River Cruising expands on the Rhone River

New Rhone River cruises highlight wine and cuisine By: Marilyn Green
Rhone River // © 2012 Tauck
Rhone River // © 2012 Tauck

The Details

Winemaking has been part of life along the Rhone River since 600 B.C. and, coupled with the arts and culinary traditions of Provence, it’s a magnet for visitors. Lyon, France, where the Rhone turns south toward the Mediterranean, is generally considered the line between Burgundy and the Rhone Valley, dotted with more than 6,000 wine-growing properties including 1,837 private wineries and 103 cooperatives, and river cruise companies, with an experienced and discriminating clientele, have not been slow to see the attraction.

Ama Launches Rhone Wine Cruises
AmaWaterways announced the March 25 launch of a variety of Rhone wine cruises onboard the 150-passenger AmaDagio. To celebrate the debut of the AmaDagio on its first cruise on the Rhone, president and co-owner Rudi Schreiner and executive vice president and co-owner Kristin Karst are hosting a President's Wine Cruise along with wine hosts Carissa Chappellet, owner and managing director of Chappellet Winery, and Archie McLaren, founder and chairman of Central Coast Wine Classic.

“The Rhone wine cruises feature the world’s most popular regions and wine makers in Europe,” said Schreiner. “Guests have the opportunity to celebrate wine culture in a unique and enriching way.”

Passengers can take excursions to historic vineyards and cellars to learn about the wine traditions of each region, hear complimentary wine lectures and enjoy tastings of award-winning vintages both onboard and on shore, along with fine dining with special wine pairings.

This seven-night “In Celebration of Wine” cruise is part of Ama’s 15-day Provence and Spain itinerary, starting with three nights in Paris before embarking the cruise in Lyon to the Beaujolais wine region, tours of Roman ruins and stops at the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Avignon and Arles. After the seven-night cruise, guests will visit the medieval town of Perpignan, France before ending their trip in Barcelona.

Ama offers eight In Celebration of Wine themed cruises that also showcase wine regions along the Rhine and the Danube Rivers in the fall.

Tauck Introduces Taste of France
A year after introducing Rhone cruises, Tauck is introducing a new river cruise on the Rhone that celebrates the rich culinary traditions of France. The new 10-day A Taste of France itinerary begins with a two-night hotel stay and exploration of local food culture in Paris, followed by a seven-night river cruise through the Rhone Valley aboard the 116-passenger Swiss Emerald. Tauck has crafted the new itinerary in collaboration with Churchill & Turen, the luxury travel agency named the World’s Best Culinary Tour Specialist by Conde Nast Traveler magazine.

“The foods and wines of France are world renowned, and our new river cruise is a fantastic introduction to what makes France such a culinary treasure,” said Tauck CEO Dan Mahar. “We’ve combined our 87 years of experience showcasing the world’s premier destinations with the insights and access of Churchill & Turen, all with the ease and elegance of river cruising.”

A Taste of France begins with guided culinary-themed sightseeing in Paris and a two-night stay at the Hilton Arc de Triomphe. In Paris, guests will enjoy an exclusive, hands-on introduction to French sauces with a tasting at the new Alain Ducasse culinary school, Ecole de Cuisine.  They’ll also attend a workshop and blind tastings highlighting The Joy of Chocolate led by Chloe Doutre-Roussel, author of “The Chocolate Connoisseur,” visit the former haunts of chef Julia Child and learn about contemporary Parisian life during a walking tour of the Left Bank.

Other culinary-themed experiences include: a market visit in Provence with local chefs who will buy ingredients and prepare regional specialties for tasting, such as tapenade, anchoiade and stuffed tomatoes Provencale; a Provencal evening featuring dinner, local wines and entertainment in the shadow of Pont du Gard, the Roman aqueduct; and a demonstration of French culinary techniques at a cooking school operated by a three-star Michelin chef.

Departures for the new culinary cruise are scheduled for April 25, June 28, August 17 and October 20 of this year.

>