Welcome to Amsterdam, a fascinating 700 year old city of picturesque canals, world class museums, theatres and cafés. You will be met and transferred from the airport to your Emerald Waterways luxury river cruise ship. This evening join your fellow travellers for a cocktail reception followed by a welcome dinner. Your Cruise Director will also conduct a port talk to review the activities and itinerary for the days ahead.
This morning you can decide to either enjoy a glass top canal boat tour through Amsterdam’s canal or a guided bike tour. Return to the ship for your first day sailing through the Dutch countryside passing windmills and sailing through locks towards the Rhine River. Tonight the Captain will be delighted to host a gala dinner. Emerald Active: Guided Bike Tour
Cruise along the Rhine River to Cologne, founded by the Romans, the city is one of Germany's oldest and is famous for its magnificent World–Heritage listed Gothic Cathedral. After lunch on board, join your local guide for an included tour of the Old Town, with free time for exploring. Cologne is one of Germany's largest and most modern cities largely due to a rebuilding plan post WWII, and it has many different museums and galleries including a Roman artefact museum.
Cruise to the 2000 year old town of Koblenz, which is situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers. Visit the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress on the opposite side of the river. This fortress was part of the Prussian defences against the French in the 19th century and later used as a headquarters for the American military during WWII. In the afternoon, sail through the spectacular Rhine Gorge, passing countless castles and vineyards as well as the infamous Lorelei statue and Pfalzgrafenstein Castle, which was built on an island in the middle of the river as a medieval toll station. Countless vineyards and medieval castles line the shores of this section of the river, with photo opportunities at every bend. Discover More: Moselle & Cochem Visit (extra expense, please note passengers on this tour will not be able to visit the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress for both tours happen at the same time)
Mannheim – Heidelberg
Continue upstream to the town of Mannheim, located at the confluence of the Rhine and Neckar rivers. There you will visit the medieval town of Heidelberg including the impressive castle which overlooks the town. Enjoy free time there before returning to the ship for lunch and an afternoon sailing.
Kehl - Strasbourg
Once docked in Kehl you will be transferred by coach across the river to Strasbourg, the capital city of the Alsace Region in France. Your guided walking tour will include the Grande Ile, the historical city centre and UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its medieval black and white timber framed buildings, old tanning houses, baroque sandstones buildings, canals and river locks. Your afternoon is free to continuing exploring Strasbourg.
Today you have a choice to commence your magical morning with a visit to the Vogtsbauernhof Museum, an open air exhibition of sixteenth century life, featuring a number of reconstructed Black Forest farms. Alternatively, take part on the Emerald Active hike. Emerald Active: Hiking in the Black Forest (active fitness level recommended) EmeraldPLUS: Black Forest Cake Assembling presentation and tasting
Basel Disembarkation - Lyon
Welcome to Switzerland and the Rhine–side town of Basel, the centre for Switzerland's pharmaceutical industry. After, your breakfast you will disembark your ship and transfer by coach to Lyon. In Lyon, you will begin your new journey. Tonight enjoy a welcome reception and dinner on board.
Lyon is France’s third largest city, a former Roman capital positioned at the conference of the Rhone and Saone rivers, which is steeped in history. Today be part of the guided tour of Lyon, which starts with a drive to the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere, Lyon’s hilltop church, with stunning views over the town. Then pass by the recently re–discovered Roman amphitheatre and walk through the cobbled streets of the gastronomic old town including the secret laneways. This evening sail north through the beautiful Beaujolais region.
Chalon-Sur-Saone – Beaune
Chalon–Sur–Saone is best known as the birthplace of photography and the center of Burgundy’s wine region. Travel by road to the quaint village of Beaune, where we visit the Hospices de Beaune, one of the finest examples of French fifteenth–century architecture. Marvel at the multi–colored roofs of this former hospital, now a museum, which has become one of the symbols of Burgundy. Return to the ship for lunch, and then depart this afternoon for Macon arriving in the evening. Emerald Active: Guided bike tour from Tournus to Macon
Arrive in Macon, another important wine region and gateway to the Beaujolais vineyards. Your walking tour includes the sights of the General Hospital buildings, half–timbered house and Soufflot Chapel. Macon is a great destination to try some local wines at the many tasting displays in the town. Enjoy time at leisure in the afternoon. Discover More: Visit to Benedictine Abbey of Cluny (extra expense)
Join your local guide for a walking tour of Tournon, which is dominated by the 16th century castle and roman ruins, and is nestled in the valley near the steep slopes of le Massif Central, France's 3rd largest mountain range. The area has a long tradition in wine making, including the renowned wine growing centre of Tain l'Hermitage across the river. Emerald Active: Guided bike tour to Glun OR Guided hike tour through vineyards EmeraldPLUS: Cheese and olive tasting on board
Avignon has a rich history from Celtic beginnings to being the residence of the Popes and later central to the French Revolution. Although a fortified town, it is the Papal Palace which stands more secure on a hill in the centre of town; its walls are 17–18 feet thick. Your guided walk with a local guide takes you through this historic centre with its cobbled laneways and shops, overlooking the famous 'Pont d'Avignon'. The rest of the day is at leisure. Emerald Active: Yoga / Pilates Lesson on Board EmeraldPLUS: Provencal dinner on board hosted by a popular local chef Discover More: Excursion to Pont du Gard (extra expense and please note - due to uneven surfaces, this excursion is best enjoyed by those with an Active Fitness Level)
Sail into the Camargue wilderness region to the capital of Provence, Arles where you will join your local guide for a walking tour showcasing the highlights of the city in particular the exterior of the 2000 year old Roman Amphitheatre still in use today, which was originally built to hold 20,000 spectators in the style of the Colosseum in Rome. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax on board and explore Arles further.
Arles Disembarkation - Nice
After breakfast disembark your river cruise ship in Arles, transfer to Nice airport for your onward or homebound flight.