Top 10 themed River Cruises

Special interest river cruises attract passengers who love to indulge in their hobbies, try new activities or get a culinary taste of the regions they visit. Here’s a taste of what’s on offer.

WINE

Viking River Cruises’ Heart of Bordeaux cruise takes guests on an eight-day sailing to sample The douro - vineyardBordeaux wines, participate in classes f rom a master sommelier and learn how to pair the perfect wine with every meal. Longship Forseti’s itinerary includes Cadillac for Sauternes, Libourne for Saint-Emilion, and Blaye & Bourg and Pauillac for  Margaux. Price from £1,095 .

Eight wine -themed cruises are included in AmaWate rways 22 new itineraries from spring 20 16. The Taste of Bordeaux sailings on board the ship AmaDolce will be led by some of the world’s top wine experts while sailing on the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers.

CYCLING

CroisiEurope will offer small-group cycling tours on river cruise packages in 2016. The tours will be on select sailings on the Loire, Garonne and Saone/Rhone rivers with groups of up to 14 passengers and one group leader to every four passengers. There will be stops along the routes for wine tastings and village tours.

FAMILY  FOCUS

Uniworld’s Multi-Generational Collection includes a number of family cruises with special pricing, planned around the summer and winter school holidays.

Activities include language lessons, dessert making with the pastry chef, a ship tour and themed workshops . On shore, families can make use of complimentary bicycle and helmet hire and bespoke excursions. The collection includes Castles along the Rhine, Grand European Discovery and Classic Christmas Markets river cruises.

Tauck is offering 10 family cruises in 2016 with sailings on the Rhone, Rhine and Danube where children can not only join in scavenger hunts and strudel-making but meet the cowboys in the Camargue or dine in a fairytale castle.

BEER

Beer - BreweryA beer tasting cruise on Avalon Expression includes tastings, a brewery visit tips on beer brewing techniques and lectures. A beer expert known as the Beer Pope, will be on board to share his knowledge with passengers and host a themed dinner combining dishes and different beers. This Holland and Belgium river cruise departs on April 12, 2016 sailing from Amsterdam to Vilvoorde and includes a visit to the Heineken brewery which is now an interactive visitor attraction. Eight days from £1,729.

AmaWaterways’ Beer Cruise on Amalyra, will be hosted by beer guru and writer Don Russel. The sailing includes a brewery visit at almost every port  the Heineken brewery in Amsterdam, the Brewery de Hemel in Nijmegen, the old-fashioned Cantillon Brewery near Brussels, Ghent’s Gruut brewery and the De Halve Maan brewery in Bruges. Seven nights from £1,399, departing from Amsterdam on March 3 1, 2016.

GASTRONOMY

MacaronsAvalon’s 11-day Burgundy & Provence cruise is a gastronomic experience from Aries in Provence through to Chalon-sur-Saone in Burgundy.

Welcome and Farewell Dinners feature seven courses served with regional wines to complement the  courses.

After a walking tour of Viviers guests enjoy local savoury and sweet delicacies on board including freshly baked bread, salami, goat’s cheese, brightly coloured macarons and apricot pastries with a glass of local wine.

During a walking tour of Tournon sur Rhone, there will be a chance to buy wine from the vineyards of L’Hermitage and once back on board enjoy chocolate tasting with a choice of treats from famous chocolate maker Valrhona based in L’Hermitage.

There’s an optional excursion to a traditional boutique winery in the heart of the Chateauneuf du Pape.

HISTORY

Historian and writer Nigel Jones will be guest lecturer on Avalon Waterways’ new Pride of Belgium river cruise which sails on the River Meuse with a World War One history theme. The April 4, 2016 departure aboard Avalon Artistry II includes tours to Ypres and East Flanders to War Cimeterytour the battlefield sites and memorials. The nine-day cruise, from £1,825 also takes in the ports of call to Maastricht, Antwerp, Ghent, Namur and an overnight stay in Amsterdam.

ART HISTORY

The Rt Revd Dr Christopher Herbert, Bishop of St Albans from 1995-2009, will be guest speaker on Swan Hellenic’s The Timeless Rhine to Switzerland sailing on A-ROSA Aqua which sails on September 3, 2016.

The Rev Herbert has an M.Phil and Ph.D in Art History and is a NADFAS lecturer. City walking tours will include Boppard, Strasbourg, Basel, Breisac, Mainz, Koblenz and the spa town of Baden Baden. 8 days from £1,895 includes flights and transfers, all meals and all walking tours.

Opera singerMUSIC

Private concerts and a performance by members of Budapest opera are among the treats for passengers on Saga’s Classical Music on the Danube cruise.

Highlights include a Mozart and Strauss concert in Palais Auersperg in Vienna; a concert in one of the beautiful Vienna churches, a visit to the home of Bruckner’s birth and his museum in Ansfelden followed by a private concert in St Florian’s Abbey in Linz, a short organ concert in St Stephen’s cathedral in Passau and a performance at the Budapest Opera House, as well as members of the Budapest opera performing on  the ship.

Ten nights from £1,749, departing October 7, 2016, with choice of UK regional flight departures.

GARDENS

Passengers can visit five wonderful gardens on the six-night From Paris to Giverny cruise aboard 50-passenger barge Anacoluthe with Saga, the over-50s holiday company. The sailing on June 25, 2016 includes visits to Versailles, the rose garden at Bagatelle, the greenhouses in Rouen’s botanical garden, the high baroque gardens at Chateau Vaux-de­ Vicomte and Monet’s garden, Giverny. A gardening expert will be on board and host two themed talks. Price from £1,499 includes return travel by Eurostar to Paris.

ART

AmaWaterways will offer five unique art cruises in 2016, giving guests an opportunity to explore the rich and artistic heritage of northern France while creating their very own masterpieces.

There will be tours and painting workshops led by an art instructor featuring the picturesque landscapes that once inspired artists such as Renoir, Monet and Gauguin. A seven-night Paris and Normandy round-trip on Arna Legrap from Paris costs from £1,745 departing on April 8, 2016.

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