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Historic Cruise Excursions in Normandy France

7th November 2017

European countries generally have a very varied and interesting history, and France is of course no exception. For many people, a cruise in France means relaxing in warm weather, seeing some picturesque scenery, and indulging in delectable French treats such as delicious wine and incredible cheeses and pastries. While this is undoubtedly a fantastic way to experience France, it is also worth considering the wide variety of optional - and often complimentary - historic excursions, which are available on many itineraries.

One brilliant, excursion-rich region is Normandy. A natural first port of call after leaving the UK, many cruises to France include a stop here. Ports include Cherbourg and La Harve, and both are in close proximity to a number of important sites that you could have the chance to visit;


  • The landing beaches of World War II. See the infamous sites where British, Canadian, and American troops arrived to invade on D-Day.

  • Normandy cemeteries. This opportunity is pensive and moving, as you see the extent of the loss of life caused by war.

  • Pegasus Bridge. This played an integral part in the events that make up D-Day; it's where British troops were sent to prevent Germans from accessing and attacking the allied forces.

    Many cruise lines will offer excursions to these locations, complete with informative guides who will explain the significance they had during the war. But in addition to these, Normandy offers several opportunities to learn about earlier French history.


    One fascinating spot is the commune of Bayeux - home to the famous Bayeux Tapestry. This medieval location still boasts cobbled streets, traditional beamed-housing, and the 1077 Cathedrale Notre-Dame. Not to mention the stunning tapestry itself. This important, 69 metre long record of the Norman conquest of England is on display at the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux, and is an absolute must if you are in the area.


    The port of Cherbourg has played a major role in the history of France. In the Contentin peninsular, this area of France has several harbours which you can visit for another snippet of a bygone era. Over the years, there have been Celts, Romans, and Saxons in Cherbourg, but it is the Viking invasion that is most well-known. Its history is indicative of its strategic position, which has led to Cherbourg being fortified and repaired a number of times. Unsurprisingly, the city was heavily damaged in World War II, but once again it survived and continues to thrive today.


    Once the capital city of Normandy, Rouen remains an important location, that is steeped in history. Travel the route of the Vikings along the Seine on a river cruise, and explore the place either individually or on an excursion. Since the Viking incursion, Rouen has seen some major historic events, including the famous burning of Joan of Arc by British conquerors. Also having suffered major destruction during the war, there are important sites and memorials here that are both interesting and thought-provoking.

    Those curious about France's past, or even those who are interested in World War II, may not have realised just how much a cruise in this area can offer. Whether you're a history buff or not, a trip around Normandy will undoubtedly leave you feeling fascinated and enlightened after each excursion.

    Introducing A-ROSA river cruises

    1st June 2017

    A-ROSA has carefully crafted a cruising style that is casual, yet luxurious, feel good, yet rich and diverse. Bringing to life the romance of river cruising, A-ROSA’s ships include sophisticated refinements, ample spa and wellness facilities and more to make moments spent onboard, extra special.


    Fantastic spa & wellness facilities

    Definitely worth a special mention, SPA-ROSA is one of the largest spas of the river cruise market and the perfect place to recharge your batteries. Features to look forward to include the sauna, which has panoramic views of the river, making it a spa visit to remember.

    The top deck pools invite you to watch the world go by as you take a leisurely dip. A-ROSA is one of the few river cruise lines to feature a top deck pool as well as a whirlpool.

    Work up an appetite at the well-equipped gym either on your own or with a personal trainer, indulge in a beauty treatment, pay a visit to the massage therapist – or do all of the above!

    a rosa


    Accommodating dining options

    A-ROSA provides many ways to please your palette, but you might be interested to learn that for breakfast and lunch, you can customise your meals by visiting the live cooking stations as well as learning from the chefs in action. Not like a traditional buffet, the dining room is separate to the food area, so you can enjoy your food in a more intimate atmosphere.

    Of course, for dinner you can enjoy a sophisticated four-course meal, paired with complementary wines handpicked by expert sommeliers. Enjoy flavoursome regional cuisine with fresh ingredients.


    Great for families

    Some cruise lines offer half price kids offers or third and fourth passenger discounts from time to time, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a cruise line so accommodating as to let children up to 15 years old to cruise for free. Not only does A-ROSA give children all the same complimentary All Inclusive benefits as adults, but some cabins have sofa beds which are perfect for families and are less common on river cruise ships.


    Premium All Inclusive

    Your holiday with A-ROSA includes UK flights with VIP home pick-up (up to 100 miles from the airport or train station), full board dining, All Inclusive drinks (including cocktails, fine wines and bottled water) and complimentary WiFi. This makes A-ROSA one of the most inclusive river cruise lines.


    Why not let A-ROSA be your window to Europe’s most captivating cities? See cruises with A-ROSA.

    See more on your river cruise with Scenic Enrich

    4th October 2016

    Going above and beyond to provide exceptional experiences is something that Scenic strives to do all the time. With Scenic, your river cruise provides the best highlights and most unforgettable opportunities to see Europe in a way that no other river cruise line can. Aptly named Scenic Enrich, these specially crafted and tailored experiences are included in the cost of your cruise, giving you special access to a range of fantastic locations.

    The Scenic Enrich programme ensures that any Scenic cruise you embark on includes an Enrich experience ranging from a private tour in a castle to dinner with a local family or wine tasting in a picturesque chateau. There’s something for everyone with Scenic Enrich, and here’s just a few examples.

    Avignon Be treated to a gala dinner and performance in the Pope’s Palace.
    Vienna A private concert in the grand Palais Liechtenstein.
    Portugal Visit the Burmester Cellars for dinner and traditional Fado music.

    What makes these experiences special is the sense of true exclusivity and luxury that Scenic crafts into them, from the stunning locations and venues (many of which are often UNESCO or World Heritage-listed), the sumptuous food or wine to the immersive performances and entertainment and the genuine passion and companionship of all involved.

    A Medieval Evening at Marksburg Castle

    One of Scenic’s most incredible experiences is the evening at Marksburg Castle, where guests enjoy a traditional medieval banquet in its grand hall. Overlooking the Rhine River on a hill near Braubach, Marksburg Castle is one of the region’s most famous and recognisable landmarks. Built in the 12th century, the castle served as a fortress protecting Braubach and the local area and was truly formidable in its many battles, never once falling to invading armies.

    Formerly of the Holy Roman Empire and now acting as head office of the German Castle Association, the castle is open for public touring and sightseeing but available exclusively to Scenic guests is the opportunity to enter further into the great hall for a grand medieval feast. Enjoy sumptuous local specialties and flowing red wine while performers entertain you with traditional acts including minstrels, court jesters, players and bards.

    Scenic Rouge in Lyon

    Scenic Rouge is one of the newest Scenic Rich encounters and invites Scenic guests to a spectacular French extravaganza. Guests who choose this enriching experience can enjoy an exclusive gala packed full of dazzling performances including the acclaimed French Can Can. The special event takes place underneath a decked out big-top onshore in Lyon. A must for anyone sailing the south of Frane on a river cruise with Scenic.


    See more with Scenic Enrich on a Scenic river cruise

    Paris to Normandy’s Landing Beaches onboard Avalon Tapestry 2

    8th June 2016

    Kathleen from our dedicated river cruise commercial team enjoyed a river cruise in France onboard Avalon Tapestry 2 with Avalon Waterways, read about her experience and first impressions below.

    The ship was lovely, the food was lovely, the crew were just extremely welcoming and friendly and I met some amazing people.

    Occasionally with river cruises there are complications that arise which cause changes to the itinerary, and I got to witness one of these complications first hand. as there was going to be strikes in the locks and docks, the cruise director had to make the decision for the itinerary to be sped up, meaning that we had to meet the ship in Mantes La Jolie as it picked up passengers who went on the excursion to Rouen, then we cruised on to Conflans-Saite-Honorine through lunch where the ship docked for the night.

    Our Cabin
    The cabin as I had expected was really luxurious, with supplied bathrobes, slippers and L'Occitane toiletries. What I especially liked about the cabin was where the beds were facing the window instead of facing away from it, you could just lie on your bed and watch the ever changing scenery along the river bank as you sail to the next port of call, you could even have the floor to ceiling window open to let in some fresh air – or if you’d rather there was a seating area right in-front of the window where you could sit and read a book whilst enjoy the nice breeze from the window as you cruise along the river.





    There were many other things the cabin had to offer such as a safe, a fair size wardrobe a mini fridge (which was stocked with drinks, and weren’t badly priced) and a hairdryer.

    The food was also very nice. Lunch and breakfast were both buffets with quite a variety of options of food to pick from, and the options changed every day - there was also if you preferred a menu in which you could order from. Dinner was always a three course meal with a starter, a main and a pudding. Once again there was a set menu that stayed the same every day, but there was also an option that changed daily.


    Every evening just before dinner and usually just after or before happy hour (an hour when cocktails were half price) the cruise director would talk over the excursions for the next day and what’s going to happen. Also, every evening a leaflet would be put on the beds in every cabin to outline everything that was happening the next day. This was very helpful as it meant that you could carry it around with you throughout the day and refer to it. Each day there was the choice between included excursion, and on some days there was even an extra excursion with an added cost. Some of the included excursions we went on where a tour of the Notre Dame Cathedral, and a tour of the Château de Malmaison.

    Overall the cruise was definitely an experience that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I personally went on the cruise not really sure on what to expect, but also not expecting much. It was a lot better than I had anticipated and it was certainly nice to get away and just sit back and chill and do stuff like relax on the sky deck, maybe even play one of the board games available in the back lounge, or even read a book whilst sipping on a cup of tea whilst eating a doughnut. After this experience, I definitely would go on a river cruise again, and I would highly recommend Avalon Waterways.

    Have you sailed with Avalon Waterways? Tell us about your experience in the comments below

    The benefits of booking your river cruise early

    14th March 2016

    A river cruise is a popular way to experience a multitude of exciting destinations in a relaxed and enjoyable way. Cruising the world’s waterways opens up the chance to visit many new places in one holiday. With the ability to access cities and villages that ocean cruise liners can’t, allowing for more opportunities for port stops, it’s easy to see why river cruising is a popular holiday choice.

    With several river cruise lines, ships and itineraries to choose from, there is something for everyone. Whether you dream of seeing the sunset in Cambodia sailing along the Mekong or hope to visit the fairy-tale castles of Europe’s northern capitals, there is a river cruise to suit.

    Once you have decided upon the river cruise of your dreams, don’t wait to make your dream a reality. Ships have a limited capacity in order to reach river ports and so can fill up quickly with savvy cruisers choosing their cabins. There are many benefits to booking your river cruise early, see just a few of these below.

    The best choice of cabin

    When you book early you have a bigger selection of cabins and decks to choose from. If the view is of great importance to you, we suggest going for a middle or upper deck as these cabins tend to have larger windows or even balconies, whereas lower decks tend to have portholes. You may also prefer to be away from the engine or anchor, or based in the middle of the ship for a sturdy sailing.


    river cruise cabin


    Low cost airfares

    Most airlines tend to have lower airfares when you book in advance. This can be true of both scheduled and low cost flights. With non-direct flights, you are also likely to get better flight times for connecting flights the earlier you book. It is now possible to book up to a year in advance for some airlines.

    Early bird booking offers

    There is almost always a plus to being first in the queue and many river cruise lines reward early bookers with early bird offers and discounts. Take advantage of early booking benefits and relax knowing you’ve also secured the cabin and deck you dreamed of.


    river cruise


    More departure dates to choose from

    There are popular times to take a river cruise depending on where you want to sail. May, June and September are known busy times, and with limited departure dates, cruises can sell out fast. Book ahead to make sure you can cruise when you want and get the best from your destination of choice. Check out our river cruise calendar for tips on when to cruise.

    Looking forward

    Our favourite benefit to booking your river cruise early, having something to look forward to! A holiday on the cards is excellent motivation and the best kind of reward for all of your hard work.


    Top 10 river cruise deals | What's included in your river cruise | River cruise calendar

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