Cruise on the beautiful Loire, the longest river in France, with visits to World Heritage Sites and the famous Loire Valley chateaux
Discover the highlights of the region, from the maritime traditions of thriving Nantes and the exciting Saint Nazaire shipyard, to the ancient renaissance and medieval town of Angers, capital of the Anjou region.
Explore the 'valley of the kings', famous for its hundreds of fairytale chateaux and gourmet traditions of world-renowned wines and mouth-watering food.
The magical chateaux of Azay-le-Rideau, Villandry and Ussé offer a tantalising glimpse of medieval life, with optional wine tastings available at vineyards along the route.
E176 Operated by CroisiEurope
Royal River Loire Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 - Nantes (France)
Embark the brand new paddlewheeler ship Loire Princesse in Nantes from 6pm. Enjoy a Welcome Cocktail and meet your crew, before dinner and a welcome party on board. Perhaps take an optional cruise excursion along the Erdre, the "prettiest river in France" according to Francis I.
Day 2 - Nantes - St Nazaire
After breakfast, there is an optional guided tour of Nantes (must be pre-booked) where you can explore the medieval quarter and see the magnificent Gothic Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul. The tour also visits Feydeau Island, the impressive Castle of the Dukes of Brittany built by Francis II and his daughter, Anne de Bretagne. Return to the ship for lunch, before cruising to St Nazaire, arriving during the evening. Dinner on board. Moor overnight.
Day 3 - St Nazaire - Ancenis
After breakfast, there is an optional tour (must be pre-booked) to the town of St Nazaire, beginning with a visit to Escal'Atlantic which tells the story of two great liners. Continue with a tour of the St Nazaire shipyard, one of the largest in Europe where Queen Mary 2 was built. Alternatively, take a guided visit to the medieval city of Guerande overlooking salt marshes, the inspiration of writers such as Balzac. Visit the salt marshes with your guide, before returning aboard for lunch. This afternoon, cruise to Ancenis. Moor overnight.
Day 4 - Ancenis
Today, there is an optional excursion along the Muscadet Wine Route, passing through several picturesque villages. Continue to La Chapelle Heulin, stopping at the Chateau Cassemichere (or similar) where you will learn about its historic vineyard and sample the white wine. Head to the medieval town of Clisson, before returning to the ship for lunch and cruising to Bouchemaine. After dinner, enjoy entertainment on board. Moor overnight.
Day 5 - Bouchemaine
After breakfast, take an optional tour of Angers, capital of the Anjou region and famous for its rich heritage. Visit the famous medieval fortress of King Rene, home to the world renowned Apocalypse tapestry, before arriving in the charming village of La Doutre. Return to the ship for lunch. This afternoon, perhaps take an optional tour to the Cadre Noir and the town of Saumur. The French tradition of horsemanship at the Cadre Noir is listed by UNESCO as part of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Dinner on board. Moor overnight.
Day 6 - Bouchemaine
Today is spent visiting the castles of the Loire Valley. Travel by coach to the well-preserved Renaissance castle at Azay-le-Rideau, built on an island in the Indre River. before continuing to the chateau of Villandry for lunch. Enjoy a stroll through the castle's gardens laid out on three levels. Visit the magnificent chateau of Ussé with its fortified towers, turrets and steeples, before returning to the ship for dinner. Moor overnight.
Day 7 - Nantes
Bouchemaine is the starting point for the optional excursion along the Angevine Corniche. Enjoy spectacular views of the river as you travel by coach along the Loire Angevine levee road. Stop at Vaults Castle (or similar) with its landscaped gardens where you can enjoy a wine tasting. Continue along the Angevine corniche road past charming villages, before rejoining the ship at Ancenis for lunch. This afternoon, cruise the Loire with its beautiful scenery and sights and arrive in Nantes this evening. Enjoy a Gala Dinner on board. Moor overnight.
Day 8 - Nantes
After breakfast, disembark Loire Princesse.
The Captain reserves the right to modify the itinerary in the light of tidal and other conditions