The 151-passenger MS Botticelli has a decidedly European ambience: Passengers are mostly French, announcements and guided tours are conducted in multiple languages, and three-course meals embrace classic French cuisine.
Built in 2004 and last renovated in 2010, MS Botticelli lacks some of the upgrades of the line’s newest vessels but sufficiently covers the basics. On board, you’ll find a lounge for drinking cocktails, watching cabaret, and dancing; a dining room with fixed seating; and a sundeck where you can lounge with a glass of French wine as you watch the Seine's chalky cliffs and wooded banks go by.
What We Love
Intimate Size: The ship carries just 151 guests, which makes it easy to get to know other passengers and feel tended to by the staff, who get to know your language preferences quickly.
Local Entertainment: Picture an evening of cabaret on board: a singer belting Edith Piaf’s “Non, Je ne regrette rien” to the accompaniment of an accordion and a backdrop of the sparkling Eiffel Tower.
Best Known For
French Cuisine: Expect multi-course meals with fanciful presentations and regional dishes, including rich and heavy classics such as foie gras, duck confit, and cheese plates.
Good Value: Though the ship doesn’t have marbled lobbies or spacious suites, the price won’t break the bank. Plus, you still get amenities like an open bar during and after meals, complimentary Wi-Fi, and some shore excursions.
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Who It's Best For
Europhiles 60 and Up: It doesn't get more culturally immersive than touring France with French natives. And while the ship makes a point to welcome families on board, most passengers fall in the 60-and-up age range.
Art and History Lovers: MS Botticelli's itinerary along the Seine retraces the path of impressionist-era painters such as Monet and his predecessor Eugène Boudin, and themed excursions tour the towns — Giverny, Honfleur — that inspired them. History buffs will relish the medieval ruins along the Seine, and for an extra charge, an excursion to the D-Day beaches of Normandy.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Tight Bathrooms: Don’t expect much from the bathroom, other than that it works. The small shower — separate from the rest of the room by a curtain — doesn't offer much elbow room.
Fixed Menus: There aren't any choices on the menus — everyone gets the same dishes. If you have allergies or dietary restrictions, it’s best to inform the staff in advance.
Kayla Becker is a New York City-based contributor to ShermansCruise and the assistant editor for the site.