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Paris to Provence

November 8, 2010 By: Susan Young Travel Agent


A Viking River Cruise in Paris
Viking River Cruises’ France Finest itinerary includes visits to popular sites within Paris.

River cruises navigate the heart of France.

If your clients want to immerse themselves in the art and culture of Paris, tour World War II landing beaches of Normandy, view a Roman-style amphitheater in Arles, enjoy the playgrounds of the Côte d’Azur or savor and sample Provençal cuisine, perhaps the easiest way to see the sights in style—as well as “live” the culture of France—is by taking a river cruise. Following is a sampling of options focused on France.

French Escapade

For those seeking an in-depth France voyage in 2011, Tauck is fielding a new 14-day "French Escapade: Monte Carlo to Paris" itinerary, aboard the Swiss Emerald.

The itinerary begins with a guided exploration of Monte Carlo and Nice during a two-night stay at the Fairmont Monte Carlo. Guests then travel to Arles by motorcoach to board the Swiss Emerald and begin their nine-day cruise on the Rhône and Saône rivers. Ports of call include the French cities and towns of Viviers, Tournon, Vienne, Lyon, Macon, Chalon-sur-Saône and Beaune. The trip concludes in Paris with guided sightseeing and a two-night stay at The Westin Paris.

Paris and Normandy: The Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s newly remodeled River Baroness sails a “Paris and Normandy” roundtrip voyage from Paris all the way to Caudebec-en-Caux in northern France.

This nine-day trip appeals to guests who love history, art and nature. Guests will visit the French village of Les Andelys, the city of Rouen, the harbor town of Honfleur and the beaches of Normandy.

Guests will also spend time in Paris and enjoy activities on board, including a signature lecture, “The Seine River in Impressionist Paintings.” In addition, during certain summer dates, Uniworld’s Multigenerational Family-Friendly Program is designed to accommodate families with children. Guests may stay pre-cruise in Paris or pre- and/or post-cruise in London

An immersive 15-day France’s Finest itinerary, operated by Viking River Cruises, includes two separate river cruise experiences. First, guests set out from Paris for the eight-day, roundtrip "Paris & the Heart of Normandy" cruise on the Viking Spirit. This cruise includes visits to popular sites within Paris, as well as sightseeing at such spots as Monet’s Giverny, Rouen and the beaches of Normandy.



One Trade Perspective

At this year’s annual conference for CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. franchise owners and independent hosted agents onboard the Norwegian Epic, Travel Agent talked with Drew Daly, the groups’ VP of sales performance, about the growth of river cruising and its appeal to clients.   
“In the past year or two, we have experienced an overall increase in demand for niche products,” said Daly. “We definitely see opportunities and growth within this market.” He said CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. will launch a luxury certification for agency franchise owners and independent agents in December. Developed in conjunction with CLIA and the Travel Institute, the luxury certification will include river cruising.

European river-cruising definitely delivers high satisfaction for the right clients, say Lynn and Ben Catalina, Cruises Inc., Universal City, TX, who also attended the conference. They were named as Cruises Inc.’s Agents of the Year in 2010. They have sold river cruises for the past seven years and have been AMA Waterways’ top producers for the past two years.

“River cruises tend to be more historical and destination-oriented, and more all-inclusive,” said Lynn. Her husband Ben added: “They also tend to be more relaxing [than an ocean voyage or motorcoach tour].” To be successful in selling such cruises, the Catalinas stressed it’s critical for agents to have sailed on the products. They often escort their own groups on voyages. 
Perks for agents selling European river products are essentially two-fold. First, there is high guest-satisfaction with the sizable inclusivity of river products. Second, the Catalinas said commission is higher for selling river cruises compared with ocean cruises because of such perks as gratuities, wine with dinner and shore trips within the cost of the commissionable cruise.



France’s Finest

Then your clients will continue on to Burgundy and Provence regions on an eight-day "Portraits of Southern France" cruise program on Viking Neptune along the Rhône and Saône rivers from Chalon-sur-Saône to Avignon. Highlights include wine-tasting in Beaune, a visit to the gastronomic center of Lyon, and tours of the historical Palace of the Popes in Avignon and the Roman sites of Arles.  

Provence and Spain: If clients want to combine a river cruise in France with a taste of Spain, they may opt for the 15-day AMA Waterways “Provence and Spain” cruise-land program. It includes a seven-night cruise on the Swiss Pearl from Lyon to Arles, or the reverse, as well as three nights in Paris, a high-speed TGV train ride and a three-night Barcelona stay.

A new feature on this cruise-land program that is wildly popular with guests, according to AMA Waterways, is a complimentary cooking class at In Cuisine, one of Lyon’s top epicurean shops in the city. AMA Waterways divides the passengers into four groups, each going to a different cooking station with its own English-speaking chef. The participants then prepare a three-course French meal and sample their own tasty creations. A wine reception is also included. 

Grand France with Provence: For those keen on multiple French regions, Avalon Waterways’ Grand France itineraries run for 15 to 18 days, depending on whether cruise-only or cruise-land options are selected. The 18-day "Grand France with Provence" option includes separate voyages on Avalon Creativity and Avalon Serenity. The first cruise is from Paris to Normandy and back.

At Conflans, clients choose between a guided excursion to Auvers-sur-Oise or Château de Malmaison. Guests also opt for a guided visit to Monet’s Giverny or one to Bizy Castle. At Rouen, guests may visit the Normandy landing beaches or select a "Taste of Normandy" experience. After a call at Les Andelys, the river boat sails back to Paris, where guests disembark. After wine-tasting in Beaune, clients embark at Chalon-sur-Saône for a voyage to Tournus, Mâcon, Lyon, Tournon, Viviers, Avignon and Arles. Guests stay two nights in Provence and a third night along the Côte d’Azur.

These are just a few of the many types of France river voyages available for 2011. Tell clients it’s advantageous to book now to get the itinerary and sailing date they desire.

Some dates for the itineraries listed above are already sold out; availability existed at presstime on other dates. Check individual lines for sizable early booking discounts, other incentives and single supplement waivers on some voyages.


Town of Viviers
Tauck’s 14-day French Escapade aboard Swiss Emerald calls at the town of Viviers.


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By Susan Young | November 8, 2010
A river cruise through France allows your clients to experience the country to the fullest.