Chateaux and Wines of the Loire

May 25th to 30th, 2025

Itinerary | Pricing | FAQ | Reserve

Cruise the Loire River on board a luxury river ship along some of France’s most beautiful landscapes

Discover the Loire Valley châteaux and stroll through the famous gardens of the Villandry Château and visit the Ussé Château.

Explore Nantes for an authentic journey through one of the major cities in Brittany, and pay a visit to the Saint-Nazaire shipyard. Famous for its rich cultural, historic and natural heritage, a Loire Valley cruise is also ideal to discover Angers, the capital of historic Anjou, and situated along the flowered coast. Our exclusive itinerary will also take you to the heart of France’s culinary heritage with a tour of the Muscadet region known for the wines of the Loire.

The MS Loire Princesse, with its shallow draft, is a specially designed vessel for the river Loire. This 90-passenger ship will be home for 5 days as we navigate one of France’s most scenic waterways.  Link to a short video of the ship and itinerary here.

The design of this ship is exclusive to CroisiEurope since it is the first French ship to sail on the Loire, the last “wild river” in France. Built in 2015 in Saint-Nazaire, its specificity lies in its side paddle wheels and shallow-draft. The noble burgundy and pearl colors mingle with copper elements, which give a prestigious character to the interior decoration. A “royal” atmosphere to discover the Loire châteaux from the water.  

The welcoming public spaces have large window areas and the cabins on the upper deck have terraces with outdoor furniture. All meals during the cruise are served in the restaurant on the main deck. Onboard fun, music and dancing happen in the lounge / bar on the upper deck, where a cozy patio also provides great landscape views. The sun deck has deck chairs and sun loungers ideal for relaxing. In the reception area you can admire the mechanism of the paddle wheels during navigation.

The MS Loire Princesse, with its shallow draft, is a specially designed vessel for the river Loire. This 90-passenger ship will be home for 5 days as we navigate one of France’s most scenic waterways.

Chris Peterson of Avennia Winery and Todd Alexender of Force Majeure Winery will co-host this cruise event.

Here’s what’s included in your cruise aboard the Loire Princesse:

  • Five nights aboard MS Loire Princesse as she navigates her way through the heart of France
  • All meals on board
  • Adult Beverages
  • A selection of shore tours that are included in your cruise pricing
  • Optional tours, centered around cellar visits and wine tasting with local producers
  • Access to a pre-cruise tour program to Bordeaux (details coming)
  • Access to a post-cruise tour program to Bayeux and the Beaches of Normany (details coming)
  • Hosted wine program on board
  • Port Taxes

Sunday, May 25, 2025        Arrive Nantes
You can board the ship at 6:00 PM.  For guests arriving in Nantes earlier in the day, you can park your bags on board while you explore.  The ship is docked in the middle of town at Quai de la Fosse.  You’re a medium walk or a short uber from the Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne, the Nantes Botanical Garden, or the Talensac Public Market (open Sunday morning).  The ship sails a bit after midnight for Nazaire.  Overnight Loire Princesse (D)

Monday, May 26        Nantes
The ship is in the port of Saint Nazaire all day.  You’ve got optional tours that you can take with CroisiEurope or explore the town on your own.  The planned departure is just after lunch. We’re docked at Bassin de Saint Nazaire, close to the historic center of town, the sea front, Submarine base, and historic shipyards. 

You may opt to join the Tour of Saint Nazaire, which includes a walk through town, a visit to Escal’Atlantic, a living museum with a focus on the historic ocean liner experience, and a tour of the Saint Nazaire Shipyard, one of the largest in Europe with a 100+ year history.  The tour offered by CroisiEurope incorporates all of the above for the cost of €81. 

The ocean liner museum sounds interesting and could take a few hours.  I will purchase group admission tickets for this option with a cost closer to €20.  You’re also free to walk the shore or the town if you’re not interested in the shipyard themed tours.  The ship in the early afternoon on the way back to Nantes with a projected arrival at 8:00 PM.  Dancing tonight.  Overnight Loire Princesse (BLD)

Tuesday, May 27           Nantes/Ancenis
A full day in Nantes to explore some of the sites you didn’t get to see on embarkation day.  Our departure time is set for 6:30 this evening, leaving all day in town.

For organized tours, CroisiEurope offers a walking tour of Nantes for €86 per person.   There’s also an option for a Muscadet Wine Route Tour and the romantic medieval town of Clisson, for €80.   I am researching additional tours for this day and to see about bringing the cost down of the offered options.  We arrive in Ancenis this evening at 11:30 PM.  Overnight Loire Princesse (BLD)

Wednesday, May 28th      ANCENIS – CHALONNES-SUR-LOIRE – Angers
This morning we cruise towards Chalonnes-sur-Loire.   Later in the day, you’ll have an opportunity to take a guided tour of Angers, its historic districts and the famous Apocalypse tapestry.  Another alternative is a tour of Brissac castle and its cellars complete with a wine-tasting session.  These are both optional tours, with a cost of €73 and €96 respectively.   We’ll be docked in the center of Chalonnes for nearly 24 hours, providing a range of Wine tasting opportunities.    Enjoy an evening of entertainment on board.  Overnight Loire Princesse (BLD)

 Thursday, May 29th      CHALONNES-SUR-LOIRE – The Châteaux of the Loire Valley – ANCENIS
Join us on a full-day excursion to discover the Castles of the Loire Valley. We’ll return on board in Ancenis. Tonight’s our gala dinner and evening. Our ship will start sailing towards Nantes.  Overnight Loire Princesse (BLD)

Friday, May 30th                                  Nantes
Enjoy one last buffet breakfast before disembarking at 10:00 a.m. Your cruise has come to an end.  Most connecting flights departing Nantes for West Coast cities leave very early in the morning.  To avoid cutting your last day short, you may want to consider the high-speed train to CDG, then an afternoon flight to the USA.  Other considerations would be to spend a few additional nights in Brittany before flying home, or come to Normandy on the post-cruise extension.
Our tour continues with an optional 3-night Extension to the Beaches of Normandy.  We’ll spend three nights in Bayeux, home to the famous tapestry depicting the 1066 Norman conquest of Britain.

Gardens

Pricing

Pricing by cabin type

There are basically 2 types of cabins.  They range between 130-145 Sq ft.  Cabins (30) on the upper deck have a small balcony.  Those on the lower deck (18) come with a high picture window.  Reminder that you will not spend a great deal of time in your cabin as the lounge, restaurant, sun deck, and the shore are literally steps away.

UPPER DECK – 30 CABINS with furnished terrace, sliding panoramic windows
Cat. A: • 17 double cabins ­ 2 twin or 1 large bed ­ 145 Sq ft.
2 double cabins ­ 1 large bed ­ 145 Sq ft.
Cat. B: • 1 double cabin ­ 2 twin or 1 large bed ­ 145 Sq ft.
1 PRM cabin ­ 1 large bed ­ 134Sq ft.
Cat. C: • 2 double cabins ­ 2 twin or 1 large bed ­ 145 Sq ft.
1 double cabin ­ 1 large bed ­ 145 Sq ft.
1 double cabin ­ 1 large bed ­ 130 Sq ft.
5 double cabins ­ 2 twin or 1 large bed ­ 130 Sq ft.

MAIN DECK – 18 CABINS with high windows
Cat. A: • 8 double cabins ­ 2 twin or 1 large bed ­ 145 Sq ft.
Cat. B: • 2 double cabins ­ 2 twin or 1 large bed ­ 145 Sq ft.
Cat. C: • 2 double cabins ­ 2 twin or 1 large bed ­ 145 Sq ft.
6 double cabins ­ 2 twin or 1 large bed ­ 130 Sq ft.

Pricing is per person, based on double occupancy, taxes included
Upper Category A               $3,099
Upper Category B               $2,999
Upper Category C               $2,899
Upper C Single                    $4,699
Lower Category A               $2,059
Lower Category B               $1,959
Lower Category C               $1,759
Lower C Single                     $2,959

Special charter offers represent a savings of between 20% and 40% off of standard pricing.  Single pricing is limited to 2 cabins in Upper C and 2 in Lower C category.  Single occupancy is possible in other categories at 200% of the shared price.
An initial deposit of $1000 per person is required to book and assign your cabin.  The balance is due December 15th, 2024.  Pre-cruise tour and post-cruise tour reservations require an additional deposit of $500 per person for each tour. 
Payments are made via credit card link (sent by email once registration is complete) with Visa or Mastercard.  There’s a slight discount for guests opting to pay by check of $100 for Upper Cabins, or $50 for Lower Cabins.  The add-on tours are also discounted by $60 per person, from the balance, for payment by check.

Special early booking incentive of $100 per person applied to optional shore tours if reservation and deposit is completed before April 30th, 2024. 

Pre-cruise tour to Bordeaux-Wines and scenic beauty
May 22nd to May 25th, 2025 

The city of Bordeaux is just a few hours by coach from Nantes.  Come early to France to tour the most famous of all the French wine regions.  Cost for this program is $2050 per person, based on double occupancy.  Single supplement is $500. 

  • Three nights in a deluxe, centrally located hotel* in the city of Bordeaux
  • Breakfast each morning
  • Welcome Cocktail and Dinner
  • city tours of Bordeaux and Nantes
  • Wine visits (3) to be determined
  • Motorcoach Transportation and services of a local guide
  • Coach transportation to join the ship the afternoon of the 25th

*extra nights are available at the rate of $380 per night, breakfast included. 

Thursday, May 22
Arrive in Bordeaux for the optional pre-cruise tour of Bordeaux and surrrounding wine producers.  Check into your hotel and meet this evening for a welcome drink, followed by dinner.  Overnight Bordeaux (D)

Friday, May 23
A walking city tour of Bordeaux this morning, lunch on your own in the seaside town of Arcachon and a visit to Dune du Pilat.    An afternoon wine tasting completes the day.  Return to the hotel late afternoon.  Overnight Bordeaux (B)

Saturday, May 24
Our guide will take us on a walking tour to the largest of the weekly markets in town.  We’ll then travel upriver for a scenic drive ending in Bergerac, where you’ll have lunch on tour own.  We’ll return to Bordeaux later that afternoon with one more wine tasting in town.  Dinner tonight is on your own and you’ll find that Bordeaux has a vibrant night life.   Overnight Bordeaux.  (B)

Sunday, May 25
We’ll depart Bordeaux just after breakfast this morning for the drive to Nantes to join the ship.  En-route, we’ll stop for an introduction to the historic port town of La Rochelle for lunch on your own and time for sightseeing and shopping.  We’ll be able to board the ship in the late afternoon.  In the interim, you’ll have an opportunity to tour Nantes with a local guide.  Overnight MS Loire Princess  (BD)

Beaches of Normandy and Bayeux post-cruise tour program                        May 30th to June 2nd, 2025

Our tour continues with an optional 3-night Extension to the Beaches of Normandy.  We’ll spend three nights in Bayeux, home to the famous tapestry depicting the 1066 Norman conquest of Britain.

Friday, May 30
We’re on our way for a drive through Brittany following breakfast with a stop to visit Mont Saint-Michele for a short walking tour, followed by time on your own for additional exploration, shopping, and lunch on your own.  We continue to Normandy in the early afternoon, arriving at our Normandy hotel by 5:00 that afternoon.  Dinner is on your own this evening.  Overnight Bayeux (B)

Saturday, May 31
We’ve a full day of touring planned of the region today with important historic sites like Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, and the American military cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer.  We’ll stop for lunch mid-day near Colleville.  For our touring of historic sites, we break up into smaller groups with personal guides.  Dinner tonight is on your own.  Overnight Bayeux (BL)

Sunday, June 1
Another day of touring the Normandy Peninsula with a focus on what took place there 70 years ago.  Today we visit Ouistreham, Pegasus Bridge, and the Mémorial de Caen before returning to our hotel in Bayeux.  We’ll have a farewell dinner near the hotel this evening.   Overnight Bayeux (BD)

Monday, June 2
We depart just after breakfast this morning for Charles De Gaulle Airport.  Time allowing, we’ll stop for lunch (on your own) at Monet’s Garden in Giverny which is a short detour off our route.  There are late departures from CDG for the states.  I suggest that you book your return flight from Paris home after 3:00 PM.  (B)
This tour is limited to 30 guests, divided into smaller groups for touring in Normandy.  The cost is $2050 per person with a single supplement of $250.  Extra nigths are available at the hotel for $300 a night, including breakfast.

This tour includes:

  • Motorcoach transportation from Nantes to Bayeux
  • Time at Mont Saint-Michel with a locally guided tour of the island
  • Three nights in Bayeux with breakfast
  • Services of a local guide for two days of touring the Normandy Beaches
  • One lunch and one dinner
  • Admission tickets for sites as indicated
  • Coach Transportation from Bayeux to Paris/CDG Airport

 

Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ)

FLIGHTS
Getting to/From Nantes
The cruise begins and ends in Nantes, France.  Nantes has a regional airport (NTE), just minutes away from the ship’s location.  Air France, Aer Lingus, and KLM all service this airport.

High speed trains operate from Central Paris (Montparnasse) to Nantes in under 3 hours with no connections required.  If you are traveling from CDG Airport to Nantes by train, the travel time increases to 3.5 hours, but trains are direct with no changes en-route.  The train station and rail station are just about a €20 cab/Uber ride to the ship.

You’ll be able to book flights for this tour when airlines open their inventory, 333 days before the travel date. I suggest investigating fares and schedules the third week of August, 2024.  Based on this year, fares should be in the $1100 range, though you may even find lower fares with no-frills consolidator companies.

If you come early for Bordeaux, you will either fly into their regional airport on May 22nd or take the TGV Train from Paris.  It’s fast, scenic, and can be a cost savings over making a connecting flight to Bordeaux.
If you stay late for the Normandy extension, your flight should be booked to return to the USA late afternoon on June 2nd from Paris/CDG.  You may also consider staying in Paris either before or after the tours and cruise.

Weather in the region
Expect highs to be in the upper 60s and lower 70s.  Lows in the 50s.  They have a lot of marine influence in Nantes with precipitation.  As you go upriver toward Angers, it becomes a little warmer and dryer.  Bring a light rain shell, and plan to add or remove layers of clothing as weather dictates.

Dress on board
Casual, as you might expect.  Please no shorts in the dining room for dinner.  Beyond that, formal wear, coats and ties are not necessary.  The only exception to this is if you participate in one of the Michelin lunch experiences that may be arranged along the cruise route or in Bordeaux.

 Dining 
If you have specific dietary requirements or sensitivities, please indicate those details on the registration page.

Payment
An initial deposit of $1000 per person is required to book and assign your cabin.  The balance is due December 15th, 2024.  Pre-cruise tour and post-cruise tour reservations require an additional deposit of $500 per person for each tour. 
Payments are made via credit card link with Visa or Mastercard.  There’s a slight discount for guests opting to pay by check of $100 for Upper Cabins, or $50 for Lower Cabins.  The add-on tours are also discounted by $60 per person, from the balance, for payment by check.
Special early booking incentive of $100 per person applied to optional shore tours if reservation and deposit is completed before April 30th, 2024. 

What if I need to cancel my flight, tour or cruise?
Because many payments are nonrefundable, travel insurance is suggested.  Both of the companies listed below have a policy rate calculator online.  Enter the cost of your tour and personal data to receive a no-obligation cost estimate.

Two recommended companies are:
Generali Travel Insurance                      www.generalitravelinsurance.com
Travelex Insurance                                   www.travelexinsurance.com
Cancellation insurance will range in price based on the cost of your travel and the age of the applicant.  Get a quote at the websites above before making a purchase.  If you have a pre-existing condition to cover, you usually must purchase your policy within 2 weeks of the initial deposit

Make Your Reservation!

If you have any questions about this tour, please contact Brad Cilley at brad@nwtravel.com or by phone at 425 375 2676.