Our Cruise Onboard AmaWaterways Paris to Paris
After spending a wonderful day and evening in Paris my travelling companion and I met the complimentary AmaWaterways shuttle bus to the ship which took approximately 20 minutes. First glimpse of the AmaLyra was impressive, check in was quick and easy and the crew very friendly and professional. Afternoon tea and refreshments were available.
Our cabin was very clean with nice extra touches including good quality toiletries in the bathroom and hand cream by the bed. There was a very useful euro extension cable and complimentary bottled water which was replaced throughout the cruise.
We explored the ship including the restaurant, gym, elevator (which moves between the two middle decks), the lounge area and the Sun deck which has a jacuzzi and plenty of outdoor sitting space. The ship is beautifully furnished and has a very relaxed feel to it.
The Welcome Meeting was held in the lounge by the Cruise Manager and many crew members were introduced to the passengers. We were given information about the ship including meal times, the very special event of the Chef’s Table, shore excursions (which are all included with the cruise fare), complimentary Wifi and other general information.
Soon it was time for our first dinner onboard which was very good with plenty of choice and variety. Special dietary requirements can be met.
Following dinner the Captain took a slight detour so we could see the Eiffel Tower which was lit with sparkling lights, a very special moment.
Day 2 Paris, France
Excursion to Monet’s House & Gardens
Today, following a light lunch in the lounge, we took a walking tour to Monet’s House and Gardens (for those guests who do not wish to take the walking tour this tour is also available by coach).
The walk into the picturesque village of Giverney took around an hour and was pleasant in the sun. Our first stop was to the see the church where Monet married his sweetheart and his coffin is displayed. We then visited Monet’s grave and memorial where many of his family are also buried.
We then walked a little further to Monet’s Gardens which are stunningly beautiful. Even in late September there were flowers everywhere. As in Monet’s day a team of gardeners attend the gardens and the leaves and natural debris are cleaned from the water regularly. An action requested by Monet who always demanded a clean surface on the water.
The fabulous gardens continue to the house where all rooms are open for viewing and one can enjoy the awe inspiring views of the gardens from the windows.
We took a coach back to the ship and enjoyed dinner followed by an entertainer in the lounge.
Day 3 Caudebec-en-Caux & Honfleur
Caudebec-en-Caux is a very attractive small town around a 15 minute walk from the ship. The town boasts many historic buildings and there is a very pretty stream running through the centre.
We explored and then made our way back to the ship in time for lunch then took an afternoon tour to Honfleur. The guide accompanied some passengers on a guided walk and others choose to explore independently. Honfleur is a vibrant, diverse town in a wonderful setting on the harbour front.
There are numerous restaurants overlooking the water serving all kinds of seafood. During the day we visited there was a market with cheese, meat, fish vendors and also clothing and gifts. Overlooking the harbour is a traditional fairground carousel which adds to the atmosphere perfectly. To our surprise, mid afternoon, a brass band appeared on the town steps to entertain the crowds in the sunshine.
Back onboard and dinner was the famed ‘La Chaine des Rotisseurs’ exclusive dining experience. An occasion not to be missed. Each evening there is a varied choice of dishes on the menu and also a Chefs Recommendations menu. The food is very tasty and the waiting staff are friendly and efficient. Complimentary drinks are serviced throughout lunch and dinner.
The ship docked overnight so in the evening we went ashore to experience the local hospitality of this lovely town.
Day 4 Normandy Beaches
After three fabulously sunny days the sun has deserted us. Today we are taking a tour to the Normandy Beaches. We collect our substantial packed lunches from the ship and join our coach.
Our first stop is Ranville War Cemetery which is a very moving experience. The youngest person buried here was killed at aged 16 after signing up at age 14. The oldest is 49.
We then travelled to the Memorial Pegasus Museum where we saw the original Pegasus Bridge with it’s shrapnel damage. There is also a full size replica of a Horsa glider used in their hundreds by the British in Normandy.
As this was the tour for the UK and Canadian guests onboard (there is also a tour for the American guests onboard) we concluded our excursion with a visit to the Juno museum and Juno beach. The museum had many artifacts from the Canadian forces and German bunkers were dotted around the area.
Back onboard dinner tonight was in the Chef’s Table restaurant. All guests onboard can book the Chef’s Table and experience the fabulous tasting menu at no extra cost. In this restaurant the kitchen is surrounded by glass and you can watch the chef prepare the delicious food. The service was perfect and the food exceptional. An experience not to be missed.
Day 5 Rouen
Today the sunshine is back with us and there is plenty of time to take a shore excursion or wander independently around the cobbled and historic town of Rouen full of medieval buildings and interesting sights.
Joan of Arc was burned at the stake here, prior to which she was held in Rouen Dungeon. The old and new buildings sit seamlessly beside one another and offer a large variation of shopping and sightseeing opportunities.
There is entertainment on board the AmaLyra every evening, today there was a classical singing duo who were very good.
Day 6 Les Andelys
After yesterdays leisurely evening sailing today we took a walk to the majestic, medieval castle Chateau Gaillard. The climb to the castle is strenuous however there are plenty of other, much less strenuous tours to choose from. The views from the castle ruins over the River Seine and the town are spectacular.
Lunch onboard today was a special Normandy lunch featuring food and wine from the local region. This was followed by an ice-cream party on the Sun deck which was fun.
Day 7 Conflans
During a gentle walk we came across a very fascinating Church. “Je Sers” is a unique Catholic Church on a barge moored in Conflans on the banks of the Seine River. This barge was built in 1919 as a coal towing barge, subsequently sold in 1936, renamed “Je Sers” & blessed by the Bishop of Versailles. Today, Je Sers continues to be a church for mariners, their families & community, providing amongst other things, daily masses, a food bank & lessons for the children of the community.
In the afternoon we took a leisurely sail back to Paris arriving in the evening. If you wish you could spend the evening exploring Paris.
Day 8 Sadly, Disembarkation Day
Disembarkation was easy and smooth. Some passengers were enjoying an extended stay in Paris and others flying home, some to the USA, some to Canada and some to the UK.
The comments among the passengers were unanimous. Everyone had thorough enjoyed their cruise and couldn’t wait to sail with AmaWaterways again. I must agree. It has been a fabulous experience from start to finish.
Would I recommend Ama? Absolutely and without a shadow of a doubt!
Hope to see you onboard soon!