As you all read in my last post, we LOVED our stay in the City of Lights!
From Paris we took a 2 hour train ride south to Avignon, where we embarked on our Southern Provence adventure; a 7-day river cruise on Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, to work our way north back to Lyon. We were invited by the cruise line to cruise on board the S.S. Catherine – a true floating boutique hotel! (see important disclosures)
It was absolutely perfect! The decor fit the destination perfectly! We loved all the artwork on board, especially in the dining room and lounges. There are self serve washers and dryers on board to use free of charge! Simply walk to the front desk and they provide laundry soap pods. Coffee machines are found on every deck and are ready to serve you the caffeine of choice 24/7, and there are 2 candy stations in the main lounge that are being refilled daily. There is an indoor pool (open on average from 8AM-10PM), lots of sun chairs on the top deck, as well as a spa for massages or facials.
I know you are all curious to know about the Cabins on board. Everything is well appointed, spacious, with good storage options. There is an empty spot under the bed to store your suitcases, a big closet with hangers, drawers and shelves, a personal safe, storage drawers in the bathroom and 2 night stands. In the closet you’ll find 2 bathrobes and 2 sets of super soft slippers, along with 2 big umbrellas.
The cabin is build with a french balcony (window opens up to reconfigure into a balcony – but you don’t step out), the bathroom features a single vanity, walk in shower, heated floors and heated towel racks. The bed was heavenly and we had a hard time making it for breakfast. It was just too comfortable! 😉
Speaking of breakfast, the food was amazing! No joke, I gained 7lbs on this trip – and I would do it again and again and again! Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style – though there is a menu you can order off. We just didn’t feel the need to do so. The options were fabulous.
Breakfast is served from 7AM-9AM and options ranged from pastries and cold cuts, to hot items like bacon, eggs, sausage, potatoes, a live cooking station for Omelettes, to fruit and yogurts.
Lunch is served from 12PM-2PM and options included a salad bar, fish, meats, soups, sandwiches, burgers, pasta dishes, a live cooking station like Paella, various vegetables and of course a huge desert station including pastries, fruit, cakes, ice cream and more…
Dinner is served a la carte, with white glove table service – a really nice touch. The menu always showed the Chef’s Recommendation (a very french option like frog legs, escargo, etc) as well as a more American Cuisine Option (like steak, pork chops), which could be mixed and matched as preferred. Being all-inclusive we loved to double up on appetizers and mix and match entrees…
For one special dinner, we signed up for Al Fresco Dining, which was being served in the Leopard Lounge. It was a very different menu in a more intimate setting. We quite enjoyed the change of pace and views from the aft deck.
While cruising one afternoon, the Chef and Sous-Chef put on a cooking demonstration, which was great fun! It was held in the main lounge and the audience got to participate and of course taste the fruits of their labor! They even prepared an alternate Crepe options for me using caramel, since they were aware of my food allergies…
For travelers with dietary restrictions and food allergies (like myself): The Chef did an amazing job for me. I am gluten, corn, dairy free with citrus allergies – is that TMI?
The Maitre’D greeted me for each meal and reviewed all options with me, making sure I knew what was ok to eat and what wasn’t. He also notified the bar staff to ensure my cocktails would be safe to consume (like no lime in my vodka cranberry).
Of course we had to work off all that food somehow! LOL
Uniworld offer some really fun and exciting excursions. We had some great options between the more universal walking tours, to kayaking, mountain biking, actual hiking and of course they always have the Uniworld bicycles available. Our absolute favorite excursion was the kayaking during our stop in Avignon! What a cool experience. It was an absolutely stunning setting, well introduced, with a bit of adventure and and we were sore for days… 😉
We took the bicycles out multiple times every day. The crew would outfit us with helmets and bike locks. We loved exploring the ports on our own by bike and then we would walk back to the areas that seemed of interest and we wanted to explore more in depth.
I think I already painted a nice picture about the service on board. I just cannot say enough good things about the crew. All of them, from the mechanics to housekeeping, to the chefs, servers, tour manager and night watchman were fabulous! We would usually be the last people to stumble back on board around 3AM, and the night watchman would always greet us with the biggest smile, 2 cold brews and 2 bottles of chilled water – he really got to know us… The crew really takes customer service to a higher level and made this one of the best trip we’ve had in Europe. Thank you Uniworld Boutique River Cruises for an amazing week on board!
Daniela Harrison is a travel consultant for Avenues of the World Travel in Flagstaff AZ. For more information or to start planning your next adventure, please reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928.556.0853 Ext 201
** Please note that all photos are authors own, except where credited. As travel industry professional, I make a big investment in first hand experiences. I spend a lot of time to keep up with accreditation and stay up to date on current developments in the travel industry. This means attending conferences, seminars, site inspections fam trip and group trips. I have been able to have some of the experiences shown and described at a reduced cost or combed by the hotel, tour operator, cruise line or supplier. The feedback supplied is based on my personal experience, and based on my personal preferences, likes and dislikes. This first hand experience allows me to better serve you and match the experiences you are looking for. It also allows me to create travel tips for you, based on experiences I have and things I wish I knew before. Travel Supplier partners referenced in blog posts are part of Signature Travel Networks Preferred Portfolio or can be booked via a preferred supplier partner (at least at time of post creation). **