Medieval charms, gastronomic delights and some spectacularly inclement weather all combined to create an unforgettable experience for Travellers Choice’s top members’ recently when they embarked on an exclusive Scenic journey through the beautiful South of France.
The agents – all recipients of Travellers Choice’s annual Gold Choice awards – enjoyed an eight-day voyage along the Rhone on board Scenic Sapphire, travelling from the Roman town of Tarascon north to Chalon-sur-Saône with a pre-night in Nice on the French Riviera.
The group enjoyed a range of activities, from exploring medieval castles to learning how to cook their favourite French cuisine on board. Along with the picturesque scenery, other highlights included riding electric push bikes through the streets of Lyon, an exclusive concert at the Pope’s Palace in Avignon (a venue only Scenic and the French Parliament can access for events), wine tasting in Beaujolais, and the luxurious, highly-personalised on board experience.
Travellers Choice Managing Director Christian Hunter says the weather in the south of France was magnificent, but heavy rainfall in May meant the rivers were difficult to navigate.
“May actually had the most amount of rainfall in Paris since weather records were first kept back in 1872 and the water flowed across the region and into the rivers, which rose extremely high,” says Hunter. “We also encountered a strike by port workers, who walked off the job and barricaded a number of locks. We were delayed for a few hours but Scenic’s Cruise Director organised a fun lock party for guests up on the sun deck.
“Nothing flustered Scenic’s dedicated and adaptable staff, but the experience did reiterate the importance of explaining to customers the challenges that are inherent in cruising on rivers, which are rightly described as ‘living things’.
“Problems don’t happen often but when they do there has to be a workaround and it was impressive to watch how the Scenic crew responded, kept everyone informed and did whatever they could to minimise the impact.”