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Adventures Afloat: The Seine: D-Day Beaches to Paris

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Road Scholar
Program #12416RJ
14 Days | 13 Nights
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EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
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Discussion Board

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Garreth Schneider Jul 09, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Imax D-Day Film Recco: Earlier this month, I saw the new 45-minute Imax D-Day film narrated by Tom Brokaw ( I was very impressed and highly recommend it.
Linda Haller Jul 10, 2014 at 09:27 AM

Thank you for the very informative posts! We are considering going off the grid for our trip as all the connectivity.
Linda Haller Jul 10, 2014 at 10:43 AM

seems rather complicated.
Linda Haller Jul 10, 2014 at 10:47 AM

On our Sept 14 departure, all the arrangements are different from those mentioned in previous posts-Olivier is not the leader (we don't know who is), the hotels are different, even a different town in Normandy, and the ship is a different one in the same line. We are hoping our experience is as positive as others have reported. Has anyone out there had another tour leader? The only one I've ever seen mentioned is Olivier.

Carolyn Bennett Jul 08, 2014 at 09:44 PM

I also thought Olivier Horslaville was a fine tour director. I had copied some pictures from my father's scrapbook which I had lent to Jean Pierre Benamov. AS we were traveling around St. Lo, Jean Pierre was able to point out to me the location where my father had taken one picture. I think this an example of the type of attention paid to the 'Scholars'.
Susan and David King Jul 08, 2014 at 10:07 PM

We are going on the Oct. 18th tour. I was planning on copying some of my Dad's pictures, it would be great if someone knew the exact location of them and could point it out .
Garreth Schneider Jul 09, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Carolyn: Do you have Jean Pierre's address? I would like to send him something.

Garreth Schneider Jul 08, 2014 at 04:00 PM

* Skype-- I purchased $10.00 worth of time on Skype and used the Skype app on my iPhone to make 3-4 regular phone calls home on the trip. While I could only do it when Wifi was available, the calls were clear and the total cost for all the calls was about a $1.50. When you use this service it is voice only (no video) but you can call any number whether it is a cell or landline.
* Google Translate-- GREAT APP!! I got a cold in Paris and typed in “I have a cold and need a decongestant” and it translated it into French which I just showed to the women in the drug store. It will also speak what you type in.
Wifi Access
* As I indicated, it was free in the hotels.
* There is no Wifi on the bus.
* Boingo ( I heard about this when I got back and apparently you can pay for access to hotspots around the world. If someone tries it, let me know if you think it is worth it.

===== CREDIT CARDS/ATMs ======
Credit Cards Ask you credit card company to give you a card with a chip because this is the standard in Europe. Apparently, the U.S. is switching over so you may have one already. When I got mine there was no charge and I kept the same #.
Transaction Fees If you get money out of an ATM, you may be charge a transaction fee (~$5.00). Our bank told us if we used PNB ATMs, we would not be charged this fee. Check with your bank to see what they say.
Conversion Fees After I got back someone indicated to me that MasterCard and Visa have cards that do not charge you the conversion fee when you use them overseas so I would look into this.

Garreth Schneider Jul 08, 2014 at 03:54 PM

My wife & I went on the April 2014 program and it was the greatest trip we ever took!! I have to indicate a large part of my excitement was driven by having an actual D-Day Vet on the trip but I was also very impressed with out trip guide, Olivier Horslaville, and with our D-Day guide, John Pierre Benamou. The following are my thoughts/ramblings/advice on various aspects of the trip.

TSA GOES Program ( ) This costs $100.00/person & is only good for 5 years but I think it is worth it if you fly frequently. Going thru the process (you actually have to go to a TSA office for an in person interview) gets you permanent TSA Pre-check status for all domestic flights and it was really nice breezing thru customs coming home.

Catching the Road Scholar Shuttle @ CDG There are a sea of tour operators @ the gate where you meet the Road Scholar guide so it can be a little hard to spot him.

===== LODGING ======
Churchill Hotel (Bayeux)
* Older but nice. Set in the older section of town.
* Very homey and within walking distance of restaurants and other stores.
* WiFi (which the French call “we-fee”): free but some problems with reception in some of the rooms.
Villa Montparnasse (Paris)
* we really liked it and in fact stayed here for 3 additional days after the program ended.
* lots of restaurants, shops, etc. within walking distance.
* WiFi: free and good reception in the room
MS Seine
* the Seine is part of the CroisiEurope line so you may be on one of their sister ships.
* we loved this ship; our small group (~15) were the only Americans on the ship but it was great.
* plenty of storage under the beds for your luggage.
* bathroom is not much larger than you would find in a small travel trailer but it worked.
* food was good but rich! Our waiter indicated if we crossed our knife and fork, that was the signal for a smaller portion.
* Wifi: They charged and it was a pain. I had some problems logging on and wasn’t impressed. You paid for two hours @ a time and then had to buy another 2 hours if/as needed.
* Drinks: WOW! They were all (well, almost all) free including hard mixed drinks. They also had an espresso bar so you could get cappuccinos, etc. Having this all be complementary was really unexpected.
* Entertainment: the crew did a show one night and they had a folk dance group come on @ one stop. Both were “OK” but “entertainment” was not what I was there for so it wasn’t a problem for me.
* all-in-all we loved the line and would sail with them again.

===== ELECTRONICS =====
Buying a Sim or a Cell Phone If you need 100% connectivity, then you will have to go this route but that wasn’t the case for us so I put my phone in “airplane mode” when I got on the plane to France and didn’t it off until I got back and used WiFi. One couple on our trip got an overseas data package with Verizon but they found they used it up very fast!! BEWARE: if you don’t turn off cell coverage on the trip, you will probably need to take out a 2nd mortgage when you get home.
Bringing Your Laptop I realize some may feel this is horrible idea but we liked being able to check in when we had Wifi and it was great to be able to download the day’s pictures onto our computers.
220 Adapter Because we have iPhones & Macs, we only need “adapters” rather than “converters.” We got them @ RadioShack and brought 2 with us.
Dual USB Charging Plug If you have multiple devices, having one with 2 USB ports is very handy.
Smart Phone Apps I recommend I have an iPhone but I think these are also available for Android phones.
* Pocket Earth-- You purchase the app and then download the locations you want (e.g., Paris, etc.) while you still have internet access. Once the map for a particular location is downloaded, you can use it without cell coverage or Wifi. The app uses the phone to show your location-- not as accurate as when you are connected but still works pretty good.
* Skype-- I purchased $10.00 worth of time

Linda Haller Jul 08, 2014 at 08:52 AM

We are enrolled in DDay Beaches to Paris Sept 14. Anyone signed up for then? We are from Pittsburgh.
Linda and Dan Haller
Gregory Osborne Jul 08, 2014 at 12:57 PM

My wife and I are from Milwaukee and will be going on that date. Greg and Catherine Osborne

Susan and David King Jun 14, 2014 at 08:53 PM

We are enrolled in the D-Day Beaches to Paris Oct. 18, anyone signed up for that?

Carolyn Bennett Mar 20, 2014 at 09:52 PM

I read the recommended book, "D-Day". Afterward i watched the movie "the Longest Day", produced in 1960. It was a good supplement. One item in the book that was not in the movie - the number of troops in German uniforms that were Polish, Hungarian or Russian that were being forced to serve.

Carolyn Bennett Feb 10, 2014 at 11:00 AM

I am really looking forward to this trip, May 6 version. I think this is as close as I can get to where my Dad was during WWII. He was traffic engineer for the 1st Army. They did not arrive at Omaha Beach until D+5. The tale I remember most had to do with his visit to the Police Chief in Paris to discuss civilian and military routes through the city. When he went into City Hall the signs on the office doors were in German. When he came out they were in French.
Alan Zelliff Mar 04, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Alan Zelliff Mar 04, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Marge and I are really looking forward to the May 6th tour, and this will be our first trip with Road Scholar. While we have heard great things about Road Scholar, we were somewhat taken aback by the changes to the itinerary that we received a week AFTER we paid our money. When we called Brattleboro and questioned the timing we were told that it was a coincidence! I agree with whoever posted a comments on this on Feb 5--it does seem strange that Road Scholar had not locked in the dates and the itinerary before advertising the trip. In addition to being switched from Bayeux and the Churchill Hotel, which looks charming, to Caen and the Best Western, the change in itinerary means upon arrival in France, we will be bused to Caen, then on day 12 we will be bused back to Paris and then after the trip down the Seine, we will be bused back to Paris again. That’s three bus trips instead of one! We were told this was due to a change in the ferry schedule. Also, according to the itinerary booklet we received in January, the afternoon of Day 3 is free time in Bayeux and dinner on our own there. The itinerary still says dinner on your own in Bayeux and lodging at Hotel Modern/Best Western in Caen without explaining how we get back to Caen after dinner. A friend just returned from Ireland with Road Scholar and had a fabulous time; we think we will too, but these are some of the concerns we are having after booking this tour and cause us to have concerns about booking a future Road Scholar trip.
Carolyn Bennett Mar 06, 2014 at 09:01 PM

I have been on several Road Scholar trips, all in the states. So far I have been impressed with the flexiibility when a change was needed. My daughter and son-in-law are to meet me on the last day. They were going to spend the night at our Paris hotel. Then it changed from what was in the online description. Our last night is at a more expensive hotel. Cindy will keep her reservation and drive to meet me.

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at no additional cost on this date ...
12 nights of accommodations
33 meals: 12 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 10 dinners
11 Expert-led lectures
16 Field trips
1 Hands-on experiences


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