it’s here. it’s finally here. a recap of the week i spent on the Scenic Gem on a delightful Seine River cruise. so many of you have written asking for more information about my river cruise experience, particularly which cruise line i partnered with – Scenic Luxury Cruises & Luxury Tours.
first off, river cruises have become wildly popular in the last ten years, so there is a wide variety of choices when it comes to cruise lines. what sets Scenic Luxury Cruises apart is that it is an all-inclusive vessel. which simply means there are no hidden fees. everything is included in your ticket. and i do mean everything from the tours to beverages to tips for the staff. there are no surprises as to the cost as there are no up charges. plus, Scenic’s reputation for outstanding service and excellent land tours did not disappoint.
the embarkation went efficiently and super easy – no waiting around. we were warmly welcomed with drinks and immediately escorted to our accommodations, then given a brief tour of the ship.
the main lobby has a sleek interior design.
shore excursions were outstanding, with the D-day Normandy Beach tour being our favorite. the variety of tours offered made the trip even more interesting and valuable. read more about the french diary river cruise part 1.
water and umbrellas were always available.
the crew was simply outstanding! from the Hotel Director to the Cruise Director, the entire staff infused the ship with a sense of joy. in particular, the waiters and room attendants made the week-long cruise so relaxing and enjoyable. our every whim was taken into account. late-night snack? no problem. need a shirt or dress pressed? Scenic Cruise Lines were happy to accommodate. the forward-facing lounge is where we gathered nightly for port talks and entertainment afterward.
the front of the lounge is dubbed River Cafe come lunchtime.
at night the table area at the front of the ship is transformed into L’Amour, a fine dining restaurant that passengers experience once per cruise. it’s fine dining at its best.
we chose the duck the night we dined at L”Amour.
cocktails at the beautiful Château d’Ételan. i loved the fact that Scenic Luxury Luxury Cruises and Luxury Tours offered beautiful venues to taste and experience the breathtaking Normandy countryside.
the top deck can be used to watch the passing scenery while sipping a cocktail.
Monet’s gardens in Giverny were definitely a highlight for me. every inch is thoughtfully planned out and maintained. it’s simply exquisite.
queen-sized beds with Egyptian cotton sheets made a good night’s sleep possible. there was a floor-to-ceiling built-in storage closet with room for hanging clothes, drawers, a safe, and a mini-bar. Scenic also provides butler service. plus, sodas, wine, and beer stocked daily in the minibar are included in the fare.
small fitness center.
a concert at the beautiful Château de la Roche-Guyon.
the last day the Scenic Gem was docked in Paris, allowing us a day full of shopping and people watching. read more about travel diary streets of Paris.
here are my parting thoughts on the Seine river cruise with Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours. river cruises are popular for a reason as they are an easy way to visit many regions of Europe without the hassle of toting your luggage from city to city. once you arrive on the ship and unpack your suitcase, you’re set for the week. another plus is the tours that are available at each and every port. but if you would rather strike out on your own and explore the cobblestone streets without a tour guide, you have that option. the front desk staff is more than happy to call a cab for you, and the cruise director can offer suggestions as to what to see and do. jr. style and i were truly impressed with the staff, who were always at the ready to make your life as easy and hassle-free as possible. if you would like more information about Scenic Luxury Cruises and Luxury Tours, please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have. or read more here.
a big thank you to Scenic Luxury Cruises and Luxury Tours for this sponsored post. and thank you, lovely readers, for supporting the brands that allow me to bring you fresh ideas.
is the Founder and CEO of Style at a Certain Age. She writes Sundays-Fridays on all topics ranging from fashion, health, wellness, home design and more.
She’s 63, 5’8, and size 8.
Hello, First, let me say that I’m happy you enjoyed your trip, because my sister who also lost her husband due to that heinous disease has told me that getting out and living life is the best therapy for a broken heart. Godspeed on that. Now to my comment about your trip. I am a very visual person that loves ambiance and I must tell you that if I had to spend a fortune and a week on that vessel I’d be very unhappy. Where has all the beauty, luxe, and cushy gone? Not to be mean but it looked like the inside of the high school, here in town, so cold, austere and institutional. Am I alone in missing the days of gorgeous surroundings? What do others think and most importantly what is your take,since you have such excellent taste.I’d love to know. Thanks!
first, i have to mention that river cruise ships are not the same as an ocean cruise ship. so don’t compare apples to oranges. space is limited because the ship needs to cruise a river and slip underneath bridges. that said, the ship was quite comfortable and every need met the entire trip due to an amazing staff. also, you spend most of your time off the ship soaking in the sights and sounds of the country you are visiting. a river cruise is such an easy way to travel since you unpack once then you’re set. but if splendid accommodations are at the top of your list then i’m certain you’ll find it!
We took a 3-week river cruise from Bucharest to Amsterdam and our experience was very similar to Beth’s. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Because we traveled on 3 rivers, our stops included small towns as well as major cities. During the 3 weeks, we only had one “sea day.” As Beth mentioned, you can’t compare river cruises with ocean cruises, which we also enjoy. With 95 passengers on our boat, it was a very intimate experience. It was also lovely to see the landscape, villages, etc. so close by as we traveled.
Loved your photos and views on your trip Beth! I just returned yesterday from a self-designed tour of northern France, ending in Paris. I can say that the value of being able to unpack once would have been tremendous. Comparing this trip with a guided tour of Sicily and Italy last fall, it sure was nice to have help with luggage every time we moved to a new city. Take-off with a guided tour is very little time to choose how to spend your time without skipping the day’s events. Back to France – We also very much enjoyed our tour of the Normandy beaches, and I was glad I’d read up on the history ahead of being there. Glad you had a great trip and I would definitely consider this type of travel in the future.
everyone i talked to on the cruise mentioned the ease of travel with a river cruise. i think it’s a bonus if you want to see more than one city on your trip. as you mentioned it can be a pain in the patoot when you’re lugging your suitcase over cobblestone streets with no help in sight.
Hi from England. Looks like a wonderful trip. In the 80s we spent many holidays, loved places like Deauville, Honfleur, Cabourg and Trouville. Hope that we can go back sometime. Thank you for doing these blogs.
France is such a lovely country. The landscape is breathtaking and the food is amazing. thanks for sharing.
Hi Beth..I was anxious to see and hear about your trip. I have enjoyed 4 European riverboat cruises, the only way to travel. I have always used Viking and I have to say there vessels are top notch. Lobbies are beautiful, the lounge areas are lovely, but with that being said, maybe they are much more expensive!
Viking is considerably less expensive than Scenic, Uniworld, AMA or Tauck river cruises. Those lines are all-inclusive, gratuities, tours, etc. There are no optional tours for which one would pay an extra fee.
We did our first river cruise in June/July on the Danube and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The staff, outings, food, ambience were all wonderful, the only thing I would change is longer stays in each port, at a few points it felt like “if it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium” (reference for old people:). The trip you profiled is our next one, I’m really looking forward to Paris and Normandy. River cruises are the way to travel for all the reasons you mentioned!
i agree about wanting to stay longer in certain cities, Honfleur being one. but there are longer cruises available where they the ships do stay for more than one day.
Beth, a friend and I went on the same cruise, same river boat, this past spring. I totally agree with you! Everyone onboard was friendly and couldn’t do enough for us. All inclusive was a prime selling point – the only money I spent was when I did a little shopping in Paris and at the store in Giverney. The leisurely pace of the boat and being able to see towns and beautiful estates from the water was a true pleasure – people would even wave to us from their yards. Another plus was meeting fellow travelers from different countries during our meals and down time in the lounge. The tours and the guides were very interesting and I liked having a choice of which ones to take. I highly recommend the Scenic line – it was a great introduction to river cruising .
so glad to hear you had a positive experience. we had the same staff as they all mentioned they had been on board since April. this was their last cruise of the season and they were headed home!
We went on a river cruise last summer, The Danube (Nuremburg, Germany to Budpest, Hungary) and loved it. Our trip was with a different company, AMA Waterways. Service and food were outstanding and we enjoyed it very much. The pace was leisurely and the cruise staff took care of all the work so it was truly a vacation. We are planning on another one soon.
a river cruise is definitely an easy way to visit Europe. isn’t it fantastic to have a staff that truly bends over backwards? it was a breath of fresh air.
I loved seeing your photos from the trip as a year ago I was in France on a barge. The barges use canals and are much smaller, 8-12 passengers. Beautiful accommodations, fantastic food and gorgeous views. The tours are included and low key. I was on French Country Waterways, but there are others. Just another way to relax and enjoy the lovely French countryside. So happy you and Jr. Style were able to spend the time traveling together.
i had never heard of a barge excursion. i will have to check that out. thanks for sharing.
Coincidentally, our last night in Parus we met two women who were on a Road Scholar trip and staying on a barge on the drive. All single rooms and they were really enjoying it, with different activities each day in Paris for a week.
Beth we were in France at same time u were on tauck sapphire actually was tied up to your ship one day had to cross through your lobby to get off boat.We too had a great time but had pouring rain on Normandy day and at Monet garden wish I had packed a really water proof coat and shoes but it was beautiful.We May give the scenic gem a try next time you write a wonderful blog.
What a wonderful trip! I would love to see what you wore on the ship, to dinners, and other non-sightseeing activities.
Sounds like they included some good destinations to visit. I admit I’m not usually a cruise gal, but a couple of years ago I did go on a smaller ship through the Greek isles, and I loved that trip. I’m not a big fan of the megaships that feel like cattle calls to me. The smaller ships would be something I could deal with.
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