Visit all the highlights of the legendary Rhine] in just 8 days. In Germany, see the many charming castles commanding the riverbanks as you sail by, and tour both Marksburg Castle and the ruins of Heidelberg Castle. Admire Cologne, the jewel of the Rhine, with its awe-inspiring Dom, and experience the lush landscape of the Black Forest region. Also, explore Holland’s famous windmills and waterworks, encounter multicultural Strasbourg in France, and take part in the inviting nightlife in Rüdesheim’s Drosselgasse. On this itinerary you see a lot—without spending a lot of time.
Welcome to Basel on th Rhine River in northwest Switzerland. Transfer from the airport to your ship.* After boarding, enjoy time on your own getting acquainted with the city—or join our “welcome walk” to stretch your legs and start getting oriented. Cruise through the night to Breisach. (D)
2 -- BREISACH
Arrive during breakfast in Breisach, gateway to the Black Forest. Take a scenic excursion through the area’s renowned mountain landscape, rolling meadows and dense forests. Once there, visit a local workshop and see a cuckoo clock-making demonstration. Return to Breisach for some free time before evening departure. Or, choose an optional excursion to the quaint Alsatian town of Colmar. Dine aboard and cruise through the night to Kehl. (B, L, D)
3 -- STRASBOURG
Arrive in Kehl this morning and disembark for your guided tour of Strasbourg. See the European Parliament and tour the interior of the city’s famed cathedral. Free time allows you to further explore this Alsatian city’s blend of French and German cultures— fabulous churches, medieval covered bridges, beautiful parks and some lovely Art Nouveau and modernist architecture. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Return to your ship for dinner and departure. (B, L, D)
-- HEIDELBERG & RÜDESHEIM
Wake up in Mannheim and disembark for a tour to Heidelberg to see Germany’s oldest university, founded in 1386. Then visit the beautiful sandstone ruins of imposing Heidelberg Castle , and take in the scenery of the Neckar River Valley and the city’s many red rooftops from its hilltop location. Continue with a walking tour through the Old Town to Heidelberg’s renowned gates.
Return to your ship for afternoon cruising. Arrive in Rüdesheim in the early evening. Spend free time in the pedestrian-only Drosselgasse and sample a glass of locally produced wine at one of the restaurants or wine bars—dine aboard or stay in town if you prefer. Remain docked overnight. (B, L, D)
-- BRAUBACH & KOBLENZ
This morning, sail along the most scenic stretch of the Rhine, where castles overlook the river from their hilltop locations. This part of the Middle Rhine Valley is so beautiful that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Midmorning, disembark for a tour of 700-year-old Marksburg Castle and its museum. Return to your ship for lunch and a short cruise to Koblenz, where you disembark and enjoy some time in this charming town at the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine Rivers. (B, L, D)
DAY 6 -- COLOGNE
Cruise along the Rhine this morning, arriving just after breakfast in Cologne. Disembark for your walking tour of this gem of the Rhine. Stroll through Old Town past St. Martin’s Church and spend some time inside Cologne’sDom, a remarkable Gothic cathedral. The rest of your day is free to explore the dockside taverns, cafés and shops. Dine aboard before evening departure. (B, L, D)
Spend your morning enjoying some popular Dutch diversions: sample Dutch cheeses and jenever, a distilled juniper liquor, and try your hand at sjoelen (Dutch table shuffleboard). After lunch, your ship arrives in Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for an afternoon tour of this ingenious network of windmills and other flood management devices. You learn why the windmills were built and see how they work, plus you enter an actual working windmill for a tour of its mechanisms and living quarters. Board your ship for departure and dinner. Arrive at Amsterdam after midnight. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the Amsterdam airport for your return flight.* Or, add 2 nights in Amsterdam so you will have time to explore this picturesque and cosmopolitan capital. (B)