Day 2: Paris – We Set Sail With U by Uniworld
09 Oct 2017
I’m writing this daily blog from a giant cabana on the top deck of The B as we sail towards Rouen…it’s a hard life!
It was an early rise this morning to head of on the first excursion of the day – a panoramic breakfast bus tour. Taking in the impressive sights of Paris, this stylish double decker bus (painted the same matt black as The B) had a kitchen downstairs and several dining tables upstairs. As we slowly made our way between the Louvre, Arc de Triomph, and several other top tourist spots, we elegantly dined over breakfast. To start we’re some traditional pastries, followed by some cold cuts and cheeses, Eggs Benedict, and finally a plate of fruit. It was a unique way to enjoy breakfast.
The breakfast tour lasted for a few hours, so almost as soon as we returned, it was almost time for the afternoon excursion – a trip to the Paris Catacombs. Meeting dockside, we walked to the nearby metro stop and caught Line 6 to Denfert-Rochereau. U by Uniworld excursions are all about being active and getting a taste of local life, so where possible you’ll either walk or use local transport to get to places, rather than a mundane coach ride. At the Catacombs, we skipped the several hour long line outside the Catacombs entrance and went straight in – just one of the perks of an organised tour with U by Uniworld instead of independent travel. Heading down the spiral staircase to the old quarry tunnels, we learned about the history of the Catacombs. 6 million bodies were transported to the tunnel network. It was quite moving and creepy seeing thousands of bones and skulls stacked in every nook and cranny, though slightly tarnished by the word ‘Alaska’ written in permanent marker on one of the skulls and some chewing gum in one of the eye sockets.
After resurfacing, we stumbled across a celebration parade on one of the main streets. Old military vehicles and dancers in wartime clothing. It was a great community event we just happened to come across in the moment. After, we got the metro back to the ship.
Back onboard, I enjoyed a couple of drinks in the U Lounge and tried out the Burger Sliders – just to calm my appetite until dinner just a few hours away. There’s also a vending machine onboard in case you get peckish when there is no food served in the restaurant.
At 6:45 pm we began to cast off from Paris. We didn’t get very far before stopping in the middle of the Seine for the christening of the ship. A few speeches were made before bottles of champagne were opened using swords over the side of the ship. We were all then invited to join in with a community drumming session at the back of the ship, to illustrate the community beat of The B. Afterwards we were all ushered into the U Lounge for a safety briefing by no other than Uniworld’s President & CEO Ellen Bettridge.
It was another fantastic meal, with a sharing niçoise salad to start. Next was a chicken and barley soup and my second burger of the day, accompanied with both potato wedges and chips! Finally there was a delicious chocolate lava cake for dessert. Yum! During the meal one of the U Hosts came round with a lantern. Our table were asked to make a wish for The B, which would then be used as part of the renaming of the ship. We decided to each come up with a sentence which caputured the essence of the. Rand and used the letter B and U. Our wish was “Be Safe, Be Adventurous, Be Unique, Be You.”
After dinner we all went on to the top deck, where Ellen and the ship’s guardian angel Petra Nemcova made speeches before we ignited our lanterns and let them drift away into the dark sky. It was a magical moment as several dozen balloons gently glided further and further away.
It was then party time in the U Lounge for the rest of the night.
Tomorrow, I’m in Rouen. Check back to see what I get up to!