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Days 1: Day 1 You embark in the late afternoon. There’ll be a welcome cocktail party before dinner is served on board, after which a typical Dutch folklore group will perform. The ship remains moored overnight in Amsterdam.
Day 2: After breakfast you can take an included city tour of Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, or choose to explore this interesting and lively city in your own time and way. On your tour you’ll drive past the city’s most important buildings and monuments and learn much about its vivid history before enjoying the very popular attraction of cruising through its canals. The ship leaves during lunch and crosses over the "Ijsselmeer" to the little fishing town of Volendam, where it docks in the afternoon. The ”Holland Waterland“ optional excursion starts here with a short stroll through the town before boarding a coach and driving out to Edam and visiting a dairy specializing in local Dutch cheeses. We rejoin the ship before dinner and the cruise continues into Germany.
Day 3: After lunch the vessel docks in Düsseldorf, the centre of the great Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region. This is certainly a city of remarkable contrasts. Bars and pubs line narrow old streets just minutes away from the super-chic boutiques of Düsseldorf’s spacious, tree-lined Königsallee, while sheep graze in lush meadows close to the city’s recently-redeveloped industrial port. Take the included city tour that includes both Düsseldorf and Cologne. After seeing parts of Düsseldorf, this tour takes you over to the former settlement of Colonia, which was founded on the orders of the Roman Emperor, Claudius, over 2,000 years ago. You’ll then see Cologne’s most important sights, namely its central old quarter, the cathedral, the town hall, the Guerzenich, the city walls and gate, churches and historic squares. From the bank of the Rhine there’s a fine view of the entire old quarter after which you visit the cathedral, which is Cologne’s icon and Germany’s largest cathedral. Its art treasures include a shrine housing the relics of the 3 holy kings. The vessel stays in Cologne for the evening.
Day 4: The morning is spent enjoying the beautiful Rhine valley scenery floating by. The ship arrives in Cochem after lunch, a quaint small town through which you will take an included walking tour. This includes, among other sights, Cochem’s fine medieval town gate and market place and a visit to a tavern for a wine tasting session. Then it’s back to the ship for dinner and an evening departure.
Day 5: Wake up in Koblenz at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle. An optional walking tour shows you the highlights of this 2000-year old city, surrounded by picturesque riverside scenery and backed by four low mountain ranges. Its abundance of cultural monuments and historic buildings, its narrow lanes and alleyways, and the relaxed and happy atmosphere of its squares and river promenades make Koblenz a friendly place where tourists feel right at home. This afternoon you cruise through the glorious central stretch of the Rhine valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, passing charming villages, many castles and the legendary Lorelei Rock. Before dinner, the vessel arrives in picturesque Rüdesheim, where you can spend a pleasant evening in the town’s Drosselgasse, a pedestrian street lined with shops and taverns. There’ll be an included walking tour of the town including a visit to Siegfried’s Music Museum, where all kinds of mechanical musical instruments from barrel organs and music boxes to horn gramophones are displayed. The ship sails from Rüdesheim in the late evening.
Day 6: This morning the vessel docks at Mannheim, which is situated at the confluence of the Rhine and the Neckar. Unusually for Germany, the city’s centre is laid out in a North-American grid pattern (called Quadrate in German), so it’s sometimes referred to as the Quadratestadt. Its main street leads to an enormous 18th-century palace, formerly the seat of the Electors of the Palatinate but now housing the University of Mannheim. This morning you enjoy an included tour of Mannheim We return to the ship for lunch and cruise on to Speyer during the afternoon. This old imperial city on the Rhine has had a rich and turbulent past. Religious architecture steeped in history, impressive facades of various styles, winding alleys and romantic squares characterize it. The included guided walk includes a look at the old city gate and the Jewish baths. In the evening the vessel heads off towards France. On this penultimate evening of your cruise the captain welcomes all the passengers to a special dinner.
Day 7: This morning your ship will have reached Strasbourg , the ancient capital of Alsace and one of Europe’s most attractive cities. After breakfast, take an included guided tour of the city. See the European Parliament building and enjoy a guided tour of the inside of the vast and famous cathedral (which features carvings as delicate as any piece of lacework). The richness and sheer density of Strasbourg’s historic buildings have led to the entire city centre being adopted as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Strasbourg is definitely well worth visiting for the combination of its history, its cuisine and its unique atmosphere.. In the afternoon there’ll be our “Alsace and wine” optional excursion, during which you’ll drive through the picturesque landscape and romantic wine villages along parts of the famous Alsace wine route. The tour includes a visit to a vineyard and a wine tasting session. Those on the excursion return to Strasbourg for dinner, after which the ship casts off for the last time on this cruise, heading upstream to Basel.
Day 8 Arrival in Basel in the morning. Disembarkation after breakfast. End of the program.
B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner