SS Joie de Vivre on the River Seine

The River Seine to the Beaches of Normandy


Tour Overview



Featuring an exclusive lecture series by the Museum’s special guests, this all-new tour brings together the very best of The National WWII Museum’s flagship Normandy program with a whole new level of luxury—including world-class château accommodations and a five-star river cruise aboard the brand new, exclusively chartered Joie de Vivre. Your journey features expert local guides along the Seine River and in Normandy, with unparalleled knowledge of WWII locations, from lesser-known sites available exclusively to The National WWII Museum’s travel programs to iconic landmarks steeped in heroism and history. Visit the iconic church in Sainte-Mère-Église where paratrooper John Steele watched the battle while suspended from his snagged parachute. Ascend the bluffs of Omaha Beach to appreciate the daunting challenge faced by young American G.I.s disembarking from their Higgins boats. Cross Pegasus Bridge where Major John Howard and the men of the British 6th Airborne Division won the first battle of D-Day just minutes after midnight. Along the way, meet veterans of the French Resistance, hear from top-rated battlefield guides, and appreciate the beauty, culture, and history of a region that has played a critical role in world history.


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  • Full-time featured historians and authors
  • Full-time Museum expert local guides throughout
  • Full-time Museum logistical tour managers and hosts
  • Three-night accommodations in one of six categories of your choice aboard the five-star Joie de Vivre
  • Four-night accommodations in Normandy at hand-selected châteaux
  • Most meals, including: (8) breakfasts, (4) lunches, (7) dinners, (1) reception
  • Free-flow nonalcoholic beverages throughout the itinerary, including:coffee, water, teas, and soft drinks
  • Free-flow throughout the cruise while aboard the Joie de Vivre: house wines, beers, and spirits with lunch and dinner during land program
  • Airport transfers
  • All gratuities to drivers, guides, and shipboard staff throughout your journey
  • Entrance fees to all sites, museums, and attractions as highlighted
  • Private, first-class, air conditioned motorcoach transportation
  • Personal listening devices for touring


  • Additional pre and/or post-hotel nights
  • Travel insurance
  • Flight assistance
  • Private transfers

We’re pleased to assist you with additional services you may require, ensuring you a worry-free journey with The National WWII Museum.


Download The Brochure

Download the official The River Seine to the Beaches of Normandy brochure for a full listing of inclusions, accommodations, and other useful information.

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The River Seine to the Beaches of Normandy

Tour Itinerary


Pre-Cruise Extension

The Liberation Of Paris Optional Three-Day Pre-Cruise Extension Program

Only $1,599 Per Person | Single Supplement $599

Our custom-curated optional pre-cruise extension program in Paris focuses on the occupation and liberation of the city in August 1944. Guests first follow in the infamous footsteps of Hitler, visiting some of the sites that he admired during his victory tour in June 1940, including the Opera, Notre Dame, and the Pantheon. The tour stops at the Hotel Le Meurice, where the high drama of German surrender played out, before heading to the Hotel de Ville where liberating American troops fought fiercely in August 1944. We finish with a visit to the Legion of Honor Museum.

October 29, 2017 - Day 1

Paris Arrival & Transfer To Joie De Vivre

Upon arrival at Charles de Gaulle Airport, guests are warmly welcomed and transferred to the Joie de Vivre. Early arrivals this day will enjoy a morning exploring the area and lunch on own before settling into their stateroom aboard this luxurious vessel this afternoon. This evening we bid farewell to the “City of Lights” and enjoy our first night aboard our home on the Seine.


October 30, 2017 - Day 2

La Roche-Guyon

We’ll enjoy lunch then a visit to the famous 12th century château on the Seine where Field Marshal Erwin Rommel had his headquarters. It was at La Roche-Guyon that the “Desert Fox” planned and prepared the tough defenses that the Allies would encounter on D-Day, and it was here he planned German moves in the Normandy campaign. Cap the day off at the festive Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala dinner.

(B, L, R, WD)

October 31, 2017 - Day 3

Giverny—Monet’s Home & Gardens / Les Andelys

Impressionist painter Claude Monet often painted the little riverside town of Vernon, your port of call, so you are likely to recognize scenes the master rendered in oils on your way to his home in Giverny. You have a choice as to how you wish to journey to the home where he lived and worked for more than 40 years—via a short bus ride or by bike. Once there, you’ll discover how Monet immortalized his home and gardens in his paintings. Later, cruise along the peaceful Seine to Les Andelys, where you may wish to hike up to Château Gaillard, Richard the Lionheart’s 12th-century stronghold, offering inspiring views of the Seine.

(B, L, D)

November 1, 2017 - Day 4

Journey To Rouen & Dieppe

Victor Hugo called Rouen “the city with a hundred bell towers.” In August 1942 it was the scene of the Eighth Air Force’s first bombing mission over Europe. Today, we will see the city’s Renaissance clock tower and the bronze cross that marks the site where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. We’ll also enjoy stops to sample some delicacies of Normandy, including Calvados and Camembert. Alternatively, you may choose to golf at Rouen’s Mont-Saint-Aignan, just minutes from the city. This 18-hole course offers both seasoned players and beginners the chance to play in a beautiful setting surrounded by woods. Following lunch, we will visit the coastal city of Dieppe. The landing by Canadian forces at Dieppe in August 1942 was the dry run for Operation Overlord, and pointed out disastrous problems in Allied planning and operations. Lessons learned were crucial to the success of the D-Day landing. This evening we arrive at Château de Sully and enjoy a sumptuous dinner of regional specialties.

(B, D)

November 2, 2017 - Day 5

British & Canadian Beaches / Arromanches / Longues-Sur-Mer

The day’s tour of Normandy begins where British airborne troops fired the first shots of the invasion at the crucial Pegasus Bridge. Landing their wooden gliders just yards from the bridge, the men of the British 6th Airborne Division surprised the defenders and scored the day’s first victory. The tour then follows the coastal road past Sword, Juno, and Gold Beaches before arriving in Arromanches, known for the remains of an artificial harbor constructed by the Allies, the famous “Mulberry.” Next is a trip to Longues-sur-Mer, the only German battery in Normandy with the original guns still in place.

(B, L, D)

November 3, 2017 - Day 6

Bernaville / Sainte-Mère-Église / Utah Beach

This morning starts with an exclusive visit to Château de Bernaville, which served as the headquarters of German General Wilhelm Falley. In the early morning hours of June 6, US paratroopers ambushed and killed General Falley, making him the first German general killed in the Normandy campaign, seriously disrupting the German defenses at a critical moment in the Allied landing. We will visit the town of Sainte-Mère-Église, where paratroopers landed during the predawn hours of D-Day. Dropping into the town square already set on fire, the men of the 82nd Airborne Division fought tenaciously against the German defenders for control of this vital crossroads. Here we will visit the recently expanded Musée Airborne and the church made famous in the film The Longest Day. After lunch on your own in the heart of Sainte-Mère-Église, we begin our exploration of Utah Beach, with its broad vistas and four causeway exits through the flooded fields. After walking in the footsteps of General Theodore Roosevelt Jr., visit the Utah Beach Museum which features a restored B-26 Marauder and detailed re-creations of the German beach defenses. The day finishes with a stop at Brécourt Manor, widely known as the scene of Dick Winter’s D-Day assault in the miniseries Band of Brothers.

(B, D)

November 4, 2017 - Day 7

Omaha Beach & Normandy American Cemetery

The morning tour begins at Pointe-du-Hoc where the 2nd Ranger Battalion landed at the base of a 100-foot cliff and had to scale the vertical face in order to attack this heavily fortified German position. The next stop is Omaha Beach, “Bloody Omaha,” where the US Army overcame great odds to etch a heroic chapter in its history. Visits to the coastal towns St. Laurent-sur-Mer and Vierville-sur-Mer provide a close-up view of the intricate German defense system on Omaha and give a sense of the overwhelming odds American soldiers faced on June 6, 1944. The day’s touring ends with a visit to the Normandy American Cemetery to pay respects to the 9,387 Americans buried in the ground they helped liberate.

(B, L, D)

November 4, 2017 - Day 8


Having learned about the region’s 20th-century history, the group will spend the last day in Normandy going back 1,000 years to learn about William the Conqueror and his invasion across the English Channel by visiting the medieval city of Bayeux. With its cathedral—built on the site of Roman ruins and a key site in the story of the Norman Invasion of 1066—towering over the city, Bayeux is a quaint setting with streets lined with shops and parks that are great for strolling. Guests will view the historic Bayeux Tapestry, over 200 feet long, which tells the story of the Battle of Hastings and is well preserved and displayed in its entirety at a nearby Museum. Following independent lunch and time at leisure, the group will then journey back to Paris for our overnight at the Sheraton Hotel Charles de Gaulle Airport.


November 5, 2017 - Day 9

Journey Home

Guests will bid farewell and depart Charles de Gaulle Airport on their independent flights returning home.


Seine River Cruise tour map
The River Seine to the Beaches of Normandy

Tour Historians



Alex Kershaw is the author of the widely acclaimed best sellers The Bedford BoysThe Longest WinterThe FewThe Liberator, and Escape from the Deep, as well as biographies of Jack London, Raoul Wallenberg and Robert Capa. An honorary colonel in the 116th Infantry Regiment, he began his research for his latest book, Avenue of Spies, while leading a tour of Europe for The National WWII Museum. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and son. He is currently researching a follow-up book to The Bedford Boys about D-Day.

Alex Kershaw, photo credit: Michael Carroll


Marc Milner is Director of the Brigadier Milton F. Gregg VC Centre for the Study of War and Society at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). He received his doctorate in 1983 from UNB, and after a brief stint at the Directorate of History, National Defence Headquarters, in Ottawa, he joined UNB’s History Department in 1986. Milner is best known for his work on naval history, including North Atlantic RunThe U-Boat Hunters, and Canada’s Navy: The First Century. His book Battle of the Atlantic won the C.P. Stacey Prize for the best book in military history in Canada in 2004. Dr. Milner has shifted focus to the Normandy campaign of 1944, and since 1997 has led over a dozen study tours to the area. In 2006 he published D-Day to Carpiquet: the North Shore Regiment and the Liberation of Europe. His latest book, Stopping the Panzers: The Untold Story of D-Day, recently won the James Collins Book Prize awarded by the US Commission on Military History for the best book in military history in 2014–15. Dr. Milner served for over 20 years on various governance boards of Canada’s military colleges. He is now on the Board of Trustees of the Society of Military History, and has been a long-serving member of the Board of the Canadian Battlefields Foundation. In 2016 he was appointed Honorary Colonel of 403 Helicopter Operational Training Squadron, RCAF.

J. Marc Milner
The River Seine to the Beaches of Normandy




This luxury property offers the best of the City of Lights at your doorstep. In addition to the magnificent views of the city from the hotel, you are moments away from the Louvre Museum and Tuileries Garden, the Eiffel Tower, and more.



With the perfect blend of tradition and elegance, the stunningly beautiful rooms at this Château are complimented by a gourmet experience at the inventively delicious on-site, Michelin-starred restaurant.



Built inside Terminal 2 of Charles de Gaulle Airport, the Sheraton’s rooms & suites are fully soundproofed and equipped with the signature Sweet Sleeper® Beds, creating a relaxed, luxurious atmosphere for your stay.

The River Seine to the Beaches of Normandy



Uniworld’s newly launched five-star Joie de Vivre has been exclusively chartered by The National WWII Museum for its valued guests. Quite possibly the finest river ship on the waterways of Europe, her 64 staterooms and suites exude the elegance and charm of the châteaus in the region she sails. Impeccable attention to every detail, a legacy of service and culinary excellence, and a custom-curated program for The National WWII Museum will be sure to create lasting memories.

DECK PLAN - Joie De Vivre

SS Joie de Vivre deck plan
The River Seine to the Beaches of Normandy


Three-Day Pre-Cruise Extension in Paris

Double Occupancy

$1,599 Per Person

Single Occupancy

$2,198 Per Person


Royal Suite

$10,299 Per Person

Standard Suite

$8,999 Per Person

Stateroom 1

$6,999 Per Person

Stateroom 2

$6,599 Per Person

Stateroom 3

$5,999 Per Person

Stateroom 4

$5,499 Per Person

Stateroom 5

$4,999 Per Person

Singles: Available in Staterooms 2 & 3 with 50% supplement

Pricing and itinerary subject to change.
Final price includes port taxes and fees of $159 per person

The River Seine to the Beaches of Normandy