Fred. Olsen – French Rivers & Bordeaux – 2022
Sails from Dover
Enjoy a taste of France at its most authentic, during visits to five captivating cities, you’ll get a taste for the history, culture and culinary influences of France, plus sample some Spanish flavours too. Discover the very best of Bordeaux; after sailing the Gironde and Garonne Rivers, Balmoral docks alongside the promenade, so simply step off the ship and explore. You’re perfectly placed to take in highlights such as Cathédrale Saint-André, the Grand Théâtre and Cité du Vin, bursting rich history and wine heritage. Alternatively, tour to one of Medoc’s small family run vineyards, to learn the region’s wines and taste them straight from the barrel.
Cruise the scenic River Seine all the way to Rouen too; a full day stay here allows ample time for a tour to nearby Paris, where you can see iconic sights such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre, and perhaps indulge with the cuisine of one world’s culinary capitals. Elsewhere there are visits to Brest and Honfleur, where you may be tempted to try Camembert and Calvados while people watching at one of the French cafés. In Spain, Getxo is your gateway to Bilbao, famed for its Guggenheim Museum, prestigious restaurants serving traditional pintxos, and the legendary Rioja wine vineyards.
Tuesday 25 October 2022
Tuesday 25 October 2022
Departure from Dover, United Kingdom
Board the ship mid-afternoon before you set sail later that evening.
Wednesday 26 October 2022
Enjoy a full day of cruising.
Thursday 27 October 2022
Cruising the Girdone & Garonne Rivers, France
The beautiful River Garonne is possibly south-west France’s most important river, and arguably one of the region’s most picturesque too.
Serving a number of important towns and cities, including beautiful Bordeaux, the River Garonne flows through beautiful French countryside, presenting you with stunning views to enjoy from your smaller cruise ship.
Just upstream from Bordeaux, the Garonne meets the Dore River and forms Western Europe’s largest estuary, the Gironde.
27 - 28 October 2022
Widely regarded as the world’s wine capital, the graceful French city of Bordeaux offers far more than just vineyards and claret. Having shaken off its rather sleepy image over the last few years, Bordeaux is now amongst France’s most exciting and dynamic cities. While a sizeable number of the city’s visitors are still enticed by the chance to taste what makes this wine-rich region so special, Bordeaux has many other surprising secrets.
Stretched along the banks of the Garonne River, this City of Art and History is home to 362 historic monuments, with some buildings dating back to Roman times. Awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2007, Bordeaux’s historic centre is home to the Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André, 18th century mansions and popular art museums, such as the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, and many other impressive treasures to discover. This urban and architectural ensemble includes public gardens that line the curving river quays, and the imposing Place de la Bourse, which overlooks the reflecting pool, Miroir d’Eau. The Place des Quinconces, one of the largest squares in Europe, is a fine space to while away some hours.
Saturday 29 October 2022
Getxo (Bilbao), Spain
The underrated Getxo in Northern Spain, is an attractive seaside location, and the access port for Bilbao. Getxo’s wonderful beaches, beautiful architecture and truly impressive monuments include the UNESCO-listed Vizcaya Bridge – the world’s oldest transport bridge.
The town’s Old Port area, Algorta, is situated at one end of the Ereaga Beach and is a popular spot to soak up the sun, enjoy the vibrant nightlife and take advantage of the exciting water sports. At Ereaga’s other end, delightful palaces and gardens can be found and explored.
Getxo is also perfectly placed for tours to nearby Bilbao, the largest city in the Basque country, and home to the world famous Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Fine Art and its stunning 14th century Gothic-style cathedral.
Sunday 30 October 2022
Enjoy a full day of cruising.
Monday 31 October 2022
There’s been a port here since medieval times and it is still an important naval base. Sadly very few buildings remain from before the Second World War, apart from the 15th-century Château de Brest, and the Tour Tanguy, a medieval tower that probably dates from the 14th-century Breton War of Succession. The Château has the Musée de la Marine de Brest, celebrating Brest’s maritime tradition, while the Tour Tanguy has the Museum of Old Brest.
One of the best-known sights is the Pont de Recouvrance, a huge vertical-lift bridge, which elevates the 88m roadway on 70m-pylons to allow ships to pass up the River Penfeld. The newest attraction is the unique Océanopolis marine centre, which has three aquariums replicating polar, tropical and temperate oceans. There are over a thousand different types of fish, as well as 120 species of marine mammal, from dolphins to walrus.
Tuesday 01 November 2022
Cruising the River Seine, France
Slicing through the gorgeous lush-green countryside of Normandy’s Parc naturel régional des Boucles de la Seine, the route Fred. Olsen’s smaller cruise ships sail along the River Seine – connecting the historic cities of Honfleur and Rouen – presents guests with simply unforgettable views to enjoy in comfort on board.
Simply sit back, relax and take in stunning scenes of rolling valleys, floral fields and charming communes dotted with historic churches and traditional houses that have inspired many famous artists over the years, including Claude Monet and Henri Matisse.
01 - 02 November 2022
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.
Thursday 03 November 2022
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.
Friday 04 November 2022
Arrival at Dover, United Kingdom
After an early breakfast, disembark the ship for your journey home.
Balmoral Ship Information
Balmoral is the largest of Fred Olsen’s cruise ships, on board there are nine decks two of which are for the sole purpose of leisure and relaxation.
The ship’s facilities include swimming pools & Jacuzzis, Fitness centre, Sundeck & golf nets, Atlantic Spa & Salon, library and card room. There are also boutiques, fine jewellery and Port shop. A selection of soft drinks, wines and beers are included and provided by a wide range of restaurants, cafés, grill and lounges on board.
During the day several talks, lectures and classes take place, while in the evening fantastic live performances including cabaret, stand-up comedy and concerts will keep you entertained throughout the duration of your cruise.
All of the 710 rooms are equipped with private facilities which include an en-suite shower (some may have a bathtub also), a desk, telephone, interactive television, hairdryer, air conditioning and tea and coffee making facilities. According to your needs you can choose between different room types: single, interior, ocean view, balcony rooms and suites.
|Date||Arrival||Departure||Port of Call|
|Tue 25 Oct 2022||Late PM||Dover, United Kingdom|
|Wed 26 Oct 2022||Cruising|
|Thu 27 Oct 2022||Late Night||Bordeaux, France|
|Fri 28 Oct 2022||Late PM||Bordeaux, France|
|Sat 29 Oct 2022||Late AM||Late Night||Getxo (Bilbao), Spain|
|Sun 30 Oct 2022||Cruising|
|Mon 31 Oct 2022||Early AM||Late PM||Brest, France|
|Tue 01 Nov 2022||Late Night||Rouen, France|
|Wed 02 Nov 2022||Late Night||Rouen, France|
|Thu 03 Nov 2022||Early AM||Late PM||Honfleur, France|
|Fri 04 Nov 2022||Early AM||Dover, United Kingdom