If you’ve been to Paris, you have most certainly seen the tourist boats that ply the waters of the Seine. Whether for a day cruise of the major monuments that dot the quais or a romantic dinner cruise that concludes with a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower sparkling against the night sky, such a cruise is almost de rigueur for a tourist. Last year alone, over 7 million tourists to Paris went for a jaunt on the Seine.
Today’s expression, faire une croisière (fare oon crway-see-air), means to go on a cruise, something a little more exotic than a tourist boat excursion. Viking offers river cruises in France with itineraries from Normandy to Paris, Provence, Paris to Avignon, and the wine country. The itineraries mix time on land with time on board. The ships are small in comparison with those on the big commercial runs (about 150 guests instead of up to 4,000) and the level of service and amenities are truly luxurious.
But an even better river cruising experience is on the horizon with the Norwegian. In 2015, three new river cruise ships of 150 yards in length (almost half the size of the Eiffel Tower) will take trips with 180 passengers from Paris to Le Havre in Normandy and back to Paris. Imagine the skill it will take to do a U-turn with a vessel of that size in the heart of Paris! The 400 kilometer route will take you beneath the pont de Tancarville, you’ll disembark to visit Monet’s garden at Giverny, and cruise past le Chateau Gaillard, the 12th century home of Richard the Lion Hearted. It’s also nice that the ships will be built right in France in Saint-Nazaire, bringing employment to the region. Anchors aweigh!