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Everything posted by editor@cruisecritic

  1. Ironically, before my Seine cruise in July, I booked myself at the Paris Hyatt and there was a Viking pre-cruise group there. I really liked the hotel -- especially the location. As noted, it's a pleasant walk to the Arc d'Triomphe and other fabulous spots (it's very near the 8th arrondissement which is pretty pricey real estate in Paris). I also liked that there was a mall connected to the hotel with both a gourmet grocery and a Marks and Spencer grocery. Great place to pick up supplies. And last but not least, it's adjacent to a wonderful neighborhood called Neuilly sur Seine, which is absolutely beautiiful and not terribly touristy. Plenty of good restaurants there. My room at the Hyatt did not look out at the Eiffel Tower; I got the so-called "b" view (there's only two views): Montmartre and rooftops. I adored the view, will try to find the pic I took from the room. Carolyn
  2. We're just back from a Viking Seine trip in July and it was a long, powerful day (and the time spent on the bus was actually quite restful!). Also, a nice surprise: The bus is equipped with WiFi and power outlets for charging devices!
  3. We did this tour last month, Carol, and loved it. It was mostly very flat so not hard, and the countryside is so beautiful! On the way back, we stopped in a river-front park and a lovely young woman from a local cider distillery showed up with the most amazing ciders to taste (the apple juice alone was so delicious) and sweets. Fun! On our trip, on another call, there was a canoeing option (really it was kayaks) and that was absolutely great too. Carolyn
  4. Just (er, a week or so) back from the Viking Seine cruise. I loved it. Would be interested in doing it again, but maybe stretching it out for ten days. I will admit that I spent my first weekend home on the couch, bingeing on Downton Abbey, laughing. Happy to answer any specific questions, and will say that at the end of the day, this was the best of a triangle of aspects: Loved the cruise itself, the crew was great, and made some wonderful connections with fellow passengers. Carolyn
  5. To all of us who have wondered why most contemporary river boats don't sail past Rouen, I had an interesting chat with the captain of our Viking ship, Viking Rolf. He said that 110 feet long is the absolute limit, so that's interesting, but also there are challenging requirements. For instance, ships that travel below the Rouen bridge (I took a pic, can't remember if I shared it, wil share it again if that's the case) toward the Channel have to be ocean-certified (or rather, maritime certified). One thing the captain shared was that one of Viking's challenges is a design challenge: The windows are too close to the surface of the water (which of course is what makes river cruising so magical) to fit the ocean (maritime) requirements. Make sense? Carolyn PS this was an ocean ship from Cruise & Maritime Voyages that came up as far as it could on the Seine, just below that bridge in Rouen. We turned around here (it's a wide basin) and headed back to dock alongside the old town.
  6. Also, I've been on ships (ocean ships) that called at Honfleur, though come to think of it I think we anchored 🙂 -- one ship was Swan Hellenic's R-class vessel. And it was many moons ago. Carolyn
  7. So I've asked around, and actually this morning (noon) as we came into Rouen, we actually went past the bridge that is the demarkation point for maritime, as philw1776 says -- and there was a Cruise and Maritime vessel docked just behind. It looked so big compared to our darling Viking Rolf! I'd forgotten that it's not just French lines that can go to Honfleur -- Uniworld goes. I was told today by one of the officers that it has to do with getting a maritime license, in addition to what you have to get for river cruising on the Seine, and it is a lot. I'm still trying to nail this down, but it's definitely not the size of the riverboat..... Carolyn PS The pic is of us turning in the basin....
  8. Fascinating, philw1776. I'll track down the details.... Carolyn
  9. I'll ask around, notamermaid. Great question. I'm with the other poster who said that only French lines can go as far as Honfleur; on our other Seine cruise about 8 years ago or so, we also didn't go past Rouen (different line), and did the bus trip to Honfleur. I've also been lucky enough to visit on ocean cruises, but never overnight -- that's on the list. Carolyn
  10. I'll try to help if I can, philw1776 🙂 Dinner was lovely. Had it on the Aquavit Terrace. Was surprised by two things; one is that the waitstaff seems to expect everyone to arrive at the beginning (rather than operate more like a restaurant); that surprised me a little bit. And there's no separate menu there (used to be the more casual dining option at night). Curious. Also, for future travelers on Viking Rolf, note that the nearly adjacent Monoprix closes at 1 p.m. or so on Sunday. I didn't make it 🙂
  11. Thanks everyone, for the LePecq info. I'm going to spend the day in Paris and head over to the ship later this afternoon. This afternoon! Excited. If there's anything you all want to know while I'm onboard, please let me know.... Carolyn
  12. Beyond the Monoprix (which I'm absurdly excited about), is there anything to see in Le Pecq? Is there a good walk? And one more question (leave tonight for Paris, excited!): On our last day we stop in Mantes de Jolie -- is that just to let shore excursions off as the ship continues back to Le Pecq? Thanks again for all the great conversation and advice. Carolyn
  13. Yum. Looks delicious. I booked for lunch at 1:30 p.m. on the day we arrive; since tours leave the ship at around 1 p.m. I figure I'm safe on the time?
  14. Thanks, Respbj, and the detail about the Monoprix at the Paris dock is just the kind of thing you only find on Cruise Critic. Great tip! Excellent to know. And I'm planning to pack light so I can do a bit of shopping. Thanks again.
  15. Hi, Allenjolly. There's a ton of great info on Seine River cruising here: CSB
  16. This is the most amazing thread. Thank you, Peregrina651 for starting it (and providing regular answers) and appreciate everyone's insights. I've read most of it -- it took awhile :) -- and would love to ask a couple of questions. I'm going on a Seine River cruise on Viking Rolf next week. I've done the Seine (and it's magnificent) but it was a very long time ago. One thing I remember was feeling a bit overscheduled with tours last time, so was planning to give myself a free day to just roam around in Rouen. I'm definitely intrigued with the restaurant that Julia Child first ate at one she and her husband arrived in France (La Couronne). Has anyone gone for lunch or dinner? Any other must-sees (beyond the Joan of Arc stuff) in town? It's been really hard to find good advice for independent travel. Thanks in advance. Carolyn
  17. Great insights, Winegirl, thanks for sharing. I love the way you travel :) Carolyn
  18. Thanks, everyone, for sharing your stories about "making the switch"! I probably should have asked the question of anyone liking small ship (not just luxury); which we figure are about 1,000 passengers or fewer. One luxury/small ship line told me recently that river cruises in Europe were the best referral ever. Travelers who'd done big ships tried a riverboat and liked the smaller size so much that when they went back to the oceans, they went "small". Hope folks keep posting. It's so interesting! Carolyn
  19. Hi. Wondering about what draws you to luxury cruising, particularly if you've done larger, more mainstream voyages. What was the impetus when you finally jumped from big ships to smaller, more luxurious ones? Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences! Carolyn
  20. If the price is right I'd go in a heartbeat! Used to live in St. Thomas and St. John, sure it's a little bit warmer and more humid in summer, but then so is home (we live in the mid-Atlantic). Worried about hurricane season? Buy travel insurance that covers you for it.... Carolyn
  21. Hi, we're wondering: How important is a cruise line's commitment to the environment -- whether it's the seven seas or ports of call -- to you when booking a cruise? Please vote in our poll and feel free to comment below. Thanks! Carolyn Carolyn Spencer Brown Chief Content Strategist Cruise Critic
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