May 20th 2011

Very good value for a fall European river cruise. Package for two is going…going…

Chalon sur Saone carnaval 2008 les Zigeunerins...

Image via Wikipedia

Here’s a lovely package which you may want to consider, i.e. Take advantage of a European “Indian Summer” in early November (Nov 5 through Nov 13). This is an 8-day “Portraits of France” river cruise. This goes from Chalon-sur-Saone to Avignon. (Yes,  the heart of Burgundy)
This is on a river boat called the Neptune. It carries 150 passengers and 40 crew members.
Viking Neptune Cruise Ship
My wife and I are fans of this type of travel – prices are all in , such as airfare from Vancouver, wine for dinner, shore excursions are all included. Usually you pay more for this. The service is four star and better – great food and drink ( Local wines!!!).  These small boats tie up at the main pier in the town ( which is the old town center ) so everything you want to see is a short walk away.  Follow their built in itinerary, or freelance .  Freelance such as go with the chef to the market to select the food for the dinner, get a ride to other local wineries, visit shops, hang around the town square with a coffee and pastry, organize a round of golf, there is no pressure on you to do anything.  No formal nites, lots of interesting people on the boat. You can normally expect to plunk down $5000 per person for this, but this deal has been put together for a total price  for two of $6805 (US – it gets even better!).  Make it an early Christmas present, or a special anniversary gift or just a romantic surprise.
Details:

Day 1 - Chalon-sur-Saône

Fly to Lyon. Transfer from the airport to your ship docked in Chalon-sur-Saône.* After boarding, take free time to explore this quaint town—or join our “welcome walk” to stretch your legs and start getting oriented.

Day 2 - Beaune & Burgundy Wine Tour

After breakfast, take a scenic drive along France’s Burgundy wine route through Pommard, Volnay and Meursault. Arrive in Beaune, wine capital of Burgundy, for a guided tour of beautiful Hôtel Dieu, founded as a hospice in 1443. Learn about local viticulture and enjoy a wine-tasting at one of Beaune’s famous cellars. Return to your ship for lunch. Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure—as always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Or, take an optional excursion to the picturesque Burgundy towns of Tournus and Mâcon. Return aboard for dinner and evening departure.

Day 3 - Lyon

After a morning cruise through the picturesque countryside and lunch aboard, take an afternoon tour of Lyon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin with a drive to the top of Fourvière Hill for amazing views of the city. Visit the Basilica of Notre Dame and drive through town past the magnificent St. Jean Cathedral and the Palace of Justice. Then take a walking tour through the cobbled streets of Vieux Lyon (Old Town), with free time to shop for souvenirs or sample some of the fine French cuisine for which Lyon is world-famous. Dinner served aboard.

Day 4 - Lyon & Vienne

The morning is free to further explore this remarkable 2,000-year-old city in the heart of France. Depart just before lunchtime. This afternoon, take a walking tour of Vienne, a beautiful town with an ancient Roman past. Visit the Temple of Augustus & Livia, the Roman amphitheater and the Gothic Cathedral of St. Maurice; then spend some time discovering more of this charming riverside town on your own. Dine aboard and depart this evening.

Day 5 - Tournon & Viviers

Awaken in Tournon. During a guided tour of the area, learn about the region’s winemaking traditions and taste some famous regional red wines. Then visit the Musée de Tain l’Hermitage located in the oldest house in the region. Lunch aboard and cruise through the afternoon; arrive after dinner in Viviers, a quaint town in a mountainous setting. Join your Program Director for an evening stroll through the Old Town with its medieval and Renaissance buildings. Enjoy free time before retiring for the evening.

Day 6 - Arles

Arrive during breakfast and meet your guide for a walking tour of Arles with its diverse architectural highlights. Experience the city’s vibrant colors and the striking quality of light that have inspired artists. Arles is also the site of some impressive Roman ruins, including Les Arènes, an arena that seats 20,000 and is still in use, as well as Romanesque monuments such as the Church of Saint-Trôphime, completed in the 15th century. Return aboard for lunch followed by afternoon free time to explore or shop for handcrafted gifts. Dinner is served as you depart.

Day 7 - Avignon

This morning, set out on a guided walk of Avignon, nicknamed “City of Popes” because it was home to seven popes from 1309 to 1377. Stroll through the historic center, stop at the picturesque Pont d’Avignon and walk the Place de l’Horloge. Continue to the renowned Palace of the Popes for a guided tour through this rambling maze of Gothic architecture which served as papal residence, fortress, church and palace. You can join the optional tour to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, visiting the vineyards and tasting the famous wine. Lunch and dinner served aboard. Your ship remains docked overnight.

Day 8 - Avignon

After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the Marseille airport for your return flight.

The following meals are included:
B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner

*Airport meet & greet transfers included when air is purchased from Viking River Cruises.

The total price for this package for two, which includes air from Vancouver (economy), port charges, shores excursions, complimentary wines at dinner is US$6805.00. This price is valid only until May 30th, or until sold.

Let us know if you are interested. anordman@cruiseshipcenters.com

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