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WHY IT RATES: River cruises can range from posh to luxurious, but are increasingly getting more active and adventurous. Few do active travel better than Butterfield & Robinson.-Michael Schottey, TravelPulse Director of Digital Content.
Butterfield & Robinson, the world's premier active travel company, has announced two new trips with Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, the world's most renowned all-inclusive river cruise line, expanding on the partnership announced in 2016.
In addition to three separate river cruise trips running in conjunction with Uniworld, B&R has announced new departures on the Danube and Seine River for hiking enthusiasts and cyclists. The Danube River Cruise Walking and Seine River Cruise Biking trips now bring B&R's Uniworld portfolio to five luxury river ship experiences, with B&R guides hosting travelers along some of Europe's most historic waterways connecting countries and cultures.
"Given the popularity of our European river cruise trips to date, we were pleased to be able to expand the Uniworld offering to an additional destination with Seine River Cruise Biking, and to another category of active travellers with Danube River Cruise Walking," says says Chris Mark, Region Director, Central Europe, Butterfield & Robinson. "While we're seeing great interest in walking trips all over Europe, we're thrilled to slow down with our guests along the Danube, and show cyclists Paris to Honfleur and back in true B&R fashion."
After strong bookings for 2018 departures on Uniworld ships, B&R has also announced new dates for its 2019 river cruise bike trips. Beginning in May 2019, travelers can now book biking trips on the Rhine, Rhône and Danube rivers for 2019. For more information, please visit butterfield.com.
The new B&R Uniworld River Cruise itineraries for 2019 include:
Seine River Cruise Biking (8 days / 7 nights)
Beginning and ending in the bustling capital of Paris, coasting down the Seine River and biking through idyllic villages en route to Honfleur and the Crique de Rouen, this weeklong cycling excursion is equal parts rewarding, relaxing and enriching. Each day, the aptly named S.S. Joie de Vivre will arrive before dawn in a region along the Seine River, allowing B&R travelers to explore dynamically different parts of the French countryside. With long, languid routes along the river banks and deeper routes inland, travelers will experience some of the strongest hallmarks of France, from superb biking to unbeatable hospitality and fine cuisine.
Departures in January, February and March 2019 from US$7,995; single supplements at $3,300.
Seine River Cruise Biking Highlights
-Ride through the pastoral countryside of Giverny en route to the final home of Claude Monet, where a tour of the lush gardens, lily pond and country house precedes lunch at the historical Ancien Hôtel Baudy.
-A day of quiet cycling and long stretches near the Seine starts at Château Gaillard and delivers views from the steep cliffs to Le Thuit. A visit to the natural reserve of Lery-Poses comes before travelers arrive at the green village of Andé for a mid-day coffee.
-The soaring, roofless Jumièges Abbey outside of Rouen will serve as the backdrop as cyclists depart for a day of riding through Le Mesnil, Anneville, and other postcard-worthy villages before crossing the Seine by local ferry for lunch at Le Saint Pierre.
-A fantastic, gentle downhill ride along the recently built bike path of the Vallée de l'Epte, taking travelers along an evolving landscape of renaissance castles, green farmlands and fields and commanding aerial views on the Seine's loop.
Activity Level: Recreational
Most of the riding on the trip is flat with gentle inclines on quiet country roads, interspersed with the occasional dedicated bicycle path. There are a few hills to be biked and some long options for eager riders. Road surfaces are always paved.
The 64-stateroom S.S. Joie de Vivre was launched in 2017 and earned the "Best New River Ship" award by Cruise Critic editors in the same year. The vessel has been designed as a floating representation of all things Parisian: a glitzy supper club, an open-kitchen haute cuisine experience, a sidewalk-café-style Bistrot, and an extensive spa and wellness centre.
Danube River Cruise Walking (8 days / 7 nights)
An active river cruise for B&R's fastest-growing segment of traveler, hikers will plant their feet in four countries and three world capitals along the Bavarian Danube. Overlook valleys peppered with medieval fortresses, tour art museums and walk an ancient route known as The Way of Princes. From privately-guided city tours and breathtaking views to relaxing aboard the S.S. Maria Theresa, wake up in a new locale along the Danube each day for a different adventure.
Departures in late September 2019 from US$8,495; single supplements at $3,100.
Danube River Cruise Walking Highlights
-Venture into the hills overlooking Passau and peer across medieval chapels, walking routes and fruity orchards towards the Inn and Ilz rivers, before a private walking tour of the Old City including St. Stephen's Cathedral and other Gothic and Baroque mainstays.
-Awaken to the sight of the bright, beautiful Stift Melk, the Benedictine abbey high above the Austrian town of Melk. B&R travelers will beat the crowds to tour the abbey's cavernous rooms before setting out on the day's walk along the stretch of the Danube known as the Wachau, with stops among gorgeous hillside terraces.
-In Vienna, travelers will embark on a walk up into the forests and vineyards west of the city to enjoy lunch at a seasonal restaurant run by local, independent wine producers.
-Visit the Little Carpathians mountain range in Slovakia, rising from the basin behind Bratislava. After a well-earned lunch in Bratislava's Old Town and a stroll in the town centre, dinner will be served aboard the S.S. Maria Theresa en route to Budapest.
Most of the walking on the trip is flat to gently rolling on riverside paths or marked forest routes. Surfaces are reliable: gravel, hard-packed dirt, and the occasional paved section.
The 75-stateroom S.S. Maria Theresa was built in 2015 and earned the "Best New River Ship" award by Cruise Critic editors in the same year. A baroque homage to the former Austrian empress from bow to stern, the S.S. Maria Theresa is among the newest and most lavish ships on the Danube. All B&R cabins boast French balconies affording wide views of the riverscapes, with the elegant dining quarters providing panoramic, alternating views throughout.
For all new and updated trips for 2019, visit butterfield.com/new-trips.
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