Before starting, I feel that it is only fair to tell you that I like to do things differently. My husband and I secretly got married in November last year surrounded by 20 family members after only 3 weeks of planning, only to tell our very surprised friends 3 days later. Now why do this, you may ask? Well it was with the entirely selfish notion of being able to spend our entire wedding fund doing what we love best… travelling in style.
So how best do we South Africans travel given the delicate issue of foreign exchange? A cruise of course, which led to the next of our slightly different decisions. Cruises are a fantastic choice for travellers who don’t want to spend additional funds when travelling (you would look at an-inclusive package), for travellers who want to unpack once but see many different places and for those who want to come back on speaking terms with their loved ones because they didn’t get completely lost for a full day in the rental car. This sounded perfect, but not everyone’s first choice for a honeymoon. But for us, it was different and it ticked all the boxes, so we went for it!
As avid wine lovers we both agreed that France would be a lovely choice, and the south of France during summer would be just magnificent. We chose the 8 day Uniworld cruise on the SS Catherine from Lyon to Avignon. We flew SAA via Munich and actually chose to do a stopover there after the cruise to diversify with beer after all the wine.
I was in awe of what the ship looked like upon arrival. The décor was exactly as in the pictures, the rooms were spacious and exquisitely decorated and Laura (who would be servicing the room daily) came in to introduce herself. The attention to detail was incredible and possibly what set this experience apart from my other holidays.
Check-in took 2 minutes after which we naturally found the bar and toasted to the next 8 days – and what an amazing 8 days they were. The food on board the ship was incredible, the menu changed every day and local produce was sourced at each port. How they manage to offer fine dining for 100 people at every meal is beyond me, but they do it with class. Every meal was an experience - both lunches and dinners were paired with the most exquisite wines from the region, introduced and explained by the sommelier who was exceptional.
Uniworld take great pride in their excursions and there was something for everyone - from truffle farm excursions to wine tastings, even cycling and kayaking for those active travellers who want to do a bit of physical activity. My advice to anyone travelling would be to find out how active these tours are! We found ourselves kayaking for 8kms against quite a strong headwind. I needed a straw to sip my wine that evening; my arms were finished! Most of these excursions are included within the all-inclusive package but you are given the optional extras should you wish to do something different. Other than these tours, you will not spend an additional cent unless you enjoy a bit of shopping, which makes these packages really worth it!
The service and the people on board were what really sold us on Uniworld. They knew our names, what we liked, what we didn’t like, and no, not like they were paid to do it, but as if we were becoming friends on a cruise that ended way too quickly.
Would I ever go back you ask? Without a doubt – Is Christmas too soon?
Book your Uniworld cruise with Sure Stellenbosch Travel or at your nearest Sure Travel agency.
SURE TRAVEL BLOG CONTRIBUTOR
Brought up surrounded by a family-run travel business, it’s no wonder that Robyn followed her family’s well-travelled footsteps into the travel industry. Her first trip was to Disney World Orlando with her dad and she has been travelling ever since. USA, Europe, Thailand, Dubai, Vic Falls and Australia are just some of the places she has visited - so far!
Contact Robyn at Sure Stellenbosch Travel on 021 887 2920 or at email@example.com.