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Article Samples from our July 2017 Senior Beacon

Joie De Vivre Brings French To Uniword's Seine Cruises 

by David G. Molyneaux-TheTravelMavens.com

Joie de Vivre brings a French effervescence to Uniworld’s Seine cruises from Paris

Paris

You don’t need to speak French to sail on the new Joie de Vivre, cruising the Seine out of Paris. But you will know from your first step aboard, at the dock about a 20-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower, that you are in France.

From French fabrics, foie gras and daily arrays of local cheeses to hallways dressed in early 1900s caricatures by artist George Goursat (known as Sem), the Joie de Vivre is true to its French intentions, designed as a floating Paris boutique hotel.

I like especially the concept of going on a Paris vacation that starts and ends with a hotel docked in the middle of the city, then cruising for a week up and down the Seine in high Paris style, stopping for excursions to some of France’s travel favorites: Palace of Versailles, Monet’s home and garden at Giverny, the old town and Gothic cathedral of Rouen, the port at Honfleur, and the memorials on Normandy’s Atlantic Coast, scene of the invasion of Europe by Allied Forces in 1944.

Most river cruise companies, like their ocean counterparts, tend to design one model and build a single ship that represents their brand, copy it as many times as financially feasible, then send the copies to cruise from various ports around the world. This is the most efficient and profitable way to expand a cruise line.

Rarely does a line design a vessel specifically with a destination and itinerary in mind. Uniworld Boutique River Cruises is that rare company. Its newest of 18 river vessels, the Joie de Vivre, is a stunning result.

Which is part of the reason that the 128-passenger Joie de Vivre was nearly sold out for its 2017 season before it began cruising from Paris this spring.

Uniworld is not new to the river cruise business, but during the past decade, after being acquired by The Travel Corporation (TTC) managed by the Tollman family, the river company has become known as one of the most luxurious (and expensive) of the river cruise lines. The company has a reputation for unique décor and style, including antiques, original artwork, and handcrafted furniture. Brett Tollman, chief executive of TTC, told Travel Weekly recently that the carpet for Joie de Vivre took a year to design.

The result is a splurge of a vacation cruise in a one-of-a-kind vessel fit for a classic sojourn on the Seine. Cabins and suites have French balconies and marble bathrooms (onyx in the two owner’s suites). Restaurant choices range from iconic French dishes in the grand Le Pigalle to the more intimate Le Bistrot and Claude’s supper club, with jazz.

As if Rouen, Honfleur, the Normandy beaches, and Giverny were not enough, Uniworld has enhanced its itinerary with alternatives possibilities to play golf from the port of Rouen and in Etretat, as well as to explore ports near the Seine using its fleet of bikes.

The seven-night cruise includes a day and overnight in Paris, and because the vessel is docked in central Paris before and after the cruise, passengers have additional time to tour the city center. Prices start at about $4,350 per person for two, all-inclusive.

Even if you don’t speak French when cruising on the Joie de Vivre (most of the staff onboard is not French), it does help your self-esteem to properly say the name of the ship, ZHwä de vēvre (pronouncing the last syllable almost as if it doesn’t exist) as you gently shake your head in complete understanding of its meaning.

The phrase Joie de Vivre means exuberant enjoyment of life and carries with it lightheartedness, joviality, and effervescence, all of which tend to improve anyone’s vacation time, especially in France.

David Molyneaux writes monthly

about cruising. He is editor of TheTravelMavens.com

 

Light for the Journey - Whose Genes?

"JUST LIKE THAT!"

JULY 2017

Repeated pounding from the neighbor’s yard sparked my curiosity. I walked to my garage and saw Andy with an axe vigorously chopping at a six-foot-high tree stump in his back yard. He was intent on delivering a fatal blow to that stubborn stump. After observing his forceful hacking, I quieted my urge to walk across the yard to chat with him and went into the garage to complete my task. A decision I later regretted.

Over two years earlier when autumn leaves were falling Andy took ownership of the house next door.From the scruffy disheveled appearance of this new neighbor I wasn’t sure I wanted to make his acquaintance. His language was crude and hewas rough around the edges. Not at all friendly. Weeks passed and we didn’t see him except occasionally when he sped away on his thundering Harley.

In December, I walked to Andy’s front door with a pecan pie, my usual Christmas gift for neighbors. Ringing the door bell and knocking several times brought no response. I rang the doorbell one last time and waited a few more minutes.The door opened slightly. Andy peered through the crack. I introduced myself, wished him a merry Christmas and presented the gift. When he opened the door further to take the pie, I glimpsed his grimy clothes and long greasy hair.With the door open just enough to take the piehe graciously thanked me. However, he clearly was not up for a neighborly chat.

Rick and I prayed regularly for Andy and greeted him at every opportunity. He’d wave back but the impenetrable shell was obvious.

Spring arrived and we started seeing more of Andy working in his yard. Each time I saw him I yelled, "Hi Andy!" Occasionally I walked to his yard and attempted to engage him in small talk.

Gradually he started speaking with us. Discussions covered surface subjects such as irrigation ditch water, weather and other trivia. Nothing deep but at least he was friendly.

Late last summer several weeks passed and we saw nothing of Andy.Weeds and grass grew high in his yard.

Although we had no idea what happened to him or where he was we continued our prayers for him.

Four months passed and then one day I saw Andy in his yard. He was clean shaven and sported a fresh short haircut. He wore a cast on his right forearm and his hand was bandaged. "Wow, Andy! You got your hair cut. You look great."

"I thought it was time," he said.

I told him how nice he looked and that we missed him and were praying for him. He was moved to tears. Rick joined us and Andy told us he had been in an accident. He was on his motorcycle when another driver hit him. He was hospitalized in a coma for weeks and nearly died. He said, "The hospital chaplain talked to me and prayed for me." Pointing to the sky, Andy said enthusiastically, "He aint’ through with me yet!" We prayed for Andy’s healing and gradually he gained use of his arm, though he had lost part of his hand. He began mowing and working in his yard again.

We visited with Andy often and although he was still a bit rough around the edges his spirit softened tremendously. Conversations were pleasant and often about Jesus and God’s amazing love.

The day I saw Andy chopping at the tree stump and I chose not to bother him, I had no idea how deeply I would regret that choice. Two days later, Andy was dead. He was on his way to work when a speeding fugitive crossed to the opposite lane and hit Andy’s truck head-on. Both were killed. Andy was gone. Just like that!

Opportunities to remind Andy how much Jesus loves him are gone. Just like that! "If only . . ." floods my mind. Life is fleeting. I reminisce about other missed opportunities to share Jesus and my heart flinches with pain and regret. The Apostle Paul tells us to make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. No one is promised tomorrow. Our days are numbered.

"So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do" (Eph. 5:15-17 NLT).

I knew what the Lord wanted me to do and missed the opportunity.

James warned that life is fleeting, a mist, "Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that’ " (James 4:14,15 ESV).

"And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. . ." (Hebrews 9:27 ESV). Are you missing opportunities to share Jesus?

William Arthur Ward said, "Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them." Don’t miss them. The opportunity may be gone. Just like that!

 

©2017 Jan McLaughlin All rights reserved. Jan McLaughlin is Director of Prayer For Prisoners International and can be reached at 719-275-6434 or by e-mail, Jan@PrayerForPrisoners.org.

 

 

 

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