I recently had the wonderful opportunity of taking one of the premier river cruise experiences, Uniworld River Cruises. I have sold many Uniworld Cruises to my clients but had never had the opportunity to enjoy this product myself. We chose the Burgundy and Provence itinerary though Southern France. We arrived via Amsterdam in Marseilles. Uniworld transferred us in a very nice small luxury van to Avignon where we were met at the dock by a steward who checked us in. There were no long lines involved, which was welcome after a long flight a car ride. Our stateroom was a bit small but I realized that this was due to the very large, pillow top king mattress. Most river cruises I have taken have smaller, very firm beds so this was very welcome since I love a good night sleep. Even though our stateroom was small it was very well laid out and had lots of storage either in large drawers, closets or under the bed.
Our evening was a briefing by the very lively cruise director Tania who told us about our week, excursions, the ship and what we could expect. The following day we were treated to a wonderful tour of Arles. This is a beautiful town with an amazing coliseum and lots of beautiful architecture and shops featuring local Provencal pottery and linens. That afternoon we were given free time to explore Tarascon and the stunning castle.
The next day we were back to Avignon to tour the town and see the Pope’s place. The tour was very captivating and the history of the palace and town was enthralling. That afternoon we were able to take a kayak ride down the Gardon River. It was a very hot day and this was extremely welcome. The scenery around the river was incredible with families enjoying the last of summer on the banks. Cruising under the roman aqueducts was so scenic.
Our next stop was one of my favorites, the small town of Viviers. This was the setting of the movie Chocolate. We had the most captivating tour guide Francis. She made the history of the town fascinating. We were treated to an organ concert in the cathedral then after an aperitif at Francis’ garden rooftop of her home. The home had an compelling history.
We enjoyed Francis so much we were able to request her the following day on our tour of the town Tain-l’Hermitage which is famous for it’s mountain grown vineyards and exceptional chocolate. At the end of our wine tour we were able to go and sample and purchase some of the chocolate at Valrhona, the famous chocolatier.
Lyon was our destination the following day where we opted to take a bike tour. This was a great way to see the city and experience both the old town and new town. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the history of the city, especially the textile and silk history which was fascinating. That evening we enjoyed an illuminations tour of the city where they light up the cathedral and other buildings in brilliant colors.
The small town of Beaune was our next destination. It was about an hour from Macon where we docked the ship. Beaune was a beautiful town with street markets, impressive architecture and picturesque gardens. We were given some free time to shop and get a lunch of their famous beef bourguignon.
We made an overnight stop on the return home in Amsterdam to break up the trip a bit and revisit one of our favorite cities.
Uniworld was such an incredible unique experience. I have been on several other lines and Uniworld is definitely the luxury 5 star experience. The food was all prepared with local ingredients and in a very artistic way. It was delicious. Everything was very fresh and much better than the other lines I have been on. The service was impeccable. We had our cabin services right when we left every day. The waiters and bar staff remembered our name and preferences after the first day. Everyone from the front desk, cruise director and concierge was friendly, helpful and ready to please. The tour guides were the best I have ever had on any tours or river cruises. The ship was beautiful and very well maintained. I cannot express how much we loved our Uniworld Cruise. I can’t wait to continue to let my clients know how great Uniworld is.
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