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 Amsterdam
Board an overnight flight to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Or begin your trip early with a pre-trip extension in Bruges, Belgium’s incredibly preserved medieval treasure.
Arrive in Amsterdam, embark your ship, and enjoy free time to explore in 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:
Cruise Amsterdam's UNESCO-listed Canal Ring and visit the Rijksmuseum
Today, embark on a lovely cruise along Amsterdam’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 Dutch-themed Captain’s Welcome Dinner and Reception.
Tonight, enjoy the sweet sounds of classical strings as you get to know your fellow travelers and look forward to your enriching cruise ahead.
Enjoy 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; after, enjoy leisure time.
Set sail toward the Rhine River on scenic waterways this afternoon. Later, head to the Captain’s Club for a fun interactive cooking lesson, perhaps seeing what goes into making the perfect Käsespätzle or similar. Solo travelers may mingle during a solo get-together, too. After dinner, it’s Movie Night on board: Fassbinder’s The Marriage of Maria Braun is our feature, chronicling the life of a woman during and after the war in Germany.
Explore Cologne and sample its distinctive 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 onboard the ship offers the perfect closing to your day.
Meet the “count” of Reichsburg Castle, sip some wine, soak up the scenery
Spend the morning taking in the scenery as you sail to Cochem, arriving after lunch. 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 River.
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.
As your ship gets underway, learn more secrets of German cuisine as your chef shows you how to prepare another regional favorite, perhaps German Braised Beef Roulade. After tonight’s German-themed 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 (perhaps dark beer-braised pork ribs). During dinner, the restaurant maître d'hotel will present you with four different wine pairings.
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. Then 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, gather for a cooking lesson to learn how Germany’s beloved potato dumplings and bread dumplings are prepared. 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 Destination Manager can help you with cycling plans if you’d like to set out on two wheels. This evening, see how another German specialty is prepared during a cooking lesson with the chef before enjoying a film.
Discover Koblenz and sail the UNESCO-listed Upper Middle Rhine Valley
This morning, enjoy a walking tour of Koblenz, the 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. In the afternoon you set off 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. Back on board, savor a wine tasting with the sommelier, who provides invaluable guidance on several vintages. This evening’s onboard cooking lesson highlights the pleasures of a Swabian delicacy.
See the Gutenberg Bible in Mainz and learn how to paint
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. Then, enjoy an afternoon at leisure in Mainz.
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. Afterward, you may join your cruise director for a pub crawl to sample the local brews. Onboard entertainment will serenade you as you depart Mainz tonight.
Marvel at the Speyer Cathedral and savor the warmth of coffee and conversation at a local home
This morning you arrive in Speyer, a pretty town of church towers and red-roof houses, for a city tour. You'll then enjoy coffee and cake before an onboard lecture about the beautiful Rhine. Later, you’ll set off on a tour of Speyer and its eponymous 11th-century cathedral, a wonder of Romanesque architecture. Once one of the largest cathedrals in the world, this UNESCO World Heritage Site remains the final resting place for many emperors and heads of state. Back on the ship, get ready to celebrate German-style during a festive party!
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. If you want to, 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.
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. Later, learn more about the European Union during a fascinating lecture. And enjoy a final evening of music as your spirit soars with selections from operetta to Broadway.
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 in returning for further independent exploration after lunch on board. Join in on an evening dinner onboard featuring traditional Swiss dishes.
Depart Basel for Montreux or your flight home
Depart for home today or experience more of magnificent Switzerland during an optional extension in Montreux, a resort haven on the shores of Lake Geneva.
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.