White wine, medieval cities and châteaux welcome to the Loire Valley
Sample tasty wines, explore medieval cities, and see many elegant châteaux of the River Loire on this cruise aboard the state-of-the-art MS Loire Princesse, brand new and paddle-wheel powered for cruising the shallow Loire river. Wander the medieval quarter of Nantes, discover the maritime heritage of Saint-Nazaire, taste Muscadet in its home region and visit the château that inspired the early fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty.
20 meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners
- Optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights, or a reduction if not required
- UK travel service
- Return flights and transfers
- Free bar open 12 hours a day†
- Wine, beer, water and soft drinks with lunch and dinner on board ship
- Saga cocktail party
- Gala dinner on board
- Saga cruise escort on board
- Entertainment and activities on the ship
- Chateaux of the Loire Valley
UK to Nantes
Fly to Nantes and board the state-of-the-art MS Loire Princesse. This ship uses a paddle wheel to power her and achieve a super-low draught in the water. Look forward to a welcome cocktail on board followed by dinner.
Saint-Nazaire to Nantes
Depart Nantes early this morning and sail to Saint-Nazaire, arriving before breakfast. Saint-Nazaire has a rich maritime history and was a strategic port during both World Wars. Learn more at the shipyard, built by the Nazis in WWII, on an optional excursion. Or head to the beautiful walled city of Guérande. Cruise back to Nantes this afternoon and perhaps take an optional cruise on the River Erdre this evening.
Tour of Saint-Nazaire (2016 only) | Half day
Discover the city’s nautical heritage with a visit to the Escal’Atlantic, an education centre which tells the history of transatlantic ocean liners through a range of interesting multimedia and interactive exhibits. You’ll then visit Saint-Nazaire shipyard to learn the secrets behind modern shipbuilding, and maybe even spy some vessels under construction! Please note, this excursion must be pre-booked.
Guérande (2016 only) | Half day
Visit the old town of Guérande, ensconced within kilometre-long white-stone walls. Spend some time exploring the historic centre and see the old churches and charming shopfronts. The city prospered in the Middle Ages thanks to the surrounding salt marshes which you’ll visit to learn how Guérande salt is harvested, and how the industry has influenced the development of the city.
Erdre cruise (2016 only) | Evening
Transfer to the Bateaux Nantais dock for a two-hour cruise along the River Erdre, framed by rolling countryside and watched over by pretty châteaux.
Nantes to Ancenis
Take the opportunity to explore Nantes this morning, once home to the Dukes of Brittany. Perhaps join an optional tour. Spend this afternoon cruising towards Ancenis, arriving in the evening.
Tour of Nantes | Half day
Stroll the streets of the medieval Bouffay quarter to the ornate cathedral, then head tothe 18th-century Theatre Graslin and explore the high-class shopping districts that surround it. Finally visit the grand Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, which houses a museum dedicated to the history of the city.
Ancenis to Bouchemaine
Explore Ancenis this morning, home to a lovely white-stone château. Alternatively, join an optional tour of the Muscadet wine region – see charming villages surrounded by miles and miles of vineyards, visit the medieval city of Clisson and visit Château Cassemichère where you can sample some of their dry and fruity wines. Sail to Bouchemaine this afternoon, arriving in the evening.
The Muscadet region (2016 only) | Half day
Enjoy a scenic drive past rolling vineyards to the medieval town of Clisson which, aside from its French castle, has a distinctly Italian vibe. This is because it was rebuilt in the popular style of the time after being destroyed in the French Revolution. You’ll then continue to Château Cassemichère, surrounded by vineyards and woodland. Enjoy time to sample the wine grown on site, then make your way back to the ship.
Take a wander around Bouchemaine or join one of the optional excursions today. This morning you could visit the nearby town of Angers, where the huge château displays the impressive Apocalypse Tapestry. This afternoon you might like to discover Cadre Noir – a famous school of horsemanship in the city of Saumur.
Saumur and the Cadre Noir | Half day
Pay a visit to the Cadre Noir, a premier school of horsemanship famous throughout France for impressive equestrian displays. Take a tour of the school and see the tack rooms and stables, then enjoy a guided walk around Saumur, an elegant fortified city watched over by a beautiful château.
Tour of Angers | Half day
This historic city was once home to the Plantagenets, the dynasty that ruled England during the Middle Ages, beginning with Henry II and ending with Richard III. The castle of the Plantagenets remains in the city. Known as Château d’Angers it’s also the home of the Apocalypse Tapestry which tells the story of the battle of Armageddon. Woven during the Hundred Years War, at 100 metres long and six metres high it’s probably one of the longest and oldest political statements in the world! After seeing the tapestry, continue to the village-like old quarter of La Doutre where a maze of alleys links the charming half-timbered houses.
Today you’ll join a full-day included excursion to the châteaux of the Loire Valley, beginning with Château Azay-le-Rideau which is set on an island in the Indre river. You’ll then explore the beautiful gardens of Château de Villandry before moving on to Château d’Usse, whose conical spires and turrets are thought to have inspired Charles Perrault to write one of the first fairy tales, The Sleeping Beauty.
Bouchemaine to Ancenis to Nantes
Spend the morning sailing towards Ancenis, or join an optional journey along the Loire Valley to Château des Vaults to taste regional wines. Afterwards drive along the picturesque Corniche Angevine and rejoin the ship in Ancenis. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon cruising back towards Nantes, arriving in the evening.
The Corniche Angevine (2016 only) | Half day
Enjoy a scenic coach ride along the Loire Valley, stopping at a number of viewpoints – don’t forget your camera! – to Château des Vaults, a family-run winery in the village of Savennières, which is also the name of the local wine. Enjoy a tasting of Savennières, a dry, crisp white wine, and then take a scenic drive along the Corniche Angevine back to the ship.
Nantes to UK
Disembark after breakfast for your return flight to the UK.