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The Meandering River Seine Cruise Review

Fri 25th June 2014

"The beautiful River Seine is renowned for inspiring famous Impressionist artists including Claude Monet. We decided a river cruise from Paris would be the best way to see the charming towns which featured in many of Monet’s paintings.

We arrived in Paris excited to meet our ship, the Botticelli, moored near the Eiffel Tower. We decided to take the train from the airport to the ship, however a taxi would only take about an hour. After a short walk from the Eiffel Tower train station, we arrived at the Botticelli which lived exactly up to expectations!

We were greeted by a welcoming crew on the immaculate ship. Our Main Deck cabin had plenty of space for the two of us, with a large picture window and all the amenities we would need including a hair dryer and some toiletries.

After settling in to what would be our floating hotel for the week, we were introduced to the crew and the other guests. There was a great mix of guests joining us including some from Spain, France, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Although CroisiEurope are a French-run river cruise company, all the necessary announcements were made in French, English and Spanish.

The Botticelli Botticelli moored near the Eiffel Tower Botticelli moored near the Eiffel Tower Paris The illuminated Eiffel Tower Paris by Night cruise Botticelli moored next to Seine Princess in Paris Botticelli decorated for Bastille Day Botticelli moored in Duclair Fireworks in Honfleur for Bastille Day Monet's Garden at Giverny Monet's Garden at Giverny The Water Lilies which featured in Monet's paintings Les Andelys Les Andelys Honfleur Honfleur's charming harbour Traditional houses in Honfleur Honfleur Rouen Rouen Cathedral Light Display on Rouen Cathedral Light Display on Rouen Cathedral Delicious desserts served on board Chef's Special - Basked Alaska!

Our cruise began with a full day in Paris to explore at leisure or take an optional tour of the city taking in all of the highlights. For those who took the optional tour there were separate buses, one for those speaking English and one for those who spoke French and Spanish. In the evening, we took a seat on the Sun Deck to enjoy a Paris by Night cruise.

The following day began with cruising along the meandering Seine to Les Andeleys from where there was an optional excursion to the picturesque Claude Monet Foundation in Giverny. Free time here allowed us to explore Monet's beautifully restored pink house and the gardens which featured in many of his paintings. Luckily the sun was shining so the gardens looked very colourful, set in front of Monet's House!

We awoke in the small town of Duclair on Bastille Day, 14th July, which is a National Holiday in France. Here there was an optional Abbeys Trail excursion which included the Abbey of Saint-Wandrille and the Church of St Pierre which is a fine example of 10th century Norman architecture. Those who stayed on board were able to watch the locals in the town enjoy celebrations at an outdoor tea dance. We even learnt the moves dance steps to the novelty Madison dance, which is very popular in France! In the evening we cruised to Honfleur, reaching the harbour in time for a spectacular fireworks display.

A highlight of this cruise for me was the charming town of Honfleur with its colourful harbour. A bilingual guide led us around the town and to the Church of St Catherine. There was also the option to take a full day excursion to the Normandy Landing Beaches including the towns of Obama Beach and Coleville sur Mer which is home to an American Cemetery.

One thing not to miss on this Seine cruise is the spectacular light display at Rouen Cathedral which takes place at 11pm each night. Having had an optional guided tour of Rouen in the morning, which included visiting the location where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake, we returned to the Cathedral in the evening for the show, at the suggestion of the cruise director, and we were not disappointed. This video below is just a short clip of the impressive display which is projected on to the cathedral:

Rouen Cathedral Video

The cuisine on this river cruise was also very popular with all the guests. Breakfast was a continental buffet and lunch and dinner were three and four-course dishes of French cuisine.

Here are some of the typical dishes served on a CroisiEurope cruise included:

Starters -
Leek quiche, scallop salad, smoked ham, smoked salmon with creme fraiche
Mains -
Pork with mustard and potatoes, hake fish and mushroom risotto, duck with corn french fries, veal with garlic spaghetti, beef bourguignon with noodles
Desserts -
Plum pie, red fruit pana cotta, creme brulee, ice cream, tiramisu

All in all it was an excellent cruise which took us to some of France's most charming towns and cities on a comfortable floating hotel."

Review by Kat, Blue Water Holidays

Blue Water Holidays Blog