Waterlilies at Giverny: one of the optional excursions on this cruise (photo: Kimon Berlin from Wikimedia Commons)

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About the Seine
Eternally associated with Paris, the Seine is France’s second-longest river, flowing more than 480 miles from Source-Seine near Dijon in north-east France to its estuary at Le Havre.  North east of Paris, before it meets the English Channel, it winds its way through Normandy, encompassing scenery immortalised by  French painters such as van Gogh, Cezanne, Gauguin and Monet. 

About the ship
The Amadeus Diamond is a modern, stylish ship. All its cabins are outward facing and en suite and are equipped with telephone, hair-dryer, TV, Wi-Fi and safe. The sundeck offers games of chess, shuffleboard and golf as well as a pool; you can also make use of the fitness studio and massage facilities. Accommodation in your chosen cabin includes full board; unlimited house wine, tea and coffee is served with dinner.

What we will see (excursions away from the ship are optional, at additional cost)
The cruise takes us from Paris to Le Havre and back again, sailing through some of the best of the Normandy landscapes. Embarking in Paris, the first port of call is Conflans  with an excursion to Auvers-sur Oise in the footsteps of van Gogh. From there we continue to Rouen, with a guided walking tour of the city  and an excursion along the ‘Abbey Trail’ to Jumièges.  The following day, Le Havre offers trips to Etretat and to the painters’ paradise of Honfleur. Returning via Caudebec-en-Caux, it is possible to visit the D-Day landing beaches or Bayeux, Pont l’Evêque, Trouville and Deauville; from there the Seine winds its way to Poissy and morning excursions to Chateau Gaillard or Giverny, and an afternoon tour of the Palace of Versailles. The Captain’s Gala Dinner that evening is open to all, and we then find ourselves back in Paris for city tours and a final performance. 

The musical side
With a professional team comprising cruise regulars Brian Kay and Maria Marchant, you are assured of a first-rate week of music making. Our prepared booklet of French choral favourites will be supplied by Blackwell’s Music Shop at no extra cost and includes Cantique de Jean Racine (Fauré), Panis angelicus (Franck), extracts from the Messe de Minuit (Charpentier), Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod), Tantum ergo (Duruflé), Shepherds’ Farewell (Berlioz) and Les fleurs et les arbres (Saint-Saëns).  All familiar to many singers, no doubt, but you are less likely to have come across Songs of a Rainbow Nation, four terrific songs from South Africa, pragmatically arranged for SAB by Alexander l’Estrange. Please acquire your music well before the cruise so that you can do some advance preparation. The prepared booklet is available only from Blackwell’s, which can also supply the l’Estrange: telephone 01865 333582 or email printed.music@blackwell.co.uk.

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