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Depart home for Amsterdam, the Netherlands
This evening, you’ll fly overnight to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Or leave early for our extension in Bruges, Belgium.
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. This is also your first chance to experience something you'll enjoy throughout your journey: live jazz piano music in the lounge. The dulcet sounds produced an expert piano player will be with you every day on your cruise, and will provide a lovely soundtrack for your trip.
Amsterdam’s canal ring cruise and your first jazz experience
This morning after breakfast, you'll get the perfect view of Amsterdam’s historic center on a narrated canal cruise along the city’s 17th-century canal ring, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’re in for a true jazz-lover’s treat today: tea and a jazz performance at the world-famous Bimhuis. This Amsterdam institution is renowned not only for its roots as a jazz mainstay, but for its reputation among professionals as one of the premier venues in the world for sound quality. You’ll savor a two-part performance with a delightful tea at intermission. This is a true must-see (and must-hear!) experience for jazz aficionados. As the sun sets, enjoy dinner as the Voyager wends its way through Dutch waterways to the Rhine.
Explore Cologne on a walking tour and try some local “Kölsch Bier”
After a morning of leisurely cruising, the m/s River Voyager arrives in Cologne. The city was founded in the first century and became the seat of Roman rule in the region known as Germania Inferior. Although it's now Germany's fourth largest city, Cologne preserves many fine medieval structures, including Romanesque churches, the city hall, and three of the city's 12 medieval gates. You'll get a feel for this mix of old and new on a city walking tour that will culminate at the massive twin-spired Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While you're here, you'll also visit a local brewery for a taste of this town's famous "Kölsch Bier." You'll also enjoy some special jazz features today: an insightful lecture on jazz as well as a performance by a Dixie jazz band.
A delightful morning walking tour of Old Town Koblenz, a wine tasting and cruising UNESCO-listed Rhine Gorge
Your next port of call is Koblenz, a more than 2,000-year-old city strategically set at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers. From the wedge-shaped headland where the waters meet, known as Deutsches Eck or "German Corner," a giant equestrian statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I overlooks the united rivers. You'll enjoy a leisurely wine tasting before lunch on the ship, after which you'll embark for scenic cruising through the Upper Middle Rhine Valley — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — as you travel towards Mainz. Your onboard entertainment continues to be as varied as it is excellent: in addition to the jazz pianist playing in the lounge, you'll enjoy a performance by a solo saxophonist.
A guided tour of Mainz, the famed Gutenberg Bible, and cruising UNESCO-listed Rhine Gorge
This ancient city was once the seat of the Holy Roman Empire. However, Mainz is perhaps best known as the home of Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of moveable type, who was ranked "The Man of the Millennium" in a book about the most influential people born between the 10th and 20th centuries. Hear a morning lecture before setting out on a walking tour that includes entrance to the fascinating Gutenberg Museum. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure back aboard the ship, where more jazz goodness awaits with a performance by Tap & Jazz’s Long Term Affair Quartet.
Highlights of Heidelberg, a singular treat, and enjoy leisure time in Speyer
Today, set off for a half-day excursion to Heidelberg, a red-roofed town on the Neckar River that is home to Germany’s oldest university. Enjoy panoramic views from the plaza of imposing Heidelberg Castle. You'll also see the castles famed Heidelberg Tun, an immense wine barrel, now empty, with a capacity of some 58,000 gallons. Stroll the pedestrian-only main street and get an opportunity to sample a traditional confection beloved in this region: the Heidelberger Studentenkuss (Student's Kiss). Then we have opportunity to visit the cathedral town of Speyer, where you’ll have the afternoon at leisure to explore on your own. Back on the ship, we learn more about jazz during a lecture entitled "Milestones in the history of jazz."
Strasbourg canal cruise and a dynamic walking tour
After docking in Kehl, Germany, we'll go directly across the Rhine to Strasbourg, France via the Pont de l'Europe bridge. The deeply intertwined and somewhat complicated history of the two towns is reflected in the mix of French and German culture that pervades the Alsace region. You'll embark on a cruise through the canals here before going on a walking tour that takes 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. Explore the heart of Strasbourg's center city afternoon at leisure. More jazz music awaits back on board the ship.
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.
Disembark the ship in Breisach —
transfer to Basel airport for flight home
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to begin your journey home. Or, continue your journey with an optional extension to Montreux.
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.