Day 1 Amsterdam.
Fly to Amsterdam where you will be met and transferred to your cruise ship for seven nights and meet your crew at a welcome reception. (D)
Day 2 Amsterdam.
Included today: Canal cruise.
Holland’s delightful 700-year-old capital is sophisticated and modern, with a rich and fascinating history. There is no better way to see Amsterdam than by canal boat, cruising along elegant grachten lined by stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s ‘Golden Age’. Perhaps join the optional biking tour (weather permitting). Later, set sail for Cologne. (B, L, D)
Day 3 Cologne.
Included today: Choice of guided city walk or Jewish Heritage walk. Cologne is one of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, with a river skyline dominated by the soaring twin spires of its magnificent gothic cathedral. This afternoon, choose between an included guided city walk or a ‘Jewish Heritage’ walk. The Old Town offers a great choice of cafs, shops and taverns so be sure to try a Klsch, the favourite local beer and shop for a bottle ‘eau de cologne’.
(B, L, D)
Day 4 Koblenz – Rhine Gorge – Rdesheim.
Included today: Koblenz guided walk; cruise the Rhine Gorge; visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum in Rdesheim. Overlooking the Deutsches Eck, where the Rhine and Moselle Rivers meet, 2,000 year old Koblenz is the cultural and business centre of the Middle Rhine region. After a walking tour with a local guide, cruise the dramatic Rhine Gorge, an incredibly beautiful stretch of river where quaint, fairytale castles stand sentry on the steep, terraced banks. Pass the legendary Lorelei Rock, where it is thought the sweet songs of sirens lured enchanted sailors to their doom. Reaching Rdesheim, visit the fascinating Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum to see a vast collection of self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to 20th centuries. Later enjoy free time to explore the Drosselgasse. (B, L, D)
Day 5 Mainz. Excursion to Heidelberg.
Included today: Mainz guided walk and Gutenberg Museum visit; excursion to Heidelberg and castle visit.
On the left bank of the Rhine, opposite the mouth of the Main River, Mainz is Germany’s largest and most important wine town. Join your Local Guide for a Guided Walk through the Old Town to see the Carnival Fountain on the Schillerplatz and visit the Gutenberg Museum, a tribute to the father of modern printing, Gutenberg, who was born here. Later, head to Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany. With a Local Guide, visit the imposing castle ruins, built of red sandstone and towering above the city, and see the Great Vat – the world’s largest wine barrel. (B, L, D)
Day 6 Strasbourg.
Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Situated on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg is influenced by the culture of both countries and is the capital of the Alsace region. It is the seat of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. Noteworthy sights include the Gothic Cathedral, the lovely Petite France district, Place Klber, and Place Gutenberg with its statue of the inventor of the printing press. An optional excursion to the Alsace wine region is available. After dinner tonight, enjoy an onboard woodcarving demonstration. (B, L, D)
Day 7 Breisach.
Included today: Excursion to the Black Forest.
Located at the foot of Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border, Breisach is the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest region, an area of unrivalled natural beauty with its forests of thick pine trees. The region is best known for its cuckoo clocks, Black Forest ham and Black Forest Gateaux. Perhaps visit the workshop of a local wood carver and clock maker, or visit the open-air Museum of Vogtbauernhof to see how life was lived in this area centuries ago. (B, L, D)
Day 8 Basel, Switzerland (Disembarkation)Beaune, France – St. Jean de Losne (Embarkation) Seurre
Included today: Visit Htel Dieu; on board welcome reception
After breakfast, say goodbye to the crew of the Avalon Tranquility II, cross the border into France, and head for Beaune, the unofficial capital of the Cte dOr area. Beaune owes its wealth to the production, ageing, and selling of fine wines. Although life here centres around wine, Beaune offers much more. Visit the HTEL-DIEU charity hospital, built in 1443 and paid for by the chancellor of Burgundy after the Hundred Years War left many of the towns population destitute. Today it houses Van der Weydens painting of The Last Judgement and is one of Frances architectural highlights. Continue to St. Jean de Losne, where youll board the Avalon Poetry II. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception as your ship departs for Seurre. (B, D)
Day 9 Seurre – Macon: Leisurely cruising; free time in Macon
Included today: Guided sightseeing; cheese tasting.
Enjoy some leisurely cruising this morning, before arriving in Macon, a city that plays an important role in the wine trade. Free time allows you to explore at your own pace. Alternatively, you may choose to participate in one of the optional excursions on offer, such as a visit to a wine cellar. Before dinner, enjoy an on-board CHEESE TASTING. (B, L, D)
Day 10 Lyon.
Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Lyon is France’s third-largest city and its gastronomic capital. Founded by the Romans in 43BC, the city’s prosperity dates back to the 16th century and is due to commercial, industrial and banking activities. Today Lyon offers up a wealth of Roman ruins, excellent museums and Renaissance architecture. With a local guide, survey the city from Fourvire Hill and explore the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its maze of medieval alleyways and Place des Terreaux, a popular area with lively cafs, monuments and the famous fountain. (B, L, D)
Day 11 Lyon.
Enjoy a free day in this fascinating city to explore at leisure. Early risers might like to visit the local produce market. Perhaps wander through one of Lyon’s parks, discover some of the murals or choose from a range of optional excursions. Be sure to taste the gastronomic delights and sample the wine of the region: Beaujolais, wine connoisseurs know that the grapes must be hand picked. Your Cruise Director will have plenty of suggestions for things to do. (B, L, D)
Day 12 Tournon & Tain l’Hermitage – Viviers.
Included today: Guided walks in Tournon and Viviers.
The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage lie nestled among vineyards between the Rhne River and the granite slopes of the Hermitage. A local guide will show you Tournon, one of France’s oldest medieval cities, with its imposing 16th century castle and Roman ruins. Cruise to Viviers, arriving late afternoon, where the included guided walk introduces you to this charming town, developed around its Romanesque Cathedral. The Old Town has an appealing mix of Christian, Roman, and medieval influences. (B, L, D)
Day 13 Avignon.
Included today: Guided sightseeing, visit Palace of the Popes.
The fortified city of Avignon is the capital of the Vaucluse region and one of the most picturesque regions of Provence. Dominated by the grandiose Palace of the Popes, the city is often referred to as the ‘City of Popes’ and was the centre of the Catholic Church in the 14th century. During the guided tour, you can choose to join an included visit to the Palace of the Popes or you may opt for further city sightseeing and either time at leisure or one of the optional excursions to Pont du Gard or to the wine cellars of Chteauneuf-du-Pape. (B, L, D)
Day 14 Arles
Included today: Arles guided sightseeing, visit the Roman Amphitheatre; sail into the Camargue region.
This morning wake up early to the tranquil vistas of Camargue National Park (daylight permitting), before arriving in Arles after breakfast. Located on the northern tip of the Camarguem, Arles is the capital of the Provence region. Your LOCAL GUIDE will show you highlights of the city and youll visit the ROMAN AMPHITHEATRE. Still used today, it dates to the 1st century and was constructed to hold over 20,000 spectators. This evening, sail toward the mouth of the Rhne for a taste of the tranquil vistas of Camargue National Park (daylight permitting). (B, L, D)
Day 15 Arles (Disembark) – Cote d’Azur
After breakfast, disembark your cruise ship and drive along the Cte d’Azur to the Fairmont Monte Carlo, Monte Carlo (or similar). Also known as the French Riviera, the Cte d’Azur stretches along France’s Mediterranean coast from Toulon to the Italian border and is synonymous with prestige and beauty. (B)
Day 16 Cte d’Azur – UK.
Transfer to the airport or station for your journey to the UK. (B)