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ACTIVITY HOLIDAY GUIDE 2014 BATEAU TO VÉLO AND BEYOND… Viking River Cruises offer itineraries which are rich in culture, cuisine and comfort


ROLLIN’ ON THE RIVER River cruises & barging River cruising is the hottest trend in travel right now, and the famous fleuves of France are a magnificent way to get a front-row seat to view the country’s magnificent scenery. More intimate in size than ocean cruisers, river vessels allow guests to see multiple destinations without having to pack up and change hotels. An added allure is the all-inclusive pricing, with gourmet cuisine, wi-fi and onshore excursions included. River boats can dock right in the


centre of town, meaning that you can easily hop off and stroll (or cycle) to check out the sites. Increasingly, river cruise companies are creating culture-rich themed itineraries. This March, Viking River Cruises


(www.vikingrivercruises.com) launched three new ‘Longships’ (Viking Buri, Viking Hermod and Viking Heimdal) in Avignon, to much fanfare. Built to be environmentally friendly, these state-of-the-art vessels


have quiet hybrid engines, solar panels and even organic herb gardens on their sun decks. The ships accommodate 190 passengers in 95 stylish staterooms, each with either a verandah or a French balcony, and boast amenities on a par with five-star hotels. Think top-notch entertainment systems, luxury bath products and free bottled water. In France, their itineraries include ‘Portraits of Southern France’ (8 days / 6 guided tours, from $1,856 per person), ‘Paris & the Heart of Normandy’ (8 days, from $1,956 per person) and ‘France’s Finest’, which joins two popular itineraries for a 15-day cruise that traverses the Hexagon.


New for this year is the ‘Châteaux, Rivers and Wine’ cruise, covering the Dordogne, Garonne and Gironde Rivers in the Bordeaux area of Aquitaine. You’ll discover Bordeaux’s UNESCO-listed city centre, stroll through the medieval village of Saint-Émilion, and gape at the


world-renowned châteaux in Pauillac. Besides tasting Médoc and Margaux wines with a master sommelier, you’ll also get a chance to learn about Cognac, the famous French tipple. Also new, from Ama Waterways


(www.amawaterways.com), is a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings on the ‘Paris & Normandy’ cruise, a seven-night voyage on the Seine


(from $2,799 per person). “We designed the cruise to give guests a memorable take on the world-changing events of June 6, 1944,” explains Kristin Karst, AMA’s Executive Vice President. “We are fortunate to have some of the best local guides in the business working for us – knowledgeable people with a genuine passion for world history and a real knack for bringing the past to life. To gaze out at the ghostly remnants of the artificial harbour at Arromanches, or to stroll through a sea of white crosses at the American cemetery… it’s simply unforgettable.” Onboard the cruise vessel AmaLegro, guests will enjoy luxurious rooms with all mod cons and there’s a real focus on top class cuisine. The other perks include free guided bicycle tours when in port. Ama Waterways is also launching an ‘Art Illumination Cruise’ on the Seine for August, which will follow in the footsteps of famous painters, such as Monet, who were inspired by French landscapes. After identifying the scenes captured on canvas, guests will be able to participate in complimentary painting sessions on the ship’s sun deck. Like river cruising, barging is soaring in popularity. Former cargo barges, converted into luxurious


Enjoy the best of France in a luxurious, leisurely way with Barge Lady Cruises


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