Belgian Ardennnes River Cruise 2020

This is one of our ‘unique’ European river cruise package for Spring 2020 which includes a varied itinerary, based on staying on board a high quality boat. Unlike many cruises, unusually we can offer a maximum of 15 cabins for sole use with very affordable supplements.

The combination of excursions offered match the routing of the cruise which we believe will appeal to a wide audience and this route / cruise is completely unique to Simply Groups. This cruise will only have Simply Groups passengers on board and the maximum overall capacity will be around 90 people, so will never feel too busy.
 
Our Ardennes River Meuse Cruise includes: -
5 days / 4 nights – departing Sunday 29th March 2020
Return Executive Coach Travel departing from selected pick up points of your choice
Return short channel crossings to Calais
4 nights full board accommodation on the 4* MS Dutch Melody – all ensuite cabins
Morning and afternoon tea, coffee and pastries are included when on board
Included excursion package with all entrances and guides as indicated in the itinerary
Group Organiser’s Personal Liability Insurance is automatically included without extra charge
1 free place (single) with minimum numbers + free upgrade for the GO to a Serenade Deck Cabin

Price based on a minimum of 45 paying passengers from £799pp Twin share – Sonata or Cantata Deck Cabins
Upgrade Serenade Deck Cabin £99 per cabin (4 nights) – maximum 7 cabins including GO’s cabin
Single supplement £49pp (4 nights) – Prelude deck - twin share sole use – maximum 6 cabins
Single supplement £99pp (4 nights) – Sonata or Cantata deck - twin share sole use – maximum 9 cabins
Deposit £200pp (non-transferable/non-refundable). Balance due in full by the 31.01.20
Optional Travel Insurance £45pp - No upper age limit (conditions apply)
Includes Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) @ 20%

The Dutch Melody is a luxurious and comfortable ship of a 4* standard which was built in 1999. It has a capacity of 67 cabins which are spread over three decks. There is also a sun deck where you can enjoy your surroundings and the landscape from the comfort of your lounge chair. There is a large and cozy lounge and bar and also a small library and a fitness and sauna area. Cabins are 14m2 and each has two beds and an en suite bathroom. This boat offers a high standard and superb service.

Each group has to consist of 45 people and has an allocation of 15 sole occupancy cabins and 15 twin share cabins.
There are 6 sole use cabins on the Prelude deck + 9 on either the Sonata or Cantata Deck (higher supplement).
There are 7 Serenade Cabins automatically included within your allocation (upper deck) + supplement.

A valid passport is required for this holiday which must have 6 months validity from the date of return to the UK.

Sample Itinerary
Sunday 29th March - Departing this morning we travel to the coast for a late morning short channel crossing to Calais. On arrival on the continent we travel through Belgium to the Ardennes, making comfort breaks en route to Namur where you will board the Dutch Melody which is moored in Namur overnight. Dinner included.
Despite its modest size Namur is the 'capital' of Wallonia (The Ardennes). Historically the city's raison d'être has always been its location at the confluence of the Meuse and Sambre rivers. It is commanded by a vast former military citadel which was one of Europe’s mightiest fortresses until recent times.

Monday 30th March – Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast on board before this morning’s excursion to the stunning Chateau & Water Gardens of Annevoie. This is the only one of this type in Belgium and is also amongst the most beautiful in Europe. Accompanied by your guide you will stroll through the park dating to the seventeenth century which forms part of the exceptional cultural heritage of Wallonia. The many paths will take you to dozens of waterfalls, fountains and ponds designed to operate purely on gravity. Every turn reveals a different landscape including French, Italian and English gardens. Returning to the boat late morning we cruise south taking lunch on board, passing through two locks (the Grands Malads & Andenne-Seilles) en route to Huy our next mooring point.
From here you will be transferred by coach to Durbuy which is known as the ‘Smallest town on Earth’ and it claims to also be one of the prettiest. The old town dates from the 17th Century and has many narrow & cobbled streets which wind between the ancient houses. Durbuy is nowadays renowned for its excellent food and is also home to a stunning Topiary Park (entrance included) which is home to a collection of clipped box trees and is unique in Europe. Here there are more than 250 figures and some of the plants are more than 120 years old. You will have a little free time afterwards to explore at your leisure before returning to the ship. The boat leaves Huy early evening during which dinner is served on board, arriving in Liege around 10pm where we will be moored overnight. 

 

Tuesday 31st March – Re-joining the coach, we travel outside of Liege to the Abbey of Val-Dieu, where during a one hour guided tour you will discover 800 years of history. This Abbey is one of the most remarkable religious buildings of the ‘Pays de Herve’ region. Built in the early 13th-century it is the only abbey which survived the French Revolution and is a rare jewel. Your visit will start in the abbey barnyard as your guide leads you in to the Basilica as well as a few secret rooms including the monastic refectory and the chapter house. This tour will describe monastic live through the centuries and about the use of the different rooms located around the cloister. Anyone preferring to explore Liege at their leisure has the option of doing this if they choose. The boat leaves Liege at noon whilst you take lunch on board and continues our journey south to Maastricht (Holland) arriving mid-afternoon.This afternoon’s included excursion is to the Wine Castle Genoels Elderen, where a guided tour, wine tastings and savoury snacks are included. Your guide will show you around the park, the vineyards, the rose garden & distillery, the press house and the cellars dating from the 13th to the 20th centuries. Dinner is included once back on board, after which you might like to explore Maastricht by night. This is a pretty border town filled with history dating back to Roman times.

Wednesday 1st April – Breakfast on board. Leaving Maastricht around 9am the cruise takes us next to Thorn, known as ‘the little white town’ which has a rich history dating back to the late 10th Century. Following lunch, accompanied by a local guide you will discover this gem and learn how, over the course of time, it developed into a miniature convent ruled by an abbess and 20 ladies of noble birth. It had its own jurisdiction and its own currency but this came to an end in 1794 with the arrival of the French. That’s when Thorn got its distinctive white colour. After the aristocratic ladies fled, the French imposed a tax based on the size of the windows. The locals were often poor people living in large properties that previously belonged to the rich. To reduce the amount of tax they had to pay, many of them bricked up the windows and then whitewashed their houses to conceal the signs of their renovation work (‘scars of poverty’). You will also visit the municipal museum where you can see the Thorn Panorama, a 3D painting of the historic old town. Returning onboard for the last time, relax and enjoy an evening on board including a Captain’s Gala Dinner as we cruise east towards Utrecht.

Thursday 2nd April – Breakfast is included on board the boat before disembarking in Utrecht where you will have some free time. This is a fairly compact city and your local guide will escort you on a walking tour taking in the various highlights as you explore the city's narrow alleyways and hidden courtyards. There will be a little free time afterwards for you to purchase an early lunch or enjoy a little retail therapy before beginning the return journey to Calais. Once back in the UK you will be returned to your original departure points during the evening.


Simply Groups reserve the right to make minor changes to this offer due to circumstances beyond our control.
All packages are subject to availability at the time of booking.

7Cruise06

 Runner Up - 2011 Group Travel Awards rsz 1finalist ilkley 001  Group Travel Organisers Association  TG Logo Finalist - 2013 Group Travel Awards Finalist - 2014 Group Travel Awards rsz 1gta-2019-finalist