Posted January 5th, 2009, 01:39 PM
My husband and I did the GCT Seine river cruise the end of September. This was our first river cruise and also our first trip to Europe. We really were not sure what to expect, but it was absolutely wonderful. My husband and I are in our middle to late 50's. We were told that river cruising, and GCT in particular, appealed to a much older crowd. While that turned out to be true, there certainly were others in our age bracket, and we certainly never felt out of place. I have to say that everything went without a hitch. We were lucky to be assigned a non-stop flight out of JFK into CDG. After landing and claiming our luggage, we were met by a GCT rep who transported us to our airport hotel, a short distance away. After checking in at the hotel, we met our Program Director, Olivier, who said there would be a walking tour of the small town later in the afternoon and an orientation meeting at 5 pm. We decided to take a nap since neither one of us slept on the plane. BTW, we tried a product from the Magellan catalog called No Jet Lag. It worked great. After a 2-hr. nap we both felt great. We had booked the pre-tour in the Loire Valley and were very happy that we did. Stayed 3 nights in the town of Blois, which was like being transported into the medieval past. Got to tour some of the beautiful chateaus that the area is know for. We also got to sample some out of the way restaurants on our own for lunch and dinner. Our Program Director was the best!! I can't imagine anyone doing a better job than he did. He was a wealth of information and a very pleasant person in general. We then went on to the Normandy Beaches and the American Cemetery where we got in-depth tours. When we arrived in Honfleur we boarded the Bizet. I have to say that we were very impressed with the boat. Our cabin, while small, utilized space very well. It never felt too crowded. Also, the ship was immaculate. Meals onboard were excellent, as was the free-flowing wine at dinner! Breakfast and lunch was a buffet. At breakfast there was always 1 special that could be ordered from a waiter along with an omlette station, breads, reallly good pastries, meats, etc. At lunch there were assorted offerings including a pasta station. Dinner included 3-4 main entrees. There was only 1 dinner I did not like, which was pheasant. I thought it would be more like poultry, but it was more along the lines of a very gamey beef. Just a poor choice I made. The tours we received in all the towns we docked in were very in-depth and just the right length. We loved the fact that you could disembark the boat and be right in the middle of town. Honfleur was our favorite. So picturesque! We went on a home-hosted visit in Vernon. I was a little apprehensive about going to someone's home that I didn't know. It was the most wonderful experience, though. Our hosts were very personable, and the 2 hours with them flew. I don't know what kind of information you are exactly looking for, so if you have questions, please post them and I'll try my best to answer them. I don't think you can go wrong with this trip. My husband and I only have good things to say about it. Absolutely nothing went wrong. And, contrary to popular belief, we found the French people to be very friendly and helpful. Most spoke English and were happy to do so. I have to say that we did brush up on our French a little and always tried to speak to them in French. Even if it was only "Bonjour." It seemed to go a long way. The Seine river cruise truly exceeded our expectations!