The Rhine & Moselle – Southbound 2018

13 Day River Cruise from Amsterdam to Basel

2018 Information. Switch to 2019 »

This exciting river cruise vacation has it all! Begin in Amsterdam with a cruise through the city’s enchanting canals. Enjoy guided sightseeing in Cologne, Koblenz, Luxembourg City and Strasbourg; visit France’s Metz or take an excursion to the Maginot Line; see the Roman ruins at Trier; visit Eltz Castle and the unique Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum in Rüdesheim. Sail past the legendary Lorelei rock and through the dramatic Rhine Gorge, enjoy a walking tour of pretty Bernkastel, and excursions to majestic Heidelberg and to Germany’s legendary Black Forest.


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Highlights & Sightseeing

Day 1 Amsterdam (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception

Day 2 Amsterdam: canal cruise

Day 3 Cologne: choice of guided walk or Jewish Heritage walk

Day 4 Koblenz: choice of guided city walk, see the Deutsches Eck; or visit Sayn Manor House

Day 5 Bernkastel: guided walk; wine tasting

Day 6 Thionville, France: choice of excursion to Metz or to the area of the Maginot Line

Day 7 Remich, Luxembourg. Excursion to Luxembourg City–Grevenmacher. Excursion to Trier, Germany: guided sightseeing of Luxembourg City; choice of guided sightseeing in Trier or “Roman Trier,” see the Porta Nigra

Day 8 Beilstein–Treis-Karden: free time in Beilstein; excursion to Eltz Castle

Day 9 Rhine Gorge–Rüdesheim: cruise through the Rhine Gorge; visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum in Rüdesheim; enjoy a special treat

Day 10 Excursion to Heidelberg–Speyer: guided visit of Heidelberg Castle, see the Great Vat; free time in Speyer

Day 11 Strasbourg: guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral; onboard woodcarving demonstration

Day 12 Breisach. Excursion to the Black Forest: visit a local woodcarver’s workshop or visit a Black Forest open-air museum

Day 13 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 capital is sophisticated and modern, with a rich and fascinating history. This delightful 700-year-old city with its elegant and classic architecture, cafés, restaurants, and lively marketplace has a distinct ambiance. If your flight arrives early enough, you might like to take one of the optional excursions on offer. Then, 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

After breakfast, set out to discover the treasures of this city by CANAL BOAT, cruising through the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” The afternoon is free to explore on your own or join in one of a number of optional excursions on offer.

Day 3

(B, L, D)

Cologne, Germany

One of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles the Rhine and is known for its soaring, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Choose between a GUIDED CITY WALK or a JEWISH HERITAGE 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.

Day 4

(B, L, D)

Koblenz

At the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers, 2,000-year-old Koblenz is the cultural and business center of the Middle Rhine region. Join a Local Guide for a WALKING TOUR of the city, which reveals an eventful past through its castles, fortress walls, towers, squares, and monuments; or visit nearby SAYN MANOR HOUSE, belonging to the counts of the same name. Later as you cruise the wide, peaceful curves of the Moselle River, it quickly becomes obvious why the Moselle Valley is famous for its beautiful and tranquil scenery, and that this is an important wine-growing area.

Day 5

(B, L, D)

Bernkastel

In the middle of the Moselle region is the charming wine village of Bernkastel with its narrow streets and half-timbered houses that have stood since the Middle Ages. Enjoy a GUIDED WALK that includes the beautiful marketplace with its renaissance-style Town Hall—built in 1608—and the “pointed house,” built in 1416. Wine growers in this area look after Germany’s largest expanse of vineyards, the most celebrated of the vintages being the Bernkasteler Doktor. During your free time, you might like to visit the Moselle Wine Museum. This afternoon, enjoy a TASTING of some of these well-loved German wines.

Day 6

(B, L, D)

Thionville, France

Today, the choice is yours. Join an EXCURSION TO METZ, a city with a rich history and many cultural and architectural gems, or alternatively, history buffs might prefer to participate in the excursion to a nearby area of the MAGINOT LINE, which stretched from Switzerland to the Belgian border. The line was composed of huge fortresses with smaller defense posts or simple blockhouses. Return to your vessel in time for lunch. The afternoon is free with the possibility to join an optional excursion.

Day 7

(B, L, D)

Remich, Luxembourg. Excursion to Luxembourg City–Grevenmacher. Excursion to Trier, Germany

Because of its location and natural geography, Luxembourg City has been a place of strategic military significance throughout history; the first fortifications were built as early as the 10th century. The city center occupies a picturesque site, perched high on precipitous cliffs that drop into the narrow valleys of the Alzette and Pétrusse Rivers. A LOCAL GUIDE will acquaint you with this city whose layout is complex as it is set on two levels, straddling hills and dropping into the two river valleys. At the head of the Moselle Valley is Trier, Germany’s oldest city. Some say Trier is even older than Rome and that it was populated over a thousand years before the Romans arrived. Many Roman remains have survived, including a 20,000-seat amphitheater; the Porta Nigra, the only surviving fortified gate from the original Roman settlement, which still gives access to the town’s center; imperial baths; and the Roman Bridge, Germany’s oldest bridge with stone pilings dating from 144-152 AD—all evidence of this once grand Roman city. Trier also offers pleasant market squares, Germany’s oldest Christian church, and a cornucopia of architectural styles—Roman, baroque, neo-classicism, renaissance, and gothic. A choice of GUIDED CITY SIGHTSEEING or the more history-focused “ROMAN TRIER” guided tour, followed by some free time, gives you the opportunity to discover this magnificent town.

Day 8

(B, L, D)

Beilstein–Treis-Karden

A leisurely day today, with free time this morning to explore the quaint little town of Beilstein. Then a short sail to Treis-Karden, where this afternoon, an excursion takes you for a visit to medieval ELTZ CASTLE, still owned by a branch of the family who lived there in the 12th century.

Day 9

(B, L, D)

Rhine Gorge–Rüdesheim

A highlight this morning after breakfast: cruise through the dramatic RHINE GORGE, the most beautiful stretch of river. Here, ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the waters. Cruise past the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where echoes of enchanted siren song lured unwitting sailors to their doom. Then, arrive in Rüdesheim, a typical 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. Enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT, then there’s free time to pick up some souvenirs on the narrow, cobblestoned Drosselgasse, where colorful flowers, open-air wine gardens, and live music add to the festive atmosphere.

Day 10

(B, L, D)

Excursion to Heidelberg–Speyer

This morning, an excursion takes you to Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany. With a local expert, 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! Rejoin your ship in Speyer and enjoy a free afternoon in one of Germany’s oldest cities.

Day 11

(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. An optional excursion into the Alsace wine country is available. After dinner tonight, enjoy an onboard WOODCARVING demonstration.

Day 12

(B, L, D)

Breisach, Germany. Excursion to the Black Forest

Located at the foot of Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border 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 cuckoo clocks, Black Forest ham, and Black Forest cherry cake. Choose to visit the workshop of a local woodcarver and clock maker, and purchase some locally made souvenirs, or visit an OPEN-AIR MUSEUM to see just how life was lived in this area centuries ago.

Day 13

(B)

Basel, Switzerland (Disembarkation)

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

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

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.

Ship Details

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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
Packages
Koblenz
Thionville
Rudesheim
Strasbourg
Breisach

Amsterdam

Discover Zaanse Schans & the Symbols of Holland

Discover Zaanse Schans & the Symbols of Holland

Tour a working windmill, watch wooden clogs being made, and visit a cheese farm on this exciting half-day guided excursion to Zaanse Schans!

Price Range: $

Bites & Highlights: Jordaan Foodie Walking Tour

Bites & Highlights: Jordaan Foodie Walking Tour

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: $$

Biking in Amsterdam

Biking in Amsterdam

Pedal your way past polders, dykes, and quaint, centuries-old villages on this exhilarating guided bike tour through the beautiful Dutch countryside.

Price Range: $$

Muiderslot Castle

Muiderslot Castle

From Golden Age paintings to 13th-century arms and armor, discover the wonders of Muiderslot Castle, one of Holland's most beautiful medieval castle fortresses, on this captivating half-day guided tour.

Price Range: $$

Packages

Celebration Packages

Celebration Packages

Celebrating a birthday or anniversary while you're cruising? Add an Avalon Celebration Package to your vacation. You can make your special day even more memorable with special touches ranging from flowers to a private cocktail reception.

Price Range: $$

Koblenz

Mendig's Magma & Monks Day Trip

Mendig's Magma & Monks Day Trip

Discover Germany's land of volcanoes on this exciting guided excursion to the "Lava City" of Mendig. Visit an interactive volcano museum, tour an underground volcanic cave system once used to store beer, and visit a fairytale abbey on the shores of a caldera lake.

Price Range: $$

Thionville

Nancy Excursion

Nancy Excursion

Nancy is famous around the world for its group of architectural masterpieces inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The streets of the medieval and Renaissance Old Town have changed little over the centuries.

Price Range: $

World Cultural Heritage Site Völklingen Steel Mill

World Cultural Heritage Site Völklingen Steel Mill

Shut down in 1986 and made a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1994, the Völklingen Steel Mill is the only authentically preserved steel mill in the world dating back to the peak of the iron and steel industry.

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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