Stern's Guide to the Greatest Resorts of the World, Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation, Stern's Guide to European Riverboats and Hotel Barges, and The Indispensable Guide to Foreign Words and Phrases--by Steven B. Stern (Sponsored by Stern's Travel Guides, Ltd.)
Traveling through France
Four Cruise Lines
our goal of covering all of the major waterways of France
in the fall of 2017 when we cruised on the SaĂ´ne and RhĂ´neRivers on the Swiss
Emerald of Tauck River Cruises. During the summer of 2018, we continued our
adventure cruising on the rivers in the Bordeaux
region on Scenic River Cruise's Scenic Diamond; the River Seine from Paris
to Honfleur on Croisieurope River Cruise's Renoir; and the canals of the upper LoireValley on Croisieurope's Barge Cruise's Deborah, a 22-passenger barge.
cruise on Tauck's Swiss Emerald was covered in detail in an article I
wrote last year which appeared on Face Book and
Linked in, still appears on my website, and is repeated at the close of this
Our 2018 journey commenced with
our flight on a relatively unknown French airline, La Compagnie. This airline
offers "all business class" accommodations from NewarkN.J. to Paris Orly airport for an average
of $1,500 round trip. From Orly,
we took an Air France flight to Bordeaux
and stayed overnight on our own at Hotel
Intercontinental Bordeaux. Since
the hotel was located centrally in town, we had an opportunity to explore Bordeaux
both on the evening of our arrival and
the following morning.
Bordeaux is one of the world's most
important wine-producing areas with over 100,000 vineyards. The most famous
regions are the Medoc, St.Emillon, Pomerol, Graves
and Sauterne. In this area are such revered wine producing estates as Chateau
Lafit-Rothchild, Chateau Mouton-Rothchild, Chateau Margaux, Chateau LaTour,
Chateau Haut-Brion, Chateau Petrus, and
many others. We were look ing forward to
visiting several chateaux on our
time, other than walking around the colorful city, and indulging in some French
cuisine, we were able to visit three fascinating museums: Musee des BeauArtslocated in the center of the city with its impressive collection of works
by French and Dutch artists; La Cite du Vin, housed in a unique
architectural building featuring
exhibitions and movie projections covering wine across the ages; and theWine
andTradeMuseum, where we enjoyed an organized tour of the
wines of Bordeaux along with a wine tasting.
afternoon we boarded the 167- passenger Scenic Diamond for our seven day
journey through this spectacular region. Our ship cruised along the Garonne, Gironde
and Dordogne rivers. Built in 2009, the ship
subsequently has been frequently renovated.
stateroom was one of the 205 square-foot balcony suites on the second passenger
deck. The majority of staterooms were similar to ours and featured unique
balconies separated from the room by glass doors. The upper half of the floor
to ceiling windows facing the river opened, giving one the feeling of being
Our stateroom was attractively appointed with
a mini bar/refrigerator, a private safe, a large flat-screeen TV with internet
access, numerous cable stations and movies, bed-side reading lamps, bottles of
water, a hairdryer, robes and slippers. There was no lounging area because the
glass-enclosed balcony occupied space
that would otherwise have been available for an indoor sitting area. In addition to a glass-enclosed shower with
multiple spray nozzles, the bathrooms had a toilet, a single vanity and some
storage area below the sink.
fourteen cabins on the lowest deck, though a bit smaller, were similar to ours
without the balcony. For an additional cost, guests could opt for one of the
four 250 square-foot junior suites, one of the four 315 square-foot Royal
Suites, or one of the two 325 square-foot Royal Panorama Suites with separate
bedrooms and sitting areas.
All of the
accommodations enjoyed butler service which included valet, shoeshine, in-suite
beverage service, cocktails and morning tea and coffee. Those on the top deck received two items pressed daily, and those
in the Royal Suites could get all of their laundry done gratis. For the rest
there was a charge for pressing and laundry, and dry cleaning was not available
on the ship.
promotes itself as "all inclusive". For this cruise line "all
inclusive" includes: unlimited premium spirits, wines and liqueurs, French
champagne, soft drinks, specialty coffees, a fully-stocked mini-bar, all tips
and gratuities, butler service, complimentary Wi-Fi, TVs with internet, cable
and movies, special meals ashore, and all tours. For an add-on to the cruise
fare, airfare, pre-cruise hotel stays and airport transfers are available.
facilities included, the Crystal Dining Room, venue for all three meals; the
Panorama Bar and Lounge at the front of the ship, the site for before and after dinner cocktails, port
talks, enlightenment lectures, entertainments, and the hub for most ship
activities; the Observation Lounge at the back of the ship where a simpler,
buffet-style breakfast and lunch were served; L'Amour, an intimate fine dining
French-style restaurant located at the front of the lounge; and La Rive where each
evening twelve passengers who booked accommodations on the top deck are treated
once each cruise to a multi-course, gourmet, French tasting menu.
Both a red and white wine are offered at lunch and
dinner and champagne was available for mimosas at breakfast. As pointed out
earlier, all alcoholic beverages (except certain premium brands and expensive
wines) are gratis throughout the ship.
opinion, dining on Crystal Diamond was among the very best we had experienced
on any riverboat or ocean-going cruise ship, as was the service. Not only in
the dining room, but throughout the ship, the entire staff was extremely
efficient, courteous and anxious to meet any and every request.
on Sun Deck were the wheelhouse (a riverboat's version of "the
bridge"), deck chairs, tables and a walking track. A fleet of electric
bicycles was available for passengers wishing to take a leisurely ride at the
various stops, as well as for organized tours, including excursions from Bourg
to Blaye, throughout the city of Bordeaux,
and in Pauillac to the wine chĂ˘teaux.
not having a fitness facility with a treadmill, exercycles and cardio
equipment, a pool or whirlpool, a card room/library with board games, and a
self-service laundry. Some of these facilities can be found on the Scenic ships
built during the past few years.
the dinner each evening, we wandered back to the Panorama Lounge where there
was romantic piano music for listening and dancing. On several evenings, music
groups were brought on board for an evening performance. Later in the
evening, the pace picked up for some
more serious partying for the few that were still around. There was virtually
no afternoon activities (apart from the tours, a wine tasting and and cooking exhibitions).
feature of this cruise line is the fact that it offers passengers an assortment
of multiple tours each day, referred to as "Scenic Free Choice."
Included among the numerous excursions were wine testing at chateaux in
Sauterne, Medoc, Saint-Emillion, and at Remy Martin in Cognac; visits to oyster and
duck foie gras farms for an additional tasting, walking, hiking, and bike
excursions, visits to castles, a a bird sanctuary
and exploration of several towns along the way.
one evening to Chateau Giscours was especially enjoyable. After a tour of the
Chateau with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, we enjoyed an excellent four-course
dinner which featured all of the wines produced at the Chateau, and was
accompanied by a classical concert.
memorable experience was our morning tour of the Medoc
topped off with a wine tasting at Chateau Lagrange and Chateau Gruaud Larose.
This was heaven for oenophiles.
itineraries in this area are designed especially for those who enjoy wine and
wish to learn more about the wines of this region. On most days, at least one excision
was to a wine chateau or involved a tasting.
Of course, a nice selection of wines from the Bordeaux
and elsewhere were available aboard ship.
downside of cruises in Bordeaux is
that these rivers are not as picturesque as some others in France
and not much time is spent actually cruising. At times when the tides were not favorable, we
were taken to destinations on bus rides that were longer than would otherwise
have been required had the ship been able to traverse the river. As pointed out
earlier, this cruise is designed for those more interested in sampling and
learning about wine than viewing scenery.
enjoyed our cruise and were most impressed with the dining and with the
excellence and attentiveness of the entire staff. Scenic's
"all-inclusive" cruises throughout Europe are
among the best in the riverboat industry and receive my highest recommendation.
At the close of the week, we took a train from Bordeaux to Paris in anticipation of our second cruise on Croisieurope
River Cruise's Renoir. We had a day to kill in-between cruises so we
checked into a lovely hotel not far from where we were to meet the bus that
would take us to Honfleur to board the ship.
Our seven day cruise would call at Duclair, Rouen, and Vernon, with several days in Paris. Among the excursions offered were: A drive along the Cote Fleurie visiting the
glamorous coastal city of Deauville with its shops and casino, followed
by a visit to Chateau du Breuil touring
its famous Calvados distillery; a visit
to Claude Monet's house and gardens in Giverny; a guided tour on the Norman Abbey circuit; a
guided tour of Rouen visiting the Museum of Fine Arts which houses the largest
collection of impressionists outside of Paris, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the place where
Joan of Arc was burned; a guided tour of the Palace of Versailles or a bike
tour through the Palace gardens; Marmottan Museum in Paris with its large
collection of works by Claude Monet; a guided tour of the important historical
and architectural sites of Paris; a tour up to old-time Montmarte and the Basilica of SacrĂ¨-Coeur and other historic
Originally built in 1999, the 105-passenger Renoir underwent
major refurbishments in 2018, reducing the number of cabins and thereby
increasing their size. The ship is 361 feet long and 37.5 feet wide and has two
decks both above the water line. The upper deck has 20 cabins, one for passengers
with reduced mobility; and the main deck has 34 cabins, three are singles. Four
cabins can accommodate a third passenger. All cabins are air conditioned, 160
square feet, and have French balconies (sliding-glass doors that can be
opened), twin beds or a double bed, satellite televisions, radios, hairdryers,
safes, showers, w.c. and wash basins. Storage is somewhat limited. Electrical outlets are 220V.
Croisieurope with a
fleet of 55 ships (45 of which they own) is the largest riverboat line in Europe
(based upon number of ships). Since 2013, the line has been promoting itself in
North America; and announcements are made in French and English.
About half of the passengers are French and many are from Germany and the U.K. In addition to French, the staff speaks English and
The cruise is all-inclusive including wine, alcoholic and
non-alcoholic beverages and shore excursions.
Tipping is discretionary; however, Americans tend to tip more generously
than Europeans. Dress is casual except
for one gala evening. The on-board currency is the euro and there is no
currency exchange facilities.
menu for lunch and dinner is set but can be modified for dietary
restrictions. The cuisine is largely French classics prepared by French chefs
(rarely found on other riverboat lines). Meals are in a single sitting and
seating arrangements are arranged on the first day. You keep your place at the
same table throughout the entire cruise. Breakfast is served buffet style.
Public areas have panoramic views and include the restaurant,
the main lounge, bar and dance floor, a small shop and the sundeck. There is no
fitness room, self service laundry, pool or whirlpool. The ship is equipped
with WiFi and there is a tablet available to access your e-mails, all at no
charge. Smoking is allowed only in a designated area on the sun deck. Bicycles
were available for riding in port and on
The limited entertainment includes quizzes, games and occasional music and
The biggest advantage of Croisieurope riverboats is that
they are less expensive than on most other riverboat lines. 7-day cruises run
from $1,790 to $2,300; whereas fares on many of the major riverboat lines range
from $3500 to $5,000, and more for a suite.
Upon disembarking in Paris, we spent two nights at Maison Albar Hotel Pairs
Celine, a marvelous hotel conveniently located within walking distance of most
museums, the TuileriesGardens and the Champs-Elysees. For our barge experience on
Croisieurope's Deborah, we met near the Gare du Nord (train station). From
there, we were transferred by bus to the town of Nevers for our 6-night cruise to Briare on the upper LoireCanal in the center of France.
The 22-passenger Deborah was launched in 2016. At 126 feet long by 16 feet wide, the barge is somewhat larger than many French
barges, thereby accommodating more guests.
The restaurant, lounge and bar are located on the upper deck and lounge chairs and a hot tub on sun deck.
ten 110 square-foot cabins on the main deck, and one on the upper deck for
passengers with decreased mobility. All cabins have twin beds, televisions,
individually controlled air conditioning, safes, hair dryers, WiFi and ensuite bathrooms with showers. As
would be expected, space and storage is
at a minimum.
The crew speaks French and English. The international mix
of passengers were â€¦â€¦. and between the
ages of â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦.., We found the French
passengers friendly and anxious to interact with us.
One of the highlights of the cruise
was the outstanding cuisine prepared by superb French chefs. Guests can indulge
in three/four course lunches and dinners, offering a variety of French and
regional dishes that complement the region in which they are traveling. Guests
also enjoy a selection of wines with their meals, as well as at the bar.
Delicious regional cheeses are offered at lunch and dinner. Unlike on the
riverboat, snacks are offered in the
late morning and before dinner.
Dress throughout the cruise is casual.
Jackets are not required; however on "gala night" guests dressed a
were carried aboard; however guests were only allowed to use them when the ship
was docked. On most barges, guests are
permitted to ride along the towpaths
while the barge proceeded from one town or lock to the next. Activities and
entertainment on board were non-existent, other than wine and cheese tasting.
enjoyed the following itinerary:
l; After the welcome aboard
cocktail party and dinner, we were escorted on a romantic evening tour of
Day 2; The morning walking tour of Nevers included a visit to the Ducal Palace, a
stroll through the old quarter to the Nevers Cathedral, a visit to the pottery quarter and a tasting
of local products.
Day 3: Today we toured by
coach to the Fontmorigny Abbey, a privately owned French historical monument,
and to the beautiful village of Apremont-sur-Aller to view its floral garden .
Day 4: We left by coach for a
tour of La Charite-sur-Loir and an authentic French farm with an assortment of
Day 5: Today's coach excursion visited Puilly-sur-Loire where we
visited the Tour de Puilly Fume, a wine tourism center, and viewed its
vineyards and wine cellar as well as
enjoying a tasting.
Day 6: We set off on an
excursion to Sancerre and visited a goat farm with a tasting of its trademark
cheeses and the local Sancerre wine. That afternoon we cruised through the
Briare Aqueduct built by the same architect who designed the EiffelTower.
Day 7: The other passengers
disembarked for their coach ride back to Paris. We had an early plane to catch so we had to charter
a private taxi and leave at
in the morning.
Here again, one of the
factors that works for Croisieurope is that the fare on their
barge cruises is considerably less than on other barges.
After a hectic three weeks, we especially appreciated the
slower pace of this barge cruise. The two most memorable facets were the
incredible French cuisine and the opportunity to communicate with the French
and other European passengers on an informal basis.
This had been a most special four weeks immersing ourselves in another culture.
Although each of the vessels offered a different experience, I can
enthusiastically recommend all three.
2017 Cruise with Tauck Riverboats' ms Swiss Emerald
It had been
several years since we had taken a riverboat cruise with Tauck. With found
memories of previous trips, we were most anxious to sign up for Tauck's 14-day
adventure that started with two nights
in Monte Carlo, followed by a 10-day cruise from Arles to Lyon and climaxing in
an additional two days and nights in Paris.
. Upon arrival at Nice airport, we were met by Tauck
representatives and transported along the picturesque coast of southern France to Monte Carlo for a two night stay at the glamorous Fairmont Hotel.
From our suite we could look out at the mega-yachts that anchor in the harbor
and watch the amazing fleet of cars -- Porsches, Lamborghinis and Ferraris--
that park in front of the opulent Grand Casino and Hotel de Paris.
That evening the Tauck representatives held a welcome
reception and dinner at the restaurant on the top floor of the hotel with
stuning views out to the sea. After dinner we were on our own to explore Monte Carlo and try our luck at the casinos. The casino in the Fairmont was more to our taste than the European-style Grand
Casino in the main square; however the minimum required to play was out of our
`After breakfast the next morning our Tauck guide conducted
an orientation tour of Monte
leaving us time to explore the colorful streets and shops. Lunch and dinner
were not included during on day two.
Therefore we ventured out in search of a suitable restaurant within our budget.
We were surprised to find that most restaurants specialized in Italian rather
than French fare. We had to give up our search for a quiche or a croque
monsieur and settle for pasta and pizza.
On day three, we were taken by bus to Nice for a two hour
visit. We strolled along the palm-lined promenade with its fashionable shops,
sidewalk bistros and beach clubs set along the sea.
Following lunch on
our own, the bus transported our group to Arles, where our riverboat, ms Emerald, awaited our arrival. After being greeted with a welcome glass of champagne, we were
escorted to our stateroom. Our luggage had already arrived, so we proceeded to
unpack and settle in.
Our ship had been reconfigured in early 2017 reducing the
total number of cabins from 59 to 49 in order to enlarge all of the staterooms
on the middle deck (Ruby Deck) to 225 square feet. Overall capacity dropped
from 118 passengers to 98. We had one of these 225 square-foot cabins. On Diamond Deck above us were fourteen 300
square-foot suites. The nine on Emerald Deck below us, though recently
redecorated, were still only 150 square feet.
Our stateroom, and 81% of the others, had
floor to ceiling windows with a
door that opens out to a protective railing but no balcony. We had a
queen bed that could be separated into two twins with satin bed linens, puffy
white duvets, and hypoallergenic, 90% down-filled pillows, an electronic safe, a mini-bar stocked with complimentary water
and soft drinks, a bathroom with a glass shower, terry cloth robes, slippers, a
hair dryer, numerous shelves for storing toiletries, angled mirrors and Molton Brown bath products, a flat-screen
TV, in-room movies and Wi-Fi, a table and two chairs, two closets with adjustable shelving and
110-volt and 220-volt outlets. The 300 square-foot suites on Diamond Deck had
walk-in closets and larger sitting areas, but otherwise were similar to ours.
At the top of the ship on Sun Deck were numerous lounge
chairs and tables, many with protective canopies, a putting green, a tiny
Jacuzzi, a walking/jogging track and the Captain's wheel house. A fleet of
bicycles was available for tours as well as leisure rides.
The public areas were at the front half of the ship,
whereas the passenger decks were at the rear half. The reception area, entrance
to the ship and Panorama Lounge and Bar (the venue for before and after dinner cocktails and
cordials, lectures and entertainments) were located forward between the top and
middle decks. The main dining room was located forward between the middle and
lower passenger decks. This staggering
of decks resulted in many stairwells. Many of the steps were unduly narrow
requiring passengers to be vigilant when negotiating them. This was especially
apparent when climbing up to the Sun Deck. A small elevator connected Emerald
and Ruby Decks.
Before dinner each evening, at cocktail hour, our
knowledgeable tour directors gave orientation talks preparing us for the
following day's excursions, as well as background information covering the
places we would be visiting. On Tauck cruises
all excursions, meals ashore and tips are included in the price, and
there are unlimited complimentary
beverages aboard ship, including fine wines, beer, premium spirits, soft
drinks, bottled water and specialty coffees. I was amazed at the selection of
expensive French wines (some premiere cru) which were ours for the asking.
Dinner reservations for the Compass Rose dining room could
be made for groups of seven to 12 people wishing to be seated together;
otherwise there was open seating and reservations were not required. We found
dinner time an excellent opportunity to get to know other passengers. Each
evening's menu included appetizers, soups, salads, a meat, fish, fowl and
vegetarian selection for a main course, several desserts and a selection of
cheese. Steaks, chicken, salmon, and
caesar salad were always
available as alternatives to the nightly menu. Special dietary requirements
were also accommodated.
Service in the dining room and throughout the ship was
excellent. We noticed that many of the staff had dual functions. In fact,
everyone including the hotel manager and front desk people could be observed
waiting tables in the dining room and serving drinks at the bar. It was
explained to me that there were limitations as to the number of staff that could
be carried on the ship; and therefore everyone pitched in to help each other. I
had never seen this procedure previously on a river boat.
After dinner, we made our way to the Panorama Lounge where a talented piano player entertained
throughout the evening. Some couples got up to dance, others just enjoyed their
after-dinner coffee or cordials. On other evenings there were audience
participation games, a crew show and musicians from ashore.
The next morning we hit the fitness center before breakfast
and were delighted to find two treadmills, two exercycles, free weights, as
well as a massage facility.
Breakfast was served
buffet style with a wide selection of fresh fruits, juices, cereals, pastries,
egg dishes, breakfast meats, pancakes, es and specialty dishes from the
kitchen. Arthur's, a lounge/bistro at the stern of the ship, featured reduced menus at breakfast and lunch, as well
as specialty coffees, teas and cookies around the clock.
After breakfast, we were divided into groups, each with its
own knowledgeable tour guide, for an exploration of Arles. Here we found the amazingly well-preserved Roman
Amphitheater constructed in 46 B.C seating 26,000 spectators, and, presently a
venue for bull-fights, concerts and operas. Nearby was the Theater Antique, a
semi-circular theater dating back to the first century B.C. Outside the city
were the excavated baths of Constantine built along the Rhone River during the
fourth century, and Alyscans, site of a vast Roman Medieval cemetery, the
subject matter of paintings by Van Gogh and Gauguin.
In the afternoon we
joined an excursion to the Camargue region, famous for its black bulls and
white horses. The highlight was an owner hosted Provencal lunch at a private ranch where we were entertained by cowboys dodging the
feisty little black bulls that were raised there.
That evening was the Captain's welcome cocktail party with
champagne and delicious hors d'oeuvres. Both the captain and hotel director
introduced themselves and presented a run-down of what we could expect on the
cruise. After dinner the ship pulled into Avignon and guests proceeded to the Sun Deck to enjoy the
lights of the city while an excellent according player entertained us with
romantic French songs.
Avignon is a city that
sprang to prominence when it became the papal residence during the 14th and 15th centuries. Our walking tour the next
morning concentrated on exploration of the PapalPalace and the three miles of 14th century ramparts which
completely encase the city. Another attraction
was the ruins of the Bridge of St. Benezet which was destroyed by wars and became the subject of the children's song, "Sur le
After the tour, we wondered along the Place de
L'Horage, in the heart of the old town with its ancient bell tower, city hall
and numerous cafes and boutiques.
That evening, guests dressed up for a royal treat at the Duchy D'Uzes. The visit
included a guided tour, a cocktail reception and a gala dinner in this 12th
century duke's castle with its myriad of influences from the Middle Ages, the
Renaissance, the 17th century and modern times. The dinner was excellent;
however there was a very strong wind which rendered sitting outside very
The following day, while docked in Avignon, we were offered a morning tour to Saint Remy de Provence whose picturesque
setting is immortalized in more than 150
of Van Gogh's paintings. After lunch, we attended a wine tasting of Rhone
wines at one of the select vineyards
permitted to produce Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines. We were able to compare five
vintages while receiving an expert
lecture covering the wines and the
following morning we were docked in Macon. For our tour we were driven to Cluny for a visit to Cluny Abbey Benedictine Monastery.
This was followed by a dressage
demonstration with a skilled horse and rider at the Haras National equestrian center. Lunch
was served at Chateau Pruzilly set in the heart of the Beaujolais and Burgundy wine regions.
We woke up the next morning in Chalon-Sur-Saone where for our first tour we sampled local culinary
offerings at a bakery, an artisan chocolate boutique and a mustard shop. That
afternoon we selected a wine tasting with the owners of a private vineyard on a
grand family estate in Rully. In the alternative, a walking tour of Beaune was offered featuring a visit
to the Hospices of Beaune, founded in 1443 as a hospital for the poor.
At Tournus, our next
stop, the morning excursion was a drive
through the landscapes of southern Burgundy to the 17th Century Chateau de Cormatin with its
towers, turrets and drawbridge. We toured its famous gilded rooms and garden before returning to the ship for lunch
and an afternoon cruise to Lyon.
Our final day on the ship was spent in Lyon, the third largest city in France, known as the gastronomic paradise and gourmet
heaven, the location of many of the very
best restaurants in France. We passed on the morning bus tour. We set out on our
own strolling through one of the lovely parks and through the cobbled streets
of old Lyon with its numerous shops, boutiques, restaurants and bistros. We visited the Musee des
Beaux-Arts, France's second-largest fine arts museum with its
outstanding collection of 19th- and 20th-century paintings, and the old RomanTheater, the oldest in France, built in 19 a.d.
An interesting stop when touring Lyon is a visit to Les
Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, the most famous indoor food market in France, if
not the world. Here we found over 60
stalls selling countless gourmet delights including some of the best cheese we
ever sampled. (Yes they will let you sample before you buy). Although there are
several restaurants at the market, we chose to select some of the amazing fresh
cheeses, inviting pastries and a bottle of wine for a picnic on our own. What
we did not realize is that Tauck planned on making a stop at the market on the
way to the train to allow us to purchase food to eat during the trip.
After breakfast the following morning we disembarked our
ship, took a bus first to Les Halles and then to the train station, and boarded
the high-speed TGV for a fast trip
in first class to Paris.
The next day we were given a choice of three tours: Musee du Louvre, home of the
Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Winged Victory; Musee National de l'Orangerie in
the TuileriesGardens, location of the Water Lilies murals created by
Claude Monet; and the Opera House. We
selected the Musee de l'Orangerie, having visited the Louvre on previous trips.
That evening we were treated to our farewell dinner at Fouquet's on the
Champs-Elysees, a celebrity brasserie dating back to 1899. It was some incredible day.
Our 14 day cruise and land package ranged from $6,390 to
$8,840 per person depending upon your cabin category. On several other dates in
June and August, the price range for a similar package ranged from $6,990 to
Transportation to the airport for our trip home was
provided. Sadly we bid farewell to the staff and our fellow guests after having
experienced one of the better river cruises
we had taken to date. The pampering staff, the fine cuisine, the
exceptional tours and many extras offered, make a cruise with Tauck (as the
Tauck operates eight riverboats that are owned by Scylla, a
Swiss shipping company; however the ships were constructed to Tauck's
specifications and are operated exclusively by Tauck. Four of the ships are 361
feet in length similar in size to the Emerald and four others are 443 feet in length with the capacity to
hold 130 guests.
All of these ships are
somewhat smaller and more intimate than competing riverboat lines and afford
Tauck offers a vast array of cruise itineraries including
cruises on the Danube, the Rhine, Rhone/Saone Mainz Canal, Moselle, and Seine
extending from to 28 days. Tauck
Tours are well known for land based tours all over the world.
by Steven B. Stern
(author of Stern's
Guide to European Riverboats and Hotel Barges and Stern's Guide to the