European Cities

Balmoral is your guide to discovering the very best of European cities featuring overnight stays in Rouen, Amsterdam and Antwerp so you can really explore these fascinating cities.

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Discover the history, culture, architecture and attractions of three fine European cities on this eight-night escape aboard Balmoral. This cruise will be a rewarding and inspiring experience from start to finish, with overnight stays in the pretty French city of Rouen, the Netherlands’ iconic capital and Antwerp, a city famed for its glamorous diamond district and charming Belgian chocolate shops.

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DESTINATION France, Netherlands, Belgium
FROM Dublin / Southampton
DATE 30 November 2017
PRICE Was €1,279 now from €819 pp

Join Balmoral for a relaxing, eight-night escape to France, the Netherlands and Belgium and discover the highlights of three enchanting cities. With overnight stays in each there will be chances to explore the cities to the full and at a relaxing pace, taking in all the sights, attractions and experiences on offer.

The first port of call on this rewarding cruise is historic Rouen. After a short sail from Southampton, which will include scenic cruising along the picturesque River Seine, Balmoral will dock close to the centre of this pretty city. An abundance of must-visit sites will be within easy reach of the ship, including the spectacular French-gothic style Cathédrale Notre-Dame, the emblematic Gros-Horloge and Place du Vieux Marché, where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake in 1431. Rouen is also the gateway to Paris, with the chance to visit the romantic French capital on a magical tour. Venture down the Champs-Élysées; see famous landmarks such as the iconic Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe; and wander along the grand boulevards lined with high-end stores and traditional brasseries.

In the effervescent Dutch capital there are attractions aplenty to discover too, from a plethora of stylish galleries and fascinating museums to trendy boutiques and stunning architecture. Among the best of them are the Rijksmuseum, which features masterpieces from many of the greats including Van Gogh and Rembrandt; and Anne Frank House, where Anne Frank and her family famously hid from the Nazis in World War Two. Hiring a bicycle and riding around the city is a great way to take in the sights; however it’s also possible to see them from a different perspective on a relaxing boat tour along the canals. Finally Balmoral will call into Antwerp, a beautiful Belgian city known for its diamonds, chocolates and fine arts. No time spent here is complete without stopping by a chocolate shop to see how the local sweet treats are made and wandering through the glamorous diamond district. The MAS Museum is well worth a visit too, with its fantastic exhibits and open roof offering views of the city and its landmarks, including the soaring spire of Our Lady’s Cathedral.


Flight Times:

OUTBOUND Dublin 08:35 Southampton 09:55
RETURN Southampton 14:55 Dublin 16:15

Day to Day Itinerary:

Day 1: Southampton, UK: Depart Late PM

Following a flight from Dublin to Southampton, you will be transferred to the port to board the 4* Fred. Olsen Balmoral where you will begin your journey.

Day 2-3: Rouen, France: Late AM OVERNIGHT Late PM

After cruising along the beautiful River Seine you reach the 2,000-year-old city of Rouen.

A unique city rich with monuments and museums to visit, there is so much to do, see and explore in Rouen. With narrow pedestrianised streets lined with tall, half-timber houses and a statue marking the spot where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake, it doesn’t take long to discover this city’s dark history.

Arguably Rouen’s greatest attraction is the incredible Gothic Cathedral which inspired Monet to paint over 30 canvasses. The grand monument is easy to find thanks to its vast spire that soars over a superbly restored medieval Old Town and is not-to-be-missed. Be sure to visit the Church of Saint-Maclou and Church of St. Ouen during your time exploring the city centre. These churches are considered as two of the best examples of gothic architecture in France and are a vitally important part of Rouen’s history.

The city’s beautiful botanical garden – Jardin de Plantes de Rouen – is also worth a visit to see the 600 different plant species and varying types of garden including a rock garden, rose garden and a garden full of medicinal plants.

Day 4: At Sea

Days 5-6: Amsterdam, Netherlands: Early AM OVERNIGHT to Late PM

Amsterdam – Netherlands’s historic capital – is packed with beautiful sights and unique cultural delights.

Amsterdam grew up following the construction of a dam across the River Amstel. In the 17th century wealthy local merchants built elegant homes alongside the city’s many canals. Several of these houses have since been converted to apartments and hotels, with antiquarian bookshops, bars, chic boutiques and cafés at street level.

There are almost 40 museums in Amsterdam and the Museum Quarter has three of the most famous: the Rijksmuseum, with important paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals; the Van Gogh Museum, with over 200 paintings and 500 drawings; and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, with work by major European artists from Manet to Picasso. The Anne Frankhuis is where Anne Frank and her family hid from the German occupiers during the Second World War: it offers a haunting and memorable experience.

Be sure to explore the Canal Ring district, an UNESCO World Heritage site and the location of some of the most expensive property in the Netherlands. Dug in the 17th century, the district has been recognised for its unique cultural and historical values and is home to many celebrities.

Day 7: Cruising Western Scheldt River: Early AM to Early PM

Located in the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands, the Western Scheldt River is an estuary of the Scheldt River, and is the only direct way to the North Sea.

An important shipping route for the port of Antwerp, the Western Scheldt River is formed in the east where the Schelde River enters the Netherlands from Belgium. An interesting route to cruise along, there are no bridges across the river, only a tunnel running from Ellewoutsdijk to Terneuzen, or foot ferries.

Days 7-8: Antwerp, Belgium: Early PM OVERNIGHT Early PM

With over 80% of the world’s rough diamonds passing through the city’s famous diamond district at some point, Antwerp is renowned for it’s charm and sparkle. However, there’s a lot more to this fine city than precious stones – it’s home to plenty of other gems to discover and enjoy too.

Antwerp is the world’s leading centre for cut diamonds, but there is more to this vibrant city than precious gems. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts is dedicated, in part at least, to Peter Paul Rubens, who lived and worked here. The museum houses his finest works, along with those of other Flemish masters. There are more than 20 other museums in the city, as well as fine buildings from throughout its historic past, excellent shops and delightful parks and gardens.

The Cathedral of Our Lady, the biggest church in Benelux, was started in 1352 on the site of a 10th century chapel, but like many medieval religious buildings, took several centuries to complete. The 123m high tower can be seen from everywhere in the city – and from miles outside. The interior has four altarpieces by Rubens, as well as a marble Madonna and Child by an anonymous sculptor.

Day 9: Southampton, UK: Early AM

Once you have disembarked the Balmoral and finished your incredible adventure we will have you transferred to the airport to get your flight back to Dublin.

8 Nights accommodation aboard the Balmoral, operated by Fred. Olsen Cruise Line. (See ship info tab for more information on the Balmoral)


Balmoral is the largest and newest cruise ship, named after the Scottish home of the Royal Family. Still smaller than most cruise ships today, there are 710 cabins and suites and generous public space for the 1,300 guests on board.

The main restaurant is Ballindalloch (named after the Speyside village and castle), while the two other formal restaurants – Avon and Spey – are also in keeping with the Scottish theme and are named after two of Scotland’s most beautiful salmon rivers.

There’s a comfy pub with occasional live music or comedy, cabaret and shows in the Neptune Lounge, or drift away with a cool drink and spectacular seascapes in the Observatory Lounge.

Coming Soon!

Dates & Prices

30 November 2017 Was €1,279
Now €819
Inside Book Now
30 November 2017 Was €1,519
Now €929
Outside Book Now
30 November 2017 Was €2,019
Now €1,229
Balcony Book Now

Special Offer! Save over 30%

Price Inclusions

  • Return flights Dublin to Southampton
  • Return Transfers from airport to port
  • 8 nights accommodation aboard the Balmoral based on 2 sharing
  • Fine dining on a full board basis
  • All onboard entertainment
  • One check-in bag of 15kgs and one 10kgs carry-on per person
  • Taxes and charges of €130

Booking remarks

  • Inclusive of taxes and service charges as indicated
  • Full Payment at time of booking
  • 2% surcharge if balance is paid by credit card
  • Optional Insurance available (call for details)
  • Drinks packages available to prebook – only €18 per person per night
  • Gratuities from €5 per person per night payable at the end of your cruise onboard M.S. Boudicca
  • These prices are guidelines only and are subject to change and availability. Pricing will be confirmed at time of booking.

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