My No-Fly River Cruise Experience on the Seine

river cruising on the Seine

I often get asked: ‘is there a no-fly river cruise option?’. The answer is yes, from the UK, there are several options, and they start with the Eurostar from London. With direct services to Belgium, France and the Netherlands there is the opportunity to join several different itineraries. With French high-speed electric passenger trains (TGVs) from Paris, it is possible to access trips that start in Lyon and Bordeaux and for those happy to take a longer train ride even Vienna or Budapest.

Travelling by Eurostar

Having always loved travelling by train, the Eurostar is my preferred way of getting to Europe. I was delighted to find that this was a perfect way to arrive in Paris for my Uniworld river cruise on the Seine. The terminal is at St Pancras International in London. This station is famous for its beautiful architecture, so take time to appreciate this if you find yourself there. With a wide selection of places to shop and eat before you go through the ticket barriers, it’s worth arriving early.

You’ll go through security and wait in a large departure area where you can exchange currency and buy snack and drinks and visit the Duty-free shop. Train departures are clearly displayed and it is wise to check your coach number so you head in the right direction when your train is called.

This link shows the layout of the station, and the website also has a visitors guide.

My ship: the Uniworld S.S. Joie de Vivre

Seine river cruise

I joined the stunning, luxurious and appropriately names Uniworld Joie de Vivre, the “joy of living”, on the Seine in the centre of Paris. Having missed the airport stress (I don’t enjoy flying), I felt relaxed after my train journey and really to embark on an adventure.

Being docked near the centre of Paris also gave us the opportunity to explore on foot and to experience the infamous Moulin Rouge with our entertaining and protective guide.

From Paris, I joined my first excursion the incredible Palace of Versailles. As the principal residence of the French kings from the time of Louis XIV to Louis XVI the palace was embellished by many architects, designers, artists and sculptors, over the years. It was the show home of royal palaces and was admired an emulated around the world.

With over 6,000 paintings and 3,000 sculptures, the museum remains a key record of that period of French history.

Monet’s Garden

One of the excursions on my Seine River cruise was to Monet’s Garden in Giverny. Cycling along the river and through the village provided a lovely bit of post-breakfast exercise on the way. It was fascinating to see his iconic paintings come to life in the garden with lots of people trying to get a photo on ‘the’ bridge.

I spent an interesting morning wandering through the streets of Rouen, enjoying the architecture and atmosphere. It’s an ancient port city on the Seine riverbank dating back some 2000 years. Narrow pedestrianised streets are lined with tall, half-timber houses and an interesting array of shops from patisseries to vintage boutiques. The impressive Cathédrale Notre-Dame was often the subject of paintings by Claude Monet.

Another gorgeous day was spent in Honfleur on the Seine estuary. This involved a short coach trip from our mooring at Caudebec-en-Caux.  The colourful buildings and reflections in the water are beautiful. Exploring the side streets away from the harbour revealed some lovely cafes, art galleries and Calvados shops. I can highly recommend a visit here.

Taking a longer coach trip to the Normandy Landing Beaches, some guests were guided through the moving historical events and took part in a remembrance ceremony.


One of the great things about river cruise is the opportunity to explore different places but return to the same room each night. MySeine River cruise was fantastic and would highly recommend it as a no-fly option. I’m always happy to chat about my experiences. I help people find the perfect river cruise so please get in touch, if I can help.

Jenny Cookman