Unsure at first how I’d adapt to the relaxed pace, I soon found that Scenic’s brand of river cruising can be as low key or as action-packed as you want to make it.
It goes without saying that a luxurious ship that meanders slowly along the peaceful waterways of Europe is going to offer a lot in the way of opulence and leisurely entertainment. And Scenic excels in both these areas.
But what I didn’t realise is that the cruise company also offers a host of extra ways in which to further enjoy the charming villages and towns along the way.
From Scenic’s Enrich program, which provides culturally immersive experiences like concerts, cooking classes and exclusive meals at iconic landmarks to in-depth guided tours, you are treated at every turn.
My favourite way to see the sites though was with the wonderful e-Bikes available onboard. Fun and easy to ride, these electronically-assisted bicycles brought the quaint villages and scenic countryside closer than any other type of tour could.
On a morning river stop, the Scenic crew had the e-Bikes ready for a full day of exploring. We could take the bikes out on the trails for our own exploration or join a guided tour. I chose the latter – a journey along the river all the way to the next stop on the itinerary where we would again meet up with the ship.
Not everyone had experience with e-Bikes, but our guides took the time to acquaint the group on how best to use them. Pedal-operated like any other bike, a power assist switch provides the amount of get-up-and-go desired to overcome any incline you encounter along the way.
Stopping occasionally in picturesque towns and riverside lookouts, we also made time for a stop at a local café for a well-deserved lunch and beverage (I selected a tasty local beer, which in no way inhibited my cycling ability!).
It’s surprising how quickly distance can pass you by when you’re having fun like this. Soon, our destination was in sight and the ship was already there waiting for us.
Scenic has three ships dedicated to France – Scenic Gem, Scenic Diamond and Scenic Sapphire and the e-Bikes are on each of them.
If you’re looking to get out and see even more of France on your next river cruise, give the e-Bikes a try on one of these fantastic itineraries. You’ll have a great time, and you won’t have to break into a sweat doing it.
Having thoroughly enjoyed my river cruise, this is one travel experience I am going to have to repeat.
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Normandy and Gems of the Seine
There are two guided cycle journeys on the Normandy and Gems of the Seine itinerary. Jump on your eBike and head to Villequier, where you’ll visit the Victor Hugo Museum. Another eBike guided tour departs from Vernon, home to Monet and his spectacular gardens.
Tour one of the world’s most beautiful wine regions, on the scenic Médoc wine route. Then sample some reds and whites at the Château Gruaud-Larose estate, or grab an eBike and cycle around the beautiful Château Lagrange, one of Médoc’s most famous wineries.
Other cycle trips on the trip include a journey through the rolling vineyards of Sauternes, for a tasting at Château Myrat. Next, cycle the historic regions of Bordeaux. Cross beautiful bridges and admire the Royal Gate and the Palais Rohan, before cycling through lush public gardens.
South of France
Boasting beautiful gardens and water features, Château de Cormatin is just one of the many highlights on this South of France tour. Alternatively, guests can tour a nearby village to search for and sample the fine French delicacy of truffles.
Later, opt for a French cooking class back on board your ship, or cycle from Tournus to Mâcon and meet the ship there (a tough choice between the two options!).
Cycle trips will also include a bike ride along the beautiful Rhône.
YOUR SCENIC RIVER CRUISE STARTS HERE