Seine River Cycling Cruise

Normandy to Paris

Seine River Cycling Cruise 2017

Normandy to Paris

Embark day for Santana’s first-ever Normandy to Paris Cycling Cruise is Monday July 17, 2017. On that Monday we’ll retrieve you and your luggage from Paris CDG-airport and get you to the Amadeus Diamond in time to check in, freshen up and assemble your tandem or single bikes for a short test ride.

Most participants will opt to arrive at CDG three days earlier (on Bastille Day!) for a bargain priced PreTour that includes an exploration of the D-Day coast. Either way, after meeting your arrival day’s transatlantic flights (nearly all arrive by our 10am cut-off), it’s an easy drive to reach Normandy’s D-Day coast on July 14th, or our Seine River Embark on July 17th.

If you arrive at our pre-tour hotel for a three-night stay, you’ll have time to freshen up before a guided walking tour, welcoming dinner and fireworks display to celebrate the French equivalent of the Fourth of July. The following morning we’ll break into small groups for guided morning and afternoon tours of D-Day’s evocative Omaha Beach. Our between-tours lunch break will be at the coast’s interpretive center. On the 16th some will sleep in while others visit Utah Beach and the Museum at Sainte Mere Eglise. That afternoon we’ll assemble and test our bikes. On embark day (July 17) we’ll reach our Seine River embark after a 40 mile ride (with tailwinds!) through the villages of Normandy’s beautiful Cote Fleurie (Coast of Flowers).

On the afternoon of Monday the 17th we’ll board Lueftner’s Amadeus Diamond. Launched in Spring of 2010, Santana chartered the Diamond that same summer for our original Paris to Amsterdam Tandem Cruise. More recently Lueftner refitted this luxurious river cruiser and has re-launched her on the Seine. Santana has enjoyed a minor refit. In addition to tandem riders we now welcome couples who will use one or two single bikes.

Tuesday’s loop rides feature the coastal towns of Le Havre and Honfleur. On this day of easy cycling strong riders will climb over the Seine Estuary’s tallest summit. When opened in 1995 Pont de Normandie was the world’s tallest and longest cable-stayed bridge. Unlike the Golden Gate, this bridge’s bike lanes were an original feature. Others will shorten their first long day in the saddle by cruising to the opposite shore. All routes enjoy a mid-ride tour at one of Normandy’s famous distillers of Calvados, and apple brandy that adds a touch of pear for added complexity. This afternoon and again tomorrow morning our ship will pass through a tiny set of locks to reach Honfleur’s picture-perfect Vieux Bassin (old inner harbor).

Wednesday through Friday rides use the same system we perfected during Santana/Lueftner cycling cruises on the Danube, Rhine and Saone/Rhone rivers. Each morning you’ll awake and pull back the curtains to view a carefully chosen ride start. July mornings on the Seine are typically bright and sunny, a great incentive to head for breakfast. Because the entire ship is ours, proper attire at the bountiful pre-ride buffet is cycling clothes. Midway through breakfast you’ll receive a map and listen to a 10-minute review of the day’s various routes and sights. After we depart for our morning ride (the various pre-lunch choices are apt to range from 30 to 45 miles) the ship moves upriver while the stewards service our staterooms and the chefs prepare lunch. The ship arrives at it’s second dock around noon, and serves a wondrous buffet until 2:00. By then, most riders will have departed for an afternoon ride with 15 to 30 additional miles. Others will remain aboard while the ship cruises another hour or two to reach the day’s third and final dock, which is always a town chosen for its entertaining walking district.

By the time the gangplank is down, some of the afternoon riders will be ready to come aboard for a shower. Those who cruised after lunch will be ready to get off and explore the town. By 7:00 all will be back aboard for an evening of fine dining. Is there a formal dress code? Only for the waiters, who will greet us each evening with a new menu. While we agonize over multiple options for each of four courses, our ship unties yet again. In addition to fresh cuisine and an array of included wines, our dinners aboard the Amadeus Diamond feature changing views through the room’s panoramic windows. Between courses you’ll receive a brief overview of tomorrow’s highlights. A detailed version of the following day’s sights and schedule is included in the ship’s daily newspaper. Printed and delivered while you dine, this program and a pair of wrapped chocolates are placed on your pillow during turndown.

Another favorite spot is certain to be the ship’s panoramic lounge. One level above the dining room, this is where the big screen TV allows pre-dinner viewing of each day’s final hour of the last week of Le Tour de France. After dinner this large room with comfortable chairs hosts a short evening program followed by live music and dancing. While you sleep, the ship will find a perfect spot to start another day of great cycling.

Where will we ride? Wednesday takes us to Rouen, the medieval capital where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. In addition to a soaring cathedral and a gigantic astronomical clock, picturesque markets and great museums are a short walk from our ship. Perfect for strolling, Rouen was the first French city to ban cars from its main shopping street.

Thursday’s ride pauses for a guided tour of La Roche Guyon, a Seine River castle built into the side of an overhanging wall of rock. While most of Europe’s castles were ruined or obsolete by the 20th century, when General Rommel arrived in Normandy to beef-up German defenses in advance of suspected allied landings, he moved into this formidable cliffside fortress to gain protection from allied air raids.

In addition to huge castles and cathedrals, our multi-day approach to Paris passes chateaus and abbye churches. Because the Seine River was central to the pioneers of impressionism and post-impressionism, we’ll cycle past buildings, bridges and landscapes that appear in the works of Degas, Boudin, Pissaro, Cézanne, Sisley, van Gogh and Renoir. Friday’s ride passes through the Seine River village of Girverny, and stops at the famous home of Claude Monet, the founder and leader of impressionism. A Parisian who studied art from age 11, Monet was a charcoal sketch artist who learned to use oils while on a break in Honfleur. An early proponent of plein air painting Monet created impressionism while capturing Seine River scenes from Paris to the sea. At age 43, no longer content to reside in Paris, Monet moved his family to Giverny where he lived and painted for another 43 years. We’ll park our bikes to tour the artist’s home, outdoor studio, artistically crafted gardens and the lily pond that dominated Monet’s final chapter.

After 4 full days of cycling (5 if you rode to embark), the next two days of rides finish before lunch. Saturday’s morning ride uses traffic-free avenues to enter Paris, where the ship will be remain docked through Monday in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. While nothing prevents an apres-lunch ride, Saturday is the perfect afternoon to explore Paris. If you skip the ship’s dinner and/or stay out late, we’ll leave the light on.

Our Sunday morning ride is one you’re certain to remember. From Santana’s tours that started in Paris (2010, 2013 and 2016) we know the perfect spot for our group photo. With a bit of luck we may fit Eiffel’s tower and our cruise ship into the same group shot.

A bit farther we’ll reach the police barricades that prevent traffic from entering avenues that will be used for this afternoon’s finish of the 2017 Tour de France. Using Santana’s multiyear relationship with ASO (the organization that produces Le Tour), we’ll obtain special passes that allow us to ride the final miles of our tour on the same circuit where, a few hours later, a slightly larger number of pros will ride the final miles of their tour. Both groups of cyclists will ride up from the Seine by passing Place de la Concorde’s Egyptian Obelisk. Even at our earlier hour thousands of fans will already line the sidewalks of Champs-Élysées. After you circle Arc de Triomphe and head back to the Seine our photographer will capture an action shot with the Arc in the background. Back at the ship we’ll regroup for high fives and bike packing. After lunch it’s a short hike back to the circuit, where you’ll have time to find a viewing spot before the appearance of the commercial caravan. A low-flying formation of fighter jets announces the arrival of the pro peloton, which rides seven laps up and down Champs-Élysées before the finishing sprint.

While standing amidst a crowded mass of fans is fun and free, ASO will again allow Santana to procure a block of prime seats in their reserved-for-sponsors grandstand. For those who want to pay for this option, Santana will have a limited number of VIP grandstand tickets at wholesale face-value. You’ll be able to view the finale from the face of the curb (inside a police-secured area with concessions and flush toilets) which allows an unobstructed view of this afternoon’s action. Location? Santana’s seats on le Champs-Élysées, you’ll have unobstructed view of the riders, who pass in front of us fifteen times. On the seven laps that precede the finishing sprint produces flashy breakaways by riders who hope to be out front when the peleton passes the press boxes, announcer’s stand and TV cameras.

While tens of thousands of spectators will party until the start of the fireworks, from our grandstand it’s possible to make a quick exit out the rear gate. Arriving back at the ship within twenty minutes, you’ll have time to pack before our tour’s farewell dinner. Unless you decide to turn in early, the after-dinner fireworks can be viewed from the top deck. On the morning July 24, 2017 our included ship-to-CDG shuttles can get you to the airport in time for the earliest transatlantic departure.

Jan and I have been secretly planning this adventure for years. Would you like to join us for the first-ever all-cyclists’ charter of a Seine River cruise ship? While it’s entirely possible that other bike tours may have cycled into Paris on Tour de France weekend, were their participants invited to cycle Le Tour’s final circuit before taking a reserved seat at the finish line?

What’s more is with their shorter and similarly expensive inn-to-inn format you’ll waste over an hour with each change of hotels (packing, unpacking, schlepping luggage, and waiting in line to check-in and check-out). With our no-repacking format the hotel moves in the morning to meet you for lunch, and moves again to welcome you back from your day of cycling. While you dine and sleep it transports you to the start of the following day’s ride.

Has anyone other that Santana planned a cycling tour around a luxurious chartered ship that relocates up to three time per day? Nope, hasn’t happened. Why does Santana do it? Hotels and sag wagons reduce options and constrict the choice of routes. By doing away with these limitations our format provides capable cyclists with wider range of superior rides. On any day you can ride hard, easy, or not at all. Since it’s your vacation you can sleep in before an afternoon ride, or ride early before enjoying an afternoon cruise. Tired? On this tour you can nap and/or enjoy a spa treatment (the Amadeus Diamond has a spa and masseuse!).

Instead using old fashioned routesheets to follow a sagwagon’s dictated routes, we provide modern route files for your handlebar-mounted gps plus an SOS van driven by a professional bike mechanic. If you suffer a debilitating breakdown (we expect real cyclists to fix their own flats and fill their own waterbottles), you use your gps and cell phone to summon help.

Instead of coaxing casual riders to start a ride that’s too challenging (or providing the humiliating option of a ride in the back of cramped van), most days of Santana’s Seine River adventure includes the option of “Sergio’s Coach”—a picture window touring bus that will be with us on Monday through Friday to allow casual cyclists and non-cycling partners to enjoy the region’s scenery and featured attractions. Because non-cyclists only fill a handful of seats, there’s always plenty of room for riders who want to take a morning or afternoon off.

Total price depends on your choice of stateroom. Because the webpage isn’t yet finished, you’ll receive the link with staterooms and pricing tomorrow. In the meantime, I can assure you that the first few staterooms in each category will be sold at a lower price. Why? Jan wants me to verify your interest BEFORE she allows me to sign and return the charter that’s here on my desk.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the exact dates?
A: July 17-24, 2017.

Q: What’s the cost?
A: Due to Santana’s long history with Lueftner Cruises, our per-person first-in pricing for this 8-day Tandem Cruise on the Seine starts at $4495. Premium stateroom categories cost more. Lowest pricing in every category is limited to the first few rooms. Booking early is easy and RISK FREE. Our “Save A Spot” page shows pricing of available staterooms.

Q: Is there a better deal?
A: Santana also offers a bargain-priced Pre-Tour. If you can afford to arrive three days early our Normandy PreTour includes personalized CDG-airport greeting, two days of guided tours on Normandy’s D-Day beaches and an extra day of coastal cycling. By booking early (which is explained below) the additional per-person cost is only $875.

Q: What’s “Early-In” Pricing?
A: To manage the risk of chartering entire cruise ships, couples who commit early are rewarded with discounts of up to $2,000 per stateroom. Lowest pricing in every category is limited to the first few rooms. Booking early is easy and RISK FREE.

Q: What about tipping?
A: Jan and I don’t accept tips. Our comprehensive “cruise extras” fee of $385 per person covers port fees and a long list of off-ship activities, admissions, and guides. Shipboard gratuities of $129 per person includes wash-and-fold laundry.

Q: Are some staterooms better than others?
A: Certainly. All of Lueftner’s Amadeus-class 5-star ships feature staterooms with identically spacious (~160 square foot) floor plans. The rooms are air-conditioned and soundproofed. In addition to chairs, table, and a writing desk, the comfortable euro-king bed can be remade into a pair of full-width twins. Excluding suites, every room on all three decks has the same floorplan. Rooms on higher decks are nicer for four reasons. The rooms on the lowest deck have smaller non-opening windows. Second, the floor to ceiling windows of the mid and top deck rooms slide open onto a French balcony. Third, rooms on the top deck provide better views over docks and levees. Fourth, because the public areas, lobby and gangway are at or near the top of the ship, rooms on the upper deck are more convenient (and won’t cause you to traverse as many stairs to get to your room).

Q: Suites?
A: A relatively small number of top-deck suites have an additional large window and 50% more floorspace. Added amenities include a larger bathroom with a full-sized shower tub instead of a shower stall.

Q: What’s the next step?
A: To lock-in availability and the lowest pricing on a RISK-FREE basis, reserve your space through our PayPal portal. PayPal’s secure website is open 24 hours per day, accepts all major credit cards, and automatically adjusts for remaining stateroom availability. Reserving your spot is RISK-FREE and has many advantages. In each category the prime location staterooms will be assigned in the same order as the time stamp of your booking. Second, early-in pricing is limited to the first few rooms in each category. Most important, and a near-immediate sell-out of this first time event is anticipated.

Q: What’s the Risk-Free Booking Policy?
A: When you use your credit card and book through PayPal, we’ll give you 14 risk-free days to think it over and clear your schedule. If you change your mind, send an email to Matt@SantanaAdventures.com within two weeks to cancel the PayPal transaction and obtain a full refund.

Q: When do we need to decide on the PreTour?
A: Although we don’t need your PreTour decision until next fall, couples who book now will receive a $200 discount on the optional PreTour.

Q: What if we change our minds after 14 days?
A: Because full-boat charters are binding, non-cancelable contracts, Jan and I will only enter into this charter based on your confirmed-through-PayPal commitment. In effect, we undertake a huge risk by guaranteeing full payment on your behalf. After entering into this obligation, we cannot afford for you to back out—for any reason. This is no different than the clear written policy that existed for all except one of Santana’s prior chartered-ship cruises (this Tour De France charter will be our 25th!). While preparing for our 2009 Danube event I neglected to include the following proviso. That’s the year a group of friends, after verbally agreeing to pay in full and then stringing Jan along for many months, decided to cancel their plans. Lesson learned! Here it is (again) in writing:

Santana’s acceptance of your registration and non-refundable deposit for this event is subsequent to your agreement to pay the remaining balance in full. While Santana allows limited refunds on rallies and tours, Santana’s cruises are non-cancelable and non-transferable. When the possibility of paying yet not attending is unacceptable, Jan and I recommend Travel Guard trip insurance. For the past 20 years hundreds of our clients have relied on Travel Guard coverage without complaint. An informative application will be mailed with your invoice; and further information is available online.

Q: Suites?
A: A relatively small number of top-deck suites have an additional large window and 50% more floorspace. Added amenities include a larger bathroom with a full-sized shower tub instead of a shower stall.

Q: What’s the Risk-Free Booking Policy?
A: When you use your credit card and book through PayPal, we’ll give you 14-risk-free-days to think it over and clear your schedule.

Q: When do we need to decide on the PreTour?
A: Although we don’t need an answer until January, couples who book this cruise before the end of June, receive a $200 discount on the optional Paris PreTour.

Q: What if we change our minds after 14 days?
A: Because boat charters are binding, non-cancelable contracts, Jan and I will only enter into this charter based on your confirmed-through-PayPal commitment. In effect, we undertake a huge risk by guaranteeing full payment on your behalf. After entering into this obligation, we cannot afford for you to back out—for any reason. This is no different than the clear written policy that existed for all except one of Santana’s seventeen previous cycling cruises. While preparing for our 2009 Danube event I neglected to include the following proviso. That’s the year a group of friends, after verbally agreeing to pay in full and then stringing Jan along for many months, decided to cancel their plans. Lesson learned! Here it is (again) in writing:

Santana’s acceptance of your registration and non-refundable deposit for this event is subsequent to your agreement to pay the remaining balance in full. While Santana allows limited refunds on rallies and tours, Santana’s cruises are non-cancelable and non-transferable. When the possibility of paying yet not attending is unacceptable, Jan and I recommend Travel Guard trip insurance. For the past 15 years hundreds of our clients have relied on Travel Guard coverage without complaint. An informative application will be mailed with your invoice; and further information is available online.

Q: Have you ever relaxed your refund policy?
A: Jan and I have willingly resold a number of fully prepaid staterooms for a fee of $500 per person—which was waived when a vacating couple found someone to take their place. When there has been more than one pending resell request, those who paid-in-full earliest had their space resold next. Using this non-guaranteed method (which is grossly inferior to trip insurance) Jan and I have cheerfully refunded over $250,000 in otherwise non-refundable and non-transferable cruise fares.

Q: How are staterooms assigned?
A: In any category all rooms are identical. Using the PayPal timestamp, those who reserve earliest get staterooms closest to the front of the ship, which Bill and Jan both prefer. If friends desire a pair of adjacent staterooms the timestamp of the first reservation determines the location of both rooms. In short, we will not take requests for specific room numbers. Those who book early obtain prime positioning.

Q: How do we get to and from the tour?
A: Our event includes free shuttles to and from Paris-CDG Airport. On 7/14 or 7/17 choose any flight arriving by 10:30am, which works for nearly all transatlantic flights. On 7/24 (the morning after the Tour de France), our earliest shuttle will get you to CDG in time for a 7am departure.

Q: Are rental bikes available?
A: Yes. If you own a nice bike that fits, bringing bringing it with you is relatively easy and inexpensive. More info on this in Bill’s Travel Tips.

Q: What if we have more questions?
A: The easiest way to get any further info is by phoning Jan McCready, who is happy to answer your questions.

Toll Free number (800) 334-6136 ext. 116
Overseas callers +1 (909) 596-7570
If you get the recording, please leave a phone number. Jan will return calls ASAP — even over the Holidays.

Amadeus Diamond

The elegant Amadeus Diamond has set new standards in luxury river cruising. The cabins on this vessel are on the outside of the ship and are stylish, elegant, and spacious. The tastefully furnished 161 ft2 staterooms offer guests the feeling of being in a modern hotel room with a flat-screen TV, adjustable air-conditioning, telephone, wi-fi, and bath with shower.

All Mozart and Strauss cabins have large panoramic windows with French balconies, affording incomparable views of the charming landscapes along the river banks. The elegant Amadeus Suites on the Mozart deck also enjoy a superb view and 237 ft2 of space.

With its remarkable sense of style, elegance, and grace, the Amadeus Diamond beckons you to travel on a sophisticated and luxurious journey. From the beautiful reception area to the bright and airy cabins and suites offering splendid views of the passing scenery.

Watch the river from your window, as the Amadeus Diamond takes you to new places, revealing charming landscapes and unfolding more and more unforgettable places. Meanwhile you just sit back in total relaxation.

The elegant comforts and personal service aboard the Amadeus Diamond create an oasis of inspiration and calm. All of the bright, spacious cabins have unrestricted views of the scenery through wide, glass panoramas. Many cabins feature a French balcony (sliding glass windows) that spans the width of the cabin.

Exercise and relaxation, variety and calm. It is precisely these alternations that characterize each day you spend on the Amadeus Diamond.

So you can, if you like, start the morning with a visit to our fitness studio or join an exercise class on the sun deck. But if you would prefer to relax completely, you can treat yourself to a massage or make an appointment with the hairdresser.

You might also like to lounge on the sun deck with a good book, appreciating the scenery floating slowly by, or get to chatting to other passengers over coffee and cakes. Whatever you decide to do, the Amadeus Diamond offers a perfect mixture of inspiring entertainment and beneficial relaxation.

Travel makes for joie de vivre – for new and exciting things and for relaxed and moving moments.

Step aboard an AMADEUS vessel and taste everything that the landscapes, regions, and our adventurous head chef can offer you in the way of carefully composed menus and local specialities. Our kitchen team combines its love of cooking with its goal to present you with modern haute cuisine tempered with a classical approach to food.

To this end, we recommend and serve you selected wines that go perfectly with each dish. You will see for yourself how each plate that leaves our AMADEUS kitchen is a work of art that our waiters know just how to place before you with charm, cheerfulness, and panache. Dinner is the crowning glory of each day of the cruise.

The vessel docks, and you disembark to discover new things.

You see Europe at its most beautiful – gliding through memorable riverside scenery and passing many different kinds of sights, small towns, and bustling big cities. An AMADEUS river cruise has its own special way of showing you the most diverse sights of Europe and keeps on surprising you – whether on board or ashore – as you learn new aspects of Europe’s complex history.

The impressions you gain along the banks of the rivers seem to be almost infinite – such that, however well you may know a stretch of country, you find yourself discovering it all over again.

MS Amadeus Diamond

Staterooms 62
Suites 12
Year Built 2009
Length 110 m
Speed 25 km/h
Crew 40

Stateroom Reservations

Normandy to Paris
July 17-24, 2017

Full Cancellation policy appears below. Your deposit signifies an acceptance of those terms.

Stateroom Category Description Fares Availability
Mozart Suite Wolfgang himself would have felt compelled to compose about these suites with a superior view french balcony, Top Deck $6195* Wait List
Mozart Stateroom Finest stateroom with a superior view french balcony, Top Deck $5595* Wait List
Strauss Stateroom Premium stateroom with a french balcony, Mid Deck $5395* Wait List
Strauss Stateroom Aft Premium stateroom with a french balcony, Mid Deck, Aft Location $5195* Wait List
Haydn Stateroom Spacious room with a wide window located high on the wall, Bottom Deck $4795* Wait List
Haydn Stateroom Aft Spacious room with a wide window located high on the wall, Bottom Deck, Aft Location $4595* Wait List
Haydn Stateroom – Single Single Occupant room with a wide window located high on the wall, Bottom Deck $5295* 1 Available
* Fares are set at time of purchase, and are otherwise subject to change based on availability.
* Please note that the number of rooms in each category is limited and unchangeable.

Please Note:
Stateroom Prices are per person, double occupancy
Deposits listed below are per stateroom, up to two participants

(If you do not see your desired option, click on the stateroom type, it will activate a drop down menu)

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24 hours a day – 7 days a week

The stateroom deposits listed below include two participants.
Stateroom Preference
Bedding
Phone Number

Wait-List

Normandy to Paris 2017
Contact Phone Number
Our comprehensive “cruise extras” fee of $385 per person covers all port fees, a long list of off-ship activities, admissions, and guides.
Your initial deposit is refundable for 14 days. Unless you cancel in writing within that 14 day period, the following Scary Cancellation Policy applies to Santana’s chartered cruise events:
Because cruise ship charters are binding, non-cancelable contracts, Jan and I will only enter into this charter based on your confirmed-with-a-deposit commitment. In effect, we undertake a huge risk by guaranteeing full payment on your behalf. After entering into this obligation, we cannot afford for you to back out, for any reason. This is the same policy that existed on all but 1 of Santana’s 26 previous cruises. While preparing for our 2009 Danube event, I neglected to include the following provision (shown below). That’s the year a group of friends, after verbally agreeing to pay in full and then stringing Jan along for many months, decided to cancel their plans. Lesson learned!
Santana’s acceptance of your registration and non-refundable deposit for this event is subsequent to your agreement to pay the remaining balance in full. While Santana allows limited refunds on Rallies and Tours, Santana’s Cruises are non-cancelable, non-transferable, and non-refundable. When the possibility of paying yet not attending is unacceptable, Jan and I recommend Travel Guard Trip Insurance. For the past 20 years hundreds of our clients have relied on Travel Guard coverage without a single complaint. An informative application is available upon request; and further information is available online.