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Every fall, the vineyards along the Rhine and Moselle Rivers come alive as vintners gather their ripe grapes and prepare them for aging. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be part of this centuries-old tradition. That’s why Vantage offers special harvest departures that give you hands-on insight into what goes into some of Europe’s finest wines . . . with ample opportunities to taste some of the region’s best vintages.
Board your flight to Basel
Board an overnight flight to Basel, Switzerland. Or begin your trip early with a pre-trip extension in Montreux, a resort haven on the shores of Lake Geneva.
Arrive in Basel, embark your ship, and enjoy free time to explore the city
If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a representative will meet you at the airport and assist with the transfer to your ship. This afternoon, attend a Welcome Briefing. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Drink.
Vantage Onboard Enrichment:
Set off on a half-day tour of Basel
Dock in Basel, Switzerland — near the borders of Germany and France — early this morning. Located on the Rhine River, Basel traces its history as far back as the early Celts and Roman Empire. Today, its Old Town is a delight to browse and its many galleries draw art lovers from all over Europe. You’ll get acquainted during a walking tour, then enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. We will have shuttles to the city center available for those who are interested.
This evening, savor a Swiss-themed dinner in the elegant dining room. Then it’s Move Night as we screen Fassbinder’s The Marriage of Maria Braun, chronicling the life of a woman during and after the war in Germany.
Immerse yourself in the Alsatian Wine Route on a full-day tour
Today you’ll enjoy a full-day Alsatian Wine Route tour, stopping first to stroll through the charming colorful streets of Colmar, renowned as the capital of Alsatian wine. Visit its famous Unterlinden Museum, a 13th-century Dominican convent housing the beloved Isenheim Altarpiece, a lush and moving polyptych. We provide some euros so you can find a place for lunch while in town. Continue to another beautiful French town steeped in charm, Riquewihr, renowned for its Riesling wine. Back on board, savor a wine tasting with the sommelier, who provides invaluable guidance on several vintages. Later, learn more about the European Union during a fascinating lecture. And enjoy an evening of music as your spirit soars with selections from operetta to Broadway.
Also this evening, you can head to the Captain’s Club for a fun interactive cooking lesson, perhaps seeing what goes into making the perfect Käsespätzle. Solo travelers may mingle during a solo get-together, too.
Discover Strasbourg on a walking and canal tour
Today in Strasbourg, an included walking and canal boat tour take you to the UNESCO-listed Grande-Île, where you will see the elegant Palais Rohan, the quaint shops and parks of “La Petite France,” and the Tanners’ Quarter. You will also step inside the glorious Cathedral Notre Dame and see the ultra-modern European Union Parliament. Later, you can also explore more of Strasbourg on your own; a shuttle bus from our pier makes it easy. On board tonight, savor more of this delightful region of France with a special French Alsatian dinner.
Marvel at the Speyer Cathedral and savor the warmth of a home-hosted dinner
This morning you arrive in Speyer, a pretty town of church towers and red-roof houses, for some relaxing leisure time. After lunch on board, pay a visit to a local Speyer household to share coffee, cake, and conversation.
See the Gutenberg Bible in Mainz and learn how to paint
Located where the Rhine and Main Rivers meet, Mainz was once the seat of the Holy Roman Empire. It was also the city where Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable-type printing press, changing communication forever. Learn more about his revolutionary creation during a guided visit to the Johannes Gutenberg Museum, home to one of the original Gutenberg Bibles. Choose from an array of options this afternoon. Later, our cooking lesson shows you how to make German sour cabbage, sampling some local Riesling with your creation.
Or, join a local artist to gain insight into capturing riverside vistas on canvas during a painting lesson. After enjoying the evening’s onboard entertainment head into town with your Cruise Director for a pub crawl, perhaps sampling one of Germany’s popular wheat, pale, or dark beers.
Sail the UNESCO-listed Upper Middle Rhine Valley and discover Koblenz
This morning you set off from Mainz for a breathtaking scenic cruise through the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its spectacular array of medieval castles and charming wine villages. As you approach the steep, slate Lorelei Rock, learn about its legends during shipboard commentary. Arrive in Koblenz this afternoon and enjoy a walking tour of this scenic baroque gem where the Rhine and Moselle meet. Its dramatic German Corner juts into the rivers’ meeting point like the prow of a proud ship, a giant equestrian statue of William I its figurehead. After seeing the main sights of the Old Town, there’ll be time on your own. This evening’s onboard cooking lesson highlights the pleasures of a Swabian delicacy.
Enjoy a walking exploration of Bernkastel and sample some local wines
After breakfast on board, start your day with a lecture on the ancient Roman presence in Germany. Set out on a walking tour of Bernkastel to admire the charming timber-framed houses of this “International Town of Vines and Wine.” The surrounding landscape boasts massive fortresses and fairy-tale castles sure to enchant. During your tour, you’ll head into a local cellar for a wine tasting of Eiswein, a dessert wine made from grapes frozen on the vine. Then have some time on your own to take in all its charms.
Tonight, learn to prepare another local favorite with your chef. Later, enjoy the lovely sounds of some of opera’s great arias during onboard entertainment.
Discover Bernkastel on your own
You’ll have the entire day at leisure to explore Bernkastel on your own. Your Concierge can help you with cycling plans if you’d like to set out on two wheels.
Depart Bernkastel this afternoon and settle in to watch lovely Moselle vistas drift by; shipboard commentary illuminates the river’s every twist and turn. Later, gather for a cooking lesson to learn how Germany’s beloved potato dumplings and bread dumplings are prepared. And after dinner, enjoy another Movie Night.
Explore Germany’s oldest city, including UNESCO-listed Roman ruins
Begin your day by gaining insight into the entire process of wine-making as you pick and press grapes, a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the harvest way of life, before lunch at a local restaurant.
Afterwards you’ll head to Trier, said to be the oldest city in Germany, conquered by Romans in the first century. During a panoramic and walking tour, witness their epic legacy when you view the amphitheater, Porta Nigra stone gate, the Roman Bridge, Barbara Baths, and the Cathedral of St. Peter.
This evening, see how another German specialty is prepared during a cooking lesson with the chef. During dinner, the restaurant maître d'hotel will present you with four different wine pairings.
Meet the “count” of Reichsburg Castle, sip some wine, soak up the scenery
Arrive in Cochem this morning. While here, marvel at the spectacular setting of the fairy-tale Reichsburg Castle, perched atop a steep hill in the quaint town of Cochem on the Moselle. Meet the “count” during a guided tour of the castle; as local musicians regale you, join him in a toast over a glass of the fine Riesling for which the vineyard-laden Moselle Valley is famous.
After lunch, set sail on a final stretch of the Moselle, enjoying shipboard commentary along the way. Meet the chef later to see how German Braised Beef Roulade is prepared.
Explore Cologne on a walking tour and taste some distinctive Kölsch beer
This morning, join a guided walking tour of Cologne, getting a chance to learn about this city’s rich Roman past and viewing the magnificent cathedral. One of Europe’s most stunning structures, its start-and-stop construction began in 1248 and ended in 1880. Pause at a traditional restaurant to enjoy a special tasting of Kölsch beer, a distinctive style that the New York Times once stated was like "drinking an entire culture." After, you'll also have free time to explore on your own, perhaps taking out one of the ship’s bicycles for the afternoon or joining a more active walk in the city.
Following lunch on board, we provide shuttles into Cologne for those who would like to spend more time browsing its historic streets. Some evening entertainment on board — “The Best from Musicals” — offers the perfect closing to your day.
Embark on a walking tour of Nijmegen, the oldest city in the Netherlands
This morning, step right off your ship for a walking tour of Nijmegen. This is the oldest city in the Netherlands — more than 2,000 years. You’ll stroll its compact medieval district and hear about the city’s role in World War II. Lunch is back onboard.
As you sail toward Amsterdam later this afternoon, you’ll learn a bit about the local language during a Dutch lesson. As you cruise, learn to prepare another local favorite with your chef. Later, enjoy Movie Night with a presentation of a concert film featuring the Dutch violinist André Rieu.
A Cruise Amsterdam's UNESCO-listed Canal Ring and visit the Rijksmuseum
Awake in Amsterdam, the Netherland’s free-wheeling cultural capital. Embark on a lovely cruise along the city’s 17th-century canal ring, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will then visit the Rijksmuseum, home of Amsterdam’s premier art collection, including works by such Dutch masters as Rembrandt and Vermeer. You can enjoy an afternoon at leisure — there’s even shuttle service available to the city if you’d like.
Later, gather with your fellow travelers for a festive Captain’s Farewell Dinner with a Dutch theme. A classical string quartet performs for you during your final evening on board.
Transfer to the Amsterdam airport for your flight home or join your optional extension in Bruges, Belgium
Depart for home today after an unforgettable journey, or explore more of the Low Countries with our optional extension to Bruges, Belgium’s remarkably preserved medieval city.
The 19th-century luminaries who once visited Montreux — Tolstoy, Nabokov, Flaubert, Dostoyevsky — were no doubt drawn by the pleasant climate, idyllic surroundings, and shimmering waters of Lake Geneva. This resort town remains an elegant escape, and you’ll experience its many charms on this extension. Enjoy a full-day tour of the Château de Chillon and Gruyère region — which includes some time at the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Witness the art of chocolate-making with a local chocolatier. And take time on your own to revel in the beauty of this lakeside gem.
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.