allergy, and they always had something special for her without her having to ask. I recommend the drink package upgrade, bartenders are amazing. Excursions were well planned out and breaks were planned out perfectly, you never felt overwhelmed or rushed. I was skeptical about doing this type of cruise, but we thoroughly enjoyed all aspects from rooms to service to excursions to local cuisine aboard the Rolf, we enjoyed everything so much, we have already booked our next cruise in Germany, and can not wait to go. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We saw Viking advertisements while watching Downtown abbey on PBS. We felt it best served our needs to the countries we wanted to see and they had wonderful food and excursion choices. We absolutely had a fantastic time. Our cruise ... Read More
We saw Viking advertisements while watching Downtown abbey on PBS. We felt it best served our needs to the countries we wanted to see and they had wonderful food and excursion choices. We absolutely had a fantastic time. Our cruise director, chefs etc were amazing!!! They were so kind!! The small things they did really impressed me! When arriving back from an excursion they offered hot lemon towels and hot broth or juice! I thought that was just a special touch! The food was absolutely amazing. We had a chef helping on our cruise I believe from Serbia and he would recommend certain dishes each night that we always tried and they were amazing! Along with a special thanksgiving dinner as well!! The accommodations were amazing, the captain and crew were amazing. Loved Bea, Mia, martins , the captain and all of them!!!!! We are planning on another cruise in the fall!! Thanks for the wonderful experience!!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We wanted to experience Paris and all of the history in the area. We thought a river cruise was the best way to accomplish this. We were not disappointed! Museums, castles, palaces were fabulous. Normandy was emotional. Wish you held the ... Read More
We wanted to experience Paris and all of the history in the area. We thought a river cruise was the best way to accomplish this. We were not disappointed! Museums, castles, palaces were fabulous. Normandy was emotional. Wish you held the Paris at night tour earlier in the week because people are preparing to leave early the next morning. Each stop had a great tour and lots of information about the area. The menu varied daily with the specials, and it was very good. I think the kitchen staff did a great job. The staff was very friendly and I was impressed that after the first day, they always said my name. Accommodations were very comfortable and it was easy to sleep at night. Hardly knew we were moving. Staff did a great job cleaning the room. Loved the balcony and the view. Overall, great experience and I’ll travel with you again! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We loved this cruise and it’s excursions but the pace was so grueling. If we’ve never been to an area we want to do the excursions but it was exhausting. It would be nice to have a couple of days built in where we don’t feel like we ... Read More
We loved this cruise and it’s excursions but the pace was so grueling. If we’ve never been to an area we want to do the excursions but it was exhausting. It would be nice to have a couple of days built in where we don’t feel like we have to go go go. Just cruise and relax. With that in mind you’d need to add something to do that makes staying on board worth while. The food was excellent, Our excursions were great and the guides were very friendly and knowledgeable. The entertainment was just so so on board and there was nothing to do on board if you were not on an excursion. Absolutely nothing. Our room staff, Waite staff and all other staff were excellent. The gym left a lot to be desired and there was no spa on board. So yes I recommend but not without words to let folks know that you will be expected to go at a grueling pace and there is not much extra on board. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We have sailed with Scenic once before and our experience was extremely positive, so we decided to take the plunge and do another one. We were not disappointed on any level. We did the Spectacular South of France cruise because this one ... Read More
We have sailed with Scenic once before and our experience was extremely positive, so we decided to take the plunge and do another one. We were not disappointed on any level. We did the Spectacular South of France cruise because this one involved no nighttime cruising, and was a little slower paced in the afternoons for the most part, which appealed to us NEGATIVES: The things that could have been better are few and far between, but there's always room for better. Scenic did our flight arrangements, and we found out a month or two before leaving (after setting it up well in advance), that our flight out of Nice was too early and could not get to the airport in time. To their credit, they did fix it, but it was a little disconcerting to be up in the air (so to speak) for a while. We arrived in Paris, and the next morning took a bus to the train station, and then the high speed train to the Sapphire. It's a little nicer on other cruises to arrive in the embarkation city and be on the ship right away. Can't be helped in this case since there's no large airport in Chalon-sur-Saone where it starts. A couple of the excursions had tour guides who were very slow at finding the English word for explanations, which was a slight hassle. The ship has been redecorated well, but the toilet roll holders are attached with one screw and are all coming loose or tearing from the wall. (Nit picky, I know.) Beer selection is fair, although I kind of fell in love with a french beer, so it really didn't matter. Be prepared to moor with other ships and people walking through your lobby. To be honest, this was minimal, and I could have cared less; just that a lot of people mention that. They all do it. POSITIVES: So the rest of the cruise is great. I'll try to give a feel for what my wife and I experienced. In Paris Scenic put us up at the very posh Westin, in a perfect location. Loved it. The welcoming person was so very nice, and did a very nice informational meeting. The ship is beautiful. All very sleek greys, black, white and silver, with small splashes of color. Sort of an urban chic. Always spotless. Staff members are constantly cleaning and polishing. Sanitizer dispensers are strategically placed, and they asked that everyone use them when entering and leaving the main areas - we like that. There are germs from all over the world on any ship, and that helps a lot. We had one of the "royal" suites, which involves a few extra perks, although any level has perks. No tipping, which is wonderful. You absolutely feel no pressure to tip - wow! Every excursion you choose is included, no extra fees ever. Beer, wine and alcohol are all day and night at no charge. You can relax in the afternoon with a glass of wine without waiting for dinner. We both thought the meals were wonderful. I know some people get huffy over the fact that lunch is a buffet. With only 153 passengers, I don't find that a big deal at all, and there are still menu items at both breakfast and lunch if you don't wish to stand in line for 30 seconds. My wife has some dietary restrictions, and once they caught on, it was wonderful how they catered to her. No gluten or dairy - and the chef even made her three separate desserts for her birthday following those restrictions. That was above and beyond to us. If you don't care for the menu options, at all the meals you could simply order a chicken breast, salmon, rib eye, and a couple others. I had the rib eye one night and my wife had the chicken breast - both were delicious. Service was timely, the wine flowed freely, and the dining room was lovely. The host discussed the wines for the night each evening, so you could choose knowing what you were getting. They weren't the very expensive wines, but excellent medium range wines. If you don't like one, tell the waiter and try another. Can't ask for more than that. Breakfasts were great too, large buffet, and a omelet station. I had the eggs benedict 5 or 6 times it was so good. Fresh fruit always. And the desserts were works of art. Kudos to the staff and chef for the service and quality. Special dinners each night were explained at length by the chef himself, which is a nice touch. I'd like to mention the staff. The butler, Edita, who showed us our suite was so welcoming and efficient. I can't say enough about her service throughout the cruise. Also, our two male butlers than helped us, Dominik and Vladi were practically begging us to give them tasks. And we did, from laundry to ironing to breakfast in the room, etc. All done quickly and so nicely. I had two massages from a young man named Dragan, who also led exercise programs each morning (which we didn't do). He was professional and also fascinating to talk to. Such a nice human being we had great discussions while he worked his wonders on my muscles. Best massage ever, really. The Eastern European people are so genuine, hard working, smart, and family oriented. A breath of fresh air. A young lade, named Sevit, at the front desk went out of her way to help, and give recommendations for visits to towns and shopping. She is also to be congratulated for her wonderful demeanor and knowledge. The cruise director, Eric, was everywhere, putting out fires, making sure things went well on the excursions, etc. Well done. I guess to summarize the staff, superb. I'm running out of superlatives here! Loved the bar staff, and the bartender was great. We did tip some of these staff, although there's no need, but how could we not? The daily life and excursions and entertainment were memorable, filled with culture and history. I'll mention some of the ones we did just to impart a flavor of what they're about: All afternoon and evening the lounge has a very competent piano player named Paolo, which adds a nice touch to the feel. He could play most anything. We went to the town of Beaune and Hospice Hotel Dieu, which was a lesson in history along with a perfectly preserved hospital from the 1400's. The architecture was fabulous, with a colored-tiled roof that is simpy not to be missed. E-bikes were available almost every day, on your own or organized rides. We didn't use them, but friends we made did and thought they were very easy to use and fun. One of my favorite excursions was to a truffle farm, where a family farmer and his dog, Chinook, took us into his truffle trees to hunt. He loved telling us all about the truffles, how they are grown, the dog, everything. This is something special, as opposed to just looking at churches and castles (which also is interesting). His wife then took us into their 16th century farm house and served us truffle butter she made, with wine and bread. This was a gem outing......don't miss it. We ate at the special L'Amour Restaurant on night. Really nicely done with impeccable wait staff. Also ate at the Captain's table, and he was personable and interesting. We didn't do the Table La Rive because we were busy, but heard it was also good. Had a band one night, Krystal Live Band, fun music. Al little schmaltzy, but talented. Went to Cluny where the great Abbey once stood. A part is still there, and the museum with models and explanations helps you understand the grandeur and importance of the place: Largest church in the world until St. Peters was built. Another favorite and highly recommended "Scenic Freechoice" was Medieval Perouges. A walled city very intact, and there's not a corner or nook that isn't ripe for an amazing pose or picture. The tour guide was so very good, and some free time and fun shops. That day we had a silkpainting demo on board in the afternoon. Very interesting. One evening went to the Scenic Rouge Circus Performance for a show and dessert. Lots of young talent and acrobatics. Had a French Paradox Talk, which was fun too. In Tournon we had evening aperatifs after dinner on the terrace of a castle with a panoramic view that was killer. Along with some live music, it was relaxed and delicious. Later was a music quiz that was lively and fun. They really try to keep you entertained if you desire. We picked a trip to Tain L'Hermitage and the Valrhona Chocolate factory one day, which was imformative and who doesn't like taste testing chocolate. Spent a little money there I'm afraid. The chocolatier who gave us the talk was a little long-winded, but the museum there taught me a lot. Two dancers one night" Pierre and Faustine" were so good they almost put dancing with the stars to shame. A delight. The Ardeche Park and Lavender museum was very nice - again, we learned about something we knew little of, and also saw some splendid natural beauty. That night we had a fench female singer who did Edith Pilaf among others, and she had a great sound. We Did the Chateauneuf-du-Pape vinyeard/village tour with wine-tasting. The history was superb, I loved this one, and the wine was so good we ordered some to be shipped home. We didn' do a lot of wine-tasting excursions, but this one was a gem. We toured the Pope's palace in Avignon later that same day. Just look at a couple of their pictures and you'll know it's deserving of it's UNESCO world heritage designation. A different favorite of mine was Pont du Gard and Uzes. If you're at all considering this excursion, look at some pictures of the 2,000 year old aqueduct, and you'll be hooked. The museum there was outstanding also, and the tour guide gave us plenty of time there, per the recommendation of Eric, our tour director. A special evening was dinner at the Pope's Palace. The room was so "important", can't think of the right word, because 5 papal enclaves were held right there in the 1300's. So much history. The food was fancy, but not my favorite, except for the really good pear dessert. They had a string quartet that was as good as any I've ever heard....wow. We went to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, with a fascinating church, right on the Mediterranean coast. Lots of interesting little shops. Also went to the bird Park, but it started raining and most elected not to go in (including us). That evening was a gypsy show, and they were so much better than I expected. A real treat. Another excursion I would highly recommend was Les Baux-de-Provence and Olive Oil Farm. Baux was a very cool little walled city, picturesque and fun, with lots of fun shops amidst the cobblestoned streets. And the olive farm, once again, was something I knew little about. It is a family business, and has been for many generations, even with their own 14th century private chapel. The process of making the olive oil was so well done, as was the intriguing tasting we did with one of the owner's daughters. Do it. I will say we loved the Scenic Tailormade devices. On one of ours the battery was bad, and they quickly replaced that. The sound was usually very good, except in a very windy situation. You can also take them out on your own when roaming around, and they have a built in GPS that will give you pertinent info on anything you're near. Also, take them around the ship and set to cruise mode, and they alert you to interesting things you're passing on the shore with a history. Once again, I highly recommend Scenic. It's not at all like a huge cruise ship where there are so many stores, restaurants, venues, pools, etc. But that's the charm of a small boat; almost like a temporary community expertly formed and guided by the staff. We met so many fun people. Don't get me wrong, everyone doesn't become friends, but it was easy to make some, and it made the cruise so much better. I'm 63 and there were some a fair amoung younger and quite a few a little older (retired), and a few elderly. I think all ages can enjoy this type of cruise. Of course, motion sickness is no issue here. I have read negative reviews of Scenic. Everyone isn't pleased with the same things, but I feel like with the amazing service and the multitude of choices in entertainment, food and excursions, I can't imagine not having the best of vacations on the Scenic Sapphire. Thank you Scenic for your concept and execution. You are worth the little extra money that one pays as compared to some other river cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Based on our Travel Coordinator's advice we selected the Scenic Luxury Cruises for our first cruise. The entire crew was superb. They were very attentive to our requests. As an example, while on shore I asked our Cruise Director, ... Read More
Based on our Travel Coordinator's advice we selected the Scenic Luxury Cruises for our first cruise. The entire crew was superb. They were very attentive to our requests. As an example, while on shore I asked our Cruise Director, Cathy, if she could point me to a pharmacy to purchase some throat lozenges. She said she would take care of it and when the group got together a little later, Cathy had purchased them and did not make a big deal out of it. River cruising will always be impacted by the amount of water in the river. The Rhine River was sufficiently low that we had to disembark the Ruby and take a more shallow day cruise through the Rhine River gorges. While the guests were on the day cruiser, the crew disembarked our luggage and drove to the other end of the gorges where the Crystal was waiting when we arrived. Scenic and their crews did an excellent job of keeping the passengers informed and then doing the ship switch professionally. By the way, the unplanned day cruise ship was filled with tourists and locals and ended up being a pleasant experience. The on shore tours and events were excellent. In addition to the crew, we enjoyed meeting fellow passengers and sharing stories. In summary, Scenic was a great experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose a double Viking cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary & they met all expectations! Michael, our cruise director was outstanding & was off board for all the walking & specialty tours, making as many as any one person ... Read More
We chose a double Viking cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary & they met all expectations! Michael, our cruise director was outstanding & was off board for all the walking & specialty tours, making as many as any one person could possibly accomplish. His nightly next day shore excursion talks were delightful & coupled with Veronica, the sommelier's talk & backed up by the chef, it was a real entertaining laugh. I looked forward to it every night. Veronica gave us extra table talk on wines each night on the Silver Spirits package. Rooms are simple and clean with lots of storage space. Our cabin steward was meticulous to cleanly detail each day. We had a veranda which allowed for shore views when not on deck. The excursions all had excellent guides, as would be expected in this pricey range. The connection to Paris by high speed rail was excellent, as Viking staff took personal care of our luggage leaving the ship, tagging & then escorting us to the train station & even punching our ticket & boarding the train. A second Viking rep was waiting for us at the end of our journey. Dinners had a great selection & themed for the locale. Breakfasts & lunches were a bit repetitious as we were on a double cruise. Our waiters were friendly & witty ! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife had never been to France even though we’ve travelled on six continents. So we planned this week on the Rhône to be followed by a week on the Seine, and then a week in an apartment in Paris. We arrived in Avignon a day early ... Read More
My wife had never been to France even though we’ve travelled on six continents. So we planned this week on the Rhône to be followed by a week on the Seine, and then a week in an apartment in Paris. We arrived in Avignon a day early and stayed near the dock. In the morning I walked to 5he ship and was pleasantly surprised that our room was ready. The Viking employee that helped us with our luggage was one of our waiters from the Grang European Viking cruise we had taken two years before. Surprisingly, he remembered us! As usual, the tours were well organized and interesting. We didn’t do any of the optional tours but since our ship was well located, we were able to entertain ourselves in the towns we visited. The ship was well maintained. No nicks or scuffs or other signs of wear. The food was outstanding. I also thought the evening entertainment was good, but the tv coverage wasn’t up to the standard of our previous trips with Viking. If you’re interested in France, I’d recommend this trip with Viking. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We had a wonderful cruise on the Scenic Sapphire on the Rhone River from Chalon-sur-Saone to Tarascon. We first flew to Paris on our own. We took the train to Lyon where we connected to a local train to Chalon-sur-Saone. The ship was great ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise on the Scenic Sapphire on the Rhone River from Chalon-sur-Saone to Tarascon. We first flew to Paris on our own. We took the train to Lyon where we connected to a local train to Chalon-sur-Saone. The ship was great with a sizable fitness center, massages, a beauty salon. Our cabin was on the #2 deck. Most of the cabins have an outside balcony with a window that lowers to waist height. While other cruise lines have the "French balcony" with the window that lowers, Scenic is unique with an outdoor deck with chairs.The food onboard was very good. As opposed to other river cruises where you had to arrive at dinner at 7:00pm, Scenic makes a point of telling you they will serve you anytime between a range of hours. There were cooking classes onboard every day at 4:00pm. There were ample excursions to meet every desire. The service onboard was superb. Everyone was kind, outgoing and helpful. I will take Scenic again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
This is our first river cruise. We opted for Avalon to book our flights which included transfers and sure glad we did. We were met at the airport by our escort who loaded our luggage into his car a immediately drove us to the ship, which ... Read More
This is our first river cruise. We opted for Avalon to book our flights which included transfers and sure glad we did. We were met at the airport by our escort who loaded our luggage into his car a immediately drove us to the ship, which was berthed mid-Paris within view of the Eiffel Tower. The ship left that evening and headed north. We had several stops for tours before taking a bus tour Normandy's Omaha Beach, the American cemetery, and Point du Hoc. The tour guides were very dedicated and informative. Our cruise director Jean Loup took very good care of us and was always there to patiently answer any questions from us passengers. The food was outstanding and the wine was excellent and plentiful. The bar had several happy hour nights with drinks at half price but the full price drinks were very reasonably priced. There is always complimentary coffee, tea, and cappuccino. Our cabin was outstanding with plenty of room in the bath and our studio. We spend some of our time on the river taking in the amazing scenery. We had the huge sliding door open sitting on the couch and chair with our feet on the rail sipping a glass of wine. Everything on the trip was very well organized. When we got home we booked another cruise, this time 11 days starting in Paris and heading south. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
I will openly admit that I was sceptical about why anyone, myself included, would want to take a 10-day Scenic cruise up the Seine River from Paris to the coast, when you can drive it in 2 hours! I thought it would be boring with too much ... Read More
I will openly admit that I was sceptical about why anyone, myself included, would want to take a 10-day Scenic cruise up the Seine River from Paris to the coast, when you can drive it in 2 hours! I thought it would be boring with too much time doing nothing… How wrong I was… Scenic Cruises have once again exceeded my expectations, as has the countryside and places we visited throughout Normandy on this very leisurely ‘must do’ river cruise. Full credit to Scenic for making this a 10-day cruise and not a 7 day, as most other river cruise operators do. Those extra few days turn a short getaway into a genuine relaxing holiday, one that will be remembered for many years to come. The itinerary is very well thought out with a mix of culture, cruising, experiences and diversity that I wouldn’t have thought possible in just the one ‘department’ (state, county) of France. Normandy has so much to see and do. From quaint inland villages to coastal seaside towns. Rolling hills to tidal flats and chalk cliffs. There is something for everyone on this cruise. As always Scenic do it in style. That’s why they are the leaders in River Cruising, all others simply copy. It’s the staff that make your holiday a truly great experience, with attentive care, attention to detail and a smile whatever the time, day or night (do they ever sleep I wonder?). I came on with an old pair of shoes and left with what looked like a new pair – a tribute to the butler service. Some travellers are initially put off by the price but believe me it works out better value than many of the competitors when you take into account all the inclusions. You could give the moths in your wallet a well-earned holiday as everything is included, from meals, drinks, tips, to choices of excursions you could easily go the full ten days without opening your wallet nor spend a single Euro. I was particularly impressed with Scenic’s attention to detail. Their ship ‘The Scenic Gem’ is purpose built for this river, made slightly shorter, with less cabins solely so it can dock in Honfleur instead of Le Havre as many of the other companies are forced to do being as their vessels are too long. Honfleur was a highlight of the cruise and being able to moor up in the quaint historic coastal town centre was a plus. (Le Havre is a major industrial port, no comparison!). The evening concert at the Chateau was also a great experience not to be missed, so unique, something not possible anywhere else in the world. This was my forth Scenic River Cruise and it did not disappoint. I came away feeling totally relaxed and satisfied that I had tasted all Normandy had to offer – and done it in style. Note: If you are under 60 years you will enjoy the cruise but do not expect to meet too many new friends of your age group. It primarily attracts an older crowd, perhaps due to the excellent excursions to WW1 & WW2 battle fields (Somme & Normandy Landing) which catered to not only Australians, but Canadian and American history buffs. But don’t despair, as with all Scenic Cruises there is always a choice of day tours so if these did not rock your boat then you could go explore the spectacular Chalk cliff coast line and its delightful seaside towns, or perhaps a Castle or a culinary experience. The onboard meals are of the highest standard, all made from local produce complimented by a range of fine French wines. The fresh seafood from Honfleur was up there in the ‘yum’ stakes, as were the scrumptious desserts. This raises the question: ‘Has any Scenic passenger ever got off the ship lighter than when they boarded?’ I seriously doubt it. If you did you were a temptation diehard freak with the world’s greatest will power to resist the local French delicacies and pastries on offer every day. This cruise comes highly recommended and would be an ideal add on to any European tour, a great way to end any visit to the continent. Don’t forget to book a couple of extra nights at the beginning or end of your cruise so you can do Paris justice, there is so much to experience in this captivating city. Where to go next on Scenic? Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We thoroughly enjoyed our one-week river cruise on U by Uniworld from Paris to Rouen and then back to Paris. This cruise was very special because we met several new friends, traveled the beautiful Seine River, participated in many fun ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our one-week river cruise on U by Uniworld from Paris to Rouen and then back to Paris. This cruise was very special because we met several new friends, traveled the beautiful Seine River, participated in many fun excursions, learned about several French artists (particularly Monet) and visited sobering Normandy (D-day) beaches. We enjoyed many new experiences and sights that we would have missed without taking this cruise. Our cruise hosts (Sabrina and Boris) were very knowledgeable and helpful. They organized the day-to-day activities and excursions, but they also served as individual concierges if you wanted to venture to a particular sight on your own. We enjoyed the diversity of people on the cruise coming from US, Canada, South Africa, Austria, New Zealand and many countries in Europe. We also enjoyed the age diversity ranging from twenty-somethings to over sixty-somethings. One of the best features of this particular cruise was that it was geared toward active people. Each day there was a bicycle trip or a long walk or a brisk hike. Some of the unexpected rewards on this Uniworld river cruise were: 1. We had a guided tour of the Normandy Beaches that we most likely would not have arranged if we were on our own. In addition, our tour guide previously interviewed people that participated in D-day landings so she could share their memories with us. 2. We had a guided tour of Claude Monet house and gardens as part of the cruise before we went to the Musse d’orsay, so we could really appreciate Monet’s paintings as well as the paintings of the other French artists during that period. 3. We went to (and enjoyed) Moulin Rouge show that we most likely would not have attended on our own. 4. Finally, our most memorable adventure was that we rode on vintage motorcycles with sidecars through the winding streets of Paris up to Sacre-Coeur. This was our first river cruise, so we were a little concerned about feeling motion on the boat. However, during the cruise we never felt any wave motion. We did feel a little vibration when the boat was under way, but it never disturbed our sleep. The room was smaller than a normal hotel room, but as most people will tell you, you don’t spend much time in your cabin. The cabin included a queen-size bed, several storage areas and closet, and a small bathroom including shower. Everything in the room worked well, and it was nice to have individual air conditioning controls in the room. We had a “French balcony”, but while we were on the boat, we spent most of our time on the roof deck with our new friends or in one of the enclosed lounges. The food was very good but not gourmet. The French pastries and home-made ice cream were wonderful. There was a variety of foods ranging from meats to fish to pasta to grilled vegetables to great salads. All the dinners except one were buffet so you could pick whatever and how much you wanted. A few people on the boat were vegetarians and they seemed to have many options at each meal. This was a perfect trip for us, because some of the day excursions and drinks were a-la-cart. You could buy a drink package, but if you are not a big drinker, the a-la-cart option works better. Having some of the day excursions a-la-cart allows you to decide what you want to do without feeling like you had to do everything. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We just luv river cruising now 7th in a row.( see other reviews) and we are also scenic tragics..having said that I do hold them accountable for a superior offering. The scenic Gem and the crew we had was a superior offering ,food ... Read More
We just luv river cruising now 7th in a row.( see other reviews) and we are also scenic tragics..having said that I do hold them accountable for a superior offering. The scenic Gem and the crew we had was a superior offering ,food excellent ( though im a difficult person to please ..in a plain way) .Off boat excursions varied as we are used to with on & off board entertainment in line with what scenic does. Now: 1. Crew - just a group of can do people from Bagadan our dining room waiter to karlo bar person & Palen our bulter .They couldnt do enough , attended to my many and varied requests coped with my wierd food combos ( toasted ham & cheese with a choco milk shake..on a scenic fine food boat).We had great interaction and even when i wanted to served myself they cut me off .."at the pass" 2.Food- from made to oder breakfasts ..to my specifications to my special H & C lunch of other items from the cafe to fantastic dinners..again mix & matched to my specifications the food offering is always great.Just didnt indulge as much as I have in the past.Came home only 1kg heavier.They also have special regional lunches incorporating local specials each day. 3.Off boat excursions-a real varity which options each day ( though usually similar themes).I came specifically for the Anzac battle fields Villers Bretonneux & the Normandy beaches.VB comprises leg 3 of my Anzac pilgrimage ( Gallipoli & Kokoda PNG being first two)Unfortunately it rained but we did homage to those who went before.Scenic even have a guest poem that is read every cruise . This plus Chateaus , Monets garden a bike ride all completed the offering 4.On/off board entertainment- river ships struggle here and other than a poor WW1 lecture oldie rocker band (on/b) light quizz off/b clasical quartte round out this part which was quite good overall 5.Gym & wellness- the gym is ok for me small 3 machines does the job. What was interesting & different this cruise had a wellness/excercise coach ( doubling up i believe) which we had never experienced before.While only 5 /84 of us took advantage it is an area that scenic should develop . This is not a family crusie ..couples really only just a great 11 days of " wonder" Next......Scenic Eclipse april 2019..stay tuned. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our first ever cruise and I so enjoyed it. The ship is amazing and the staff so professional. We only had one little draw-back that held me back from giving it a 5 star rating - dinner. We are simple folks and don’t do the ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and I so enjoyed it. The ship is amazing and the staff so professional. We only had one little draw-back that held me back from giving it a 5 star rating - dinner. We are simple folks and don’t do the starter, soup and entree style of dining and we felt we were almost punished for that. Three nights in a row, while dining with just each other, we were basically ignored by the wait staff. When we dined with others, we were fine. Also, 2 hours for dinner is a little extreme in my mind. The shore excursions were great, but some care should be taken for those who have mobility issues. An example would be Monet’s garden. There were a couple of people with walkers, me being one of them and had I known before hand how tight the pathways were, I would not have gone. I ended up getting through the one garden, found the exit and then just waited for the others to finish. The cruise director, the wait staff, the housekeeping staff - all were amazing. When we requested a change in our mini-bar, it was taken care of same day. The Captain amazed me with the handling of the ship and how tight he got us in port. Other then the two points,- the cruise was amazing and I would highly recommend it to others. Well done Scenic, well done. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
A great compromise between me and my husband, especially saving money by booking well in advance. He got fulfilled his dream to view the historic WW2 Normandy battlegrounds, and I got to accomplish my dream to experience the charm, the ... Read More
A great compromise between me and my husband, especially saving money by booking well in advance. He got fulfilled his dream to view the historic WW2 Normandy battlegrounds, and I got to accomplish my dream to experience the charm, the beauty, and the history of Paris and the gorgeous sights along the Seine while the excellent tour guides, tour drivers, and Viking crew orchestrated a wonderful trip itinerary from the airport arrival gate all the way back to the departure desk at CDG airport. The boat was beautiful, spacious, and provided a wonderfully smooth ride along the river. We spent much time on the upper deck enjoy the scenic French countrysides. We always had access to staff and crew to help with translation, tours, food, and service. This was an excellent introduction to Paris by seeing many sights and smoothly being guided through the entrance gates and constantly able to see and hear our guides while touring at an easy pace around each scenic and historic venue. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
My husband and I recently made our second Viking cruise. Both trips were wonderful. The excursions and ship entertainment were both enjoyable, but the most outstanding thing about both trips was the service. So many situations come to mind ... Read More
My husband and I recently made our second Viking cruise. Both trips were wonderful. The excursions and ship entertainment were both enjoyable, but the most outstanding thing about both trips was the service. So many situations come to mind when I say service but one was most memorable. At about 9:00 PM on a Wednesday evening I realized that I had not packed enough insulin for my husband. Immediately, I went to the front desk to ask about medical possibilities for getting a new prescription on France. The attendant called a doctor who came to us. He examined my husband, wrote us a script, and said that we needed to have it immediately. Now the most amazing part: a young ship employee actually ran from where we were docked to a pharmacy to get our medicine! he had it back to us in almost half an hour. Now that is service! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
The cruise staff all around was amazing. From the crew to the waiters, to everybody we saw on board. We loved all the activities we could choose from. Being able to pick between included excursions made our experience wonderful. The ... Read More
The cruise staff all around was amazing. From the crew to the waiters, to everybody we saw on board. We loved all the activities we could choose from. Being able to pick between included excursions made our experience wonderful. The hardest decision was deciding between red and white wine or how many desserts to have! I had allergies, and the maître d’ was able to walk me through the menu each day in order for me to be successful. In our 40s, we were one of the youngest people on the trip, however everybody was welcoming and we enjoyed hanging out with people on the ship. Being able to sit wherever we want it allowed us to have dinner with different people each evening. Sometimes we wanted a more casual dinner and we would sit in the bistro, this was nice because you could pick smaller portions of several different entrées. We would definitely choose an Avalon vacation again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
The Rinda trip from Paris to Normandy was spectacular. I loved the port stops in Vernon/Giverny, Rouen and Les Andelys. The ship was gorgeous, the food was amazing and the crew were a delight. A couple of suggestions: 1. The ... Read More
The Rinda trip from Paris to Normandy was spectacular. I loved the port stops in Vernon/Giverny, Rouen and Les Andelys. The ship was gorgeous, the food was amazing and the crew were a delight. A couple of suggestions: 1. The “Silver Spirits” bar package was well worth the $300 per cabin. Not that we were barflies, but it entitles you to almost any wine off their wine list. The house wines included with lunch and dinner were fine, but they had some really great ones on the list. 2. Be aware that the ship docks in Le Pecq, a suburb, and not Paris proper. If you want to go into the city on embarkation day, you can get there for less than 5 euros on the RER train. The St Germain en Leye station on the A1 line is close and stops in the heart of the city is close but it is a steep climb The included tour to Giverny is a bit rushed, while you have more time than you need. You might want to consider getting a cab to stay longer. The crowd does tend to skew older, although we did have some intergenerational groups. I am happy to answer any questions. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
We were delighted with our Viking River Cruise - Paris and the Heart of Normandy. This allowed us to see the City of Lights, Monet’s Garden in Giverny, Rouen, the D-Day Beaches and other Normandy sites. Everything in our experience was ... Read More
We were delighted with our Viking River Cruise - Paris and the Heart of Normandy. This allowed us to see the City of Lights, Monet’s Garden in Giverny, Rouen, the D-Day Beaches and other Normandy sites. Everything in our experience was superior! Our accommodations onboard were first class, comfortable and relaxing. Our tours were led by excellent, informative, and entertaining guides, who cleared the way, so we did not have to stand in line. The food was divine and was different every night. I have a gluten allergy, and I could find numerous options at every meal. I told Viking prior to my trip, and they arranged gluten-free meals on our shore excursions. We also do not drink alcohol and also told Viking prior to our trip. As a result, waiters always had sparkling water and diet Cokes ready for us at our meals. This was very thoughtful because wine come with the meals and we appreciated not having to ask repeatedly for non-alcoholic drinks. Such is the top quality service. Every staff member was there to help, was polite and went the extra mile. At Dinner, the Maitre’d stopped by each night to make sure our meal was just right. About the food: excellent! Every night features several regional specialties, but also served each night is a steak, chicken and seafood dish if the regional specialty is not your thing. There is a full buffet at breakfast and lunch. The cruise makes sure you have meal service if you have an early tour. Breakfast is served extra early on the day of departure. Make friends early in the trip, so you will have dinner companions. Dinner tables seat six to eight. There are no tables for two. About the tours:comprehensive and challenging. We paid for the optional shore excursions several times and it was worth the extra cost. We spent almost a full day in Paris seeing the sites, concluding with a tour of Notre Dame. This day also included lunch at a charming French Bistro. Our group was small, so our tour was almost a private one. On another tour of Paris, we stormed the Lovre in an intensive three hour minute tour. We saw all the famous works of art, including the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. Our guide was charming and very knowledgeable. But it was a bit of a challenge with much fast walking and many stairs. Included with the cruise was a tour of artist Claude Monet’s Garden in Giverny. Excellent planning meant we skipped the line and arrived before the crowd. We wished we had more time in the garden: our only regret was that we didn’t slow down amid the beauty. We loved the trip to Rouen Cathedral, which Monet painted numerous times, and the city of Rouen, where we enjoyed a leisurely cafe at a small restaurant. We travelled nearly two hours by luxury motorcoach to the D-Day beaches. We spent a good deal of time at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach. We got to participate in a short, but moving memorial service held just for our tour group. My husband is a WWII buff, and he thought we could have spent more time at the beaches. Viking offered numerous tours each day, providing many choices. You would have a great time just with the provided tours, skipping the extra cost tours. All of our tours fascinated us and we were excited to learn new things. I will say that all the tours require a good bit of walking. All tours are marked as easy, moderate or demanding. My husband climbed a high hill to visit Richard the Lionheart’s castle. This was a demanding tour. The all-day Paris tour was easy to moderate. All my tours were easy, but I was walking ALOT! Onboard, we enjoyed a painting class and an art history session. We really enjoyed the coffee stations offering cappuccinos , fresh cookies or madeleines and and “bubbly” water 24/7. The WiFi worked well. All in all, we decided this was the best trip in our lives. It was perfect for us, and we highly recommend it. Read Less

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