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Relaxing on the Rhone - a river cruise virgin's trip report.

Relaxing on the Rhone - a river cruise virgin's trip report.

Old May 28th, 2016, 04:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 14,194
Thanks annhig I have been following along in my usual quiet manner.

I can follow you very accurately having there .

I like River Cruises and it has spoiled me from not doing ocean cruises anymore.

I have run out of rivers in Europe, so now if I want to River Cruise more I have to think of other countries !!!

I can answer the question about where the river boats stop in Europe.

In many places the boat stops in the centre of town along the river, so you do not have to take boat's tour but simply walk into town.

However, many River Boat Cruise Companys now include the tours in your price package.....

still the option is yours , you are not forced to go on their tours (even though you have already paid for it).

Nice informative reporting annhig.

I'm following, but shhhh !!!! don't tell anyone.
Percy is online now  
Old May 28th, 2016, 05:42 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Love traveling along with you, would really like to cruise this route.
Scootoir is offline  
Old May 28th, 2016, 06:46 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
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This has been very informative. I have been considering a river boat cruise for some time and this has been helpful. Thank you for such detail!
lovs2travel is offline  
Old May 29th, 2016, 01:56 AM
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hi Percy, lovs2 & Scootoir, thanks for following.

Nice to see that I'm helping someone.

Percy - my impression was that this tour gives the least opportunity for wandering off by oneself, because of the distances between the major stops which leads to the boat having to moor up where it can. i haven't cruised on the Rhine but my impression for talking to others was that it was a lot easier to do ones own thing.

I forgot until I was talking to DH this morning that we joined the boat at Trevoux, which looked like a nice little town but there was very little chance of spending any time there. When we visited the Ardeche we were set down at Viziers but were put back on it further downstream so if you weren't going on the excursion, you had to stay on the boat else you'd have got lost!
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Old May 29th, 2016, 07:21 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Interesting reading. We've considered a Rhine cruise, but getting dates, direction and cabin choice way way ahead doesn't work for us. Although it sounds like cabin choice makes little difference, as not much time is spent in cabin other than sleeping.

Thanks for sharing your trip experience and your observations.
travlsolo2 is offline  
Old May 29th, 2016, 07:37 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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I'd be intrigued to hear what you've been able to see or do on this trip that you wouldn't if you'd just driven to Lyons and followed the Rhone yourselves.

Your description seems to be even more preoccupied with the logistics of a cruise (and a borderline hell on earth Newquay to Lyons journey) than a drive would be with following the satnav and getting the passenger to read out from the guide book.

As for visiting Lyons and not eating in a proper restaurant...Words fail me.

I'd have asked for my money back on that ground alone.

Just out of interest: were the kind staff at Waterloo or Baker St?
flanneruk is offline  
Old May 29th, 2016, 07:57 AM
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Most if not all of the single cabins on ocean going ships I have read about are interior.

And some of them aren't so I suggest you update your reading material.

As to the "worst" that's obviously a matter of viewpoint.

Flanner, would you please get realistic. What would she be able to do? NOT HAVE TO DRIVE, for one thing.
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Old May 29th, 2016, 07:58 AM
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I'd be intrigued to hear what you've been able to see or do on this trip that you wouldn't if you'd just driven to Lyons and followed the Rhone yourselves.>>

well, for starters we'd have been able to have lunch in Lyon! and I doubt that you could actually follow the Rhone unless you were equipped with water wings.

If you'd been reading, flanner, you would have picked up some of the back story to this trip which was not of my choosing, albeit I didn't take long to decide to go for reasons which were not entirely travel-focused. And in any event a trip to this area was not on the cards for DH and I this year nor was it really on our top 10 trips, which it certainly is now when we will indeed be equipped with satnav and green guide [though possibly a more up to date one than my 1978 Green guide to Provence, which nevertheless did sterling service]

I've concentrated on the logistics as they are the things that you can't pick up from a guide book or by looking at pin-interest/TI videos/TV programmes. If we want me to wax lyrical about the banks of the Rhone I will but I'm pretty certain you can imagine them for yourself.

I assume that the kind staff were at Baker Street - I realise that I've been saying "Bakerloo" station [which doesn't of course exist] because that's what V&C erroneously called it and it stuck in my head. mea culpa.
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Old May 29th, 2016, 08:16 AM
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"And some of them aren't so I suggest you update your reading material.'

In that case I suggest that you get off your high horse and post some links.

The notion that interior or port-hole only cabins are not the "worst" is eccentric, to say the least. Viable, yes, but still the worst.
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Old May 29th, 2016, 08:22 AM
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Can I call "time" on the single cabin debate? from what I can tell policies vary from company to company and perhaps even boat to boat; it seems to be a question of doing your research, making your choice, and crossing your fingers. if it's any help, the lady I spoke to enjoyed herself a lot, loved her cabin, and would do the same thing again, though on a different river.
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Old May 29th, 2016, 08:37 AM
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Thanks for all the details, Ann. I greatly appreciate it.
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Old May 29th, 2016, 08:52 AM
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Sure. Back to the river. (At this point the only ocean cruises I have any interest in are trans-Atlantic with Cunard or a repositioning itinerary.)
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Old May 29th, 2016, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
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I'm enjoying your trip report, Annhig. I don't know that I'll ever do a river cruise, but you're answering the kinds of questions whose answers I'm curious about.

I've only done one cruise, on the Mediterranean, in my life, and I was not happy with the amount of time we had in each port. However, I can see that it would be an easier way to travel when we're old and decrepit. When that time comes, I can see us doing a Baltic cruise or a Scandanavian cruise.

When my sister visits Europe, she always travels with the Cunard transatlantic cruise, because her husband won't fly. The amount of time it takes would be a problem for me. Of course, they're retired, so vacation time isn't an issue, but it's ten extra days to be away from home, hoping that the people you're paying to feed your cat and water your plants are doing their jobs diligently. (I don't actually have a cat, but you know what I mean.)
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Old May 29th, 2016, 09:50 AM
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thanks bvl. the reason that trains had been booked instead of planes was exactly the one you cite - GF's DH wouldn't fly. They had managed to get him to Bulgaria for their DD's wedding but that was a one off due to the occasion and his devotion to their DD. When the plans changed it was rather too late to swap from trains to planes, and in any event I was keen to experience the TGV.

Talking about being "old and decrepit" I would say that the average age of the passengers was mid-70s making me one of the youngsters. Most appeared reasonably fit for their age and well able to manage the excursions which were clearly tailored to that age-group. What did cause problems were stairs and steps - there were a couple of people who were disabled, one needing a wheelchair, the other a permanent minder. Both had partners but inevitably other passengers gave assistance where necessary; at the beginning of the week the offers of help were refused as they understandably wanted to be "independent"; by the end of the week they were gratefully accepted which made everyone more comfortable.

Another detail which may interest people - all of the passengers on this trip were Brits, with the exception of my GF [who is now naturalised British so sort of counts]. I suspect that this is because the travel company Riviera is also british and caters to a UK audience. Someone mentioned that they had been on a trip where half of the passengers were British and the other half German - and they had separate lounges and dining rooms! not exactly in the spirit of the EU!

Thanks thursdaysd - let us know if you ever get to go on that trans-atlantic cruise, and thank you too, Kathie.

Now, back to the water!
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Old May 29th, 2016, 10:32 AM
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>>>which was the requirement to use the hand sanitiser dispenser that greets one as one gets on board, even before the first welcome drink!>>a hand sanitiser is provided at the entrance to the dining room and I noted that people were generally very good at using it, both going in and going out.
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Old May 29th, 2016, 10:41 AM
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Friday dawned fair - and for me the highlight of the trip, or so I hoped as we were due to visit the Pont du Gard which inexplicably DH and I had missed when we did our whistle-stop driving tour of France about 30 years or so ago. No excuse for this - there it is with its 3 stars in my 1978 Michelin green guide and we passed quite close when we went to Orange.

The excursion was timed for the afternoon, so the morning was spent up on the sunshine deck watching the world go by, not to mention Avignon and Arles where we moored up and after an early lunch were loaded onto our buses. The coach trip took us through the interesting towns of Beaucaire and Tarascon which face each other across the Rhone and then up to the Pont where we had roughly 3 hours to spend. GF had brought her swimming cossie as the possibility of swimming had been mooted but I was hoping to do some walking as really the last exercise I'd had was wheeling my case towards the coach at Lyon!

The first sight of the Pont is truly spectacular and we were exceptionally lucky that the weather was so good - 25C with bright sunshine. From the car park it's a 10-15 minute walk, depending on how fast you move and how long you spend in the visitor centre, where there's a museum and a cinema showing a short and very funny film about the history of the Pont and how it was built, giving its measurements in people, mammoths, and aeroplanes which was amusing. There are also cafes, loos, souvenir shops, an ATM, and a ticket office, though as it's free to enter I wasn't sure what they were selling tickets for. Once we'd crossed it by the path that runs across the top of the first tier, GF went for a paddle while I walked along the path going upstream so as to take some photos of the sun shining on the Pont making it look almost golden [though in fact the my best shot was taken from the other direction where the stone has a misty pink colour]. Then I saw a sign to a "panorama" so I followed that and after about 200 metres and a bit of scrambling over rocks I turned round to see a beautiful view of the Pont at about the level of the second tier.

After some more shots I was determined to see if I could get a view from above it, or at least level with the top, so I followed the continuation of the path which zig-zagged through the woods up to another vantage point where I could indeed look down on the whole structure - perfect. Lots of shots on both my i-Phone and camera later, I retraced my steps back down to the main path, and then made a bee-line for one of the cafes and a large beer which I reckoned I well deserved. As well as being able to watch people paddling in the river, I was entertained by the arrival of a wedding party who proceeded to set up their wedding breakfast on some tables under the trees. [there are car parks both sides of the Pont so they were able to approach from the other side, which was lucky as they had quite a few young children with them as well as lots of food].

Sadly it was soon time to drag myself away from this bucolic scene and make my way back to the coaches which luckily had been waiting in a nice shady spot, though I did pop into one of the souvenir shops on the way and find a nice book on Provencal cookery for DS; there are at least 4 recipes for rabbit in it which those who have followed the gardening thread will know are the bane of my life!

if my memory serves, this was the night of the music quiz put on by the Riviera staff - sadly we didn't win but we came joint second with about 10 other teams. The vast majority of the questions were about popular music of the 1950s-60s, but as I mentioned above, the one that sorted out the winner from the rest was about the length of the ship - very sneaky I thought but at least it meant that there weren't 50 people trying to share one bottle of Prosecco.
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Old May 29th, 2016, 11:01 AM
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What does this mean? They don't really demand you use that stuff do they?>>

well they didn't exactly stand over us while we used it but given the problems with illness breaking out on cruise ships, anything that can reduce the risk is to be welcomed, IMO. of course it's not going to safeguard against nor-virus, but it certainly doesn't do any harm.
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Old May 29th, 2016, 11:16 AM
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Hurtigruten had those hand sanitizers too. No-one policed them, but I think most people used them. But I thought they were there to prevent norovirus?
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Old May 29th, 2016, 11:54 AM
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The hand sanitizers serve to make you think it's your own damn fault if you get norovirus.
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Old May 29th, 2016, 12:20 PM
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I stand corrected. It turns out that the hand sanitisers ARE a good protection against norovirus, which seems to me to be an excellent reason for using them. thanks kyb for drawing this to my attention. [albeit inadvertently!]
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