The Normandy Invasion, which began the liberation of Nazi-occupied France and ultimately led to the liberation of Western Europe by Allied Forces, began on June 6, 1944 — also known as D-Day. During the landings, more than 156,000 American, British, and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of coast in France’s Normandy region.
To mark the 80th anniversary, Viking has announced it will offer its Paris & D-Day 80th Anniversary Voyage for the 2024 European river season.
“With departure dates running from March through November 2024, the special 12-day voyage from London to Paris will commemorate Operation Overlord and the historic battles of Normandy,” Viking explains.
“Many of our guests, particularly those with family members who served in the armed forces, have a keen interest in World War II history,” Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking, said in a statement. “In keeping with our commitment to offering experiences for ‘the thinking person,’ we are pleased to unveil this special voyage that commemorates the 80th Anniversary of D-Day — one of the most significant milestones in modern history.”
The voyage takes place on Viking Longships cruising the Seine River. Built to navigate into Paris and dock at Port de Grenelle, near the Eiffel Tower, the ships have 84 staterooms to accommodate up to 168 passengers.
Here’s an overview of the 11-night/12-day cruise tour.
The journey begins in London, with ample time to visit historic World War II sites.
“Tour iconic London, the seat of the British resistance during World War II, and explore the Victorian estate at Bletchley Park, which was the home of World War II codebreakers,” Viking explains.
You can also learn how the D-Day landings were planned while visiting the Churchill War Rooms and gain insight into the role Portsmouth, an important naval base that was repeatedly attacked, played in the war effort. Other stops include the D-Day Museum.
After breakfast, you’ll be able to check out of your hotel and begin your journey by visiting Paris’ iconic landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, as well as spend time browsing the Louvre Museum. There’s even time to simply relax at some of Paris’ outdoor cafés.
“You’ll also be able to tour Paris with a local guide, enjoy a day at Château de Versailles, the former home of French kings, and visit Montmartre Hill, one of the most famous districts in Paris,” Viking continues. “After that, you can tour Sacré-Coeur, the splendid Church of the Sacred Heart.”
At Vernon, you’ll be able to tour the Monet Foundation Giverny, the gardens and estate that inspired Claude Monet, founder of the Impressionism painting style.
This is likely to be the most emotional stop during the journey and because of all of the sites visitors will want to experience, the cruise will spend two days in Rouen. While shore excursions vary by each itinerary and are subject to change, excursions at Rouen could include a visit to the beaches of Normandy and Overlord Museum, the Pegasus Memorial Museum, the Arromanches Debarkment D-Day Museum, and the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.
Les Andelys, France
Les Andelys is best known for the Château Gaillard castle, which overlooks the city. It was built in 1196 by Richard the Lionheart. As you would expect, a shore excursion includes a walking tour of Château Gaillard.
Shore excursions back in Paris include a tour of Napoleon’s Château de Malmaison, and they may include a visit to the Louvre Museum followed by dinner and a night cruise on the Seine River.
Then, after breakfast on the last day, you’ll disembark your ship and journey home — or further explore Paris on your own.
Pre And Post Cruise Extensions
If the cruise tour isn’t long enough for you, you can always add more days to your itinerary with extension packages either before or after your Viking cruise tour. That way you can spend more time in London or Paris — or visit an entirely different destination.
You can learn more about the itinerary and shore excursions at Paris & D-Day 80th Anniversary voyage.