β€œSaid the river: imagine everything you can imagine, then keep on going.”

~Mary Oliver, At The River Clarion

After our tour of Versailles, we were back on the riverboat, on our way to Rouen. The ms Sapphire would be cruising during daylight hours, and Herb and I were looking forward to spending the afternoon on the Sun Deck, taking in the scenery along the Seine.

The Seine is an intimate river, lovely and serene. It almost feels as if you could stretch your arms from one bank to the other. Flowing 482 miles from its source northwest of Dijon, it empties into the English Channel at an estuary between Le Havre and Honfleur. Unlike the Danube, with its castles and aura of grandeur, the Seine is a family affair – a backyard with docks and small boats and river views from patios.

Early Morning

Sunrise over the Seine…
…as morning fog dances on the river.
Lingering colors at daybreak.

Cruising the Seine – from Poissy to Rouen

The Seine as a backyard…

At times the Seine seems more like a lake than a river.
A marina with great river access.
A Saturday market along the Seine.
Pretty white sails…
Swans Along the Seine River - the modern postcard
…and pretty white swans.
The town of Mantes-la-Jolie and its Church of Notre-Dame.
A boat with a sense of humor!

A Peek Inside the ms Sapphire

The ms Sapphire typically sails with 98 passengers, but with just 32 of us on this cruise, it sometimes felt as if we were on a privately chartered boat. The Tauck team and riverboat crew greeted this small group of people who had ventured into post-pandemic waters with an upbeat attitude, carrying on with all originally planned daily activities. Except for sleeping, I think we were off the boat more than we were on board!

Tauck did an extraordinary job with health precautions. Covid vaccinations were mandatory for all guests and crew. Masks were required in public areas, except when dining or sitting outside on the top deck, and hand sanitizers were prevalent throughout the riverboat. Near the end of the cruise, Tauck arranged the Covid testing we needed to return to the U.S., handling all paperwork and bringing a nurse on board to do the test. Thankfully, everyone in the group had a negative test.

I loved our cabin’s French balconies with floor-to-ceiling windows.
The ms. Sapphire’s elegant staircase and hallways.
Our group met in the Lounge most evenings before dinner, where our tour directors would review plans for the following day.
Breakfast and lunch in the dining room featured buffets as well as items that could be ordered from the menu. Dinners included several main course options and items that were “always available.”
Executive Chef Fenna Hummel prepared a special farewell dinner on one of our last nights.
A small casual dining venue called Arthur’s offered morning coffee, tea and pastries and was open for lunch and dinner.
Inside the Wheelhouse. Herb signed up for a tour on our way from Giverny to Paris.
A favorite spot…the Sun Deck!

Another Sunrise, Two Days Later

The ms Sapphire was making its way to the town of Les Andelys when my camera and I headed upstairs to the Sun Deck. A billowy stream of fog was hanging over chalky white cliffs, reflecting in the river like puffs of smoke. The sun was slowly rising in the distance, around a bend in the river, just beyond a bank of pine trees…a lovely early morning welcome to another day on the Seine.

Sunrise Over the Seine - the modern postcard


  • Hi Elyse! Yes, it was truly great. We spent three days in Paris before the river cruise, which was seven days. Tauck was absolutely wonderful! This was our first experience with Tauck, and based on this cruise, I highly recommend the line. You are so right that traveling without the crowds will likely never happen again. We were continually amazed by the ease of everywhere we went. A real joy!

  • Ok well my preconceived notion about River cruising not being for me has just been blown up. Well done. Photos are fabulous.

    • Your comment really brought a smile, Janet…thank you! I know so well what you mean about preconceived notions. I’ve certainly had a few of my own over the years, including thoughts about river cruising πŸ™‚ For me, it’s always about the itinerary, whether on an ocean cruise, riverboat or traveling on our own. If you find a place that interests you or hits your heart, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that it will be a winner!

  • It’s been so enjoyable to relive this incredible trip with you. Your photos are beautiful and prose inspiring.
    I also was very impressed by Tauck and how they handled all the protocols necessary.

    • It’s so lovely to hear from you Rebecca! Herb and I really enjoyed meeting you and spending time together on the cruise. I’m delighted to know that you’re enjoying the blog! Tauck truly did a great job of keeping our small group as safe as possible without taking away from the enjoyment of the trip. I hope our paths will cross again πŸ™‚

  • Mary, I remember that when I cruised down the Seine, I thought to myself, “this is nice, but not really anything so special”. Clearly, you have a better eye than I do, since it sure looks special here!
    We had Chef Fenna on our last Tauck cruise, and she is an absolute gem!
    Looking forward to reading more of your great posts.

    • Bob, I thought the Seine really was special – lovely, but not as grand as the Danube or what I imagine the Rhine to be. Maybe it was the time of year we were there or the fact that I was up ridiculously early to get sunrise photos or maybe it was because we hadn’t been traveling since 2019! Anyway, so glad you enjoyed it the post! I’m also delighted to hear that you were on a cruise with Chef Fenna. I was impressed with how visible she was around the riverboat as well as her fabulous culinary creations! A real treat, and unexpected, with only 32 of us on board.

  • Mary, how lovely to spot a new post from you this morning!
    Fascinating to see that you are sailing with considerably fewer guests on board than usual – our only river cruise (the Irrawaddy) was pretty similar to that and we enjoyed it hugely, though like you and several commenters “upstream” the large scale, mass market river cruises don’t appeal to us at all. So thank you for a glimpse of life on board as well as the pretty towns along the Seine.
    Bravo for grasping the nettle and making the most of seeing a world where most are still at home – very special indeed.

    • Gill, so glad you enjoyed this little look at life along the Seine. Thanks for your delightful insight, as always! Cruising the Irrawaddy must have been fascinating as well, in a completely different way! We were a bit apprehensive about venturing out into the literally uncharted waters of this post-pandemic time, but we couldn’t have been more pleased with our experiences in France and with Tauck’s protocols. An encouraging sign, I hope, for future travels.

  • It’s fun to ‘re-live’ the Seine as we cruised there a few months ago with another line. Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos and comments.

    • Paul, it’s great to hear from another traveler who braved these unpredictable times and cruised on the Seine! Thank you for your kind words here. I’m happy to have you along, reliving your journey! I thought it was a terrific itinerary and a perfect way to dip our toes back in the travel waters.

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