Burgundy and Provence

We have just returned from a delightful eight-day river cruise aboard Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection‘s stunning S.S. Catherine sailing from Lyon to Avignon. From the moment we boarded, we were impressed with the magnificent Murano chandelier, the glass elevator with a glimmering waterfall cascading down its side, a Murano horse and long stretches of mirrors and marble.

Murano Horse
Murano Horse in s.s. Catherine’s Lobby
Murano Chandelier
Murano Chandelier in s.s. Catherine’s Lobby















Each stateroom is uniquely decorated with rich textiles, lovely French furnishing and handcrafted Savoir of England beds with fine linens. Shimmering marble bathrooms have a glass-enclosed shower, a towel-warmer, and L’Occitane toiletries.

On Monday, in Macon, France, we elected to take a bespoke experience: Southern Burgundy Delights at Chateau de Rully. The Chateau de Rully belongs to the same family from the beginning. The changes of the name over the centuries show that ownership was sometimes transferred through the female line; the main family names have been: Rully, Saint-Leger, Montessus and today de Ternay. Monsieur Le Comte de Ternay welcomed us and guided us through the Chateau. During the tour, we learned about the family history, anecdotes and secrets.

Chateau de Rully

Chateau de Rully Courtyard
Chateau de Rully

Monsieur Le Comte de Ternay
Monsieur Le Comte de Ternay

Our Tuesday port-of-call was Lyon, the culinary capital of France. Our included tour, “Do as the Locals do,” was a Lyon city tour. We discovered why Lyon has been named France capital of gastronomy while we visited Les Halles Paul Boucuse and strolled through Lyon’s historic old quarter, with many spectacular examples of medieval and Renaissance architecture and les traboules, the city’s old passageways.

LyonMarketplace Cheese ShopPuppets








Tain L’Hermitage, France was our Wednesday destination. Our included Twin Cities walking tour with wine tasting. Nestled on opposite side of the river in the heard of the Cotes du Rhone, the twin cities of Tournon and Tain L’Hermitage make an ideal destination for wine connoisseurs.

Tain L'HermitageL'Hermitage Landscape

Back on board, we were treated to a Crepe Suzette cooking demonstration and tasting with Pastry Chefs Raluca and Nuno in the Van Gogh Lounge.
Crepes Suzettes

On Thursday, we explored the charming village of Viviers with an organ concert performed in the Cathedral just for Uniworld guests. Viviers climbs a hill above the river, crowned by 12th century St. Vincent’s Cathedral. It happens to be the smallest cathedral in France, but it contains a marvelous organ. Sitting under the soaring vaults, we listened while a local organist demonstrated just how fine an instrument it is. From there we wandered down through the town and were treated to a special visit to our guide’s home!

St. Vincent's CathedralViviersSt. Vincent's Organ











We elected to visit a Truffle Farm and Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine tasting on Thursday afternoon.
Truffle HunterGrape Varieties










Our excursion choice on Friday in Avignon was a walking tour and the Palace of the Popes. It’s hard to believe, looking at the charming cafes and entertaining street performers in the Clock Tower Square, that this lively scene owes its existence to a 15th-century siege. This area was the heart of medieval Avignon~and the site of the original Roman town~crowded with cottages and narrow treets, until a pope had it all demolished in order to give his troops a cleared field of fire!

Avignon cafePalace of the Popes










Arles rounded out the week on Saturday. Van Gogh paid tribute to Arle’s atmospheric beauty in some 200 paintings, including Starry Night Over the Rhone. It’s an ancient city boasting a remarkable collection of Roman ruins. We strolled through the district where medieval houses crowd in among the ancient structures and the city gates date to the 13th century.
Van Gogh CafeArles Roman Ruins










The final verdict? Uniworld’s attentive service, unique decor, wonderful beds and bathrooms, and superb cuisine make the s.s. Catherine a brilliant choice for vacationing in one of France’s most alluring regions.

Appealing? Want to plan a river cruise for 2018? I would love to make this happen for you.

Need more information? We service many of our clients entirely through email:

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  • or by phone – 800-372-1963
  • Uniworld River Cruises 2017 Preview

    New itineraries. New ship. New inclusions for the most all-inclusive river cruise line Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection.

    New Itineraries

    Paris & Impressions of the Seine

    Discover the inspiration for innumerable works of art. From the historic Montmartre district of Paris to the panoramic landscapes of the Alabaster Coast and endless cherished jewels in between, this itinerary is a delightful combination of charming scenery and invigorating shore excursions. Cultural enrichment includes a Signature Lecture: “The Seine River in Impressionist Paintings.”

    Rhine-Main Discovery & Munich

    Experience the enormity of Bavaria along the Main and Rhine rivers and in its capital, Munich. Experience exclusive insight with Uniworld‘s Jewish Heritage program. Select departures in July are designated Generations Family sailings with special savings for children ages 4 to 18 and specially designed family-friendly shore excursions. Cultural enrichment includes a Signature Lecture: “AD 1517: Martin Luther’s Revolution and the Quest to Build a Modern World.”

    New Ship

    Uniworlds SS Joie de Vivre

    S.S. Joie de Vivre: Uniworld’s Super Ship , new in 2017—S.S. Joie de Vivre—is designed to echo the “joy of living” as it cruises the Seine River in northern France. This sumptuous 128-passenger vessel is a showcase for handcrafted furniture, opulent fabrics, charming antiques, gilded accents and every contemporary convenience. This vessel is intimately scaled so it can dock in the heart of Paris and sail all the way to Caudebec-en-Caux. Cultural enrichment includes a Signature Lecture: “Changing History: Operation Overlord.” Exclusive Connoisseur Collection and Generations Family Program are available on select summer departures.

    New Inclusions

    Uniworld Room Service

    Uniworld augments all-inclusive river cruising in Europe to a wholly new echelon. New in 2017:

      Port Charges Included
      24-Hour Room Service
      Concierge Services

      If you are considering a Uniworld river cruise, please feel free to send me an email or call me so we can discuss your vacation plans in detail.

      Need more information? We service many of our clients entirely through email:

    • Click Here To Email Us

    • or by phone – 800-372-1963

    French Wine Experiences

    White Wine Tasting

    If you’ve got a passion for outstanding travel experiences and unforgettable wines, why not make 2016 the year you visit some of Europe’s most famous wine regions? On Châteaux, Rivers & Wine cruise explore incomparable Bordeaux, arguably the most famous wine region in the world.

    Viking River Cruises

    Viking River Cruises

    The Châteaux, Rivers & Wine itinerary explores the region’s opulent culture including its 18th-century merchant mansions, Gothic churches, celebrated Quarter Saint-Pierre and, of course, France’s largest controlled wine region with its Médoc, Saint-Ėmilion and Graves collections.

    The Wine Regions of Bordeaux
    Bordeaux, France is home to the world’s most prized wines. Learn about its many different regions and appellations with Karine Hagen of Viking.

    Bordeaux’s Sublime Red and White Wines from Viking River Cruises
    Delve into the essence of the region’s most popular wines with a local expert.

    Bordeaux’s Clairet & Rosé Wines from Viking River Cruises
    Introduce yourself to some of the hidden gems of Bordeaux. You’ll learn the subtle differences and why the French treasure these wines each summer.

    Truffle Hunting
    Ever wonder how rare and delicious truffles are found? Join Karine Hagen of Viking River Cruises in Bordeaux, France as she learns how dogs are trained to unearth one of the world’s great delicacies. On Viking’s Châteaux, Rivers & Wine river cruise, a visit to a working truffle farm is one of the many optional excursions you can enjoy.

    Sauternes – The Sweet Alternative from Viking River Cruises
    Enjoy a glimpse into this intriguing sweet wine. Karine Hagen takes a closer look with one of Sauternes’ local experts.

    If you are considering an wine themed river cruise in France, please feel free to send me an email or call me so we can discuss your vacation plans in detail.

    Need more information? We service many of our clients entirely through email:

  • Click Here To Email Us

  • or by phone – 800-372-1963

  • Top River Cruises For First Timers

    Avalon Waterways
    You’ve seen ads on TV and in magazines and talked to enthusiastic friends about their river cruise vacations. It sounds like a trip you’d enjoy, but which itinerary should you try first? River cruising is all about the destination, so knowing what you can expect to see will help you choose your first river cruise experience. Avalon Waterways has created beautifully designed, exceptionally written destination guides that will help you narrow down your decision.

    The Danube River Planner: Black Forest Cake

    2016 Danube River Cruises

    The Rhine, Moselle and Main River Planner: Romantic Rhine

    2016 Rhine, Moselle & Main River Cruises

    The Seine and Rhone River Planner: Seine River

    2016 Seine and Rhone Rivers

    If you are considering an European river cruise, please feel free to send me an email or call me so we can discuss your vacation plans in detail.

    Need more information? We service many of our clients entirely through email:

  • Click Here To Email Us

  • or by phone – 800-372-1963

  • River Cruises 2015 Berth Announcements

    2015 brings with it new ships, new destinations, and new opportunities for those hooked on river cruising. Here’s what’s new.

    Avalon Waterways
    March 24, 2015, in France marks the christening of the Avalon Tapestry II She’ll be the first “Suite Ship” to sail the popular Paris to Normandy’s Landing Beaches itinerary. In April, the Avalon Tranquility II will debut sailing on the Rhine and Rhone Rivers. In Asia, the Avalon Myanmar with just 36 passengers will sail the Irrawaddy River.

    Avalon Waterways Panorama Suite

    AmaWaterways
    Spring 2015 brings two new vessels, the AmaSerena and AmaVista to AmaWaterways fleet. Each will offer family and group-friendly connecting staterooms and will feature the line’s signature Twin Balconies, one French-style, the other step-out as well as salon and massage services, fitness rooms, and heated swimming pools with swim-up bars.

    Continue reading River Cruises 2015 Berth Announcements

    Châteaux, Rivers & Wine


    Viking River Cruises Special Offers - 2 -TastefulJourneys

    If you’ve got a passion for outstanding travel experiences and unforgettable wines, why not make 2015 the year you visit some of Europe’s most famous wine regions? On Viking River Cruises Châteaux, Rivers & Wine cruise explore incomparable Bordeaux, arguably the most famous wine region in the world.

    The Châteaux, Rivers & Wine itinerary explores the region’s opulent culture including its 18th-century merchant mansions, Gothic churches, celebrated Quarter Saint-Pierre and, of course, France’s largest controlled wine region with its Médoc, Saint-Ėmilion and Graves collections.

    The Wine Regions of Bordeaux

    Bordeaux, France is home to the world’s most prized wines. Learn about its many different regions and appellations with Karine Hagen of Viking.


    Continue reading Châteaux, Rivers & Wine

    WORLD OF VIKING: A CULINARY JOURNEY


    Viking River Cruises Special Offers

    While river cruising is still relatively new to the U.S. market, it has become one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry. Viking River Cruises has grown its market share to a whopping 45% of the river cruise lines promoted to North Americans.
    Their advertising in print media, through direct mail and most notably through PBS Masterpiece® sponsorship during Downton Abbey has stimulated awareness of river cruising and its opportunities for unique cultural experiences that reveal the history, culinary traditions and character of each destination.

    With the increased popularity of river cruising, Viking has responded to the culinary demand for fine-dining experiences, local specialties, culinary demonstrations and wine tastings and cuisine focused shore experiences.

    Viking River Cruises premieres “Episode 5 – A Culinary Journey” on Downton Abbey on Masterpiece® with this introduction:

    “It’s been said that the best way to know a culture is through food. Food and wine are the windows into the traditions that form the essence of a country. It’s a way to experience the heart of faraway lands. And, it’s Viking’s privilege to share the world’s food stories with you. Viking Cruises proud sponsor of Masterpiece®.”

    Continue reading WORLD OF VIKING: A CULINARY JOURNEY

    The Rising Tide In Hotel Barge Cruising

    As the river cruise market continues to explode, some of our clients are looking for an even more intimate, small-ship alternative on Europe’s inland waterways. That’s when we suggest a hotel barge. These vessels designed to accommodate between six and twenty guests as opposed to the 100-200 passenger ships that ply the larger rivers such as the Rhine, Danube, Main and Seine. Typical crew include a captain, chef, tour guide and housekeeping staff. The experience is much different than river cruising.

    A mellow sailing on a hotel barge is the ideal way to uncover the very heart of Europe, exploring its charming countryside and bygone riches and meeting the locals. Detached from the hustle and bustle of urban life, hotel barge voyages allow you to travel in luxury without the stress of packing and unpacking, all the while enjoying a balanced intermingling of daily excursions and captivating cruising.

    Luxury All-inclusive Hotel Barge Cruises on the Beautiful Canals and Waterways of Europe from Hotel Barging on Vimeo.

    Continue reading The Rising Tide In Hotel Barge Cruising

    Going To Europe This Summer? Enjoy A Unique And Fulfilling Tour!

    Looking to add some sparkle to your vacation? Customize your trip with a European Culinary Experience sightseeing tour – from just $25 per person!

    Need more information? We service many of our clients entirely through email:

    • Click Here To Email Us
    • or by phone – 800-372-1963

      Here’s a taste of the possibilities:
      Austria: Salzburg Candlelight Dinner & Concert at Fortress $71
      Vienna Vienna Heurigen Show $96

      Belgium: Brussels Gourmet Evening Tour $111

      France: Paris Behind the Scenes Bakery Tour $31
      Gastronomy Tour in Montmartre District $125

      Greece: Athens Greek Cooking Lesson $95

      Ireland: Dublin Merry Ploughboy Dinner Show $77

      Italy: Rome Pizza Making & Meal $111

      Florence Handmade Pasta-Cooking Course & Lunch $70
      Venice Falling in Love in Venice – Gondola Tour & dinner for couples $160

      Portugal: Lisbon Lisbon by Night with Fado Dinner show $109

      Russia: Moscow Vodka Tasting Tour $128

      Spain: Barcelona Gourmet Walking Tour $28

      Turkey: Istanbul Cooking Lesson $83

      United Kingdom:
      London Afternoon Tea at the Sherlock Holmes $25

      From Prices are per person; can be changed or modified at any time, and subject to currency fluctuation. Valid through December 31, 2013. Tours and activities are subject to availability at time of booking; may be discontinued without notice. From prices shown are in US Dollars.

      Vienna Sacher Torte

    New! Châteaux, Rivers & Wine


    Viking River Cruises Special Offers

    Viking River Cruises® has announced a new 2014 itinerary in France, Châteaux, Rivers & Wine. Bordeaux, the French wine capital, offers guests onboard history, cuisine and oenophile experiences. Referred to as the “Port de la Lune” (Port of the Moon) because it is situated on a crescent-shaped bend in the Garonne River, Bordeaux is a city of stunning architectural beauty and culinary splendor–and the center of a thriving and world-renown wine industry. Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Sauternes, Médoc and Margaux are a few of the appellations that make Bordeaux wines world-famous. Cruise the Dordogne, Garonne and Gironde Rivers as you celebrate joie de vivre in this land of wine and oysters, truffles and cognac.

    Chateaux, Rivers and Wine River Cruise Itinerary
    Explore star attractions in France’s Bordeaux region.

    Continue reading New! Châteaux, Rivers & Wine