Join a small party for an all-inclusive escorted cruise through Provence aboard the SS Catherine from Uniworld. See the sights and enjoy all the pleasures of French wining and dining as you float along the majestic river Rhone.
The Cruise: Avignon to Lyon on the River Rhône, 6 – 13 May 2018
Explore ancient cities, iconic landmarks and gorgeous countryside, with excellent cuisine and wine-tastings. This cruise includes transfers from Marseilles to Avignon and Lyon, all meals on board and daily excursions to remarkable sights in Provence and the Burgundy wine-region.
Your Escort: Clare Dudley, CEO, Ponders Travel
Clare is a delightful and highly experienced cruising expert and will be your escort throughout the cruise. Clare will meet you at Marseilles and travel with you to SS Catherine to be your on-board guide for the week, advising on excursions, making sure that all goes smoothly and that you get the most out of every glorious second. And her services won’t cost you a penny more!
Clare Dudley has 30 years of experience and achievement in the travel industry, recently winning the prestigious CLIA Cruise Manager of the Year Award.
The SS Catherine
5 Cabin Categories – cruise in your own style
With accommodation on three decks and a huge partly-shaded sun-deck, you’ll cruise gently through the Provençal region in luxurious style and great company. All the suites and cabins are spacious, with comfy beds, stylish furniture and sumptuous fabrics. The social areas, with exquisite furnishings and original art, are designed to be as inspiring as the destinations you’ll visit. All the modern luxuries combine with Uniworld’s renowned top quality hospitality and cuisine on this high-value 5* cruise.
DAY 1: Avignon (Embark)
Arrive at Marseille international airport to be met and transferred to SS Catherine moored in Avignon.
DAY 2: Arles or Avignon
A choice of two sun-drenched Provençal towns to explore today. Arles, founded in 6th century BC by the Greeks, was where the Romans built their first bridge across the Rhône to link Italy with Spain. The Provençal sunlight of Arles so inspired Van Gogh that he painted some 200 paintings there. Tarascon has many medieval sites include a 12th-century church and a 15th-century castle rich with tales of a beloved ruler.
A special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.
DAY 3: Avignon or Pont du Gard walking tours
The walled city of Avignon is one of the most fascinating towns in southern France, home to the medieval bridge immortalized in the folk song “Sur le Pont d’Avignon,” as well as the mighty Palace of the Popes.
Alternatively, take the discovery tour to the Pont du Gard, part of an astonishing 30-mile aqueduct from Uzès to Nîmes bult by the Romans to transport spring water over the River Gardon. Dating from the 1st century and still standing, this is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Or, for the more active, try a kayak ride on the river Gardon itself, spotting trout and river birds on its clear waters. Paddle from Collias to Remoulins, ending with a fabulous view of the tri-span Pont du Gard (May to September only).
DAY 4: Viviers
An excursion today to an authentic riverside village which curiously claims the smallest cathedral in France. Viviers was founded over 1,600 years and your guide will lead you through its fascinating medieval streets, some narrow enough to touch both sides, and introduce you to local artisans for an inspiring step into the past in this historic and charming community.
DAY 5: Tournon and Tain-l’Hermitage
Today, your choice of excursions to towns on either side of the river in this Côtes du Rhône region, known for its wonderful wines made from the Syrah grape.
Tournon is steeped in history, founded with a hilltop castle and home to wealthy merchants in times past.
Or, just across the pretty flower-decked Marc Seguin suspension bridge take a guided tour of Tain-l’Hermitage its sun-drenched vineyards and the local wine cellars. You’ll taste the region’s famous Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage wines and have time to browse the shops – and the Valrhona chocolate factory is always a popular stop.
DAY 6: Lyon
As the epicenter of French gastronomy, Lyon has plenty to offer with its bouchons and specialty food shops and the legendary main market, Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse. Discover its culinary riches with a guided tour.
Lyon’s history is entwined with silk, which dominated the city’s economy for centuries. Discover a Jacquard loom still in use and explore the secret passage-ways (les traboules) of the Old Town with your guide.
The confluence of the Saone and the Rhone provide Lyon with excellent cycle paths beside the rivers. Take this opportunity to explore Lyon on two wheels and at your own pace.
DAY 7: Mâcon and Beaune
As the cruise approaches Burgundy take a walking tour of Macon, an ancient riverside town and an important trading centre since the Celts founded it 2,200 years ago. It’s also famous and as the birthplace of photography with a must-see museum
Take an excursion to Beaune in the heart of the Côte d’Or and the capital of the region’s wine trade. It’s renowned for its history, beauty, highly-prized wines, open-air farmers market and its medieval hospital, the Hospices de Beaune with its famous multi-coloured tiled roof, typical of Burgundy.
A special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.
DAY 8: Lyon and Departure
Disembark the ship for transfer to Lyon–Saint-Exupéry airport for your flight home. Alternatively, you can continue your adventure with an extension to sparkling Paris.
1 – Open Air Balcony 4,549 GBP pp
2 – French Balcony 4,249 GBP pp
3 – French Balcony 4,049 GBP pp
4 – Riverview 3,449 GBP pp
5 – Riverview 3,349 GBP pp
PLUS, EXCLUSIVE TO THIS ESCORTED CRUISE, 100 GBP per person to spend on board.
For more information and to book this cruise, contact Clare Dudley on 0044 954 232 802.