Provence & Spain - Arles-Lyon
• Rising in the Swiss Alps and traveling south to the Mediterranean, the mighty Rhone River links thousands of vineyards and wineries throughout southeastern France. In the north, wines are based on red Syrah or white Viognier grapes, while the Southern Rhone’s red, rose, and white wines are blends of many different grapes, including the acclaimed Châtauneuf-du-Pape. Your cruise itinerary takes you on an excursion to the village of the same name, where you will sample the offerings of several Châtauneuf-producing wineries. You’ll also learn about wine production in the Beaujolais region, famous for its delicious fruit-driven wine, and sample flavorful Cotes du Rhone table wines. Onward to the historic city of Lyon, the undisputed capital of French gastronomy. To the south lies sun-drenched Provence, a delightful region with a rich soil that produces some of the world’s most popular wines. Enjoy a Champagne tasting in Paris, then wander the bustling streets lined with museums, cafes, and chic boutiques.
Paris & Normandy - Paris-Paris
• The Seine and its iconic bridges and riverside walkways throughout the “City of Light” have inspired artists, writers, and musicians for centuries. But there are other delights to discover as the river flows west towards the coast. Tour the historic city of Rouen, famous for its cathedral and for Joan of Arc, who met her tragic end here in 1431. Your journey through Normandy’s lush countryside is one of the most memorable and scenic routes in all of France. The leisurely pace of your river cruise also offers many opportunities to savor Normandy’s distinctive wines and spirits. Tour the Calvados region to sample its celebrated apple brandy or visit the town of Fecamp, home to the famous Bénédictine herbal liqueur first created by monks in the 19th century. Today, its complex recipe of aromatics and spices still remains a closely-guarded secret.
• Northern Portugal’s pristine Douro River Valley - the birthplace of Port wine and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site - has a rugged, otherworldly terrain sculpted by centuries of determined winegrowers. Your journey commences at the mouth of the Douro River in Porto with a private tasting of Port, the sweet fortified wine unique to Portugal. From there, the river takes you on an adventure through craggy, twisting canyons, past laboriously terraced vineyards, villages untouched by time and the crumbling ruins of monasteries. Onward to picturesque Quinta Avessada, a wine estate where you will learn about the centuries-old methods used to make Portuguese wine. You will also have ample opportunities to try the excellent red and white table wines known as Douro wines, as well as vinho verde, the light and sparkling “green wine” of the Minho Province, so named for its youthful, fruity freshness. Portugal produces several hundred indigenous varieties of grapes, making for an endless procession of distinctive, delicious and truly memorable taste experiments.
The Romantic Danube - Vilshofen-Budapest
Melodies of the Danube - Budapest-Vilshofen
• Captured in art, literature and Strauss’s famous “Blue Danube” waltz, the Danube is one of the world’s most romantic waterways. The river flows eastward through Austria’s fabled Wachau Valley, a wine region long revered for its natural beauty and enticing white wines. Austria’s vibrant wine scene makes it the perfect destination for wine lovers seeking new flavors and Old World culture and charm. Riesling is a specialty of this area, as is Grüner Veltliner, a high-spirited and fiery wine that makes a delicious accompaniment to the regional cuisine. The storied Wachau Valley is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well-preserved landscape and abundant medieval abbeys and fortress ruins. Journey to Dürnstein, a lovely Baroque-era town nestled on the banks of the Danube. Hike up to the ruined castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned during the Crusades for a stunning view of the valley. You’ll explore the 900-year-old Benedictine abbey in Melk and experience an evening at a traditional Austrian wine tavern, a casual and enjoyable place to appreciate local music and newly pressed wines.
The Enchanting Rhine - Amsterdam-Basel
• The stunningly beautiful Rhine River Valley has long been a paradise for wine lovers. Steeped in legend and myth, in a region rich in fairytale castles, the Rhine Valley - the heartland of the Holy Roman Empire – has more castles than in any other river valley in the world. Many have survived the ravages of war, neglect and time, and stand like sentinels on the cliffs above quaint riverside villages. Your cruise itinerary takes you through two of the most celebrated wine regions in Europe. You will sample Rieslings and other distinctive light white wines at various wineries, including some of Germany’s oldest and most renowned vineyards. Further north, savor the vin d’Alsace and explore picture-book hamlets at your leisure, meandering along narrow cobbled streets worn from centuries of use. Wineries abound throughout the Rhine Valley and you will have many opportunities to experience the flavorful products of local viticulteurs all along the river. Back on board, relax with friends, take in the breathtaking scenery and allow yourself to slip backwards in time, pulled along by the silver thread of the gently flowing Rhine.
Paris & Normandy - Paris-Paris
• Begin your journey through northern France in Paris, the “City of Light,” where you will embark your cruise. Visit the village of Giverny, where Monet lived for 43 years. Explore Honfleur, a charming French harbor town made famous from artist’s paintings. Stroll through Rouen, the historic capital of Normandy, followed by an unforgettable excursion to the famous Normandy beaches. Visit the charming town of Les Andelys home of the impressive Château Gaillard. Conclude your journey with the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées and the Louvre in the magical city of Paris.