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Highlights

  • Hosted by Lieutenant General Ken Gilespie
  • ANZAC Dawn Service at Villers Bretonneux and Polygon Wood Dawn Service
  • Visit the first and second Australian Division memorials, Ypres and Fromelles
  • Cruise the Champagne canal on the famous Champagne Route and enjoy tastings at  Veuve Clicquot, G.H. Mumm, and Moet & Chandon 
  • Guided tour of the village of Hautvillers, once home to the famous Dom Perignon
  • Travel from Paris to Venice aboard  the Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express
  • View the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in her Venice palazzo
  • Farewell dinner – at Venissa Winery, Michelin -Starred, located on its own island and the only winery in Venice
Mazzorbo Island, Italy

We were looked after very well during all facets of our trip. This made for a very relaxing, hassle free and most enjoyable experience.

J & J Plant - Sights & Sounds of Scandinavia

Travel with a small party

Our groups are deliberately kept small. Travel in numbers that exceed a standard dinner party but not so many that you get lost in the crowd. With a group size that is usually limited to just 20, it is very much an exclusive club, where the like-minded come together to share experiences that are never ordinary, seldom typical and that always aim to exceed even the highest expectations.

Solo Travellers Welcome

Captain’s Choice travellers are remarkably easy going and friendly. But to make it easier for you to meet your fellow solo travellers, you will be invited to a solo travellers-only welcome reception at the start of the journey. Our naturally engaging World Hosts love to chat or share a meal, but are empathetic enough to know when you want some time alone.

Where we visit

The Spirit of the Anzac tour map

Full Itinerary

DEPART AUSTRALIA

Day 1: Sunday 22 April

Today, we leave Australia on a landmark journey to honour our servicemen on ANZAC Day. 

LILLE (FRANCE)

Day 2: Monday 23 April

Our flight arrives in Paris and we travel to Lille, where we will base ourselves for five nights at 18th century Clarance Hotel in the centre of Old Lille. 

LILLE

Day 3: Tuesday 24 April

While Lille is close to First World War sites, it is also near the Champagne region. Choose from these Your World experiences today.

  • We drive to Pozières, where we visit memorials to the 1st and 2nd Australian Division, the British cemetery and the Memorial To The Missing. At Villers-Bretonneux, we stop at the Australian National Memorial, the Adelaide Cemetery and the Heath Cemetery.
  • At Reims, see the Grandes Maisons de Champagne, or major champagne houses. Tour the grounds and taste the bubbly at Veuve Clicquot, G.H.Mumm and Montagne de Reims, where we also sit down for a champagne-accompanied lunch.

LILLE

Day 4: Wednesday 25 April

Today is the 104th anniversary of ANZAC Day. We commemorate the sombre day with a choice of Your World experiences.

  • Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie is with us as we attend the traditional Dawn Service at Villers-Bretonneux. We leave early enough to be seated for the service at 5.30am. When the service concludes at 6.30am, we stop for breakfast before crossing the border to Ypres in Belgium. There, we visit the Cloth Hall, which was once the centre of the city’s fabric trade. Then, we move onto the In Flanders Fields Museum, dedicated to the study and remembrance of the First World War. At 11am, we walk with the Mayor of Ypres for the Menin Gate service before returning to our hotel for lunch and an afternoon rest.
  • Those amongst us who prefer a later start can choose to attend the 6am Dawn Service at Polygon Wood in Belgium, a shorter journey away. After the service, we sit down for breakfast at the Community Centre in Zonnerad, before heading to Ypres for the 9.30am Tyne Cot Cemetery ceremony and the Menin Gate service, where we are joined by the rest of our group. We then return to Lille for lunch.

LILLE

Day 5: Thursday 26 April

As on Day Three, we offer two Your World experiences, one for the historical enthusiasts and one for the gourmands.

  • Spend a full day in Ypres and Fromelles, visiting the former battlegrounds in the area. At the John McCrae Memorial site, visit Essex Farm Cemetery. We contrast this with the Langemark German Cemetery nearby. After lunch, walk on ground that witnessed the Battle of Fromelles. We also visit the Pheasant Wood Cemetery, Cobbers Memorial, and V.C. Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial.
  • A walking tour of Bruges and the larger, but just as charming Ghent will have you oohing and aahing every step of the way. Stroll the quaint cobblestoned streets, alongside winding canals to the market square, with historical churches and whitewashed almshouses, just as they would have stood in medieval times. Then stop to soak it all in over a leisurely lunch.

LILLE

Day 6: Friday 27 April

Today, we continue to pay our respects to our fallen soldiers in the fields around Ypres, visiting the Tyne Cot Cemetery, Polygon Wood Cemetery, the site of the Battle of Hill 60 and the famously preserved crater left by a Caterpillar mine. We also spend time at the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, which is devoted to the Third Battle of Ypres, where 500,000 men lost their lives to gain eight kilometres of ground. Those who do not wish to visit Ypres may spend the day at their own leisure.

EMBARK MS RAYMONDE BARGE

Day 7: Saturday 28 April

The vineyards of Côtes des Blancs and Grand Cru beckon. At Moët & Chandon, toast the day. Then walk the Avenue de Champagne, said to be the most expensive road in the world, where millions of bottles of bubbles are stored in chalk cellars. Next stop, visit a family-owned champagne maker to see how age-old skills are being passed down before stepping aboard your barge.

VERDUN

Day 8: Sunday 29 April

This morning, we leave our barge behind to visit Verdun, where the longest battle of the First World War was fought – a gruelling and deadly 300 days from 21 February to 18 December 1916. We explore Fort Douaumont, which fell to the Germans in just three shocking days after the Battle of Verdun began, and the Douaumont Ossuary containing the remains of 130,000 unidentified soldiers. Our last stop today is the tragic Tranchée des Baïonnettes, honouring the French soldiers who were buried alive in their trench after a shell exploded. We return to our river boat for the onward journey to Dormans.

CHÂTEAU-THIERRY

Day 9: Monday 30 April

In contrast to yesterday, today is spent leisurely on the famous Champagne Route. We tour Hautvillers, where the monk Dom Pérignon once lived and worked, paying homage at his tomb. After visiting a leading champagne house and stopping for a taste, as one must do, we return to the barge to travel to Château-Thierry, where we dock for the evening.

SAINT-JEAN-LES-DEUX-JUMEAUX

Day 10: Tuesday 1 May

After a restful sleep, we step off our barge to see the Remembrance Museum of Belleau, which honours American servicemen killed in Belleau Wood from 6 to 25 June 1918. At the foot of the hill where the battle was fought, the Aisne-Marne Cemetery is the final resting place of many of these brave men. We return to our ship where we relax, watching the vineyards pass as we travel on to Drachy, Champigny and our destination for the day, Saint-Jean-les-Deux-Jumeaux. Our barge docks for the night.

LAGNY-SUR-MARNE

Day 11: Wednesday 2 May

This is our last full day of cruising and we spend the morning enjoying the journey as we continue on the canal towards Meaux. It is afternoon when we leave our barge to tour the battlefields of the Marne and the Museum of the Great War. While we are on shore, our ship will continue on to Lagny-sur-Marne, where we will rejoin it. The evening will be a festive one, to celebrate our great river journey.

JOIN VENICE SIMPLON-ORIENT-EXPRESS

Day 12: Thursday 3 May

We approach Paris on the Seine. It is afternoon when we arrive. We take a walk through the city, stopping at Les Invalides in the 7th arrondissement. It is a museum that traces France’s military history from 1871 to 1945. We then head to Gare de Paris-Est to begin our iconic train journey on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Your private cabin is the epitome of 1920s splendour. Reminiscent of an era resplendent in decadence, dress for a delectable four-course gourmet meal inspired by Chef Christian Bodiguel.

VENICE (ITALY)

Day 13: Friday 4 May

The Austrian Alps greets us when we wake. Breakfast is served in your cabin, after which you can meet your fellow travellers in the bar car. We continue on through green valleys to the Brenner Pass. As the train crosses into Italy, we savour a three-course lunch in another of its beautiful restaurant cars. Vineyards and orchards form the pretty landscape outside. As afternoon tea finishes, we cross the Venetian lagoon and arrive at Santa Lucia station. Our home for the next three nights is the renowned Villa Danieli, steps away from the Bridge of Sighs.

VENICE

Day 14: Saturday 5 May

Venice has so much to offer, and today, we have carefully curated two Your World experiences for you to select from.

  • The islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello all played distinct and important roles in Venice’s history and trade. Discover all three today.
  • It doesn’t matter if this is your first or fifth time in Venice, the gondola is a quintessential part of experiencing the city. After your gondola ride, we visit the synagogues and museums of the Venetian Ghetto. Venice once played host to many nationalities and religions, and even within its Jewish ghetto, separate synagogues existed for each language group. 

VENICE

Day 15: Sunday 6 May

Peggy Guggenheim was a wealthy socialite, radical hedonist and art collector. She moved to Venice with her vast collection of modern art in the second half of her life and began to exhibit pieces in her palazzo. Today, we explore the works of Picasso, Miró and Dalí, among others. Those who wish for a more relaxing day may opt out of this visit. This is the last night of our journey, and in true Captain’s Choice style, we celebrate with a private gala at the Venissa Winery, located on its own island of Mazzorbo.

ITALY TO AUSTRALIA

Day 16-17: Monday 7 May - Tuesday 8 May

Late morning, we head back to the mainland and the airport to catch our flight home to Australia. Because of the time difference, we arrive on Tuesday 8th of May.

Everything has been Considered & Included

Sometimes travelling can be a chore, distracting you from the fascinating places you are in. That’s why everything mundane has been moved behind the scenes. You will never have to carry a map, luggage, small change for tips or bargain for a taxi fare.

There are no hidden costs. Everything is included – flights and other travel arrangements, luxurious accommodation, travel insurance, all dining and drinks, and even sightseeing trips - including those by helicopter or husky sled. Even the Your World experiences within your itinerary and internet access when available.

Accommodation Hotel Bell

The Spirit of the Anzac

A Pilgrimage and a Tribute to the Fallen
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Fares are based on a Standard Suite aboard the MS Raymonde. With Flights, per person, twin share.

Fares include Emirates flights from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. Prices from other cities available on request. 

Cruise and Land Only guests join the tour in Lille for dinner on Day 2 and depart Venice after breakfast on Day 16.

Solo suites at above prices are limited. Contact our Tour Sales Consultants for details on other suite upgrades.

Note: This journey is exclusively reserved for a group of just 20 travellers.

Request more information about this tour

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