Early Bird Prize #2 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA + Luxury Cruise through France + $16,500 Cash Package Value Over $72,000*
Cruise down the highway in the all new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA. With strong horsepower and sharp handling, this subcompact luxury SUV is one-of-a-kind. Continue your luxurious adventure across the world to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime six-night cruise along France’s Rhone River.
A Majestic Cruise Along the Rhone River in Provence, France (Europe) for Seven Days & Six Nights Aboard Le Phenicien with Economy Class Air for Two, Including Six Excursions and Tours, and Pre and Post Cruise Hotel Stay
Le Phénicien combines luxury cruising with perhaps the most varied and fascinating route of all hotel barges; you’ll see great towns and cities along the Rhone, and smaller villages of the Petit Rhòne and the Camargue. Le Phénicien’s unique route allows it to meander through the Provence and the Languedoc-Roussillon regions, boasting thousands of years of culture, world-renowned wines, gastronomic food, glorious weather, and unspoiled nature. This family-owned barge boasts an incredibly authentic and intimate experience, bringing you to historic castles, exquisite countrysides and vineyards, legendary sights and medieval villages throughout France’s Provence region.
The elegant Phénicien blends the spaciousness of a larger river cruiser with the intimacy of a well-designed and decorated canal barge. Each of the nine cabins feature an en suite bathroom with a shower. While cruising for two to six hours each day, you can have a drink at the bar, decorated in a modern Provençal style with paintings by local artists, or take a comfortable seat in the lounge to relax with friends, play chess, read a book, listen to music, or do nothing else but enjoy viewing the sights though panoramic windows as the barge floats through the French countryside. When the barge is moored in a port, you’re welcome to borrow the bikes provided on board to journey into the nearby countryside and villages. Discover a wide variety of local traditional specialties as you dine on cuisine specially prepared by the chef using the best local ingredients.
Your cruise begins in Avignon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for history, life, art, music and activity, all within its fortified walls. Le Phénicien is moored close to the Avignon ramparts at Quai de la Ligne, and you’ll be welcomed on board with an aperitif before sitting down to your first delicious dinner. Take a guided tour to learn about the religious and artistic importance of Avignon’s prestigious past with the Palace of the Popes visit, before embarking for Villeneuve les Avignon, where you will visit a cellar at Châteauneuf du Pape, one of the best appellations in France! The following morning you’ll visit the gigantic Roman aqueduct “Le Pont du Gard,” which features a new visitor’s center and modern museum. After this intriguing guided visit the barge will sail down to Aramon, a quiet and charming little port where you’re invited to rest, take a bike ride or enjoy a game of pétanque under the plane trees in the village. Spots of legend are plentiful in Aramon’s surroundings, and after breakfast you’ll visit the charming medieval village of Les Baux de Provence. Back aboard Le Phénicien you will pass through the huge 36-foot high lock of Beaucaire and sail down to Arles, the open-air Museum of Provence. A guided morning visit in Arles will delve deep into antiquity and, at the same time, unravel the joys and despair of Van Gogh, who painted 300 canvases during his year here in 1888. Board the barge again to cruise the Rhône River, the Petit Rhône and the canal to reach the quiet village of Gallician. Your final destination is Aigues-Mortes, a 14th century walled city rising from a flat landscape from which St. Louis set sail on his Holy Crusades. Your last day is the perfect time to visit the marvelous natural beauty of the Camargue region, a botanical and zoological nature reserve, where you’ll visit a working ranch (a “manade”), where the local authentic cowboys (“gardians a cheval”) demonstrate how they tend the herds of bulls on their superb white horses. The Camargue never fails to surprise and delight its guests, and you’ll head back for a farewell dinner!
Sample itinerary: Avignon, Villeneuve les Avignon, Amaron, Arles, Gallician, Camargue
Your trip for two includes:
- Round trip Economy Class air
- 6 night Rhone River Cruise on Le Phenicien between Avignon and Camargue, with 2 nights hotel stay (1 night pre-cruise, 1 night post cruise)
- Cruise fare for two, including taxes
- All meals beginning with dinner on Sunday, through breakfast on Saturday
- Wine is included with lunch and dinner
- Open bar
- Welcome aperitif
- Guided tour of Avignon, including a visit to the Palace of the Popes
- Afternoon visit to a wine cellar at Châteauneuf du Pape
- Guided visit to the Roman aqueduct “Le Pont du Gard,” the visitor center and museum
- Visit Les Baux de Provence
- Guided visit in Arles
- Visit to Aigues-Mortes and a ranch in Camargue
- Use of bicycles
- Roundtrip transfers for tours and excursions
- Transfers from Avignon or Nimes to the barge and return
- Free concierge reservation service