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Tour Highlights


Russet roofs and elegant stone chateaux dash past beyond grassy verges, sunlit fields bursting with uniform rows of vines over yonder. Delice de Bourgogne melting in mouth and a crisp Chablis in hand, it takes hold; instant bliss, an instant appreciation for the pure, easygoing life along the Cote d'Or canals of France.

  • Stay three night at the Palazzo Victoria in Verona
  • Attend the famous Arena di Verona Opera Festival in the best seats
  • Have a delightful lunch at the edge of the Lake Garda
  • Enjoy a welcome dinner in a private villa garden in Verona
  • Exclusive after hours, doors closed, visit to St Marcos Basilica in Venice
  • Experience the glamour and elegance of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express to Paris
  • Stay Champagne Chateau Les Crayeres
  • Cruise along the vineyards of Burgundy Canal in style aboard the privately chartered MS Jeanine
  • Discover the UNESCO sites at Loire Valley
Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

The tour takes all the pressure of organization off our shoulders - we just enjoy!!

G & D Gjergja, Trans-Siberian Express by Private Train

Where we visit


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Depart Australia

Day 1: Friday 18 August

Bound for la dolce vita, we look forward to arriving in Venice as a new day begins.

Arrive Verona (Italy)

Day 2: Saturday 19 August

While the canal-crossed streets of Venice beckon with dreamy intent, we save the discovery for a later date with good reason. Believe it or not, there's a city just as romantic over the horizon.

Weaving between crumbling Roman relics and stone buildings of deep ochre hues, we're rendered starry-eyed as we arrive in Verona – celebrated by Shakespeare in one of his most famous works, 'Romeo and Juliet'. Cocooned within the city's ancient heart, the Palazzo Victoria is our resplendent home for the next three nights. Our very own whirlwind love affair begins with an outstanding dinner set in the shady Veronese courtyard.

Arrive Venice

Sunday 13 August

We're immersed in Italian Renaissance culture, cruising the waterways of Italy from the Venetian lagoon aboard La Bella Vita. The first of six glorious nights begins with a chilled prosecco as we glide along Giudecca Canal to disembark and join the locals for their passeggiata. Feel the magic of St Mark's Square before venturing along Venice's back alleys for wine and cicheti.

Tour Map

San Pietro in Volta

Monday 14 August

We welcome the serenity on the tiny island of Mazzorbo, treating our palates to tastings at Venissa, a wine estate ringed by 1727 medieval walls. We return to La Bella Vita for lunch bound for Pellestrina along the Canal of the Orphans, passing lagoon islands dotted with monasteries and churches.

La Bella Vita - Venice, Italy

La Bella Vita

Taglio Di Po

Tuesday 15 August

After exploring the fishing town of Choggia and sailing through a nature reserve pink with flamingoes, we wind along to Taglio di Po. An invitation into the stately home which was the muse for Lord Byron's finest poetry is a rare treat as the owners put on a most impressive dinner.

Bosaro

Wednesday 16 August

The river runs into Canal Bianco and we are transported to the ancient town of Adria. The charms of Villa Widmann Borletti are numerous, and we have most covered with a stroll through the gardens and the 17th century villa, finished with a private tasting among the vines. Reboarding  La Bella Vita, we cruise on to Bosaro.

 

Trevenzuolo

Thursday 17 August

Ferrara's Renaissance history unravels before us as we admire the 15th century frescoes of Palazzo Schifanoia before tracing the moat of the Castello Estense to observe the religious iconography of the city's cathedral. As the day fades, a rustic canal cruise past villages and farmsteads takes us to our night's moorings in Trevenzuolo.

 

Mantua

Friday 18 August

On our final day on the water, we're treated to a taste of Soave's famous floral whites produced with Garganega grapes. Our voyage comes to a close in the city where Romeo heard of Juliet's death, where Virgil found inspiration for his poems and where Donatello painted his finest masterpieces – Mantua. We lose ourselves in Ducal Palace, before dinner on board hosted by the Captain.

 

Mantua – Verona

Saturday 19 August

Enlightened by the cradle of the Italian Renaissance, we depart Mantua today bound for fair Verona, the City of Love.

 

Verona

Day 3: Sunday 20 August

Verona's streets are bustling with lovelorn tourists and locals as we set out on a tour encapsulating everything from Juliet's Balcony to the elaborate Arche Scaligeri tombs and the market near the Piazza delle Erbe.

The road we take later traces a path through the bucolic Veneto countryside, spilling out between the vines of Valpolicella. It's here we seek Italy’s finest red, the coveted Amarone. After tastings to cherish, the village of Bardolino puts forward a feast of three delightful courses on the edge of Lake Garda. We will then enjoy a pleasant wander through the alleys and squares of Garda and Lazise.

It's no accident that we are here during the acclaimed Arena di Verona Opera Festival, and we have arranged VIP seats beneath the pink-tinged marble arches for an evening operatic performance we'll never forget.

Verona Arena, Italy

Arena di Verona

Verona

Day 4: Monday 21 August

After prima colazione, we set our course to discover the riches of Castelvecchio, the 14th century fortress straddling the river Adige. Within the museum, we explore artefacts and artwork dating back to the Middle Ages, followed by a pleasant stroll through the Renaissance gardens of Giardino Giusti. There are box hedges manicured to within an inch of perfection and evergreen cypresses reaching towards the sky, creating a picture too flawless for words.

Fresh from some time to ourselves, we come together at twilight and fall even further under Verona's spell with a lavish dinner set for us in a private villa garden, illuminated with candles fluttering in the gentle summer breeze.

Venice

Day 5: Tuesday 22 August

Arriving into the City of Canals, Venice is our next stop, where the stunning Hotel Danieli awaits. A walking tour along the streets paved with cobblestones makes for a most idyllic discovery. The day then takes us to St Mark's Basilica which we are privileged to have all to ourselves during an exclusive after-hours tour.

Tonight's welcome dinner sets the scene for a tour that's set to sparkle. Gondolas drift into view as each course disappears with pure delight.

Venice, Italy

Stunning Venice

Venice

Day 6: Wednesday 23 August

Enamoured by this fabled city of islands we are ready to meet the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. Welcome to a world of white gloved service, where your steward will attend to your every need and course upon course of fine dining will be served.

Such resplendence calls for a celebratory after dinner aperitivo in the Bar Car, accompanied by tinkling piano music as Italy melts into France and you journey onwards through the night.

Belmond Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
Belmond Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Belmond Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

Paris – Champagne

Day 7: Thursday 24 August

Disembark Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

The sun wakes you and your steward waits with breakfast. We farewell our friendly crew on arrival in Paris. Like any good celebration, however, we begin with Champagne.

Welcome to Chateau Les Crayeres; with perfectly manicured gardens and beautifully appointed rooms, this impeccable property has been the epitome of French chic since 1904. We set the standard with an outstanding dinner at Le Parc restaurant, prepared by Michelin starred chef Philippe Mille.

Dijon

Day 8: Friday 25 August

We're feeling particularly effervescent this morning, ready to pop corks along the Route du Champagne. A prestigious Champagne house opens its doors for us and the afternoon takes us south through the Cote de Blancs.

In Dijon, we are ready to see a different side to France, cruising her radiant waterways. Stepping aboard the MS Jeanine, the pace of life slows down gloriously. We've privately chartered this dainty French barge exclusively for a leisurely meander along the Cote d'Or Canals from Saone et Loire.

Settling into your neat cabin, it's a pleasure to know you will have to unpack just once for the next six nights. Dinner and sunset cocktails set the scene for lazy evenings ahead.

MS Jeanine
MS Jeanine

MS Jeanine

Petit Ouges

Day 9: Saturday 26 August

Days don't get much closer to the sublime than those spent enjoying life's simple pleasures on our very own barge.

Winding at leisure through the Grand Crus wine route, we pass through the most prestigious of the Burgundy vineyards. At Petit Ouges, we explore the intriguing circuit of the three wash houses.

Saint Jean de Losne

Day 10: Sunday 27 August

The river to Saint Jean de Losne traces some of the region's most voluptuous curves as we drift past rural vineyards and rustic farmsteads, waving to passing boats, Bourgogne in hand.

Dole

Day 11: Monday 28 August

Saint Jean de Losne is the self proclaimed capital of canal barging in France. In a history of sieges and saviours, we visit the Hotel-Dieu, maritime museum and gothic style church during an insightful tour. Back on the water, sit back and relax as we navigate through the arteries of Southern Burgundy bound for the verdant heart of Dole.

Ranchot

Day 12: Tuesday 29 August

Follow the paw prints to the Trail of the Perched Cat on a morning excursion ashore bringing the charming stories of poet Marcel Ayme to life in Dole.

  • Feeling active? Perhaps you'll take the barge's bicycles and follow the easy cycle path along the river, chasing the barge to Ranchot, our final destination for today.

Besancon

Day 13: Wednesday 30 August
  • You might want to step off the barge this morning to admire a shining example of Enlightenment architecture at the UNESCO listed Saline-Royale saltworks museum.

Our last afternoon of sailing is spent on the River Doubs en route to Besancon, a photogenic gem that epitomises the rural treasures of France and the ideal place to enjoy the Captain's Gala dinner finale.

Loire Valley

Day 14: Thursday 31 August

Disembark Ms Jeanine

Bidding 'bisous et au revoir' to fair Jeanine, we're back on dry land, disembarking to transfer to the Loire Valley.

The Chateau d'Artigny is our very own for the next three nights and is sure to astound. Built by famous perfumer Francois Coty in the 18th century, this is a shining star in one of France's most notable wine regions. Dinner and a tour of the stately grounds leaves you feeling like Lords and Ladies of the manor.

Chateau de Chenonceau - France

Loire Valley

Loire Valley

Day 15: Friday 1 September

Peppered with medieval fortresses, fairytale chateaux and of course those abundant vines, there's no wonder the Loire Valley has earned itself UNESCO World Heritage Status. On our full day tour from Villeray to Langeais, Renaissance art meets award winning horticulture and pristine Chateaux. Could there be a more pleasurable setting for sipping some of France's finest wines?

A perfect day is rounded off with dinner at the chateau's L'Origan restaurant by award winning Chef Richard Prouteau.

Loire Valley

Day 16: Saturday 2 September

It's a pleasure to be able to set out again on a degustation discovery through the luscious Loire Valley. Starting in Blois, we follow our palate to Cherverny, where a lavish lunch is accompanied by King Francis I's very own private wines. Our last port of call is Chambord, a place which inspired Louis XIV's favourite black raspberry liqueur – an archaic twist on the version we might drink today.

A day of indulgence is topped off with an authentic dinner at a famous family run Domaine – all will be revealed on the day!

Depart Paris

Day 17: Sunday 3 September

After our final cafe et croissants we have some time to relax before we catch the train to Paris for our departure.

Arrive Australia

Day 18: Monday 4 September

You're looking forward to wowing your friends with your improved skills in Italian and French as you return to Australia tonight.

All Inclusive Tours

Imagine a trip where you won’t have to lift a finger, or worry about bringing your wallet.

Wine

Meals and Drinks

All meals are included with your tour price along with beer, wine and soft drinks. Dining experiences can range from Michelin-starred restaurants to intimate local eateries.

Accommodation Hotel Bell

Accommodation

We believe a superior standard of service is just as important as five star facilities. We select our hotels with location and accessibility in mind as well as luxury.

Sightseeing

Sightseeing

Sightseeing in each destination is included. Select Options even allow you to tailor aspects of the touring to your individual tastes when there are multiple touring options.

Captain's Choice Documents

Those little details

Tipping, Taxes, Transfers and Travel Insurance (subject to terms & conditions) are included. We even look after your luggage for the entire trip so you don't have to.

Tour Host Team

Tour Hosts & Doctor

Our high ratio of Tour Hosts to guests help take care of everything for you on tour. Not to mention a Tour Doctor on every tour for your safety and peace of mind.

Flights Included

Flights

We have included different flight options for your convenience. Should you wish to fly with a different airline to the group we can help you with those arrangements if you wish.

Solo Travellers

Many Captain’s Choice guests travel solo, and almost all of them find that making friends on holiday is easy, thanks to the welcoming and like minded nature of our travellers. At the start of the tour, all solo travellers are invited to a Welcome Reception, enabling you to get to know other guests travelling on their own.

Members of our Tour Host Team are always available for a friendly chat and a meal, but if you prefer time for private reflection then that is always respected too – you can choose to be as involved as much or as little as you please. Either way, it’s a fun and rewarding way to see the world.

Canals of Europe

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Based on per person, twin share – from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane flying with Emirates. Prices from other cities are available on request.

Cruise & Land Only (Join in Verona for dinner on Day 2 and depart on arrival to Paris on Day 17).


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