My First Cruise: French Waterways With Tauck

June 15, 2016



In April, our Marketing Executive Lee embarked on a river cruise with Tauck. It was quite a notable experience as not only was it Lee’s first time with Tauck, it was also his very first cruise! It’s fair to say that he had a good time and returned home with some wonderful stories, so we asked him to put them into a blog for you to enjoy. This is Lee’s French Waterways with Tauck…

My river cruise with Tauck was actually my first ever cruise and I was very much looking forward to it. The day started with an early morning trip to Gatwick for a flight to Lyon. Once we had arrived, we were met by our French driver who was waiting to take us to Swiss Emerald. The transfer was effortless, we found ourselves in a luxury Mercedes-Benz which took us directly to the gangway – a great first impression.

Upon arrival at Swiss Emerald, we were met by the Cruise Director, Nick who introduced us to the ship and then allowed us to explore under our own steam. We found the fitness centre, public lounge, dining venue and then had a walk along the outer deck.

The first two days of the trip were spent in Lyon, which was great as it gave us time to see the area and even take a few bikes ashore for a ride to a local Zoo. We then cycled two miles along the Rhone, it was a great experience and fun way to spend the day. The Bikes onboard are well maintained and are taken on and off the ship by crane, so all you have to do is grab your provided helmet and you’re ready to go!


We would spend the next five days sailing through 36 locks and taking various day trips from vineyards to a castle lived in by the pope. All the tours were superbly organised and accompanied by very knowledgeable guides. One thing that was clear from the beginning, were the small groups we were in, I felt this made a real difference to my experience as I could take in everything that was happening without having to move between 25+ other people to see what was going on. The Vox system was also a blessing, this is basically a small box worn around the neck, on a lanyard, which also has a headphone attached to it. It means you can stray from the group a little if there is something which catches your eye, but still hear everything that is being told to you.


Along with small tour groups there are different group options for different ability levels, so everyone can do every tour in some way shape or form and in complete comfort. I signed up for a lot of tours and I have noted them below. It would be an incredibly long blog post if I were to speak about them all, but if you would like to know more don’t hesitate to contact us.

The tours I joined during my time aboard Swiss Emerald were:

  • Lyon Sightseeing
  • Beaujolais wine tasting
  • Walking Tour of Vivers and Pentanque
  • Arles walking Tour
  • Exclusive Dinner at the Duchy D’Uzes
  • Avingnon and Palais des Papes Tour
  • Pont du Gard
  • Excursion to Luberon
  • Chateauneuf de Pape
  • Scook Cooking Demonstration at Maison pic (3 Michelin star)
  • Valhrona Chocolate Factory
  • Along with many short walking or bike tours in between

Before joining Swiss Emerald, I was a little concerned that the food may be a bit too rich for me, I’m quite bland when it comes to my food, but I always found something to satisfy my appetite. All of the food is exquisitely presented and the service in the Compass Rose dining room was superb and consistent – along with the food!


I really enjoyed my time with Tauck, the staff looked after everyone onboard and made the trip seamless. Everything was planned perfectly. I would recommend a voyage with Tauck to anyone who wants to experience luxury river cruising as there are options to suit all tastes – family-aimed voyages are also available, but these do sell out quickly, so book early to avoid disappointment.

I was lucky enough to talk to almost everyone onboard and gauge opinions. I can honestly say that I heard only good things from people and they all said that they would happily travel with Tauck again. In fact, some people were already past passengers and onto their 3rd and 4th cruises with the company. I think that says it all.

Book Your Tauck River Cruise with The Cruise Line

For more information regarding river cruising with Tauck, please call 0800 008 6677 and speak to one of our Cruise Experts – we have a wide range of available itineraries and departure dates available. Alternatively, you can view all of our Tauck cruise deals on our website by clicking here.

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