Joie de Vivre
The 128-passenger Joie de Vivre is pure joy for Francophiles, a fancy river ship that cruises from Paris on the Seine and embraces, as its name implies, the French "joy of living." Guests can expect fine French cuisine, generous local and international (complimentary) wine, and — when your ship is docked in Paris — spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower from the sundeck.
What We Love
The Décor: From the rich Pierre Frey fabrics on the walls, furniture and bedding to the original French posters to the lobby's wrought iron staircase (a design borrowed from a grand Paris hotel) this is a ship that embraces French style, especially circa 1940s to 1960s. The highly polished wood adds a super yacht touch, while fun, circus-like umbrellas festoon the sundeck.
The Pool: In a clever bit of designer magic, this jungle-themed space morphs from an inviting indoor pool by day into a hip jazz supper club, Claude's (named for Claude Monet), at night. The bar drinks morph too, from juices and smoothies to martinis.
Best Known For
Dining Choices: In addition to lavish breakfast and lunch buffets and formal dinner in the dining room, there are other choices including Le Bistrot, the perfect little French eatery with a menu that includes onion soup, roast chicken, and duck cassoulet.
French Artwork: Take time to check out the classic posters (including one of Josephine Baker near the pool) and the historic caricatures of Parisians by Sem (Georges Goursat) that line guest hallways. Architecture buffs will want to peruse the collection of 19th-century prints of the building of Paris, on display on the rear wall of the main lounge.
Lovely Staterooms: Most cabins come with French balconies, which are big upper windows that open. Eight junior suites have a sitting area, while two over-the-top one-bedroom Royal Suites (with onyx bathrooms!) can connect through a hidden mirror to a second bedroom.
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Who It's Best For
Age 55 and Up: Most of the guests are well-heeled older travelers looking for a comfortable way to see the sights of Paris as well as the sights of the Seine, such as the D-Day Landing Beaches of Normandy.
Honeymooners: What's more romantic than having a floating pied-a-terre in Paris? The fact the ship docks overnight in the City of Light is a draw. If you want to explore on your own, there are also bikes onboard you can use in port.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It's Expensive: Eight-day Paris & Normandy cruises start at $4,349 per person, and go up from there.
Fran Golden is a Cleveland-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.
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Joie de Vivre at a Glance
- Line: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
- Number of Passengers: 128
- Ship Size: Small
- Launch Date: 2017