Day 1 Bruges, Belgium
Arrive at the Brussels airport, then transfer to Bruges, Belgium, one of Europe’s best preserved medieval treasures. You will have some free time to get acquainted with the city on your own.
Day 2 Bruges, Belgium
During a guided walking tour, take in the historic atmosphere of Bruges. Your city walk leads you past the town’s scenic network of canals and proud guild houses torn from a mercantile past. You will stop to visit the Church of Our Lady, with Michelangelo’s famous Madonna and Child
. Also see the Béguinage, a modest complex that housed a semi-monastic community of lay sisters – Beguines – dedicated to a life of piety. Afterward, you will have free time to stroll more of Bruges’s charming cobbled lanes, stop by an artisan’s shop to see how intricate lacework is created or sample sweet Belgian chocolates at any of the superb chocolatiers.
Day 3 Ghent, Belgium & Amsterdam, the Netherlands
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and transfer to Ghent, Belgium, one of the richest cities of the Middle Ages, thanks to a thriving wool trade. This city on the Scheldt River has a long and colorful history, which can be appreciated in the town’s beautiful old buildings and its impressive cathedral with Jan and Hubert van Eyck’s Adoration of the Mystic Lamb
, one of the greatest early Flemish paintings. Continue to Amsterdam, the canal-laced capital of The Netherlands built on the riches of the Dutch East India Company. (B)
Day 4 Amsterdam, the Netherlands
After breakfast, embark on a canal tour by glass-topped boat to see architecture from the city’s Golden Age. In the afternoon, take free time to visit the Anne Frank House, see the Van Gogh Museum, the renovated Rijksmuseum with its marvelous collection of Dutch Masterpieces, or to just explore the city’s charming neighborhoods. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your afternoon. (B)
Day 5 Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Enjoy a full day at leisure in Amsterdam. Explore the many charming side streets in the city’s canal belt, visit the Royal Palace on Dam Square or enjoy contemporary art at the Stedelijk Museum. Take time to relax in a café and try some of the local fare. In the afternoon, we will bring you to your ship for embarkation. Welcome aboard! (B, D)
Day 6 Kinderdijk, the Netherlands
This morning we sail to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a tour of this ingenious network of windmills and other flood management devices. You learn why the windmills were built and see how they work, plus you enter a working windmill for a tour of its mechanisms and living quarters. Return aboard for lunch and an enjoyable afternoon of Dutch diversions: sample handcrafted Dutch cheeses and jenever
, a distilled juniper liquor, and try your hand at sjoelen
(Dutch table shuffleboard). We cruise through the night. (B, L, D)
Day 7 Cologne, Germany
Continue along the Rhine this morning; arrive in Cologne and disembark for a walking tour. Stroll through Old Town past St. Martin’s Church, and spend some time inside Cologne’s Dom, a remarkable Gothic cathedral whose construction began in 1248 and was only completed in 1880. Explore the dockside taverns, cafés and shops on your own. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Dinner is served aboard and we remain docked until late evening. (B, L, D)
Day 8 Koblenz & Rudesheim, Germany
Proceed along the Rhine, disembarking to tour the 700-year-old Marksburg Castle and its museum. Enjoy an onboard lunch as you marvel at this scenic passage, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where castles overlook the river from their hilltop posts.
Arrive in Rüdesheim in the late afternoon. Spend free time in the pedestrian-only Drosselgasse and sample a glass of locally produced wine at one of the restaurants or wine bars. Dine aboard your ship, or in town if you prefer. We depart after midnight. (B, L, D)
Day 9 Heidelberg & Speyer, Germany
Cruise through the morning as you enjoy breakfast and the passing scenery. Arrive in Mannheim and disembark for a tour of Heidelberg to see Germany’s oldest university, founded in 1386. Then, visit the beautiful sandstone ruins of imposing Heidelberg Castle and take in the scenery of the Neckar River Valley and the city’s many red rooftops from this hilltop post. Continue with a walking tour through Old Town to Heidelberg’s renowned gates.
Rejoin your ship in Speyer this afternoon and take some time to look around. You dock in full view of the imposing Romanesque cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in the 11th century on the site of a former basilica, the building’s design influenced Romanesque architecture for centuries to come, and is the final resting place of eight German monarchs. Its soaring interior features graceful rows of sandstone columns and a large stained-glass window that was installed in the western facade during a later Gothic period. (B, L, D)
Day 10 Strasbourg, France
We dock this morning in Kehl and disembark for a guided tour of Strasbourg. See the European Parliament and tour the interior of the city’s famed cathedral. The afternoon is free to further explore this Alsatian city’s blend of French and German cultures, resplendent churches, medieval covered bridges, verdant parks and handsome Art Nouveau and modernist architecture. Dine aboard and enjoy free time this evening in the amiable little city of Kehl. (B, L, D)
Day 11 Breisach, Germany
Arrive in Breisach this morning, gateway to the Black Forest. Take a scenic excursion through the area’s renowned mountain landscape, rolling meadows and dense forests. Once there, visit a local workshop and see a cuckoo clock-making demonstration. Return to Breisach or choose an optional excursion to the quaint Alsatian town of Colmar. Dine aboard and cruise on through the night. (B, L, D)
Day 12 Basel, Switzerland
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your journey with 2 nights in Lucerne. Enjoy the scenic landscape of the Swiss Alps with a view from your hotel, situated on the banks of beautiful Lake Lucerne. (B)
Enhance your Rhine Getaway river cruise with two nights each in Belgium and Holland on this extraordinary cruisetour. You’ll explore 5 countries in 12 days, strolling the medieval cobblestone lanes of Bruges and Ghent and discovering the charms of Amsterdam. Tour the windmills of Kinderdijk and the castle of Heidelberg, marvel at cathedrals and admire the lush pastoral landscapes of Germany’s fabled Black Forest.
7 nights in your river-view stateroom plus 2 nights in Bruges: Hotel Dukes’ Palace and 2 nights in Amsterdam: Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam (or similar)
9 guided tours with audio headset
All onboard meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches & 7 dinners plus breakfast at the Bruges & Amsterdam hotels
Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with onboard dinner and lunch service
Visit 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
All port charges
Free Wi-Fi, connection speed may vary
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.