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.
DAY 1 | BASEL, SWITZERLAND Welcome to Basel, on the 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 get oriented. Dinner is served aboard. (D)
DAY 2 | BREISACH, GERMANY Arrive in Breisach this morning, 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 or choose an optional excursion to the quaint Alsatian town of Colmar. Dine aboard and cruise on through the night. (B, L, D)
DAY 3 | STRASBOURG, FRANCE 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, resplendent churches, medieval covered bridges, verdant parks and handsome 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)
DAY 4 | HEIDELBERG & RÜDESHEIM, GERMANY Wake up in Mannheim and disembark for a tour of 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 this hilltop post. Afterward, set on a walking tour through Old Town to Heidelberg’s renowned gates. Return to your ship for afternoon cruising. Arrive in Rüdesheim in the early evening, then 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 your ship or spend more time exploring in town if you prefer. We remain docked overnight. (B, L, D)
DAY 5 | KOBLENZ, GERMANY This morning, sail along the most scenic stretch of the Rhine, where castles overlook the river from their hilltop posts. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this part of the Middle Rhine Valley is so beautiful. Arrive in Koblenz this afternoon and disembark for a tour of 700-year-old Marksburg Castle and its museum. Return to your ship for lunch. Later, enjoy some time in this charming town at the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine Rivers. (B, L, D)
DAY 6 | COLOGNE, GERMANY Continue along the Rhine this morning; arrive in Cologne and disembark for a walking tour. Stroll through Old Town past St. Martin’s Church, and spend some time inside Cologne’s Dom, a remarkable Gothic cathedral whose construction began in 1248 and was only completed in 1880. Explore the dockside taverns, cafés and shops on your own. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Dinner is served aboard and we remain docked until late evening. (B, L, D)
DAY 7 | KINDERDIJK, THE NETHERLANDS We sail along the Rhine during the morning hours, enjoying scenic views. 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 a working windmill for a tour of its mechanisms and living quarters. Board your ship for departure and dinner. Arrive in Amsterdam after midnight. (B, L, D)
DAY 8 | RETURN HOME After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.