Cruising Aboard the SS Catherine

45°75'52.99"2N 4°83'75.223"W

Cruising with Uniworld aboard the S.S. Catherine exceeded my expectations in every way. From the accessible elegance of the ship to the professionalism and warmth of the crew,  she was an exceptional platform for exploring Burgundy and Provance. 

When we walked up the ship there was crew ashore, waiting to greet guests. Continuing to carry our own luggage was not an option. It was far too early to get into our cabin, but we were invited to have breakfast, a cocktail, and make ourselves comfortable. We were really just looking to drop our bags before exploring Lyon further. Of course that was not a problem; our bags would be in our cabin when we returned. 

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Headed up by the Hotel Director, Cruise Manager, and the ship's Captain, the service aboard was professional and pampering, but not cloying or claustrophobic. The crew of 50 hailed from 8 different countries, and were warm and friendly, and always there even when you didn't know you needed them. 

A reality of river cruising is that ships occasionally 'raft up', or dock agains each other. It's the luck of the draw whether your view will get blocked; we seemed to average about 50/50. And it never lasted all that long — usually just  a few hours before ships were rearranged. 

 

Visiting Lyon

45°75'52.99"2N 4°83'75.223"W

It's always good planning to travel a day ahead of a cruise our tour departure; missed connections, lost luggage, jet-lag, stress just aren't worth cutting it close. The chance to explore the departure city makes for a great bonus.

Even though our river cruise included a day in Lyon, we arrived a day earlier, ending up with two separate days to explore the city — and its food.  Though the August days were sleepy, especially the Sunday, we enjoyed orienting ourselves in this town that mixes medieval and beaux arts, sometimes on the same block.  

We sailed downstream inspired to return and explore Lyon further. 

The Mayflower Grace

41°37'43.9"N 73°18'25.2"W

This afternoon I pulled the convertible out of the garage and had a lovey drive into the Litchfield hills for a tour of the Mayflower Grace Hotel & Spa. This 55 acre property is a true retreat.

Pro Tip: Thoughtful room location request. The main building has the restaurants if you prefer to be close to the "action". The cottages are quieter, with the most secluded closer to the spa and outdoor pool.

Driving up the property immediately evoked a classic prep school. Perhaps because:

  • A- it is surrounded by them. The hotel borders The Gunnery - Rumsey Hall and Taft are down the road.
  • B- it was originally built as one in the 1890s, before it was a private residence.

In the lounges of the main building it feels no one would know who bought the furniture. It's just always been in the family.The hidden nook of a library made me want to cancel my tour and curl up with a book until the snow came. And the bourbon. But summer is young and the weather calls for gin or rosè, so lunch on the deck, overlooking the gardens might be more fitting.