Throughout the summer, many of the industry's most impressive vessels will sail throughout Europe and offer itineraries to some of the most renowned cities in Europe. However, with this being one of the popular times of year for holidaymakers to book their summer escape, it is understandable to be worried about mass tourism, long queues and whether you will be able to enjoy a spot of peace.
Luckily, the mid-sized ships of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines can offer an alternative option that you are certain to enjoy. Throughout the summer, both Black Watch and Braemar will operate itineraries out of the UK to the beautiful rivers of France, which thread through a charming collection of towns and cities. Imagine falling asleep in your comfortable and spacious cabin while traversing the English Channel and waking up to stunning riverbank scenery of the Seine, Gironde and Garonne Rivers.
The smaller-sized ships of the Fred. Olsen fleet are capable of sailing along narrower waterways and docking at smaller islands that are inaccessible to the larger vessels. Additionally, by embarking on a roundtrip cruises from Rosyth, in Scotland, or Southampton, you will be able to beat the queues and stress of the airport. Unlike a fly-cruise, you will be able to relax and enjoy your holiday from the moment you step aboard the ship.
This week, we take a closer look at some of the beautiful destinations you can visit while on a Fred. Olsen River cruise from the UK.
Situated on the west bank of the Garonne River is the renowned city of Bordeaux, which is famous around the world for being home to some of the finest wines in the world. As well as being able to taste some of these beautiful wines, you can also learn about the production process in the Museum of Bordeaux Wine and Trade - which, of course, includes a chance to sample more wines.
One aspect about Bordeaux that you may notice is the vibrant culture, which many believe is attributed to the “English flair” of the city. Bordeaux was ruled by England for a considerable amount of time throughout history, and this is still apparent today. You can admire the scenery from the ground on Sainte-Catherine Street, or climb the 243 steps to the top of the Saint-Michel tower for sweeping panoramic views.
The harbour town of Honfleur sits at the mouth of the River Seine and is home to an active fishing port and marina. It is also home many well-preserved historical buildings including museums, wooden churches and monuments. Some of the finest examples of local architecture include Le Vieux Bassin et La Lieutenance - which is filled with old harbour and port authority buildings; and the Sainte-Catherine Church - which was built by carpenters on ships visiting the town in the 16th century. Honfleur is also home to a fine collection of elegant and peaceful gardens, which offer a perfect place in which to soak up your surroundings.
After cruising through the stunning scenery of the Boucles de la Seine National Park, you will arrive in Rouen - the historical capital of Upper Normandy. By far, the most interesting landmark in Rouen is the cathedral, which dates back to the 4th century and has been contributed to ever since - depicting a range of architectural styles. The most recent addition is the spire, which was built in the 19th century and briefly gave the cathedral its title as the tallest building in the world. The façade of the cathedral was painted by Claude Monet and the heart of Richard the Lionheart is stored in one of the tombs here. Other landmarks of interest include Le Gros Horloge (The Big Clock), which offers fabulous sweeping views over the city.
The rivers of Europe offer a chance to visit charming towns and cities and delve deeper into the culture of a particular nation.
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