The Rhine & Moselle - Northbound River Cruise (WZRA)
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River Cruise Description
Set out on your thrilling 2019 13 day Avalon river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. Tour the intriguing and elegant cities of France and Germany while gliding across the waters of the Moselle and Rhine Rivers on your way to Amsterdam, Holland.
Visit Breisach, the gateway to the famous Black Forest of Germany; a stretch of unmatched natural beauty, which sits at the base of Kaiserstul Mountain on the French-German border. Continue on with your European river cruise to Strasbourg, France, where a tour guide is waiting to show you the dazzling red-sandstone gothic cathedral with ages-old murals and intriguing astronomical clock. Visit the remains of Heidelberg’s castle, powering majestically over the city, before visiting the delightful Rhine Valley wine town of Rüdesheim.
Charge through the glittering waters of the Rhine Gorge, known to be the most illustrious span of the Rhine River, and see historic castles gloriously towering 400 feet above the water on cliffs. Stop and explore Koblenz, which sits at the meeting of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers, before arriving at the elegant wine village of Bernkastel! Here you will be taken on a guided tour on food and get a taste of the acclaimed Moselle wines. Tour a medieval castle, then float back into the Rhine and visit the brilliant city of Cologne, Germany, which sits on both sides of the Rhine River.
Your Avalon Waterways river cruise excursion will come to a final stop in the famous Amsterdam where there are many sights to see and much culture to be indulged! Explore the gems of this gorgeous city and the beautiful Grachten, lined with elegant homes from the city’s “Golden Age.” Embark on a journey that will leave you with an abundance of memories to look back on and enjoy for the rest of your life! Don’t miss your opportunity to experience the beauty of sailing across the Rhine and Moselle Rivers on this magnificent 2019 13 day Avalon river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam.
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River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 Arrive in Zürich, Switzerland
Transfer to Basel (Embarkation). Welcome to beautiful Switzerland. (Dinner) *NOTE: Flights into Zürich must arrive before 3 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
Day 2 Breisach, Germany. Excursion to the Black Forest
Breisach is the gateway to Germany’s BLACK FOREST region. Situated at the foot of Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border, Breisach is considered an area of unrivaled natural beauty with its dense forests of thick pine trees. The area got its name because the forests are so dense that local residents described them as black.
Some of the most popular products from this region are Black Forest ham, Black Forest cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks. You might choose to visit the workshop of a local woodcarver who produces clocks and other carvings, or to the OPEN-AIR MUSEUM of Vogtbauernhof to see just how life was lived in this area centuries ago. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3 Strasbourg, France
This morning, wake up in Strasbourg, sitting on the border of France and Germany, blends together both cultures in a delightful way. As capital of the Alsace region and seat of the Council of Europe and European Parliament, it is an important city that has managed to retain its historic charm.
On your WALKING TOUR you will discover Europe at its most quintessential. Visit the enormous red-sandstone GOTHIC CATHEDRAL with its awesome murals, beautiful stained-glass windows, and intriguing astronomical clock, as well as the enchanting LA PETITE FRANCE district, home to half-timbered houses, charming shops, friendly bistros, and a fascinating 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 to the stunning Alsace wine region is available today. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4 Excursion to Heidelberg, Germany–Mainz
This morning an excursion takes you to fascinating Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany, which was founded in 1386. Visit the impressive ruins of HEIDELBERG CASTLE, towering magnificently over the city and considered one of the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. You’ll also see the world-famous GREAT VAT, the “World’s Largest Wine Barrel.” At nearly 23 feet high and 28 feet wide, the cask holds more than 58,000 gallons of wine and also supports a dance floor built on top of it! Rejoin your ship in time for lunch, and set sail to the city of Mainz. Strategically located where the Rhine and Main Rivers converge, Mainz is Germany’s largest and most important wine market and is also the birthplace of Gutenberg, father of modern printing – the inventor of the printing press. There is time for you to explore more of this fascinating town on your own. You can enjoy a casual stroll through the Altstadt (Old Town) with its many alluring shops and the festive Fastnachtsbrunnen (Carnival Fountain) on the Schillerplatz, a tribute to the jesters at the city’s annual Carnival celebration. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 Rüdesheim–Rhine Gorge
Beautiful Rüdesheim is a typical Rhine Valley wine town. Here, visit impressive SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM, where you’ll 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 more free time to purchase some souvenirs on the narrow, cobblestoned Drosselgasse, where gorgeous flowers, open-air wine gardens, and live music add to the wonderful and festive atmosphere. Downstream from Rüdesheim is the sensational RHINE GORGE, considered by travelers as the most beautiful stretch of river. Here, ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising as much as 400 feet above the river. Cruise past the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where echoes of enraptured siren song lured unsuspecting sailors to their doom. Enjoy an afternoon relaxing on board your cruise ship. The junction of the Moselle and Rhine Rivers is at Koblenz and it is here you enter the Moselle River, some 312-miles long, rising in the beautiful Vosges Mountains of northeastern France and entering Germany at ancient Trier. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 Trier
Disembark after a wonderful breakfast for an excursion to the esteemed episcopal city of Trier. At the head of the Moselle Valley, Trier is Germany’s oldest city. Some historians claim that Trier is even older than Rome and that it was populated more than a thousand years before the Romans arrived. Many Roman remains have survived, including a massive 20,000-seat amphitheater; the impressive Porta Nigra, the only surviving fortified gate from the original Roman settlement, which still gives access to the town’s center; popular imperial baths; and the ancient 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 wonderful market squares, Germany’s oldest Christian church, and a wide variety 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 more free time, gives you the opportunity to discover more fascinating things in this magnificent town. For history buffs, Trier’s most famous son was socialist revolutionary Karl Marx. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7 Luxembourg
Luxembourg City has been a place of strategic military significance throughout history because of its location and natural geography. Its first fortifications were built as early as the 10th century. The city center occupies a scenic site, perched high on extremely steep cliffs that drop into the narrow valleys of the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers. A LOCAL GUIDE will introduce you to the must-see sights. Luxembourg City’s layout is complex as it is set on two levels, straddling hills and dropping into the two beautiful river valleys. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8 Bernkastel
The charming wine village of Bernkastel is situated in the middle of the gorgeous Moselle Valley region famous for its beautiful and tranquil scenery. Besides wine, Bernkastel is known for its intriguing narrow streets and well-preserved 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 and the “pointed house,” built in 1416. Wine grape growers in this area look after Germany’s largest expanse of vineyards, the most famous of the vintages being the Bernkasteler Doktor. Perhaps you’ll enjoy a visit to the local Wine Museum to learn more about the history of the region’s number one farm commodity. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 9 Koblenz–Königswinter
Situated at the junction of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers, 2,000-year-old Koblenz is the cultural and business center of the Middle Rhine region. Join your Local Guide for a WALKING TOUR of the city, which explains a memorable past through its majestic castles, rugged fortress walls, towers, squares, and monuments. Later, enjoy some free time in the city, or opt to visit nearby SAYN MANOR HOUSE, an elegant structure belonging to counts of the same name. Later, your cruise ship sails to Königswinter, situated at the foot of beautiful Drachenfels mountain, where you remain docked this evening. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 10 Cologne
Early this morning, you’ll arrive in Cologne, one of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland. Cologne straddles both sides of the Rhine, and is known for its towering, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Choose between a GUIDED CITY WALK or a JEWISH HERITAGE WALK. Later, during your free time, be sure to try a Kölsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for more than a hundred years! Before lunch you’ll set sail for Holland and enjoy a relaxing afternoon of cruising. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 11 Kinderdijk, Holland
This morning, stop in beautiful Kinderdijk, the ultimate Dutch scene with its 19 stunning windmills standing on reclaimed polder land between the Rivers Lek and Noord. Windmills have become a symbol of Holland. A visit to one of these WINDMILLS will explain their function as pumps when the water was drained from the polders around 1740. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 12 Hoorn–Amsterdam
North of Amsterdam and situated on the Ijsselmeer is Hoorn, a quaint town that gave its name to Cape Horn, the southernmost point of South America. Choose from a GUIDED WALK of this town or an excursion to Edam, whose cheese of the same name has become world-famous. A GUIDED WALK shows you the Old Town center, which still has charming characteristic Waterland houses. You’ll also see the fascinating Beemster Polder, the first in the Netherlands that was reclaimed from a lake and today is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Rejoin your cruise ship and sail to Amsterdam, a charming 700-year-old metropolis – the capital of Holland – with its elegant and classic architecture, posh cafés, restaurants, and bustling marketplace. Set out to discover the many treasures of this sophisticated and modern city with a rich and intriguing history! You will tour by CANAL BOAT, cruising through the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 13 Amsterdam (Disembarkation)
While your wonderful river cruise ends with a great breakfast this morning, take note of the amazing memories you will carry with you as you return home, not to mention the many wonderful photographs you took during your cruise – pleasant reminders of your fabulous vacation. (Breakfast)
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