There are so few reviews on cruise critic for this company that I just had to add one. First of all, don't be fooled by the FCW website - its light on info, but its designed to whet your appetite and call the office. First of all the office is fantastic. She is what any rep of a travel company should be...enthusiastic and able to answer all questions that come her way, plus offer suggestions. Planning a trip with her was easy and that was the start of a great trip.
So the test of any business is how they handle things when something goes wrong. And FCW proved that they truly were a great travel company. Three days before our barge trip we got a call that the Princess was taking on water and was going out of service. But they were putting the Esprit back into service and we would be traveling in Burgundy rather than Champagne. They offered a generous compensation for our inconvenience and told us of the modified plans.
We were picked up in Paris as planned and driven by Johnathan our tour manager to Dijon to meet the Esprit, our new home for 6 days. Once onboard we met the rest of the staff - a total of 6 for 6 guests. We realized very quickly this was going to be a first class experience and not once were we disappointed. The staff are fantastic, willing to do anything to make your week special. The food prepared by Daniel, our chef, was superb in every way... rivaling the best restaurants we have gone to in France. Each day at lunch we would have 5 dishes on the buffet, a cheese course with beautiful hand selected (by Anne and Jess) regional cheeses all presented by the knowledgeable staff and 2 wonderful wines. Dinner was by candlelight and 4 courses including perfect cheeses and outstanding wines.
The excursions were interesting and Johnathan was an excellent and enthusiastic tour guide. We loved walking along the tow paths as the barge followed at its slow rate. Our fellow guests were interesting and overall it was a very wonderful and relaxing week where we were pampered. The only down side is the cabins on the Esprit are very tiny....but there is no reason to stay in your cabin, when you have a comfortable salon and the countryside of Burgundy out the window. By the way, it was a treat to watch Thibaut handle the locks along the waterway and sit with Gregoire the pilot while underway and have to duck down while going under the low bridges. We look forward to taking another FCW barge trip - perhaps we'll get to go on the Princess to Champagne next time.
Esprit has tiny cabins.