This Central European river cruise will take you from the gothic skyline of Prague to the romantic lights of Paris on the Main, Rhine, and Moselle Rivers.
It begins with two overnights in Prague, one of Europe’s most magical cities. You’ll see Prague’s best-known treasures like St. Vitus Cathedral, a gothic masterpiece that dominates the skyline, and get a taste of the local cuisine with plum dumplings and Pilsner.
Your river cruise will get underway as you sail through the Main Danube Canal with stops in some of Germany’s most intriguing cities. Also sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge, considered the most beautiful stretch of the Rhine River. See ancient castles standing majestically on cliffs 400 feet above the water. In the heart of the Moselle region, the wine village of Bernkastel, surrounded by Germany’s largest expanse of vineyards, will fascinate you with its narrow streets and half-timbered houses which have been standing since the Middle Ages. Before you leave, we’ll introduce you to some of the famed wines of the area. Along the enchanting Moselle River, make your way to the ancient city of Trier, Germany—believed to be even older than Rome. Many remnants of ancient Rome can still be found, such as imperial baths and the Roman Bridge, with stone pilings dating from 144-152 AD.
Travel by high-speed train to Paris where guided sightseeing shows you the must-see sights: Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum with its glass pyramid contrasting its ancient architecture, and of course the splendid Eiffel Tower. And you will have plenty of free time to relax in a lavish café and explore the “City of Light” on your own.
Your day-by-day itinerary indicates in UPPERCASE all inside visits, special features, and guided sightseeing. All included guided sightseeing is conducted by a Certified Local Guide. Choose the sightseeing pace that suits you
Leisurely, Traditional, or Independent (where available).
Welcome to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. The city straddles the Vltava River with domes, cupolas, spires, and pinnacles highlighting its skyline.
Prague is a 1,200-year-old city preserved in time, and, unlike other Central European capitals, it was not bombed during the 20th-century wars. On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, see its best-known treasures, such as the Old Town’s Astronomical Clock, dating from the 15th century and once the envy of all of Europe; HRADCANY CASTLE GROUNDS; St. Vitus Cathedral; and the Charles Bridge, the oldest bridge in Prague. Browse the shops for hand-cut crystal or art books. Mix with the locals in Wenceslaus Square, an important meeting point where people demonstrated against the communist regime; watch performers and shop at the market stalls on Charles Bridge; wander around the medieval Old Town, dating from the 10th century; sample the local plum dumplings and Pilsner; or stroll along the Vltava River. Your Cruise Director will have more suggestions for you. (B)
After lunch, drive to Nuremberg, where your river cruise vessel is docked. Before dinner, meet your crew for a welcome reception. (B,D)
In the early morning hours, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germany’s most powerful imperial dynasties and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your GUIDED WALK takes in its historic centre, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)-built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! This afternoon, enjoy some relaxing time on board as you cruise toward Wurzburg on the Main River. (B,L,D)
Arrive in Wurzburg during breakfast. Surrounded by verdant hillside vineyards, Wurzburg, also known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” makes an immediate impression with imposing Fortress Marienberg perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrucke (Old Main Bridge). On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, visit the magnificent baroque BISHOP’S RESIDENZ, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. This afternoon you might like to join an optional excursion to medieval Rothenburg. (B,L,D)
On the banks of the Main River you find cultural gems of small towns, many of them tucked away behind defensive walls and towered gates. Half timbered houses, narrow streets and medieval town centres, these picturesque Bavarian villages are a photographer’s delight. Join your Local Guide to experience one of these towns on a GUIDED WALK. (B,L,D)
Pretty Rudesheim is the perfect example of a Rhine Valley wine town, and SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM is a real surprise. Enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT, then there’s free time to explore the Drosselgasse and pick up some souvenirs. Downstream,the dramatic RHINE GORGE is the most beautiful stretch of river. Pass the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where sweet songs of local beauties lured enchanted sailors to their doom. (B,L,D)
Early this morning you arrive in the charming wine village of Bernkastel on the Moselle River. With its fascinating narrow streets and half-timbered houses that have stood since the Middle Ages, you’ll 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. The Moselle is famous for its wines, and growers in this area look after Germany’s largest expanse of vineyards, the most celebrated of the vintages being the Bernkasteler Doktor. This evening enjoy a TASTING of some of these well-loved German wines. (B,L,D)
After breakfast, an excursion takes you to 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 centre; 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 included CITY SIGHTSEEING or the more history-focused “ROMAN TRIER” guided tour, followed by some free time, give you the opportunity to discover this magnificent town. Rejoin your vessel and head for Remich in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. (B,L,D)
Reach Remich during the night and say goodbye to your crew after breakfast. Travel to Luxembourg City or to Metz to board the HIGH-SPEED TRAIN to Paris and enjoy GUIDED sightseeing upon arrival. Known as one of the world’s most romantic and lively cities, Paris is a delight for all your senses. Your INCLUDED CITY SIGHTSEEING shows you magnificent must-see sights, such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the unique Louvre Museum with its glass pyramid as a contrast to its ancient architecture, the commemorative Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. (B)
Today in your free time, stroll down the Champs-Elysees, with sprawling sidewalks, and lavish cafes, or perhaps visit the world-famous Louvre museum, the Palace of Versailles or Montmartre with its gleaming white Sacre Coeur Basilica and bevy of artists on Place du Tertre. All of this awaits your discovery! (B)
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning. (B)