Published on :   05/24/2015

Gala Night and Exploring Normandy

I can honestly say that I have never been as full as I am at this exact moment.

After a marathon few days of eating, today was the M.S. France’s pièce de resistance: the gala dinner evening. With an unreal four-course meal including duck foie gras, veal, goat cheese and baked Alaska, I am so stuffed that even the slightest movement feels like hard work.

As I type this, I’m sitting in the cruise ship lounge, as other eager passengers are dancing the night away to an eclectic mix of tunes, from party classics like the YMCA to current favourites like Uptown Funk. My cheeks hurt from smiling because everyone is having such a great time.

At dinner, the crew announced that a couple on board was celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. At present, their entire family is ripping up the dance floor with a ferocious energy that is contagious. Of course, no one is having more fun than Jonathan, our crew member DJ, who is showing off his moves while leading the group through silly choreographed routines. It’s just hitting me now that there’s only one more day with this cruise, and I’ll be honest – I’m feeling very sad that I’ll be parting ways with this group of passengers and crew so soon!

Today, my morning was dedicated to visiting the ruins of two Norman abbeys: the Jumièges Abbey, formerly the most prosperous Abbey in the entire region and Abbey of Saint Wandrille. Here, we were greeted by the sound of melodic bells, which rang in celebration of a monk’s 50th anniversary of swearing his vow. This is such a rare occasion that it was a first even for our tour guide.

In the afternoon, we returned to Rouen and did a walking tour of the city. Once one of the busiest cities in medieval Europe, Rouen is steeped in a turbulent and fascinating history. In the course of a few hours, I immersed myself in stories of war, scandal and architecture while visiting ornate churches, busy shopping streets, and of course, the famous square where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. I finished off my tour with some shopping in the local market, where I bought my first souvenir of the trip: a block of heart-shaped Neufchatel cheese.

Tomorrow, we’re finishing our last day on-board with a tour around the city of Paris. I can’t believe my first cruise is almost over. I’m excited to explore the Dordogne and Garonne Rivers next, but I think travelling aboard the MS France will always have a piece of my heart.

Talk again soon!