Rhine & Rhône Revealed - Northbound River Cruise (WLA)
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River Cruise Description
Indulge yourself with French and German culture on your 2019 16 Day Avalon river cruise from Côte d’Azur to Amsterdam vacation across the Rhône, Saône, and Rhine Rivers. Be sure to bring your best camera to capture the breathtaking views as you journey through the enchantment and luster of this majestic journey.
Start your European river cruise excursion with an overnight stay on the mesmerizing Côte d’Azur, and unwind along the glittering blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Visit Arles, France, which sits on the Rhône River, known for inspiring the works and brilliant paintings of Van Gogh and its 1st-century Roman Amphitheater. Tucked among the vineyards are the twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage. Here, a tour guide is waiting to take you on a walkthrough of Tournon, a medieval gem. Get the chance to see Lyon, a beautiful exhibit of medieval and Renaissance architecture. From there, travel to Beaune. But before proceeding to Basel, Switzerland aboard your Rhine River cruise vessel, be sure to visit the Hôtel Dieu charity hospital.
Your first Avalon river cruise stop in Switzerland will see you through Breisach, the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest, famous for cherry cake, cuckoo clocks, and its namesake, Black Forest ham. Following, take a walk through the illustrious La Petite France district in Strasbourg, France before cruising through the magnificent Rhine Gorge, the most picturesque span of the Rhine River, boasting its romantic green cliffs and icy blue waters.
Get a look at some of the riches of Holland’s 700-year-old-city on a canal cruise along the charming Grachten which exults homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.” Disembark from your Rhine River cruise with a stay in the modern capital of Amsterdam which is home to an envious mix of historic and contemporary architecture.
Let the beauty of the Rhine River ease your troubles and leave you with vibrant memories as you sail on your 2019 16 Day Avalon river cruise from Côte d’Azur to Amsterdam.
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River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 Arrive in Côte d’Azur, France
Greetings from the breathtaking beaches of the French Riviera, also called Côte d’Azur. This stunning region is located on the Mediterranean Sea and is a popular resort, cruise and vacation area. With over 300 days of sunshine each year, it is not surprising countless visitors seek solace here. Known for its world-famous events and festivals, mega-yachts, fashion, and magnificent homes and villas, enjoy free time today to explore at your own pace.
Day 2 Côte d’Azur–Transfer to Arles (Embarkation)
If there are still must-see spots in Côte d’Azur that need to be checked off your bucket list, enjoy them this morning during additional free time. Alternatively, join an optional excursion to the artistic city of Nice – known for its museums, food, artisans and incredible weather.
During the afternoon, a motor coach will transport you to beautiful Arles. Here you will board your Avalon river cruise vessel. Engage in a lively meet and greet reception with your ship’s crew before dinner. Later – daylight permitting – you may experience a unique outing as your vessel sails towards the Rhône to witness the unrivaled beauty of Camargue National Park. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 3 Arles
Today you will have an opportunity to explore the allure of Arles. Famous for inspiring the artwork of Vincent Van Gogh, the city is also home to numerous Roman artifacts. Join a local guide for a tour of the city’s top landmarks, including the noted Romanesque Amphitheater that dates back to the 1st century. This magnificent structure is still used today for concerts, plays and bullfights and can hold up to 20,000 people! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4 Avignon
Cruise into Avignon, the “City of Popes,” during breakfast this morning. This historic city is famous for being home to seven popes in succession, and for its important city center that is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, embark on a guided tour where you can select from an included excursion to the Palace of the Popes, a structure built in the 14th century, or select a sightseeing tour around the city that includes some free time to explore at your own pace. Additional optional excursions are available today including a chance to visit the area’s renowned wine cellars or a trip to Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman bridge and popular tourist destination. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 Cruising–Viviers
This morning it is time to relax and rejuvenate during a relaxing cruise to the town of Viviers. Upon arrival here in the afternoon, a local guide will be ready to introduce you to the area. Viviers is a small, walled city with exceptional scenery. This delightful town was constructed around the area’s main landmark – a Roman Cathedral. Architecture and photography enthusiasts will enjoy the region’s medieval, Roman and Catholic presence and style. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage–Vienne
Greetings from the stunning cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage. Today, you will join a local guide and be transported around Tournon, an ancient medieval city surrounded by vineyards that houses fascinating Roman ruins and an grand 16th century castle.
Later in the afternoon, you will visit the enchanting town of Vienne. Visitors often marvel at the exquisite architecture in this area and a guided walk today will allow you to see numerous magnificent structures. Top landmarks in the area include the Augustus and Livia Temple, now converted into a church, Vienne’s stunning City Hall and the Saint-Maurice Cathedral. With so much beauty in this compact area, you will want to have your camera on hand! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7 Lyon
Welcome to the energetic city of Lyon. Considered the third largest city in France after Paris and Marseille, this area is known for its five-star cuisine, architecture and rich history. It’s Old Town area is also considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many industries thrive in Lyon, including banking, cinema, software, fabric and biotech. Visitors enjoy exploring the city’s Roman landmarks, abundance of museums and exquisite architecture at every turn.
Today, a local guide will transport you to numerous landmarks around the city. Marvel at the Roman ruins near the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière, and feel like a local as you explore the intricate medieval streets in Old Town and Place des Terreaux. In this area, you will find countless cafes, boutiques, landmarks and the city’s prominent fountain. No trip to Lyon would be complete without sampling the region’s prized wine, the Beaujolais! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8 Cruising–Chalon–sur–Saône
Day eight of your Avalon river cruise brings rest, relaxation and your choice of activities. For those who want to catch up on their sleep, or read their favorite book, feel free to stay onboard. If you desire to stretch your legs, a variety of optional excursions will be available to you including a trip to a renowned wine cellar. Later, as you sail to Chalon-sur-Saône, enjoy a mouthwatering onboard cheese tasting of the region’s best selections! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 9 Chalon–sur–Saône (Disembarkation)–Beaune–Dijon–Paris (Embarkation)
Once breakfast has concluded this morning, you will say your goodbyes to your Avalon vessel’s crew. Next, you will take an exciting motor coach ride into Beaune, just over the border as you cross into France. Situated between Geneva and Paris, Beaune is often called this area’s wine capital. The town, surrounded by some of the most popular wine villages in the globe, owes its success to making and selling wines.
While in this area, don’t miss a chance to see the famed Hotel-Dieu de Beaune Charity Hospital. Founded in 1443 by Chancellor Nicolas Rolin, the building was once a hospital for the destitute and is now a noted museum. Art enthusiasts consider the structure one of the best examples of French architecture in the world.
Once lunch has concluded, it will be time to make your way towards Basel. There you will enjoy another festive meet and greet reception with your new Avalon river cruise vessel’s crew. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 10 Strasbourg, France
Greetings from the intoxicating city of Strasbourg. This area uniquely blends culture and ambiance from both France and Germany, as it sits on the border of both. Strasbourg displays to its visitors a medieval past and an innovate future. The capital of the Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine region, it is comprised of multiple crucial institutions such as The Council of Europe, The International Institute of Human Rights, the European Parliament, and Eurocorps.
An exhilarating guided sightseeing tour awaits you today and will transport you to the renowned Strasbourg Cathedral. This structure dazzles visitors with its ornate stained-glass, Romanesque and Gothic architecture and astronomical clock. After your trip to the Cathedral, stop by the La Petite France district where you can find charming shops, half-timbered homes, ancient murals, stained glass, and a maze of twisting roads.
Those seeking additional excursions, consider two afternoon trips. One visits the famous Black Forest region, while the other journeys to the Alsace wine country. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 11 Heidelberg, Germany Excursion
Enjoy a relaxing morning and then join an exciting journey to Heidelberg, home to Germany’s oldest university (constructed in 1386). While here, be transported by a local guide to the noted Heidelberg Castle and its ruins. Often said to be one of the most crucial remaining Renaissance structures north of the Alps, the area’s breathtaking scenery and architecture are sure to provide an abundance of memories and photography opportunities.
From there, it will be time to witness the Great Vat, considered to be the largest wine barrel in history. Able to hold up to 60,000 gallons of wine, this enormous structure measures 23 feet in height by 28 feet in width. If that isn’t intriguing enough, there is also a dance floor built on top of the Great Vat!
Today you will find picturesque scenery and landscapes everywhere you turn, filled with valleys, mountains and unique views, helping you fall in love with historic Heidelberg! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 12 Mainz – Rüdesheim
Today you will visit Germany’s most critical wine region, the city of Mainz. Once a fort city and military post built by the Romans, the area is now a crucial wine area filled with a rich history. During your guided walk and time here explore the lively Old Town, filled with countless shops and vendors. Next, take a trip to the renowned Gutenberg Museum before leaving this area during lunchtime.
Later, it will be time to cruise to the stunning wine town, Rüdesheim. Filled with many historical landmarks, this afternoon you can stop by Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. Here, prepare to witness one of the world’s largest collections of self-playing music boxes and calliopes in a variety of sizes and shapes. Then, consider stopping by Rüdesheim’s Drosselgasse, an action-packed cobblestoned street area comprised of bars, shops and attractions including open-air wine gardens, and live performers. In addition, a special treat will be yours today. What could it be? You will find out soon enough! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 13 Rhine Gorge – Koblenz
Enjoy a morning cruising through the Rhine Gorge – often considered one of the most beautiful and impressive places in the world. Here you will find seductive cliffs that sit over 400 feet above the water, all lined with exquisite structures and castles. While cruising in this scenic area, you will learn more about this area’s top landmark, the Lorelei Rock. Listen closely to the legendary tale of a breathtaking woman who would lure sailors in this area to their death.
Soon after, you will arrive in the intoxicating 2,000-year-old city of Koblenz. This remarkable area intrigues visitors with its abundance of castles, fortresses, towers, market squares and historical structures. With Koblenz considered to be the business and cultural epicenter of the Middle Rhine Region, a walking tour today will take you to a variety of the area’s top city spots. Alternatively, consider a trip to the area’s nearby Sayn Manor House – an exquisite mansion and garden complex built in neo-gothic and baroque styling. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 14 Cologne
Greetings from the lively city of Cologne. Uniquely situated on both sides of the Rhine River, Cologne is the fourth largest city in Germany. With a multitude of historical landmarks in this area, Cologne’s gothic-styled Kölner Dom (the Cologne Cathedral) is considered its most popular destination.
During your time here, two exciting and educational excursions will be available. Those who want to see the city, can join a guided city walk where there will be an abundance of architecture, landscapes and historical structures to see. Alternatively, you can take a Jewish Heritage Walk and become educated on the city’s Jewish history and population, and how it was affected during the Holocaust.
Your trip to Cologne cannot come to a close without visiting its Old Town area. Here you will see countless shops and restaurants. Spend time with the locals, enjoy a prized lager and take in the area’s vibrant atmosphere! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 15 Amsterdam, Holland
Prepare to explore the distinctive city of Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands. With its humble beginning as a small fishing area, it is now considered to be a top city of innovation in the world. Amsterdam is famous for its abundance of museums – more than 60 in total – and its intricate canal system.
Today, a Canal Boat tour will take you on a trip through the Grachtengorgel, Amsterdam’s Canal District. After, enjoy free time to explore the city as you wish. If the weather is cooperating, ask your Cruise Director about taking part in an optional bike excursion. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 16 Amsterdam (Disembarkation)
Your unforgettable 16-day European river cruise adventure will conclude this morning in Amsterdam after breakfast. (Breakfast)