Arrive in Basel and embark your luxurious river cruise ship. Switzerland’s second largest city is ideally located at the crossroads of Switzerland, France and Germany. Long an important university, banking and trade center, Basel’s glorious past is still evident in its medieval Town Hall and exquisite 18th- century patrician homes. After settling into your stateroom this afternoon, you may wish to visit Basel’s Christmas Market on Barfsserplatz. Tonight, gather on board for a Welcome Cocktail and Dinner.
Today, choose between a city tour of Colmar or a tour through the famous Black Forest region of Germany. On the Black Forest tour, you will drive through a scenic forested area where you will encounter a number of lakes as well as charming examples of rural architecture. Your tour will include a stop at a Cuckoo Clock factory and to the Christmas Markets of Freiburg. In the alternative, travel to medieval Colmar, situated along the Alsatian Wine Route and the self-proclaimed “Capital of Alsatian Wine.” During your city tour, you will see remarkable half-timber framed houses, the German-influenced Old Quarter and the Launch River. You will also enjoy a wine tasting. Colmar is beautifully decorated with stunning illuminations during the Advent period and offers five Christmas Markets. Tonight, the ship set sails for Strasbourg, France.
Capital and principal city of the Alsace region in northeastern France, Strasbourg is situated on the Ill River, where it flows into the Rhine on the border with Germany. Enjoy a canal cruise, revealing the picturesque town, known for its black and white timber-framed buildings, covered bridges and medieval watch towers. Then take a tour through this charming ton. See the European Parliament and visit the “La Petite France” district, where you will see the sandstone Gothic Cathedral with its famous astronomical clock. You will also visit Strasbourg’s famous Christmas market. Dating back to the 16th century, the market is the oldest in France, and features hundreds of stands selling arts and crafts, decorations and holiday treats. A guided bicycle tour is also available (capacity controlled). Depart at lunchtime for Speyer, where your Cruise Manager will lead a walking tour after dinner.
Depart from Speyer for your excursion to Heidelberg, where you will visit the red-walled Castle, with its Great Vat, a 49,000-gallon 18th-century wine cask and beautiful views of the Neckar Valley and Heidelberg below. Return to the ship at Worms, one of Germany’s oldest cities. The city is known for its many excellent examples of Romanesque architecture, including the majestic 12th-century St. Peter’s Cathedral. During your tour, visit the impressive monument to Martin Luther and other leaders of the Reformation along the “Luther Trail.” You will also see the 11th-century “Heiliger Sand,” one of the largest and oldest Jewish cemeteries in Europe. During your free time, visit Worms’ Christmas Markets.
This morning, arrive in Rüdesheim and visit Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. Explore the Drosselgasse, a narrow alley lined with wine taverns and restaurants. Enjoy a wine tasting at a local vintner and - visit the Christmas Markets where you will find more than 120 stands from 12 nations. This afternoon, your ship departs for Koblenz. You will cruise through the Rhine Gorge, the most beautiful stretch of the river, passing castle after castle. Arrive in Koblenz late this afternoon. Your Cruise Manager will lead a walking tour through this charming town. The ship moors overnight in Koblenz.
This morning, the ship cruises to Cologne for a walking tour through the old part of the city and visit to the fabled 13th-century Gothic Cathedral. During your free time, return to the cathedral to browse through the city’s most impressive Christmas Market. The ship departs tonight for Amsterdam.
Admire beautiful 17-th century homes, charming churches and 16th-century merchant houses on a guided canal boat tour. Then enjoy a motor coach tour of Amsterdam, including a photo stop at the Rembrandt Windmill, followed by free time in Amsterdam. This evening, bid farewell to your fellow passengers at the Gala Farewell Dinner.
Transfer to the airport for your homeward flight.