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Seine River Cruise: To dine or not to dine

Hello Fellow Wanderers -

We will be spending 5 days, or so, in Paris the last week in September '23. I thought it might be fun to take a Seine River Cruise sometime during our stay. I've seen mention of taking a Seine River Dinner Cruise. Wondering if it's worth the price of admission? Perhaps we should simply take a cruise and visit a local eatery for dinner instead?

Also... Does anyone have experience with a favorite River Cruise Company? Are there several to choose from, or is there basically just one?

Thanks for sharing your insight with me, yet again.

:-) WL

Posted by
284 posts

I have taken the Bateaux Mouches dinner cruise twice now. Once in July and once in October. The fact that I went twice should give an indication of my view. I really loved it! For years, I had been a naysayer to the cruises. But it surprised me how relaxing and enjoyable it was. Personally, I thought the food was quite good and the views from the cruise were unbeatable. I felt like it was worth every penny. So much so, I did it twice! And, I would do it again. My suggestion is wait until you arrive to book so that you can see how the weather will be. It's better on a non-rainy night. You should easily be able to get a seating if you book the day prior. You can have your hotel concierge book for you if that's easier.

Posted by
5060 posts

Dinner cruises are offered by several companies and theyhave gotten mixed reviews in the past; some good, some not so good. Personally, we think it's better to have a great meal somewhere before the cruise. That way we can concentrate on the views of the city and not have to split our attention between eating and watching the view. That's just our opinion. Vedettes du Pont Neuf is a river cruise company we've used several times and It is not a dinner cruise. We never had to have a reservation. You might want to google them to see if that is still the case. The evening cruises with the city all lit up give new meaning to "the city of lights".

Posted by
4600 posts

Les Frenchies just posted a video about this, they reluctantly took the dinner cruise and loved it.

I think Rick usually recommends against it, but if you're going to cruise at night anyway ...

Posted by
6670 posts

I'm in the non-dinner cruise camp, for two reasons: (1) For the price you can get a better meal onshore, and (2) Eating a meal requires some focus on your plate and utensils instead of what's outside the window. But others obviously have a different view, to each his own. Les Vedettes du Pont-Neuf does excellent non-dinner cruises throughout the day and evening. Looking at their website, I also see dinner cruises, which I don't think I've seen before.

A cruise is a great way to get a view of Paris you won't get otherwise. Unless you're very sure of good weather, try not to reserve too far in advance. The Vedettes day cruises generally don't need reservations. Have a great time!

Posted by
2593 posts

I really like river cruises. I take one yearly, preferring the Vedettes du Pont Neuf, which, if you check their website, will offer reduced price tickets.

Many of us don’t find it difficult in the least to simultaneously enjoy a good meal and the ever-changing scenery of dinner cruises. However, I only recommend these dinner cruises. The others are not worth the premium you are paying.

Calife

Ducasse sur Seine

Maxim’s Dinner Crises

Don Juan II

Posted by
54 posts

I have done the dinner cruise on the Bateaux Mouches just once. Have ridden the boat many times without dinner, also in the evening. I have been to Paris many, many, times, have led groups there, so I am an experienced traveler in that city. When our dinner cruise was finished, I started to cry. I didn't want it to end. The little three piece band was playing "La Vie en Rose" and it was just the best. There were quite a few French people on our dinner cruise, not just American tourists. Lots of wine and bubbly served, too.

Posted by
51 posts

I highly recommend Calife. Excellent food and service. Plenty of time to take in the views.

Posted by
564 posts

We did the dinner cruise with Bateux Parisiens https://www.bateauxparisiens.com/english.html
and enjoyed it and recommend it and it is a lot of fun. We paid extra for the Premier service to sit in the area in the front of the boat with the service/food upgrade and we had nice views all around. There are several boat cruise companies that offer dinner. I can't say which is better.

You are only one who can determine your price/experience ratio to decide if it's worth it. But I think you should do it.

Since this was our third time to Paris, we finally decided it was time to spend the money for the experience and we felt it was worth it.
But then we also felt eating at the Jules Verne Restaurant at the Eiffel tour was worth it (and that is the most we have ever spent to eat dinner anywhere) and we felt the dinner show at the Moulin Rouge was worth it.
But as you can see, we like combining our tourist experiences with a dinner. The food is NOT Michelin quality, but it's good enough. Don't let the food snobs deter you from this experience. if we wanted a Michelin star experience we'd go to a Michelin starred restaurant by itself.

Posted by
712 posts

I’m going to hi-jack a bit but my question might assist the OP too.

On Bateaux-Mouches they say ‘smart dress’. Other than the items mentioned that are definitely not accepted, how dressy is smart dress? My husband will not have a dress jacket or anything close with him, plus his shoes could be considered a bit casual although they won’t be athletic shoes. The dinner cruises on Calife also sound good.

And thank you @wanderlust for asking directly as most posts do say not to take a dinner cruise. The menus for Calife and Bateaux-Mouches seem quite good.

Posted by
4600 posts

To me smart dress means darker clothing and shoes, men should wear a sweater or sport coat. Nothing with screaming logos, no ball caps, etc.

Dress like you're visiting an elderly aunt.

Posted by
45 posts

Thank for, once again, coming through with information to ponder. I hope to take a cruise at night as it sounds like it might be a beautiful sight to see from that vantage point.

:-) WL

Posted by
712 posts

OP-wanderlust- if you have a minute and remember, would you please PM me here and let me know what company you used and your thoughts as to value? Much appreciated. I was only going to do an evening cruise, but if the dining experience is really worth it, we may change our plans. Thank you.

And @Phred- if you check back- I AM the elderly aunt!!

Posted by
45 posts

Hey y'all,

We returned home late Wednesday evening and are presently working on getting back into the groove of things here in Texas.

We booked tickets on a Les Vedettes du Pont-Neuf early evening cruise, on day 2 of our trip. It was fantastic. I was not expecting such an awesome, up close view of the Eiffel Tower. Whoa! In fact we were so fond of our river cruise that we decided upon a second cruise later in the week. Having spent the afternoon/early evening at the Eiffel Tower, Thursday, we were eager to take the 20h15 river cruise Friday the 09.29. Our goal was to witness the Eiffel Tower light show along with a rare view of the Harvest Moon via Seine river cruise. It was one of our favorite among a plethora of memorable experiences!

All that to say... Nope. We did not take a dinner cruise. We figured (this time around) we'd be too captivated by the scene around us to fully appreciate dinner. However we couldn't help but notice the refined looking dinner cruises. We definitely plan on taking one next time we're in Paris.

For what it's worth: I am intent on returning to Paris before too long. Once was simply not enough for me!

Thanks for your helpful tips! Much appreciated.

WL

Posted by
14269 posts

"For what it's worth: I am intent on returning to Paris before too long. Once was simply not enough for me!"

Ohhhh, we've pulled another one in! Welcome to the club. There is no cure except repeated trips to Paris. Each visit is different as you see more, re-see other things with a more experienced eye and just enjoy the heck out of a beautiful city!

Posted by
981 posts

SJS, we did the dinner cruise on the one that starts with the B. Betaeax? Anyway, most people were dressed nicely, but maybe only half had on blazers. People looked nice. Button down shirt with slacks would be acceptable for your husband. I saw a few even less dressed and I thought they stood out a big. It’s a beautiful evening.

Posted by
6670 posts

Wanderlust, glad you had a good time and hope you'll be able to return again and again to that wonderful city. Somewhere along the way, I hope you'll take a dinner cruise and then report back to all of us whether it was worth it.

Posted by
3 posts

We took a dinner cruise on the Seine in late September and it was a highlight of our trip. It was incredible to see the Eiffel Tower 'twinkling' from the dinner. Tres Romantique! We loved it.

Posted by
1170 posts

Be aware that the OP said they would go the end of September 2023. My guess is their trip is already over.

Posted by
981 posts

Ah…I just saw September assumed it was 2024. It would be nice if she came and told us if she went on one.

Posted by
9878 posts

The OP did report back, earlier in the thread, in early October after their trip. Here is what they said:

Nope. We did not take a dinner cruise. We figured (this time around) we'd be too captivated by the scene around us to fully appreciate dinner. However we couldn't help but notice the refined looking dinner cruises. We definitely plan on taking one next time we're in Paris.

Posted by
45 posts

My apologies, folks -

I've been otherwise occupied. I came to reply to your recent query, in doing so I'd forgotten that I'd already provided an update. So thanks for that catch, Kim!

:-)

WL

Posted by
1 posts

Sorry to jump on OP's question. I have been looking to book a night Seine River Cruise that does not serve dinner and allows me to reserve a window seat (I will be traveling in January), and will pass the Eiffel Tower on the hour as it sparkles. It is my girlfriend's birthday and she prefers to eat at a restaurant after the cruise. Can anyone give recommendations for a cruise that fits this description? Thank you!

Posted by
5060 posts

@ Bill -- Vedettes du Pont Neuf is a river cruise company we've used several times and It is not a dinner cruise. We never had to have a reservation to just take the cruise. Don't know if it is possible to reserve an inside window seat as we've always been on the open top deck. You might want to send them an email and see it it is possible. If not, just stay in side until you get close to the tower and then go up top.