Uniworld - Paris to Normandy?

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#1
183 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
We've just booked this cruise for 4/2013. It will be our first river cruise. Windstar is our favorite ocean cruise. If someone has done this Uniworld cruise we'd appreciate your feedback, both good and bad. We're thinking of flying to Paris and taking the train to London for a few days prior to the cruise. Any thoughts?
Thanks,
sarah and bob
#2
194 Posts
Joined May 2011
I did this trip in March this year, probably the best food I have had on a river cruise. I did not care for the cabin decor, the rest of the boat was fine. There was an amazing amount of audio / visual programs TV etc through the TV in cabin, just great. Little on the southern France cruise that followed this one.

It was a well run cruise (I had a late start which Uniworld were fabulous in helping me with), fabulous crew, amazing masseuse on board and CD was competent.

I would do this again.
#4
183 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Nice to know you had a good time and would repeat this cruise. What did you think of the ports you visited - any favorites?
And we appreciated the comment about the small cabins. We usually don't linger in our cabin so maybe our regular one we have booked will be sufficient. Certainly hope so!
#5
Ontario, Canada
2,733 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
And we loved it. The Baroness has had a refurb since we sailed on her, but we didn't mind the decor. The ship was well maintained.

We travel lowest category cabin, and are fine with the space. Every square inch is utilized. Just mind the step going into the washroom - stubbed my toes a few times when we first boarded.

The itinerary has changed a bit since we took this cruise (2008), and one of our favourite stops (Conflans, and a trip to Auvers-sur-oise to see where Van Gogh was living when he killed himself) is not included any more. But they have added other stops (ie: Les Andelys) that do look interesting.

Of course, the trip to the beaches in Normandy is sobering, but a "must see". Our CD arranged for a few of us to see Juno Beach, and the Canadian Cemetery at Benys-sur-Mer - catching up with the rest of the group at Arromanche. Very happy that they made those arrangements for us.

The optional trip to Versailles is wonderful. And, after you have seen Monet's home in Giverny, I would suggest you make a trip to the Orangerie in the Tuilleries in Paris --> to see the actual canvases of the Water Lilies. You would need to do this on your own, but it is a small museum, and easy to find.

Fran
#6
194 Posts
Joined May 2011
I was on her after the refurb, it's just too... chinzy and boy was the room tight in the cabin and bathroom. I travelled in a double cabin alone. It was padded walls, full wall of mirrors. But that said, I still would be back on her.

My favourites....sadly I missed Les Andelys due to illness, but I loved Rouen, and Honfleur particularly. If you have Giverny on your tour and love Gardens, go! It was closed on the first, trip and we did Versailles, which I woudln't bother with a second time. Giverny is included during the season.

Do you remember it's completely different to big cruises, and I just love small ship sailing and river cruises
#7
1,338 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
We were on the cruise last spring and really enjoyed it. We had sailed on the Baroness' sister ship so we weren't surprised about the size of the cabin. That said, there was plenty of space. The room was well layed out and there was plenty of storage. Colors and decorations are a matter of taste so that will be up to you.

The crew and the cruise director, Tony Jenkins, were absolutely outstanding. Food was great and everyone went out of their way to insure that we had a great vacation.

We took the ship's bicycles out a few mornings to ride through the towns before the tours started and would do that again.

It would be hard to say what we enjoyed the most. I would go back to the D-Day beaches and Honfleur again. Giveny was nice - make sure to take a camera.

Thinking about it, I would take the whole cruise again.

Have a good time. You will enjoy yourself.
#8
2,151 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
We found Giverny disappointing due to the huge crowds; also true at Versailles.
The optional tour we loved was Etretat and the cider farm, ending at Honfleur
#9
194 Posts
Joined May 2011
I didn't care one way or the other for Versailles, but it was included. It was as crowded as I expected, definitely. I was happy to cut and run to the gardens asap

Giverny.....I was fortunate to go at 9.30 am on wintry morning early in the season and so it was amazing without about 40 other people in the whole garden

ETA Giverny is easily THE most expensive gift shop I have been in ever, and I've been in a quite a lot, including St Petersberg which was stonkingly expensive!
#11
183 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
I've looked at the Trip Advisor comments on the Radisson Hotel that Uniworld uses prior to the cruise or upon return to Paris. It seems to be in a great location but somewhat "tired". We'd appreciate knowing how Uniworld handled the transfer to the hotel and what you thought. We've read through our confirmation and can't see where Uniworld also does meals at the hotel-are we overlooking something? At this point we're assuming we're on our own for restaurants. Thanks again for the information!
#12
Maryland
591 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Originally posted by sanibel
We've just booked this cruise for 4/2013. It will be our first river cruise. Windstar is our favorite ocean cruise. If someone has done this Uniworld cruise we'd appreciate your feedback, both good and bad. We're thinking of flying to Paris and taking the train to London for a few days prior to the cruise. Any thoughts?
Thanks,
sarah and bob

We just returned from a Grand Circle cruise from Normandy to Paris. I cannot comment on the Uniworld ships but would be happy to give input on the ports.

I would likely fly directly to London and then transfer to Paris for the cruise.
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#13
New Jersey
3,536 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
We did this route on Avalon, had a blast, but have to admit, in our last port, Les Andylys (spelling is approximate), want to move there. We were docked near to a Uniworld ship with bikes, I felt envious. Regardless....

Whichever line you choose, highlights are Giverney, Rouen, Honfleur and the utterly haunting Normandy. And Paris of course -- we could see the Eiffel Tower from the top deck, magic. All magic.

Just go.

Carolyn

Carolyn Spencer Brown
Editor in Chief
Cruise Critic
#14
183 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Thanks to all who've shared info! GiannaD, we'd love to hear your thoughts on the ports.
Carolyn, I'm already researching Les Andylys! After all, what could be a better job than Editor in Chief at Cruise Critic!
#15
2,151 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Sanibel, Be careful about Les Andelys. This is a stop to show you a fabulous castle built by Richard the Lionhearted. The problem is it is a difficult walk from the port and when you get there you may not get past the walls. It is undergoing extensive renovation.
May I suggest the bus trip, you will only ovelook the castle, but on our tour the guide was Fred -incredible-(he later gave the featured lecture on Impressionism). In addition us bus riders got to stop at a small cathedral with terrific 14th cent stained glass. The walkers did not get to see this.