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London Pre-Cruise Extension

Wednesday, May 16
Arrive in London

Welcome to London, one of the world’s most important business, financial, and cultural centers. Your tour director will greet you at your hotel. Enjoy a welcome dinner early this evening. A round-trip transfer will be provided to the evening church service.

Thursday, May 17
Churchill War Rooms, Churchill Museum, HMS Belfast, River Thames Cruise

After breakfast and a morning lecture by Dr. Glen at the hotel, join your tour director for a visit to the Churchill War Rooms, the fortified bunker deep underneath Whitehall from which Winston Churchill directed the British war effort. Wander through the rooms—and the adjacent Churchill Museum—examining the maps, telephone, and other items from Churchill’s life. There’s also time to explore the historic HMS Belfast to discover what life was like on board for the crew at war and at sea from WWII to 1963. Return to the hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure. Evening plans include a group dinner followed by a narrated illumination cruise on the River Thames.  

Friday, May 18
Bletchley Park and Imperial War Museum

After breakfast and a lecture by Dr. Glen at the hotel, you'll visit Bletchley Park with your tour director. Discover the story behind the Enigma code breakers, who successfully deciphered the encryption used by the Wehrmacht. Back in London for the afternoon, we'll visit the Imperial War Museum, which tells the story of those whose lives have been shaped by war from the First World War to the present day. We'll enjoy dinner together tonight.

Paris to Normandy Cruise

Saturday, May 19
Arrive in Paris

Pre-Cruise London Extension Group: After breakfast, we'll travel by group transfer to the train station for your high-speed Eurostar train trip to Paris. Upon arrival, a group transfer will be provided to the pier for embarkation on your Avalon cruise.

All Other Cruise Participants: Welcome to Paris, France’s capital on the Seine River. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. Before dinner, your ship glides out of Paris. 

Sunday, May 20
Vernon and Les Andelys

After breakfast, choose to visit Giverny or Bizy Castle. Claude Monet lived at Giverny for almost 43 years (1883–1926). He viewed his flower and water gardens as works of art—just like his paintings. See his collection of Japanese prints, his charming house, and his biggest sources of inspiration. Or visit Bizy Castle, built in 1740 and nicknamed “Normandy’s Versailles.” It is known for its famous stables—inspired by those at Versailles—and its magnificent courtyard and water garden.

This afternoon, arrive in Les Andelys, one of the most beautiful places in France, situated on a bend of the Seine. Join a local guide for a walk around the town, visiting the Parish Church of Le Petit Andely. The imposing Château Gaillard, built by England’s King Richard the Lionheart as a fortress in 1196, can be seen above the town. Constructed in only a year, it is a masterpiece of medieval military architecture.

Monday, May 21

You may choose the regular visit at the Normandy landing beaches or the "A Taste of Normandy" tour.

Tuesday, May 22
Normandy Village Route, Abbey Route, or Optional Excursion to the Normandy Beaches

In addition to the regular choice between the Normandy village route and the Abbey route, an optional excursion to the Normandy beaches is available for passengers who would like a more in-depth look at the D-Day landing sites. 

Optional Excursion

You'll depart from Caudebec and arrive in Sainte-Mère-Église for a visit to the Airborne Museum.

Strategically situated on the main N13 highway to Cherbourg and only a few miles away from the coast, this farming community became the very center of the huge airborne operation (with 15,000 U.S. paratroopers) starting the night before D-Day. This museum has an amazing collection of memorabilia, including many donations from the veterans themselves.
Enjoy a picnic lunch at Utah Beach before a visit to the Utah Beach Museum. Closest to the Germans around Cherbourg and quite separated from the other beaches, it could have been a disaster, but Utah Beach had the great privilege of being protected by the American paratroopers (who had been in the area for several hours already). Built on the very beach where the first American troops landed on June 6, 1944, the Utah Beach Museum recounts the story of D-Day in 10 sequences, from the preparation of the landing to the final outcome and success. This comprehensive chronological journey immerses visitors in the history of the landing through a rich collection of objects, vehicles, materials, and oral histories.

Admire an original B-26 bomber, one of only six examples of this airplane in existence worldwide, and relive the epic experience of American soldiers through the film Victory in the Sand, winner of a 2012 CINE Golden Eagle Award and the 2013 CINE Special Jury Award for best museum documentary.

Visit the German cemetery in La Cambe. After the village of La Cambe was liberated on June 8, the cemetary was started as an American cemetery for both Americans and Germans. After the war, this cemetery became the largest German one in Normandy with over 21,000 buried there. It covers more than 15 acres and is surrounded by over 1,200 maples, which are part of the Garden of Peace.

Return to the ship in Caudebec.

The price for this tour, which will be sold as an optional excursion, is 136€ per person and includes the following:

  • Local guide
  • Motor coach transportation
  • Picnic lunch
  • Entrance fee to the Airborne Museum
  • Entrance fee to the Utah Beach Museum

Wednesday, May 23

Rouen, capital of Upper Normandy, is an important commercial city perhaps best known for its connection to Joan of Arc, who lived, was imprisoned, and burned at the stake in the town's marketplace in 1431. Enjoy a guided walk through the medieval quarter with its half-timbered, glazed-tile houses, and take photos of the intricate Gros Horloge astronomical clock, dating back to the 16th century. Visit the gothic cathedral, which was once the tallest building in the world and the subject of a series of paintings by Claude Monet. The afternoon is free for you to explore the area on your own.

Thursday, May 24

After breakfast, you may choose either our guided excursion to Auvers-sur-Oise, the quaint little town where Vincent Van Gogh lived and died, or our tour of Napoleon and Josephine’s Chateau de Malmaison just outside of Paris. Requiring extensive renovations, this large country estate was purchased by Josephine Bonaparte in 1799 while Napoleon was fighting in Egypt. It was her aim to make it “the most beautiful and curious garden in Europe, a model of good cultivation.”

Friday, May 25

Paris is known as the “City of Light,” one of the world’s most romantic and lively cities. You have two options for our day in Paris. First is an included motorcoach tour of the city's magnificent must-see sights, such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the unique Louvre Museum with its glass pyramid standing in contrast to its ancient architecture, the commemorative Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. Or you may join Susie for an optional inside tour of Musée d'Orsay and the Louvre, with a visit to Montmarte in the afternoon.

Saturday, May 26
Paris (Disembarkation)

Our time together concludes after breakfast this morning.