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European River Cruises 2019

From Newcastle by air or rail

Rhine & Moselle River Cruise
Eight days
Experience more with so much included
Visit to Boppard, the picturesque ‘Pearl of the Rhine’
Time to explore the hillside town of Rüdesheim - the most famous of the Rhine’s wine towns
Cruise through the spectacular Rhine Gorge
Stop in Cochem – the historic centre of the Moselle wine trade
Take a romantic stroll in the town of Bernkastel
Tour of Trier – once a key capital of the Roman Empire
Guided tour of Cologne – and see the stunning Gothic Cathedral
Services of a cruise director and tour manager
Standard class reserved seat on Eurostar from London St. Pancras or return flights from selected airports (at a supplement)
Return rail connections on selected dates from more than 30 regional stations

Flying from Newcastle


28 Apr 2019 MS Charles Dickens £1,519.00
14 Jun 2019 George Eliot £1,919.00
20 Sep 2019 MS George Eliot £2,019.00
24 Oct 2019 MS Jane Austen£1,319.00

By rail from Newcastle
28 Apr 2019 MS Charles Dickens£1,479.00
10 May 2019 MS George Eliot£1,779.00
30 May 2019 MS Emily Brontë£1,879.00
14 Jun 2019 MS George Eliot£1,879.00
15 Jul 2019 MS Thomas Hardy£1,629.00
24 Jul 2019 MS Jane Austen£1,579.00
01 Aug 2019 MS Emily Brontë£1,629.00
09 Aug 2019 MS George Eliot£1,629.00
04 Sep 2019 MS Oscar Wilde£1,979.00
20 Sep 2019 MS George Eliot£1,979.00
02 Oct 2019 MS Oscar Wilde£1,579.00
24 Oct 2019 MS Jane Austen £1,279.00

Explore the historic cities of the mighty Rhine and the quintessential half-timbered wine villages of the serene Moselle, its banks lined with ancient ruined castles and impossibly steep terraced vineyards. Following embarkation in Cologne, we meander south on the Rhine to Rudesheim, visiting the old town of Koblenz and then to Boppard, known as ‘the Pearl of the Rhine’ en route. Cruising through the Rhine Gorge, we experience spectacular scenery, emerald vineyards and a landscape studded with houses and picturesque villages.
Our journey then takes us upstream and then along the Moselle river calling in the delightful town of Cochem and the romantic twin village of Traben-Trarbach. At our furthest port of call, Bernkastel, we also visit Trier, the oldest city in Germany, famous for its Roman amphitheatre, baths and the imposing Porta Nigra, the huge fortified gate that formed the eastern border of the Roman Empire.
Cruising back downstream, we have time to relax and absorb the stunning scenery along the Moselle valley, rejoining the Rhine and heading north, to Cologne. Here we take a guided city tour seeing the stunning cathedral with the most intricate stained glass in Europe.
All in all a spectacular and relaxing cruise in some of the finest landscape that Germany has to offer, appreciated from a most privileged vantage point.

DAY ONE
ARRIVAL IN COLOGNE
Arrive for your flight to Düsseldorf or Cologne, or take the Eurostar from London St Pancras International to Brussels. On arrival, transfer by coach to your five-star cruise ship moored in the heart of Cologne, one of Germany’s oldest cities. The friendly English-speaking crew will welcome you and help you to your cabin. After settling into your spacious and well-equipped accommodation, it’s time to familiarise yourself with the many first-class aspects of this floating boutique hotel.

DAY TWO COCHEM
The first morning on board a river cruise is always a thrill, awakening to the peaceful lapping of the water outside as the scenic valley sides slip past your cabin window – there’s no other holiday experience quite like it. Breakfast is a leisurely affair; life on board is unhurried, so you can linger over that extra cup of tea or coffee.
You’re cruising some of Europe’s most dramatic and romantic waterways – the mighty River Rhine and its tributary the Moselle. The Sun Deck is perfect for an invigorating mid-morning stroll, watching picture-postcard villages with slanting timber-framed houses pass by. After a delicious lunch we glide into our moorings at Cochem, the traditional centre of the Moselle wine trade. Dominating the scene is a multi-turreted castle crowning a vineyard-covered hillside, but Cochem’s real charm is its jumble of narrow streets lined with pastel-coloured buildings and peppered with quirky shops and wine cellars. There’s ample time to explore here, immersing yourself in the relaxed ambience of this quintessential riverside town, before stepping back on board to enjoy the chef’s choices for dinner, served in the splendid environs of the ship’s restaurant.

DAY THREE TRIER
Leaving Cochem, we pass through an impressive series of four locks allowing passage further upstream, through meanders in the river against a backdrop of green valley sides. All around are steep, tree-crested slopes covered in a patchwork of vineyards, crisscrossed by narrow tracks and roads giving workers access to the vines – it’s a miracle that anything can be cultivated on such terrain. The Romans first planted vines in the Moselle during the second century AD and today white varieties such as Riesling thrive in the flinty soils. Before long we approach the delightful town of Zell.
After lunch we drive to Trier for an afternoon tour of one of Germany’s most fascinating cities – and its oldest. Founded by the Romans, it was the capital of much of their empire, encompassing present-day Spain, France, Britain and parts of Germany. The city had a population of 80,000 people – an enormous number in ancient times – and the Emperor Constantine lived here. Many of its Roman monuments, including the amphitheatre, baths and bridge, have survived surprisingly intact, but most impressive is the Porta Nigra, a fortified gate made of huge stone blocks that towers above the surrounding medieval buildings. This is the largest and best-preserved Roman city gate north of the Alps and stands as testimony to their architectural genius. Such is the significance of Trier’s Roman heritage and its other buildings, including its Cathedral, the oldest bishop’s church in Germany, that together they form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We return to our ship, moored in the charming town of Bernkastel, in time for another exquisite meal.

DAY FOUR BERNKASTEL
The ship remains moored, so after an unhurried breakfast you’re free to explore Bernkastel, a romantic wonder from another age. Wander its cobbled streets – too narrow for cars to pass through – to the market square, where you’ll be surrounded by some of the finest, most ornate half-timbered houses you’ll ever see, many dating from the 15th century. Most famous is the Pointed House, a jewel of the rustic middle-class building tradition from the Middle Ages and a classic example of a Moselle vintner’s dwelling.
We have lunch on board as the ship slips its moorings and our cruise back downstream commences. This afternoon, just sit back on one of the comfortable deck chairs on the Sun Deck and soak up the atmosphere of this magical river, breathing in the clean air, listening to the rippling water and absorbing the scenery in all its majesty. Why not catch up on some reading or enjoy a game of chess? Whatever your pastime, another gourmet experience awaits this evening in the ship’s restaurant, possibly followed by a nightcap in the company of newly made friends.

DAY FIVE KOBLENZ & BOPPARD
Early this morning, we reach Koblenz. Strategically situated at the confluence of these two great rivers, this 2,000-year-old city, with its mighty fortress towering above, is full of appeal. A knowledgeable local guide accompanies us around its principal monuments and intriguing centre, taking in historic squares, highlighting painstakingly restored house frontages and revealing hidden aspects of the city that only locals know. Koblenz is a joy to wander through, pausing to window shop while trying to resist the aromas of fresh coffee and cakes drifting from the numerous traditional cafés.
Returning to our ship for lunch, we proceed to Boppard, also known as the ‘Pearl of the Rhine’, a famously picturesque town located on a long, looping bend of the river. The black and white spires of the Church of Saint Severus can be seen from a distance, but as we draw closer its bustling quayside comes into view. Captivating cobbled streets, lined by half-timbered houses, tucked-away shops selling traditional goods and characterful restaurants, lead into the town and its main square. Like many riverside settlements in the area, the Romans founded Boppard and their legacy remains in the superbly preserved town walls, the finest in Germany. There’s time to explore or promenade along the river, gazing at views of the vineyard-covered hillsides. Or you can simply pass time on board in anticipation of more fine dining in the ship’s restaurant this evening.

DAY SIX RHINE GORGE & RÜDESHEIM
Leaving Boppard, as the sun crests the surrounding hilltops, expectation rises at what lies in store as we journey through the outstanding natural beauty of the Rhine Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, at every dramatic turn of the river, towering valley slopes are crowned by the precarious ruins of castles built by princes to display their power and extort tolls from passing river traffic. The Gorge is home to medieval legends, tales of mysterious happenings and dark deeds, most famously the Lorelei – or ‘murmuring rock’ – said to have lured passing boats onto the rocks with its irresistible song.
The villages drifting by – Saint Goar, Bacharach and Kaub – are synonymous with wine production and one of the many thoughtful details of this cruise is the carefully compiled wine list, from which you can choose fine Rhine and Moselle wines to enjoy with the foods sourced from the region. During lunch, we arrive in Rüdesheim, perhaps the best known of all the wine towns, with crooked houses sloping down from wooded hillsides and terraced vineyards. There’s a range of options to experience here, including visiting the Asbach brandy distillery (a tasting of this speciality wine is assured, of course) or you could take the unusual gondola lift for its panoramic river views. Especially worth a visit is the excellent mechanical music museum: a collection of around 350 intricate antique musical instruments and musical boxes from all over the world, many in working order, still playing the delicate sounds of yesteryear.

DAY SEVEN COLOGNE
We slip our mooring early this morning and our ship resumes its voyage downstream as you enjoy another fine breakfast with views of pretty riverside towns, backed by the rolling volcanic hills for which the area is renowned. Passing the last vineyards and half-timbered houses around the pretty town of Linz, it’s not long before we reach the railway bridge at Remagen, captured intact towards the end of the Second World War, thereby arguably shortening the war in Germany.
Not long after, we draw in to the heart of Cologne, in the shadow of the magnificent dual-spired Gothic cathedral for which the city is so famous. It’s a truly monumental building, taking over 600 years to build and featuring myriad religious and art treasures and perhaps the most intricate stained glass windows in Europe.
After lunch, we join a local guide for an informative tour of the city, with time to explore its tree-lined squares and perhaps visit one of its traditional bars, many of which still brew their own beer.
This evening the Captain’s Dinner takes place on board, during which delicious specialities of the regions you’ve visited will be served, hosted by the Captain himself, of course. After dinner, enjoy a final digestif in the bar while reflecting on the memories made on this wonderful cruise through the romantic heartlands of Germany’s most iconic rivers.

DAY EIGHT RETURN HOME
Bid farewell to your friendly crew before transferring to the airport for your return flight or to Brussels to connect with the Eurostar service to London St Pancras International.
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Rhine, Strasbourg & Heidelberg River Cruise
Eight days away
Relax at your leisure in Boppard with ample time to explore the stunning castle - a must
Cruise through the spectacular Rhine Gorge
Visit to Mainz - capital of the Rhineland and a centre of Germany’s wine lands
Guided tour of majestic Heidelberg - follow in the footsteps of philosophers and poets
Enjoy a guided tour of historic Strasbourg - capital of Alsace
Take a scenic drive through beautiful Alsatian countryside to the pretty town of Colmar
Guided tour of Cologne and see its magnificent Gothic Cathedral
Price includes full-board from dinner on your first day of arrival until breakfast on your last day
The services of a cruise director and tour manager
Standard class reserved seat on Eurostar from London St. Pancras or return flights from selected airports (at a supplement)
Return rail connections on selected dates from more than 30 regional stations

A spectacularly scenic cruise of wonderful contrasts, from refined and historic Heidelberg to delightfully quaint Boppard and the old world charm of medieval Strasbourg plus the enduring allure of the glorious Rhine Gorge. Stepping aboard you will appreciate the superb surroundings of your floating luxury hotel for the next seven nights with spacious and well-appointed cabins or suites, private bathrooms and meticulously prepared fine cuisine.
From Cologne, we slip our moorings and head on our journey south to Koblenz spending a morning exploring this historic town sitting at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers then continuing to the beautiful old town of Boppard for the evening. Continuing our journey we navigate through the outstanding natural beauty of the world-famous Rhine Gorge onto Mainz famous for the ‘Gutenberg’ Bibles. Next we enjoy a guided tour of stunning Heidelberg, on the route of Europe’s ‘Grand Tour’, nestling by the picturesque river Neckar.
By day five, we arrive in Strasbourg, a delightful city with its centre largely unchanged since the 14th century, a mosaic of winding alleys and lanes lined with quirkily crooked, half-timbered houses. During periods of its history Strasbourg has been both German and French, and today you can see this influence in its language, cuisine and appearance, creating a truly individual city. Then to Colmar, almost embarrassingly perfect - a typically quaint medieval Alsatian town.
The following day we return journey downstream, stopping in Rudesheim one of the liveliest towns on the river, before continuing through the Rhine Gorge to Cologne. Here we enjoy a guided walking tour of the city with time to explore the stunning cathedral, an excellent finale to this most wonderful cruise.

By train from Newcastle
30 Apr 2019 MS Jane Austen £1,479.00
17 May 2019 MS George Eliot £1,779.00
07 Jun 2019T MS George Eliot £1,879.00
20 Jun 2019 MS Emily Brontë £1,879.00
17 Jul 2019 MS Jane Austen £1,629.00
22 Jul 2019 MS Thomas Hardy £1,679.00
25 Jul 2019 MS Emily Brontë £1,679.00
02 Aug 2019 MS George Eliot £1,679.00
28 Aug 2019 MS Oscar Wilde£1,779.00
13 Sep 2019 MS George Eliot £1,979.00
25 Sep 2019 MS Oscar Wilde £1,979.00
11 Oct 2019T MS George Eliot £1,579.00
23 Oct 2019 MS Oscar Wilde £1,279.00

Flying from Newcastle
30 Apr 2019 MS Jane Austen £1,519.00
17 Jul 2019 MS Jane Austen £1,669.00
02 Aug 2019 MS George Eliot £1,719.00
13 Sep 20191 MS George Eliot £2,019.00
23 Oct 2019 MS Oscar Wilde£1,319.00


Day One ARRIVAL IN COLOGNE
Arrive at the airport for your flight to Düsseldorf or Cologne, or take the Eurostar to Brussels from London St Pancras International. On arrival, transfer by coach to your five-star cruise ship moored in picturesque Cologne. The dedicated English-speaking crew welcomes you on board and helps you to your cabin. After settling into your spacious and tastefully furnished accommodation, there’s time to familiarise yourself with this splendid ship.

Day Two KOBLENZ & BOPPARD
When you peek out from your cabin this morning, you’ll realise the ship has slipped quietly away from Cologne; the view that greets you is of vine-covered valleys sides aglow in the morning light, bidding you a warm welcome to the charms of the Rhine. There’s nothing quite like that feeling of anticipation when gliding alongside the promenade of a river port, snatching tantalising glimpses of what lies ashore, and Koblenz – beautifully located at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers – doesn’t disappoint. The city is immersed in two millennia of history: founded by the Romans, it was successively occupied by the Franks, chosen as a residence of the German prince electors, conquered by the French and fortified by the Prussians! All have left their marks in the city’s rich array of castles, churches and historic buildings.
Koblenz is a romantic’s dream – forest-covered hillsides dominate the skyline, while the lower slopes are strewn with pretty, half-timbered buildings so typical of the Rhineland. After a satisfying breakfast, we disembark to enjoy an insightful guided tour through ‘Old Koblenz’, a patchwork of narrow streets and squares, many lined with exquisitely restored traditional houses and cosy cafés. There’s time to explore on your own, maybe taking in a little shopping, before ambling back to the cruise ship. We continue upstream as we enjoy our first relaxing lunch on board and before long we arrive in Boppard, a gorgeous town on a dramatic, almost U-shaped river bend. Known as the ‘Pearl of the Rhine’, Boppard is renowned for its storybook medieval atmosphere of cobbled streets and ancient houses. It’s a delight to explore, or you can simply relax on board and watch life go by. The early evening is an ideal time to wander along the town’s attractive riverside Rheinallee promenade before thoughts turn to tonight’s menu, prepared by the ship’s chef and served to your delight in the restaurant.

Day Three RHINE GORGE & MAINZ
Slipping our moorings in Boppard we cruise through the Rhine Gorge, where the waters narrow to one-fifth their normal width and flow more swiftly. Sheer valley walls soar 600 feet and magnificent birds of prey glide on the thermals above. Teutonic knights built the numerous redoubtable castles as symbols of their power and to extract tolls from ships, but the fortresses now stand as silent ruins on forested hillsides as reminders of how fortunes change with the passage of history. This really is the magical Rhine of our imagination, so find a comfortable spot on the Sun Deck or in the forward observation lounge and enjoy the experience of cruising this famous stretch of water.
Your next port of call is historic Mainz, renowned today as Germany’s wine capital but whose most famous son was Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the movable type printing press. You can visit the excellent museum housing a reconstruction of his workshop and, outstandingly, two original 1455 Gutenberg Bibles. The museum is in a beautifully restored 17th-century building in the heart of Mainz’s Old Town, opposite the impressive Romanesque cathedral.

Day Four HEIDELBERG
Overnight we cruise further downstream and, after breakfast, we take a short drive to Heidelberg, undoubtedly one of Germany’s most perfect architectural treasures and all the more remarkable because it escaped bombing during the Second World War. Set in an almost idealised German landscape, this jewel sits on the banks of the River Neckar, surrounded by forests and with an imposing castle dominating the church spires and terracotta gabled roofs of the compact Aldstadt – the romantic Old Town. Its 14th-century university, one of the most prestigious in Europe, lends Heidelberg a genteel atmosphere rather similar to its ‘twin’ town – Cambridge. During the 19th century it was the centre of Germany’s Romantic Movement, on the route of the ‘Grand Tour’ and visited by many artists including JMW Turner, who captured its splendours for eternity. There are few more delightful places to explore, as you’ll discover on our guided walking tour, which reveals its principal attractions – including the magical stone bridge with its twin white towers – and local secrets. Afterwards, you’ll have time to explore on your own before returning to the ship to enjoy the gorgeous views as the sun sets.

Day Five STRASBOURG & COLMAR
By breakfast we’ve arrived in France and the charming city of Strasbourg, capital of the Alsace region. The city is a complete delight – its centre a mosaic of winding alleys and lanes lined with quirkily crooked, half-timbered houses largely unchanged since the 14th century. During its history Strasbourg has been both German and French, and you see influences of both in its language, cuisine and appearance, creating a truly individual ambience. This morning, we explore this delightful city on a walking tour with a local guide leading us to its enchanting centre – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – taking in the Petite France quarter of pretty canals lined with classic pastel-coloured houses crisscrossed with timbers and with flower-filled window boxes, the famous multi-towered Ponts Couverts, or covered bridges, and, of course, the stunning Gothic Notre-Dame Cathedral, which Victor Hugo memorably described as a ‘veritable tiara of stone’.
Just south of Strasbourg lies a picturesque wine route, virtually an open-air museum of romantic medieval villages, cobbled streets and Renaissance chateaux strung like pearls on a necklace against a sweeping backdrop of rolling hills. We enjoy all this on a splendidly scenic drive, soon arriving in the medieval town of Colmar, the best-preserved in Alsace. Little known outside the area, it’s a magical concoction of canals, former merchants’ houses, ancient religious buildings and antique shops. The cathedral quarter is surrounded by pastel-coloured half-timbered houses displaying the intricate wrought-iron hanging signs so typical of this area of Europe. We’ve plenty of time here to sit, enjoy a coffee and watch the world go by or just wander. We return to the ship in Strasbourg for dinner.

Day Six RÜDESHEIM
One of the joys of life aboard our cruise ship is the sheer sense of relaxation it brings: time to catch up on some reading, enjoy a game of chess or perhaps improve your ‘putting’ on the Sun Deck golf green. Why not enjoy a coffee with your congenial travelling companions or simply watch the river traffic still using this vital artery through central Europe?
In the late afternoon we visit Rüdesheim – if you imagine a typical Rhine town, then this would be it! Narrow crooked streets lead down to the sweeping river with a backdrop of wooded and vine-covered slopes. Riesling is the speciality grape here and Rüdesheim has many atmospheric Weinstuben where you can sample local wines produced from the surrounding vineyards.
On board tonight, we enjoy a culinary spectacular – the Captain’s Dinner – featuring a range of irresistible specialities from the countries and regions we visit during our cruise. This special occasion is hosted, of course, by the Captain himself.

Day Seven ARRIVAL IN COLOGNE
Arrive at the airport for your flight to Düsseldorf or Cologne, or take the Eurostar to Brussels from London St Pancras International. On arrival, transfer by coach to your five-star cruise ship moored in picturesque Cologne. The dedicated English-speaking crew welcomes you on board and helps you to your cabin. After settling into your spacious and tastefully furnished accommodation, there’s time to familiarise yourself with this splendid ship.

Day Eight RETURN HOME
Say farewell to your newly made friends and the crew before transferring to the airport for your return flight or to Brussels to connect with the Eurostar service to London St Pancras International.
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The Seine, Paris & Normandy River Cruise
Eight days away

Guided tour of historic Rouen
Visit to Claude Monet's house and beautiful garden
Explore Vernon, one of Normandy's most picturesque towns
Guided tour of Paris
See the Bayeux Tapestry
Tour the D-Day Normandy Beaches
Stop in Les Andelys, village of half-timbered houses and twisted alleys
Visit to delightful Honfleur, one of Normandy’s most alluring fishing ports
Cruise through the delightful Seine Valley
Price includes full board (except one lunch), from dinner on your day of arrival to breakfast on your final day
Services of a Riviera Travel cruise director
Standard class reserved seat on Eurostar from London St. Pancras or return flights from selected airports (at a supplement)
From romantic Paris, we slip our moorings and commence our wonderfully scenic cruise along the beautiful and majestic Seine into the heart of one of France's most historic and picturesque regions, Normandy. With time to enjoy the historic little town of Les Andelys en route, we continue our journey along the Seine’s sweeping meanders, before exploring the delights of Rouen, one of Europe’s finest medieval cities with its stunning cathedral and tangle of atmospheric winding streets.
Passing the legendary Jumiege Abbey, we moor in the pretty village of Caudebec with time after dinner for an evening stroll in this most typical of French villages. Then to Bayeux, spared significant war damage, it retains its wealth of splendid buildings as well as the legendary and stunning tapestry for which it is so famed. We also see some of the many thought-provoking monuments and places along the Normandy coast and reflect on the remarkable story of the D-Day landings on our visit to Gold Beach and the remnants of Mulberry Harbour. Our cruise would not be complete without a visit to charming Honfleur - its near perfect waterfront of tall pastel-coloured 18th century houses, traditional shops and maze of streets providing the inspiration for the Impressionist painter Claude Monet to paint here many times.
Countless sleepy villages silently drift by as we arrive in delightful Vernon, from where we take the short drive to Giverny visiting Claude Monet’s home and one of the world’s most famous and most painted gardens. Enjoy the quintessentially half-timbered streets of Vernon before we continue on to our final destination, one of the world’s most iconic and romantic cities, Paris. From the Notre Dame to the Arc de Triomphe, the Sacre-Coeur to the Eiffel Tour, the Louvre to the Pompidou Centre, the smart shopping of the Galeries Lafayette to bohemian Montmatre, the list is endless and the variety arguably unmatchable; this breathtaking city never fails to inspire no matter how many times you get the chance to visit.

By rail from Newcastle
08 Jun 2019 MS Swiss Ruby £1,679.00
15 Jun 2019 MS Swiss Ruby £1,679.00
22 Jun 2019 MS Swiss Ruby £1,679.00
29 Jun 2019 MS Swiss Ruby £1,679.00
13 Jul 2019 MS Swiss Ruby £1,579.00
31 Aug 2019 MS Swiss Ruby £1,679.00
07 Sep 2019 MS Swiss Ruby £1,729.00
14 Sep 2019 MS Swiss Ruby £1,729.00
21 Sep 2019 MS Swiss Ruby £1,729.00
28 Sep 2019 MS Swiss Ruby £1,629.00
05 Oct 2019 MS Swiss Ruby £1,579.00

Day One ARRIVAL IN PARIS
Take the Eurostar from London St Pancras International to Paris or fly to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. On arrival, transfer by coach to your cruise ship moored on the River Seine in the heart of the city. The friendly crew will welcome you on board, helping you settle into your spacious and exquisitely furnished accommodation – you’ll immediately feel at home. This evening you enjoy your first sumptuous dinner, served in the ship’s restaurant.

Day Two LES ANDELYS
During the night our ship slips her mooring and, as you enjoy breakfast, the landscape passes by serenely and you quickly get used to this luxurious sightseeing experience. Rounding a sweeping bend so typical of the Seine, we reach the town of Mantes-la-Jolie with its imposing church – so large and architecturally impressive it could be a cathedral – while straight ahead is a medieval stone bridge. The central section of the bridge was destroyed during the Second World War and never repaired – it’s the first of many poignant reminders that this region of France has been a battleground for centuries.
Beyond Mantes we encounter another typical feature of the Seine as it flows seaward – picturesque chalk cliffs, almost resembling a giant’s teeth. Beautiful villages like La Roche Guyon slide by, surrounded by bocage countryside of lush pastures and high hedgerows, countless cider orchards, half-timbered barns and ancient wooden farmhouses. We’re truly in the heart of one of France’s historic and stunningly attractive dukedoms – Normandy.
While you’re enjoying your first delicious lunch, the captain has skilfully berthed at Les Andelys, a small town dominated by one of the most spectacular sights along the entire valley – Château Gaillard. This remarkable castle guards the apex of the river bend and was built by Richard the Lionheart in the 12th century to defend Rouen from the French. Besieged many times during the turbulent history of northern France, Château Gaillard is now one of the most dramatic ruins in the region.
A much-appreciated feature of our river cruises is that they’re thoughtfully planned and paced, allowing time to explore the many places of interest we visit. So this afternoon you are free to roam the town of Les Andelys at your leisure, investigating the Gallo-Roman remains, churches and museums of two former fishing villages that grew together, or alternatively join the short drive up to Château Gaillard. From this spectacular vantage point – probably the finest of the entire cruise – you enjoy stupendous views across the countryside.
During your second excellent dinner we slip our mooring unobtrusively, and what could be better than heading to the lounge for a digestif and a chance to discuss your impressions of the Seine with your like-minded companions? The evening cruise is delightful as we glide past more bucolic scenery, some of the finest France can offer. Should you wish why not visit the wheelhouse, the Captain is always delighted to explain to those interested how the highly sophisticated navigation and safety systems operate.

Day Three ROUEN
We awake in Rouen, Normandy’s capital, one of Europe’s finest medieval cities and scene of many momentous events over the centuries. Pride of place on our guided tour of the city belongs to its stunning Gothic cathedral, which was immortalised by the great Impressionist Claude Monet in a series of 28 paintings showing the facade at varying times of day and in different weather conditions. Briefly becoming the world’s tallest building when the soaring spire was added in the 19th century, the cathedral is also notable for the recumbent statue reputedly containing the heart of Richard the Lionheart.
Rouen’s beautifully tangled alleyways are a revelation, lined with antique shops, tasteful boutiques and, of course, countless restaurants serving exceptional local cuisine emphasising the country’s outstanding gastronomic heritage. The Place du Vieux-Marché is one of the city’s most poignant spots; a large cross marks the point where the ‘Maid of Orléans’ Joan of Arc was burned at the stake for her beliefs.
During another superb lunch we cast off to navigate through yet more twists and turns, chalk cliffs and a landscape of forest-covered hills that are designated as areas of outstanding natural beauty and sanctuaries for diverse wildlife, including deer and wild boar. Another highlight of the valley soon greets us – the ethereal ruins of Jumièges Abbey. Founded in the 7th century, it was consecrated in the presence of William the Conqueror and was an important political and religious centre until it was sacked in the 16th century. In the late afternoon we moor in the pretty town of Caudebec-en-Caux, so after dinner why not take a stroll to explore this lovely spot, with its typical market square, richly decorated church and the Maison des Templiers, one of the oldest houses in Normandy.

Day Four BAYEUX & ARROMANCHES
After breakfast you’ll be ready for a full-day tour exploring two of the most important aspects of European history – the Bayeux Tapestry and the D-Day landings. (Please note lunch is not provided today.) Bayeux itself is a delightful town with a historic core that escaped the ravages of war, so you can marvel at its many splendid buildings including the grand Gothic cathedral. But, of course, Bayeux is most famous as the home of the tapestry telling the story of the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066 in glorious detail. Among its 75 scenes are the coronation of Harold following the death of Edward the Confessor and his subsequent demise at the Battle of Hastings, which led to William of Normandy invading England and becoming king. The 230-foot-long tapestry is made up of nine panels of extremely delicate embroidery – gazing at its wonderful depictions of the battle and the period’s architecture, weapons and everyday life, you’ll appreciate why the Bayeux Tapestry is arguably the finest relic of the Middle Ages.
This afternoon we drive to nearby Gold Beach, one of the five main landing sites on D-Day, when Allied forces surged into Normandy to begin the liberation of occupied Europe. Casting your eyes across the sand to the water’s edge, it’s sobering to consider that on 6 June 1944 around 25,000 British troops came ashore on this one beach, with 400 killed by the defenders. At the western end of the shoreline is the village of Arromanches, where there is a museum dedicated to the ‘longest day’ and you can still see remnants of the two Mulberry harbours constructed for the landing craft. After a day recalling such momentous events and the stories surrounding them, thoughts turn again to the culinary delights awaiting you in the refined comfort of the ship’s restaurant.

Day Five HONFLEUR
Honfleur is often regarded as the most picturesque spot on the northern French coast, and after breakfast we make the short journey to this delightful town. Its old harbour, sheltering both fishing boats and luxurious pleasure craft, is beautifully preserved and surrounded by a perfect waterfront of pastel-coloured 16th- to 18th-century houses, many converted to seafood restaurants. Watch the talented artists capturing the captivating views along the waterfront, while the intricate maze of streets behind is also well worth discovering. The eaves of the tall half-timbered buildings almost touch, and on the streets below is an abundance of traditional shops selling antiques, books and fine foods. Honfleur’s most famous son is Eugene Boudin, one of the forerunners of Impressionism and a friend of Claude Monet, who also painted the harbour many times.
After returning to the ship for lunch, we slip our mooring and begin our passage back upstream, retracing the river’s winding course, its huge variety of wildlife, enchanting scenery and forests, all reflected in differing colours in the sparkling waters. Villages slip by, birds glide on thermals rising from the surrounding cliffs and, as this ever-changing kaleidoscope slips by, it’s an ideal opportunity to join new friends for a chat. Squeeze in a spot of reading on the Sun Deck or simply recline, letting the gentle breezes lull you into a relaxing doze. By this stage of your cruise you’ll be totally unwound and modern life will seem very distant.

Day six GIVERNY & VERNON
One of the great delights of river cruising is the magical sensation of waking up in a different place from where you were the night before. This morning the ship has moored in delightful Vernon, and we take the short drive to Giverny to visit Monet’s garden and house. The artist himself called his garden his ‘most beautiful masterpiece’, and it’s certainly one of the world’s most photographed and painted, ideally viewed in the delicate morning light. In the Japanese-inspired water garden, shaded by great weeping willows and surrounded by bamboo, rhododendrons and azaleas, is the lily pond where he painted his extraordinary Les Nymphéas (Water Lilies) series. There’s ample time to wander here, absorbing the tranquil atmosphere while marvelling at the light bouncing off foliage of every hue and the magical reflections dancing off the water.
After another leisurely lunch on board, you can explore Vernon’s quaint buildings before embarking on our cruise to Paris. As the sun sets on the shimmering Seine and the Norman countryside recedes into dusk, it’s a perfect time to reflect on your few days cruising among the creamy chalk cliffs and charming villages of this splendid river.

Day Seven PARIS
We have arrived in Paris and this morning we take a sightseeing tour of this amazing capital, one of the world’s most iconic cities. The Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Élysées, Sacré-Coeur – you’ll see all these and much more. The grand Place de la Concorde, the largest square in the city, shows off 18th-century French architecture at its best, and just over the Seine on the Left Bank you’ll find the Musée d’Orsay, home of the world’s finest Impressionist art collection. Then there’s the eccentrically modern and yet stylish Pompidou Centre, famous not only for its exhibits but also for street entertainment. Notre-Dame Cathedral and the delicate spire of the sublime Saint-Chapelle dominate the Ile de la Cité, while the exquisite Tuileries Gardens are perfect for a stroll.
After lunch on board you could visit fine shops such as the Galeries Lafayette or those in the smart arcaded Rue de Rivoli, or perhaps wander around the café-lined streets of bohemian Montmartre. Paris is everything you imagine it to be – romantic, inspiring, vibrant – even outrageous – but best of all Paris is unique, and a fitting finale to a wonderful cruise. This evening is the Captain’s Dinner, hosted of course by the Captain himself. Featuring specialities of the regions through which we have travelled, it’s a truly memorable experience.

Day Eight PARIS
We have arrived in Paris and this morning we take a sightseeing tour of this amazing capital, one of the world’s most iconic cities. The Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Élysées, Sacré-Coeur – you’ll see all these and much more. The grand Place de la Concorde, the largest square in the city, shows off 18th-century French architecture at its best, and just over the Seine on the Left Bank you’ll find the Musée d’Orsay, home of the world’s finest Impressionist art collection. Then there’s the eccentrically modern and yet stylish Pompidou Centre, famous not only for its exhibits but also for street entertainment. Notre-Dame Cathedral and the delicate spire of the sublime Saint-Chapelle dominate the Ile de la Cité, while the exquisite Tuileries Gardens are perfect for a stroll.
After lunch on board you could visit fine shops such as the Galeries Lafayette or those in the smart arcaded Rue de Rivoli, or perhaps wander around the café-lined streets of bohemian Montmartre. Paris is everything you imagine it to be – romantic, inspiring, vibrant – even outrageous – but best of all Paris is unique, and a fitting finale to a wonderful cruise. This evening is the Captain’s Dinner, hosted of course by the Captain himself. Featuring specialities of the regions through which we have travelled, it’s a truly memorable experience.
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Amsterdam, Kinderdijk & the Dutch Bulbfields River Cruise
Five days away

Discover historic Rotterdam, a vibrant metropolis at the gateway to Europe with a strong maritime heritage
Visit the stunning windmills at Kinderdijk, and tour one of these authentic and iconic gems of Dutch history
Drive through the heart of the stunning bulb fields to the magnificent Keukenhof Gardens, a world-famous floral display
Guided tour of fascinating Amsterdam, one of the world’s most distinctive cities, in a glass topped canal cruiser.
Enjoy a visit to the quaint port of Enkhuizen, nestled at the edge of the Zuiderzee before a relaxed afternoon’s cruising.
Services of a Riviera Travel cruise director and tour manager
Return scheduled flights from 15 regional airports or seats on Eurostar / Thalys from London St Pancras International
Four nights on board in your choice of luxury cabin or suite, all with river views
Full-board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day
Services of an experienced cruise manager
All port charges, airport taxes and overseas transfers are included
Selected departures in April 2019

Experience historic maritime cities, where innovation meets the traditions of the past, plus the authenticity of iconic windmills and the floral masterpiece of the colourful Dutch bulb fields. The stunning bulbfields really are an amazing sight. In Keukenhof Park there are a staggering 7 million blooms covering 80 acres in a riot of colour whilst imaginative landscaping shows off mother-nature at her outstanding best with shimmering lakes, water-gardens and flowering shrubs of every hue.
You will also explore the Ijsselmeer, the inland lagoon created by the damming of the Zuider Zee in the 1930’s and discover the series of beautiful villages along its shore which have made their living from the sea for centuries. It was from here during the 16th century Golden Age, that the Dutch roamed the world in search of the spices, silks and luxury goods which Europe’s aristocracy craved and today they are little changed since this time. Blend this with Amsterdam, one of Europe’s most vibrant and fascinating cities and a wonderful few days are in store.

Flying from Newcastle
01 Apr 2019 MS Emily Brontë £779.00
03 Apr 2019 MS Jane Austen £929.00
07 Apr 2019 MS Jane Austen £879.00
09 Apr 2019 MS Emily Brontë £879.00
11 Apr 2019 MS Jane Austen £829.00
13 Apr 2019 MS Emily Brontë £929.00

Day One ARRIVAL IN AMSTERDAM
Fly to Amsterdam from a choice of regional airports or take the Eurostar from London St Pancras International to Brussels, where you change trains and continue to Amsterdam. On arrival, transfer by coach to your five-star cruise ship moored near the city centre and railway station. The friendly crew welcomes you on board, helping you settle into your spacious and exquisitely furnished accommodation – you’ll feel immediately at home.

Day Two ENKHUIZEN
Overnight the ship slips its moorings, steering a course north. As dawn breaks, you’re greeted by views of Enkhuizen, a picturesque port nestling at the edge of the former Zuiderzee. During the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century, the Netherlands dominated world maritime trade, becoming fabulously prosperous. Enkhuizen, as one of the country’s principal ports specialising in trade in the East Indies, flourished. Merchants keen to display their wealth created this town of gabled houses, narrow streets, bridges and waterways. It’s a delight to explore, taking in the atmosphere of its little streets and jumble of sailing boats in the harbour. Fittingly, it is also home to the Zuiderzee Museum. This superbly recreates the 19th-century heritage of Holland’s inland bay and combines permanent exhibits with demonstrations of the artisan skills of yesteryear such as sailmaking, fish curing and blacksmithing, to make our visit here a fascinating experience.
After a delicious lunch on board, we cruise along the Markermeer, the southwestern part of the IJsselmeer, the great freshwater lake created when the Zuiderzee was separated from the North Sea by a series of dams and dykes built during the 1920 and ’30s. This mammoth engineering achievement, only made possible because of Dutch knowledge and expertise gained over centuries battling the sea, now protects low-lying areas from flooding and has allowed the reclamation of 626 square miles of fertile land. Before long, thoughts turn to tonight’s à la carte dinner, served with panache by the restaurant staff, after which why not unwind with a digestif at the bar to the soothing sound of the ship’s pianist.

Day Three ROTTERDAM & KINDERDIJK
Wake this morning in historic Rotterdam, the Netherlands’ second largest metropolis, situated where the Rhine flows into the North Sea. Known as the ‘Gateway to Europe’, it is the largest European cargo port and has been a conduit for trade since the 14th century. Barges are able to transport goods deep into the heart of Europe via a maze of inland waterways, while ocean-going ships carry exports all over the world. Unsurprisingly, its logistical significance made it a target for bombing during the Second World War and its old town was destroyed, with only the Church of Saint Lawrence left standing. During the following decades Rotterdam was reconstructed with typical Dutch optimism and engineering expertise and now boasts an abundance of innovative and imaginative architecture. Highlights include Europe’s largest swing bridge, the cable-stayed Erasmus Bridge (known as ‘the Swan’), arched Markthal (market hall) and Cube Houses built on stilts and tilted at bizarre angles. There are also excellent museums, such as the vast Boijmans Van Beuningen, which houses a world-class collection of works by old and modern masters, from Rembrandt to Van Gogh to Dalí, and some rare and beautiful glassware.
During lunch on board you can enjoy a kaleidoscope of views through the restaurant’s panoramic windows as we leave Rotterdam’s skyline behind. A significant part of the Netherlands lies up to 22 feet below sea level, but an intricate network of dykes and polders, the Netherland’s unique drainage systems, has kept the seawater at bay and allowed land reclamation. At the very heart of this fascinating reclaimed region is Kinderdijk, our next port of call. Here, you can witness a truly iconic polder scene – a series of 19 authentic windmills lining the canal banks, set against a starkly beautiful backdrop of pancake-flat marshland. The earliest known windmills appeared in the 13th century; a century later they had evolved to include a series of gears enabling them to pump water, and mass drainage of the land commenced. By the 19th century the Netherlands’ 9,000 windmills not only pumped seawater but powered many industries, including sawing timber, making potters’ clay and crushing pigments for paint, before the advent of advanced steam and diesel engines signalled their decline.
Windmills are symbolic of Dutch history and the never-ending battle with the sea, and visiting these beautifully preserved structures is like stepping back in time. Our expert guide tells the extraordinary history of Kinderdijk and its windmills, bringing to life the experience of surviving in this watery landscape. Later we return to the cruise ship, where the chef has prepared a sumptuous dinner.

Day Four KEUKENHOF & AMSTERDAM
A long spring season and the polders’ well-drained soil create the perfect environment for growing the Netherlands’ world-famous tulips, first imported into the country from the Ottoman Empire in the late 16th century. This morning we drive through the scenic bulb fields to Keukenhof, the world’s largest flower garden, covering nearly 80 acres. Nothing prepares you for the dazzling carpet of colours created by the seven million tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and other blooms arranged in rows, swirls and every other imaginable shape. The art of flower planting reaches breathtaking heights in Keukenhof’s themed areas, and wandering among this dramatic pageant of hues set in a landscape of lakes, trees, pavilions and water features is magical – and provides gardeners with a wealth of inspiration to take home!
We return to Amsterdam to explore this beautiful city on a classic glass-topped canal cruiser. A network of 165 canals built in rings during the 17th century defines life in its centre, and our ‘water’s-eye view’ is the best way to absorb Amsterdam’s history. Relax and watch this unique cityscape unfold as our guide explains the many intriguing aspects of life here. You’ll see moored houseboats, quirky bridges, cobbled streets lined with tall, narrow merchants’ houses, gabled civic buildings and homes of famous former residents such as Rembrandt, the greatest Dutch Golden Age artist, and Anne Frank, whose diaries tell a poignant tale of life under the Nazis.
Amsterdam is the ideal walking city and we remain moored dockside so you can explore its characterful streets at your leisure. Exceptional art is always close by, from small galleries to the world-class Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, both holding huge collections. You might choose to discover the interior of Anne Frank’s house, rummage through the Waterlooplein flea market or relax at a café sipping a rich Dutch coffee and watching the locals trundle over cobbles along the canals on their high-handlebar bicycles. Wrapping up a memorable day is the lavish Captain’s Dinner in the ship’s restaurant, as evening falls and the lights of this unforgettable city sparkle in the night.

Day Five RETURN HOME
This morning, we transfer to the railway station or airport for our return journey.
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Bruges, Medieval Flanders, Amsterdam & the Dutch Bulbfields
Eight days away
Tour of Amsterdam, one of the world's most unique cities
Walking tour of Bruges, one of Europe's most perfectly preserved medieval towns
Visit to Arnhem, famous for the 1944 battle vividly depicted in the film 'A Bridge Too Far'
Tour of Antwerp, the city of Rubens and the 'Flemish Masters'
Walking tour of Ghent, the 14th century’s largest city in Western Europe
Visit to Ypres and the First World War Battlefields
Visit to the stunning Keukenhof Gardens - the heart of the Dutch Bulbfields
Cruise along the Zuiderzee
Price includes full-board from dinner on your arrival day until breakfast on your final day
Services of a cruise director and tour manager
Return flights from Newcastle

As you sail through picturesque waterways, discover the artisanal traditions of what was once the world’s greatest naval power, the remarkable art of the Flemish masters and the old Zuiderzee. First we explore the tiny villages of ‘old’ Holland from where ships of the 16th century Dutch East India Company set sail in search of silks and spices. Then it’s off to Arnhem scene of the famous battle in 1944 before visiting Antwerp, the city of Diamonds and Rubens with its main square lined by the tall step-gabled, merchant’s houses so typical of the ‘low’ countries. Then we explore the very best of Flanders in delightfully medieval Ghent. From here we see Ypres and one of Europe’s finest ‘old world’ cities, delightful Bruges. Listen to the sound of the carillion emanating wonderfully from the instantly recognisable Bell Tower, sip a coffee in the old market square and reflect on how wonderful life can be. Finally we discover one of nature’s most spectacular of floral displays, the kaleidoscope of colour that is the Dutch Bulbfields.

Flying from Newcastle
04 Apr 2019 MS George Eliot £1,329.00
09 Apr 2019 MS Oscar Wilde £1,429.00
11 Apr 2019 MS George Eliot £1,429.00
15 Apr 2019 MS Jane Austen £1,379.00
16 Apr 2019 MS Oscar Wilde £1,529.00
17 Apr 2019 MS Emily Brontë £1,529.00
18 Apr 2019 MS George Eliot £1,829.00
24 Apr 2019 MS Emily Brontë £1,529.00

DAY ONE ARRIVAL IN AMSTERDAM
Fly to Amsterdam from a choice of regional airports or take the Eurostar from London St Pancras International, arriving in Brussels approximately two hours later, where you change trains connecting to Amsterdam. On arrival, a coach transfers you to your five-star cruise ship moored near the city centre and railway station. The dedicated crew welcomes you aboard, ensuring you settle in to your extremely comfortable and well-appointed cabin. There’s time to familiarise yourself with your first-class floating hotel before experiencing the chef’s specially chosen menu for your first dinner on board.

DAY TWO AMSTERDAM & HOORN
Breakfast is an on-board institution and you’re always assured of an enticing range of choices. We’re moored in the heart of delightful Amsterdam, and there’s no better way to explore than taking a classic glass-topped boat tour through the network of canals that infuse every aspect of life here. The tour brings a real insight into the history and everyday life of Amsterdam, a maritime, financial and cultural powerhouse uniquely located facing both the sea and the heartlands of Europe. As we glide over the calm canal waters, you’ll see a fascinating variety of typically Dutch narrow gabled buildings, bustling streets and historic bridges immortalised by the great artists, and learn about its famous canalside residents, from the tragic Anne Frank, who wrote her diaries hidden in a merchant’s house, to Rembrandt, the Dutch Old Master.
A splendid buffet lunch awaits our return as we slip away from the quayside towards the IJsselmeer, the enormous inland lake created when the Zuiderzee was cut off from the North Sea by a series of dykes and dams. Our port of call is Hoorn, once a prosperous port of the Dutch East India Company. Reminiscent of another age, it’s a charming mix of imposing buildings dating from the 15th century onwards, brick-built warehouses, cobbled squares and twisting alleys. Hoorn’s ships traded the world over, with one sailor even naming the southern tip of South America after his home town – Cape Horn. There’s time to explore this intriguing spot and its boat-filled harbour, dominated by the distinctive 16th-century Head Tower, before returning to our cruise ship to enjoy dinner and maybe a nightcap in the lounge.

DAY THREE ARNHEM
One of the delights of river cruising is the enchanting experience of waking somewhere new, the water gently lapping as the ship glides almost imperceptibly along. We’re now deep in the heart of Holland, passing flower-bedecked houseboats, flocks of wildfowl and, of course, windmills! We soon arrive in Arnhem, synonymous with the ill-fated 1944 aerial assault depicted in the film A Bridge Too Far. We visit the battle HQ of the British 1st Airborne Division at Oosterbeek, now an excellent museum, and the Commonwealth War Cemetery, the final resting place of so many. Back on board, we continue our passage along the mighty River Rhine, one of Europe’s most important arterial waterways, before enjoying another sumptuous dinner on board, as distant lights glint on the waterfront as we silently slip by.

DAY FOUR ANTWERP
This morning there’s a chance to marvel at the Captain’s skill as he calmly navigates the busy River Scheldt and moors in Antwerp, birthplace of the Baroque master Peter Paul Rubens. This morning we enjoy a tour led by a local guide taking in its numerous highlights and lesser-known features. Once part of the Spanish Empire, Antwerp grew wealthy during its 16th-century Golden Age, when it was Europe’s largest port north of the Alps, with profits invested in the city’s Flemish art and architectural heritage, and later it became the world’s diamond trading centre. At its heart is the captivating main square – the Grote Markt – dominated by ornately gabled guildhouses, the Renaissance town hall and opulent Brabo Fountain.
This afternoon is free to explore as you wish, perhaps visiting Rubens’ extravagant former home and studio, the magnificent Gothic cathedral or even the painstakingly restored train station, of such architectural splendour it is often called the ‘Railway Cathedral’.

DAY FIVE GHENT & YPRES
Today we awake in picturesque Ghent, once Western Europe’s second largest city after Paris. Fortunate to escape the ravages of the 20th century and often overlooked by tourists, Ghent is a medieval gem we explore in the company of an experienced guide. Highlights include a gorgeously unspoilt waterfront, the 13th-century skyline punctured by soaring belfries, the 12th-century Gravenstein fortress towering above the river, and one of the world’s foremost art treasures – the van Eyck brothers’ Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, the altarpiece adorning Saint Bavo’s Cathedral.
After lunch on board, there’s the option to spend the afternoon in Ghent, maybe taking a horse-drawn carriage ride or finding a cosy spot in a quintessential Flemish café.
Alternatively, you can join our tour to Ypres, a name synonymous with the horrors of the Great War. Almost totally destroyed during a series of battles, Ypres is now a place of peace, reverence and reflection. You may wish to visit the award-winning In Flanders Fields Museum that tells the haunting story of the conflict, providing a thought-provoking insight into the extraordinary lives of the soldiers and civilians; it’s located in the Cloth Hall in the heart of Ypres’ beautifully restored town centre. Nearby are many battlefields synonymous with the horrors of trench warfare, including Passchendaele, where around 600,000 perished. In addition we visit Tyne Cot, the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world. Ypres is also the home of the Menin Gate, the deeply moving memorial to the missing where the ‘Last Post’ is played every evening.

DAY SIX BRUGES
After breakfast we take the short drive to Bruges and have a guided walk of this beautiful town, which really does carry its remarkable medieval legacy with charm and to perfection. The atmosphere here is pure romance and its streets are crammed with fascination. Exquisitely compact, its entire historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site made up of serene canals, narrow cobbled streets, romantic gabled houses, exquisite churches and myriad shops selling artisan goods – including its legendary chocolate! Its main square is dominated by the soaring Belfry, whose 47 bells chime to create an idyllic atmosphere. It’s a 366-step climb to the top, but the breathtaking views are well worth it. You’ll also see the City Hall and the Basilica of the Holy Blood, home to a venerated relic – a phial of Jesus’s blood reputedly brought back from the Crusades. Another must is the Church of Our Lady, where you can see Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child, a work of incomparable beauty carved in white Carrara marble. You’ll be reluctant to leave this enchanting place, although the promise of more first-class dining in the ship’s restaurant will lure you back.

DAY SEVEN KEUKENHOF & AMSTERDAM
Early risers discover the ship making effortless progress along the delightful waterways and you experience the somewhat surreal effect of cruising above the surrounding reclaimed polders – it’s almost like flying! Today we visit Keukenhof, the heart of the glorious Dutch bulbfields. On arrival, nothing prepares you for the dazzling spectrum of colours stretched out before you in the world’s largest flower garden, covering nearly 80 acres. The art of flower planting reaches breathtaking heights at Keukenhof, a gardener’s heaven created by more than seven million tulips, daffodils and other blooms set among a beautiful landscape of shimmering lakes, ancient trees, flowering shrubs and water gardens.
We re-join our ship in Amsterdam and after lunch you’re free to explore as you wish. Amsterdam is an art-lover’s dream. The Rijksmuseum is an architectural marvel itself, but it holds a magnificent collection of works by Dutch masters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer, while admirers of Post-Impressionism might prefer the Van Gogh Museum, housing the world’s greatest collection of works by this genius of a man. Or relax in a pavement café, absorbing Amsterdam’s special atmosphere over a rich Dutch coffee, browse the many shops or perhaps just stay on board to catch up on some reading. Tonight there’s another culinary highlight – the Captain’s Dinner, when the chef prepares his superb ‘signature’ dishes for you to enjoy in the splendid surroundings of the ship’s restaurant, with a chance to reflect on the fascinating places you have discovered, poignant stories you have heard and the new friends you have made.

DAY EIGHT RETURN HOME
After breakfast, your friendly crew bid you farewell, then we transfer to the airport for our return journey.
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All passengers must have a valid passport for this tour. Depending on the country issuing your passport, a visa may also be required. More information can be found at the Identity & Passport Service

Identity and Passport service

Customers should ensure that they are fit enough to travel, please check with your General Practictioner and www.fco.gov.uk/travel and www.nathnac.org

The latest advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office about travelling abroad

Foreign and commonwealth office

Travel Insurance
You are strongly recommended to take adequate insurance for all passengers for this tour

Tour operated by Riviera Travel ATOL NO 3430. Westoe Travel act as agent for Riviera Travel


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