River cruising is the new (OK it’s centuries old) way to leisurely explore historic towns and villages throughout Europe with more stories to tell than bends in the river. Bikes to borrow, markets to meander, music, art, culture and an open bar. On Scenic river cruises the ‘boat drinks’ flow all day and they don’t skimp on the bubbly. All aboard.
This is how we roll…..on the river!
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like on a river cruise then hop on board and take off with me along the Rhone River on the elegant Scenic Emerald. Best part?
Well there are so many best parts…but if you’re like me you’ll really relax and enjoy the cruise from morning to night because Scenic is all-inclusive.
Pop goes the Champagne from breakfast to bed time.
All aboard who’s going aboard!!!!
The first difference you notice is that the river ship glides along calm waterways instead of riding choppy seas often associated with ocean cruising.
These long sleek ships built to transport passengers along wide European rivers, past picturesque villages and vineyards are gaining momentum as a sought after vacation experience.
Virtuoso ranks river cruises in the top five 2016 travels trends.
On a seven-day cruise on the Rhone River in France aboard the Scenic Emerald, I discovered many delightful advantages of traveling by river.
The pace is leisurely with pastoral scenery in view from large windows or on open decks.
There’s an impressive display of crew navigation as the ship traverses river locks with only inches to spare on either side of the ship!
On the top deck you can chat with the Captain as he guides his Scenic “Space Ship” carefully through the locks.
Please don’t try to distract him.
Another bonus for travelers ready to explore, when docked in town you’re in walking or biking distance to most of the sights.
In Arles…..or Arlys…
…we walked in Vincent Van Gogh’s footsteps.
The bakeries in Arles inspired me; where fresh strawberry tarts are a culinary work of art.
France on the Menu
On board the Scenic Emerald, meals feature the regional foods and wines of France with many of them produced in the Rhone River valley.
Menus are hyper-local with cheese selections changing to include varieties from the area we were cruising through that day.
Don’t know the difference between a goat’s milk Rigotte from Lyon and a cow’s milk Charolais from Burgundy? Join the cheese class with a dozen French cheeses to sample.
Adding to the laid-back luxury, wines and cocktails on Scenic cruises are all inclusive. Pop some bubbly for breakfast and end the evening with a cordial in your coffee. It’s all part of the gastronomic experience included in the fare.
For passengers craving a deeper dive into what’s for dinner, executive chef Tamas Kiss leads a tour through the bustling Les Halles market in Avignon.
He chats with butchers and bakers and offers sample tastes of local breads, cheeses, and produce of Provence.
“It was great to see the foods of summer,” says Kiss.
“But now it’s autumn and there are exciting new things like mushrooms and different olives in the market.”
Hey look! Someone found a pearl!!!
Meanwhile back on board the Scenic Emerald things are really cooking!
It’s literally all hands on deck to provision the ship as boxes delivered to the ship in Avignon are loaded into storage areas near the galley by all of the crew. Even the bartenders, housekeepers and piano player help in the ‘bucket brigade’ to get the groceries on board!
All of this exceptional teamwork leads to exceptional meals from beautiful buffets…
…to elegant dinners.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are highly anticipated adventures for the palate.
This Scenic culinary team is serious ……
…..without taking themselves too seriously!
Thank you Chef Tamas Kiss. You can take a little break now.
The menus are inspiring and exciting and miraculously appear from this tiny galley!
One evening we’re treated to dinner featuring dishes from the great chefs of France.
Your every whim from sushi to sensational desserts are on the Scenic menu.
Late night craving for BLT with fries? Whoops, that was for me after a night of dancing to the late night disco music. (:
From artichoke truffle soup to whole roasted lamb, menus are marked with indications to alert those with food allergies. Even more good nutrition on the “Vitality Corner” vegetarian menu with entrees such as bulgur risotto with mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and spicy basil salad.
As the river flows …..
so do the fabulous foods and wines on Scenic.