Festive Time on the Romantic Rhine 2018

8 Day River Cruise from Amsterdam to Basel

2018 Information

One of Europe’s most legendary rivers awaits you on this delightful winter journey along the Rhine River, which takes you across Germany—and touches in Holland, France, and Switzerland!

This magnificent river cruise begins in the ever popular, modern city of Amsterdam, Holland. The best way to see the treasures of this 700-year-old city is on a canal cruise along the elegant grachten lined with homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.” Cologne, Germany—a 2,000 year-old city known for its gothic architecture—will be an exciting stop with its famous twin-spired cathedral and Old Town with many shops, cafés, and taverns. While you’re there, why not try a locally-brewed Kölsch beer? Pass through the dramatic Rhine Gorge—the most beautiful stretch of the Rhine River where ancient castles stand on cliffs 400 feet above the water. And nearby, in the charming wine town of Rüdesheim, visit the unique Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. Continue your Rhine river cruise to Mainz for a guided walk and visit to the captivating Gutenberg Museum. An excursion takes you to Heidelberg to visit the ruins of its red-walled castle towering magnificently over the city. In Strasbourg, France, you’ll be amazed by the red-sandstone gothic cathedral with ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock. The city’s Christmas market is one of the oldest and finest in Europe.

Before the end of your European river cruise vacation, stop in Breisach, Germany, located on the French-German border, the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest—an area of unrivaled natural beauty—best known for Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and the cuckoo clock.

At every stop, you’ll experience the magical charm of this time of year, with the towns decked out in festive lights and décor, and the Christmas markets waiting to be explored.


Dates & Prices Get A Quote Book Online

Highlights & Sightseeing

Day 1 Amsterdam (Embarkation): welcome reception

Day 2 Amsterdam: canal cruise

Day 3 Cologne: guided city walk; Christmas market

Day 4 Rhine Gorge–Rüdesheim: cruise through the Rhine Gorge; visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum in Rüdesheim; special treat; Christmas market

Day 5 Mainz. Excursion to Heidelberg: guided walk, visit the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz; excursion to Heidelberg, guided visit of the castle, see the Great Vat; Christmas market

Day 6 Strasbourg: guided sightseeing, visit the La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral; Christmas market; onboard woodcarving demonstration

Day 7 Breisach. Excursion to the Black Forest: visit a local woodcarver’s workshop; Christmas market

Day 8 Basel (Disembarkation): your vacation ends this morning

Meals

  • Welcome & farewell cocktails with sparkling wine and canapés
  • Welcome dinner
  • Farewell dinner
  • Daily full buffet breakfast with made-to-order egg station, hot and cold menu items
  • Early and Late Riser breakfast
  • Daily lunch buffet with pasta or carving stations
  • Alternative light lunch or (weather permitting) grill fare at the Sky Bistro on the Sky Deck
  • Daily four-course à la carte dinner in the main dining room
  • Alternative dinner of petite portions or regional specialties with wines, in the Panorama Bistro
  • Daily Afternoon Tea
  • Daily Night Fare
  • Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner are included daily on board your vessel

Day-By-Day Itinerary

(B) = Breakfast   (L) = Lunch   (D) = Dinner

Day 1

(D)

Arrive in Amsterdam, Holland (Embarkation)

Welcome to Amsterdam, Holland’s sophisticated, modern capital. This delightful 700-year-old city with its elegant and classic architecture, cafés, and restaurants has a distinct ambiance. The streets, squares, canals, and bike paths throughout the city make for a vibrant atmosphere, and with over 60 museums, Amsterdam has the highest museum density in the world. Perhaps you would like to take an optional excursion to Zaanse Schans with its traditional houses and Dutch craft workshops. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception.

NOTE:
Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

Day 2

(B, L, D)

Amsterdam

There is no better way to see Amsterdam than by CANAL BOAT, cruising through the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” There’s free time in the city this afternoon to explore on your own. Later, bid tot ziens (farewell) to Holland and set sail for Germany.

Day 3

(B, L, D)

Cologne, Germany

Today, enjoy a peaceful morning of cruising before reaching Cologne in the afternoon. One of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles both sides of the Rhine, and is known for its soaring, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. This afternoon, join your included GUIDED CITY WALK. The Old Town abounds with cafés, shops, and taverns. Be sure to try a Kölsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for over a hundred years! Stroll through the fabulous and magical Christmas markets before leaving Cologne and sailing to Rüdesheim.

Day 4

(B, L, D)

Rhine Gorge–Rüdesheim

The dramatic RHINE GORGE is the most beautiful stretch of river. Here, ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the water. Cruise past the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where echoes of enchanted siren song lured unwitting sailors to their doom. In Rüdesheim, the quintessential Rhine Valley wine town, visit SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM to see and hear a large collection of self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. The entire town transforms itself into one large Christmas market, offering products and specialties from a number of nations, all presented in a distinctive manner. You’ll be spoiled by the selection of shops offering a vast variety of Christmas presents and decorations. In the Market Square, you’ll find Europe’s largest nativity scene with life-size figures. Enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT before returning to your ship for dinner.

Day 5

(B, L, D)

Mainz. Excursion to Heidelberg

Strategically located at the confluence of the Rhine and Main Rivers is Mainz, with “civilized” origins dating back to around 38 BC. Today, this is Germany’s largest and most important wine market. Join your Local Guide for a GUIDED WALK through the Altstadt (Old Town) with its many intriguing shops and the whimsical Fastnachtsbrunnen (Carnival Fountain) on the Schillerplatz, a tribute to the jesters at the city’s annual Carnival celebration. Gutenberg, father of modern printing, was born here—and you’ll visit the captivating GUTENBERG MUSEUM. After lunch, travel to Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany. With a LOCAL GUIDE, visit the imposing ruins of HEIDELBERG CASTLE, towering magnificently over the city and among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. You’ll also see the famed GREAT VAT, the “World’s Largest Wine Barrel.” At nearly 23 feet high and 28 feet wide, the cask holds over 58,000 gallons of wine and has a dance floor built on top of it!

Day 6

(B, L, D)

Strasbourg, France

Situated on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg blends the cultures of both countries in a delightful way. As capital of the Alsace region and seat of the Council of Europe and European Parliament, it is without a doubt an important city that manages to retain its historic charm. On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, visit the monumental red-sandstone GOTHIC CATHEDRAL with its ancient murals, stained-glass windows, and fascinating astronomical clock, as well as the magical LA PETITE FRANCE district, home to half-timbered houses, quaint shops, inviting bistros, and a waterfront promenade. Also spend time exploring Place Kléber, a large historic square in the heart of the city, and Place Gutenberg in the heart of medieval Strasbourg, which features a statue of the inventor of the printing press. Dating back to 1570, the traditional Christmas market is one of the oldest and finest in Europe. Located around Place de la Cathédrale and Place Broglie, its centerpiece is a giant Christmas tree. As you stroll through the festively decorated and illuminated streets, you’ll notice the pleasing aromas of mulled wine, sweets, spice cakes, and biscuits—a truly magical atmosphere! An optional excursion into Alsace wine country is available today. After dinner, enjoy an onboard WOODCARVING demonstration.

Day 7

(B, L, D)

Breisach, Germany. Excursion to the Black Forest

Located at the foot of Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border, Breisach is the gateway to Germany’s BLACK FOREST region, an area of unrivaled natural beauty with its forests of thick pine trees. The area got its name because the forests are so dense that local residents described them as black. Surely, the most well-known products from this region are Black Forest ham, Black Forest cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks. This afternoon, there’s free time in Breisach to visit one more Christmas market—or you may join an optional excursion to Colmar in France’s Alsace region.

Day 8

(B)

Basel, Switzerland (Disembarkation)

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

NOTE:
Departure flights should not leave Zürich Airport before 10:00am.

Notes

  • In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program.
  • Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change becomes necessary, a substitute will be offered.
  • In the event that a high-speed train is unavailable due to strikes or technical reasons, the route will be altered or operated by motorcoach.

Ship Details

Tranquility II

Tranquility II

Another exciting Suite Ship® graces the rivers of Europe in 2015. The intimate setting of the Avalon Tranquility II features two full decks of Panorama Suites with Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows that transform the living space into a unique Open-Air Balcony®. With 200 square feet, Panorama Suites are more than 30% larger than the industry standard-perfect for stretching out and relaxing-or even throwing a private cocktail party for up to six adults in the spacious sitting area. Onboard amenities and services include complimentary computer use in public areas and free Wi-Fi access, a Fitness Center with state-of-the-art equipment, an elevator, and a spacious Sky Deck with shade system, whirlpool, deck games, and the delightful Sky Bistro for al-fresco lunches of light grill fare.

Included Amenities

  • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows
  • State-of-the-art fitness center
  • Convenient Elevator Service
  • Outside viewing deck
  • English-speaking friendly crew, staff & professional Cruise Director
  • Onboard lectures, activities & entertainment
  • Sky Deck whirlpool
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
  • Onboard Adventure Center with active gear, bikes, Nordic walking sticks, watercraft & maps
  • Light lunch & casual dinner in the Panorama Bistro
  • Choice of Leisurely, Traditional or Independent sightseeing pace options
  • Onshore & Onboard experiences with regional customs, cultures & tastings with local artisans, experts & entertainers
  • Well-stocked library with books, cards, and board games
  • Full-size closet mirror
  • Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs, whirlpool, shade awnings, & outdoor deck game area
  • Non-smoking staterooms & ship interior
  • Elegant, contemporary design
  • Headsets for guided shore excursions in Europe
  • Sightseeing with Expert Local Guides
  • Room service for Continental breakfast & beverages (service fee applies)
  • Complimentary computer use in public areas
  • Additional biking excursions available in Amsterdam, Breisach and Bernkastel
  • Sky Deck game area
  • Avalon Choice® cruising experience
  • Nordic walking sticks available onboard for complimentary check-out
  • Self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees, including decaf options
  • Complimentary bottled water, fresh fruit, and cookies available throughout the day

Staterooms & Suites

Avalon Deluxe Stateroom (Cat. D, E) - 172 sq. ft.
Features
  • Comfort Collection BedsSM
  • Egyptian super-combed cotton linens
  • Soft & firm pillows
  • Choice of bed configuration
  • Bedside tables with reading lamps
  • L'Occitane bath products
  • Easy under-bed luggage storage
  • Alarm clock
  • Bathrobes & slippers
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Individual climate control
  • Large mirror in bathroom
  • USB Ports
  • Full shower with glass door
  • Vanity and lighted makeup mirror
  • Luxurious mattress toppers
  • European-style duvets
  • Extra blankets
  • Nightly turn-down service
  • Hairdryer
  • Spacious 3-door closets with shelves for ample storage
  • Flatscreen satellite TV with English-speaking channels & over 100 free movie options
  • Direct-dial telephone
  • Well-stocked minibar
  • In-room safe
  • Elegant, contemporary design
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Two windows
  • Writing desk and chair
Panorama Suite (Cat. A, B, P) - 200 sq. ft.
Features
  • Comfort Collection BedsSM
  • Egyptian super-combed cotton linens
  • Soft & firm pillows
  • Choice of bed configuration
  • Bedside tables with reading lamps
  • L'Occitane bath products
  • Easy under-bed luggage storage
  • Alarm clock
  • Direct-dial telephone
  • Well-stocked minibar
  • In-room safe
  • Elegant, contemporary design
  • Marble countertops in bathroom
  • USB Ports
  • 6-person sitting area
  • Writing desk and chair
  • Sofa
  • Luxurious mattress toppers
  • European-style duvets
  • Extra blankets
  • Nightly turn-down service
  • Hairdryer
  • Spacious 3-door closets with shelves for ample storage
  • Flatscreen satellite TV with English-speaking channels & over 100 free movie options
  • Make-up mirror
  • Bathrobes & slippers
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Individual climate control
  • Large mirror in bathroom
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Window with Open-Air BalconySM
  • Full shower with glass door
  • Vanity and lighted makeup mirror
  • Coffee table
Royal Suite - 300 sq. ft.
Features
  • Comfort Collection BedsSM
  • Egyptian super-combed cotton linens
  • Soft & firm pillows
  • Choice of bed configuration
  • Bedside tables with reading lamps
  • L'Occitane bath products
  • Easy under-bed luggage storage
  • Alarm clock
  • Direct-dial telephone
  • Well-stocked minibar
  • In-room safe
  • Elegant, contemporary design
  • Marble countertops in bathroom
  • USB Ports
  • 6-person sitting area
  • Writing desk and chair
  • Sofa
  • Double sinks
  • Luxurious mattress toppers
  • European-style duvets
  • Extra blankets
  • Nightly turn-down service
  • Hairdryer
  • Spacious 3-door closets with shelves for ample storage
  • Flatscreen satellite TV with English-speaking channels & over 100 free movie options
  • Make-up mirror
  • Bathrobes & slippers
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Individual climate control
  • Large mirror in bathroom
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Window with Open-Air BalconySM
  • Full shower with glass door
  • Vanity and lighted makeup mirror
  • Coffee table
DECK PLANS

Hotels

Amsterdam
Zurich

 Optional Excursions

The following optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These may or may not be offered, and availability is subject to days of operation and seasonality. Please select a departure date to view optional excursions and pricing for a specific date (due to currency fluctuation, pricing shown is subject to change until purchased). Optional excursions are available for purchase on our MyAvalon site 90 days prior to the tour start date.

Price Ranges

$ ($50 USD and under)
$$ ($51 - $100 USD)
$$$ ($101 - $150 USD)
$$$$ (Over $150)


Amsterdam
Rudesheim
Strasbourg
Breisach

Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

This afternoon set out for a guided tour of the highlights of the Rijksmuseum. View some of the 8.000 pieces of art and history on display, including paintings by Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt's civic guard portrait in the Night Watch Gallery, and the forniture, photography, films, and historical objects found in the 20th Century wing.

Price Range: $$

Amsterdam Culinary Walk

Amsterdam Culinary Walk

Discover Amsterdam's charming Jordaan district, and taste the authentic foods the locals know and love on this enjoyable guided foodie walking tour.

Price Range: $$

Rudesheim

Traditional German Dinner

Traditional German Dinner

Treat your tastebuds to a hearty 3-course Rheinisch dinner on this delightful dinner outing including German entertainment and drinks.

Price Range: $$

Strasbourg

Into the Alsace Countryside with Wine Tasting

Into the Alsace Countryside with Wine Tasting

Travel along the famed Alsace Wine Route on this enchanting half-day excursion that visits a traditional medieval Alsace village and includes a cellar tasting of the local wines.

Price Range: $$

Breisach

Storybook Colmar, the Little Venice of France

Storybook Colmar, the Little Venice of France

Discover the fusion of German and French culture on this wonderful guided tour through storybook Colmar, the 'Little Venice' of France and capital of the Alsace wine region.

Price Range: $$

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