This mesmerizing journey sets off along the Rhine, Saône, and Rhône Rivers before its conclusion along the stunning French Riviera. Enjoy a canal cruise in splendid Amsterdam and guided sightseeing in Cologne, Koblenz, and Strasbourg. Delight in excursions to Germany’s Black Forest and to Heidelberg with its imposing castle. Sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge, see the legendary Lorelei rock, and visit the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz. A motorcoach transfer takes you into France’s Burgundy region to fascinating Beaune for a Burgundy wine tasting or a visit of the Hôtel-Dieu. Next, board your ship in quaint Chalon-sur-Saône and set sail for lovely Tournus, France’s gastronomic capital of Lyon, as well as medieval Tournon, charming Viviers, and Avignon. Before disembarking in Arles, sail into the peaceful Camargue area (daylight permitting), then arrive on the stunning Cote-d’Azur—the famed French Riviera—for your Monograms extension. We’ve arranged your transfer via high-speed train between Arles and Aix-en-Provence, hotel reservations, daily breakfast, sightseeing with local experts, transfers from/to your hotels to/from the train stations, and more. Plus, we know you are not familiar with the cities, so we’ve arranged the services of friendly and knowledgeable Local Hosts® to answer questions, share inside information, help you arrange your activities and excursions, and more. The next morning, after an included breakfast, we’ll pick you up for guided sightseeing with an expert Local Guide. You’ll walk along the 17th-century Cours Mirabeau, a lively area with fountains and famous cafés, and you’ll visit the Cathedral of the Holy Savior with its mishmash of architectural styles. This was Cézanne’s hometown, and in your free time, you may want to take a tour following in his footsteps. Perhaps take an excursion to Cassis with an included cruise, soak in Aix-en-Provence’s healing thermal baths, or shop for lavender and other local products. Finally, we’ll whisk you via high-speed TGV train to Nice. Here, guided sightseeing with a local expert includes a walk through the Old Town and the famed Promenade des Anglais boulevard. In your free time, you may want to take an excursion to Monaco, St. Tropez, or Cannes, known for its international film festival. Your Local Host can help you arrange activities and excursions, plus make suggestions for the best places to sample the local specialties. We go the extra mile to make sure you live your dream rather than dream your life!
Cruise: deluxe 14-night cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSMDay 1-2 Amsterdam (Embarkation): welcome reception; canal cruiseon Day 2Day 3 Cologne: choice of guided city walk or Jewish Heritage walkDay 4 Koblenz–Rhine Gorge–Rüdesheim: guided sightseeing in Koblenz; cruise through the Rhine Gorge; visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum in Rüdesheim; special treatDay 5 Mainz. Excursion to Heidelberg: guided walk, visit the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz; excursion to Heidelberg, guided visit of the castle, see the Great VatDay 6 Strasbourg: guided sightseeing, visit the La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral; onboard woodcarving demonstrationDay 7 Breisach. Excursion to the Black Forest: visit a local woodcarver’s workshop or visit a Black Forest open-air museumDay 8 Basel (Disembarkation)–Beaune–Chalon-sur-Saône (Embarkation)–Tournus: transfer to Beaune, choice of visit of the Hôtel-Dieu or Burgundy wine tasting; onboard welcome receptionDay 9 Tournus: guided sightseeing, see the abbey of St. Philibert; cheese tastingDay 10 Lyon: guided sightseeing in Lyon, picture stop on Fourvière HillDay 11 Lyon: day at leisureDay 12 Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage–Viviers: guided walk in Tournon; guided walk in Viviers, visit the Old Town and the cathedralDay 13 Avignon: guided sightseeing, visit the Palace of the PopesDay 14 Arles: guided sightseeing in Arles, visit the Roman Amphitheater; cruise into the Camargue region (daylight permitting)Day 15 Arles (Disembarkation)–Aix-en-Provence: evening in Aix-en-ProvenceAix-en-Provence & Nice: 4 nights hotel accommodation with buffet breakfast (B); Monograms Local Host Service & Destination Guides with city maps; sightseeing with a Local Guide, inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE; high-speed TGV train (first-class) from Aix-en-Provence to Nice; transfers to/from train stations.
Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapésWelcome dinnerDaily Afternoon TeaDaily Night FareFarewell dinnerComplimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; soft drinks with lunch; and wine, beer, or soft drinks with dinner are included daily on board your vesselBuffet breakfast daily while in Provence
NOTES:The Rhône/Saône section of the October 22 departure is offered as an exclusive Wine Appreciation Cruise, including special lectures and tastings at no additional cost. Your palate will applaud as you learn what to look for in a good wine. A distinguished wine authority will teach you the ropes as you visit a wine village and attend tastings to test your newfound talent.In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program.Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change becomes necessary, a substitute will be offered.