Optional Pre-extension in Barcelona:
DAY 1 | Arrive in barcelona, spain
Arrive in Barcelona and check-in to your hotel. The balance of the day is free to start exploring this beautiful city.
DAY 2 | barcelona, spainYour full day in Barcelona begins with a driving tour to the top of Montjuic Hill where you will enjoy glorious views of the city below. Continue along the waterfront to Las Ramblas, the iconic tree-lined boulevard at the heart of the city. You will explore the Gothic Quarter, the medieval center of the city. Your tour also includes the unique architectural works of Antoni Gaudí, including Casa Milà, Casa Batlló and La Sagrada Familia, the basilica and UNESCO World Heritage Site that has been under construction for over a century. As an alternative, choose the optional “Tapas Tasting” tour, where you will visit tapas bars to sample local favorites and take a guided tour of a local market.
DAY 3 | barcelona, spainEnjoy a full day at your leisure, or take part in an optional excursion to Montserrat, where you will visit the famous Benedictine Abbey atop Montserrat Mountain. This evening is free for you to explore Barcelona after dark.
Cruise Only Itinerary:
DAY 1 | Embarkation - arles, FranceAfter breakfast, you will transfer from Barcelona to Arles, the gateway to Provence. Along the way, you will stop in the medieval town of Perpignan, France, close to the Mediterranean. Here, you will have free time for lunch and exploring on your own. Continue on your transfer, passing through the eerie marshland region of the Camargue before arriving in Arles and boarding your ship. This evening, meet your fellow passengers for a Welcome Dinner.
DAY 2 | arles - avignon, FRANCE This morning, board a motor coach for an excursion to the hilltop village of Les Baux de Provence. The village’s castle provides a fascinating exhibit of medieval siege weaponry. Later, visit an olive farm to learn about this age-old Provençal farming tradition. As an alternative, take the “Impressionist Experience” excursion to the Saint Paul de Mausole Asylum, where Van Gogh painted such well-known works as The Irises and Starry Night. Late this afternoon, your city tour of Arles takes you to the Romanesque cathedral and the Roman Amphitheater. This evening cruise to nearby Avignon. As your ship docks, look for the Avignon Bridge, made famous by the French children’s song “Sur le pont d’Avignon” (“On the Bridge of Avignon”).
DAY 3 | avignon - viviers, FRANCE This morning, you will have your choice of two excursions in and around historic Avignon. Seven popes once resided in the magnificent Gothic Papal Palace, which you will visit during your city walking tour. You will also see the well-preserved medieval walls surrounding the historic center of town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As an alternative, take an excursion to the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct that is a masterpiece of engineering and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon, visit the renowned Châteauneuf-du-Pape region where you will enjoy a wine tasting, tour a local vineyard and learn about the wines and winemaking process. Return to the ship and cruise to Viviers, where the ship moors overnight.
DAY 4 | VIviers - TOURNON, FRANCE
After breakfast, you’ll have an excursion to Grignan, a magnificent hilltop village surrounded by lavender fields. The village’s Renaissance castle provides a commanding view of the surrounding countryside. Enjoy some free time to explore local shops for confections, home made lavender soaps and other crafts. You will also have an opportunity to visit a truffle farm and learn about truffle harvesting. Rejoin the ship in Le Pouzin, then cruise to Tournon as you enjoy an onboard wine lecture. This evening, enjoy a “Red Wine & Chocolate Pairing” at the Tournon Chateau.
DAY 5 | TOURNON - VIenne, FRANCE This morning, enjoy a scenic drive to the Tain-l’Hermitage region for a wine tasting. Return to the ship in time for lunch onboard as we sail towards Vienne. Arrive this afternoon in Vienne, situated between the wine regions of Burgundy and Beaujolais. Vienne has a significant Roman history, which is highlighted by its marvelously preserved ruins and remains.
DAY 6 | VIenne - lyon, FRANCE Vienne’s Roman past can be readily seen in its marvelously preserved ruins. This morning, you will have a guided walking tour of Vienne and see the 1st-century Roman Temple of Augustus and Livia, the ruins of a Roman theater, and the medieval churches of St. Andre-Le-Bas and Abbey St. Pierre. Enjoy an onboard wine lecture and tasting as your ship departs for Lyon, arriving mid-afternoon. Your panoramic tour of Lyon takes you to the Place Bellecour with its equestrian statue of Louis XIV, the Place des Terreaux with Bartholdi’s Fountain, and the Town Hall. Afterwards, visit Fourvière, part of the historic region designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known as the “Hill of Prayers,” Fourvière is famous for its iconic white Basilica of Notre-Dame, ruins of a Roman theater, and majestic views of the city below. Tonight’s Captain’s Gala Dinner will be a memorable feast for the senses. The ship moors overnight in Lyon.
DAY 7 | lyon - collonges - belleville - lyon , FRANCE This morning, enjoy some free time in Lyon to explore on your own or shop for souvenirs and gifts. The ship departs after noon and cruises to Collonges for your excursion through the Beaujolais wine region, the Pays d’Or (“land of the golden stones,” named for the ochre limestone used to build local homes and castles). You will visit the medieval hilltop village of Oingt and the home of a local vintner, where you will enjoy a wine tasting and vineyard tour, and learn about the history of wine production in the region. Rejoin the ship in Collonges and return to Lyon, arriving late tonight
DAY 8 | lyon DISEMBARKATION
After disembarking the ship, guests continuing on to Paris will be treated to a demonstration of Lyonnaise cooking. You will then have free time for lunch on your own before cruise with land guests transfer to the train station to board a TGV high-speed train that will whisk you through the French countryside to Paris. Upon arrival in Paris, you will be transferred to your hotel. This evening, an optional “Parisian Cabaret Dinner Show" is available, featuring excellent French cuisine and a fantastic, high-spirited theatrical performance
Optional Post-Extension in Paris:DAY 1 | paris, franceEnjoy Paris’ famous sights during this morning's guided tour where you will see the Champs Élysées, Place de la Concorde, and the Eiffel Tower. Conclude your visit at the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. The afternoon is free for you to explore the “City of Lights.” Tonight, an optional “Montmartre & Illuminations” tour is available, with breathtaking and not-to-be-missed views of Paris after dark
DAY 2 | paris, france
Enjoy your last full day in Paris at your leisure.
DAY 3 | DEPART paris
Your splendid vacation comes to an end as you prepare for your homeward flight.
From the magic of Barcelona to the romance of Paris, this wine cruise itinerary is one of our most captivating. Begin with three nights in Barcelona, then transfer to Arles, stopping to visit medieval Perpignan along the way. Overnight aboard your luxurious vessel in Arles, the city where Vincent Van Gogh lived near the end of his life. From Arles, cruise to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Avignon, where a wine tasting excursion takes you to the renowned Châteanueuf-du-Pape. Continue to Viviers and Tournon, where you will sample L’Hermitage wine and also enjoy a chocolate tasting. In Vienne, you will have a walking tour before cruising to Lyon, followed by a winery visit and tasting the next day. Your Rhone wine cruise comes to an end in Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France. Enjoy a champagne tasting before embarking on a high-speed TGV train to Paris for your post-cruise program.