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France & Spain with the River Seine


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Vineyard in Bordeaux, France Vineyard in Bordeaux, France
06 May 2025
10 nights

Your cruise at a glance

Hand-crafted highlights

The benefits of Balmoral’s smaller size come to the fore on this cruise, as you dock in Bordeaux and sail along the River Seine to Rouen, both of which aren’t possible on larger vessels. You will have the chance to view impressive architecture throughout, from Spain’s contemporary Guggenheim Museum to France’s beautiful medieval buildings. Traditional food and drink can be enjoyed in their place of origin, including tasty pintxos in Bilbao and creamy Camembert and Calvados in Honfleur. Visiting a local vineyard in Bordeaux, where the owners will guide you through a winemaking and tasting session, makes for a rewarding experience, too. Meanwhile, join us on deck to savour picturesque countryside views as Balmoral sails along the River Seine.

Explore the Itinerary


The Guggenheim museum, Bilbao, Spain

Explore iconic French & Spanish River Cities

On this Balmoral cruise, you will have a number of opportunities to explore some of France and Spain's most iconic riverside cities, including Rouen and Honfleur, nestled on the banks of the picturesque River Seine. Located at the confluence of the Gironde and Garonne rivers, Bordeaux offers an air of elegance with its neoclassical architecture, world-renowned vineyards, and flourishing food culture, while the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is a masterpiece of modern architecture and Basque culture and showcases contemporary art against the backdrop of industrial history.

Wine Tasting in  Bordeaux

Discover the French and Basque way of life

There will be plenty of opportunities for you to fully experience the local way of life as we explore these French and Spanish riverside cities. In Bordeaux, visit world-class vineyards that produce some of the most prestigious Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sémillon wines, or indulge in speciality cheeses like creamy Brie, Camembert, or a tangy Roquefort spread on thickly sliced warm bread. Meanwhile, in the Basque Country, daily life is based around pintxos bars offering an array of flavoursome small bites, like Gilda (pepper, an anchovy fillet, and olive on a skewer, served on crispy bread) or Boquerones (fresh or marinated anchovies wrapped around green olives), accompanied by a warming Rioja wine or a refreshing Basque cider. You might want to try learning some of the Euskara language, a native dialect of the Basque Country, regarded as the oldest language still in use in Europe.


Cruise Itinerary

Explore the Itinerary
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Life On Board

Introducing Balmoral

Beautiful Balmoral is small enough to navigate some of Europe’s most picturesque waterways so guests can enjoy hours of scenic cruising. Balmoral retains a warm, civilised atmosphere and features comfortable accommodation, stylish restaurants and plenty of open deck space.

Fred. Olsen ship Balmoral sailing at dawn


Beautiful Balmoral is small enough to navigate Europe’s most picturesque waterways so guests can enjoy hours of scenic cruising. Balmoral offers a warm, civilised atmosphere and features comfortable accommodation, stylish restaurants and plenty of open-deck space.

710 cabins
1,325 guests
551 crew
43,537 GT
16kts max speed
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Our Signature Experiences

To make your experience even more special, our Journey Planners have designed a unique programme of Signature Experiences which will allow you to discover real insights about the culture and nature of the places we are visiting, so you can arrive in each destination fully prepared to get the most out of your visit.

Itinerary Insights

We have carefully curated a programme of events to give you a deeper understanding of each of the destinations you will be visiting

Scenic Discoveries

Our Scenic Discoveries are designed to allow you to enjoy seeing the world from the unique perspective of our ships

The Ship and the Sea

Maritime is in our DNA - our history in shipping goes back almost 200 years

The Sky at Sea

There’s very little in the natural world more beautiful than a clear night sky, sunrise or sunset seen at sea

Treats of the Region

We love to bring a taste of the region's food, drink, local tastes and culinary traditions to life on board

Sample Shore Tours

At each port of call on your cruise, we carefully research and hand pick Shore Tour options for you, designed for you see as many of the world's best destinations as possible.

Below, you will find some sample Shore Tours which will give you an example of what to expect on your cruise. Your Shore Tours will be available to book approximately 8-13 weeks prior to departure via your My Cruises account.

Mouthwatering pintxos

Bilbao & Basque Pintxos

Explore the Basque country's vibrant tapas, pintxos, through a unique tour starting with a panoramic drive of Bilbao, leading to its colorful old quarter, the Seven Streets. Discover traditional Basque architecture on a walking tour, then enjoy pintxos in a local bar.


Getxo (Bilbao)

Panoramic Tour & The Guggenheim

Journey through Bilbao, passing the Ensanche Area and the bridges over the Nervión River and enjoy views of Bilbao from Artxanda Mountain before visiting the Guggenheim Museum.


Getxo (Bilbao)

 La Rijoa Vineyards

La Rioja Vineyards

Discover the region of La Rioja, renowned for its vineyards and high-quality wines, with visits to the Bodegas Campillo winery, Laguardia and the winery of Eguren Ugarte.


Getxo (Bilbao)

Route des Chateaux, Vineyard in Medoc, wine estate of Bordeaux wine, France

The Médoc Vineyards

Discover Bordeaux, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on this tour highlighting its famed vineyards. Travel the Quai des Chartrons before exploring the Médoc region along the scenic Route des Châteaux. Enjoy a guided visit of a prestigious wine château, learning about winemaking techniques and sampling exquisite Bordeaux wine.



Château Carbonnieux

Château Carbonnieux

Visit Château Carbonnieux, a vineyard operational since the 13th century by Benedictine monks. Tour the historic wine cellars, admire the owner's classic car collection, and conclude with a tasting session that unveils the secrets of their renowned red and white wines.



Saint-Emilion Vineyard

Saint-Émilion Village & Vineyard By Little Train

Begin exploring Saint-Émilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the heart of Merlot grape cultivation. Enjoy a vineyard tour via traditional open-air train and a guided walking tour of the village's upper part, ending with free time to explore.



The Eiffel tower, Paris, France

Paris in a Day

Start with a scenic drive through Paris, passing landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. Then, enjoy an idyllic boat cruise on the River Seine, including lunch onboard. Conclude with free time at the Eiffel Tower's base.




Historical City of Rouen

Discover Rouen's highlights on this scenic walking tour. Pass iconic sights such as the beautiful Saint-Maclou Church and visit Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen before spending some free time at Place du Vieux Marché.



Monet's Garden & Giverny

Monet’s Garden & Giverny

Enjoy a visit to the house and gardens of Monet, one of the most famous painters in the world. Explore his iconic pink and green house and the Japanese gardens which served as inspiration for multiple pieces of his work. 



Your Guest Speakers

We’ve arranged for some wonderful guest speakers to join us for this cruise. They will be delivering a programme of insightful talks and activities to deepen your cultural, artistic and historical understanding of the destinations we will be exploring, well as helping you to enjoy the natural beauty of the places we visit.

Rosalind Cooper

Rosalind Cooper

Rosalind began her wine career as a lecturer and a tour guide, since then she has been an editor of Decanter magazine. She will be joining us to deliver a series of talks about the wines from the regions you will be visiting during your cruise.

Sue Wilmot
French Way of Life

Sue Wilmot

Sue, a former resident of France for seven years, brings her fluency in French and deep cultural insights, acquired through extensive travel, particularly in Bordeaux, to share anecdotes and conduct French language workshops, enriching our onboard experience.

Treats & Pastimes

In addition to our Signature Experiences, we have a selection of lovely Treats & Pastimes for you to enjoy when on board. Just check your Daily Times each day for full details.

Discover our Treats & Pastimes

Cabins, Prices & Offers

Cabin Options On Your Cruise

* Prices correct as of 01:00 18/05/2024, based on the lowest available Cruise Only fare, and on two people sharing a twin cabin. Please call +441473746175 for live availability & prices.

* Prices correct as of 01:00 18/05/2024, based on the lowest available Cruise Only fare, and on sole occupancy. Please call +441473746175 for live availability & prices.

Cabin Grades

Standard Pricing Solo Pricing

Balcony Junior Suite (BJ)

Balmoral's Balcony Junior Suites have a large cabin area and private balcony

Freedom Fare From £3,399 pp
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Superior Suite (SS)

Located on decks 9 & 10, Superior Suites have a balcony and large cabin area

Freedom Fare From £3,699 pp
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Marquee Suite (MS)

Situated on deck 10, Marquee Suites have a private balcony and large cabin area

Freedom Fare From £4,799 pp

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Last few cabins remaining!

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Premier Suite (PS)

Located on deck 10, Premier Suites have a private balcony and large cabin area

Freedom Fare From £4,999 pp
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Owner's Suite (OW)

Exclusive Suite - please call for more details

Freedom Fare From £5,999 pp
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Cruise Offers

FREE On Board Spend   Freedom Fare

What's Included


As well as our Signature Experiences, there are a host of other treats to enjoy on board our ships.

  • À la carte breakfast, lunch & dinner
  • Daily buffet dining options
  • Late night Supper Club
  • Afternoon tea
  • Self-service tea & coffee
  • In-cabin dining & snacks
  • Evening shows
  • Live music & dancing
  • Dance classes
  • Lectures & talks
  • Cookery demonstrations
  • Traditional deck games
  • Daily games & quizzes
  • Swimming Pools
  • Jacuzzis
  • Fitness Centre
  • Fitness Classes

Enhance your cruise

Each of our cruises has been carefully designed for you to get the very best out of your time on board; and now you can enhance your cruise to make it even more special.

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