Day 1 Arrive in Zurich, Switzerland. Transfer to Basel (Embarkation)
Arrive in Zürich, 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.
NOTE: Flights into Zürich 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 unrivaled 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 Kléber, 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 excursions into the Alsace wine country or to the Black Forest are 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 23 feet high and 28 feet wide, it holds over 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 Rüdesheim–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 Rüdesheim is the dramatic RHINE GORGE, the most beautiful stretch of river. Here, ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the waters. Cruise past the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where echoes 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 cafés, shops, and taverns. Be sure to try a Kölsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for over a hundred years! (B,L,D)
Day 7 Amsterdam, Holland
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, cafés, 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-Paris, France
Disembark your Avalon ship for your included transfer to the train station, where you will travel via HIGH-SPEED THALYS TRAIN (first-class) to join your Monograms package. (B)
Day 9 Paris
Your Local Host can suggest options, like an excursion to Monet’s Giverny or Versailles Palace, a visit to Musée d’Orsay, where to try French onion soup, and many other possibilities. (B)
Day 10 Paris
Morning guided sightseeing takes you to NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL, where Napoleon was crowned emperor in 1804, to admire its famed 13th-century Rose Window. Pass the Latin Quarter, Les Invalides, the Opéra, Place de la Concorde, and Arc de Triomphe. Drive by the Seine River with its beautiful bridges, and along the fashionable Champs-Elysées. Stop to take photos of the iconic Eiffel Tower from one of the best viewing points. Also enter the world’s most visited museum, THE LOUVRE, to see Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and other treasures (Tuesdays, take a Seine cruise instead). (B)
Day 11 Paris-London, England
Travel to London by HIGH-SPEED EUROSTAR TRAIN (standard class). (B)
Day 12 London
Morning guided sightseeing includes London’s landmarks. Drive past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben; Westminster Abbey, where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married; Whitehall’s mounted horseguards; the Prime Minister’s Downing Street; and Piccadilly Circus. Take photos of the London Eye, the giant Ferris wheel situated on the river bank, and the Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe. Then, visit ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL (except on Sundays). Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece with its world-famous dome is an iconic feature of London’s skyline. The final highlight is the pageantry of the Changing of the Guard (if held). (B)
Day 13 London
Your Local Hosts will be pleased to give you some interesting suggestions for the day—perhaps a visit to the blood-curdling London Dungeon or Madame Tussauds’ celebrity wax figure exhibition, and an acclaimed West End show with pre-theater dinner at a London restaurant. (B)
Day 14 London
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
One of Europe’s most legendary rivers awaits on this mesmerizing journey along the Rhine. Enjoy guided sightseeing in Strasbourg, Koblenz, and Cologne, as well as an excursion to the Black Forest and to Heidelberg, Germany’s oldest university town. Sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge, the most beautiful stretch of river dotted every mile with castles. Visit the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, see the legendary Lorelei rock, and enjoy a canal cruise in splendid Amsterdam. After disembarking your Avalon cruise ship in Amsterdam, we transfer you by high-speed train to Paris for your exciting Monograms extension. We've arranged your hotel reservations, daily breakfast, sightseeing with local experts, transfers from/to your hotels to/from the train stations, and more. Plus, we know you are not familiar with the cities, so we've arranged the services of friendly and knowledgeable Local Hosts® to answer questions, share inside information, help you arrange your activities and excursions, and more. The moment you arrive in Paris, you’ll feel the magic. We know the very best place to photograph the iconic Eiffel Tower, and we’ll take you there to get your shots! We’ll also take you to Notre Dame Cathedral to admire its amazing stained-glass Rose Window, then for a different perspective of the city, we've arranged for you to enjoy a cruise along the Seine. With three overnights, the “City of Light” is yours for discovering. Next, bid “Au Revoir” as an included high-speed train transfer whisks you from Paris to London for three nights and plenty of time to investigate just what makes England so jolly. We’ll pick you up at your hotel for exclusive, guided sightseeing with a local expert. You'll hear the inside stories around places like Westminster Abbey, where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married, and the Houses of Parliament. We’ll take you inside St. Paul’s Cathedral, the iconic cathedral where Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married. We’ll also take you to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace (if available). In both cities you’ll have a full day to explore on your own. From Paris, perhaps join an excursion to Fountainebleau Castle and Château de Vaux le Vicomte, journey to Disneyland® Paris for a day of fun, or visit the Carnavalet Museum, dedicated to the history of Paris. In London, you may want to step back in time on a guided afternoon Classic Rock & Beatles tour, see the “Beefeaters” at the Tower of London, ride a red double-decker bus or the “Tube,” or take in a West End theater show.
Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapés; Welcome dinner; Daily Afternoon Tea; Daily Night Fare; Farewell dinner; Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; soft drinks with lunch; and wine, beer, or soft drinks with dinner are included daily on board your vessel
Deluxe cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection Beds
Included excursions with Certified Local Guide.
Sightseeing as outlined in the day by-day itinerary.
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE.
Headsets for shore excursions.
Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.