Day 1: ARRIVE IN ZURICH, SWITZERLAND. TRANSFER TO BASEL (EMBARKATION).
Welcome to Switzerland, home of the Matterhorn and the majestic Alps! Transfer by motorcoach to Basel, where your river cruise vessel is docked. Meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. (D)
NOTE: Flights into Zurich must arrive before 3 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
Day 2: BREISACH, GERMANY. EXCURSION TO THE BLACK FOREST.
Located at the foot of Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border, Breisach is the gateway to Germany's BLACK FOREST region, an area of unrivalled natural beauty. The area got its name because the pine forests are so dense, local residents described them as black. The most well-known products from this region are Black Forest ham, Black Forest cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks! You may opt to visit the workshop of a local woodcarver who produces clocks and other carvings, or to the open-air Vogtsbauernhof Museum to see how life was lived in this area centuries ago. (B,L,D)
Day 3: STRASBOURG, FRANCE.
Situated on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg blends the cultures of both countries in a delightful way. On your walking tour you will discover Europe at its most quintessential. Visit the monumental red-sandstone GOTHIC CATHEDRAL with its ancient murals, stained-glass windows, and fascinating astronomical clock, as well as the magical LA PETITE FRANCE district, home to half-timbered houses, quaint shops, inviting bistros, and a waterfront promenade. Explore Place Kleber, a large historic square in the heart of the city, and Place Gutenberg in the heart of medieval Strasbourg, which features a statue of the inventor of the printing press. This afternoon, optional excursion into the Alsace wine country is available. (B,L,D)
Day 4: EXCURSION TO HEIDELBERG, GERMANY-MAINZ.
This morning, an excursion takes you to Heidelberg, home to Germany's oldest university, which was founded in 1386. Visit the ruins of HEIDELBERG CASTLE, towering magnificently over the city and among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. You'll also see the famed GREAT VAT, the "World's Largest Wine Barrel." At nearly 7 metres (23 feet) high and 8.5 metres (28 feet) wide, the cask holds over 260,000 litres (58,000 gallons) of wine and has a dance floor on top of it! In the afternoon, arrive in Mainz, which today is Germany's largest and most important wine market. The Altstadt (Old Town) has many intriguing shops and the whimsical Fastnachtsbrunnen (Carnival Fountain) on the Schillerplatz is a tribute to the jesters at the city's annual Carnival celebration. Gutenberg, father of modern printing, was born here, and during a GUIDED WALK you'll visit the captivating GUTENBERG MUSEUM. (B,L,D)
Day 5: RUDESHEIM-RHINE GORGE-KOBLENZ.
This morning, dock in pretty Rudesheim, a typical Rhine Valley wine town. Visit SIEGFRIED'S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM to see and hear a large collection of self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries, and enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT. Downstream from Rudesheim is the dramatic RHINE GORGE, the most beautiful stretch of river. Here, ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 122 metres (400 feet) above the waters. Cruise past the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where echs of enchanted siren song lured sailors to their doom. Then, arrive at the place where the Rhine and Moselle Rivers meet-the Deutsches Eck (German Corner) with its impressive statue of German Emperor William I. Join your Local Guide for a WALKING TOUR of 2,000-year-old Koblenz, which reveals an eventful past through its castles, fortress walls, towers, squares, and monuments. (B,L,D)
Day 6: COLOGNE.
One of Germany's largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles both sides of the Rhine, and is known for its soaring, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Choose between an included GUIDED CITY WALK or JEWISH HERITAGE WALK. The Old Town abounds with cafes, shops, and taverns. Be sure to try a Kolsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for over a hundred years! (B,L,D)
Day 7: AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND.
Welcome to Amsterdam! Holland's sophisticated, modern capital has a rich and fascinating history. This delightful 700-year-old city with its elegant and classic architecture, cafes, and restaurants has a distinct ambiance. There is no better way to see Amsterdam than by CANAL BOAT, cruising through the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam's "Golden Age." There's free time this afternoon to enjoy the city or perhaps join an optional excursion. (B,L,D)
Day 8: AMSTERDAM (DISEMBARKATION).
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning. (B)