Arrive in charming Amsterdam and embark your luxurious river cruise ship. Meet your fellow travelers tonight at the Welcome Cocktail Reception.
After breakfast, your tour of Amsterdam begins with a scenic canal cruise through the city known as the “Venice of the North.” See the tall narrow homes lining the water, the Skinny Bridge, and the house where Anne Frank and her family lived in hiding during WWII. Later, enjoy a panoramic city tour that will show you many key sights, including a photo stop at the windfall famously painted by Rembrandt. You’ll have some free time to explore on your own before returning to the ship. The ship departs this afternoon, en route to Germany.
The ship arrives in Cologne around lunch time. You will have a guided tour of the city, strolling through the Old Town and Cathedral Square, and visiting the fabled 13th-century Gothic Cathedral. During your free time, browse the festive Christmas Market in Cathedral Square – one of Europe’s best – or explore the city on your own. The ship cruises overnight.
Today, sail through the fascinating Rhine Gorge, passing castle after castle and the infamous Lorelei Rock. After lunch, arrive in Rüdesheim and visit Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. Explore the Drosselgasse, a narrow alley lined with wine taverns and restaurants during your free time. The ship moors here tonight.
Arrive in Speyer around lunchtime. Speyer is one of Germany’s oldest cities, known for its Cathedral, churches, and the Altpörtel – a 13th-century gate tower. Choose either a tour of Medieval Speyer or a half day excursion to Heidelberg, where you will visit the red-walled Castle and its Great Vat, a 49,000-gallon 18th-century wine cask, and see beautiful views of the Neckar Valley and Heidelberg below. You will have free time to wander what is said to be the longest pedestrian shopping street in Germany, the “Haupstrasse,” or some of the city’s colorful Christmas Markets. This evening, the ship cruises to Strasbourg, France.
Capital of the Alsace region in northeastern France, Strasbourg is situated on the Ill River, where it flows into the Rhine on the German border. After arriving this morning, you will visit Strasbourg’s famous Christmas market – said to be the oldest and best of its kind in the country. You will also take a walking tour along the town’s narrow cobbled streets, see the European Parliament and visit the “La Petite France” district, with its sandstone Gothic cathedral and famous astronomical clock. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. The ship moors overnight in Strasbourg.
You have three exciting excursions to choose from today. The first is a walking tour of Riquewihr, a picturesque town that looks much as it did back in the 16th century. A second option is a walking tour of Breisach and Freiburg. Breisach is a beautiful town on that houses one of Europe’s largest wine cellars. In Freiburg, you will visit the historical city center and the Augustinerplatz, site of Freiburg’s Münster, a Gothic cathedral constructed of red sandstone. A third option is a guided bike tour of Breisach (capacity controlled). Tonight, the ship cruises to Switzerland.
Disembark after breakfast and head off on a city tour of cosmopolitan Basel. 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. You will have free time for lunch on your own, then depart for Lucerne, stopping to visit the Lion Monument en route. After arriving mid-afternoon and checking in to your hotel, you may wish to visit Basel’s fantastic Christmas Market on Barfsserplatz.
Situated on Lake Lucerne, this city is truly a medieval gem. After breakfast, enjoy a walking tour that will explore some of the city’s famous cobblestone streets, monuments, fountain-embellished public squares, covered bridges and colorful fresco-covered buildings. You will have free time in the afternoon to shop for watches, knives, and delicious Swiss chocolates. As an alternative, you may take an optional tour and cable car ride (seasonal) to the top of Mount Pilatus, the mountain that dominates the city. The return trip down the mountain is via the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, an engineering marvel.
Enjoy a free morning in Lucerne before checking out of your hotel. Afterwards, you will cruise across the tranquil waters of Lake Lucerne to Vitznau, where you will board a motor coach for a scenic drive to Zurich. After checking into your hotel, the remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore the town or visit Zurich’s enchanting indoor Christmas Market (located inside the city’s main train station).
Your morning walking tour of picturesque Zurich will include the Grossmünster and St. Peter, which has the largest church clock face in the world. You will also see the Old Town, the Town Hall and Fraumünster, which was fully renovated in 2004 and now offers an exceptional 360° panoramic view of Zurich. The afternoon and evening is free for you to explore on your own or visit Europe’s largest indoor Christmas Market or the markets on Bahnhofstrasse and in the city center.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight home.