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MEMORIES (No. 13) - VIKING RIVER RHONE CRUISE 2017

Re: MEMORIES (No. 13) - VIKING RIVER RHONE CRUISE 2017

Postby Camela » 18 Dec 2020 20:34

Problem with the Farewell Dinner on most cruises is that it usually takes place before the end as the last night is taken up with packing to put luggage out ready for disembarkation. Note to marketing* call it the 'Come back soon' dinner - a much more positive message.

One son is a Marketing Manager!!!
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MEMORIES (No. 13) - VIKING RIVER RHONE CRUISE 2017

Postby judgegeoff » 19 Dec 2020 07:46

Day 7 – Tuesday 4th April 2017 - Lyon

After breakfast, at 8:30 am, we left the ship and boarded a Viking coach for our ‘Beaujolais Wine Experience’ excursion to the “Chasselas” Vineyard. Our guide was named Phillipe (a different Phillipe from the Tournon one!). Our driver was named Jamelle and he drove us along the motorway to Macon and then into the Beaujolais region, a very scenic drive through delightful scenery and attractive French villages.

We arrived at the Chateau Casselas Vineyard and Winery, where we were greeted warmly by the owner Jean-Marc Veyron la Croix. Jean-Marc had purchased the winery in 1999 after a career in fashion in Paris. He had studied winemaking for 12 months but said hands-on experience was much more important. The winery produced very high-quality wines as opposed to the more common (and inferior) Beaujolais Nouveau.

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Our Viking coach parked at Chateau Chasselas.

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The area around the Chateau.

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Quite hilly…..

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….. and a little rugged.

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Chateau de Chasselas.

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A 14th - 18th century chateau.

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We started off the tour by visiting Jean-Marc’s vineyard.

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Chris checking the vines out.

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Unlike the high volume producers, Jean-Marc prunes his vines to leave just a single branch that is fastened down in a loop. This will produce fewer grapes, but they will be of a higher quality.

From the vineyard, we entered the walled chateau grounds and found that it was a beautiful chateau with some interesting outbuildings.

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The lovely chateau.

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The chateau had a lovely courtyard with many attractive buildings.

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Some of the other buildings have been turned into gites (self-catering accommodation). I would like to return here and stay a few days and help Jean-Marc reduce his stock!

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More gites.

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Lovely accommodation.

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One of the towers had been a small gaol in the past.

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The buildings had been beautifully and sympathetically restored.

Jean-Marc then led us into the cellars and a tasting room where we were treated to samples of his wines whilst he described the making process and quality of the wines. I must say they were very good wines (hic)! We had red and white wines and a sparkling rose wine, together with some small snacks that were very tasty.

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One of the wine cellars.

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Our group in the tasting cellar……

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.....with Jean-Marc describing his wines.

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It was a very happy session!

After our tasting session, Jean-Marc led us into his shop which was in one of the outbuildings. We never purchase wines (to bring home) when on holiday because of the problems of getting them home unbroken. We did however make a couple of purchases of wine storage and serving items.

Reluctantly, we had to leave the chateau and returned through the lovely countryside to our ship moored in Lyon arriving in time to freshen up for lunch. After lunch, we started packing our suitcases as we would leaving the lovely ship in the morning.

It had been a really enjoyable cruise and we were determined to do another river cruise in the future. The ship was very well designed and beautifully furnished but, as so often, it was the staff and crew who made it such a memorable cruise.

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The Master, Captain Richard Scheen and the Hotel Manager, Chris Harrington.

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The Chief Engineer, Istvan Badics and the Programme Director Christine Couper.

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The talented Executive Chef, Daniel Papadimas.

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The Housekeeper, Adriana Holodova and the Maitre D’, Imre Kalmar.

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Guest Services and Receptionist, Veronika Etenyi.

After our final dinner, we sat in the lounge and talked to a British couple, author and cruise ship speaker Judith Cranwell and her husband. We had an early night as we had to put our suitcases outside the cabin at 5:15 am, as we would be leaving the ship at 6:15 am – eek!


======================================


Concluded tomorrow ……………...
Geoff

Booked cruise :-
"MSC Orchestra" - Cape Town to Venice 2020 (now virtual)
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MEMORIES (No. 13) - VIKING RIVER RHONE CRUISE 2017

Postby Gillzajoker » 19 Dec 2020 11:36

Fabulous views of the Chateau and surrounding area, Geoff, and interesting to learn about the
one-branch vine.
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MEMORIES (No. 13) - VIKING RIVER RHONE CRUISE 2017

Postby judgegeoff » 20 Dec 2020 08:06

Day 8 – Wednesday 5th April 2017 - Lyon to the U.K.


We were both awake just after 4:00 am (eek!), so got up, showered and dressed and I put our suitcases outside the cabin before 5:15 am. We then went to the Aquavit Terrace for a buffet breakfast (cheeses, cold meats, fruits, yoghurts, pastries, breads, fruit juices, tea and coffee etc.). After breakfast, we relaxed in the ship’s lounge.

At 6:15 am we left the ship and there were a couple of coaches waiting to take us to the airport. We identified our luggage and boarded a coach. The journey to Lyon Airport took about 40 minutes and, when we arrived, there were two Viking representatives who led us on a longish walk to the British Airways check-in desk. Unfortunately, the desk was not going to be open for at least another hour, so we left our suitcases in the line and found some nearby seats and had some coffees.

Eventually, the check-in opened and we were soon booked in and went through security into the Departure Lounge. At 9:30 am we were able to board our aircraft and we took off on schedule at 10:00 am. We had been allocated seats 22E and 22D but, again, nobody came to sit in seat 22F, so we had the three seats to ourselves.

Soon after take-off, we had hot drinks and snacks, but the whole flight was only 1 hour and 20 minutes, arriving at Heathrow Airport a little earlier than scheduled at 10:20 am as we had put our clocks back an hour.

On the ground, we were able to collect our luggage very quickly (for once!) and cleared Immigration and Customs without any problems. We had phoned our local taxi driver from inside the airport and he picked us up after a couple of minutes wait (he parks up somewhere close to the airport until we ring him. He is very reliable and has standard rates for airport runs – and doesn’t charge extra for night time pick-ups or drop-offs).

Chris slept in the car on the 100 mile drive home and we finally got home at about 1:00 pm. We refreshed ourselves quickly and then went to our local pub for lunch.

It had been a very enjoyable cruise and we would certainly recommend Viking river cruises to anyone. It is on our ‘to do’ list to do a Viking cruise on the River Douro in Portugal at some time in the future.


=========================================


CONCLUSIONS


This was our first river cruises and it exceeded all our expectations. The ship was very well designed, very spacious and well equipped and the staff and crew were excellent, very friendly, but always efficient. The food was amazing, as good as or better than the sea-going ships we were used to and there were always plenty of choices. I really enjoyed our lunches in the Aquavit Terrace, sat outside in the warm sun. The cabins were as big as most other cabins we have had and were extremely comfortable. The heated floor and mirrors in the en suite were a luxury and very much appreciated.

We had thought that river cruising was rather expensive but, if you consider that there were included excursions at all ports of call, complimentary wine, beer or soft drinks were served with lunch and dinner, free Wi-Fi onboard the ship and chilled bottles of mineral water were put in our cabins every day (and handed out to us as we went on excursions), we soon realised that it was actually good value. Our ship’s account, settled on the night before we disembarked with a credit card, was actually very reasonable – much less than on our sea cruises.

There were no resident singers or dancers on such a small ship, but we had a resident pianist and local entertainers came aboard to entertain us at some of the ports. We found that there were a lot of American passengers on the cruise and we always find them to be friendly, as were the other (mainly British) passengers.

We loved the informality of river cruising. There were never any queues to leave or re-board the ship, as there were no X-ray machines. Before leaving the ship we were given a small card and this was handed back when we returned. It reminded us of the days before international terrorism made travelling so annoyingly complicated and we could just stroll on or off a ship. There are no ‘formal’ dining nights on the Viking river cruises which is fine as they are mainly just short cruises. I don’t mind packing our formal clothes for our longer cruises, but find it a nuisance on the shorter cruises.

The fact that Viking had ‘leisurely’ excursions at nearly all ports of call, for people with restricted mobility, was ideal for us, as Chris had a very sore knee joint (now replaced) and I have my spinal column damage. We missed out on some aspects of the other tours (like going inside the Pope’s Palace at Avignon with its 120 steps) but, on the other hand, we saw some sights that they didn’t as we spent more time in the city itself.

The river cruise was not perhaps as relaxing as a sea cruise, as there are no ‘sea days’ and the fact that we did at least one excursion on every day and two on some days. We did however love visiting so many different places in such a short time. Viking have their own coaches for the excursions and, in our case, the coaches were very new, spotlessly clean and driven by skilled and safe drivers.

Will we be cruising again? A big resounding ‘YES’ – and as soon as possible!


========================================

THE END

========================================


Tomorrow I will start a ‘Memories’ blog covering our Fred. Olsen “Balmoral” cruise up the Amazon river and our sail back across the Atlantic ocean.
Geoff

Booked cruise :-
"MSC Orchestra" - Cape Town to Venice 2020 (now virtual)
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Re: MEMORIES (No. 13) - VIKING RIVER RHONE CRUISE 2017

Postby Camela » 20 Dec 2020 11:32

Thank you for this insight into a river cruise, it is yet another on my 'to do' list. I also fancy the Douro. Look forward to the Amazon as we have not been there.
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MEMORIES (No. 13) - VIKING RIVER RHONE CRUISE 2017

Postby Gillzajoker » 20 Dec 2020 11:56

Nice to end with a seamless transition back to home, Geoff. I, too, had always thought that,
pro rata, river cruises were very expensive in comparison to sea cruises, but definitely take your
point, and in different circumstances, would be tempted. Thanks to you and Chris for allowing
us to accompany you on your travels, and I look forward to 'our' next adventure! :D
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Re: MEMORIES (No. 13) - VIKING RIVER RHONE CRUISE 2017

Postby rdw123 » 20 Dec 2020 12:46

Thanks for entertaining us Geoff. I look forward to your trip up the Amazon. We did it a few years ago on Quest for Adventure. It was fascinating. I shall be here on my own, like a lot of other people, for Xmas so something to look forward to. I wish you and Chris seasons greetings and we all hope for a better year next year.
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