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TA for a River Cruise?


Travel R
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7 hours ago, skinnylegs said:

I enjoyed our Seine cruise since it was my first visit to Paris. However, if you have already visited Paris, Giverny and Versailles, it might not be your choice for a first cruise.

 Thank you for all the information and your experiences.

 

My DW and myself have been to Paris before, our friends have not and there are still a few places we have not seen (Paris Disneyland, although not exactly in Paris), and would want to revisit (e.g., Louvre). 

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11 hours ago, Travel R said:

 

@texasstar If I may ask - what did you not enjoy about the Rhone?

 

Thank you

It's not that I did not enjoy it, it was just not my favorite.  There were more interesting and new sites on the Danube and the Rhine.

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We have done Rhine, Rhône, Chobe [African river safari], and Tulip Time on AMA, and Seine on Scenic.  Enjoyed them all very much.  Favorite was the African, but that isn't really relevant here.  Each of the European cruises had unique features, so your taste is all that matters.  

 

The Rhine is a great introductory cruise as it covers so many countries from Amsterdam to Basel, especially with an extension to Lucerne and Zurich.

The Rhône is strong on food and wine, Roman ruins [esp. Pont du Gard], and Van Gogh.

Tulip Time gives in depth coverage to Holland and Belgium [and flowers, flowers, flowers – but only if you can go in April]

The Seine starts and finishes in Paris and with the proper shore excursions covers a huge swatch of French history from Rollo the Viking and Joan of Arc in Rouen, Richard the Lionheart in Les Andelys, WWI and WWII battlefields, and chateaux [Versailles, Chantilly, Vaux-le-comte]

 

You wouldn't go wrong with any of them!

 

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Wow done South Africa absolutely wonderful our Mala Mala Safari was exceptional although many moons ago. Didn’t realise there was a river cruise. All of Europes rivers are especial in their own way and deciding which one to go on first is a conundrum that is part of the decision process. Enjoy!

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2 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

We have done Rhine, Rhône, Chobe [African river safari], and Tulip Time on AMA, and Seine on Scenic.  Enjoyed them all very much.  Favorite was the African, but that isn't really relevant here.  Each of the European cruises had unique features, so your taste is all that matters.  

 

The Rhine is a great introductory cruise as it covers so many countries from Amsterdam to Basel, especially with an extension to Lucerne and Zurich.

The Rhône is strong on food and wine, Roman ruins [esp. Pont du Gard], and Van Gogh.

Tulip Time gives in depth coverage to Holland and Belgium [and flowers, flowers, flowers – but only if you can go in April]

The Seine starts and finishes in Paris and with the proper shore excursions covers a huge swatch of French history from Rollo the Viking and Joan of Arc in Rouen, Richard the Lionheart in Les Andelys, WWI and WWII battlefields, and chateaux [Versailles, Chantilly, Vaux-le-comte]

 

You wouldn't go wrong with any of them!

 

Thank you for the breakdowns - I will be sharing with my DW and friends!

 

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2 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Favorite was the African, but that isn't really relevant here.

 

1 hour ago, Canal archive said:

Wow done South Africa absolutely wonderful our Mala Mala Safari

 

An African cruise sounds absolutely amazing, but maybe somewhere in the future. Although, as I think I had mentioned, a Nile River cruise is within the realm of possibilities in the not so far future.

 

1 hour ago, Canal archive said:

deciding which one to go on first is a conundrum that is part of the decision process. Enjoy!

 

As a planner and someone that enjoys researching, I am enjoying this part of the decision process. I am just hoping that everyone (my DW and friends) are reading all the (or at least some) of the material that I am sending them. I sent them a bunch of info on the different rivers (and will consolidate and send them the recent posted above).  I also sent them a few articles and videos on the differences (in addition to what I learned in this thread).

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Hmm, August on the Rhone may be a bit warm for some people. I went in Spring so cannot judge but if it is any hotter than here in Germany I would not go. I absolutely love Pont du Gard. But then there is hardly a bridge or viaduct I do not like.

 

The Seine is more "all encompassing" as regards history perhaps. The WWII stuff must be incredible to see (never been, but seen similar WWII stuff elsewhere). Then I would choose a company that docks in Honfleur. It gets you closer and for me the experience of the Seine would feel more complete.

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

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Your so right Notamermaid our Rhône cruises were both on the warm side - although the temperatures at the moment are certainly beating them. We’re also going to do the Seine cruise again to moor up actually in Honfluer.
Pont du Gard on the Rhône is an absolute must not miss and the museum is excellent.

image.thumb.jpeg.17eb8e1146e184a6d2ffb422c4c15311.jpeg

 

You may get the chance to see the reproductions of the ancient cave paintings as we did.

Not in the Pont du Gard museum.

Edited by Canal archive
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6 hours ago, Travel R said:

 

 

... as I think I had mentioned, a Nile River cruise is within the realm of possibilities in the not so far future.

We just booked an "11 day" cruise on Emerald's yacht Azzurra, using Scenic/Emerald's BOGO promotion.  It sails from Aqaba, Jordan to Limassol, Cyprus, transiting the Red Sea, Nile, and Suez Canal.  It includes a Felucca cruise and an excursion to Luxor and the pyramids, but is a bit light on Egypt's traditional venues.  (Having worked two years half a century ago in Abu Dhabi, not that bothered by missing Cairo.) 

 

As you have mentioned, planning and the anticipation it stimulates is part of the allure of international travel.  We are now pre-occupied trying to figure out the optimal pre-cruise tour packages in Israel [Biblical venues] and Jordan [Petra & Wadi Rum], let alone the intricacies of a DIY border crossing at Eilat-Aqaba.  The native Israeli & Jordanian operators seem to offer better values than the traditional North American/European tour operators. 

 

We had to cancel an Azzurra cruise that circumnavigated the Black Sea because of Vladimir.  Hopefully, the jihadists will not mess this trip up. (COVID or low/high river levels--What me worry?) 

Edited by hihandycap
mis-spelling
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10 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

The Seine starts and finishes in Paris and with the proper shore excursions covers a huge swatch of French history from Rollo the Viking and Joan of Arc in Rouen, Richard the Lionheart in Les Andelys, WWI and WWII battlefields, and chateaux [Versailles, Chantilly, Vaux-le-comte]

That is true for most lines and particularly the large ones most frequently discussed here. But, Grand Circle (GCT) does go one way on the Seine. Paris to Honfleur or the reverse. They are one of the few lines that do overnights (3) in Honfleur. I do not know which other lines overnight there or whether they are one way or round trip Paris. 

 

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4 hours ago, hihandycap said:

We just booked an "11 day" cruise on Emerald's yacht Azzurra, using Scenic/Emerald's BOGO promotion.  It sails from Aqaba, Jordan to Limassol, Cyprus, transiting the Red Sea, Nile, and Suez Canal.  It includes a Felucca cruise and an excursion to Luxor and the pyramids, but is a bit light on Egypt's traditional venues. 

 

Wow!!!!

 

I have done some research into a Holy Land/Middle East vacation.  Many do provide "add ons" for Petra. 

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It is hard to come up with a "best river for the newbie"...  it really depends on what you are looking for.  Our first river cruise was on the Seine with Uniworld - and it was awesome.  We were hooked.  We redid that itinerary with Avalon about 5 years ago and it was still awesome.  So much history... and you can't go wrong with time in Paris.  If you do decide on the Seine - look for an itinerary that includes Giverny (most do...) and then visit the Orangerie in Paris to see Monet's water lily canvases.  Stunning!!  

 

Given that you are a foodie, the Rhone should be considered.  The French are very proud of Monsieur Paul (Bocuse) and it is evident when you are in Lyon.  Perhaps a few days in Nice before you board the boat might be of interest to you? When we did the Rhone, I set off to find the Valrhona chocolate outlet in Tain l'Hermitage - and felt like the Pied Piper as I led a group of about 8 people along the streets to find it.  It was a fun excursion - a bit different than the included walking tour that morning. 

 

The Danube is popular for a first time - as is the Rhine.  Hard to beat spending time on the deck watching the castles go by (weather permitting...). For me - any cruise that starts or ends in Budapest is perfect!! 

 

The Elba can be a crap shoot with water levels, so wouldn't recommend that in late August. 

 

Once you get the bug, you may find that river cruising is addictive...  We leave for #16 in about 5 weeks - with # 17 (Vietnam & Cambodia) scheduled in February. 

 

Host Jazzbeau commented on his African cruise - and how it was amazing.  One of my bucket list items was sailing the Amazon - which we did with Avalon. A short cruise - but, I got to swim in the Amazon --> a surreal experience, made even moreso when a pink dolphin breached right in front of me!!

 

Enjoy your planning!!  I have always felt that there are more similarities than differences in the different lines (although many will disagree with me on this...).  We are *not* brand loyal.  Lots of good advice to be found here...

 

Fran

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52 minutes ago, Travel R said:

Wow!!!!

 

I have done some research into a Holy Land/Middle East vacation.  Many do provide "add ons" for Petra. 

If you do Petra, look for a tour that includes an overnight (or 2) there.  You can spend the whole day inside the city.   Our hotel was just outside the entrance - so we walked over right after breakfast.  Some tours only schedule a few hours there - and it isn't really long enough.

 

The treasury (which is the most recognizable part of Petra) is only part way in to the village. If you walk right to the village and back, it is about 10 km. If you head up to any of the sites up the hills, the walk can be much longer.  Definitely worth the trip.

 

Fran

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As you were impressed with Arles and Vincent try the Seine and Auvers-sur-Oise where Vincent lived and died, walk across the fields to where he is buried very moving. In Lyon we had a cookery demonstration at the Paul Bocuse Institute so many of our amazing chefs have had a stint there. So many places to see and admire!

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23 hours ago, notamermaid said:

Hmm, August on the Rhone may be a bit warm for some people. I went in Spring so cannot judge but if it is any hotter than here in Germany I would not go. I absolutely love Pont du Gard. But then there is hardly a bridge or viaduct I do not like.

 

The Seine is more "all encompassing" as regards history perhaps. The WWII stuff must be incredible to see (never been, but seen similar WWII stuff elsewhere). Then I would choose a company that docks in Honfleur. It gets you closer and for me the experience of the Seine would feel more complete.

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

 

Thank you for your suggestions and thoughts.

 

The American perspective of history is interesting, everything in Europe is historical to us. For instance, there is an old Revolutionary War cemetery adjacent to the train I take into NYC.  250 years ago is old history to me - that's not even a fraction of time to the many of the sites in Europe. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, gentlemancruiser said:

On my favourite trips was the Rhone because we docked in Arles and spent an evening onboard at the spot where Vincent Van Gogh did the painting Stary Night.  WOW!!!  

 

That must have been an awesome experience! Thanks for sharing.

 

Growing up in NYC, I've been fortunate to have seen Starry Night many times. When I was a young kid with the family and/or school trips where I did not care very much for it (being honest here). Back then I loved the Medieval and Egyptian collections. As I grew older, I began appreciating art for what it was. [Even in undergrad, one of the assignments for my intro to art appreciation class, we were required to visit the MoMA (and other museums) and take notes or answer questions on many of the works of the Masters.]

Edited by Travel R
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12 hours ago, franski said:

visit the Orangerie in Paris to see Monet's water lily canvases.

 

That is one of the museums I have not yet visited. It will be on my radar the next time we visit Paris.

12 hours ago, franski said:

When we did the Rhone, I set off to find the Valrhona chocolate outlet in Tain l'Hermitage - and felt like the Pied Piper as I led a group of about 8 people along the streets to find it.  It was a fun excursion - a bit different than the included walking tour that morning. 

 

Those are sometimes the best adventures!

 

12 hours ago, franski said:

The Danube is popular for a first time - as is the Rhine.  Hard to beat spending time on the deck watching the castles go by (weather permitting...). For me - any cruise that starts or ends in Budapest is perfect!! 

 

Most of the articles point to the Danube and Rhine as being the most popular in Europe.  Budapest is a draw for sailing the Danube, but for me Amsterdam is as much of a contender for the Rhine.

 

12 hours ago, franski said:

Once you get the bug, you may find that river cruising is addictive

 

I think for most of us travelling is addicting. I will admit that we love ocean cruising, but adding river cruising to the mix of land-based and ocean cruise vacations would be welcomed.

 

12 hours ago, franski said:

but, I got to swim in the Amazon --> a surreal experience, made even moreso when a pink dolphin breached right in front of me!!

 

That must have been awesome - thanks for sharing.

 

Thank you very much for your thoughts and experiences in these different ports!

 

 

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Starry Night is in New York? Did not know that. But then some of my favourite paintings by British painters are scattered around the world. Places I will never go to. But I have been fortunate in that I have been able to see some of those in compiled exhibitions in cities in Europe. Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Groningen spring to mind.

 

Went to the mummies in the British Museum on my first visit. I have moved up in the centuries, last visit was the Enlightenment.

 

I appreciate the Impressionists and the German weirdos of the early 20th century, but I struggle with Mr Van Gogh. Apparently the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings is in Amsterdam but the second largest is here: https://krollermuller.nl/en

 

notamermaid

 

 

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7 minutes ago, notamermaid said:

Starry Night is in New York? Did not know that. But then some of my favourite paintings by British painters are scattered around the world. Places I will never go to. But I have been fortunate in that I have been able to see some of those in compiled exhibitions in cities in Europe. Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Groningen spring to mind.

 

Went to the mummies in the British Museum on my first visit. I have moved up in the centuries, last visit was the Enlightenment.

 

I appreciate the Impressionists and the German weirdos of the early 20th century, but I struggle with Mr Van Gogh. Apparently the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings is in Amsterdam but the second largest is here: https://krollermuller.nl/en

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

Sometimes the history of how different works of art have come to settle in different location is just as fascinating as the art itself.  For instance, it was Van Gogh's sister-in-law that was instrumental in his posthumous fame due to how she marketed him and to where she sold the paintings.  The US National Gallery of Art contains 20-somthing Master artworks that were purchased from the Hermitage (when the Russian govt needed money) - and those works of art were confiscated or purchased much earlier from throughout Europe. There are many, many other similar stories.

 

It is interesting that the Kroller-Muller has more paintings than the Van Gogh Museum (I did not know that - thank you), although for other masters, the Rijksmuseum a short walk away.

 

I personally enjoy the abstract artists. My favorite being Picasso - and seeing the Guernica in person was one of my major highlight when visiting Madrid. Although Barcelona is the more visited city (the Gaudi architecture is amazing), Madrid is a great city to visit and includes the Golden Triangle of art museums (where you will also find Van Gogh in at least one).

 

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The Guernica is an absolute must see the sheer size and scope of this painting is amazing and just around the corner are just a few Salvador Dali’s. Our National Gallery has at least on of the masters  ‘Sunflowers’

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Would love to see the Madrid museums. Been to Barcelona and did an art project on Gaudi complete with standing in front of the Sacrada Familia talking over the car traffic. My teacher was pleased with my efforts :classic_smile:. Montserrat monastery was amazing. But that would be for an ocean cruise.

 

Staying on the Peninsula, Portugal and the Douro must be great. One thing that is unattractive is the heat. Again, it may be a bit much in August. Others can tell you about that. They say most of the big sites are away from the river and in the hills, part from the coastal towns, so - me inviting others to comment - I would say consider this in your decision-making process.

 

What makes the Rhine and Danube so attractive as rivers in Europe is that on both rivers you have two or more languages (depending on itinerary) and even if you only travel from Passau to Vienna you have two distinct types of German with cultural differences. I would say they are also easy places to manage as regards weather and culture and topography. A good combination.

 

notamermaid

 

 

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58 minutes ago, Travel R said:

Sometimes the history of how different works of art have come to settle in different location is just as fascinating as the art itself. 

For me the ultimate (apart from the Monuments Men of WWII) story is the thriller around the Bayeux Tapestry. On a Seine itinerary all I would want to see is the castle of Richard the Lionheart and the Tapestry. No Paris, no bunkers... although I could be persuaded to a brief visit to the Musee d' Orsay to revisit the Impressionists.

 

notamermaid

 

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