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It’s one of the most iconic routes cruise lines offer – a romantic Paris to Paris cruise along the Seine, where the highlights include visits to places like Rouen, Vernon, Honfleur, Versailles and many more.

The major lines like Viking River Cruises, Scenic, Uniworld, APT and Riviera Travel all offer this itinerary. So how to choose the best?

Here’s a breakdown on where you visit, what’s included as well as any additional offerings the lines give you. While the route may be similar, different lines offer different shore excursions.

Some offer the works – butler service, premium alcohol, and several shore excursions to choose from, while others cut the fat and let you wander around the destinations on your own. See how they stack up:

Viking River Cruises

The typical Scandinavian line, which is famous for its uniform longships, has the largest fleet in Europe. The comfortable longships are standardised in its décor and feel, so returning passengers, who may be on different routes, can get the same experience on every ship. There are 95 comfortable staterooms and Viking’s longships feature beautiful public spaces including alfresco dining.

Viking Longship Kadlin

Viking Longship Kadlin

What’s included

  • One complimentary shore excursions in every port of call
  • Free WiFi
  • Enrichment lectures and destination performances
  • Beer, wine and soft drinks with onboard lunch and dinner
  • 24-hour specialty coffees, teas and bottled water

The details

8-days in a Standard Cabin
Ship: Viking Longship Kadlin
Date: May 28, 2020
Price: $4,995 per person, twin share

Extra perks

Fly to Europe for $995 (economy return)

The itinerary

Day One: Viking River Cruises’ Paris & the Heart of Normandy itinerary which starts in Paris with a complimentary walking tour of the city to stretch your legs. This includes a complimentary shuttle from your ship into the city.

Day Two: The second day is spent again, in the City of Love where you will visit places like the Orsay Museum, Latin Quarter and of course the Notre Dame Cathedral. In the evening, the ship sets sail on the Seine.

Extra shore excursions:

  • Highlights of Paris & the Lourve $185 (prices as per 2019 itinerary)
  • Scenic Paris & Hills of Montemarte $105 (prices as per 2019 itinerary)

Day Three: You arrive in the provincial town of Vernon. Before breakfast, your guide will take you on a stroll to see the Maison du Temps Jardis, the town’s oldest house. And after lunch, Viking’s tour guides will take you into the town of Giverny where Claude Monet resided from 1883 until his death in 1926.

Day Four: You have reached the city of Rouen where you can spend your time walking about the Old Town and see some historic sites like the Gros Horloge, a 16-th century astronomical clock. This is also the town where Joan of Arc was sentenced to death.

  • Rouen Farm & Countryside $132 (prices as per 2019 itinerary)
  • Picturesque Honefluer on Foot $119 (prices as per 2019 itinerary)
  • Jumieges Abbey & Countryside Bike Ride

Day Five: Visit the beaches of Normandy which is known as a historic site during World War II. There are many military landmarks including the Omaha Beach, the American Military Cemetary as well as the Arromanches Debarkment D-Da Museum. Alternatively, you can take a tour of Bayeaux which is the home of ornate tapestries and chronicles the pre-Battle of Hastings events.

Day Six: Now, you’re in Les Andelys France where you can take a complimentary walking tour of the Chateau Gaillard. It’s one of the most impressive fortresses in Normandy where you get sweeping views of the country side.

Extra shore excursions:

  • La Roche-Guyon: $145 (prices as per 2019 itinerary)
  • Paddle Done the Eure River $305 (prices as per 2019 itinerary)

Day Seven: When you visit Mantes-la-Jolie, the included shore excursion is a visit to the Chateau de Malmaison where Napoleon Bonaparte spend his final days. This stunning manor house also served as the seat of Napoleon’s French government.

Extra shore excursions:

  • The Palace of Versailles $212 (prices as per 2019 itinerary)
  • Paris by Night Tour $79 (prices as per 2019 itinerary)

Day Eight: Disembark in Paris

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

The ultra-luxurious line, Uniworld also offers an eight-day itinerary aboard the S.S Joie De Vivre, an ornate ship which is styled with French provincial décor (see out review here). The line is known for its decadent five-star service, European butlers onboard and everything is included. The S.S Joie De Vivre is one of the news ships to Uniworld and features beautiful dining rooms, created to look like a French bistro – perfect for when you’re sailing past the Eiffel Tower. The line includes a number of shore excursions for culture lovers, active cruisers and foodies or you can pay for extras in the Masterpiece Collection like a visit to the Moulin Rouge.

The S.S. Joie de Vivre in Paris

The S.S. Joie De Vivre in Paris

 

What is included

  • Airport transfers pre and post cruise
  • In-suite butler service
  • Unlimited beverages including premium spirits and wines
  • WiFi
  • Signature lectures
  • Exercise and wellness classes
  • Most shore excursions

The details

8-days in a Classic Stateroom
Ship: S.S Joie De Vivre
Date: May 24, 2020
Price: $8,297.50 per person, twin share

Extra perk

Pay now in full and only pay $7,469 per person, twin share.

The itinerary

Day One: Embark in Paris

Day Two: Like most cruise lines, you’ll visit La Roche-Guyon in Vernon, Giverny where you’ll see the gardens at the Chateau La Roche-Guyon. In Uniworld’s 2019 itinerary, the shore excursions included in your fare include either a visit to the chateau, a hike along the Crests trail, a visit to Money’s gardens at Giverny or a bike ride to Giverny. There are also options for those who are on sailings that belong to the Generations program.

Day Three: You’ll be at Rouen, the home of the Normany Beaches. Here, Uniworld offers three full day tours which include a visits to Normandy beaches, Sainte-Mere Eglise, Airborne museum, Pointe du Hoc, Juno Beach, Centre Juno Beach, the Tapestry Museum and the American cemetery with a private ceremony at Omaha beach.

Day Four: Uniworld’s itinerary differs slightly with this stop Caudebec-En-Cauz. If you’re into golf, you can play a round at the famous Etretat’s clifftop course which is ranked as one of the best in France. From the course, you’ll see Normandy’s famous Alabaster cliffs. But if you’re not into golf, you can take a walking tour of Honfluer, bike ride to the Villequires Village or go oyster tasting.

Day Five: You’ll go back to Rouen where you can take a walking tour of the town, visit La Couronne restaurant, the eatery where American home-cook and chef, Julia Child had her first experience of French cuisine or visit the Le Gros Horloge clocktower in Rouen. In this port, Uniworld has a special Masterpiece Collection excursion. The full day excursion is a visit to the abbey of Mont St Michel, a well-preserved piece of Medieval architecture.

Extra shore excursion:

  • Mont St. Michel $403 per person, pre-purchase (price as per 2019 itinerary)

Day Six: Uniworld offers five different shore excursion which includes a choice of the secret apartments of Versailles, Versailles Gardens and Queens Hamlet, a bike ride along to Seine River to La Butte Verte Par or in the Generations Excursions, a visit to Marie Antoinette’s Estate or a bike ride in the Versailles Gardens.

Day Seven: Returning back to the City of Light, Uniworld has a range of shore excursions where you can experience the city like a local, do an active shore excursion of pick something from the Masterpiece Collection. There are visits to the Latin Quarter, a bikeride through the city, a Paris city tour, or a treasure hunt at the Lourve.

Extra shore excursions:

  • 1980’s sidecar Montmarte Discovery $158 per person, pre-purchase (price as per 2019 itinerary)
  • Moulin Rouge $309 per person, pre-purchase (price as per 2019 itinerary)
  • Paris City Roofs $141 per person, pre-purchase (price as per 2019 itinerary)

Day Eight: Disembark in Paris

APT

One of the Australia’s oldest tour companies, APT has revamped its brand and now offer its guests a range of shore excursions broken into different categories like the Signature Experience and Freedom of Choice shore excursions, whether you want to try something a bit different, traditional or explore in your own time. The all-inclusive river ships have personalised service, five unique dining services including three specialty restaurants, private panoramic balconies and large public spaces.

What is included

  • Airport transfer pre and post cruise
  • WiFi
  • Unlimited beverages including premium spirits and wines
  • Shore excursions
  • In-suite butler service

The details

8-days in a Category E stateroom
Ship: Aria
Date: May 28, 2020
Price: $5,596

Extra perk

Companion fly free

The itinerary

Day One: Embark in Paris

Day Two: Spent in Paris, APT’s two shore excursions include a Signature Experience where you’ll get to watch a show of the Bluebell Girls and Lido Boys at the Paris Lido. It’s one of the most famous shows of high-kicks and can can dancing. Or the Freedom of Choice sightseeing option is a culinary walking tour where you can sample some of Paris’ finest food. Or you could visit Versaille or explore the Montemart district.

Day Three: With APT in Vernon, Giverny you’ll see Claude Monet’s house and gardens or take a bike ride from Vernon to Monet’s house as part of the line’s Freedom of Choice.

Day Four: APT’s visit to Le Havre in Honefluer includes an after-hours visit to the Palais Benedictine. You can wander through the museum and distillery and try some cocktails made with the spirts brewed in Palais Benedictine. After pre-dinner cocktails, have dinner in the Abbots Hall.

Day Five: APT’s call to Caudebec-En-Caux has several options for its guests. There is a full-day World War II excursion to Normandy or you can visit the Pays de Caux region to visit a cider farm for tour and tasting. Or the line offers calvados and cheese tasting on the Aria.

Day Six: In Rouen, you can explore the battlefield of the Somme and visit the Australian National Memorial and the Franco-Australian Museum located in Villers-Bretonneux. Alternatively, you can take a city tour of Rouen by foot or enjoy a round of golf.

Day Seven: In Les Andelys, APT’s Freedom of Choice options lets you pick either a visit to the ruins of Chateau Gaillard, a leisurely excursion to the Chateau de la Roche-Guyon or try your art skills at an impressionist painting class on the Aria.

Day Eight: Disembark in Paris

Riviera Travel

The reduced fare line is making an emergence in the Australian market with its affordable river cruises. British-owned Riviera Travel, is known for its simple and well-appointed ships which visit a number of destinations. On this itinerary, guests will be sailing on the MS Jane Austen which has comfortable stateroom furnishings, a lido deck which serves an early bird breakfast, light lunch and dinner. There is also a wellness area, as well as a lounge with a bar.

Riviera Paris

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What’s included

  • One shore excursion per port
  • Accommodation
  • Meals

What’s not included

  • Alcohol (Beverage packages from $199 per person)
  • Extra shore excursion options
  • WiFi

The details

8-days in an Emerald Deck Lower Stateroom
Ship: MS Jane Austen
Date: May 12, 2020
Price: $3,449 per person, twin share

Day One: Embark in Paris

Day Two: Riviera Travel’s visit to Les Andelays is at the guests own leisure. There are lots of Gallo-Roman remains, churches, museums or visit Chateau Gaillard.

Day Three: In Rouen, Riviera Travel leaves you to your own devices to explore Rouen before sailing off to Caudebec-En-Caux after lunch onboard the ship. The line advises you to explore the spot after dinner with its market square, richly decorated church and the Maison des Templiers.

Day Four: Riviera Travel’s shore excursions in Bayeux and Arromanches is a full-day tour of the home of the tapestry telling the story of the Norman invasion of Britain and a visit to Gold Beach, one of the designated landing sites of D-Day. Lunch is not included on this day.

Day Five: In Honfleur, you are taken to the town where you can watch local artists along the waterfronts, visit the 16th to 18th century houses, antique shops and much more. Riviera Travel leaves you to your own exploration.

Day Six: Riviera Travel in Giverny and Vernon take you on a shore excursion to visit Monet’s garden and house. After lunch, you can explore the town on your own.

Day Seven: Riviera Travel’s shore excursion visits some of the most iconic destination like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysee, Sacre-Coeur and much more. There is also the Place de la Concorde and the Musee d’Orsay.

Day Eight: Disembark

Scenic

Sailing on the Scenic Gem, the Australia luxury river cruise line takes you through northwestern France. Scenic is known for its five-star ‘Space-Ship’ which feature their Scenic Sun Lounges. The Scenic Gem caters for 128 guests and guests get onboard a number of dining options like the River Café, the L’Amour Restaurant, Panorama Lounge & Bar, suites have private balconies and guests get butler service. There is also a fitness centre and wellness area available.

Scenic River Cruises, Paris

What’s included

  • Shore excursions
  • Up to five on board dining options, from casual to fine dining
  • Complimentary beverages all day, every day
  • Butler service for all guests
  • The freedom of our e-bikes – electronically assisted bicycles
  • WiFi

The details

8-days in a Standard Suite
Ship: Scenic Gem
Date: May 27, 202
Price: $6,095 per person, twin share

Extra perk

Fly from $995

The itinerary

Day One: Embark in Paris

Day Two: In Conflast, Scenic offer its guests Freechoice activities. There is a visit to Auvers-sur-Oise and see Vincent van Gogh’s room, or a tour of magnificent Chantilly Castle.

Day Three: In Rouen, Scenic will take you on a walking tour of the capital of Normandy and the guide will point out the famous sites of Joan of Arc. Or you could join a guided cycling tour along the Seine River to the 19th century botanical gardens.

Day Four: Scenic offers two different Freechoice shore excursions in Honfluer – a walk of the historic Normandy beaches before a tour of the Landing Museum at Arromanches. Or, the line offers a walking tour of Honfluer where you can visit some of the local shops and sample the local seafood.

Day Five: At Caudebec-En-Caux, Scenic has organised a Freechoice and Sundowners activity. The Freechoice activity visits Fecamp and its mighty palace. Or, you can travel through the countryside which was once dotted with over 100 abbeys. By the evening, the Sundowners activity is an event at the Chateau d’Etelan where you’ll have an afternoon aperitif.

Day Six: The Freechoice event in Vernon is a visit to Monet’s former residence and garden. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can explore by bike with a self-guided tour. Or you could do an Enrich shore excursions where you visit the Chateau de La Roche Guyon for a classical concert.

Day Seven: While other lines offer walking tours, bike tours and visits to famous sites in the City of Lights, Scenic will take you shopping with a chef at one of the local Parisian markets and taste some of the produce. Or you can walk with a local resident and find out secrets of the city or there is a visit to the Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte, Louis XIV’s inspiration for the Palace of Versailles.

Day Eight: Disembark in Paris