RIVER CRUISES / CHRISTMAS MARKETS ON THE RHINE
Two packages are available. Land & Cruise OR Cruise only.
l ARRIVE IN AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND - EMBARKATION
Arrive in charming Amsterdam and board your luxurious river cruise ship. Meet your fellow travelers tonight at the Welcome Dinner.
Day 2 l AMSTERDAM
After breakfast, your tour of Amsterdam begins with a scenic canal cruise through the city known as the “Venice of the North.” See the beautiful homes that line the water, the fabled Skinny Bridge, and the famous Anne Frank House. Then enjoy a panoramic city tour, where you will see the great landmarks of Amsterdam, including the brewery windmill. Afterwards, enjoy some free time to explore Amsterdam on your own before returning to the ship. We depart early this afternoon for Germany.
Day 3 l COLOGNE, GERMANY
The ship arrives in Cologne around lunch time. You will have a guided tour of the city, strolling through the Old Town and Cathedral Square, and visiting the fabled 13th - century Gothic Cathedral. During your free time, browse the festive Christmas Market in Cathedral Square – one of Europe’s best – or explore the city on your own. The ship cruises overnight.
Day 4 l RHINE GORGE – RÜDESHEIM
This morning, we cruise through the fascinating Rhine Gorge, passing dozens of castles and the infamous Lorelei Rock. Arrive in Rüdesheim in time to visit the historic Siegfried’s Mechanical Instrument Museum and its collection of robotic and self-playing musical instruments, made during the 18th - 20th centuries. Explore the town’s Christmas Market during your free time, or the Drosselgasse , a narrow alley lined with wine taverns and restaurants. The ship departs very late tonight and cruises to Speyer .
Day 5 l SPEYER - HEIDELBERG
Arrive in Speyer around lunchtime. Speyer is one of Germany’s oldest cities, known for its Cathedral, churches, and the Altpörtel – a 13th-century gate tower. Choose either a tour of Medieval Speyer or a half day excursion to Heidelberg, where you will visit the red-walled Castle and its Great Vat, a 49,000-gallon 18th-century wine cask, and see beautiful views of the Neckar Valley and Heidelberg below. You will have free time to wander what is said to be the longest pedestrian shopping street in Germany, the “Haupstrasse ,” or some of the city’s colorful Christmas Markets. This evening, the ship cruises to Strasbourg, France.
Day 6 l STRASBOURG, FRANCE
Capital of the Alsace region in France, Strasbourg is situated on the Ill River, where it flows into the Rhine on the German border. Enjoy a panoramic tour that will take you past the Orangery, the town’s oldest park, the European Parliament and the Place de la Republique . Afterwards, explore on foot with a walking tour of the lovely “La Petite France” neighborhood, where you will see the Gothic cathedral with its famous astronomical clock. You will also visit Strasbourg’s famous Christmas market – said to be the oldest and best in all of France. The remainder of the day is yours to spend as you wish. The ship moors overnight in Strasbourg.
Day 7 l BREISACH , GERMANY
The ship arrives in Breisach after lunch today. Choose one of two exciting excursions: A visit to Riquewihr , a picturesque town that looks much as it did back in the Middle Ages, or a walking tour of Breisach and Freiburg . Breisach is a beautiful town that houses one of Europe’s largest wine cellars. In Freiburg , you will visit the historical city center and the Freiburg’s Münster, a Gothic cathedral constructed of red sandstone. Rejoin the ship in Breisach . This evening, we set sail for Basel, Switzerland.
Day 8 l BASEL, SWITZERLAND - DISEMBARKATION - LUCERNE
Disembark after breakfast and head off on a city tour of cosmopolitan Basel. Long an important university, banking and trade center, Basel’s glorious past is still evident in its medieval Town Hall and old, elegant homes. You will have free time in Basel for lunch on your own. Later, we will depart for Lucerne, stopping en route to visit the Lion Monument, built to honor the Swiss Guards who fought for King Louis XVI during the French Revolution. After arriving mid-afternoon and checking in to your hotel, the remainder of the evening is yours to spend at your leisure, perhaps visiting Lucerne’s Christmas Market.
Day 9 l LUCERNE
Situated on Lake Lucerne, this city is truly a medieval gem. After breakfast, enjoy a walking tour that will explore some of the city’s famous cobblestone streets, monuments, fountain-embellished public squares, covered bridges and colorful fresco-covered buildings. You will have free time in the afternoon to shop for Swiss-made watches, knives, and delicious chocolates. As an alternative, you may take an optional tour and cable car ride to the top of a Swiss mountain, which offers incredible views of scenic Alpine vistas.
Day 10 l LUCERNE - ZURICH
Enjoy a free morning in Lucerne before checking out of your hotel. Afterwards, you will cruise across the tranquil waters of Lake Lucerne to Vitznau , where you will board a motor coach for a scenic drive to Zurich. After checking into your hotel, the remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore the town or visit Zurich’s enchanting indoor Christmas Market (located inside the city’s main train station).
Day 11 l ZURICH
Your morning walking tour of picturesque Zurich will include the Grossmünster and St. Peter, which has the largest church clock face in the world. You will also see the Old Town, the Town Hall and Fraumünster , which was fully renovated in 2004 and now offers an exceptional 360° panoramic view of Zurich. The afternoon and evening is free for you to explore on your own or visit Europe’s largest indoor Christmas Market or the markets on Bahnhofstrasse and in the city center.
Day 12 l DEPART ZURICH
After breakfast, bid farewell to Switzerland and prepare for your return flight home.