Theme cruises continue to grow in popularity among both ocean and river cruisers. The upmarket tour company Abercrombie & Kent this week revealed four new theme trips on Europe’s rivers that highlight what the continent is best known for – wine and food, art and architecture, and history.
“Based on the success of this year’s World War II on the Rhine itinerary, we developed four new themed journeys that appeal to a broad range of interests,” says Abercrombie & Kent USA President Phil Otterson. “Each is custom-designed to offer the benefits of a river cruise with the intimate, exclusive experiences that Abercrombie & Kent is known for on our small group journeys.”
Each A&K river journey is personally overseen by a Resident Tour Director®, who brings years of experience and knowledge of the destinations. Sightseeing is limited to just 24 guests in private vehicles — with expert local guides — and includes two or more exclusive A&K shore excursions. These tours, called Connections-Exclusive Excursions, feature activities such as a private waltz lesson in Vienna and lunch with a local family on their farm in Provence. These are exclusive to A&K; cruisers won’t see passengers from other river ships on these tours.
Here’s the skinny on the new tours that roll out in 2016:
Food & Wine of France: Paris, Burgundy & Provence – Cruise the Saône and Rhône Rivers, after pre-cruise stays in Paris and Beaune. Enjoy dinner in Paris at a restaurant on the soaring Tour Montparnasse. Sit down to lunch at the foot of the extraordinary Pont du Gard. Take a tasting tour and cooking class in the incomparable Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse Markets. Explore top wineries in Burgundy and the Rhône with private tastings. On a Connections-exclusive excursion, tour the Cistercian Abbey of Sénanque, Saint Paul-de-Mausole and the Roman amphitheater in Arles. 11 days from $6,995
Art & Architecture Along the Rhine – Cruise for seven nights on the Rhine River. Enjoy an architectural tour of the Vitra Design Museum Campus in Basel, Switzerland. Learn about the art of wine on a Connections-exclusive tasting tour of the Alsace wine region in France. Embark on exclusive excursions to Darmstadt with a guided visit to Mathildenhöhe, and Cologne, including the Museum Ludwig, known for its collection of classical, modern, expressionist and American pop art works. Stroll through the Kröller-Müller Museum and sculpture garden near Amsterdam, followed by a private architectural tour of Holland’s capital city. 11 days from $6,195
Christmas Markets on the Rhine – Cruise the Rhine River, visit Christmas markets in Germany and France and enjoy a pre-cruise night in Basel and a post-cruise night in Cologne, at boutique hotels. Shop local Christmas markets amid a festive atmosphere. Take an excursion to the lively university town of Heidelberg and visit its Christkindlesmarkt. Cruise into France’s Alsace region for a Connections-exclusive day of activities that includes an excursion to the Lalique Museum to behold its stunning glassworks. Eight days from $3,495
Christmas Along the Rhine – Spend Christmas on a leisurely cruise along the Rhine River, explore Cologne’s Christmas markets and enjoy a Connections-exclusive chocolate-making workshop. Explore the charming traditional Christmas markets in Cologne amid a festive holiday atmosphere for a memorable Market Connection. Visit Speyer with the opportunity to attend Christmas Eve mass at its cathedral. Cruise into Alsace for a Christmas tour of Strasbourg and its cathedral. Nine days from $3,495