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A remarkable Rhine and Moselle river cruise is made even more unforgettable with a once-in-a-lifetime addition: the Oberammergau Passion Play. This epic depiction of the life of Christ, which takes place only once every decade, has been staged for nearly 400 years. There is simply nothing like it, which is one of the reasons why 500,000 people will come to see it during its run. This experience (on select 2020 departures only) can’t be replicated anywhere else and is available to you on deluxe small-group tours with Vantage when you add on exclusive extension to Oberammergau. Plus, with Vantage you can be assured of the best seats and accommodations among American cruise lines today.
This incredible event is reason enough to travel on this European tour — and yet you’ll experience so much more. Storybook scenery, charming traditions, striking architecture, unique history . . . the list goes on. On this European cruise vacation, you’ll experience 11 guided tours and an eye-popping five UNESCO World Heritage Sites along some of the most gorgeous stretches of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers.
Time may seem to have stood still as you step upon ancient stones in postcard-pretty German towns such as Cochem, Trier, and Bernkastel. You’ll experience half-timbered gems from Rüdesheim, Germany, to Basel, Switzerland, as well as France's Alsatian Wine Route, Amsterdam, the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, and more.
Taking a solo vacation? Vantage is the only travel company whose river ships include cabins built specifically for solo travelers, with free Single Supplements. You'll enjoy free Single Supplements on every Oberammergau extension, as well (first come, first served!). We’ve also designed this itinerary to give you more opportunities for independent exploring and for staying active. Take one of the ship’s bikes for a spin along the shore, join a longer walk or hike, and sign up for onboard cooking classes. Join us and see for yourself what makes this river cruise in Europe so remarkable — and be sure to add the optional Oberammergau event that is sure to be a highlight of your journey (and year)!
Amsterdam to Basel: Harvest Wine Celebration
On this scenic sail through the Rhine and Moselle River Valleys, you’ll not only take in the breathtaking scenery of ones of Europe’s most picturesque regions – you’ll delve into its remarkable wine culture as well!
This 15-day cruise allows you to soak in the culture of charming towns like Mainz — home to the Gutenberg Museum — and Baden-Baden, the “Gateway to the Black Forest” that has drawn celebrities for generations. You’ll also discover Strasbourg in France, Amsterdam in Holland, and even have the option of venturing to Luxembourg.
What’s more, you’ll enjoy a range of wine features, including:
Plus, this remarkable Rhine and Moselle river cruise is made even more unforgettable with a once-in-a-lifetime addition: the Oberammergau Passion Play. This epic depiction of the life of Christ, which takes place only once every decade, has been staged for nearly 400 years. There is simply nothing like it, which is one of the reasons why 500,000 people will come to see it during its run. This experience (on select 2020 departures only) can’t be replicated anywhere else and is available to you on deluxe small-group tours with Vantage when you add on exclusive extension to Oberammergau. Plus, with Vantage you can be assured of the best seats and accommodations among American cruise lines today. That’s two unforgettable experiences — a wine harvest river cruise and a once-in-a-decade event — in one. Don’t miss out!
Date: September 12, 2020
Add another European jewel before or after your river cruise explorations with this optional extension to historic Bruges. You'll get to know this well-preserved medieval city with an included canal boat cruise beneath its graceful bridges, as well as a walking tour along its cobbled streets. You'll admire the juxtaposition of historic Burg Square, City Hall, and more!
Depart home for Amsterdam, The Netherlands
This evening, you’ll fly overnight to Amsterdam.
Arrive in Amsterdam
Arrive in the Dutch capital. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to your European river cruise ship. Tonight, enjoy a Welcome Drink and Briefing in the lounge.
A cruise along Amsterdam’s canal ring and a visit to the esteemed Rijksmuseum
Today, embark on a lovely cruise along Amsterdam’s 17th-century canal ring, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will then visit the recently renovated Rijksmuseum, home of Amsterdam’s premier art collection, including works by such Dutch masters as Rembrandt and Vermeer. Later, gather with your fellow travelers for the Captain’s Welcome Dinner and Reception.
During centuries of persecution in Europe, Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews fled to Amsterdam in order to live and worship in peace. That changed during World War II, when the Nazis invaded Holland and turned a theater in the Jodenbuurt Quarter into a deportation center and this once-prosperous area into the infamous Jewish Ghetto. On this tour, you’ll visit this theater as well as the rest of the Jewish Cultural Quarter, which includes the Portuguese Synagogue and other monuments in this historic section of the city. Join us on this tour that highlights the powerful story of this unique part of Amsterdam.
Please note: On Saturdays, the synagogue is not available for visits and will be replaced by the Jewish Historical Museum.
Embark on a walking tour of Nijmegen, the oldest city in the Netherlands
Today, embark on a walking tour of Nijmegen. This is the oldest city in the Netherlands, and the entire region is teeming with stories from World War II. In the afternoon, you’ll learn a bit about the local language during a German lesson while also enjoying scenic sailing.
Explore Cologne on a walking tour and taste some distinctive Kölsch beer
This morning, enjoy a guided walking tour of Cologne, getting a chance to learn about this city’s rich history. You'll also enjoy a special tasting of Kölsch beer, a distinctive style that the New York Times once stated was like "drinking an entire culture." After the tour, you'll also have free time to explore on your own. Cultural Connection: Some evening entertainment onboard the ship offers the perfect coda to your day.
Meet the “count” of Reichsburg Castle, sip some wine, soak up the scenery
Spend the morning taking in the scenery in Cochem. Later, enjoy a guided visit to fairy-tale Reichsburg Castle, perched atop a steep hill in the quaint town of Cochem on the Moselle River. Meet the “count” in the castle and enjoy a glass of the fine Riesling produced in the area. Enjoy scenic cruising with commentary in the afternoon. This evening, Movie Night features Patton, which will be of particular interest if you've selected to join the optional tour of Luxembourg tomorrow, which includes the American Cemetery where the famous general is buried.
Discover Schweich on your own, or opt to visit Luxembourg
On Day 6, you’ll have the entire day at leisure to explore Schweich on your own or just relax. Alternatively, make an optional full-day excursion to Luxembourg, where you’ll pay your respects at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, the solemn resting place for more than 5,000 U.S. soldiers. You’ll also take a panoramic tour of Luxembourg City.
Enjoy a full-day excursion to Luxembourg, where you’ll pay your respects at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, solemn resting place for more than 5,000 US soldiers. You’ll also take a panoramic tour of Luxemburg City. After your tour, you may explore the small yet picturesque city on your own.
Enjoy a walking exploration of Bernkastel and sample some local wines
Today, you'll enjoy an insightful lecture on Roman history before embarking on a walking tour of Bernkastel, known as the “International Town of Vines and Wine.” The surrounding landscape boasts massive fortresses and fairy-tale castles, and the town’s half-timbered houses lining the banks of the Moselle will enchant you. You’ll have some time on your own, or choose to enjoy a delightful wine tasting (including the famed Eiswein).
Biking Opportunity: Enjoy scenic vistas as you follow this path along the beautiful Moselle River during a 19-mile route. Click here for details.
The oldest city in Germany is yours to explore, including the UNESCO-listed Roman ruins
Discover the city of Trier today. This is the oldest city in Germany, and your included tour here brings you to the amphitheater and includes a viewing of the Porta Nigra (a massive stone gate), the Roman Bridge, and Barbara Baths. You’ll also enjoy a singular treat: An exclusive grape picking and pressing at renowned Weingut Fritz Georg von Nell vineyard. This is your opportunity to be immersed in the harvest way of life — getting hands-on experience in this timeless tradition. You’ll also savor a delicious lunch at a local restaurant.
Two UNESCO Sites: Boppard and the Upper Middle Rhine Valley
This morning, enjoy a lecture introducing you to Boppard. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its fine Riesling wines along with its ties to the Roman Empire. You'll have time on your own to explore. In the afternoon you'll enjoy scenic cruising through the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with commentary from the ship's bridge on the legend of Lorelei.
See the Gutenberg Bible in Mainz and learn how to paint
Located at the confluence of the Main and Rhine Rivers, Mainz was once the seat of the Holy Roman Empire. Here, you’ll visit the Johannes Gutenberg Museum, dedicated to the inventor of moveable type and home to one of the original Gutenberg Bibles. This evening, enjoy some delightful entertainment.
Marvel at the Speyer Cathedral and savor the warmth of a home-hosted dinner
You’ll depart for a tour of Speyer and its eponymous 11th-century cathedral. Once one of the largest cathedrals in the world, this UNESCO World Heritage Site remains the final resting place for many former emperors and heads of state. Your afternoon is at leisure to continue your discoveries, or you can join an optional tour to Heidelberg. Unforgettable Moment: Later, you will enjoy a meal and conversation during an insightful home-hosted dinner.
Join an optional tour to Heidelberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to Germany’s oldest college, Heidelberg University. Enjoy panoramic views from the plaza of imposing Heidelberg Castle, a Gothic-Renaissance ruin of red stone looming above the downtown and see the castles famed Heidelberg Tun, an immense wine barrel, now empty, with a capacity of some 58,000 gallons.
Embark on a walking and canal tour in Strasbourg
Unforgettable Moment: Today in Strasbourg, an included walking and canal boat tour take you to the elegant Palais Rohan, Cathedral Notre Dame, the ultra-modern European Union Parliament, the quaint shops and parks of “La Petite France”, and the Tanners’ Quarter. You can also join an optional Black Forest tour with a cake-making demonstration and tasting. In the evening, enjoy an entertaining performance by Armand Jehle, a skilled accordionist.
Biking Opportunity: Explore the heart of Strasbourg’s center city during an easy 4-mile route. Click here for details.
You’ll ride along the scenic Bundesstrasse 500, an impressive auto route that’s commonly referred to as the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse, or “Black Forest High Street.” Zoom along a road that rises dramatically from 200 to 3,000 feet above sea level in a mere 10-15 mile stretch. You’ll arrive at the historic Berghotel Mummelsee, a popular tourist destination for the past 120 years. You’ll head to the hotel restaurant for a Black Forest cake-making demonstration and tasting. Afterwards, you may stroll around the lake and shop for traditional Black Forest products like cuckoo clocks, cherry liqueur, and more.
Immerse yourself in the Alsatian Wine Route on a full-day tour
Listen to an informative lecture on the European Union this morning, before enjoy a full-day Alsatian Wine Route tour, with a visit to Colmar and the famous Unterlinden Museum. In Riquewihr, known for its Riesling wines, enjoy a walking tour and money to enjoy lunch during your free time exploring the city. Later, gather for a wine tasting of distinctive Riesling and Ice Wine with a sommelier on board the ship – this is a chance to pick the brain of a true wine expert while enjoying exquisite vintages. Tonight will be the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail Party and Dinner.
Set off on a half-day tour of Basel
Located on the Rhine River, Basel traces its history as far back as the early Celts and Roman Empire. You’ll take a half-day city tour, then enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. We will have shuttles to the city center available for those who are interested.
Biking Opportunity: Explore the nearby Roman excavation site of Augusta Raurica during this 17-mile route. Click here for details.
Depart Basel for Oberammergau or your flight home
Depart for home today or embark on an optional, once-in-a-lifetime extension to see the Oberammergau Passion Play.
Nestled deep in the heart of the Bavarian Alps, Oberammergau is one of the postcard-perfect Germany villages filled with charming homes decorated with Lüftlmalerei wall paintings, intricate wood carvings, and a small tight-knit community of just 5,100. It’s always special indeed, but once every 10 years this village expands to an even larger community of the faithful or just about anyone interested in history for one of the most fascinating, long-running spectacles in the world: the Oberammergau Passion Play. Occurring every decade since 1634, with roles depicting the life of Jesus filled by just about every villager, this 380-year event in the making will be presented exclusively for Vantage travelers on special Switzerland, the Heart of the Rhine & Moselle trip extensions. You’ll enjoy some of the best show seats and the most enriching features as only Vantage can present them — but hurry, tickets sell out months in advance so you should reserve this experience today.
Enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience on our May 3, 2020, departure.
Enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience on these 2020 departures: July 18, August 15, and September 12.
Important Notice:The above day-by-day itinerary is preliminary and subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert. In addition, should there be an extreme change in water levels, Vantage will do everything possible to provide either the included excursion or an alternate excursion at Vantage’s discretion.
Please Note: Port times & itineraries are subject to change. Fluctuating water levels may affect itinerary.