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
  • 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

    Chocolate Connoisseurs Cruise

    Someone once said, “Chocolate doesn’t make the world go around … but it certainly makes the ride worthwhile!” Well stated, don’t you agree? For all chocoholics,
    AmaWaterways® presents the first-ever 2014 Chocolate Cruise with guest host Norman Love!

    AmaWaterways Chocolate Cruise
    Norman Love, the Chef, President and Founder of Norman Love Confections & Artisan Gelato

    Some of the most extraordinary chocolate confections made today are created with bygone European methods. So what better place to celebrate the fine art of chocolate-making than on an indulgent Danube River cruises through the heart of Europe? AmaWaterways® first-ever Chocolate Cruise will set sail on April 25, 2014, aboard the AmaCerto with award-winning guest host Norman Love, the Chef, President and Founder of Norman Love Confections & Artisan Gelato. Chocolate lovers booked on this truly extravagant seven-night cruise from Vilshofen to Budapest will enjoy private chocolate-making demonstrations and tastings, chocolate-themed shore excursions, educational seminars on chocolate, and a chocolate mini-buffet extravaganza.

    EXCLUSIVE CHOCOLATE CRUISE FEATURES:

  • Norman Love will share his knowledge & love of chocolate
  • Special Norman Love Confections Desserts
  • Chocolate Mini-buffet Extravaganza
  • Culinary Delights – Bites & Sights
  • “Sachertorte & Schlumberger Cellar Tour”
  • Educational Seminars on Chocolate
  • 3 Private Chocolate-making Demonstrations
  • Decadent Chocolate Tastings
  • The Romantic Danube itinerary, priced from $3,099 per person, double occupancy, cruise only, is a 7-night cruise beginning in Vilshofen, Germany and sailing to Budapest, Hungary. The U.S. departure date is Apr. 25, 2014. Ports-of-call include Passau, Linz, Melk, Krems, Vienna, and Bratislava. Optional 3-night land program in Prague for $750 per person. Shore excursion options are included in every port.

    If you are considering the Chocolate Connoisseurs Cruise 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

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  • AmaWaterways Serves Up a New Gourmet Cruise

    Sunset on the Douro River

    The highly acclaimed river cruise line, AmaWaterways has just announced that Celebrity Chef Bob Blumer will be the host of its Gourmet Cruise Oct. 22-Oct. 29, 2013 onboard the brand new AmaVida. This seven night itinerary sails through Portugal and Spain along the Douro River, one of Europe’s most undiscovered and unspoiled rivers. Passengers will experience a journey filled with medieval monasteries, charming fishing villages, centuries-old wineries and lively cultural centers. The Gourmet Cruise will feature onboard cooking demonstrations, excursions to historic towns, private wine tastings and regionally inspired cuisine.

    One of today’s most innovative food personalities, cookbook author and host of the Food Network’s The Surreal Gourmet and Glutton for Punishment, Chef Blumer will share his infectiously passionate approach to cooking through complimentary cooking demonstrations for interested guests.

    As the only river cruise line inducted into La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, one of the world’s most prestigious culinary organizations, AmaWaterways continues to lead the industry in innovative food and wine experiences both on-board and on-shore. The Gourmet Cruise promises to be an attractive travel option for culinary adventurers and oenophiles alike.
    Continue reading AmaWaterways Serves Up a New Gourmet Cruise