Arrive in Amsterdam and transfer to the ship this afternoon. Settle into your spacious suite, or head to the sundeck admiring the Amsterdam cityscape. This evening, set sail on the Rhine.
Set out to explore timeless Amsterdam, known as the Venice of the North for its picturesque canals. Here, you can see the city from water level during a canal cruise, or take a guided visit through the renowned Rijksmuseum.
Dock in Cologne and venture north to Mettmann, a town located in a valley where Neanderthal fossils were first found. The Neanderthal Museum is a tribute to human evolution, and we are invited on an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of its fossil exhibits. There is also the option to explore Cologne, including its iconic Gothic cathedral. In our free time, opt to join our photographer for a unique view of the city and its surroundings.
Today there are several options for exploring in or around Koblenz, an ancient Roman city straddling the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. Choose to visit a fish ladder and learn about the state of fisheries on the Moselle, or venture outside the city limits by bike and pedal along the river like a local. Alternatively, join a guided walking tour through our port of call, featuring stops at the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) which dates back to the 5th century, and the 17th-century Rathaus (town hall). Or choose to visit the fairy tale town of Cochem, overlooking the Moselle Valley.
Rudesheim am Rhein
This morning, we’ll glide past the many medieval towns and castles that dot the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, or Rhine Gorge - a World Heritage site. Head to the ship’s sundeck and practice landscape photography alongside our National Geographic photographer, capturing the perfect angle on this stunning scenery. In Rudesheim am Rhein, board the Winzerexpress mini train for a visit to Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet, home to a collection of elaborate self-playing musical instruments. Then ride a cable car to the Niederwald Monument, built to commemorate the unification of Germany. Or set out on a hike through the vineyards surrounding town.
Go ashore in Mannheim and travel north to Grube Messel, a fossil pit that has revealed discoveries critical to our understanding of mammalian evolution. Explore this World Heritage site, featured in a February 2000 National Geographic magazine article. It was here that “Ida,” the world’s most complete primate fossil, was found in 1983. Alternatively, travel to Heidelberg, a baroque beauty that inspired authors and composers from the 19th-century German Romantic movement. Stroll the old town and visit its sandstone castle; or take a funicular up the hill, enjoying spectacular views as you hike back down to town. Tonight we’ll gather at an intimate theater in Schwetzingen Palace for a private concert.
Strasbourg, France/Mittelbergheim, France or Black Forest, Germany
Having switched allegiances between France and Germany several times, Strasbourg is a fascinating cultural amalgam. Today you’ll have the option to explore the city on a guided tour of its half-timbered old town, or to venture beyond the riverbank, deeper into either France or Germany. Travelers who fancy a day in the French countryside will visit charming Mittelbergheim to sip Alsatian wines at a local winstub, while the more active excursion to Germany is focused on the traditional past time of hiking on a wanderweg through the coniferous Black Forest.
After breakfast, disembark in Basel and transfer to the Zurich airport for your flight home.
Please note: Pre–release itinerary, subject to change