Discover the Rhone river and Historic Cities on a River Cruise
Discovering historic cities and the Camargue on board the Arosa Luna Rhone is a travel experience that will be remembered. On our Arosa Rhone cruise we experience the region between Lyon and the Mediterranean relaxed and full of enjoyment. After our two houseboat trips on the Mayenne and the Saone we are in France again with a ship on the way. This trip also shows how relaxing river trips are. This is even more than our trips with the houseboatsbecause here we do not control the ship ourselves. This time take over Captain Mikael Labrune and his colleague. The two share the task on the long routes that lie ahead.
A Mooring of the Arosa Luna out of Turn
For once, the Arosa Luna is not at her usual mooring near the old town on our river cruise. Instead, we find her in the Confluence district on the banks of the Saone. Directly at the pier is the Confluence shopping center with restaurants and shops. We could take a vaporetto across the Saone to the old town (one way 4, - €). However, since we have planned the visit to the old town of Lyon for the departure day, we head to the site, where Rhone and Saone merge.
Lyon, where Rhone and Saone merge
The Rhone has passed already more than half of its journey from the Swiss Alps in the canton of Valais to the Mediterranean Sea, where we embark the Arosa Luna in Lyon. Her water has been flowing for a longer time than our river cruise on the Rhone will take. The waters from the Rhone glacier take more than eleven years to cross Lake Geneva. At more than 800 kilometers in length the river has to cross a 2200 meter height difference. Although she already drops more than 840 m on the initial kilometers, there is still enough gradient, we have to pass via numerous locks on our Rhone cruise to the Mediterranean.
A trip to Lyon before Check-in for our River Cruise
In Lyon, the Saone flows into the Rhone. At the southern tip of the Confluence district (“confluence”), the blue waters of the Rhone and the green waters of the Saone unite. We arrive early in the morning at Quai Rambaud near Port de Saone. For us, this means getting up in the middle of the night. Although that initially bothered me, in Lyon I was happy to have this full day for the city. When we arrive at the ship at 10 a.m., we watch the guests of the previous Rhone cruise as they load their luggage into their transfer vehicles.
We are told that our cabin will not be ready for occupancy until the afternoon. Since we already know this from our travel documents, we had prepared and researched what we could do in the area. The Port de Saone is just one tram stop from the south end of the Presqu'Ile, a peninsula that separates the Rhone and Saone. We pay € 1,90 for the outward journey at a machine at the tram stop. (If you pay directly to the driver, the trip costs more, by the way. The description on the machine is also available in German.) Alternatively, you can grab one of the e-bikes or one of the electric scooters that are standing around everywhere.
The Musée des Confluences
At the southern tip of the Presqu'Ile is one of the most spectacular modern buildings in Lyon. The Musée des Confluences , which offers its visitors a journey through the continents and the world. Past houseboats we head to the tip of the peninsula. There our Arosa Luna Rhone cruise will start tonight.
Our cabin for the Arosa Luna Rhone Cruise
Curiosity - and tiredness after the early start of the trip - finally push us back to the ship. We have to wait a few more minutes in the Panorama Lounge. But then we get the key cards for cabin 315, our home for the next five days. The cabin is comfortable. As soon as we have unpacked our suitcase and stowed it under the bed, we quickly feel at home. This cabin is our mobile home for five days. Through the panoramic windows we can even enjoy the ride along the Rhone at night. What could be nicer than one Provence crime thriller looking up as bedtime reading and watching the landscape go by?
The key cards open the doors to our cabin. At the same time they are our proof of payment of the beverage package, we use on our river cruise. We have the premium package. This means that most drinks on board are included in the price. We only have to pay for special cocktails, which are served on certain occasions. If we take advantage of these offers, we either get the extra charge on the drinks menu in the bar or in the restaurant or we receive a receipt, which we pay at the end of the cruise. For us, the additional amount was just under 4 Euro for a special liqueur produced in the region.
The Public Spaces of the Arosa Luna
The restaurant with buffet and open cooking, the wine bar, where gourmet dinners are served on certain evenings, the lounge bar in the Panorama Lounge and the sundeck are the public spaces in which the general life on board takes place. We only missed a visit to the spa. But the weather during our Rhone cruise was just too nice to spend time inside.
We use the sundeck on the way south, when temperatures are balmy in early April. On the way to the south, the Mistral is not bothering us. The notorious wind begins to show its strength on our trip through the Camargue. From here on, we hardly see anyone on the upper deck. The sundeck is always accessible in good weather. Due to sometimes very low bridges, it can not always be used in full length. Then the sunscreen on the deck is lowered on the tables. Even the captain's wheelhouse has to be lowered in such cases. As with a convertible, the roof of his wheelhouse opens. A maneuver that takes us completely by surprise.
This is what you need for an Arosa Luna Rhone river cruise
- Your Luggage the best thing to do is to pack it in one rolling suitcase *, that can be stowed under the bed after unpacking.
- For the excursions and sightseeing during the trip a City backpack is useful. In it you can store everything you need for the day.
- On the excursions you are always walking. Therefore comfortable shoes are a must for your river cruise.
- It's worth your while to bring your camera *, your mobile phone with a good camera * or your video camera * . There are plenty of photo opportunities on the way.
- You should always expect wind and sun for your stay on the sun deck. A windbreaker *, light summer scarf *, baseball cap * for the men and a sun hat for the ladies, who want to keep their hair in check, is handy.
- If your river cruise on the Rhone takes place in summer, you need swimming trunks* and swimsuitDo you want to use the pool or the sun loungers on the sundeck? You can safely leave a bathrobe or bath towel at home. These are waiting in your cabin.
- As for the clothes on board, I liked the fact that there is no clothing requirement on the ship. Only in the lounge do you expect not to sit in shorts or bathing suits. For the gourmet dinner we recommend an elegant blouse for the lady and a tie* for the gentleman is recommended for the gourmet dinner on board.
The Food on the Arosa Luna
The food aboard the Arosa Luna is varied and good. Especially rich is the selection at the breakfast buffet, as this video shows. From cheeses, sausages and ham, a selection of warm dishes on pastries to an extensive cereal selection and a fresh fruit offer there is something for every taste.
I would have liked more French Specialties
Generally, the food on the Arosa Luna is good. However, I would have liked more regionality in the choice of food. After all, we travel in France, a country known for its good food. There are always tastings on the sundeck, which present French specialties. However, many of them are not included in the premium price and have to be paid extra. I would have liked more French food at the evening buffet. Nonetheless, the buffet is quite tasty. A mix of international and Mediterranean cuisine is served.
Gourmet Dinner on the Arosa Luna
On the Rhone cruise, guests have the option to book a gourmet dinner. This is served stylishly in the ship's wine bar with wine accompaniment (wine for an extra charge). We enjoy a four-course menu with burrata on aubergine salad with tomato vinaigrette and basil oil, baked country egg on spinach leaves and boarlings. Poularde Supreme with lemon jus, chive puree and wild broccoli and a Valrhona chocolate cream with pickled berries and crumble. There is also a very good wine from Burgundy - a Mâcon Village AOP from the Vignerons des terres secrètes, which is well coordinated with the dishes served. The food is good. However, I am missing “the French” in the choice of dishes. Too bad, because with such a gourmet dinner you would have the chance to present the regional cuisine on board.
A look behind the Scenes of the Arosa Luna
What strikes us most about our Arosa Luna Rhone cruise is the harmony that reigns under the crew. The friendliness of the crew members makes the five days on the Rhone a pleasant experience, which the guests on board feel the same way. Hotel director Gerhard Schütz leads the international crew with a firm hand, but also with a lot of Bavarian-Viennese charm. The crew members usually spend several weeks on board, with one cruise seamlessly passing to the next.
The everyday life of the crew
The transition between two cruises is a logistical masterpiece. Everything is strictly clocked. Fresh food must be loaded. Cabins are cleaned and prepared for the new guests. The passengers of the last cruise are leaving the ship. They must put their luggage outside their cabin door for collection at a certain time. The day before you receive a luggage tag that marks the transfer date. The departure times of the transfer vehicles are generously calculated, so that delays are also taken into account. Good for us, because our limousines to the airport come later than announced to the ship.
During the journey the everyday life of the crew is divided into free and working hours. During our visit to the kitchen, chef Vasile Gaman explains how the kitchen routine works. In the ship's laundry, we watch one of the crew members ironing laundry. In the cabin section of the crew, we need to be quiet. Crew members who are not working are now sleeping in their cabins. This includes the first captain, who joins us briefly in the crew room. He takes the wheel again at night. In the meantime, the second captain steers the ship.
The Route of the Arosa Luna Rhone Cruise
Our Rhone cruise lasts five days, starting with a very early arrival. Therefore, we have almost a full day in Lyon before the start of the trip, which we spend with a trip to the confluence of the Rhone and Saone. If you feel like it, you can also visit the interesting Musée des Confluences (see above).
The first night on board the ship travels to Viviers.
In Viviers the ship docks for several hours. From here you can make a trip to the Ardèche. Alternatively, you can also visit the medieval town. We enjoy that we have a choice of how to spend our time in the towns along the route. You can book excursions before you start the trip or choose them on board on the first evening. You can join these trips for a fee. The prices are quite reasonable. However, you should be aware that you always have to consider the time to reach more distant destinations. This will usually not leave you much time on site. Thus in Viviers, we decided to explore the place. That left us time for a leisurely stroll and an enjoyable coffee break in a local café.
The next stage of our river cruise is Arles in the Provence. Here we have to decide. We can either take a look at the city or one Excursion to the Camargue Companies. This time we decide to take a jeep excursion into the Camargue and Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer for several hours. After returning to the ship, the journey continues to Avignon, which we explore again on our own. Upon arrival at 18, we take a walk along the Rhone to the bridge of Avignon. In the most beautiful evening light, we also have a good view of the Papal Palace and the medieval city wall from here.
We spend the morning of this day in the city. While many cruise guests join guided tours to the Palais des Papes or a visit to the covered markets with the chef, we set out on our own and stroll the streets of Avignon. We won't miss the market halls. On the way back to the ship there is still time to do as the French do and have an espresso in one of the sidewalk cafes. If you need tips how to plan an excursion during a cruise, then take a look at the Bestager travel blog.
At midday, the Arosa Luna leaves Avignon on its way to Vienne. This is one of the longest cruise days on our Rhone Cruise, which takes us to Vienne for a short stopover the next morning. We spend the afternoon with an interesting program on board. Hotel manager Gerhard Schütz leads us through the otherwise inaccessible areas of the ship where the crew works and lives.
At 9.30 am the next morning we leave the Arosa Luna in Vienne and take the bus to Lyon for a city tour, which takes several hours. Many guests remain on board and return by ship to the city. They dock in Lyon at around 13.00 pm at the usual berth of the Arosa Luna near the old town. After our tour of Lyon, we have the afternoon to ourselves, while other guests take the time to visit the area around Lyon.
Since our return flight to Munich is just before 20.00 pm, we have another full day available in the city. Our transfer to the airport is being arranged for the afternoon. This allows us to revel in the French savoir vivre one more time, watch the life and bustle of Lyon on a stroll through the city and enjoy an espresso in the typical cafes.
In Petar's video you get an overview of our river cruise on the Rhone.
At the end...
A river cruise on the Rhone is an excellent way to experience the landscapes and cities between Lyon and the mouth of the river in a leisurely way. This is Slow Travel at its finest. If you like, you can get an impression of the region in the hinterland on the excursions offered. Our personal way of traveling was very pleasing, too, since it allowed us to discover Viviers, Avignon and Lyon on our own. That took a bit more time preparing the journey. At the same time, it allows us to explore the cities according to our individual interests.
Would we make another river cruise with Arosa? Definitely! We really enjoyed this way of traveling.
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Source: own research on site. We thank you Arosa river cruises for the invitation to this press trip. Our opinion remains unaffected.
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Video: © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline