Experience an enlightening river cruise, which will take you along the Rhine, Rhône and Danube in search of archaeological treasures at each port. We are delighted to have partnered with A-ROSA River Cruises to offer these special tours, which are designed to open up the enchanting world of river cruising to keen archaeology and history enthusiasts from all walks of life. What makes them unique is the accompanying package of fully exclusive, private excursions that have been skilfully crafted by our experts to enhance each itinerary.
Each river we travel on will reveal a different story – uncover ancient ruins, discover archaeological splendours and find out how these major European rivers functioned both as limits of empire and as conduits of trade.
5 June 2021
10 October 2021
What to expect
In antiquity, the Rhône was the most important artery connecting the Mediterranean to Southern and Eastern Gaul, which explains the spread of Hellenisation after the Greek foundation of Massalia (ancient Marseilles), as well as Roman culture after Caesar’s conquest of Gaul. So strongly felt was Roman culture in the Rhône Valley, that Pliny the Elder described it as more akin to Italy than a province. The wealth from the production of wheat, olive oil and wine, which flowed down the river, resulted in an incredible development of the cities of the Rhône Valley, starting in Lugdunum – ancient Lyon – continuing on to Vienne and then onto Arles, the epicentre of the trade tours, as well as Nîmes. It’s for this reason that the Rhône Valley is home to the most spectacular Roman monuments in all of France.
Due to its immense size, the Danube functioned both as a border and as an important trading artery. Predominantly, it served as the border of the Roman Empire for much of the extent of the river, which both made it an obstacle for those outside of the Empire and an important passage for materials supplying the army stationed along its banks. Crucially, the Danube was also an important part of the Amber Road – a facet of ancient history which is, perhaps, overlooked. Although the Silk Road has captured modern imaginations, there has been less attention on the amber, which was one of the most important long-distance routes of the ancient world. Prized by Romans for its appearance and perceived therapeutic qualities, the Danube was an avenue by which the gem reached Italy via Aquileia. Both Carnuntum – established as a Roman colony because it is a meeting points of the north-south and east-west trans-European routes – and Aquincum were important stopping points along the Amber Road.
The Rhine acts not only as an artery for trade, as evidenced by the spread of the Hallstatt and La Tene cultures in the Late Bronze – Iron Ages, but as a formidable barrier. Unknown to Greek writers, Roman writers characterise the Rhine as a boundary. Servius describes the river as the border between Gallia and Germania, while Augustus sees it as the limits of the civilised world. Roman colonisation began with the Julio Claudian emperors, starting with the foundation of Cologne. From this period, there is a flourishing of Roman culture and the development of Roman cultures. This was aided by an enormous military presence on the Rhine – a staggering eight legions were kept along the Rhine, including legions in Argentoratum and Moguntiacum. With the metamorphosis of the Roman Empire into the Frankish Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, the legions of the Roman Empire settled along the Rhine gave way to castles in the medieval period as competing elites fought over its fragmented territory. It is this landscape that has shaped the modern vision of the Rhine, with its extraordinary proliferation of castles along its banks.
Exceptional value for money
With an Andante Travels river cruise, your tour price includes every key element of the experience. Meticulously planned shore excursions in every port, featuring some of Europe’s greatest archaeological sites along with medieval architecture and historic landscapes, and the insight and knowledge of an expert guide lecturer. International flights from London, FullBoardPlus dining, all-inclusive drinks packages, gratuities and leisure facilities are all in there. On-board entertainment is also included, which adds to the wealth of opportunity to relax and make new friends over a drink on the ships’ sundecks or in their lounges. Live evening music will accompany your dining experience, while your expert guide regales further tales of the ancient world during early evening lectures.
Home comforts on holiday
A relaxed and comfortable experience on board these ships is paramount. Each A-ROSA ship offers a spacious sundeck for admiring the passing scenery and for relaxing with included drinks from the bar in a deckchair or sun lounger. The ships have mobile bars, a heated outdoor whirlpool or swimming pool, and activities such as shuffleboard. Other public areas include restaurants, cafés/bars, shops, day lounges, SPA-ROSAs with saunas, massage and beauty treatments (you’ll receive 15% on spa treatments), relaxation areas and gyms. All ships have air-conditioned cabins with twin/double beds, including private bathrooms with showers and bathroom amenities, TVs, bottles of mineral water, bathrobes, hairdryers, safes, telephones, and slippers. All cabins are a minimum of 14.5 sqm in size, and you can choose between cabins with porthole or delightful Juliette balconies to enhance the river cruise experience – with views and fresh air. Free WiFi is available in public areas on board all ships. Each cruise ship is equipped to a high standard to ensure your on-board experience is as memorable as the sites you visit, so just sit back and relax as the wondrous world passes by.
A delightful range of culinary tastes
Our itineraries include all meals and specified drinks on board. Meals are predominantly gourmet buffet-based with live cooking stations. Breakfast serves up a mix of continental and freshly cooked offerings to set you up for a fascinating day of archaeological exploration. Evening meals are influenced by the local areas of the countries you sail through, and tea and coffee are available throughout the day, with cabin water being refreshed daily as well. With your all-inclusive drinks package, enjoy the delectable range of tipples while on board and during mealtimes. Choose between house wines, beer, a selection of spirits and cocktails, tea, coffee, soft drinks, and water.
A very well organised programme of visits, accompanied by very professional and knowledgeable guides. Excellent information from the company. Feefo reviewer