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Depart home for Basel, Switzerland
This evening, you’ll fly overnight to Basel, Switzerland.
Arrive in Basel and transfer to ship in Breisach
If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to your ship. Or add our extension and you’ll begin in Montreux. This evening you'll enjoy a welcome drink as well as a briefing. 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. In the evening, you'll be a guest at the Captain's Welcome Reception & Dinner.
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.
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). We'll then visit the cathedral town of Speyer, where you'll have the afternoon at leisure to explore on your own. More jazz goodness awaits on board the ship, including a lecture and a performance by Tap & Jazz’s Long Term Affair Quartet.
A guided tour of Mainz, the famed Gutenberg Bible, and cruising UNESCO-listed Rhine Gorge
The ancient city of Mainz was once the seat of the Holy Roman Empire. However, it's 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. You'll set out on a walking tour that includes entrance to the fascinating Gutenberg Museum. In the afternoon, we embark for scenic cruising through the Upper Middle Rhine Valley — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — where vineyard-covered hillsides and hilltop castles appear around every bend. During our passage, you'll hear commentary from the ship’s bridge on the legend of Lorelei. 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 delightful 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 some special jazz features today: an insightful lecture on jazz as well as a performance by a Dixie jazz band. During your visit, you'll enjoy a walking tour of this scenic area and wine tasting in the morning. Back at the ship, savor some local vintages at an onboard wine tasting, before enjoying the scenery during a leisurely afternoon sail. This evening the ship will set off to arrive in Cologne.
Explore Cologne on a walking tour and try some local “Kölsch Bier”
We arrive in Cologne this morning. 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." Jazz features await you back on the ship, where you'll learn about jazz during a lecture and of course enjoy the stylings of our onboard pianist.
Amsterdam’s canal ring cruise and a captivating 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 tea at intermission. This is a true must-see (and must-hear!) experience for jazz aficionados.
Transfer to the Amsterdam airport for your flight home or join your optional extension in Bruges
Depart for home or begin your optional Bruges extension.
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.