The secret is out. A river cruise is not just “for the old folks”. These inclusive experiences are for everyone. Families, solo travelers, special interest groups, there truly is a river cruise for everyone. River Cruising is a perfect choice for travelers that want to not just travel to a destination but thru a destination and best of all, not have to pack and unpack in between destinations because we all know, the packing is the worst part of traveling.
Europe is that first thought location when considering a river cruise and rightfully so as these living waterways and the towns that surround them are steeped in rich history at every turn and among the most important arteries of industrial transport in the world. The 2 most popular rivers are the Danube which I will share more about in a future post and the Rhine. The Rhine flows from the breathtaking east central Swiss Alps and flows north ending at the North Sea.
Check into your gorgeous floating boutique hotel (river cruise ship). Once you are checked in, grab yourself a specialty coffee or tea and get yourself all unpack because this adventure doesn’t require you to pack your bags every day and change hotels. The ample closet space will allow for you to hang up everything you need and tuck away those that you do not. If you want pressing services, today is the day to inquire about them so that all your clothes will be fresh and ready to go. Be sure you join your cruise director for the welcome briefing and be sure to try the signature cocktail at the first sip and sail of your trip. Your ship will stay in port today because tomorrow you will enjoy more of Amsterdam.
Wake up and enjoy an amazing breakfast on your ship where champagne is always on the breakfast menu. On your tours today you will get to enjoy some of the 165 canals in Amsterdam on your canal cruise. Later in the day, set sail out of Amsterdam.
After another amazing breakfast onboard, join a guided tour through the Old Town and explore the UNESCO-designated Cologne Cathedral, one of Germany’s most revered Gothic masterpieces. Continue to the Cologne Rathaus, Germany’s oldest town hall, plus see other local sights. For a different view, visit a local tavern to taste its famous Kölsch beer, only made in Cologne, and reibekuchen mit apfelmus, potato pancakes typically served with applesauce. Active adventurists will want to join a guided bike ride along the Rhine and through the historic Stadtgarten.
Your morning will be one for the sundeck while you cruise through the captivating UNESCO-designated Rhine Gorge before stopping in the winemaking town of Rüdesheim. Join a wine tasting to discover the flavors of the town’s iconic vineyards. Not feeling wine tasting today, then enjoy the stunning views by soaring high above the vineyards with a gondola ride to the Niederwalddenkmal. Active travelers will delight when they get to choose between a hike through the town’s beautiful vineyards, or they can join a guided bike tour along the scenic Rhine River. Later in the day, check out Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. This charming museum has a remarkable collection of self-playing musical instruments; or taste one of the town’s specialties, Rüdesheimer coffee, made with brandy, coffee and whipped cream.
Today is a busy one with some amazing options. You can visit Heidelberg, the perfectly preserved medieval city nestled in the Neckar River Valley along Germany’s Castle Road. Discover the iconic red sandstone Heidelberg Castle and Great Vat, an 18th-century, 49,000-gallon wine cask. For a more active adventure while in Heidelberg, join a guided hike up the Philosopher’s Path, aptly named during the Romantic Period, and enjoy panoramic views of the city. Alternatively, you can visit one of Germany’s oldest cities, Speyer, known for the largest Romanesque cathedral in Europe—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—and the medieval Old Gate, Altpörtel. Today’s bike tour for will take you on a guided cycle along the shores of the river Neckar. You will also get to enjoy a cycling break to explore the picturesque medieval town of Ladenburg.
Often a favorite port, get ready to enjoy true Alsatian culture. You can delight in a panoramic tour past the stunning Parc de l’Orangerie, the European Parliament and the Place de la République. Afterward you will walk through its iconic “La Petite France” district, lifted straight from the pages of a fairytale. For those of us that love travelinspo, you will notice that this place looks familiar as it is a favorite for photos. You will also wander through charming streets past the Cathédrale de Nôtre Dame and don’t forget to check out the famous astronomical clock. Feeling active, then take a guided bike ride through the city and Parc de l’Orangerie. At Christmas time, Strasbourg is transformed into one of the most magical town you could imagine.
Get ready to step back in time with a visit to the enchanting Alsatian town of Riquewihr. Can you believe that this city looks almost the same as it did in the 16th century! If you are a fan of Gothic Cathedrals, you can alternatively, head to Freiburg to the Freiburg’s Münster, a Gothic cathedral said to have “the most beautiful spire on earth.”. Looking for something a bit more active, then join the bike tour and head out into the countryside, or my personal favorite, hike in the Black Forest. This magical land is full of cultural traditions and a must for those folklore buffs.
Say farewell to the friends you have made, and don’t forget to exchange phone numbers and emails addressed before you head to the airport…but why go home, when there is so much more to explore…
Want to stay with the group, then gear up for and exciting land extension with select friends from your river cruise adventure. Explore the city of Basel before heading to Lake Lucerne for 2 nights where you will visit the iconic Lion Monument which was sculpted in memory of the Swiss Guards massacred during the French Revolution and take a scenic cruise on this 12,000-year-old glacial lake. Afterwards take a scenic motorcoach ride to Zurich, Switzerland’s largest and most well-known city. Experience one of the most popular “must do’s” in Zurich which is a visit to Old Town where you will find yourself amongst medieval houses, churches and the modern Bahnhofstrasse.
Want to travel independently by glamourous rail? Hope on another river cruise ship thru the wine regions of France? Or head to the coastline and embark on a Mediterranean Ocean cruise adventure? The options are endless.
From the delights of Spring blooms, the warmth of the summer sun, the gorgeous fall foliage, and the delights of the many Christmas markets in Winter, there is no bad time for a Rhine River Valley Cruise. This one for sure should be added to your bucket list.
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