Board the Van Gogh between 6 and 7 PM and settle into your cabin. Attend a welcome cocktail to introduce yourself to the crew, and enjoy dinner on board. Following dinner, join an optional tour of old-town Amsterdam by a glass-covered river boat. Remain in port overnight.
Enjoy breakfast on board and join an optional guided visit of Amsterdam, a truly beautiful city. Admire its rich architectural heritage, dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Return on board for lunch, then join an optional excursion to Haarlem. Haarlem shows considerable evidence of the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century, and it has many of its central medieval buildings intact. Return to the ship in time for dinner, then depart and cruise through the night.
Spend the entire morning on the ship and sail past the charming Netherland towns of Nijmegen and Arnhem before crossing the border into Germany near Emmerich. Early in the afternoon, arrive in Xanten and set off by coach for an optional excursion to Aachen. Begin with a tour of the old town with its narrow alleyways and historic squares, marked by some 2,000 years of history. Continue on and visit Aachen Cathedral - one of the finest examples of Western architecture and the oldest cathedral in northern Europe. More than 30 German kings were crowned in the cathedral, and it is also a religious pilgrimage site. Enjoy some free time before returning to the ship in Düsseldorf.
Arrive in Cologne around sunrise. Enjoy breakfast before setting off for an optional guided walking tour of Cologne. A European crossroads since the Middle Ages, Cologne has remained important as a vibrant commercial and industrial city as well as a cultural and religious center. Discover the exterior facades of the magnificent Gothic cathedral, which took over 500 years to build. Around the cathedral, 12 other Romanesque churches are built in a circle formation, representing the 12 apostles. Continue to the old town and stop to admire the outside of the neo-Gothic building, home of the famous Eau de Cologne. Enjoy some free time before leaving by coach to Königswinter. Board the ship in time for lunch. Continue up the Rhine and arrive in Coblenz early in the evening. Remain in port overnight.
Enjoy a breakfast buffet on board as you cruise up the Rhine, viewing its many castles, legends and the famous Lorelei rock. Arrive in Mainz in the afternoon and join an optional guided visit of the town and the Gutenberg Museum (closed on Mondays). Mainz was founded by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago, and, in the 17th and 18th centuries, top architects and sculptors created the basic shape of the town. During the excursion, the ship will continue to Worms for reboarding in the afternoon. In the evening, enjoy a gala dinner on board and continue cruising through the night.
Arrive in Strasbourg around 8:00 AM and leave the ship for a journey by coach to Besancon, a charming city renowned for its architecture and history. After lunch take a guided walking tour to discover historical landmarks: Granvelle Palace, Castan Square, La Porte Noire, and the St. Jean Cathedral. Continue your journey by coach to Chalons-Sur-Saône and arrive in the afternoon. Switch to your new ship around 5:30 PM.
Arrive in Lyon early in the morning. Enjoy a free morning exploring the town on your own, or join an optional excursion around the city. Lyon is admirably situated at the confluence of the Rhône and the Saône. A panoramic tour will give you a chance to view all the main attractions and monuments in the city. Travel by coach to old-town Lyon to discover the historic traboules passageways. Spend some free time in the Saint Jean quarter, the historic heart of Lyon, before returning to the ship and cruising to Tournon. Enjoy the afternoon on the Rhone, passing by the Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Château Grillet and St. Joseph vineyards. Arrive in Tournon around 7:00 PM.
Join an optional guided tour of Tournon in the morning and visit the town by tourist train. Stop to visit the impressive castle of Tournon, one of the most beautiful castles in the Ardèche region. This magnificent castle was built on a high granite rock between the 14th and 16th centuries and was the domain of the barony of the Counts of Tournon. Its elevated position gives it a most impressive appearance. Wrap up your visit with a chance to sample regional products and wines before returning to the ship.
In the morning, join an optional guided tour of Arles. Discover this important city of culture, which is filled with Gallo-Roman ruins and a remarkably well-preserved Roman arena, before heading into the countryside to learn about the production of Provençal olive oil. We'll return for lunch and continue to cruise towards Avignon. Join an optional excursion to the City of Popes and the fortified Palace of the Popes, a citadel surrounded by ramparts and perched on a rocky outcropping over the river.
Enjoy one last breakfast buffet on board before disembarking at 9:00 AM.