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The Seine, Paris & Normandy River Cruise
We enjoyed our river cruise on the MS Sapphire of Paris, The Seine and Normandy. We found the cabin (312) to be very comfortable, the crew extremely pleasant and helpful and the food very good. The coach drivers were also very helpful and assisted my husband in loading and unloading my buggy when we went on trips. We were pleased to reach Paris and be able to do the tour as we were aware this had not been possible for a few weeks.
Only thing missing was tea and coffee making facilities in the cabin. We would score the cruise 9.9.
Review by Anne Hayward on 2 September 2016
Just back from an enjoyable week on the Seine. Excellent service from Tim and Karen who quietly ensured that everything went to plan. They had a great relationship with the crew of the Swiss Sapphire which made for a very relaxed holiday.
Review by Stan Montague on 20 May 2016
We have just returned from a most enjoyable River Cruise on the Seine: it was very well organised thereby making it exceptionally relaxing.
Tim Van Bladel the Cruise Director and Karen Holladay our Tour Director went to great lengths to ensure we all knew what was happening when: nothing was too much trouble, no matter what was demanded of them.
The crew of the MS Swiss Sapphire from the captain down made all feel welcome: the food was superb, the cabins spotlessly clean and comfortable, we didn’t hear ‘next door’ or any noise from outside making it easy to sleep(we did in fact oversleep one morning) I wholeheartedly recommend this cruise, from boarding the train in Nottingham to arriving home 8 days later we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Thank you Riviera Travel, we are looking forward to our next holiday with you.
Review by Pat Anderson on 19 May 2016
This is just a note to say how much we enjoyed the Paris trip, including the boat trip on the Seine. We got some great photos during the coach trips and free time.
We would also like to praise our Tour Manager, Libbi. She provided excellent commentaries and information during the coach trips, she was always available to provide help and information, she was always watchful and safety conscious and made everyone feel at ease and happy.
She is a treasure that Riviera Travel must be proud to have!
Review by David Ward & Peter Langston on 26 June 2014
When my husband and I booked this cruise we were a little apprehensive because it was our first river cruise and our first holiday with Riviera. Also, as we had booked quite late we could only get a cabin on the lower Emerald Deck. It was, however one of the best holidays that we have had! The ship, the Swiss Sapphire, was superb. Our cabin was clean and comfortable and we did not miss having a large window because during the day we were either on an excursion, eating or taking advantage of the lovely weather on the sun deck. It was also very quiet on the lower deck because we did not have many other passengers walking along our corridor. The food was amazing. It was beautifully cooked and presented, with a wide choice to suit all tastes. All of the crew, from the cleaners to the captain, were very hardworking but were always friendly, obliging and professional. The tours were well organised with a perfect balance of escorted time and free time to do your own thing. Tony, the Tour Director was extremely knowledgeable and made the excursions very interesting. Mandy was very efficient and helpful. Without her assistance I think that we would still be stuck at chaotic Charles de Gaulle Airport! We will certainly be booking another river cruise with Riviera. I just hope that the other cruises are as perfect as this one.
Review by Janet Bishop on 4 July 2014
This tour ran like clockwork from start to finish. My wife and I travelled from Liverpool, then from St Pancras to Paris via Eurostar to be met by Tony, our Cruise Director - very helpful and knowledgeable and that set the tone for the whole trip. Immaculate ship, excellent suite and the most friendly crew for whom nothing was a problem. Food was excellent, served in a very pleasant setting and service could not be bettered. We travelled with two friends, one of whom has restricted mobility and uses a wheelchair - this was never a problem on board or on any of the excursions. Well done! This was our first river cruise and it will certainly not be the last -in fact, we are now planning a two week Rhine/Danube cruise.
Review by Keith Bickley on 5 July 2014
We just want to say thank you for a fantastic cruise on the MS Swiss Saphire. What a wonderful time we had. We visited some wonderful places and the best for me were the Normandy beaches as my father had been on Dunkirk. He never talked about it and now I understand why. It was also 30 years this year since he passed away so very poignant for me. Riviera are the most efficient travel company we have ever travelled with and we were looked after by great people. The food was lovely and the ship was excellent. Thank you once again for making our holiday so wonderful.
Review by Wendy Mckie on 13 July 2014
We have just returned from our first river cruise with Riviera on the Swiss Sapphire. The trip was all we hoped it would be.The staff were friendly and competent, nothing was too much trouble for them. The ship was very well appointed, clean and comfortable with our bed one of the most comfortable we have ever slept in! Excellent food too, beautifully cooked and presented. Our trips out were highly organised by Tony, Sheila and Cassie who were very knowledgeable and informative with a judicious touch of humour which was much appreciated. All in all a great success- the biggest problem where to go next with Riviera!!
Review by Chris and Paddy Johnston on 14 July 2014
My wife and I have just completed this cruise on MS Swiss Sapphire. We were very impressed with all the Riviera Staff and would particularly like to put on record the help we were given by Tony Oldham when I left a shoulder bag at Giverney - he is a first class tour manager. Although River Cruising is perhaps not our first choice for a holiday we did think that everything about this cruise was excellent.
Review by Hugh Wylde on 17 July 2014
My friend and I have just returned from cruising on the Swiss sapphire on the the river Seine. This was our 4th cruise with you, and once again, a lovely ship, lovely visits on shore, but I felt I must write and tell you that yours tour guides Sheila and Cassie were excellent. Here’s to our 5th holiday with you.
Review by J Sells on 20 July 2014
My friend and I have just returned from our cruise on the Swiss Sapphire. An excellent ship, crew and food. The tours were well arranged and interesting. Travel arrangements and the handling of baggage from St.Pancras good. A special mention of our tour manager and director, Cassie and Sheila. They were very efficient and caring. The best to date. Well done to all at Riviera and thank you. My third river cruise.
Review by M.Dancy on 21 July 2014
Just returned from this cruise. Can’t fault it. Cassie and Tony of Riviera were brilliant making sure all ran smooth. Crew fantastic, nothing too much trouble. Will definitely book Riviera again.
Review by S. Jordan on 22 August 2014
I travelled on the Swiss Sapphire 13 - 20 August 2014 - my second Riviera river cruise - I did the Rhone (Avignon - Lyons) same time last year. Once again a superb holiday, with all arrangements working like a Swiss watch. Tony and Cassie managed the whole experience in a dedicated manner, and added to the enjoyment considerably. The local guides were pretty good too, as were the Scylla crew!! I enjoyed all excursions, especially the visit to Monet’s Garden & House, as well as the Arromanches/Normandy ‘Gold’ Beach trip. We caught the tail end of the Hurricane Bertha, so weather was somewhat changeable - ranging from sunshine to downpour in minutes, but a smooth and professional cruise all round. Congratulations once more, and I look forward to another cruise next year! John Bailey
Review by John Bailey on 24 August 2014
We have just returned from our cruise on the Seine aboard the M.S.Swiss Sapphire and felt we must express our appreciation to all involved.Tony and Cassie for their excellent organisation, explanations, and helpfulness with all the excursions and transfers and their ready availability to all passengers whilst on board. Also a big thank you to all members of the crew from the Captain to the dining room and cabin staff to whom nothing was too much bother and always done with a smile. This happy atmosphere transmitted itself to all the passengers and contributed to one of the happiest and most enjoyable holidays we have had in recent years. This is our 2nd river cruise with Riviera and it will certainly not be our last.
Review by Margaret & Colin Grant on 24 August 2014
We returned last Wednesday, 27th August from a Paris to Normandy cruise aboard the SS Sapphire via Eurostar. I have to tell you, I ran out of superlatives by day 2, and simply relaxed into one of the best holidays my husband and I have ever had. There was absolutely nothing that could have bettered the experience, the Ship is beautiful, the excursions were so interesting, the staff, every one of them, were fantastic and the food….. All of such superb quality and so beautifully presented you could always look forward to every meal as it was utterly delicious. Thank you so very much, so delighted were we that we have just booked another cruise for 2015 and my sister and brother in law are coming too on our recommendation. Many thanks once again.
Review by Bernadette fletcher on 10 September 2014
Having just returned from the above river cruise we should like to place on record how delighted we were with the whole trip.
The organisation and attention to detail was exceptional.
We should like to make particular reference to Tony Oldham (Cruise Director) whose knowledge and presentation was meticulous and also to Tim who ably assisted him.
Review by Diana and John Donovan (Cardiff). on 17 October 2014
Just a few lines to let you know how much my wife and I enjoyed our recent river trip on the Seine returning on 28 September. The whole holiday was up to the usual Riviera standard that we have come to expect. This was our third Riviera river cruise and we will be booking more in the future. The tour manager, Tony Oldham, gave his usual excellent service. He has been the manager on all three of our cruises. Is there a Tony fan club? Also thanks are due to Tim for his contribution. The Baggage drop service service at St Pancras is very good and takes all the problem of taking cases onto the train.
Review by James Box on 17 October 2014
We were also on the Seine cruise which arrived back in Paris on September 28th 2014. This was our very first river cruise, and therefore our first with Riviera, but we are firmly ‘hooked’ now and are now booked for the River Rhone cruise in September 2015.
Our cruise down the Seine was relaxed and helped by the Autumn sunshine which we were very lucky to have for our holiday. The visits to interesting places were all helped by Tony & Tim’s very well informed commentary and the walking guides we had at certain places. It was also very nice to be able to get off the boat and explore a little by ourselves, if we wanted to, and have a ‘local meal’ on-shore if we preferred.
We realise now that we didn’t have to do everything on the itinerary if we didn’t want to and next cruise we will probably pace ourselves more and opt out of some of the trips to explore locally ourselves..
The food on board was superb and the table service excellent. It was so nice to have full-service dinners (rather than buffet style) and the ‘open seating’ policy meant that we got to meet lots of very nice people by having a change of table each night ! It made for much interesting conversations and new friendships !
Our morning of departure from the mooring in Paris, close to the Eifell Tower, was only marred by the fact that nobody onboard seemed to have realised that the Paris marathon was on that Sunday, and we were ‘locked in’ by the traffic restrictions, our transfer bus unable to get to the quayside. With an enormous effort on behalf of the ships crew members, all of our cases were man-handled (or woman-handled) to the nearest place that the bus could get to which over a bridge and across a road. Once on the bus the French driver seemed not know how to get to the Gare du Nord through all the restrictions,. Hence we missed our Eurostar train by minutes ! Tim then took control of the situation and by calling back to Riviera in the UK (on a Sunday) and liasing with Eurostar managers at the station, he managed to get the 34 of us First Class seats on the next available train back to St. Pancras ! It mean a delay for us all but, at least, Riviera didn’t just leave us all in the lurch ! Full marks to Tim and Riviera for effort and customer relations !
For our net cruise we haven’t even looked at any other cruise company because we know that Riviera would be very hard to beat on service and luxury and comfort - no matter at what cost !
Review by Peter Stanhope on 29 January 2015
After a great cruise on the Seine which started on 22nd July, could you please pass on our thanks to Tony and Alex. They were excellent reps always on hand and extremely conversant with all aspects of the trip. They fully deserved the praise which we heard from fellow passengers on many occasions.
Review by John Dye on 31 July 2015
Just back from a super cruise on an excellent ship around an interesting itinerary. Your standard of Tour Managers is very high, and we had Tony, who must be one of your very best. We feel we know him well as he has ‘managed’ us three times now. He was tireless and contributed hugely to your customers’ enjoyment. You may receive whinges from some passengers who complained about the final reception at Charles De Gaulle airport, but Tony explained exactly what we were to do and the airport signs confirmed all he had said. Despite this, some took advice from a misguided Air France lady and went off to the wrong place. If they were inconvenienced it was entirely their own fault. We, and one other couple, did what Tony said and all was well, indeed it was one of our better check-in experiences. We hope to travel with you again next month, to Bologna, and that will be our umpteenth Riviera experience (I have lost count). We are your biggest fans, so do keep up the wonderful work you and all your staff are doing. Thanks for a lovely holiday!
Review by Colin Robins on 13 August 2015
Thank you to all involved in making this such an enjoyable holiday for myself and my partner Heather. The whole experience was one of relaxation at a gentle pace that was appreciated by many of the other passengers we met and whose company we enjoyed immensely.. The balance of culture and sight seeing was just right, the choice of food was excellent at every meal. Overall, value for money. Now awaiting the 2016 brochure to book next year’s cruise with you.
Review by Graham Pantony on 22 August 2015
We have recently returned from our holiday on the Swiss Sapphire on the 12 Aug 2015 and we felt we should write to compliment you on a superbly organised trip. We have travelled with other river cruise companies but non of them compare with the value and service we have received from your goodselves. Tony and Alex your cruise director and assistant were exceptional, the briefings excellent with just the right amount of information and the tours from the ship were really well organised. The ship itself was also superb with the comfort, cleanliness, food and service being beyond reproach, the Captain was always there to greet you and the hotel manager Jos, was always very helpful and as were the rest of the crew. Obviously you have two very satisfied customers and we will certainly travel with you again, probably on the Rhone next year.
Thank you for providing on of our most enjoyable holidays,
Review by Joan and Bob Raywood on 26 August 2015
I booked this holiday because my mother, who is 89 in October, had never been to Paris. We were prepared for the fact that a river cruising ship would have limitations on facilities & entertainment in comparison to an ocean cruising ship. That said, the Swiss Sapphire is a beautiful ship which is appointed to a high standard. The service and food were excellent and the staff helpful and courteous. Tony and Alex supervised the excursions well apart from one hiccough in Rouen. Tony provided a wealth of information on our destinations beforehand which was both useful and interesting. The upper Seine is quite scenic and enjoyable to see but the maritime part of the Seine, as one would expect, is very industrialised and did marr our enjoyment somewhat. The thing that surprised me the most though, was that the Swiss Sapphire, despite information in the Riviera brochure, is owned by Tauck and only chartered by Riviera Travel. Having travelled in Eastern Canada with Tauck, I spotted the name on the side of the ship immediately. Tauck is a prestigious and highly regarded company so I expected the ship to be of a very high standard and it was. The thing that bothered me was more one of deception on Riviera’s part. Tony did explain to the passengers that the ship had been chartered from Tauck but I was left with the impression that this wouldn’t have been mentioned if I hadn’t queried the matter first. I recall no mention of it in Riviera’s brochure either. The brochure also stated that the ship is Swiss run. On the contrary, the captain is Belgian, the tour manager French and most of the staff are from Eastern Europe. The menu, as one would expect in France, was in French as well as English but not one of the waiting staff understood French. All this did affect my confidence in Riviera Travel somewhat. On a happier note, we have decided to put our trust in Riviera Travel once more, so my husband and I have booked another holiday with you to celebrate my 70th Birthday in 2016. We’ve booked the holiday on Lake Como, including visits to St Moritz, lakes Maggiore and Lugano and a ride on the Bernina Express. We have been told that the hotel Regina Olga is a beautiful hotel, well situated and well worth the double room with lake view that we’ve booked. I hope there won’t be any surprises awaiting us on this holiday and that the information we have read in the Riviera Brochure is accurate. Watch this space.
Review by Mrs P Pogson & Mrs R Leek on 24 September 2015