Day 1 | Highlights:
Welcome to Amsterdam, a fascinating 700 year old city of picturesque canals, world class museums, theatres and cafés. You will be met and transferred from the airport to the dock. A warm welcome awaits you from your Captain and crew as you board your luxury Emerald Waterways river cruise ship. This evening join your fellow travellers for a cocktail reception followed by a welcome dinner. Your Cruise Director will also conduct a port talk to review the activities and itinerary for the days ahead.
Day 2 | Amsterdam - Cruising Highlights:
This morning take a glass top canal boat and explore Amsterdam’s maze of canals and a guided walk of the city, then free time, before lunch on board and your first day sailing through the Dutch countryside passing windmills and sailing through locks towards the Rhine River. Emerald Active: enjoy a guided walk of the city. Tonight the Captain will be delighted to host a gala dinner.
Day 3 | Cologne Highlights:
Cruise along the Rhine River to Cologne, founded by the Romans, the city is one of Germany's oldest and is famous for its magnificent World–Heritage listed Gothic Cathedral. After lunch on board, join your local guide for an included tour of the Old Town, with its beautiful squares and historic monuments, with free time for exploring. Cologne is one of Germany's largest and most modern cities largely due to a rebuilding plan post WWII, and it has many different museums and galleries including a Roman artefact museum.
Day 4 | Koblenz Highlights:
Cruise to the 2000 year old town of Koblenz, which is situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers. Visit the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress on the opposite side of the river, part of the Prussian defences against the French in the 19th century, and later used as a headquarters for the American military during WWII. Enjoy free time to wander through the town and take in the views. In the afternoon, sail through the spectacular Rhine Gorge, passing countless castles and vineyards as well as the infamous Lorelei statue and Pfalzgrafenstein Castle, which was built on an island in the middle of the river as a medieval toll station. Countless vineyards and medieval castles line the shores of this section of the river, with photo opportunities at every bend. Emerald Active: Cycle along the river banks.
Discover More: Cochem Castle (extra expense) guests on this tour will not be able to attend the included walking tour of Koblenz
Day 5 | Mannheim - Heidelberg Highlights:
Continue upstream to the town of Mannheim, located at the confluence of the Rhine and Neckar rivers. Take an excursion to the medieval town of Heidelberg including a visit to the impressive castle which overlooks the town. Enjoy free time there before returning to the ship for lunch and an afternoon sailing.
Day 6 | Kehl - Strasbourg Highlights:
Once docked in Kehl you will be transferred across the river to Strasbourg, the capital city of the Alsace Region in France. Your guided walking tour will include the Grande Ile, the historical city center and UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its medieval black and white timber framed buildings, old tanning houses, baroque sandstones buildings, canals and river locks. Your afternoon is free to continuing exploring Strasbourg.
Discover More: Alsace Wine Tasting Tour (extra expense)
Day 7 | Breisach Highlights:
The beautiful Black Forest region of Germany has long been a fairy tale destination. Commence your magical morning with the Vogtsbauernhof Museum, an open air exhibition of sixteenth century life, featuring a number of reconstructed Black Forest farms. Emerald Active: Guided Hike Through a Typical Black Forest Village (active fitness level recommended – actual hike, limited numbers). EmeraldPLUS: A presentation and tasting of Black Forest gateau.
Day 8 | Basel Disembarkation - Lyon Highlights:
Welcome to Switzerland and the Rhine–side town of Basel, the centre for Switzerland's pharmaceutical industry. After, your breakfast you will disembark your ship and transfer by coach to Lyon. In Lyon, you will begin your new journey. Tonight enjoy a welcome reception and dinner on board.
Day 9 | Lyon Highlights:
Lyon is France’s third largest city, a former Roman capital positioned at the conference of the Rhone and Saone rivers, which is steeped in history. Your tour starts with a drive to the Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere, Lyon’s hilltop church, with stunning views over the town. Then pass by the recently re–discovered Roman amphitheatre and walk through the cobbled streets of the gastronomic old town including the secret laneways. This evening sail north through the beautiful Beaujolais region.
Discover More: Excursion to the medieval town of Perouges (extra expense)
Day 10 | Chalon-Sur-Saone – Beaune Highlights:
Chalon–Sur–Saone is best known as the birthplace of photography and the centre of Burgundy’s wine region. Travel by road to the quaint village of Beaune, where we visit the Hospices de Beaune, one of the finest examples of French fifteenth–century architecture. Marvel at the multi–coloured roofs of this former hospital, now a museum, which has become one of the symbols of Burgundy. Return to the ship for lunch, and then depart this afternoon for Macon arriving in the evening. Tonight, enjoy local entertainment on board. Emerald Active: Join your guide for a bike excursion from Tournus to Macon while the ship sails (active fitness level).
Day 11 | Macon Highlights:
Arrive in Macon, another important wine region and gateway to the Beaujolais vineyards. Walk the Heritage Trail from Old Saint Vincent to the General Hospital buildings, half–timbered house and Soufflot Chapel, maybe trying some local wines at the many tasting displays in the town. Enjoy time at leisure in the afternoon.
Discover More: Visit to Benedictine Abbey of Cluny (extra expense)
Day 12 | Tournon Highlights:
Join your local guide for a walking tour of Tournon, which is dominated by the 16th century castle and roman ruins, and is nestled in the valley near the steep slopes of le Massif Central, France's 3rd largest mountain range. The area has a long tradition in wine making, including the renowned wine growing centre of Tain l'Hermitage across the river. Emerald Active: Guided biking tour to Glun. This afternoon EmeraldPLUS: Cheese and olive oil tasting on board.
Discover More: Regional Wine Tasting in Tournon Castle (extra expense).
Day 13 | Avignon Highlights:
Avignon has a rich history from Celtic beginnings to being the residence of the Popes and later central to the French Revolution. Although a fortified town, it is the Papal Palace which stands more secure on a hill in the centre of town; its walls are 17–18 feet thick. Your guided walk with a local guide takes you through this historic centre strolling the cobbled laneways and browsing the shops, overlooking the famous 'Pont d'Avignon'. The rest of the day is at leisure. EmeraldPLUS: Provencal dinner on board hosted by a popular local chef as well as traditional local style concert known as Chanson music.
Discover More: Secrets of the Pope’s Palace (extra expense) or Excursion to Pont du Gard (extra expense).
Day 14 | Avignon - Arles Highlights:
Sail into the Camargue wilderness region to the capital of Provence, Arles where you will join your local guide for a walking tour showcasing the highlights of the city in particular the exterior of the 2000 year old Roman Amphitheatre still in use today, which was originally built to hold 20,000 spectators in the style of the Colosseum in Rome. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax on board and explore Arles further.
Discover More: Excursion to Les Baux de Provence (extra expense) or Tastes of Provence (extra expense)
Day 15 | Arles - Disembarkation Highlights:
After breakfast disembark your river cruise ship in Arles and transfer to Nice (or Marseilles) Airport for your onward or homebound flight. (Please book your flight to depart Nice after 1pm).