Cruise
Balmoral
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
Balmoral, French River Cruising with Antwerp ex Rosyth Return
Ship: Balmoral
Selected Sailing Date: 15 Jun 2019
Available Sailing Dates

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Prices displayed are retail per person, twin share, to the Australian Travel Trade. Consumers please contact your local cruise agent to request this Cruise Abroad package. At time of booking please check current cruise fare and any inclusions. Prices are indicative only, subject to currency fluctuations and may change at any time without notice.

Itinerary
Cruise Itinerary
Itinerary may vary by sailing date and itineraries may be changed at the cruise lines discretion. Please check itinerary details at time of booking and before booking other travel services such as airline tickets.
Cruise Description

8 Night Cruise sailing from Rosyth roundtrip aboard Balmoral.

Journeys along beautiful rivers in daylight hours and calls at a trio of charming destinations in France and Belgium make for a spellbinding escape, packing gorgeous countryside scenes, cultural delights and wealth of historic highlights into this eight-night cruise aboard Balmoral.

Beginning your summer adventure in France, you’re sure to feel inspired throughout your time on the gorgeous River Seine. You’ll start with several hours of scenic cruising along the Seine, passing by unspoilt countryside and pretty communes as Balmoral heads for Rouen. Quaint, narrow streets packed with half-timbered houses and historic landmarks await discovery at your first port of call; Place du Vieux Marché, where the Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake in 1431, and Rouen’s spectacular Cathédrale de Notre Dame are not-to-be-missed. You could also tour to Paris from Rouen, for a romantic evening in the iconic French capital. Back along the Seine, charming Honfleur beckons before Balmoral continues on to Belgium. Honfleur offers plenty to fill your full-day here; eye-catching landmarks such as St Catherine’s Church – France’s largest timber church – and the historic Vieux Bassin maritime district are particular highlights. Stopping here until late also affords you time to tour to Claude Monet House and Gardens.

Your time in Belgium begins with wonderful river cruising too, diverting inland via the Western Scheldt River to Antwerp. Vast mud flats, salt marshes and nature reserves, which are home to variety of bird species, come into view on this winding route. When Balmoral finally arrives in Belgium’s picturesque second city, you’ll dock close to the city centre. Within easy reach will be Grote Markt – the ‘Great Market Square’ – with its elaborate 16th century guildhalls and extravagant City Hall, and the mighty Cathedral of our Lady. Venture even deeper into the city and you’ll be rewarded with Antwerp’s most prized possessions, such as the Royal Museum of Fine Arts and the legendary Diamond District. Away from the city, you could take the chance to tour to nearby Ghent, for artisan chocolatiers and some of Belgium’s most iconic landmarks, including the UNESCO-listed Belfry.

Highlights of this cruise:

Rouen, France
The ‘City of a Hundred Bells’, Rouen, is capital of the French region of Normandy. This 2,000-year-old port city on the River Seine, important in Roman times and the Middle Ages, is a unique city rich with monuments and museums.

Rouen’s narrow pedestrianised streets lined with tall, half-timber houses and a statue marking the spot where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake, is a pointer to the city’s dark history. Devastated by fire, the plague and bombs in the past, modern Rouen is now a vibrant cultural centre, and one of Normandy’s most engaging destinations.

The skyline is dominated by the spires of Cathédrale Notre-Dame, much-painted by Claude Monet. The Gothic churches of Saint-Maclou and Saint-Ouen are also must-see attractions, two of the best examples of gothic architecture in France and a important part of Rouen’s history.

The city's beautiful botanical garden – Jardin de Plantes de Rouen, is also worth a visit. Its 600 different plant species and various gardens, including a rock garden, rose garden and a garden full of medicinal plants, are a joy to wander through.

Honfleur, France
Historic Honfleur in northern France's Lower Normandy region is a quaint little port with a rich cultural and artistic heritage. One of France’s most visited towns, Honfleur – with its beautiful 15th and 16th century architecture and distinctive harbour – was the inspiration for Impressionist painters and poets.

Vieux-Bassin, Honfleur’s colourful old harbour, is lined with 16th to 18th-century lofty slate-and-timber fronted houses. Its sloping cobbled streets have long been a subject for artists including Claude Monet and native son, Eugène Boudin.

A visit to the 15th century St. Catherine's Church, a vaulted timber structure erected by shipbuilders, is a must, as is the maritime museum and Notre Dame de Grâce – a 17th century chapel containing various paintings and models. The chapel also offers fabulous views of the town, the Seine estuary and the impressively-engineered Normandy Bridge that crosses it.

Antwerp, Belguim
Belgium’s charming, medieval city of Antwerp is the country’s biggest port and often recognised as its capital of cool. It has proved an alluring city for centuries, attracting lovers of art, fashion and, of course, diamonds – over 80% of the world's rough diamonds pass through the city's famous diamond district at some point or other. Renowned for its charm and sparkle, Antwerp was one of Europe’s principle cities in the mid-16th century and has maintained the essence of its medieval past, despite severe bombing during World War II.

A riverside fortress and numerous intriguing cobbled streets are overshadowed by the 123m high tower of the imposing Cathedral of Our Lady, the biggest church in Benelux. Its construction started in 1352 on the site of a 10th century chapel, but like many medieval religious buildings, it took several centuries to complete.

The cathedral interior has four altarpieces by Peter Paul Rubens – a true legend of baroque painting. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts is dedicated to this local celebrity, and houses many of his finest works, along with those of other Flemish masters. There are more than 20 other museums in the city, and other attractions to this cultural gem of a city include a vibrant fashion and entertainment scene, a robust café culture, excellent shops and delightful parks and gardens. Fine dining is also on the menu, and one of Antwerp's most dramatic restaurant, The Jane, brings it all together with a slice of rock and roll.

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