I am a travel consultant, a Uniworld Cruise Specialist and a lifelong Francophile. I had the opportunity to sail on Uniworld's River Royale in early November 2010 as my first river cruise experience. This was indeed an epicurean adventure to sail on France's Rhone and Saone rivers.
River cruising is totally different from ocean cruising. You are steps away from the beautiful towns where you can take walking tours, ride bicycles, have an all inclusive food and wine experience with itineraries catering to guests' special interests. The amenities on Uniworld's River Royale included complimentary fine European wines with dinner including beer and soft drinks, shore excursions, use of bicycles, onboard entertainment, lovely appointed riverview staterooms, flatscreen televisions and Occitane bath products.
This was a memorable trip visiting the gastronomic capital of the world, Lyon, samplling the delicious wines of Burgundy, Chateauneuf du Pape, Cotes du Rhone, Tain L'Hermitage and visiting quaint towns of Viviers, Charlon Sur Saone, Avignon, Arles, Burgundy, and Tournon.
We were greeted warmly by Captain, Louis Arnold; hotel manager, Eric; cruise manager Aj and an attentive staff of employees.
One of the highlights of the trip for me was to be invited to sit at Captain Louis Arnold's Farewell Dinner table and to converse with him in French. Another memorable aspect of the voyage was to visit an olive farm in Provence and to see the process of how olives are grown and turned into the finest olive oils in the world. We tasted delicious tapenades made from both green and black olives. One dissapointment was that we could not do the truffle hunt because it was Veterans Day in France and everything was closed. I am sure that this would have been fantastic, but there will certainly be another time (hopefully soon) to repeat this trip.
Uniworld is the way to sail!