Remembering the Great War – Saga to offer a Centenary cruise on French and Belgian waterways

The 102-passenger MS PrincessNext year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War (November 11, 2018) and Saga guests can join a centenary river cruise aboard MS Princess to visit the battlefields, cemeteries and once-occupied cities of Belgium and France.

Expert guides Barrie Friend and Rhydian Vaughan, who are members of the Western Front Association and Associate Members of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides, accompany the tours and give in-depth briefings during the sailing which departs on October 3, 2018.

The seven-night river cruise on MS Princess starts in St Omer, France, and includes a full-day’s tour of the Somme where some of the bloodiest battles of the Great War raged. The itinerary features visits to Sheffield Park, which remembers the fallen of Lord Kitchener’s Pals Battalions; Newfoundland Memorial Park, the resting place for men of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment; Lochnagar Crater and Thiepval Memorial.

The tour continues to Lille, which was occupied by the Germans from October 1914 to October 1918, before visiting the largest French military cemetery in the world at Notre Dame de Lorette, in Arras. There is also a stop at the Vimy Ridge memorial.

In Flanders, guests visit Messines Ridge, where on June 7, 1917, the detonation of 19 mines began an offensive by the British Second Army to capture the German-held high ground. Guests can also pay their respects to the fallen at the Spanbroekmolen Cemetery, the Australian Memorial and Ireland Peace Park.

MS Princess sails on to the Belgian city of Kortrijk and guests travel to the Menin Gate, in Ypres, to witness the Last Post ceremony. The next day features a tour of the Ypres battlefields, cemeteries, memorials and museums.

Before disembarking in Antwerp, a walking tour of Ghent is scheduled to highlight how this intimate Flemish city escaped total devastation during 1914 to 1918.

MS Princess is a small 102-guest river cruiser with a crew of 19. Full-board accommodation includes buffet breakfasts and waiter-served three-course lunches and four-course dinners.

Seven nights from £1,149 departing on October 3, 2018. Price includes UK travel service, return coach travel via Eurotunnel or ferry, all meals, Captain’s dinner and drinks reception, expert guides, Saga cruise escorts, excursions, entertainment and activities on ship, optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights or a discount if passenger has own insurance.