3/126 Albert Road, Warragul VIC 3820 Australia   Phone: (03) 5623 5151           Email us     EMERGENCY NUMBER +61 (0)419 213 274

Grand Tour of Poland and French River Cruising

8th July – 1st August 2017
Personally escorted by Jacquey Turner

YOUR TOUR ESCORTS

JACQUEY TURNER, your tour escort, has more than 30 years’ experience as a highly successful travel agent and tour guide. 

Jacquey’s attention to detail and personal care ensures that everyone travelling in her group will have a most enjoyable holiday experience.

“I thoroughly enjoy escorting tour members to so many wonderful places in the world. The sights, sounds and history all contribute to a fabulous experience but most importantly it is the people that you meet and have the privilege of travelling with that has the most lasting impression. We always have lots of fun and continue to enjoy the memories for many years.”

Our tour director, the lovely Lucy, will join us in Warsaw and will remain with us until our flight to Lyon.
Lucy has over 30 years’ experience as a Tour Director and I have worked with her on many occasions. Her incredible knowledge, sense of humour and a hint of cynicism will enhance the enjoyment of the places we see and visit.


TOUR COSTS:

Cost based on Category 2 cabin on cruise
$17,699 per person twin share
$ 4,499 single supplement

Cost based on Category 1 cabin on cruise
$18,549 per person twin share
$ 4,499 single supplement

Upgrade to Suite – price and availability on application

**Cabins will be allocated in order of receipt of balance of first deposit.
**Business class upgrades are available on application.
**Should you wish to extend your travel arrangements after the tour, please contact me to discuss further options.

PAYMENT SCHEDULE
Balance of deposit due by Thursday, 11 August 2016 $750.00 per person
Balance of payment due by Tuesday, 11 April 2017
Should you select to travel on flights other than the included group flights, or upgrade to business/first class, payment for the air fares will be required at the time of booking the flights.


YOUR TOUR INCLUDES:

  • Maximum group size will be 25 participants
  • Melbourne/Dubai/Warsaw and Nice/Dubai/Melbourne economy airfares and taxes
  • Coach transfers between Gippsland and Melbourne Airport
  • Airport arrival and departure transfers
  • Personally escorted throughout the entire tour
  • Luxury air-conditioned coach throughout Poland
  • Pendolino 1st class train from Krakow to Warsaw (luggage will be transferred separately)
  • Intercity 1st class train from Wroclaw to Gdansk (luggage will be transferred separately)
  • Excellent standard of hotels in the centre of the cities, in stunning rural locations or historical castles
  • Comprehensive sightseeing as per itinerary and admission fees where applicable
  • Experienced local driver & guides throughout Poland
  • Entry to Warsaw Royal Castle; Lazienski Palace; Wawel Royal Castle; Wawel Royal Cathedral; Kazimierz District; Wielicska Salt Mines; Aushwitz; Lancut Castle; Krzeszow Abbey; Malbork Castle; Kosewo Gorne Deer Farm; Wolf’s Liar Hilter’s bunkers plus museums & other sightseeing
  • Rafting down Pieniny Mountains
  • Cable Car ride up Kasprowy Wierch in Zakopane
  • Boat ride on Poland’s largest lake
  • Boat ride down Krutyn River
  • Water on coach throughout Poland
  • Personal headsets for guided tours
  • 7 night cruise in Riverview Stateroom on SS Catherine
  • All shore excursions are included while on board SS Catherine
  • Unlimited beverages on board SS Catherine, including wine, beer, spirits, specialty coffee & tea, soft drinks & mineral water.
  • Ship-wide WiFi access
  • 52 included meals as per itinerary – 21 Breakfasts (B), 15 Lunches (L), 16 Dinners (D)
  • Comprehensive sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Porterage (one suitcase per person)
  • Personal headsets for guided tours
  • ALL tipping of waiters/restaurant staff at included meals throughout the tour and cruise
  • ALL tipping of tour directors, drivers and local guides throughout the tour and cruise

COST EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance (a surcharge may apply for passengers over 70 years or if there is a pre-existing medical condition)
  • Expenses of a personal nature like laundry, telephone/fax calls, alcoholic beverages, medical expenses
  • Any meals not included in the itinerary

SPECIAL NOTES:
Flight schedules are subject to change.
The order of the sightseeing may vary depending on local conditions.

CANCELLATION FEES:
For cancellations received more than 210 days prior to tour departure, a cancellation fee of $1000 will be charged, which cannot be credited to another booking. Notice of cancellation must be made in writing to Gippsland Travel Centre. If notice of cancellation is received 210 days or less, prior to departure, the following fees apply:

No of days prior to tour departure  Cancellation fee as a % of tour cost 
210-90 days  50%
98-60 days 75%
59 – or less 100%

All costs are based on the exchange rate
prevailing as at  August 2016

Departs Melbourne: Saturday 8th July 2017
Concludes: Tuesday 1st August 2017
MEALS INCLUDED
Breakfast Lunch Dinner

HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

  • Personally escorted throughout the entire tour Coach transfers between Gippsland and Melbourne Airport
  • Luxury air-conditioned coach throughout Poland 
  • Pendolino 1st class train from Krakow to Warsaw
  • Intercity 1st class train from Wroclaw to Gdansk
  • Excellent standard of hotels in the centre of the cities, in stunning rural locations or historical castles
  • Comprehensive sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Experienced local driver & guides throughout Poland
  • Entry to Warsaw Royal Castle; Lazienski Palace; Wawel Royal Castle; Wawel Royal Cathedral; Kazimierz District; Wielicska Salt Mines; Aushwitz; Lancut Castle; Krzeszow Abbey; Malbork Castle; Kosewo Gorne Deer Farm; Wolf’s Liar Hilter’s bunkers; plus, museums & other sightseeing
  • Rafting down Pieniny Mountains Cable Car ride up Kasprowy Wierch in Zakopane
  • Boat ride on Poland’s largest lake
  • Boat ride down Krutyn River
  • Water on coach throughout Poland
  • Personal headsets for guided tours
  • 7 night cruise in Riverview Stateroom on SS Catherine 
  • All shore excursions are included while on board SS Catherine
  • Unlimited beverages on board cruise, including wine, beer, spirits, specialty coffee & tea, soft drinks & mineral water
  • Ship-wide WiFi access 
  • Airport arrival and departure transfers
  • All service charges, gratuities to local guides and drivers, admission fees and porteragmaximum group size will be 25 participants

SS CATHERINE

CATEGORY 1
Lavishly appointed Riverview stateroom
(194 sq ft – 18 sq m)
with open-air balcony

  


CATEGORY 2-3
Lavishly appointed Riverview stateroom
(194 sq ft – 18 sq m)
with a French balcony

  

Category 1, 2, 3: Handcrafted Savoir® of England beds, generous built-in closets, hair dryer, individual climate-control thermostat, direct-dial telephone, flat screen TV with infotainment centre, and safe. Marble bathroom includes: L’Occitane en Provence bath and body products, plush towels, special towel warmers, backlit magnifying mirror, heated mirrors, cosy bathrobes and slippers.


GRAND TOUR OF POLAND AND FRENCH RIVER CRUISING ITINERARY

Saturday, 8 July

Depart Gippsland for our Emirates flight from Melbourne via Dubai to Warsaw. Departures available from other Australian cities.

Sunday, 9 July WARSAW

This afternoon we arrive in Warsaw and after clearing customs we will be met and transferred to the REGINA HOTEL, or similar, for the next two nights. After some time to freshen up, we will have dinner at the hotel.

Monday, 10 July WARSAW  

This morning after breakfast we will walk through Old Town. Warsaw, the capital of Poland since 1595, was once called Paris of the north. Whilst 85% of the city was destroyed, much of it has been painstakingly rebuilt in the original style. Our tour will also include the burgher mansion, Barbakan, Freta Street, Church of St Jacek before we visit the Royal Castle.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we will continue our tour and visit the Łazienki Park and Palace. Deriving its name from the original bathing pavilion, this 74-hectare site is one of the most beautiful park and palace complexes of Europe. Our visit will include The Palace on the Isle – one of the most valuable Polish historical buildings, housing the Royal Picture Gallery, The Old Orangery, housing the Royal Sculpture Gallery with plaster copies of the most famous sculptures of the ancient world, and the Royal Theatre

  

Tuesday, 11 July  WARSAW – KRAKOW  

We leave the hotel this morning for a coach tour through important highlights of Warsaw – a spectacular view at the Old Town from the river embankment, Bankowy Square with magnificent classicist buildings from the beginning of the 18th century by Antonio Corazzi, Senatorska Street, adorned by other 18th century classicist palaces including Primate Palace, Blue Palace and others. We also see the Theatre Square and the Grand Theatre before we arrive at Staszica Palace. Krakowskie Przedmieście Street was Warsaw’s Champs Elysee, because of the palaces, churches and mansions that line it. We shall see the Warsaw University, located in several fine palaces. 

Around midday we will transfer to the train station for our Pendolino 1st class fast train ride to Krakow. On arrival we will be transferred to the COPERNICUS HOTEL, or similar, for a five night stay. There will be time to take an orientation walk through the Old Town before we get together for dinner.

  

Wednesday, 12 July  KRAKOW  

During our time in Krakow we will visit many beautiful castles and cathedrals. The Royal Castle is a splendid example of Renaissance courtyard. The Royal Chambers show a series of exuberant interiors showing the collection of tapestries, probably the world’s most famous collection of its kind. After a visit to Poland’s best tapestries workshop, we drive along the Royal Way, the route of royal processions and the main commercial axis of the town. 

We shall see Gothic and renaissance houses, Saint Andrew’s Church and Saint Peter and Saint Paul Franciscan Church to learn about the mysterious world of Brotherhood of the Passion of Christ and also the most famous Krakow’s stained glass windows. We shall then have some time for lunch in the Main Market Square, the biggest medieval square in the world.

This afternoon there will be a tour to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Few places on Earth are more significant in the history of humanity: the symbol of the tragedy of the Holocaust, silent witness to the unspoken horrors of the most incomprehensible series of events of World War II. It is obvious that the tour cannot explain everything – however, it does tell the story of the vast concentration camp complex including Birkenau, with its death factory. The tour consists of the visit of Auschwitz I (so called Mother Camp) and Auschwitz II (Birkenau).

After a busy day we return to Krakow for dinner at a local restaurant.

  

Thursday, 13 July  KRAKOW  

Today we have a full day tour as we drive to the Pieniny Mountains. The Pieninski National Park is one of the smaller parks of Poland. It’s unusual in many respects. Its small area boasts a unique landscape and natural features. A narrow strip of klippen rocks, which has developed into the relatively low but picturesque Pieniny Mountains range, extends as a belt along the boundary line between the Outer and the Central Western Carpathians. The limestone rocks of this belt, throughout millennia, have been weathered into round shapes on the northern face and the dramatic, high cliffs on the southern side. 

Next we will be rafting down the Dunajec River, which is a tributary of the Vistula River and one of the most interesting tourist attractions on the continent. A wooden raft built of narrow canoes tied together to a barge drives us into a deep gorge where lofty, (some hundred-metre-high) limestone crags, walls and peaks rise above the Dunajec. The views change rapidly as we listen to the raftsmen‘s interesting tales – legends and myths, but also information about the Pieniny Mountains and their natural life. ….an unforgettable experience.

Lunch will be at a local restaurant before we drive to Debno and the trail of wooden Gothic churches of Southern Poland, listed by UNESCO.

  

These little and quite unique late-Gothic churches were built in a traditional manner from timber beams with a characteristic wooden construction, resulting in the so-called ‘plan boxes’ on either side of the nave. The Church in Dębno is an outstanding example. Its original architectural structure and wall paintings have both survived. 

This afternoon we drive to Zakopane – Poland’s winter capital and the centre for skiing, mountain hiking, sports enthusiasts, lovers of folk culture and music. Nested in a picturesque valley at the base of the Tatra range, Zakopane has developed into a wonderful resort with many touches of the past, the strongest of which is the preserved folk culture. Most residents can trace their family background to the original settlers of the 1500’s. This is also a big factor in the preservation of the highlander’s unique folk culture which is displayed in the colourful costumes, architecture, arts and crafts, music, regional cooking and everyday life. Its roots as grazing and farming land to the many artistic, cultural and sports events have helped shape modern Zakopane into one of Poland’s most valued and popular destinations.

We shall take a ride on the Kasprowy Wierch cable car. This is a truly exhilarating adventure which offers one of the most breathtaking views of the Tatras, Podhale region and Slovakian mountain ranges.

We return for more sightseeing of Zakopane when our guide will take us on a fascinating tour to the Church of the Holy Virgin of Częstochowa and the cemetery at Pęksowy Brzyzek, whose unusual graves tell the fascinating history of Zakopane. At the end of the tour we’ll stop for a quick polish snack (for example, a platter of polish cold meats and highlanders’ cheeses) at a cosy Foresters’ Lodge at the entrance to Chocholowska Valley – one of Tatra’s most picturesque valleys.

Friday, 14 July  KRAKOW

Our drive to the Jewish District is one of the most interesting in Europe, the secret world of dibbuks and Rabbis, Remuh Synagogue and the Remuh Cemetery – the oldest Jewish cemetery of Poland. We visit Szeroka Street – formerly the spiritual centre of the Jewish Town, the Palace of Landau, Mikveh, Isaac Synagogue where we shall see two short documentary movies about Jewish Ghetto the Old Synagogue – the Oldest Jewish temple in Poland.

We shall also visit places related to Schindler’s List, the courtyard at Józefa Street, Shindler’s factory, Ciemna Street, and the walls of the Nazi Ghetto created by the Nazis in 1941.

After some free time for lunch we shall visit the Salt Mines. Wieliczka is the oldest mining centre in the world. An incredible labyrinth of galleries, chapels and lakes, and the Saint Kinga Chapel, the world’s largest underground chapel. You will feel the health-giving properties of sodium chloride in the air and will be amazed to see an underground tennis court, a banqueting hall and a cinema, all at 125 metres below sea level.
Tonight we shall be treated to a Chopin piano recital at the Music Academy of Krakow. The recently built hall boasts remarkable acoustics and one of Poland’s best Steinway pianos.

Saturday, 15 July  KRAKOW  

During our sightseeing this morning we shall visit Lancut Castle, one of the three most impressive palaces of Poland, erected in the 17th century and redesigned a number of times since. The buildings and the park now have the late nineteenth and early twentieth century appearance, whereas the stunning interiors represent a variety of styles, from Baroque and Rococo to eclectic to Art Nouveau. We will have time to look through the countless rooms and admire the decoration, stuccos, paintings, period furniture and works of art. After we stroll through the beautiful gardens we will have lunch at the castle restaurant.

  

We then continue on Sanok to visit of one of Europe’s most beautiful open-air ethnographic museums. Spread in a huge area of 18 hectares, it displays 176 buildings. Located in beautiful surroundings it shows wooden architecture and culture of the eastern part of Polish Carpathians whose population is divided into three ethnographic groups (the Boykos, the Lemkos, the Pogorzans and Dolinians). In addition to cottages, homes, farms, granaries and workshops, there are also fantastic wooden Greek Orthodox churches with stunning iconostas.

Sunday, 16 July  KRAKOW – KARPNIKI   

Today we leave for Silesia and drive to Świdnica where we shall have lunch at a local restaurant before we visit the Peace Church in Swidnica. This stunning building is the largest wooden Baroque church of the world.

  

We continue on to Krzeszow and visit the Krzeszow Abbey. Located in a picturesque mountain valley, the Cistercian Abbey of Krzeszow is ranked as one of the most exceptional monuments of Poland.

We will reach the KARPNIKI CASTLE HOTEL, or similar, in the early evening for our overnight stay and dinner at the castle, built originally in the 14th century and rebuilt in the 18th century. Bought by Prince Wilhelm von Hohenzollern, the castle started hosting the cream of European aristocracy (incl. German Royal family, Great Russian Duchesses, Olga and Alexandra, Tzar Nicolas 1st as well as the Potockis, the Radziwills and many others. Balls, concerts and theatre plays attracted guests from far and wide and the castle also housed a remarkable library full of precious manuscripts.

Monday, 17 July  KARPNIKI – WROCLAW   

Today we tour the valley of palaces and gardens. One of the most remarkable regions of Silesia, the cultural reserve encompasses 20 palace and garden complexes scattered along Jelenia Gora and adjacent mountain ranges.

  

After lunch at a local restaurant, we drive to Wroclaw, a city located on several islands and a fascinating amalgam of Polish, German and Austrian cultures, with its brick Gothic churches, Flemish style Renaissance mansions, palaces of Viennese Baroque, and beautiful parks and gardens. The main market square is one of the most characteristic and vibrant places in town.

  

We continue on the Ostrow Tumski Island. The gem of this town, the place where the city actually begun, is a most picturesque ensemble of religious buildings, emanating tranquillity and the sense of the other world. Crossing a scenic bridge, we’ll find ourselves in its main cobbled street that will lead us to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist – the first brick Gothic cathedral in Poland, which was severely damaged during the last war.

We shall also walk to the Main Market Square dominated by the magnificent Town Hall, the biggest in Poland. The walls are embellished with intricate gothic carvings, animals, flowers, figures of saints and knights. It also boasts one of the grandest astronomical clocks dating from 1580.

In Wroclaw we will check into the ART HOTEL, or similar, for an overnight stay and have dinner at a local restaurant.

Tuesday, 18 July WROCLAW – GDANSK   

We have an earlier start this morning as we transfer to the Wroclaw Railway Station to board the Intercity Express train to Gdansk. We shall enjoy a light lunch on board before our arrival in Gdansk in the late afternoon where we will be transferred to the RADISSON HOTEL, or similar, for a two night stay. There will be some free time for an orientation walk before dinner at a local restaurant.

  

Wednesday, 19 July  GDANSK  

Gdańsk is the most important harbor on the Polish Baltic Sea. Its old town looks as if it had been taken from a fairy tale, one of the two most beautiful cities of Poland. High and narrow old houses, cobbled streets, Gothic brick, sandstone porches of the Old Town, the pleasant breeze and the sound of seagulls and the clear blue sky all this creates a charm, words find difficult to describe. 

Sights on our walking tour this morning will include St Mary’s Church, the biggest Gothic brick church of the world, Baroque Royal Chapel, adjacent to the church, Long Market full of splendid merchants’ houses such as Golden House, Mariacka Street with Mannerism porches, full of amber shops, Chlebnicka Street with the English House, the largest house in the city, the Town Hall, with sumptuous baroque and mannerism decorations, including painted ceilings, stalls and Neptune Fountain , the symbol of Gdansk. We continue to the Arsenal and the City Ceremonial Gates and the St. Nicholas Church, one of the few churches of Gdansk that remained almost intact during World War II, richly furnished, early Baroque stalls and marvellous main altar.

After lunch at a local restaurant we drive to Oliwa to visit the Oliwa Cathedral, famous for its extraordinary organ, consisting of 7896 pipes and 110 registers, featuring moving cherubs and trumpet playing angels and sounds including rippling water, animal cries and human voices. Hopefully we shall hear a short organ recital. We arrive back in Gdansk in the afternoon and the rest of the day is at leisure.

  

Thursday, 20 July  GDANSK – MAZURIA   

We leave Gdansk and drive to Pelplin. This small town close to the Vistula river hides one of the biggest churches of Poland, the 84-metre long, richly decorated in 15th century stalls as well as an impressive organ. We continue on to Malbork. The Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork is the largest castle in the world by surface area. Built by the Teutonic Knights, it is surrounded by a vast dry moat. The most impressive sights all lie within the High Castle, the Brethren Knights’ original monastery and the Middle Castle which served as the centre of the Teutonic Knights’ political activity. 

After we have lunch at the castle we drive to Mikołajki, Mazuria and enter into the land of thousands of lakes, moraine hills and undulating fields.

  

Pine woods, forest lakes dotted with islands, charming spots on river bends, all contribute to the haunting beauty of the area. The forest is home to deer, a regal elk, roe deer, wild boar, hares, foxes, badgers, martens and raccoon dogs which came here from Asia. There are also smaller numbers of wolves and lynxes. The streams and brooks attract beavers.

We arrive at the shore of the biggest Polish lake ready to take a fascinating voyage on board a luxurious boat travelling from its western shore (starting at Mikołajki) to Karwik on its eastern shore. The wild forest all around and places where you cannot see the coast and feel you are at sea, all create an unforgettable experience!!
After our cruise we will drive to our hotel, the DWOR KALISZKI, for a two night stay. Dinner tonight will be at the hotel.

Friday, 21 July MAZURIA   

This morning after breakfast we drive to Gierłoż arriving around midday for sightseeing of Wolffshanze, Hitler’s military headquarters. This 27-acre complex of the massive concrete bunkers is the scene of the assassination attempt on Hitler and the famous Stauffenberg July Bomb Plot.

  

We then drive to Swieta Lipka, one of Poland’s most remarkable Baroque shrines which is located between two scenic lakes. After we visit the church we shall have lunch at a local restaurant.

In the early afternoon we drive to Kosewo to visit a deer farm before heading onto Krutyn on our way back to the hotel. There will be plenty of time to freshen up before we get together for dinner at the hotel.

Saturday, 22 July  WARSAW – LYON   

We leave Poland this morning and transfer to the Warsaw airport for our flight to Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport. On arrival we shall be met and transferred to a centrally located hotel for an overnight stay. Dinner will be at our hotel.

  

Sunday, 23 July  Board SS Catherine  

This morning we will have time for a tour around Lyon. After lunch we will transfer to our Uniworld ship, the SS Catherine, docked in Lyon. 

We will follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh, Cézanne and Gauguin on this exquisite journey through southern France; the same beautiful countryside and culture that inspired the masters will now inspire you.

We cruise the Rhône and Saône rivers, enjoying the region’s incomparable wine and cuisine and discovering its many treasures from the Medieval wonders of UNESCO-designated Avignon to Lyon’s lively Les Halles food market. Stroll the very streets of Arles made famous by Van Gogh. Visit Avignon’s majestic Palace of the Popes. Experience “Village Day” in enchanting Viviers, including a recital of music composed by Bach and Handel. And for those who wish for a more active exploration of the area, you can kayak on the tranquil Gardon River under the UNESCO-designated Pont du Gard; hike the steepest vineyards on the Rhône; and pedal through the city designed with bike riders in mind while in Lyon.

Monday, 24 July  SS Catherine – Macon (Beaune)   

Featured excursions: Beaune, Hospices de Beaune.

Beaune may not be a large town, but it brims with history, a wealth of splendid regional architecture and incredible food. You’ll recognize the Hospices de Beaune immediately by its fabulous multi-coloured tile roof—it’s a symbol of Burgundy.

Learn about Burgundy’s celebrated wines on an excursion, where monks have been making and selling wine to support their charitable work since the 15th century. We celebrate the evening at the Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner.

Tuesday, 25 July  SS Catherine – Lyon   

Featured Excursions: Choice of exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Lyon tour OR exclusive silk weavers walking discovery tour OR exclusive guided “Go Active” Lyon peninsula bike tour OR exclusive Lyon “Illuminations” tour.

Situated at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, and with roots stretching back over 2,000 years to the days of Julius Caesar, Lyon is a place of fascinating dualities. You have your choice of ways to explore this city of contrasts. Foodies will want to delve into France’s capital of gastronomy with a guided tour of Les Halles, Lyon’s world-famous food market, taking in a tantalizing array of elaborate food stalls, bars and restaurants. In addition to being known for its culinary heritage, Lyon is also known for its history with silk—at one time, almost a third of the city’s population were silk weavers—so for those who enjoy this elegant fabric, you’ll be delighted to discover its heritage, and you’ll even have a chance to see a Jacquard loom in use. For a more active exploration of the city, pedal through the city designed with bike riders in mind. Cap the day off on an evening tour showcasing the best way to see the city’s architectural heritage, with over 100 sites illuminated.

  

Wednesday, 26 July SS Catherine – Tournon, Tain l’Hermitage    

Featured Excursions: Choice of exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Lyon tour OR exclusive silk weavers walking discovery tour OR exclusive guided “Go Active” Lyon peninsula bike tour OR exclusive Lyon “Illuminations” tour.

Situated at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, and with roots stretching back over 2,000 years to the days of Julius Caesar, Lyon is a place of fascinating dualities. You have your choice of ways to explore this city of contrasts. Foodies will want to delve into France’s capital of gastronomy with a guided tour of Les Halles, Lyon’s world-famous food market, taking in a tantalizing array of elaborate food stalls, bars and restaurants. In addition to being known for its culinary heritage, Lyon is also known for its history with silk—at one time, almost a third of the city’s population were silk weavers—so for those who enjoy this elegant fabric, you’ll be delighted to discover its heritage, and you’ll even have a chance to see a Jacquard loom in use. For a more active exploration of the city, pedal through the city designed with bike riders in mind. Cap the day off on an evening tour showcasing the best way to see the city’s architectural heritage, with over 100 sites illuminated.

Thursday, 27 July SS Catherine – Viviers    

Featured Excursions: Exclusive intimate Viviers “Village Day” 

Viviers retains much of its medieval character and charm, with narrow lanes and historic structures. See the sights on foot, then climb Rue du Château to take in the view from the 12th-century St. Vincent Cathedral. Afterwards, you can go inside the cathedral to hear a recital of music by Puccini, Bach and Handel. Before returning to the ship, spend time enjoying some local activities. You have a choice to learn the art of clay pot making at a demonstration, and then be treated to an aperitif of the local favourites, such as olives, rosé wine and apricot juice, or you can enjoy your aperitif at a private mansion in the village.

  

Friday, 28 July SS Catherine – Avignon   

Featured Excursions: Avignon walking discovery tour with choice of Palace of the Popes OR Pont du Gard OR choice of exclusive “Off the Beaten Path” Avignon walking discovery tour, and exclusive guided “Go Active” kayak ride on the Gardon River

Avignon—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—is endlessly inviting; cafés and boutiques line tree-shaded squares enlivened with street performers. Discover the city built by the Avignon papacy with your guide, including the vast Palace of the Popes, or visit the UNESCO-designated Pont du Gard built by the Romans 2,000 years ago. If you prefer to see a different side of the city, join a local expert to venture “off the beaten path.”

Discover the city’s picturesque hidden alleys and secret squares, strolling from enchanting Place Crillon to the Jewish Quarter, and end at Place Pie, in the old city centre, home to Avignon’s famous market hall. You’ll want to stroll through the treasure trove of Provençal delicacies on display.

Saturday, 29 July SS Catherine – Tarascon (Arles or Tarascon)    

Featured Excursions: Arles walking discovery tour OR Tarascon walking discovery tour 

Vincent van Gogh found inspiration in Arles and you will, too. Under the spell of the Provençal light and the vivid colours of nature, he spent a period of impassioned work under these bright sunny skies. As you explore the capital of the Camargue region with your local expert, you will see Van Gogh’s Arles, as well as a fascinating wealth of Roman monuments, such as the Amphitheatre and Constantine’s baths. You can also explore the city’s expansive open-air food market, where you will find plenty of local delicacies, including Burgundian and Jura cheeses, heirloom vegetables, honey and sausages. For those who wish to discover another wonderful town along the Rhône, you can visit Tarascon, home to the oldest producer of French-made indiennes, Souleiado, established in 1806. In the evening, enjoy a festive Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner.

  

Sunday, 30 July  Avignon – disembark – Dubai 

Our time on France has come to an end and we shall disembark early this morning and drive to Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport for our Emirates flight to Dubai where we will overnight at the hotel located within the airport.

Monday, 31 July  Depart Dubai

 

Monday, 31 July  Depart Dubai

We shall arrive in Melbourne in the early morning and be transferred to Gippsland by coach.