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The Leader in Small Ship and River Cruising Worldwide

Worldwide Discovery at Extraordinary Value Since 1958

2018 Romance of the Rhine & Mosel

Belgium: Antwerp • The Netherlands: Willemstad, Kinderdijk • Germany: Bonn, Cochem, Trier, Bernkastel, Boppard, Speyer • France: Strasbourg • Switzerland: Basel

ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 140-PASSENGER SHIPS DESIGNED FOR AMERICAN TRAVELERS
91% Traveler Excellence Rating Read reviews

16 Days from only $3195 including international airfare

Activity Level:

1 2 3 4 5

Easy

Trip Experience

Watch travelers visit Cochem Castle and sample wines during a vineyard tour in Bernkastel, Germany.

Trip Itinerary

Get more information about your detailed itinerary, like optional tours, exclusive Discovery Series events, and more.

Trip Extension: Bruges

Watch travelers on a canal tour of Bruges and visiting a local lace-maker shop on their optional extension.

Program Director

Learn why Speyer is Johannes Bauer’s favorite place and hear his insights into the abundant history along the Rhine and Mosel Rivers.

Program Director

Dutch Program Director Sjannie Hulsman-Louwers shares memories of growing up just a bike ride away from the Belgian border.

Trip Extension: Lucerne

Discover the medieval lanes, alpine allure, and small-town charm of Lucerne during our optional trip extension.

Courtesy Small World Productions
Switzerland and the Alps

Join travel expert Rudy Maxa for a preview of Swiss customs that await on our optional Lucerne, Switzerland trip extension.

Courtesy Small World Productions
Amsterdam and the Netherlands

Discover Amsterdam by canal, meet the locals, and delight in the Netherlands' charms alongside travel expert Rudy Maxa.

Courtesy Small World Productions
Brussels and Belgium

Experience Belgium’s medieval elegance and modern sophistication with travel expert Rudy Maxa.

©2014 The New York Times
A Famous Flower Auction Fades

Hear how globalization is threatening the Netherlands' famous Aalsmeer Flower Auction.

FROM
$3195
16 DAYS
$200/DAY
including international airfare
15 DAYS FROM $2395 River Cruise Only
Extend Your Trip
 

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Reserve by 6/30 >>

 
 

Arrive early in Brussels before
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NEW: Activity Level

Our NEW Activity Level rating system ranks our trips on a scale of 1 (easiest) to 5 (most difficult) to help you determine if a trip is right for you. The information below is a general guide to our rating system, but see our itineraries for much more detailed physical activity information about each trip.

Activity Level 1:

1 2 3 4 5

Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 25 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 1-2 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last at least 1-2 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 2:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 40 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 2-3 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for at least 2-3 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 3:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderate

Travelers should be able to climb 60 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 3 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 3 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.

Activity Level 4:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 80 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 4 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 7,000 to 9,000 feet.

Activity Level 5:

1 2 3 4 5

Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 100 or more stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 8 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 10,000 feet or more.

Itinerary Overview

Behold bucolic landscapes dotted with fairy-tale castles, and terraced vineyards along the breathtaking Rhine and Mosel rivers. Once the most efficient and fashionable means of travel through Europe—river cruising is still an ideal way to discover five different countries. Visit the Dutch city of Nijmegen, and learn about its role in the daring World War II Operation Market Garden maneuver. Walk beneath the imposing Porta Nigra Gate in Trier, Germany and find out how it was used to defend this former Roman outpost against the empire’s enemies. Revel in the verdant green hillsides, rising dramatically above the Rhine River as you pass through the Upper Middle Rhine Valley—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Basel, Switzerland, see how—from people to architecture—the future is evolving. And throughout this popular itinerary, delve into this region’s profound and diverse history.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

  • 3 nights from only $795

    Originally a ninth-century fortress built to protect the Flemish coast from marauding Vikings, Bruges today retains its reputation as one of Europe's best-preserved Old-World cities. The city's centuries-old canal system, which was essential to its once thriving textile industry, has beckoned tourists to meander its narrow, winding streets in search of art, history, and fine chocolates for nearly two centuries.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • Depart the U.S. today on your flight to Brussels, Belgium.

  • Brussels and Belgium

    Experience Belgium’s medieval elegance and modern sophistication with travel expert Rudy Maxa.

    Arrive today in Brussels. A Grand Circle representative will meet you at the airport and assist with your transfer to the pier in Antwerp. There, you'll be joined by those who took our optional pre-trip extension in Bruges, Belgium, and embark the ship that will be your home as you cruise the Rhine and Mosel rivers. The balance of the day is at leisure to relax after your overseas flight or get acquainted with the city.

    Located on the banks of the Schelde River, Antwerp is Belgium's major port and has been commercially important in European trade since the eleventh century. In spite of damage suffered during both World Wars, Antwerp remains a city of beautiful historic architecture dating from the 16th century.

    In the early evening, gather for an introductory briefing about your ship. Throughout your Rhine and Mosel River Cruise, you'll receive these evening briefings from your Program Director—called Port Talks—as you cruise toward your next destination so you can make the best use of your free time when you arrive.

    After your briefing, get better acquainted with your Program Director and travel companions over dinner.

  • After breakfast, attend an orientation briefing. Your Program Director will go over the details of your upcoming trip and answer any questions you may have. Then set off on a walking tour of Antwerp. You'll explore the city's well-preserved Old Town, built around the Grote Markt (Town Square) and graced by the lovely old Town Hall and beautiful guild houses. You may also marvel at the elegant spires of the Cathedral of Our Lady, or stroll along the Meir, Antwerp's main shopping street, lined with wonderfully elaborate historic buildings.

    Your afternoon is free to further discover the city on your own. You may want to visit the house of the great painter Peter Paul Rubens. He purchased a 16th-century residence off the Meir when he returned from Italy in 1608 and transformed it into one of the most elegant Renaissance-Baroque houses in the Low Countries. Today it is a museum, housing Rubens's self-portrait, as well as pieces by some of his contemporaries. Or you could visit the Rockox House, an art history museum and garden featuring Flemish paintings, sculptures, and furniture from the beginning of the Dutch Golden Age.

    Meet your ship's crew tonight at the Captain's Welcome Drink and Dinner. The ship cruises on to Willemstad, where it docks for the night.

  • Visit the Delta Works Flood Control project this morning to see a restoration project known worldwide for its hydro-engineering, begun after flooding had devastated Holland.

    Originally, Zeeland was a collection of islands—easy prey to the sea. Inhabitants still remember the destructive tides that flooded the islands in 1953 and claimed the lives of 1,800 people. Since then, the gigantic Delta Works have prevented a recurrence. Now the islands are connected and protected by a series of dams, dikes, and bridges. This tour shows you several of the ingenious technical achievements designed over the past 65 years, giving you an impressive idea of how the Dutch have claimed, reclaimed, and protected their homeland from the threat of the sea.

    After lunch onboard, you'll see the 19 windmills of Kinderdijk, built around 1740. Holland, of course, is known for its windmills, and nowhere will you find more than near this little village. These sturdy windmills have been well preserved, and in 1997 were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You have time to stroll around the site and take pictures of these signature attractions of Holland, which are supported in part by Grand Circle Foundation.

  • After breakfast, set off for a walking tour of 2,000-year-old Nijmegen—the Netherlands’ oldest city. Built on seven hills overlooking the Waal River, Nijmegen was heavily damaged during the Second World War. Remarkably, the historic town center emerged unscathed, and today provides a striking contrast to the newer architecture surrounding it.

    Return to your ship for an onboard lunch, followed by an exclusive Discovery Series discussion with local residents about the area's involvement in the daring World War II military maneuver, Operation Market Garden.

  • After breakfast, enjoy a walking tour of Bonn's Old Town, where you’ll see the Baroque City Hall, Romanesque Basilica, and Beethoven’s memorial. Founded by the Romans, Bonn was the provisional capital of West Germany from the years following World War II until Germany's reunification in 1990. Today, Bonn is home to numerous museums and gardens, as well as a large student population that lives near the University of Bonn's campus.

    Following lunch onboard, and the rest of the day is at leisure to explore Bonn's many treasures on your own.

    In the afternoon, you're invited to join an exclusive Discovery Series discussion highlighting Germany's history of immigration.

  • Disembark this morning for a tour of Reichsburg Castle, believed to have been originally constructed some time in the eleventh century. Burned to the ground by King Louis XIV of France in 1689 during the War of the Palatine Succession, the castle remained derelict until 1868, when it was purchased by Louis Ravene, a Berlin entrepreneur who converted the castle into a summer home for himself and his family. In 1978, ownership of the castle fell into the hands of the city of Cochem, which has since opened it to the public.

    Your minivan will take you on a scenic ascent from the river valley to the top of the rocky hill on which the castle sits. You'll explore the exterior and interior, and have free time in Cochem, before returning to your ship to sail toward Trier.

  • After breakfast, partake in an informative onboard Discovery Series discussion about the European Union. Then disembark your ship for a walking tour of Trier. Settlements were first established here during the third millennium before Christ, and the Roman Emperor Augustus founded a thriving city in 15 BC.

    During your walking tour, you'll see Roman Emperor Constantine's massive basilica, erected in AD 310. You'll also stop by the imposing Porta Nigra (Black Gate), a towering gateway built around AD 200—now the largest surviving city gate from Roman times. The Black Gate served not only as a means of protection, but also as a symbol of strength and power.

    Cap off your morning excursions with an included lunch at a local restaurant before taking the rest of the day to pursue your own interests. Visit the pedestrian-only Market Square, one of the most magnificent squares in all of Germany, and admire its central fountain, built in 1595.

    Dinner is aboard the ship this evening.

    Please note: It is not always possible to dock in Trier, so we sometimes dock in Riol or Schweich. If that happens, you will be transferred to Trier by bus and all program features will remain as scheduled.

  • Enjoy time to relax aboard your river ship today as it cruises along the scenic Mosel River. Perhaps you'll settle in on the Sun Deck to admire the quaint villages and steep hillside vineyards passing by.

    Or, join our full-day optional tour of Luxembourg, a constitutional monarchy located between Belgium, France, and Germany. With a territory of less than 1,000 square miles, The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in the world.

    Set off on a walking tour of Luxembourg City to see the market square, the Palais of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and the Notre-Dame Cathedral. As you get better acquainted with the country’s capital, you’ll learn why—despite its diminutive size—Luxembourg is an especially important ally to the U.S.

    After an included lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll have free time to explore this attractive city. While discovering the Old Town or picking up a special keepsake, listen for the unique Letzebuergesch, a dialect of West German spoken here, which symbolizes the national identity of the people.

    Later, you’ll ride by motorcoach to see the Luxembourg American Cemetery. Luxembourg was occupied by German forces in May 1940, and its liberation (primarily by American troops) launched in September 1944. The Battle of the Bulge began with Hitler's desperate attack through the Ardennes to attempt to drive out the Allied forces. The resulting encounter, considered “the greatest American battle of the Second World War” by Winston Churchill, raged here from December 16, 1944 through January 28, 1945, a period in which American troops suffered tremendous losses. Following your guided tour, you’ll have an opportunity to gain a different perspective on the conflict, when you stop for a brief visit to Luxembourg’s German War Cemetery.

    Re-board your ship in the late afternoon, and join your fellow travelers for dinner. 

  • This morning, join your Program Director for a stroll around Bernkastel, one of the prettiest villages in the Mosel Valley. Actually, Bernkastel is two communities; its sister town, Kues, sits on the opposite bank of the Mosel. After your introduction to Bernkastel’s half-timbered houses and petite shops you'll have free time to continue exploring on your own.

    Following lunch onboard, you'll visit one of area's most famous wineries, and sample a few of its vintages, during an exclusive Discovery Series event.

    This evening, relax and enjoy the scenery as you continue your Mosel River cruise, then enjoy dinner onboard.

  • Begin a day at leisure by taking part in an included walking tour of Boppard. This cultural and historic center of the Middle Rhine region has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its famous Rhine Promenade and the white towers of the Church of St. Severus have drawn visitors to this lovely town for decades. 

    Or, join us on an optional excursion to one of the most beautiful structures along the Rhine River, Marksburg Castle. The only 13th-century fortress unchanged by war or reconstruction, it offers an unrivaled glimpse into the daily life of the time. Walking among the three towers and the connecting rooms, you will feel what it was like to live in a castle. You'll climb a stone staircase leading to the romantic bed chamber (the only room heated with a stove), see the Great Hall with its enormous fireplace (large enough to grill a steer whole), and take in a commanding vista of the east bank of the Rhine. Then, continue drinking in local history and tradition with a regional beer sampling. Return to town for an included walking tour of Boppard before reuniting with your fellow travelers for lunch onboard.

    As you cruise to Speyer this afternoon, you'll pass through the most beautiful part of the Rhine, where an imposing rock rises 440 feet above the river. Ancient Greek mythology is littered with tales of sirens who lure sailors to their death with sweet songs. The Germanic variation of this legend places one such siren—Lorelei—here, and it is said she enticed sailors to destruction on the reef below the rock.

    Dinner is onboard tonight.

    Please note: The optional Marksburg Castle tour features a considerable amount of walking uphill and on uneven surfaces; steep inclines; rocky terraces; narrow passages, no handrails; and dim lighting at times.

  • After breakfast, enjoy a walking tour of Speyer, a city founded by the Romans in approximately AD 50 that flourished during the Middle Ages. Unfortunately, much of Speyer was destroyed in the 17th century during the Palatine War of Succession and few remnants of its glorious past survive. During your free time in this imperial-city, you can, however, explore one exception: the Romanesque Cathedral. Built between 1030 and 1125, it set a new architectural standard for the era.

    Following lunch onboard, enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series Home-Hosted Visit with a local family, which will give you a glimpse into everyday German home life as you share some homemade treats. 

    Please note: It is not always possible to dock in Speyer, so we sometimes dock in Worms or Germersheim. If that happens, you will be transferred to Speyer by bus and all program features will remain as scheduled.

  • Early this morning, we dock in Strasbourg, France, where you'll enjoy a walking tour along the city's famed canals. The capital of Alsace melds the charm of half-timbered houses with the cozy warmth of a Parisian cafe. The result: an extremely inviting and unique city that is equal parts German and French. Strategically important since ancient times, Strasbourg became a free imperial city of the German Empire in 1262, and then was occupied by France in 1681 and Germany in 1871. France recovered the city in 1919 after World War I. See notable sights (including Vauban Dam, St. Thomas Church, and St. Martin's Bridge) and admire the city's remarkable Renaissance architecture.

    Your tour concludes in the town center at the magnificent Strasbourg Cathedral. Regarded as one of the finest of Europe's great Gothic cathedrals, the structure's lofty single spire dominates the city. You may choose to explore a nearby art gallery or museum during your free time this morning. Or, use your included public transportation pass to venture to other corners of the city on your own before enjoying a tram ride back to your ship.

    After lunch, join an optional Alsatian Highlights excursion through the famous wine region of Alsace, where the culture is a delightful blend of French and German influences. Travel through the fertile Elsass (Alsace) region to the wooded foothills of the Vosges Mountains and drive parts of the Route de Vin, the Alsatian Wine Road, past rolling vineyards and flower-decked villages.

    You'll visit the Stork Park, where this lovely white bird is being re-populated into the local area. At one time, the bird was so plentiful in this region that it was considered the symbol of Alsace and was often mentioned in children's stories. In fact, in 1900, thousands of storks could be spotted in Alsace during the warmer spring and summer months. By the 1980s, however, their local population had been reduced to fewer than ten. Their numbers are again increasing, and the Stork Park offers a safe refuge for this long-legged bird. On your route, you might even spot some of their nests, high atop a local home or a church roof.

    Then, enjoy an informational stroll through the quaint town of Riquewihr to discover its main points of interest. You may wish to explore the town's medieval fortress, city gates, and towers. If shopping is your interest, you'll find that the shops on the main street are cozy and inviting year-round.

    This evening, transfer back to Strasbourg and enjoy dinner onboard your ship.

  • This morning after breakfast, you visit the spa town of Baden-Baden, nestled in the thick, deep green forest. Baden-Baden has been renowned for its thermal baths since Roman times. Following your walking tour and free time to explore on your own, you'll return to the ship for lunch.

    This evening, enjoy a Farewell Drink and Captain's Farewell Dinner as you cruise toward Basel.

  • Switzerland and the Alps

    Join travel expert Rudy Maxa for a preview of Swiss customs that await on our optional Lucerne, Switzerland trip extension.

    After breakfast, begin your Basel explorations with a walking tour of Switzerland's second-largest city. Basel has a split personality, on the one hand, giant, modern chemical research and pharmaceutical companies dominate the skyline. On the other, a network of narrow alleys weaves together the city's medieval architectural heritage. You'll enjoy the excellent public transport system with a streetcar ride, followed by a walking tour, which includes the lively Marktplatz, the colorful Town Hall, and the twelfth-century, red sandstone Munster (Cathedral) among other highlights. To make it more convenient to explore on your own, you'll receive a one-day streetcar ticket. 

    After lunch onboard, you'll have the afternoon to relax or use your streetcar ticket to explore Basel at your own pace.

    With more than 30 museums, Basel is a well-known center for art and culture. Dating to 1662, the Museum of Fine Arts is considered the oldest public art museum in Europe. Inside, you can view Renaissance masters such as Hans Holbein, along with 20-century Abstract expressionists, like Jasper Johns.

    Later, you'll enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series discussion about Switzerland Today.

    • Meals included:

    After breakfast, disembark in Basel and transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or, begin your optional extension to Lucerne, Switzerland.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Lucerne, Switzerland

    4 nights from only $795

    Discover the beauty of Lucerne, Switzerland, set on the shore of Lake Lucerne with stunning views of the Alps. Spend four nights in this center of Swiss culture and wander the narrow cobblestone streets to admire the spires, turrets, covered bridges, and fountains for which the city is famous.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • 4 nights from only $795

    Discover the beauty of Lucerne, Switzerland, set on the shore of Lake Lucerne with stunning views of the Alps. Spend four nights in this center of Swiss culture and wander the narrow cobblestone streets to admire the spires, turrets, covered bridges, and fountains for which the city is famous.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • Depart the U.S. today on your flight to Switzerland.

  • Switzerland and the Alps

    Join travel expert Rudy Maxa for a preview of Swiss customs that await on our optional Lucerne, Switzerland trip extension.

    Arrive today in Basel. A Grand Circle representative will meet you at the airport and assist with your transfer to the pier. If you began your explorations early with our pre-trip extension to Lucerne, Switzerland, you will join the main group today to begin your cruise along the Rhine and Mosel rivers. The balance of the day is at leisure to relax after your overseas flight or do some exploring on your own.

    In the early evening, you’ll gather for an introductory briefing about your ship. Throughout your Rhine and Mosel River Cruise, you'll receive these evening briefings from your Program Director—called Port Talks—as you cruise toward your next destination so you can make the best use of your free time when you arrive.

    After that, get better acquainted with your Program Director and traveling companions over dinner.

  • After breakfast, your Program Director will go over the details of your upcoming trip and answer any questions you may have. Then explore Basel, Switzerland's second-largest city—and one with a split personality. On the one hand, giant, modern chemical research and pharmaceutical companies dominate the city. On the other, a network of narrow alleys weaves together the city's medieval architectural heritage. You'll enjoy the excellent public transport system with a streetcar ride, followed by a walking tour, which includes the lively Marktplatz, the colorful Town Hall, and the twelfth-century, red sandstone Munster (Cathedral) among other highlights. To make it more convenient to explore on your own, you'll receive a one-day streetcar ticket. 

    After lunch onboard, you'll have the afternoon to relax or use your streetcar ticket to explore Basel at your own pace.

    With more than 30 museums, Basel is a well-known center for art and culture. Dating to 1662, the Museum of Fine Arts is considered the oldest public art museum in Europe. Inside, you can view Renaissance masters such as Hans Holbein, along with 20-century Abstract expressionists, like Jasper Johns.

    Later, you'll enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series discussion about Switzerland Today before being welcomed onboard and meeting your ship's crew at the Captain's Welcome Drink and Dinner.

  • Early this morning, we dock in Strasbourg, France, where you'll enjoy a walking tour along the city's famed canals. The capital of Alsace melds the charm of half-timbered houses with the cozy warmth of a Parisian cafe. The result: an extremely inviting and unique city that is equal parts German and French. Strategically important since ancient times, Strasbourg became a free imperial city of the German Empire in 1262, and then was occupied by France in 1681 and Germany in 1871. France recovered the city in 1919 after World War I. See notable sights (including Vauban Dam, St. Thomas Church, and St. Martin's Bridge) and admire the city's remarkable Renaissance architecture.

    Your tour concludes in the town center at the magnificent Strasbourg Cathedral. Regarded as one of the finest of Europe's great Gothic cathedrals, the structure's lofty single spire dominates the city. You may choose to explore a nearby art gallery or museum during your free time this morning. Or, use your included public transportation pass to venture to other corners of the city on your own before enjoying a tram ride back to your ship.

    After lunch, join an optional Alsatian Highlights excursion through the famous wine region of Alsace, where the culture is a delightful blend of French and German influences. Travel through the fertile Elsass (Alsace) region to the wooded foothills of the Vosges Mountains and drive parts of the Route de Vin, the Alsatian Wine Road, past rolling vineyards and flower-decked villages.

    You'll visit the Stork Park, where this lovely white bird is being re-populated into the local area. At one time, the bird was so plentiful in this region that it was considered the symbol of Alsace and was often mentioned in children's stories. In fact, in 1900, thousands of storks could be spotted in Alsace during the warmer spring and summer months. By the 1980s, however, their local population had been reduced to fewer than ten. Their numbers are again increasing, and the Stork Park offers a safe refuge for this long-legged bird. On your route, you might even spot some of their nests, high atop a local home or a church roof.

    Then, enjoy an informational stroll through the quaint town of Riquewihr to discover its main points of interest. You may wish to explore the town's medieval fortress, city gates, and towers. If shopping is your interest, you'll find that the shops on the main street are cozy and inviting year-round.

    This evening, transfer back to Strasbourg and enjoy dinner onboard your ship.

  • Explore Strasbourg at your own pace this morning.

    After lunch onboard, you'll visit the spa town of Baden-Baden, nestled in the thick, deep green forests. Baden-Baden has been renowned for its thermal baths since Roman times. You'll enjoy a tour of the resort town, followed by free time to explore on your own.

    Before dinner, join your Program Director for an informative Port Talk as we cruise toward Speyer.

  • After breakfast, enjoy a walking tour of Speyer, a city founded by the Romans in approximately AD 50 that flourished during the Middle Ages. Unfortunately, much of Speyer was destroyed in the 17th century during the Palatine War of Succession and few remnants of its glorious past survive. During your free time in this imperial-city, you can, however, explore one exception: the Romanesque Cathedral. Built between 1030 and 1125, it set a new architectural standard for the era.

    Following lunch onboard, enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series Home-Hosted Visit with a local family, which will give you a glimpse into everyday German home life as you share some homemade treats.

    Please note: It is not always possible to dock in Speyer, so sometimes we dock in Worms or Germersheim. If that happens, you will be transferred to Speyer by bus and all program features will take place as scheduled.

  • This morning, you'll pass through the most beautiful part of the Rhine, where an imposing rock rises 440 feet above the river. Ancient Greek mythology is littered with tales of sirens who lure sailors to their death with sweet songs. The Germanic variation of this legend places one such siren—Lorelei—here, and it is said she enticed sailors to destruction on the reef below the rock.

    Disembark for a walking tour of Boppard. This cultural and historic center of the Middle Rhine region has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its famous Rhine Promenade and the white towers of the Church of St. Severus have drawn visitors to this lovely town for decades. Following your tour, return to the ship for lunch followed by free time to continue exploring Boppard on your own.

    Or, join us on an optional excursion to one of the most beautiful structure along the Rhine River, Marksburg Castle. The only 13th-century fortress unchanged by war or reconstruction, it offers an unrivaled glimpse into the daily life of the time. Walking among the three towers and the connecting rooms, you will feel what it was like to live in a castle. You'll climb a stone staircase leading to the romantic bed chamber (the only room heated with a stove), see the Great Hall with its enormous fireplace (large enough to grill a steer whole), and take in a commanding vista of the east bank of the Rhine. Then, continue drinking in local history and tradition with a regional beer sampling.

    Dinner is onboard tonight.

    Please note: The optional Marksburg Castle tour features a considerable amount of walking uphill and on uneven surfaces; steep inclines; rocky terraces; narrow passages, no handrails; and dim lighting at times.

  • Following a morning of scenic sailing, join your Program Director for a stroll around Bernkastel, one of the prettiest villages in the Mosel Valley. Actually, Bernkastel is two communities; its sister town, Kues, sits on the opposite bank of the Mosel. After your introduction to Bernkastel’s half-timbered houses and petite shops, you'll visit one of the it's most famous wineries, and sample some of local vintages, during an exclusive Discovery Series event.

    Dinner is onboard this evening.

  • After breakfast, partake in an informative onboard Discovery Series discussion about the European Union. Then disembark your ship for a walking tour of Trier. Settlements were first established here during the third millennium before Christ, and the Roman Emperor Augustus founded a thriving city in 15 BC.

    During your walking tour, you'll see Roman Emperor Constantine's massive basilica, erected in AD 310. You'll also stop by the imposing Porta Nigra (Black Gate), a towering gateway built around AD 200—now the largest surviving city gate from Roman times. The Black Gate served not only as a means of protection, but also as a symbol of strength and power.

    Cap off your morning excursions with an included lunch at a local restaurant before taking the rest of the day to pursue your own interests. Visit the pedestrian-only Market Square, one of the most magnificent squares in all of Germany, and admire its central fountain, built in 1595.

    Dinner is aboard the ship this evening.

    Please note: It is not always possible to dock in Trier, so we sometimes dock in Riol or Schweich. If that happens, you will be transferred to Trier by bus and all program features will remain as scheduled.

  • Enjoy time to relax aboard your river ship today as it cruises along the scenic Mosel River. Perhaps you'll settle in on the Sun Deck to admire the quaint villages and steep hillside vineyards passing by.

    Or, join our full-day optional tour of Luxembourg, a constitutional monarchy located between Belgium, France, and Germany. With a territory of less than 1,000 square miles, The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in the world.

    Set off on a walking tour of Luxembourg City to see the market square, the Palais of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and the Notre-Dame Cathedral. As you get better acquainted with the country’s capital, you’ll learn why—despite its diminutive size—Luxembourg is an especially important ally to the U.S.

    After an included lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll have free time to explore this attractive city. While discovering the Old Town or picking up a special keepsake, listen for the unique Letzebuergesch, a dialect of West German spoken here, which symbolizes the national identity of the people.

    Later, you’ll ride by motorcoach to see the Luxembourg American Cemetery. Luxembourg was occupied by German forces in May 1940, and its liberation (primarily by American troops) launched in September 1944. The Battle of the Bulge began with Hitler's desperate attack through the Ardennes to attempt to drive out the Allied forces. The resulting encounter, considered “the greatest American battle of the Second World War” by Winston Churchill, raged here from December 16, 1944 through January 28, 1945, a period in which American troops suffered tremendous losses. Following your guided tour, you’ll have an opportunity to gain a different perspective on the conflict, when you stop for a brief visit to Luxembourg’s German War Cemetery.

    Re-board your ship in the late afternoon, and join your fellow travelers for dinner. 

  • Disembark this morning for a tour of Reichsburg Castle, believed to have been originally constructed some time in the eleventh century. Burned to the ground by King Louis XIV of France in 1689 during the War of the Palatine Succession, the castle remained derelict until 1868, when it was purchased by Louis Ravene, a Berlin entrepreneur who converted the castle into a summer home for himself and his family. In 1978, ownership of the castle fell into the hands of the city of Cochem, which has since opened it to the public.

    Your minivan will take you on a scenic ascent from the river valley to the top of the rocky hill on which the castle sits. You'll explore the exterior and interior, and have free time in Cochem, before returning to your ship to sail toward Bonn.

  • After breakfast, gather for a walking tour of Bonn's Old Town, where you'll see the Baroque City Walls, Romanesque Basilica, and Beethovern's memorial. Founded by the Romans, Bonn was the provisional capital of West Germany from the years following World War II until Germany's reunification in 1990. Today, Bonn is home to numerous museums and gardens, as well as a large student population who live near the University of Bonn's campus.

    Following lunch onboard, and the rest of the day is at leisure to explore Bonn's many treasures on your own. 

    In the afternoon, you're invited to join an exclusive Discovery Series discussion highlighting Germany's history of immigration. 

  • After breakfast, set off for a walking tour of 2,000-year-old Nijmegen—the Netherlands’ oldest city. Built on seven hills overlooking the Waal River, Nijmegen was heavily damaged during the Second World War. Remarkably, the historic town center emerged unscathed, and today provides a striking contrast to the newer architecture surrounding it.

    Return to your ship for an onboard lunch, followed by an exclusive Discovery Series discussion with local residents about the area's involvement in the daring World War II military maneuver, Operation Market Garden.

  • Visit Kinderdijk this morning to see the 19 famous windmills that were built along the river there in approximately 1740. Holland, of course, is known for its windmills, and nowhere will you find more than near this little village. These sturdy windmills have been well-preserved, and in 1997 they were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You have time to stroll around the site and take pictures of these signature attractions of Holland, which are supported by Grand Circle Foundation, before you board ship and set sail for Willemstad.

    This afternoon, tour the Delta Works Flood Control project to see a restoration project known worldwide for its hydro-engineering, begun after flooding had devastated Holland.

    Originally, Zeeland was a collection of islands—easy prey to the sea. Inhabitants still remember the destructive tides that flooded the islands in 1953 and claimed the lives of 1,800 people. Since then, the gigantic Delta Works have prevented a recurrence. Now the islands are connected and protected by a series of dams, dikes, and bridges. This tour shows you several of the ingenious technical achievements designed over the past 65 years, giving you an impressive idea of how the Dutch have claimed, reclaimed, and protected their homeland from the threat of the sea.

  • Brussels and Belgium

    Experience Belgium’s medieval elegance and modern sophistication with travel expert Rudy Maxa.

    Set off on a walking tour of this Antwerp. You'll explore the city's well-preserved Old Town, built around the Grote Markt (Town Square), and graced by the lovely old Town Hall and beautiful guild houses. Or, marvel at the elegant spires of the Cathedral of Our Lady, or stroll along the Meir, Antwerp's main shopping street, lined with historic buildings.

    Your afternoon is free to further discover the city on your own. You may want to visit the house of the great painter Peter Paul Rubens. He purchased a 16th-century residence off the Meir when he returned from Italy in 1608 and transformed it into one of the most elegant Renaissance-Baroque houses in the Low Countries. Today it is a museum, housing Rubens's self-portrait, as well as pieces by some of his contemporaries. Or you could visit the Rockox House, an art history museum and garden featuring Flemish paintings, sculptures, and furniture from the beginning of the Dutch Golden Age.

    Gather this evening for the Captain's Farewell Drink and Dinner to toast a memorable River Cruise with your fellow travelers.

    • Meals included:

    Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for your return flight home. Or travel to Bruges, Belgium to begin your optional extension.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Bruges, Belgium

    3 nights from only $795

    Originally a ninth-century fortress built to protect the Flemish coast from marauding Vikings, Bruges today retains its reputation as one of Europe's best-preserved Old-World cities. The city's centuries-old canal system, which was essential to its once thriving textile industry, has beckoned tourists to meander its narrow, winding streets in search of art, history, and fine chocolates for nearly two centuries.

    View Extension Itinerary

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