SS Catherine, Lyon to Avignon 3/22/15 - Live


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#1
Albany, NY
4,432 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
I'm awake early this morning, in our hotel room in Paris. Our train to Lyon leaves in 4 hours, and when we arrive this afternoon, we'll be boarding SS Catherine for this year's first voyage!

Friday 3/20

On Friday afternoon it was snowy in Albany so our flight to Atlanta was delayed slightly. We had no trouble making our connection, though. As soon as we landed, we walked to our next gate, where they were starting to board the plane. So the timing was good.

Relaxing flight over to CDG though the food and wine on the Air France plane wasn't as good as it's been on past flights with them. Got a few hours of sleep and arrived at CDG only 5-10 minutes after our scheduled arrival time of 11:10.

Saturday 3/21

Luggage wasn't a terrible wait and we were heading for the RER station before noon. Amazingly enough, when we got there, we saw signs announcing that all public transportation in the area was free this weekend! A train was waiting and we hopped on; by 12:05 we were heading in towards the city, which I thought was great since we had landed less than an hour ago. We changed over to the Metro without trouble and made it to our hotel at 1:00, and our room was ready for us. After a shower, it was time to head out and see a few things we missed last time.

I asked the hotel staff about the free public transportation, and they said it was to reduce air pollution. So, we took the free Metro out to Pere Lachaise Cemetery which was a neat place. It reminded us of the Recoletta Cemetery in Buenos Aires. We saw several famous graves including Chopin, Jim Morrison, and Oscar Wilde. It was a perfect day to visit a cemetery - grey skies, bare tree branches swaying in the wind, and the large black birds lurking about all added to the ambience. The setting was appropriate! After wandering through looking at the impressive monuments, we headed out to the Metro for our next stop.

We went to the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, which was nicely done. It consists of a lake with a mountainous island in the center, set in the middle of the park which rises up on all sides around it. There's a Romanesque temple on the top of the island but it's blocked off for repairs at the moment. There are some manmade waterfalls but they're not all running at the moment. It looks fairly natural even though most of it was built and isn't a natural formation. There is a bunch of construction going on, though, so that detracts from the setting a little. I'd like to see what it looks like when they're done working.

Afterwards it was getting chilly, so we headed back to our neighborhood on the Metro. We found a bistro and sat outdoors under the heat lamps, and I enjoyed a nice steak with fries, and Chris had a duck breast that was delicious as well. It was accompanied by a cheap red Burgundy which was fine. It ended up being a pretty cheap dinner, and with the exchange rate under $1.10 per Euro, even better!

Back to the hotel where they had dark chocolates for us on our pillows. We used some of our bar credit to have a glass of wine before bed, and then it was time to sleep!

***

More to follow - I haven't uploaded any pictures yet but will work some in as we go. I doubt I'll keep up with the live reporting every day but we'll see how it goes. Time for breakfast soon, then maybe a little more sightseeing before we jump on the Metro to Gare de Lyon for our train. Can't wait to see how SS Catherine compares to her sister ship, SS Antoinette!
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JP and Chris

Last: Silver Explorer - Along the Humboldt Current, Guayaquil to Valparaíso - Oct 2017 (review)

Future bookings - come join us!
Silver Wind - #2828, Copenhagen to Tower Bridge - Sept 2018
Silver Cloud Expedition - #1918, Reykjavik to Reykjavik - August 2019

Past:
Ganges Voyager II (Uniworld) - India's Golden Triangle & the Sacred Ganges - Feb 2017 (review)
River Beatrice (Uniworld) - Danube - April 2016
(photo review)
SS Catherine (Uniworld) - Burgundy and Provence - March 2015 (review)
Silver Cloud - Eastern Med - Istanbul to Athens - October 2014 (photo review)
Silver Cloud - North Atlantic - Tower Bridge to Reykjavik - August 2014 - (photo review)
SS Antoinette (Uniworld) - Castles on the Rhine - Basel to Amsterdam - April 2014 (photo review)
Silver Explorer - Central America - Colon to Puerto Caldera - October 2013 (photo review)
MS Sun Boat III - Nile River - November 2012 (pics1) (pics2)
Silver Wind - Athens to Rome - June 2012 (report) (Greece pics) (Italy pics)

Celebrity Xpedition - Galapagos - November 2011 (Peru pics) (Galapagos pics)
Silver Explorer - Longyearbyen to Tromso - August 2011 (report) (Svalbard pics) (Tromso pics)
Silver Wind - Cape Town to Cape Town - Feb 2011 (pics)
Silver Cloud - London to Nice - September 2010 (France pics) (Spain and Portugal pics)
Silver Wind - Black Sea - June 2010 (pics)
Silversea PAII - Antarctica - Dec 09 (pics)
#2
FL
14,454 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Thanks for posting live! I am looking forward to reading about your trip as we will be on this itinerary in reverse in a few months.
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143 cruises since 1964, 16 on the river.
Looking forward to:
MS Joy - Magic of Advent, December 2017

Amadeus Silver III, May 2018
AmaStella, Christmas Markets, December 2018
Scenic Eclipse, April, 2019

Our river cruising history:
Avalon Luminary B2B- Christmas Markets, 2009
Avalon Affinity - Christmas Markets 2010
Avalon Panorama - Danube New Years Cruise, 2011
AmaDante -Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle 2012
AmaCerto - Budapest to Nuremburg, 2013
AmaBella - Tulip Time, 2014
AmaDagio - Provence, 2014
AmaReina - Holiday on the Rhine 2014
SS Catherine - Provence 2015
AmaSerena Christmas on the Rhine, 2015
Scenic Diamond, Bordeaux, April 2016, October 2017
AmaVida, Douro, August. 2016
AmaSonata, Romantic Danube - Oct. 2016
Joie de Vivre, Paris and Normany - April 2017

Recent ocean cruises:
Le Lyral, The Adriatic, September 2017
#3
2,506 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
JP,
What wonderful memories arise reading about the start of your trip. We took this trip the first year it was offered in 2006 on the River Royale. It was fantastic. Looking forward to reading more. If you like garlicky food--the frogs legs at the small cafe near the berth in Viviers are amazing. Pat
#4
Massachusetts
117 Posts
Joined Mar 2015
Originally posted by jpalbny
More to follow - I haven't uploaded any pictures yet but will work some in as we go. I doubt I'll keep up with the live reporting every day but we'll see how it goes. Time for breakfast soon, then maybe a little more sightseeing before we jump on the Metro to Gare de Lyon for our train. Can't wait to see how SS Catherine compares to her sister ship, SS Antoinette!
Oh no, no cop out. You started this blog, you have to keep it up every single day!

Just kidding, but I am looking forward to your semi-regular updates. Don't forget to check the premium booze menu.
#6
Chicagoland
131 Posts
Joined May 2008
Thanks guys for posting your travel blog...anxious to hear your thoughts and see photos..keep up the good work!!
#7
California
473 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
Interesting. We just read an article in the LA Times about pollution in Paris. Hoping for clear skies for you from now on.
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Celebrity Summit Aug. - Sept. 2005 Alaska
Victoria Queen Oct. 2007 Yangtze River
Princess Crown Nov. 2008 Eastern Caribbean
Uniworld Beatrice June 2010 Danube River
Holland America Maasdam Oct 2011 Eastern Canada & NE
Uniworld River Victoria May 2012 Russia
Regent Seven Seas Voyager Nov 2013 Venice-Istanbul
Uniworld Antoinette Oct 2014 Castles Along the Rhine
Uniworld River Baroness & SS Catherine April 26 2015 Grand France
Uniworld River Tosca January 2017 Egypt
Uniworld Maria Theresa Christmas and New Years December 2018 Danube
#8
Albany, NY
4,432 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Thanks all for the comments. As expected, we're having way too much fun to post much but it's been a great time so far.

The TGV from Paris to Lyon was easy and the Perrache Station in Lyon was within walking distance of the ship. We did some of Lyon on our own that afternoon before sailing to Macon.

Yesterday's trip to Beaune was fun; the weather was gorgeous - sunny and in the 60s. Some difference from home! We're back in Lyon this morning for more touring.

For those of you who have been wondering, here is the premium liquor list:



I haven't come across a premium wine list. The included wines are all local and tasty.

More to follow... Merci de votre patienter...
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JP and Chris

Last: Silver Explorer - Along the Humboldt Current, Guayaquil to Valparaíso - Oct 2017 (review)

Future bookings - come join us!
Silver Wind - #2828, Copenhagen to Tower Bridge - Sept 2018
Silver Cloud Expedition - #1918, Reykjavik to Reykjavik - August 2019

Past:
Ganges Voyager II (Uniworld) - India's Golden Triangle & the Sacred Ganges - Feb 2017 (review)
River Beatrice (Uniworld) - Danube - April 2016
(photo review)
SS Catherine (Uniworld) - Burgundy and Provence - March 2015 (review)
Silver Cloud - Eastern Med - Istanbul to Athens - October 2014 (photo review)
Silver Cloud - North Atlantic - Tower Bridge to Reykjavik - August 2014 - (photo review)
SS Antoinette (Uniworld) - Castles on the Rhine - Basel to Amsterdam - April 2014 (photo review)
Silver Explorer - Central America - Colon to Puerto Caldera - October 2013 (photo review)
MS Sun Boat III - Nile River - November 2012 (pics1) (pics2)
Silver Wind - Athens to Rome - June 2012 (report) (Greece pics) (Italy pics)

Celebrity Xpedition - Galapagos - November 2011 (Peru pics) (Galapagos pics)
Silver Explorer - Longyearbyen to Tromso - August 2011 (report) (Svalbard pics) (Tromso pics)
Silver Wind - Cape Town to Cape Town - Feb 2011 (pics)
Silver Cloud - London to Nice - September 2010 (France pics) (Spain and Portugal pics)
Silver Wind - Black Sea - June 2010 (pics)
Silversea PAII - Antarctica - Dec 09 (pics)
#10
Raleigh, NC
54 Posts
Joined Mar 2015
Yes, thanks for posting the premium list. They had given me the second page but not the first. I am glad to see there is only one champagne that is not included. Hopefully that means there are several decent champagnes to choose from for free
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Danielle
Sailing Uniworld Burgundy/Provence May 2016!

#11
Toronto, Ottawa Valley ON, and Dunedin FL
14,411 Posts
Joined May 2001
Thanks for posting about Parc des Butte-Chaumont--I'll be in Paris this October and had hoped to visit this place, which was the setting for a film I saw several years ago--let's hope the construction is done by then.

Have a good rest of your trip.
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Upcoming Cruises:
Seabourn Quest Canada, September 2018
⚓Past Cruises:

Paul Gauguin Cook Islands & Society Islands, October 2017
Seven Seas Mariner, Miami-Lima, January 2017
Azamara Journey, Rome-Rome, September 2016
Uniworld Egypt, River Tosca, October 2015
Paul Gauguin 2000, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2014
Oceania Riviera, Nov. 2013
Seven Seas Navigator, Dec. 2006, Alaska May 2012
Radisson Diamond June, Black Sea 2004
Regent Voyager, June '06, Dec. '07, Dec. '09, Dec. 2010
#12
Massachusetts
117 Posts
Joined Mar 2015
I knew you were having too much fun!

Throw us a line every once in a while. And thanks for the liquor list. No issues for me, I don't even drink that high end stuff when I'm home.
#13
Albany, NY
4,432 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Here are a few photos from Pere-Lachaise Cemetery. We had a great day to visit; the dark cloudy day really set the mood for a visit:













These photos set the mood for our visit... We saw a few famous graves that I'll post later. We're late to the Past Guests' Party and I have to get ready for that...

The internet speed here so far has been crummy; hope it gets better further to the south!
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JP and Chris

Last: Silver Explorer - Along the Humboldt Current, Guayaquil to Valparaíso - Oct 2017 (review)

Future bookings - come join us!
Silver Wind - #2828, Copenhagen to Tower Bridge - Sept 2018
Silver Cloud Expedition - #1918, Reykjavik to Reykjavik - August 2019

Past:
Ganges Voyager II (Uniworld) - India's Golden Triangle & the Sacred Ganges - Feb 2017 (review)
River Beatrice (Uniworld) - Danube - April 2016
(photo review)
SS Catherine (Uniworld) - Burgundy and Provence - March 2015 (review)
Silver Cloud - Eastern Med - Istanbul to Athens - October 2014 (photo review)
Silver Cloud - North Atlantic - Tower Bridge to Reykjavik - August 2014 - (photo review)
SS Antoinette (Uniworld) - Castles on the Rhine - Basel to Amsterdam - April 2014 (photo review)
Silver Explorer - Central America - Colon to Puerto Caldera - October 2013 (photo review)
MS Sun Boat III - Nile River - November 2012 (pics1) (pics2)
Silver Wind - Athens to Rome - June 2012 (report) (Greece pics) (Italy pics)

Celebrity Xpedition - Galapagos - November 2011 (Peru pics) (Galapagos pics)
Silver Explorer - Longyearbyen to Tromso - August 2011 (report) (Svalbard pics) (Tromso pics)
Silver Wind - Cape Town to Cape Town - Feb 2011 (pics)
Silver Cloud - London to Nice - September 2010 (France pics) (Spain and Portugal pics)
Silver Wind - Black Sea - June 2010 (pics)
Silversea PAII - Antarctica - Dec 09 (pics)
#14
FL
14,454 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
I am disappointed that 2 of my favorite vodka's are on the list. I read elsewhere that Grey Goose is extra as well. I certainly hope there are some premium brands included. I do not drink hard liquor often but when I want a martini, I want a good one.
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143 cruises since 1964, 16 on the river.
Looking forward to:
MS Joy - Magic of Advent, December 2017

Amadeus Silver III, May 2018
AmaStella, Christmas Markets, December 2018
Scenic Eclipse, April, 2019

Our river cruising history:
Avalon Luminary B2B- Christmas Markets, 2009
Avalon Affinity - Christmas Markets 2010
Avalon Panorama - Danube New Years Cruise, 2011
AmaDante -Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle 2012
AmaCerto - Budapest to Nuremburg, 2013
AmaBella - Tulip Time, 2014
AmaDagio - Provence, 2014
AmaReina - Holiday on the Rhine 2014
SS Catherine - Provence 2015
AmaSerena Christmas on the Rhine, 2015
Scenic Diamond, Bordeaux, April 2016, October 2017
AmaVida, Douro, August. 2016
AmaSonata, Romantic Danube - Oct. 2016
Joie de Vivre, Paris and Normany - April 2017

Recent ocean cruises:
Le Lyral, The Adriatic, September 2017
#15
Raleigh, NC
54 Posts
Joined Mar 2015
Originally posted by caviargal
I am disappointed that 2 of my favorite vodka's are on the list. I read elsewhere that Grey Goose is extra as well. I certainly hope there are some premium brands included. I do not drink hard liquor often but when I want a martini, I want a good one.
I think you may have read my comment when I said that I was surprised that Ketel One was on the list (I am also a vodka drinker and don't consider this premium, although it is good) and that I hoped they had Grey Goose since it was not on the list. It seemed to cause some confusion and others thought I said Grey Goose costs extra. If they have it and it isn't on the list, I don't think it costs extra. Sorry if I caused any confusion!
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Danielle
Sailing Uniworld Burgundy/Provence May 2016!

#16
FL
14,454 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by dbncsuvet
I think you may have read my comment when I said that I was surprised that Ketel One was on the list (I am also a vodka drinker and don't consider this premium, although it is good) and that I hoped they had Grey Goose since it was not on the list. It seemed to cause some confusion and others thought I said Grey Goose costs extra. If they have it and it isn't on the list, I don't think it costs extra. Sorry if I caused any confusion!
I am a fan of Chopin and Pravda personally but Goose, Belvedere or Ketel One will work. Looking to learn if Goose is actually included.

I did read that some nice single malts were included.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
143 cruises since 1964, 16 on the river.
Looking forward to:
MS Joy - Magic of Advent, December 2017

Amadeus Silver III, May 2018
AmaStella, Christmas Markets, December 2018
Scenic Eclipse, April, 2019

Our river cruising history:
Avalon Luminary B2B- Christmas Markets, 2009
Avalon Affinity - Christmas Markets 2010
Avalon Panorama - Danube New Years Cruise, 2011
AmaDante -Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle 2012
AmaCerto - Budapest to Nuremburg, 2013
AmaBella - Tulip Time, 2014
AmaDagio - Provence, 2014
AmaReina - Holiday on the Rhine 2014
SS Catherine - Provence 2015
AmaSerena Christmas on the Rhine, 2015
Scenic Diamond, Bordeaux, April 2016, October 2017
AmaVida, Douro, August. 2016
AmaSonata, Romantic Danube - Oct. 2016
Joie de Vivre, Paris and Normany - April 2017

Recent ocean cruises:
Le Lyral, The Adriatic, September 2017
#17
Raleigh, NC
54 Posts
Joined Mar 2015
Originally posted by caviargal
I am a fan of Chopin and Pravda personally but Goose, Belvedere or Ketel One will work. Looking to learn if Goose is actually included.

I did read that some nice single malts were included.
Chopin is my favorite also! I wasn't sure if they would even have it since it is less known. If they have it and it is included for free, I will be a happy woman! I am looking forward to your report once you go in July since it seems we have similar tastes in vodkas

jpalbny, sorry to hijack your thread with conversations about alcohol! I am looking forward to hearing more about your experience at the various ports and seeing more photos. Thanks so much for sharing!
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Danielle
Sailing Uniworld Burgundy/Provence May 2016!

#18
Wake Forest, NC
1,038 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
jpbalny

Thanks for your posts! Know you are having lots of fun but please post again when you can. Sorry the internet is slow. That is what i encountered on the Danube. I'm hoping the Rhine will be better for us in May. We are wine drinkers. Glad to hear the local wines are good. If you do find a premium wine list please post that if you have a chance.
#19
S.E. MA
988 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
I'm boggled that you flew to Atlanta to get to Paris! Have a great cruise. I'm in Provence right now and off to Avignon today...hope you are not experiencing the rain we are.
#20
Albany, NY
4,432 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Hi all and thanks for hanging in there... This cruise is flying by and we're having a great time. Just docked in Viviers, a tiny little place south of Tain l'Hermitage, and we went out for a late-night stroll. It was wild - cold, windy, cloudy, with the moonlight shining through some bare trees. The town was deserted and it felt like we were wandering through the set of a scary movie... We walked up to the highest point of town and ducked into the cathedral, which was open for a tour group. So we snuck in with them, and got a free peek. More on that later!

The cruise so far has been even better than we remembered from last year. The food is really great - we expected good food, but we're surprised by just how good it has been. Lots of fun people, lively dinners, good wine... Can't believe it's already half over. Tomorrow it's my birthday so more celebrating in store.

***

I'll go back to where I left off with a few more shots of Père-Lachaise Cemetery. Neat place - the setting was great, and with the grey clouds, sparse crowds, and the wind whipping through the bare trees, the mood was perfect to explore some famous graves. Here's Chopin, near a less well-known (to us) artist:



There was a crowd around Jim Morrison's grave. It's fenced off so you can't get close, and the angle is bad for pictures:



Oscar Wilde's grave was surrounded in plexiglass. Part of the stone is covered in lipstick. Apparently it means something to leave lip prints on the gravestone. We didn't join in on the custom...



Here are a few more monuments:



After exploring the cemetery, we headed back to the Metro to the Parc des Buttes-Chamount while we were still awake and able to keep walking. We were a little hungry but figured we'd try to hold off a little longer, and have an early dinner before calling it a day.
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JP and Chris

Last: Silver Explorer - Along the Humboldt Current, Guayaquil to Valparaíso - Oct 2017 (review)

Future bookings - come join us!
Silver Wind - #2828, Copenhagen to Tower Bridge - Sept 2018
Silver Cloud Expedition - #1918, Reykjavik to Reykjavik - August 2019

Past:
Ganges Voyager II (Uniworld) - India's Golden Triangle & the Sacred Ganges - Feb 2017 (review)
River Beatrice (Uniworld) - Danube - April 2016
(photo review)
SS Catherine (Uniworld) - Burgundy and Provence - March 2015 (review)
Silver Cloud - Eastern Med - Istanbul to Athens - October 2014 (photo review)
Silver Cloud - North Atlantic - Tower Bridge to Reykjavik - August 2014 - (photo review)
SS Antoinette (Uniworld) - Castles on the Rhine - Basel to Amsterdam - April 2014 (photo review)
Silver Explorer - Central America - Colon to Puerto Caldera - October 2013 (photo review)
MS Sun Boat III - Nile River - November 2012 (pics1) (pics2)
Silver Wind - Athens to Rome - June 2012 (report) (Greece pics) (Italy pics)

Celebrity Xpedition - Galapagos - November 2011 (Peru pics) (Galapagos pics)
Silver Explorer - Longyearbyen to Tromso - August 2011 (report) (Svalbard pics) (Tromso pics)
Silver Wind - Cape Town to Cape Town - Feb 2011 (pics)
Silver Cloud - London to Nice - September 2010 (France pics) (Spain and Portugal pics)
Silver Wind - Black Sea - June 2010 (pics)
Silversea PAII - Antarctica - Dec 09 (pics)