7 day Rhone - Scenic Sapphire - July 16

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#1
3,983 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
My wife and I booked this 7 day Rhone trip, after seeing a special offer advertising a decent discount and either flights / transfers from various UK airports or first class Eurostar train travel.

We opted for direct flights from LHR, rather than regional flights, as these required changes, usually in Germany. We heard horror stories from those who had previously cruised with Scenic, with 6 hour layovers in Munich for example. So when taking free air it is really important to check flight and transfer details prior to booking.

We opted for 07.00 flights from LHR to Marseilles, returning at 10.00 from Lyons to LHR. The return flight necessitated leaving the ship at 06.15, so no leisurely breakfast. These fights were both short (about 90 minutes). The early departure from LHR meant we had to leave home at 03.00, so I was glad of the included chauffeur pick-up, even though we had to pay an excess charge, as we live more than 75 miles from LHR.

A few days prior to our departure, we were notified that the transfer would leave Marseilles once all flights had landed, some 4 hours after landing. I wasn't at all happy about this and explained to Scenic UK that having paid a premium price for the cruise, I expected premium service. They wouldn't budge, so I took to social media to vent my frustration. Within a day, they had arranged a 'private' transfer about two hours earlier. This was greeted well with the other 12 people, who discovered on arrival that they would also have a long wait, so its definitely worth checking all documents carefully, prior to leaving home! They had arranged a separate bus for us and we all arrived at the ship, prior to them completing disembarkation from the previous cruise! We sat in the bar with departing passengers and unlike on most ocean cruises, pax with late transfers are allowed to stay on board.

We were shown to our cabin, by our butler, which was really awkward as even at mid-day, most cabins were being prepared and the corridor was littered with rubbish, cleaning materials, etc. I'm surprised they didn't hold us back until they were ready or take us on a short tour before arrival.

Of course we could have taken a later flight, but that would have cost them more money. People who arrived 5 minutes after we departed had to wait a further 5 hours at the airport!

Welcome aboard



Scenic Sapphire at Tarascon




Rosy and I, on tour

Day 1

After lunch we borrowed some ship e-bikes to tour the local area. We first visited a pretty town called Beaucaire.






Day 2

We took a tour to an olive farm, where we enjoyed a tasting before taking the bus to a mountain village called Les Baux de Provence

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Tim

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=91091&dateline=133010  7011My photos

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#3
3,983 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
We continued our tor to Les Baux de Provence, a pretty mountain village, which isn't suitable for people with limited mobility.



View from village







We were then taken back to the ship, which had now cruised to Avignon



We had lunch onboard before another trip out on the bikes

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Tim

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=91091&dateline=133010  7011My photos

email

Some cruise reviews
Seabourn Odyssey review - April 2013, with pictures
Azamara Journey All Inclusive Offering -June 2013, with pictures
Azamara Quest - Rome to Venice Sept 13 Pictorial review
Island Princess Panama Canal Transit 2013 Review
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Seaboun Odyssey Review April 2015
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#4
3,983 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Day 3 Avignon continued

Rosy and I took different tours only meeting in the market, so the next section is my tour - Shopping with the Chef

First we walked through the narrow streets of the old town to meet the chef at the market - he travelled by ebike!











This was a most enjoyable tour, accompanied by a charming young lady, very prettily dressed, who quickly recognised that my hand tremor would preclude me from tasting the food, as I was unable to pick the items up and my usual helper was on another tour! She fed me three oysters and numerous other delicacies.

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Tim

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=91091&dateline=133010  7011My photos

email

Some cruise reviews
Seabourn Odyssey review - April 2013, with pictures
Azamara Journey All Inclusive Offering -June 2013, with pictures
Azamara Quest - Rome to Venice Sept 13 Pictorial review
Island Princess Panama Canal Transit 2013 Review
Celebrity Reflection Review Feb 1 2014
Seaboun Odyssey Review April 2015
Seabourn Sojourn Review January 2016
Scenic Sapphire - Rhone river cruise July 16
Regent Navigator - Mediterranean June 16
Rhone river cruise Scenic Sapphire
Crystal Symphony Bali-Singapore Feb 17



#5
3,983 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Avignon continued

After lunch Rosy and I took the e-bikes on a long tour of the countryside (about 30km), which was great exercise.

That evening Scenic provided a special excursion to Palais des Papes.
We enjoyed Champagne, after an early dinner before being escorted via the tourist train, up through the narrow streets to the Chateau, where we were magnificently entertained in a very stuffy chamber.



Again, access for physically challenged was very difficult, involving climbing steep steps.

After the concert we could either return by train or walk, which was probably more comfortable.

We cruised overnight to Viviers, a small town, where we only stayed for the morning. Most people took the only tour available, which was walking around the town, in one of many small groups.









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Tim

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=91091&dateline=133010  7011My photos

email

Some cruise reviews
Seabourn Odyssey review - April 2013, with pictures
Azamara Journey All Inclusive Offering -June 2013, with pictures
Azamara Quest - Rome to Venice Sept 13 Pictorial review
Island Princess Panama Canal Transit 2013 Review
Celebrity Reflection Review Feb 1 2014
Seaboun Odyssey Review April 2015
Seabourn Sojourn Review January 2016
Scenic Sapphire - Rhone river cruise July 16
Regent Navigator - Mediterranean June 16
Rhone river cruise Scenic Sapphire
Crystal Symphony Bali-Singapore Feb 17



#8
3,983 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Day 6 - Lyon

We opted for a cycling tour using the ships e-bikes, which went along the river to a great park, which included the zoo. After about an hour we set off on our own, as the others were going too slowly for Rosy, who likes more vigorous exercise. We moored against the Tauck boat, a similarly expensive all inclusive offering. In the afternoon we bought an inclusive local transport ticket and travelled all over the city using funiculars, busses and trams.











Lyon Cathedral
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Tim

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=91091&dateline=133010  7011My photos

email

Some cruise reviews
Seabourn Odyssey review - April 2013, with pictures
Azamara Journey All Inclusive Offering -June 2013, with pictures
Azamara Quest - Rome to Venice Sept 13 Pictorial review
Island Princess Panama Canal Transit 2013 Review
Celebrity Reflection Review Feb 1 2014
Seaboun Odyssey Review April 2015
Seabourn Sojourn Review January 2016
Scenic Sapphire - Rhone river cruise July 16
Regent Navigator - Mediterranean June 16
Rhone river cruise Scenic Sapphire
Crystal Symphony Bali-Singapore Feb 17



#9
3,983 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Lyon continued





Due some photography issue, that is the end of the pictures, so here a few random thoughts.

Our grade entitled us to a butler, so we made use of him, with shoe shine, clothes pressing and included laundry services. He also brought us drinks whenever we called and sometimes that was every 10 minutes as weren't allowed a bottle!

On the last morning he brought us a comprehensive breakfast and when we left he gave us a packed lunch. However, the other butlers seemed far more friendly. The staff worked extremely hard and as their English was sometimes challenging, ordering anything unusual was quite challenging. I think Scenic should employ more staff who have a good command of the language which most of their customers speak.

The food was excellent as was the wine. The cocktails were a little disappointing.

Our suite was very comfortable, with the balcony a bonus, but we were often moored alongside other vessels and smoke and fumes often wafted into our room.

Due to the itinerary, we went under many low bridges, so the sun deck was often closed, which was a shame.

We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise, but it was very expensive and the travel / transfer arrangements could have been handled a lot better.

The Captain and his assistant were both French and unusually spoke little English, but Rosy enjoyed speaking with them in French.

I doubt we will cruise with Scenic again.
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Tim

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=91091&dateline=133010  7011My photos

email

Some cruise reviews
Seabourn Odyssey review - April 2013, with pictures
Azamara Journey All Inclusive Offering -June 2013, with pictures
Azamara Quest - Rome to Venice Sept 13 Pictorial review
Island Princess Panama Canal Transit 2013 Review
Celebrity Reflection Review Feb 1 2014
Seaboun Odyssey Review April 2015
Seabourn Sojourn Review January 2016
Scenic Sapphire - Rhone river cruise July 16
Regent Navigator - Mediterranean June 16
Rhone river cruise Scenic Sapphire
Crystal Symphony Bali-Singapore Feb 17



#10
Calgary, AB Canada
2,487 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
<< sometimes that was every 10 minutes as weren't allowed a bottle! >>

So why didn't you just use the beverages supplied in your cabin's fridge? Have been on two Scenic cruises and nothing precluded us from taking a bottle on board so don't know why you thought you couldn't.
#11
St. Louis, MO
859 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
Your trip sounds lovely! But how can you take such great photos if you have hand tremors?
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#12
England
704 Posts
Joined Mar 2013
I am absolutely gobsmacked we did the longer version of this cruise on Sapphire last year at the time our fourth cruise with Scenic. We have never had any problem with any of the staff's language capabilities, in fact it puts an awful lot of us to shame, all the butlers have been excellent. You did realise that the butler would stock your mini fridge with the drinks that you prefer didn't you. I have never had a bad cocktail on Scenic and usually the bar staff in particular get to know your preference very quickly. Just to say what a shame things weren't as you expected but we go on our sixth cruise with them next year. Maybe with the traveling you should have gone Eurostar we did both ways, out London to Lyon then local to Chalon, return Avignon to London the only hang up was passport check at Lille. Hope it hasn't put you off river cruising CA
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Sailing 19.06.2017 Scenic, Jewels of Europe.
#13
3,983 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Originally posted by mimmy52
Your trip sounds lovely! But how can you take such great photos if you have hand tremors?
Not so bad when I'm on my own, most problems occur when for example taking a Champagne glass from a tray, without disturbing the other glasses.

Originally posted by Canal archive
I am absolutely gobsmacked we did the longer version of this cruise on Sapphire last year at the time our fourth cruise with Scenic. We have never had any problem with any of the staff's language capabilities, in fact it puts an awful lot of us to shame, all the butlers have been excellent. You did realise that the butler would stock your mini fridge with the drinks that you prefer didn't you. I have never had a bad cocktail on Scenic and usually the bar staff in particular get to know your preference very quickly. Just to say what a shame things weren't as you expected but we go on our sixth cruise with them next year. Maybe with the traveling you should have gone Eurostar we did both ways, out London to Lyon then local to Chalon, return Avignon to London the only hang up was passport check at Lille. Hope it hasn't put you off river cruising CA
As I understood it re the mini bar, one could have only miniatures.I like Bombay and tonic, Rosy like Champagne, which they wouldn't bring by the bottle. I didn't ask if I cold have complete bottles in fridge, but I doubt it as only big enough for miniatures.

Pina Colada didn't come as expected and they were unable to make certain cocktails which weren't on their limited list.

As for spoken English or understanding the language, I believe they had quite a few new staff mostly from Eastern Europe. I asked bartender for a pint of cider, even pointing to the glass. I was given a half pint. It was quite frustrating.
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Tim

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=91091&dateline=133010  7011My photos

email

Some cruise reviews
Seabourn Odyssey review - April 2013, with pictures
Azamara Journey All Inclusive Offering -June 2013, with pictures
Azamara Quest - Rome to Venice Sept 13 Pictorial review
Island Princess Panama Canal Transit 2013 Review
Celebrity Reflection Review Feb 1 2014
Seaboun Odyssey Review April 2015
Seabourn Sojourn Review January 2016
Scenic Sapphire - Rhone river cruise July 16
Regent Navigator - Mediterranean June 16
Rhone river cruise Scenic Sapphire
Crystal Symphony Bali-Singapore Feb 17



#14
3,983 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
Originally posted by cruiseryyc
<< sometimes that was every 10 minutes as weren't allowed a bottle! >>

So why didn't you just use the beverages supplied in your cabin's fridge? Have been on two Scenic cruises and nothing precluded us from taking a bottle on board so don't know why you thought you couldn't.
As explained above, they wouldn't supply bottles of Champagne and couldn't supply miniatures of Bombay Gin. It was no problem using the phone when required.

Originally posted by Canal archive
I am absolutely gobsmacked we did the longer version of this cruise on Sapphire last year at the time our fourth cruise with Scenic. We have never had any problem with any of the staff's language capabilities, in fact it puts an awful lot of us to shame, all the butlers have been excellent. You did realise that the butler would stock your mini fridge with the drinks that you prefer didn't you. I have never had a bad cocktail on Scenic and usually the bar staff in particular get to know your preference very quickly. Just to say what a shame things weren't as you expected but we go on our sixth cruise with them next year. Maybe with the travelling you should have gone Eurostar we did both ways, out London to Lyon then local to Chalon, return Avignon to London the only hang up was passport check at Lille. Hope it hasn't put you off river cruising CA
Just because your butlers have always been excellent, doesn't mean that will always be the same for others.

Very good point about Eurostar, we soon realised that we should have let the 'train take the strain!

My wife reminded me about how friendly the vast majority of the pax were. For some reason our ship only sailed with 90 pax, so what it would have been like with a full ship we have no idea.
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Tim

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=91091&dateline=133010  7011My photos

email

Some cruise reviews
Seabourn Odyssey review - April 2013, with pictures
Azamara Journey All Inclusive Offering -June 2013, with pictures
Azamara Quest - Rome to Venice Sept 13 Pictorial review
Island Princess Panama Canal Transit 2013 Review
Celebrity Reflection Review Feb 1 2014
Seaboun Odyssey Review April 2015
Seabourn Sojourn Review January 2016
Scenic Sapphire - Rhone river cruise July 16
Regent Navigator - Mediterranean June 16
Rhone river cruise Scenic Sapphire
Crystal Symphony Bali-Singapore Feb 17



#15
Sugar Land, Texas
5,210 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Hi English Tim,
Lisa and Gary LoneStarCruisinCouple from Sugar Land,Texas.
I loved seeing your photos not only of your cruise but also of the ship as we are booked for next September 24,2017 for the Spectacular South of France with Paris and Monte Carlo 17 trip also on the newly redesigned Sapphire as she is getting ready to be updated with The Vitality Pool,The Culinare, and for us the new Cabin category called the Royal Owners Suites of which we were called by Scenic as we originally were in a Royal Panorama Suite and told of the differences and said we would try as to make the comparisons for future cruises was hard as we love the Panoramic views that one has in the back of the ship and so peaceful and quite. No traffic up and down the hallway.
Surprised as to your last statement saying that you doubt you would cruise with Scenic again.
We did Jewels of Europe from Amsterdam to Budapest last September and had nothing but praise for our Funtastic voyage.
From Limo Transfers from airport to hotels both coming and going to ship and Private Butlers but are in the entire ship just that your service varies on cabin category. Had no problems as I like to drink Royal Crown and the Bulter placed a bottle in our bar. To bringing coffee and orange juice and when requested breakfast out on our balcony. To great food excellent tours and guides. Just had a Fun Filled Fun Packed Adventure with Scenic. Not only booked for 2017 but also on the New Eclipse for October 2018, Cuba in Depth.
If you should have anything that you could possibly recommend would appreciate.
On Cruise Critic Website.
Thanks Gary

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