Friday the 12th
Although Paris-CDG is bigger, Geneva’s friendlier GVA airport is hours closer to Burgundy and receives numerous morning non-stops from North America. Moreover, Geneva, a beautiful lakeside city at the edge of the Swiss Alps, is a great place to recover from jet lag and enjoy a Thursday warmup ride. Your choice on embark day is a retrieval and shuttle from GVA or a choice of downhill miles that all end at the ship, where you’ll find your suitcases waiting in your stateroom. Tonight the Amadeus Princess will move upriver through locks to reach the perfect spot to launch tomorrow’s rides.
Saturday the 13th
Our following day’s ride passes through legendary vineyards and wine villages to reach Beaune, where doctors and sadists will love the included tour of the medieval hospital. Beune, the epicenter of Burgundy, is where tastings and auctions held in caves beneath the town set the price you’ll pay if you want to serve a “premier cru” at your next dinner party.
On our tour of a famous chateau and its cave you’ll learn the proper way to swirl, sip and spit. In a Burgundian tradition dating back 23 centuries, graduates of this course will receive an honorary tastevin. Mileage choices to Beune are a flat 19, canal ’n’ railtrail 28, or challenging 39. The optional afternoon ride is a fast 19 mile return to the river.
After cleaning up, our Chalon sur Saone dock is adjacent to the city’s pedestrian center with its cathedral and picture-perfect Place St. Vincent. As we sit down to our second gourmet dinner (paired wines included) the Amadeus Provence will untie to start a weeklong voyage spanning the entire navigable length of the France’s Saone and Rhone Rivers.
Sunday the 14th
Today our morning rides will explore the seven fabled villages of Beaujolais. Because these villages are perched on the side of the Cote (a winemaker’s term for a range of hills dressed with vines), most of us will be happy to explore and taste wines in two or three of the villages closer to the Saone. Strong teams will climb into the forested mountains, and stop to take each other’s photos at a couple of signed cols. After covering a mild 25, moderate 31 or challenging 42 miles, you’ll find the ship where it repositioned to serve lunch. This afternoon many will race the ship 30 moderate miles to the outskirts of Lyon, where it will pause for the afternoon and evening. Although this cruise includes three epicurean meals per day, we suspect a couple of dozen serious foodies will join Jan for an evening at Restaurant Bocuse—the world-renowned birthplace of Nouvelle Cuisine.
Following three days on the Saone, in the early hours of day four we’ll enter the Rhone. To design this tour Jan and I scouted thousands of miles of French roads. Using a cruise ship allowed us to be ultra-choosy. On this tour you’ll cycle the finest and most interesting segments of the Saone/Rhone. While you rest up for the following day our ship will cruise past stretches that are relatively ordinary. (To accomplish this feat with an inn-to-inn cycling tour we’d need flying hotels.)
Monday the 15th
This is another day when the ship moves four hours downriver after breakfast, parks for 90-minutes to serve us lunch, and then cruises downriver another two hours before stopping to retrieve afternoon riders. On days like this you can ride in the morning, in the afternoon, both or neither. On most bike tours your non-cycling option is to spend a dismal day crammed in the back of a van. If you decide to skip a ride on this tour, your choice is either a relaxing and scenic cruise or a reclining, picture-window seat in Sergio’s big touring coach, which shows up at the gangplank each day to transport non-riders to inland attractions.
Our day in the Rhone Valley (between Burgundy and Provence) is ideal for all. The strongest riders will want a take it easy before tomorrow’s ascent of Ventoux. The weakest riders will enjoy a day without climbs. All will be tempted by a short AM detour to Malleval, an amazing medieval village of stone houses. Most who ascend that far will climb a bit further to cycle across the soaring stone arches of the Pellusin tramway bridge. After 32 to 45 miles you’ll reach the Valrhona tasting room at the world famous Cité du Chocolat. If that ain’t enough you can race the ship 25 miles downriver to La Voulte. Earlier dinner tonight.
Tuesday the 16th
On Tuesday we wake in the shadow of Mont Ventoux, where breakfast includes a mountain-delayed sunrise. Of the three routes to Ventoux’s summit, all 16 TdFs to include this challenge have used the classic climb from the southwest. In deference to this tradition our long riders’ truck-and-bus convoy will soon depart for a remote ride start in the village of Bedoin. If you’d like to take your place among the legends and heroes who’ve ridden our sport’s most celebrated climb, Santana will again support ascents of Ventoux, where 37 couples attending Santana’s earlier versions of this cruise successfully “summited” on tandems. Of the dozens of single bike riders who’ll join us in 2019, how many will make it to the top?
If 57 miles over Ventoux seems excessive, another worthy choice for our first morning in Provence is a 41 mile ride to Pont du Garde. Because all of today’s rides end in Avignon, a wondrous town filled with shopping and history, the shortest 12- and 18-mile rides can get you there before the ship, which will remain parked near Avignon’s center through the evening.
Are you aware of the 70-year period when Rome and Italy were deemed unsafe for the head of Western Christianity? During those decades seven successive Popes (each one of them born in France) shunned the Vatican and ruled from Avignon. There they used the church’s wealth to create an immense and amazing palace. In the centuries following the Church’s 1378 return to Rome, the French faithful protected and maintained the palace while praying for the Pope’s return. The Catholic hierarchy has not only rejected the idea of returning to France, they’ve never again elected a French-born Pope! Late this afternoon we’ll meet downtown for a tour of the magnificent Palais des Papes.
Wednesday the 17th
Today our bus and truck convoy will climb to the highest of the Luberon hill towns. On this “mostly downhill” day even the shortest 26-mile route explores the villages of Gordes (with its stone houses and bories), Rousillon (with its Sedona-red landscape), Lacoste (where outraged peasants tore down Marquis de Sade’s castle of sexual torture) and Menerbes (where Peter Mayle was inspired to write My Year in Provence). In addition, most riders will find the strength to climb into the valley where the monks of Senanque Abbey tend famous fields of lavender. Stronger riders will push on to conquer a particularly scenic summit (easier than Ventoux) featured in multiple Tours de France.
Vincent van Gogh spent many tortured and productive months painting landscapes while residing in Arles (where he cut off a portion of his ear) and St. Remy (where he was subsequently institutionalized). Our pair of final rides highlight the vistas and history of Van Gogh’s Provence.
Thursday the 18th
By Thursday, when everyone should be ready for 40 miles, our easy loop stops to tour the famous St. Remy asylum where a kindly Doctor encouraged his patient’s artistic evolution. Outside the asylum Santana will again hire artists to guide tours retracing the footsteps of a genius. Stopping in places where Van Gogh planted his easel, they’ll show us how the master, in his most productive period, feverishly re-interpreted the real world.
The same ride features Glanum, a recently unearthed Roman city that was buried in a mudflow. To understand this Pompeii-like time capsule, we’ve hired local historic interpreters. From Glanum a beautiful climb on a quiet back road reaches Les Baux, where we’ve covered the admission fee of my favorite French castle so you can inspect its massive catapult and trebuchet. Halfway back to the Rhone we’ll pause for a tour and tasting at a co-operative mill that presses boutique olive oils.
Our ride ends at the center of Arles; the last Rhone town before the river enters its delta at the edge of the Mediterannean. Slightly smaller that Avignon, Arles is centuries older—and perhaps more interesting. We’ll spend two afternoons and evenings here. On one of them we’ll attend a bloodless bullfight in a magnificent Roman Coliseum that predates Christ.
Friday the 19th
Our final morning ride is through the Camargue, the Rhone River’s Delta and Nature Preserve where all routes cycle past herds of wild horses and flocks of pink flamingos. Those who want to stretch the flat 32 mile route by an extra nine miles will loop to the beach at the lighthouse, where they can dip their front tire into the Mediterranean. At the Rhone’s lowest port, we’ll either blanket wrap our bikes for their optional overnight transfer to Paris or repack them during a final afternoon’s cruise. Our eighth evening aboard the Amadeus Provence includes a farewell celebration.
Saturday the 20th
Included in the tour are early-AM shuttles to Marseille’s MRS International Airport (a friendly terminal where dozens of our boxed tandems were accepted without charge!) or the adjacent TGV station at Aix-en-Provence.
Burgundy & Provence 2019
Lueftner Cruises’ latest river ship has larger staterooms and beautiful amenities.The Mozart & Strauss Deck staterooms have drop down panoramic windows, which are wider and cleaner than a French Balcony. You’ll both be able to lean out to share beautiful views up and down the river.
All staterooms are 188 square feet, and suites are over 50% larger (284 square feet!) and include a true walk-out balcony. The Haydn Deck Staterooms have a tall and wide fixed window. Because staterooms on all three decks share the same floor-plan and interior amenities, with the curtains closed an inexpensive Haydn-Deck room feels identical to a Mozart-Deck room.
Morning and Mid-Day dining includes bountiful buffets created by our 5-star chef. Each evening your waiter will present a new five course menu—listing an array of choices for you to select from. Is Beer & wine included with dinner? Of course!
The forward Panorama Lounge/Bar has 270-degree views and seating for all our guests. The Amadeus Club is a more intimate venue at the rear of the ship. Both the Lounge & Club are great places to relax, catch up on emails, post a few photos on social media, or read a nice book.
Jan and I recently visited the Amadeus Provence and remarked on the luxury and comfort of this newer ship. It is the perfect place to dine, sleep, and relax between rides.
Frequently Asked Questions
Burgundy & Provence 2019
Q: What are the exact dates?
A: July 12-20, 2019. 9-Days/8-Nights.
Q: What’s the cost?
A: Due to the current strength of the dollar our first-in per-person pricing for this 9-day cycling cruise starts at $3,749 per-person. Booking early is easy and RISK FREE. Our reservations page shows pricing of available staterooms.
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. A comprehensive “cruise extras” fee of $400 per person includes a long list of port fees, off-ship activities, admissions, interpretive guides, sight fees, and ride support (gps route files, morning shuttles to give casual riders a head start, and an SOS van driven by a pro mechanic). Note that this is less than the average cruise passenger pays for week of “deluxe excursions.” Shipboard gratuities of $165 per person includes wash & fold laundry and valet bike handling.
Q: Are all the staterooms the same?
A: No. Lueftner Cruises’ latest river ship design has created a luxurious ship with larger staterooms and beautiful amenities.The Mozart & Strauss Deck staterooms have drop down panoramic windows, which are wider and cleaner than a French Balcony. You’ll both be able to lean out to share beautiful views up and down the river.
All staterooms are 188 square feet, and suites are over 50% larger (284 square feet!) and include a true walk-out balcony. The Haydn Deck Staterooms have a tall and wide fixed window. With the same floor-plan and amenities as upper deck staterooms, the Haydn Deck rooms provide superior value. With the curtains closed they feel the same as a room on the pricier Mozart Deck.
Q: How are staterooms assigned?
A: In any sub-category all rooms are identical. Using the PayPal timestamp, those who reserve earliest get the conveniently located staterooms closest to the front of the ship. If friends desire a pair of adjacent staterooms the timestamp of the first reservation determines the location of both rooms. In short, out of fairness to all our guests, we will not take requests for specific room numbers. Those who book early obtain prime positioning.
Q: Are rental bikes available?
A: Yes. If you own a nice bike that fits, however, bringing it with you is relatively easy and inexpensive. More info on this in Bill’s Travel Tips. Single bike rental rates are $450 per person for the event, includes delivery to Saone River embark and retrieval from Rhone River disembark.
Q: How do we get to and from the tour?
A: Detailed info by July ’18. Those who arrive and leave on the embark and debark days will receive FREE Airport transfers.
Q: How many miles each day?
A: In addition to our daily pair of zero-mile options (remaining on the ship or exploring the islands via Sergio’s Coach), every day has multiple cycling routes. Anyone who can ride 35 flat miles will be able to enjoy cycling in both regions. If you prefer hills or want to spend additional hours in the saddle, we’ve got you covered. At each morning’s breakfast you’ll get a map charting the day’s cycling routes and recommended stops. During a brief route talk you’ll hear about each route’s grades and difficulty. Santana’s vets have learned to love and rely on their handlebar-mounted gps units. Available for less than $200, these touch-screen marvels prevent the age-old problem of getting lost or riding unplanned miles. Santana supplies free electronic mapping and route files. Simply select the route and follow the highlighted map.
Q: What’s the next step?
A: A near-immediate sell-out of this event is anticipated. Early-in pricing is limited to the first few rooms in each category. Pricing listed on the Stateroom Reservations section is the current pricing. Refresh your browser to see any changes that may have occurred if you delay booking after loading this page. 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. In each category the prime location staterooms will be assigned in the same order as the time stamp of your booking.
Q: What do you mean by RISK-FREE?
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: 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 charter will be our 41st!). 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: 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: What’s the difference between a SAG-wagon and Santana’s SOS/treasure vans?
A: Most tour companies use SAG-wagons that haul luggage and “sweep” the route between overnight stops. The drivers refill water-bottles, fix flat tires, and retrieve riders who can’t manage the easiest route between the widely spaced hotels. The problem, of course, is that the roving vans tend to be annoying until you actually need help. At that point it’s common to wait for two or more hours until one shows up. Although SAG drivers can fix a flat, they don’t have the tools or know-how to handle serious mechanical problems. Instead, they drive you to a bike shop (which explains why SAG-wagons disappear for hours at a time). This tour’s SOS van is driven by a pro bike mechanic who brings tools and spares. When you phone him with the coordinates from your GPS, he’ll arrive in a flash to get you back in the saddle. Because Santana expects participants to fill their own bottles, fix their own flats, and choose a ride they can finish, our SOS drivers are underworked, and have time to retrieve your shopping treasures.
Q: Does the Amadeus Provence have WiFi? Does the ship have an elevator?
Will there be menu selections for vegetarians, vegans and picky eaters?
A: Yes to all of the above.
Q: What if we have more questions?
A: The easiest way to get any further info is by phoning or emailing Jan, who is happy to answer your questions.
1 (800) 334-6136 x116 Jan@SantanaTandem.com
Q: What if I run into problems with Reservations or PayPal?
A: The easiest way to get help is by phoning or emailing Matt, who is happy to help guide you.
+1 (949) 677-7896 Matt@SantanaAdventures.com
Burgundy & Provence 2019
Full Cancellation policy appears below. Your deposit signifies an acceptance of those terms.
|* Fares are Per-Person & Double-Occupancy|
|* 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.|
|* Stateroom Fares have all current discounts included.|
Stateroom Prices are per person, double occupancy
Deposits listed below are per stateroom, and are for two participants
|Our comprehensive “cruise extras” fee of $400 per person covers a long list of port fees, off-ship activities, admissions, and guides.
Crew Gratuities of $165 per person will be collected at the event, includes Wash & Fold Laundry and Valet Bike Handling.
|Your initial Stateroon-Holding-Fee is an escrow-like payment which remains fully refundable for 14 days. After 14 days, your Stateroom-Holding-Fee will be converted to an Event Deposit. At that point a dated invoice will be issued. To get pre-existing coverage you’ll want to purchase Travel Insurance within 14 days of your invoiced date (or within 28 days of placing your Holding Fee). 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 40 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.|