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Seine River Cruises


WisRiver
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We are hoping we can start to travel in September, 2021, and are looking at Seine River cruises departing from Paris.  So far I have found at least five companies, Viking River, Avalon, Tauck, Riviera, and Scenic.  Grand Circle Travel also offers a Seine River cruise, but I will not use them because of the lengthy delay in obtaining a refund for a cancelled cruise earlier this year.  All seem to offer similar itineraries.  Last year friends took the Viking River Seine tour and enjoyed it.  Two years ago we did a Bucharest to Amsterdam River Cruise on Viking, and we were satisfied.    

 

I am interested in other people's experiences with Seine cruising.  Also if there other companies out there.  I speak some French and Spanish, but would prefer English language cruises.  

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Hello WisRiver,

 

You are right in that the itineraries are very similar, as quite frankly, you cannot do much as regards a variation of length and stretch on the river Seine, unless one focuses on a specific stretch for a reason like history. For the ships 110m and shorter, there is the possibility to go a little upstream beyond Paris - the authorities allow it - but so far I have not read about any such itineraries safe a couple of barge trips (24 people or fewer). So downstream they all focus on much the same ports. One big difference is between the ships that are allowed to go into the maritime stretch of the Seine and those that turn round before that.

 

Two other companies that you have not mentioned yet: CroisiEurope (French) and A-ROSA (German). They both have American websites/offices or agencies. Check out their bilingual cruises.

 

All ships that are 125m or shorter are allowed to dock in Paris proper, the longer ones dock outside.

 

notamermaid

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I believe Viking has built slightly-shorter longships (125 m) to sail on the Seine and dock in Paris proper.  Docking the standard sized longships in Le Peq has been less than optimal and used against them by other companies in marketing.  I witnessed this myself at a travel show.

Edited by sharkster77
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Okay so I have only done this trip with Scenic but I would do it again. We were on there inaugural cruise which did not moor in Honfluer, they do now. Our visit to Giverney started before the normal opening time wonderful, pictures of the bridge with no one else in sight. If your interested in embroidery they go to the Jacquard museum at Bolbec which I loved. CA

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I have done this itinerary twice on Uniworld, once in 2015, and again in 2018. The first was on an older ship (now the U by Uniworld "B") and the second on the SS Joie de Vivre. Though the itinerary was basically the same, there were additional excursions offered in 2019 that made it an entirely different experience. We had a fantastic time on both cruises. Here's a link to our second trip.

 

 

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I also echo comments about Uniworld's Seine cruise on the "Joie de Vivre."  We took this cruise in October 2018. The ship was beautiful, food was great, staff superb and our cruise director was surprised at how well the passengers bonded and had a great time.  The lounge was rocking every night due to well chosen singer/entertainers who got everyone up on their feet.  I took my spouse, my daughter, my brother and sister in law and everyone really enjoyed this cruise and cruise line.

 

In Normandy, we opted for the trip to the American Cemetery and D Day beaches, since the others had not been there before.  And if you want to see Giverny, check the dates it opens and closes and cruise within that time. Giverny was glorious in mid October. 

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One of the main variations in itinerary is where the cruise ends at the Western end of the Seine.  Some go to Rouen, which is a charming city and a good place to overnight.  Others go to Le Havre, which I think is less charming.  The best of all would be to overnight in Honfleur – but only a few have permission [I know of only CroisiEurope, whose ships are very cramped, and Scenic, which is much more upscale]

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Although Scenic now moor in Honfluer which is one reason I would do the cruise again we moored in Le Havre it was a secluded spot away from the hustle and bustle of the main port. Although arriving we did manage to break the lock. As we are English narrowboaters my husband was kept busy explaining the problems, us ladies just chatted to the French policemen. Less said! CA

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We have done the Seine twice... Our first river cruise (with Uniworld)about 14 years ago - and then again (with Avalon) 3 years ago.    We chose to re-sail this itinerary with Avalon as they had some different options for their excursions...  so it was the same river, but a different trip.  Both were great.  Both times, we were docked by Citroen Park - so quite central --> and easily walkable to the Eiffel Tower. 

 

For the day in Normandy, you had 3 choices...  1) US based sites  2) Canadian/British sites 3) Bayeux (for the tapestry) and time at a farm where they made Calvados.  DH chose to revisit #2... I chose #3 for the tapestry.  Both of us enjoyed our day.

 

The duplications were in Rouen, and in Paris.   In Rouen, we opted to forgo the walking tour - and visited the Joan of Arc museum.  In Paris, we booked a tour "Beneath the Eiffel Tower" - so walked over there and did the tour we arranged on our own. 

 

I think you should include Avalon in your research.  We found they provided a great experience (and the cost was, at that time, significantly less than other companies).

 

Fran

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We booked the 11 day Scenic itinerary in 2019 for a number of reasons.  When researching, river cruise advisor did a cost breakdown and given the inclusions, Scenic came out on top.  But it was the only one that had the option to go to The Somme battlefields plus Sail all the way into Honfleur.  So instead of being bussed everywhere from Rouen, we were right in the towns before and after the crowds.  I would do it again with Scenic for these reasons alone.

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I would also go back into CC posts and evaluate how well or poorly each cruise line dealt with cancellations/refunds.  There was a wide variety of aproaches and time tables.

 

Given the uncertain landscape of travel, I would protect my investment.  Some companies refunded promptly, and other folks are still waiting months for their money back.

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Booking for 2022, I am [perhaps naively] not worried about cancellations.  I was reassured that Scenic now offers a free Deposit Protection Plan whereby your normally non-refundable deposit instead becomes FCC if you cancel for any reason.  And with 50% off deposits, I'm only on the hook for $500 until 90 days before the cruise.

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3 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Booking for 2022, I am [perhaps naively] not worried about cancellations.  I was reassured that Scenic now offers a free Deposit Protection Plan whereby your normally non-refundable deposit instead becomes FCC if you cancel for any reason.  And with 50% off deposits, I'm only on the hook for $500 until 90 days before the cruise.


@Host Jazzbeau I am similarly optimistic about 2022, not so much about 2021, especially the spring.  Frankly, we have a land tour that was rescheduled from Sept. 2020 to Sept. 2021 that I do not expect will run. 

Mrs Sharkster and I have discussed whether we should look into booking something for 2022--our travel agent expects bookings to be tough to get once the world becomes quasi-normal again.  Of course, she may be saying that to drum up business, who knows?

 

I admit I only skimmed the thread and was not aware of what year's bookings were being discussed!

 

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

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@sharkster77 Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis.

 

I have three trips still on the books for 2021.  January cruise in New Zealand – ain't gonna happen.  April to Portugal and Spain – 50/50.  September cruise from Mallorca to Sicily and Malta – I'm banking on this one!

 

By mid-2021 the vaccines should be distributed widely enough for the scientists to proclaim the Holy Grail of 'herd immunity.'  And let the church say 'Amen'!

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One thing Mrs Sharkster and I agree on---- when life returns to "normal" we will go where we want to go, no doubts, period----we only have a precious few years to enjoy retirement before poor health becomes an issue, and have lost one, maybe two of them.  2017-2019 we did one big trip per year, but we will have some catching up to do!!

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22 minutes ago, sharkster77 said:

One thing Mrs Sharkster and I agree on---- when life returns to "normal" we will go where we want to go, no doubts, period----we only have a precious few years to enjoy retirement before poor health becomes an issue, and have lost one, maybe two of them.  2017-2019 we did one big trip per year, but we will have some catching up to do!!

 

Agree completely.  We had two trips cancelled in 2020 [actually they are the first two for 2021, rescheduled...]  All 'four' were budgeted, so we can accelerate once cruising resumes – because our 'sell by' date is still coming whenever it was.  Sadly, unlike professional athletes, taking a year off from cruising doesn't extend your career...

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That's why I get upset when people dismissively tell me "don't worry, you'll be back to traveling/cruising in 2024".  A lot can happen in 4 years. ☹️ 

 

Right now I'm planning on my last day of work being November 30, 2022.  I would like to take a big retirement cruise in December of 2022 or the first 3 months of 2023.  With schedules and itineraries in a constant state of flux, it's hard to make plans. 

 

Yesterday my January 2021 cruise was canceled by HAL so now I'm hanging all my hopes on my Tauck river cruise in December 2021.  

 

I turn 68 at the end of this month and am working till 70 so I have the resources to indulge in my great passion, travel.  I feel like the goal post keeps moving.  

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