Contoured by vineyard-clad hills and castles from yesteryear, the legendary Rhine captivates. Experience the allure of France’s Alsace region in its welcoming capital, Strasbourg, and its priceless gem, Riquewihr. Then there is Breisach, rising above the vineyards of the Rhine, and Freiburg, one of Germany’s sunniest cities and gateway to Black Forest. Fabled towns lost in time present you with the chance to taste local flavors—Rüdesheimer coffee and Kölsch beer—and to touch history up close with guided hikes and bike rides. From Amsterdam’s colorful canals to the majestic Swiss Alps, journey into the heart of the destinations you visit.
AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS – EMBARKATION. Board the ship in Amsterdam for your Captivating Rhine cruise.
AMSTERDAM. There are 165 canals in Amsterdam, and you’ll get enjoy some of them on your canal cruise. Later in the day, set sail out of Amsterdam.
COLOGNE, GERMANY. Enjoy cruising to Cologne. Join a guided tour through the Old Town and explore the UNESCO-designated Cologne Cathedral, one of Germany’s most revered Gothic masterpieces. Continue to the Cologne Rathaus, Germany’s oldest town hall, the Overstolzenhaus, and the Festival Hall, and visit a local tavern to taste its famous Kölsch beer, only made in Cologne. Active adventurists will want to join a guided bike ride along the Rhine and through the historic Stadtgarten.
RHINE GORGE - RÜDESHEIM. Cruise through the captivating UNESCO-designated Rhine Gorge, the most stunningly beautiful stretch of the river before reaching the winemaking town of Rüdesheim. Drink up the stunning views by soaring high above the vineyards with a gondola ride to the Niederwalddenkmal Statue and afterwards be treated to a wine tasting. For a more active adventure, hike through the town’s beautiful vineyards or join a guided bike tour along the Rhine Valley, riding between the Rheingau hills and the Rhine River, both followed by wine tastings. Later in the day, let Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Museum charm you with its remarkable collection of self-playing musical instruments; or taste one of the town’s special delights, Rüdesheimer Coffee, ceremoniously made with brandy, coffee and whipped cream.
LUDWIGSHAFEN. Ludwigshafen is your gateway to a choice of four excursions. Visit Heidelberg, the perfectly preserved medieval city nestled in the Neckar River Valley along Germany’s Castle Road. Discover the iconic red sandstone Heidelberg Castle and Great Vat, an 18th-century, 49,000-gallon wine cask. For a more active adventure while in Heidelberg, join a guided hike up the Philosopher’s Path, aptly named during the Romantic Period, and enjoy panoramic views of the city; or bike along the Neckar River to the medieval town of Ladenburg, with its shops and quaint Marktplatz. Alternatively, you can visit one of Germany’s oldest cities, Speyer, known for the largest Romanesque cathedral in Europe—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—and the medieval Old Gate, Altpörtel. Or join a guided bike tour along the shores of the river Neckar and enjoy a cycling break to explore the picturesque medieval town of Ladenburg.
STRASBOURG, FRANCE. Strasbourg offers flavors of both France and Germany because of its borderline location. Enjoy a panoramic tour past the stunning Parc de l’Orangerie, the European Parliament and the Place de la République before walking through its iconic “La Petite France” district, lifted straight from the pages of a fairytale. Wander through charming streets past the Cathédrale de Nôtre Dame with its famous astronomical clock. Alternatively, take a guided bike ride through the city and Parc de l’Orangerie. Later, discover the fragrant aromas, ranging from bright and fruity to crisp and spicy, of Alsatian wines a special tasting.
BREISACH, GERMANY. Breisach is your gateway to several different excursions. Step back in time with a visit to the enchanting Alsatian town of Riquewihr, which looks almost the same as it did in the 16th century. On your walking tour, admire historic architecture and famous sights, such as the Dolder Gate, and enjoy a visit to a winery for a tasting of locally produced Alsatian wines. Alternatively, head to Freiburg, founded in 1120 and home to the Freiburg’s Münster, a Gothic cathedral said to have “the most beautiful spire on earth,” followed by a wine tasting. Those wishing a more active excursion can cycle through the countryside, or hike in the Black Forest, a magical land full of cultural traditions. (B,L,D) *Please Note: Black forest hike is weather dependent and may only operate at certain times of year. Please refer to your final documents for details.
BASEL, SWITZERLAND – DISEMBARKATION. After breakfast, bid farewell to Switzerland and prepare for your return flight home.