Mike Sullivan, owner of Shropshire-based agency Professional Travel, sets sail on the Rhone aboard A-Rosa Stella

I’d never sailed on the Rhone before or been to that part of France, but I’d always wanted to – partly because of my love of red wine – so I had high expectations. I pictured it being green and lush with vineyards everywhere, which of course is one of the draws of a cruise here, and it didn’t disappoint. We sailed from Lyon through Viviers, Avignon, Arles, Port St Louis and Tain L’Hermitage – travelling before the Foreign Office advice changed and a quarantine requirement was imposed for France – and it was absolutely beautiful.

ALL ABOARD We weren’t sure what to expect travelling on a cruise in the current climate, but from the minute we actually saw the ship to the moment we got off it a week later, everything ran smoothly. The effort that was put into making sure the Covid protocols were applied was impressive. But it was all done with sensitivity, and it wasn’t in any way imposing or intrusive.

26 24 SEPTEMBER 2020



a-rosa stella

My wife and I have done a few river cruises before and this was definitely up there with the top ships we’ve been on. The food and drink was excellent and the cabin was lovely – a generous size with double beds, TV and a Juliet balcony so we could slide the door wide open and see the sights. Everyone on board was really friendly, and there was a decent-sized swimming pool, which had strict capacity control so no more than four people were allowed in at a time. The sun deck was also very nice with lots of tables shaded by canopies. This is a quality product from a company that really goes out of its way, and for those who want a relaxed, enjoyable trip, it’s a great option – they will get their money’s worth.

REVIEWED BY Mike Sullivan In terms of the arrival process, it was all very easy. We had to fill in a ‘Fit for Travel’ form before

travelling, which we handed over on arrival at the ship. Once at the port, we all had to wear masks and have a temperature check, and they also very handily sanitised our suitcases. On the ship itself, you had to wear a face covering in the indoor public areas, but once you

were sitting at a table in the restaurant or in the lounge, you could take them off. We didn’t have to wear them on the sun deck either, we just had to socially distance. There were also markings in the reception area and around the ship directing you to walk clockwise. I noticed that cleaning had really been ramped up. As soon as you left your table, a member

of the crew would be there cleaning it thoroughly, and the handrails and reception area seemed to get sanitised about 150 times a day! The cabins were also cleaned daily and they gave you an

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