Explore Europe’s rich history and Jewish heritage on an incredible discovery of The Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland. Dive deep into the region’s culture, natural wonders, traditions and historical significance in a one-of-a-kind experience along the Rhine. Delve into the region’s world-renowned museums in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Cologne, Basel and Arnhem. Along the way, indulge in Central Europe’s delicious cuisine—Dutch cheese and fries, Alsatian choux-croute, Swiss-style sausages, Kölsch beer, unique wine vinegar aperitifs and Germany’s famous white wines.
Not only that, but you’ll discover Central Europe’s fascinating Jewish ties as part of our Jewish Heritage program—the only itinerary of its kind offered on the rivers.
Oh, and did we mention the scenery? Standing on the top deck of your ship, watching the ever-changing landscape turn increasingly dramatic, you’ll understand why people have been raving about the Rhine River Valley for centuries - and there’s definitely no cause to stop.
Arrive at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and be transferred to your ship. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.
Enjoy the luxury of a full day in the “Venice of the North,” starting with a private “Morning with the Masters” tour of the Amsterdam Hermitage, where you’ll have the museum’s extraordinary collection of Dutch Masters all to yourself, as an art historian shows you Portrait Gallery highlights. Afterwards, choose from a duo of enticing excursions: Admire the city’s narrow, gabled homes lining the canals on a “Do as the Locals Do” walking tour; or opt for our Jewish Heritage tour, with stops at the Portuguese Synagogue and Jewish Museum.
You’ll spend your day exploring Rotterdam’s historic splendor, vibrant culture, varied architectural landscape and maritime heritage. Embark on a stroll around the port city’s most enticing spots, like Market Hall. The impressive residential and office building is adorned with a futuristic, all-glass façade, doubling as an art installation of sorts. While you’re in the heart of the city, you’ll stop along the way to sample mouthwatering Dutch pastries. Or you can venture to the nearby village of Kinderjik and marvel at a group of 19 towering windmills. The World Heritage Site holds the largest concentration of old windmills in The Netherlands and its entire vicinity is a protected village view. Rotterdam is the “Gateway to Europe” and you’ll want to discover why. Or you can choose to join a walking tour exploring Rotterdam's profound Jewish history and heritage.
Arnhem, once almost completely destroyed by WWII, has blossomed into a burgeoning Dutch city, with several wonderful museums, charming shop-lined streets and historically significant landmarks. Get a glimpse into Arnhem’s WWII-era past at the Airborne Museum. It’s dedicated to the Battle of Arnhem, where Allied Airborne Forces (paratroopers) attempted to secure bridges in the surrounding areas to prevent further invasion. Learn the history of the infamous battle from enemy, ally and civilian perspective and explore an extensive collection of equipment and weaponry. Opt for more active exploration on the Arnhem Airborne Cycle route. Bike past major battle landmarks such as John Frost Bridge, Doorwerth Castle and the Airborne Cemetery as you travel along the river banks.
You simply cannot visit Cologne without paying homage to its most notorious site, the Gothic masterpiece that serves as the city’s cathedral. A local expert will show you favorite haunts around the Old Town and share some of the cathedral’s most intriguing and Magi-cal secrets with you. And guests interested in the city’s Jewish past are welcome to explore the centuries-old mikveh and other notable sites in Cologne’s Jewish quarter, once home to Europe’s first Jewish settlement north of the Alps. No matter which excursion you choose, you’ll also have ample free time to explore the city on your own.
Bacharach is an ancient village that appears straight out of the pages of a storybook. Enjoy a guided stroll through town and taste some locally grown Rieslings, a specialty of the region. Alternatively, join a “Let's Go” hike that will take you past the old town walls and up to a fortified 12th-century castle.
Frankfurt is known as the “Mainhattan” of Europe, a financial powerhouse with soaring skyscrapers as well as traditional Old Town architecture. Experience the city with your choice of adventures today—visit Germany’s oldest museum, take a guided bike ride or learn about the Rothschild family’s rags-to-riches saga. Step ashore and walk a short distance to the Old Town for our “Do as the Locals Do” walking tour. This part of the city has charming old homes, stately churches and a lively covered market where you can sample all sorts of local delicacies. Later, you can visit Germany’s oldest museum, the Städel, with 700 years of European art housed under a single roof. If you prefer, opt for a guided bike ride that takes you through the Old Town, along the Main River promenade and down the city’s world-famous “Museum Mile”—which boasts no fewer than 13 acclaimed institutions. For something completely different, you can spend your time in Frankfurt delving into the city’s fascinating Jewish legacy.
Expect the unexpected in Speyer, where ancient treasures harmoniously co-exist with modern day innovation. Take it all in during a walk with a local expert, or—for something really unexpected—venture into a spooky, candlelit tasting room to sample flavorful elixirs made from wine vinegars. Utterly unique and (surprisingly) delicious! A third option is our Jewish Heritage excursion to Worms, an ancient center of learning and religion. Join a local expert for a guided stroll through the historic small town of Speyer, famous for its vast Romanesque cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll also have some free time to wander on your own, perhaps to have a coffee at a sidewalk café on the town’s bustling central plaza.
Strasbourg is invariably described as quaint, a rather overused word that in this case is perfectly apropos. Whether you see it by bicycle, on foot with an insightful local expert or opt to delve into the town’s Jewish past, Strasbourg’s cobbled lanes, half-timbered homes, giant stork nests and impossible-to-resist pastry shops will win your heart. After docking in town, you’ll have a chance to discover Strasbourg’s many charms with a choice of excursions: A guided “Do as the Locals Do” walking tour of the Petit France district, stopping to try traditional Alsatian treats along the way; a “Let's Go” bike tour that covers a bit more ground, including the European district; or an in-depth look at the city’s rich Jewish history, which dates back an astonishing 2,000 years. After lunch onboard, spend the afternoon at your leisure, perhaps shopping for handcrafted souvenirs bearing images of white storks—a beloved symbol of the city.
Basel historically has been divided by the Rhine into two sections: Greater Basel, on the south bank, and Lesser Basel, on the north bank—and the Lällekönig has been sticking his long red tongue out at Lesser Basel since 1640. Though the original beaten-copper head with its crown and clockwork mechanism now resides in a museum, a replica still reigns near the Middle Bridge, insulting the grittier side of the city in its time-honored way. It’s on your itinerary today as you explore both sides of this most walkable of cities, crossing between them via a traditional ferry that is powered solely by the Rhine’s current. Ramble with your guide through the historic heart of Basel, stopping to nibble some of the city’s delectable specialties, including its celebrated honey-almond cookies, and getting a glimpse of the remarkable range of shops, which display everything from designer fabrics, antique books, quirky figurines and, of course, timepieces. Every historic square you see will hold a special charm: The spectacular red sandstone 16th-century town hall faces Market Square; Barfüsser Square is named for the deconsecrated church that now houses the city museum; Cathedral Square is dominated by Basel’s 800-year-old red sandstone Münster, where Erasmus is buried.
Disembark the ship and be transferred to Basel airport for your flight home.