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Normandy river cruise & the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

12-day luxury rail & river cruise holiday from £9,720 pp incl. flights

Summary

Short description

Pair the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express with a luxurious river cruise of northern France visiting the historic Normandy beaches 80 years on from the D-Day landings.

Highlights

  • Experience the opulence of the world’s greatest rail journey
  • Enjoy a scenic river cruise along the Seine
  • Discover the historic D-Day landing beaches of Normandy in the 80th anniversary year
  • Indulge in regionally inspired cuisine on board AmaLyra
  • Enjoy the rural charms of northern France

In Brief

  • 2 Nights Venice
  • 1 Night Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
  • 2 Nights Paris
  • 1 Night Les Andelys
  • 1 Night Le Havre
  • 1 Night Rouen
  • 1 Night Vernon
  • 1 Night Paris

About

Recommended for:
Bucket-list holidays | History & culture | Rail journey | River cruise

Combine the timeless nostalgia and elegance of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express with an indulgent river cruise along the Seine, unravelling the mysteries of northern France and visiting the historic Normandy beaches. And with 2024 marking 80 years since the D-Day landings this years perhaps an even more special time to discover the fascinating and moving stories behind the momentous events. Flying to Venice, you'll explore its world famous canals, palaces and squares before boarding the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express for an unforgettable journey across the continent to Paris. Then, it's on to the luxurious AmaLyra for a spectacular cruise along the Seine, through the heart of Normandy, combining the stunning coastlines with its storied history.

Day by day itinerary

Days 1-2
UK to Venice

Begin your trip in style with complimentary airport lounge access before flying out to Venice. On arrival, a scenic water taxi journey will take you through weaving canals, past Baroque palaces and under arching bridges to your luxury hotel situated on the Grand Canal, in the heart of historic Venice. Housed in an aristocratic Venetian palace, the silk-panelled walls, gilded furnishing and marble bathrooms stand out. And, with St. Mark’s square just a few minutes’ walk away, you'll be in the best spot to explore Venice’s winding waterways, colourful streets and historic palaces. On your second day, enjoy an included walking tour, ticking off the must-see sights such as the Gothic 14th-century Doge’s Palace and Saint Mark’s Basilica, accompanied by the expertise and knowledge of a local guide. 

Stay: Baglioni Hotel Luna, Venice (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 3
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

After a delicious and varied breakfast, the anticipation grows as you say farewell to Venice, heading to Venezia Santa Lucia Station to board the iconic blue-and-gold carriages of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. You'll be welcomed on board by friendly stewards with a glass of sparkling wine, as you enter a world of timeless glamour on the world's most celebrated train. With opulent carriages and plush suites, you'll set off on the journey of a lifetime, enjoying a three-course lunch in the restaurant car before spending your afternoon relaxing in the comfort of your suite or cabin, gazing at the beautiful ever-changing scenery. This evening, you'll dress to impress as you take a seat in the dining car ready for a sumptuous four-course seasonal dinner. Then the evening really begins as you head to the convivial bar car – with its very own grand piano and resident pianist – for a night of cocktails in the company of like-minded travellers. 

Stay: Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 4
Arrival in Paris

Awake to a whole new landscape from your cabin window as you enjoy a delicious breakfast at a time which suits you. The likes of fresh coffee, fruits, warm bread and pastries will be served by your steward. Then, enjoy the landscapes of northern France race by as you make your way to Paris. As the train pulls into Paris Gare de l'Est, your journey on board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express will come to an end. Disembark and transfer across to one of Paris' finest hotels; an ideal retreat from which to explore this great city. 

Stay: Hotel Bowmann, Paris (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 5
Board AmaWaterways & depart Paris

After a gourmet breakfast at the hotel, board the stylish AmaLyra ready to depart Paris later this evening. Settle in to your spacious and luxurious stateroom before joining your fellow passengers in the elegant restaurant for your welcome dinner. Be sure to stick around for tonight's entertainment, whether it’s a folkloric performance, local quartet or a serenade of Parisian classics and modern piano favourites. 

Stay: AmaLyra

Meals: B D

Day 6
Les Andelys

Dominated by the imposing Château-Gaillard Castle, the boutique town of Les Andelys is made up of two distinct neighbourhoods – once clearly separated – and boasts one of the most picturesque sites in the Seine Valley. This morning you'll uncover the history of the castle – the former stronghold of Richard the Lionheart – on the chalk cliffs high above the Seine. For those looking for a more active adventure, opt to hike there, admiring the beautiful vistas along the way. Once back on board, you'll set sail along the meandering Seine for a scenic cruise.

Stay: AmaLyra

Meals: B L D

Day 7
Le Havre

Welcome to the port city of Le Havre. Almost completely rebuilt after World War II, Le Havre's unusual architecture resulted in the city centre becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. You'll have a choice of excursions both during the morning and afternoon, depending on your interests and pursuits. We recommend a trip to the seaside town of Honfleur, renowned for its picturesque harbour and inspirational site for impressionist painters. During the afternoon, enjoy a walking or biking city tour of Le Havre.

Stay: AmaLyra

Meals: B L D

Day 8
Normandy beaches

Today is given over to the Normandy beaches, striking out among the headlands and WWII-era fortifications. You'll experience this historic region with one of three tours with your specialist guide, learning about the fateful events of 1944 and the human sacrifice that they entailed. Perhaps visit the cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, Omaha Beach, the artillery battery at Longues-sur-Mer and the village of Arromanches, where the remains of the floating harbor used during the WWII landings can be seen. Alternatively, tour the Gold and Juno beaches in the British and Canadian sectors. For a different kind of inspiration, a visit to the Romanesque Normandy Abbey Route will take you to one of the magnificent historic abbeys of the region.

Stay: AmaLyra

Meals: B L D

Day 9
Rouen

Today you'll arrive in Normandy's vibrant, historic and cultural capital, Rouen, where you'll spend the morning enjoying the medieval city through a choice of several excursions. To see the square where Joan of Arc was martyred, join a walking tour of the city and its Medieval Quarter. Among our other top picks is a visit to the picturesque village of Lyons-la-Forêt, hidden in the heart of one of the oldest and largest forests of Normandy. Here, beside the Lieure river lies the beautiful 12th-century Church of Saint-Denis.

Stay: AmaLyra

Meals: B L D

Day 10
Vernon

Enjoy scenic cruising around Vernon as you have breakfast, before disembarking the ship where, depending on your interests you'll have a choice of three excursions. Art lovers are recommended to visit the home and gardens of the impressionist painter Claude Monet in Giverny, with a chance of marvelling at his most famous and beloved paintings. Alternatively, you'll visit the regal 18th-century Château de Bizy, enjoying an escorted tour of the palace and gardens. If you prefer a more active adventure, perhaps opt for a guided biking tour of the beautiful French countryside.

Stay: AmaLyra

Meals: B L D

Day 11
Paris – the city of light

Arrive back in the French capital today, a city of romance, iconic sights and hidden secrets. You'll enjoy some of the city's best and most famous sights during a panoramic tour, from the charming Latin Quarter – home to the world-famous Sorbonne University – to the stunning 400-year-old Luxembourg Gardens. In the afternoon, you'll travel to Auberge Ravoux and the last home of artist Vincent van Gogh, Ravoux Inn. If you prefer to stay in Paris, you'll be free to spend time at your leisure to explore more of this great city.

Stay: AmaLyra

Meals: B L D

Day 12
Disembark & return to the UK

After a last breakfast on board, disembark the ship and bid farewell to Paris as you travel to the airport in preparation for your flight home. Alternatively, speak to our specialists if you wish to travel to the UK on Eurostar.

Meals: B

Map

Pricing

Any element of this cruise can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Deluxe

12-day luxury rail & river cruise holiday
from £9,720 pp incl. flights

Exclusive 2024 itinerary

Last departure dates available for 2024 are 29 September and 3 November.

Lead in price based on 3 November 2024.

Includes:

  • Scheduled flight from UK to Venice
  • 2-nights accommodation at 5-star hotel in Venice with daily breakfast 
  • Private walking tour of Venice
  • Venice Simplon-Orient-Express overnight train from Venice to Paris in a Historic Cabin (please ask for upgrade options to Suites and Grande Suites)
  • 1-night at a 5-star hotel in Paris with breakfast
  • 7-night cruise aboard AmaLyra or AmaDante in a Category E grade cabin (upgrades available)
  • Private Transfers throughout
  • Eurostar from Paris to London St Pancras in Business Premier (or scheduled flight from Paris to your local UK airport)

    AmaWaterways cruise includes:

    • Entertainment on demand system featuring, movies, TV shows, news and music
    • Wellness Program with a dedicated Wellness Host
    • Personalized service from a highly trained Cruise Manager during both cruise and land programs
    • Internet and Wi-Fi access
    • Daily entertainment including cultural performances
    • Award-winning dining in a variety of venues
    • The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant
    • La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs exclusive dining experience
    • Unlimited fine wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
    • Unlimited sparkling wine and fresh juice with breakfast
    • Sip & Sail Daily Cocktail Hour with complimentary wine, beer, spirits and soft drinks
    • Tapas, sandwiches, snacks and refreshments served daily in the Main Lounge
    • Immersive tours in every destination with gentle, regular, active and late-riser tour options
    • Bike tours and hikes

    Price varies by departure date and stateroom availability, please call for details.

    Terms & Conditions

    Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

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