Detailed Itinerary Grand Rhine & Dutch Canals (Christmas Cruise)

CRUISE YEAR

14- Night Cruise


Day 1

BASEL, SWITZERLAND – EMBARKATION
After breakfast, bid farewell to Switzerland and prepare for your return flight home. (B)

Basel

Day 2

BREISACH, GERMANY
Breisach is your gateway to several different excursions. Step back in time with a visit to the enchanting Alsatian town of Riquewihr, which looks almost the same as it did in the 16th century. On your walking tour, admire historic architecture and famous sights, such as the Dolder Gate. Alternatively, head to Freiburg, founded in 1120 and home to the Freiburg’s Münster, a Gothic cathedral said to have “the most beautiful spire on earth.” Those wishing a more active excursion can cycle through the countryside, or hike in the Black Forest, a magical land full of cultural traditions. (B,L,D)

Breisach

Day 3

STRASBOURG, FRANCE
Strasbourg is even more alluring during the season of Advent. The Christkindelsmärik dates back to 1570, making it the oldest Christmas Market in France. Enjoy a panoramic bus tour that takes you past the Parc de l’Orangerie, the European Parliament and the Place de la Republique. Afterwards, walk through the historic town center on the Grande Île, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and through the lovely “La Petite France” district, where you will see the Cathédrale de Nôtre Dame with its famous astronomical clock and then visit the town’s famous Christmas Market. You can also choose to explore Strasbourg’s different districts by bicycle. During the afternoon, visit Gengenbach Christmas Market where, every year, the locals count down to Christmas with a larger-than-life 24-day Advent calendar. (B,L,D)

Strasbourg

Day 4

LUDWIGSHAFEN, GERMANY
Ludwigshafen is your gateway to a choice of three excursions. Visit Heidelberg, the perfectly preserved medieval city nestled in the Neckar River Valley along Germany’s Castle Road. Discover the iconic red sandstone Heidelberg Castle and Great Vat, an 18th-century, 49,000-gallon wine cask. For a more active adventure while in Heidelberg, join a guided hike up the Philosopher’s Path, aptly named during the Romantic Period, and enjoy panoramic views of the city. Alternatively, you can visit one of Germany’s oldest cities, Speyer, known for the largest Romanesque cathedral in Europe—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—and the medieval Old Gate, Altpörtel. Or join a guided bike tour along the shores of the river Neckar and enjoy a cycling break to explore the picturesque medieval town of Ladenburg. (B,L,D)

Ludwigshafen

Day 5

RÜDESHEIM – RHINE GORGE
Cruise through the captivating UNESCO-designated Rhine Gorge, the most stunningly beautiful stretch of the river before reaching the winemaking town of Rüdesheim. Join a wine tasting to discover the flavors of the town’s iconic vineyards. Or drink up the stunning views by soaring high above the vineyards with a gondola ride to the Niederwalddenkmal. For a more active adventure, hike through the town’s beautiful vineyards or join a guided bike tour along the scenic Rhine River. Later in the day, let Siegfried’s Mechanical Instrument Cabinet charm you with its remarkable collection of self-playing musical instruments; or taste one of the town’s special delights, Rüdesheimer coffee, ceremoniously made with brandy, coffee and whipped cream. (B,L,D)

Rüdesheim

Day 6

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY
As a leading hub for German culture, commerce, and architecture, Düsseldorf is a must-visit city for any travelers on the Rhine. Here, you will have two options for the day’s excursions. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a brief trip to the nearby city of Cologne. Home to one of Germany’s most revered Gothic masterpieces, the Cologne Cathedral, this 2,000-year-old city is also a bustling cosmopolitan hotspot. Join a guided tour through the enchanting Old Town and to the Cologne Rathaus, German’s oldest town hall, the Old Market and the Heumarkt. Plus, visit one of Europe’s largest and most renowned Christmas Markets just in front of the cathedral. Alternatively, explore historic Düsseldorf on foot with a knowledgeable local tour guide, then kick up your feet with a tasting of Altbier, a Düsseldorf specialty brewed using traditional techniques. Conclude the tour with a visit to the local Christmas Market. (B,L,D)

Cologne

Day 7

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
If you missed our canal cruise earlier in the itinerary, join us on board a specially designed boat as we glide beneath the bridges and alongside the iconic architecture for which Amsterdam is renowned. Alternatively, explore the city through your tastebuds by joining a walking tour that includes a sampling of local delicacies such as bitterballen and Dutch cheese at one of the city’s grand cafes. Later in the day, set sail out of Amsterdam. (B,L,D)

Amsterdam

Day 8

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
Enjoy a special tour of the world-famous Rijksmuseum. Considered The Netherlands’ national museum, the Rijksmuseum encompasses 800 years of Dutch history. Wander through the world’s largest collection of Dutch and Flemish art, where some of the most renowned works are housed, and marvel at such historic paintings as Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” and Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid.” (B,L,D)

Amsterdam

Day 9

DORDRECHT, NETHERLANDS – KINDERDIJK, NETHERLANDS
Established in 1220, Holland’s oldest city was virtually destroyed by a devastating flood in the 15th century that essentially created the city’s wetlands. Learn more about Dordrecht’s fascinating history on your walking tour, or visit Rotterdam, the “Gateway to Europe,” as well as Delfshaven, where, on August 1, 1620, the Pilgrim fathers departed on their epic journey aboard the Speedwell. Stopping in Southampton, many then boarded the Mayflower and concluded their journey at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. If you prefer to venture off the beaten path, head to the smaller town of Gorinchem with its picturesque Old Town or go on an architectural bike tour through Rotterdam. In the afternoon, venture to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk, a lovely village renowned for having the country’s greatest concentration of windmills, all dating from the 18th century. You may also pedal past the windmills from the seat of a bike. (B,L,D)

Dordrecht

Day 10

ANTWERP, BELGIUM
Explore Belgium’s trendy “City of Diamonds” on a walking tour where you’ll see Antwerp’s Steen Castle, Grote Market and Brabo Fountain, along with the UNESCO-designated Cathedral of Our Lady. Active travelers may prefer instead to bike through Antwerp. Later in the day, beer enthusiasts will appreciate a tasting of the local brew while foodies may prefer our excursion to sample some of Belgium’s culinary delights such as its fresh and fluffy waffles. An afternoon bike tour is also available for those who prefer to get their heart beating later in the day, and it includes an opportunity to visit the Red Star Line Museum, highlighting the historic shipping line responsible for transporting three million immigrants to America. (B,L,D)

Day 11

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
Explore Belgium’s captivating capital on your guided walking tour or pedal through Brussels on a guided bike ride. If you are a history enthusiast, spend your day traveling back in time to sites related to World War II’s historic Battle of the Bulge, which was the last major German offensive on the Western Front and toast fallen soldiers with a tasting of Trappist beer brewed by monks. For those not joining this full-day tour, choose from afternoon excursions that include a visit to Gaasbeek Castle, one of the oldest and authentic moated castles in Flanders, or delight your palate with a Belgian chocolate tasting. (B,L,D)

*Other excursions are not combinable with full-day tour on this day.

Day 12

GHENT, BELGIUM
There are several choices of excursions in Ghent, depending on your interests. Stroll through the Capital of East Flanders, learning about its unique history on your walking tour, or pedal through the spellbinding town on a guided bike tour. Alternatively, visit Bruges, one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe, on a full-day excursion that includes the renowned Church of Our Lady, home to the beautiful Carrara marble Madonna and Child sculpture by Michelangelo. If you prefer a shorter excursion in Bruges, visit the town later in the day or spend your afternoon at Ghent’s moated Castle of the Counts, which boasts an eye-catching design as well as a ghoulishly interesting collection of medieval torture devices. (B,L,D)

*Other excursions are not combinable with full-day tour on this day.

Day 13

HELLEVOETSLUIS, NETHERLANDS
Enjoy a scenic morning cruise through the delta before arriving in Hellevoetsluis, an island metropolis of South Holland. During your tour of this medieval harbor town, you may see enchanting sites such as its iconic working De Hoop windmill and witness the charming wharf houses. Later in the day, you may discover the intriguing history of how the Delta Works, a unique storm surge barrier, came to be while visiting the Flood Museum. More than half of the Netherlands lies below sea level and the Delta Works were built to prevent a recurrence of the 1953 flood disaster. For those who prefer an active adventure, pedal from Hellevoetsluis, with its cobblestone streets and charming harbor, across the Haringvlietdam and back. (B,L,D)

Hellevoetsluis

Day 14

AMSTERDAM – UTRECHT, NETHERLANDS
There are 165 canals in Amsterdam, and you’ll get enjoy some of them on your canal cruise. Later in the day, enjoy a scenic cruise through the IJsselmeer to Utrecht, the religious center of the Netherlands since the 8th century and a far-reaching city boasting a medieval old town, canals and a beautiful Gothic cathedral, some of which you may see on your walking tour, which includes a visit to the whimsical collection of automatically playing musical instruments at Museum Speelklok. Alternatively, marvel at the largest castle in Holland, De Haar on a walking or biking tour. Straight out of your fairytale dreams, this castle inspires awe with its turrets, moats and suspension bridges as well as its luxurious interior. (B,L,D)

Amsterdam

Day 15

AMSTERDAM – DISEMBARKATION
Board the ship for your Grand Rhine cruise. (D)

Amsterdam

Itinerary is subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the itinerary schedule provided with your final documents.

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