A visit to Queen Elizabeth’s private retreat at Sandringham Estate, a seven-night cruise aboard Ponant’s 132-cabin luxury mega-yacht Le Boréal, lunch in a pub where Jamie Oliver grew up, a couple of nights each in London, Paris, Lyon and Nice – all are included in ‘Scottish Highlands to French Riviera’, a cruise-holiday like no other.
The new 29-night cruise-and-tour holiday from Cruise Traveller heads from Dublin to Nice aboard Le Boréal and explores the back roads of Britain and France, blending luxury with special, off-the-beaten-track experiences.
There’s a theme to this cruise: the Celtic lands of legend and romance. The Celtic shores offer travellers a poetic and wild beauty. Cruise Traveller invites guests to sail aboard Le Boréal to discover itineraries that echo the region’s history, alternating between plains and little villages, linked by the Atlantic Ocean. Visit Belfast, whose city centre is an unusual blend of English and Irish culture. You can take time to visit it at your leisure.
The Celtic theme is underscored musically by Cécile Corbel, singer and harpist. Cécile shares her “pop folk Celtic” universe with her musicians in France and throughout the world, blending traditional music with her own compositions.
Hotel stays are included in Edinburgh (a night at The Place Hotel), London (two nights in a four-star hotel with full English breakfast), Paris (two nights at La Demure Hotel near the Latin Quarter) and Nice (two nights at the Westminster Hotel Nice, on the Promenade des Anglais facing the sea). You’ll stay two nights in Lyon and a couple of other two-night stays in French wine-producing regions are included as well.
‘Scottish Highlands to French Riviera’ is priced from A$15,999 per person twin share for a twin balcony cabin. The price includes airfares from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth to Dublin and back from Nice, flying with quality full-service carrier, Etihad, named world’s leading airline at the 2014 World Travel Awards.
The holiday runs from 14 May to 14 June 2016 – northern hemisphere summertime and the perfect season to travel.
Other special touches: you’ll glide in a punt along the River Cam in Cambridge, enjoy a behind-the-scenes vineyard tour in Champagne with a local expert, wander the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, explore Glasgow and Dublin.
The holiday includes train trips – in Scotland, along the French Riviera from Lyon to Nice and under the English Channel on the renowned Eurostar.
‘Scottish Highlands to French Riviera’ begins on arrival in Dublin, where you’ll transfer by private car to the Conrad Dublin Hotel. The shops and pubs of Grafton Street and Temple Bar are a 10-minute stroll away, across St Stephen’s Green.
Next morning after breakfast, it’s time to board the elegant, French-flagged Le Boréal for a seven-night cruise to Glasgow. All meals aboard ship (from dinner on the day of embarkation to breakfast on the day of disembarkation) are included, and Le Boréal’s haute cuisine is worthy of the finest restaurants.
Other shipboard advantages: open bar; 24-hour room service; evening entertainment and – a very special touch – the acclaimed ‘pop folk Celtic’ singer and harpist Cecile Corbel, who blends traditional melodies with her own musical compositions.
Le Boréal visits the great English port city of Liverpool, Douglas on the Isle of Man and Iona and Tobermory on Scotland’s Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. The ship visits Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis and atmospheric Ullapool in the Scottish Highlands. The voyage takes in Portree on the Isle of Skye, the Northern Irish capital of Belfast, home of the Titanic, before arriving in the Scottish metropolis of Glasgow.
Elsewhere, as the cruise gives way to an eight-night Edinburgh to London tour and a six-night Champagne, Burgundy and The Rhone Valley Tour, you’ll sample a varied and impressive range of holiday highlights. Enjoy a wine tasting in a traditional cellar in Chablis, explore the vineyards of Beaune, savour a private tasting at a premium Rhone valley wine producer and dine in a traditional ‘Bouchon Lyonnais’ restaurant.
A sampler of other destinations and experiences on ‘Scottish Highlands to French Riviera’: the walled English town of Berwick-upon-Tweed; Durham Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the finest example of Norman architecture in England; the Peak District and North Yorkshire Moors; a day to explore Lincoln, with its castle and cathedral; the Queen’s Sandringham Estate; the Cathedral of Our Lady in Reims, France; and an exploration of Rhone Valley vineyards, some of the oldest in France.