French & Belgian River Cruising

1st Sep 2020 8 nights Sails from Newcastle Balmoral L2022
FROM ONLY £1,099 per person
Cruise Details Image Cruise Details Image
FROM ONLY £1,099 per person

Whisking you away to Belgium and France to visit a trio of enchanting cities, Balmoral will present you with an array of diverse highlights on this spellbinding late summer escape. Cultural delights, iconic historical sites, architectural wonders and much more awaits you at each destination, while daytime scenic cruising of gorgeous rivers is bound to be your pièce de résistance.[ReadMoreMob]

You’re in for inspirational experiences throughout this eight-night holiday, starting with a journey through rolling French countryside – the perfect aperitif for an extended stay in Rouen. Spending several hours sailing the picturesque River Seine, you’ll pass peacefully by emerald green fields, hills and pretty communes, before Normandy’s historic regional capital beckons you ashore to explore. Rouen harbours tales of fascinating French history amongst its half-timbered houses and many landmarks – Place du Vieux Marché and the spectacular Cathédrale de Notre Dame are particular highlights, with links to Joan of Arc and Richard the Lionheart. Alternatively, you could tour to Claude Monet’s beautiful House and Gardens from Rouen; or even Paris, for a romantic evening in the French capital. Back along the Seine, Balmoral heads for charming Honfleur before continuing on to Belgium. Honfleur offers plenty to fill your day here, such as eye-catching landmarks such as St Catherine’s Church – France’s largest timber church – and the historic Vieux Bassin maritime district. [ReadMoreDesk]

You’ll begin two days in Belgium with splendid scenic river cruising too, bypassing coastal ports to divert inland via the Western Scheldt River en route Antwerp. Vast mud flats, salt marshes and nature reserves, which are home to variety of bird species, come into view on this winding route. When Balmoral finally arrives in Belgium’s sparkling second city, you’ll dock close to the city centre. Within easy reach will be Grote Markt – the ‘Great Market Square’ – with its elaborate 16th century guildhalls and extravagant City Hall, and the mighty Cathedral of our Lady. Venture even deeper into the city and you’ll be rewarded with Antwerp’s most prized possessions, such as the Royal Museum of Fine Arts and the legendary Diamond District. Away from the city, you could take the chance to tour to nearby Ghent, for artisan chocolatiers and some of Belgium’s most iconic landmarks, including the UNESCO-listed Belfry.

Real ships
We don’t have boastful megaships. We take immense pride in our fleet of smaller-scaled vessels that retain the style, ambience and understated quality of a country house hotel.  We ensure they remain contemporary too: from winter 2016 to spring 2018 the whole fleet underwent dry dock refits to further enhance the facilities for guests. With the fifth generation Fred. Olsen as Chairman and 170 years of seafaring heritage behind us, we believe we’ve found the perfect formula for you to get the best out of your holiday with us.

Smaller but spacious
A smaller ship doesn’t mean less space; far from it. Each room is comfortably sized, with all that you’ll need to enjoy your holiday. In fact, our rooms are comparable to those on some of the mammoth cruise ships. While our vessels are on a more accessible scale, you can have just as much private space.  With fewer people on board it’s easy to find a quiet spot to relax in peace with a drink or a good book. There’s room to stretch out by the pool and you can get ashore more quickly too. And when you’re ashore, you’re seeing the best of each port of call with hundreds – not thousands – of others, giving you a much more authentic experience.

Service with a smile
Each member of the Fred. Olsen team has been carefully selected for their warm and welcoming personalities. The quality of our people, supported by training and development, ensures they will give you a great holiday: in guest feedback our staff are always the most highly-rated aspect of the whole experience.

Refurbished in 2017, Balmoral is the largest of Fred. Olsen's smaller, friendly ocean-going cruise ships – with capacity for up to 1,350 guests – yet is still small enough to navigate narrow waterways such as Kiel Canal and bring inspirational sights and experiences closer to you. Like the rest of the fleet, Balmoral retains a warm, welcoming atmosphere and features comfortable accommodation and lounges, stylish restaurants and plenty of open-deck space.