This mesmerizing journey sets off along the Rhine, then continues on the Saône and Rhône Rivers. Enjoy a canal cruise in splendid Amsterdam as well as guided sightseeing in Cologne, Koblenz, and Strasbourg. Delight in excursions to Germany’s Black Forest and to Heidelberg, Germany’s oldest university town with its imposing castle. Also 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 visit of Hôtel-Dieu. Next, board your ship in quaint St. Jean de Losne and set sail for Macon, France’s gastronomic capital of Lyon, as well as medieval Tournon, charming Viviers, Avignon, and Arles. Before disembarking your ship in Arles, sail into the peaceful Camargue area (daylight permitting). Transfer to Aix en Provence for two nights for the start of your Monograms extension. Enjoy guided sightseeing with an expert Local Guide, walking along the 17th-century Cours Mirabeau, a lively area with fountains, elegant homes, and famous cafés, and visit the Cathedral of the Holy Savior, known for 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 specialties. Finally, we’ll whisk you via high-speed TGV train to Nice for your final two nights in France. Here, guided sightseeing with a Local Expert includes a walk through the Old Town and the Promenade des Anglais, Nice’s most famous boulevard. In your free time, you may want to take an excursion to Monaco, to St. Tropez, or to Cannes, known for its famous film festival. In both cities we provide the services of Local Hosts®—a “friend in the city” to answer questions, share inside information, help you arrange your activities and excursions, and provide you with suggestions for the best places to sample the local specialties, as well as be there to help you feel comfortable in each city. Transfers from/to your hotels to/from the train stations, and hotel reservations with daily breakfast, are included.
Cruise: deluxe 14-night cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSMDay 1-2 Amsterdam (Embarkation): welcome reception; canal cruise on 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–St. Jean de Losne (Embarkation)–Seurre: transfer to Beaune, visit Hôtel-Dieu; onboard welcome receptionDay 9 Seurre–Macon: leisurely cruising; onboard cheese tasting; free time in MâconDay 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: sail into the Camargue region (daylight permitting), guided sightseeing in Arles, visit the Roman AmphitheaterDay 15 Arles (Disembarkation)–Côte d’Azur: evening in Côte d’AzurAix-en-Provence & Nice: 4 nights hotel accommodation with buffet breakfast (B); Monograms Local Host Service & Destination Guides with city maps; guided sightseeing, inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE; high-speed TGV train (first-class) from Aix-en-Provence to Nice; transfers from ship to Aix-en-Provence hotel and to/from train stations.
Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapésWelcome dinnerDaily Afternoon TeaDaily Night FareFarewell dinnerComplimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner are included daily on board your vesselBuffet breakfast daily while in Provence
NOTES:The Rhône/Saône section of the October 21 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. In the event that a high-speed train is unavailable due to strikes or technical reasons, the route will be operated by motorcoach.