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 dinner on board. 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.
EmeraldACTIVE: Guided Bike Tour
Cruise along the Rhine River to Cologne, founded by the Romans, the city is one of Germanys 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 Germanys largest and most modern cities largely due to a rebuilding plan post WWII, and it has many different museums and galleries.
DiscoverMORE: Football Stadium Tour (extra expense)
Cruise to the 2000-year-old town of Koblenz, which is situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers. You will have a tour of Koblenz and 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.
DiscoverMORE: Moselle & Cochem Castle Visit (extra expense)
*** Please note, you can only choose either included tour of Koblenz or the DiscoverMORE option, as both tours run 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 have a chance to either visit the medieval town of Heidelberg including the impressive castle which overlooks the town or take part on an active hike to Heidelberg Hill.
EmeraldACTIVE: Active Hike to Heidelberg Hill
EmeraldPLUS: Wine Tasting in Heidelberg
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 Île, 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.
EmeraldPLUS: Guided Tour of Strasbourg
Today you will visit a typical black forest village, full of charm and many Cuckoo clocks and other German specialties. Alternatively, take part on a guided hike through some of the black forest trails.
EmeraldACTIVE: Guided hike through some of the Black Forest trails
EmeraldPLUS: Black Forest Cake Assembling presentation and tasting
Basel Disembarkation - Lyon
Welcome to Switzerland and the Rhine–side town of Basel, the centre for Switzerlands pharmaceutical industry. After, your breakfast you will disembark your ship and transfer by coach to Lyon. In Lyon, you will begin your new journey.
Chalon-Sur-Saône – Beaune
Chalon–Sur–Saône 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.
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 Fourvière, 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. Alternatively, join a guided bike tour of Lyon.
EmeraldACTIVE: Guided Bike Tour
DiscoverMORE: Tour to Perouges (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, Frances 3rd largest mountain range. The area has a long tradition in wine making, including the renowned wine growing centre of Tain lHermitage across the river.
EmeraldACTIVE: Guided active walk through vineyards
EmeraldPLUS: Regional wine lecture on board
EmeraldACTIVE: Guided bike tour to Glun
Arrive in Viviers, a town which still has a lot of flare. Viviers is also the home of one of France’s oldest cathedrals, join an included city tour exploring all the architectural heritage of this quaint town.
EmeraldPLUS: Cheese and olive tasting on board
DiscoverMORE: Tour to Grignan (extra expense)
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.
EmeraldACTIVE: Guided active hike in Avignon
EmeraldACTIVE: Yoga Lesson on Board
EmeraldPLUS: Provençale dinner hosted by local Chef Fabien Morreale
DiscoverMORE: Excursion to Pont du Gard (extra expense)
Sail into Arles where you will join your local guide for a walking tour showcasing the highlights of the city in particular 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.
DiscoverMORE: Excursion to Les Baux de Provence (extra expense)
Arles Disembarkation - Nice
After breakfast disembark your river cruise ship in Arles, transfer to Nice airport for your onward or homebound flight.