Fred. Olsen – Uncrowded City Stays – 2022
Sails from Southampton
Visiting at a time of year with fewer tourists around, you get to explore three beautiful cities in France, Belgium and the Netherlands by day and by night, at a more relaxing and rewarding pace. Balmoral is small enough to sail the River Seine and take you closer to Rouen, where a two-day stay allows ample time to see the city at its uncrowded best. Uncover the historic highlights at your leisure, such as Place du Vieux Marché, Gros Horloge and the spectacular Cathédrale de Notre Dame to name just a few. Alternatively, you could tour to Claude Monet’s beautiful House and Gardens; or even Paris, for a romantic evening in the French capital.
With Balmoral also docking in the heart of Antwerp for another overnight stay, you can explore this Belgian gem with ease, as and when you wish. Amongst the city’s cobbled streets, unmissable attractions including the mighty Cathedral of Our Lady and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts await, while you could get your hands on– and help polish – a precious gem at the Diamond District, and sample authentic Belgian chocolates too. Finally, for the perfect end to your enriching city discovery, Amsterdam awaits. Perhaps take in the sights by bicycle, or visit the city’s many museums. When night falls, it’s the perfect time to take a boat tour of the iconic canals to see world-famous landmarks in their illuminated evening splendour.
Monday 7th February 2022
Monday 7th February 2022
Departure from Southampton, United Kingdom
Board the ship mid-afternoon before you set sail.
Tuesday 8th February 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.
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.
Wednesday 9th February 2022
Thursday 10th February 2022
Enjoy a full day of cruising.
Friday 11th February 2022
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 legendary artist from the Baroque era. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts is dedicated to Rubens and houses many of his finest works, along with those of other Flemish masters.
There are more than 20 other museums in the city, while the abundant attractions of this cultural gem also 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 popular restaurants, The Jane, brings it all together with a slice of rock and roll.
Saturday 12th February 2022
Sunday 13th February 2022
Golden Age canals lined with elegant merchant homes is the familiar backdrop for the Netherlands’ historic capital, Amsterdam. Established in the 17th century with the construction of the River Amstel dam, this celebrated port offers everything from treasure-packed museums and antiquarian bookshops to chic boutiques and convivial cafés. Equally, art is never far away in this hub of uber-creative design. One noticeable thing about the city is that, some 150 years after its industrial heyday, Amsterdam is once again awash with producers.
Amsterdam has some 40 museums, and the Museum Quarter boasts three of the most famous: the Rijksmuseum has paintings from Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals; the Van Gogh Museum; and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, displays work from Manet to Picasso. The Anne Frankhuis where Anne Frank and her family hid from German troops during the World War II, is an experience many visitors seek.
Whether on boat or bike – there are more bikes than permanent residents – exploration of the city is relatively straightforward, and a tour of the Canal Ring district, an UNESCO World Heritage site, is not to be missed. Seemingly unchanged since the 17th century, the district has been recognised for its unique cultural and historical values, and is home to many exclusive gabled facades and their celebrity owners.
Monday 14th February 2022
Enjoy a full day of cruising.
Tuesday 15th February 2022
Arrival at Southampton, 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|
Mon 07 Feb 2022
|Late PM||Southampton, United Kingdom|
|Tue 08 Feb 2022||Early AM||Rouen, France|
|Wed 09 Feb 2022||Late Night||Rouen, France|
|Thu 10 Feb 2022||Cruising|
|Fri 11 Feb 2022||Early AM||Antwerp, Belgium|
|Sat 12 Feb 2022||Early PM||Antwerp, Belgium|
|Sun 13 Feb 2022||Early AM||Late Night||Amsterdam, Netherlands|
|Mon 14 Feb 2022||Cruising|
|Tue 15 Feb 2022||Early AM||Southampton, United Kingdom|