Explore Medieval Germany in its purest form, cruise the gentle meanders of the Main and mighty Danube discovering the aptly named Romantic Road, the twisting streets of medieval Bamberg, enchanting Rothenburg and fascinating Nuremberg.
PERFECT FOR... Exploring quintessential medieval Germany, the aptly named Romantic Road, and some of Bavaria’s most enchanting towns and cities.
Following embarkation in Mainz we enjoy a leisurely start with time to explore this pretty town, with its stunning Romanesque cathedral and timber-clad buildings, at the very scenic heart of the country’s famous winelands. Our cruise along the Main with its characteristic meandering bends takes us firstly to idyllic Miltenberg, a fantastically well-preserved medieval village set against a spectacular backdrop of lush green forests and rolling hillsides. Then it’s on to delightful Wertheim, off the well-trodden tourist trail, its ancient castle standing proud over the neat, pretty houses and colourful market square below. Further delights are uncovered as we arrive in Wurzburg, the most elegant of Bavarian cities, crowned by the stunning Baroque palace, a relic of a bygone age. Take the Romantic Road to Rothenburg on our optional tour for spectacular views of the river below as it winds its way through this fairy-tale land. The beauty of Bamberg never fails to enchant as our cruise arrives in undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and historic towns in Europe. Sitting atop lush green hills, the spires of the stunning cathedral stretch to the sky above, whilst below the winding streets and quaint squares are a delight to explore. More picture perfect views as we awake in historic Nuremberg, synonymous with the Second World War, but today an intriguing and stunning city once again with its ornate Gothic church and bustling market.
Arrive in Mainz, where your great Bavarian adventure begins. Be welcomed aboard your five-star floating hotel by the dedicated crew, taking in the air of anticipation and excitement as you explore the luxury surroundings that you will call home for the next seven nights. Settle into your exceptionally well-equipped cabin, then get acquainted with your ship and fellow cruisers while you look forward to a delicious welcome dinner to start your cruise off in style.
After breakfast, whether you decide to take breakfast in bed or set yourself up for the day at the plentiful buffet, enjoy a morning exploring pretty Mainz, the capital of Rhineland-Palatinate and an important Roman city for 500 years. The 12th century Dom St Martin is a quintessentially Romanesque cathedral that mustn’t be missed – look out for the elaborate tombstones especially. And if one stunning church isn’t enough, romantic St Stephen’s is charming from the outside, but boasts a truly stunning interior, and will reward visitors with illumination in the incredible bright blue light that floods through the stained glass windows – a masterpiece by great artist Marc Chagall. For lovers of books and those keen to delve into the dusty chapters of history, the Gutenberg Museum is a must as it is home to two very rare Gutenberg Bibles, the first books ever printed. You can even try out Gutenberg’s 15th century book printing technology for yourself in the Druckladen print shop – you’ll agree it’s a tricky skill to master!
Of course, as Mainz is also at the very heart of Germany’s winelands, it would be rude to leave without sampling a local drop. Discover wonderfully olde worlde taverns among the pastel-clad and timber criss-crossed buildings of the Old Town or, if beer is more your tipple of choice, the vaulted chambers of the Eisgrub-Brau beer hall are a fine place to sample a mug of the local dark beer.
As the day progresses into afternoon, find yourself back aboard your elegant vessel, cruising by the mesmerising scenery along the banks of the Main River. Watch transfixed as evening encroaches and darkness falls upon the lush green landscape that surrounds you on all sides.
Awake refreshed from your comfortable overnight cruise and peek out of your cabin window to find yourself greeted by a change of scenery. You’re moored in pretty Miltenberg, one of Germany’s best preserved Medieval villages, and a labyrinth of winding alleys and lanes beg exploration. Backed by dense, emerald-green forest, this picturesque stop off has something of a fairytale feel and comes complete with its very own castle nestled into the lush, tree-clad hillside. Admire the impressive gatehouse, which stands like a proud guardian to the village, and wander across the charming market place, lined by traditional ‘fachwerk’ buildings, instantly recognisable bytheir grids of timber framing. The story goes that locals were allowed unlimited free wood from the surrounding forests, hence the abundance of this architectural style! The trickling fountain, ornately carved from stone and complete with dancing cherubs, and the intricately detailed Gasthaus Zum Riesen, which claims to be Germany’s oldest tavern, are highlights of this gorgeous square. In the afternoon, pass under Miltenberg’s red brick bridge and continue cruising to Wertheim, navigating the gentle meandering bends that characterise the River Main. Relax and take in the scenery while sipping your choice of tea or coffee (complimentary, naturally) or maybe something a little more fortifying from the bar. Or watch the riverside scenes slip by from the privacy and comfort of your sumptuous cabin, many of which have French balconies allowing for incredible unhindered views.
While Wertheim is completely off the main tourist trail radar, it’s a delightful surprise to those who happen upon it on a Main River cruise, and all the better for its peaceful untouched quality. Pass the fishing boats riding at anchor whilst admiring the muted colours of the sage green, palest lilac and buttercup yellow houses opposite. A russet-walled 12th century castle overlooks the Old Town, surveying the church spires and turrets, and the patchwork of multi-coloured buildings below. Perusethe quaint and colourful market square – looking out for the blink-and-you’ll-miss it Zobelhaus, a sure contender for the narrowest house in rural Germany!
This evening it’s another delectable dinner, wellearned from all that discovery, and an overnight cruise to mesmerising Würzburg.
One of the many highlights of river cruising is being able to indulge in complete relaxation. Catch up on some reading or relax as you watch the world float by. This afternoon we arrive in marvellous Würzburg, contrasting with the quaint towns and villages you’ve encountered on your adventure so far. We have a guided tour of this elegant Bavarian city, founded in the 10th century as the centre of the kingdom known as Franconia, sitting resplendent on the banks of the Main. Neat blocks of grand pastel buildings are peppered with the spires and domes of the city’s many churches. The true jewel in Würzburg’s illustrious crown however is the Residenz, a truly stunning example of a Baroque palace that whisks you back in time to a more romantic age. You have time to explore as you wish before returning to the ship.
After breakfast we take a drive along the whimsical Romantic Road, perfectly named in view of the romantic sights that pass by as you travel further into this German fairy tale. Arrive at spectacular 16th-century Rothenburg ob der Tauber, crowning a hill with astonishing views over the meandering river. Explore its narrow, cobbled streets lined with tall, gabled half-timbered houses surrounded by perfectly preserved medieval walls. A short drive takes us to Marktbreit, nestled in the southernmost point of the Main, where our ship and another superb lunch await. There is free time to relax on board or continue your journey of discovery in Marktbreit, a romantic medieval town with elegant buildings that recall the grandeur of days past. Wander the Old Town and admire its Renaissance-style town hall, 16th-century castle and baroque trading houses before rejoining the cruise this evening.
Another day dawns and there is plenty of opportunity to enjoy the ship’s five-star facilities whilst taking in the magnificent, undulating landscape. The vessel moors this afternoon in Bamberg, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful small towns in all of Europe, and UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site by way of confirmation. Planned by Emperor Heinrich II in the 11th century as a Franconian capital as grand as Rome, Bamberg sits on seven lush green hills, akin to its Italian inspiration. Join our guided tour and take in the historic Old Town and impressive multi-spired cathedral. Although perhaps the most noticeable and intriguing landmark is its Old Town Hall, which sits on an island in the middle of the sublime river, flanked by bridges on either side. From here you can see Little Venice, the riverside
fishermen’s houses. On leaving Bamberg, we join the Main-Danube canal, a superb feat of German
engineering that connects several great European arteries and guides us to our last stop, Nuremberg.
History buffs will find Nuremberg intriguing for its association with the Second World War, as the site of many pre-war Nazi rallies and later, the International War Crimes Tribunal. However, it’s impossible to hold this unfortunate blighted past against this Bavarian city, as you’ll see on our guided tour this afternoon. Marvel at its pictureperfect streets, enchanting castle (rebuilt after WWII bombings) and breathtaking landmarks, including the Church of St Lawrence, a towering Gothic masterpiece, and the intricate Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche), which boasts a working mechanical clock and overlooks the bustling Hauptmarkt Square with its legendary golden fountain. Taste the fairy tale on market days with a bite of Nuremberg’s famous gingerbread, perhaps purchasing a stash to spice up the biscuit tin back home! Later you return to the ship for your final dinner on board and reflect on all that you have experienced on this wonderful cruise.
After breakfast, the crew bids you farewell before you disembark the ship.
Prices are per person, based on two people sharing a twin cabin with a limited number of single cabins available on all decks, at the relevant supplement. The price includes full board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day; if you choose to travel with us on any of the full day excursions by coach, a packed lunch will be provided. Anyone choosing to stay on the ship may of course have lunch in the restaurant; morning/afternoon tea and coffee; all visits and excursions as mentioned in the brochure, coach travel as mentioned and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.
A drinks package is available, at a cost of $129 per person for this cruise. This includes the following with lunch and dinner: draught beer; non-alcoholic beer; soft drinks; juices; red, white and rose house wines; and wine recommendations from the menu.
The drinks package must be added to your booking prior to departure you can do this by calling the reservations team.
If you choose not to purchase a drinks package, there is a vast selection of drinks on board each ship available for individual purchase, so you certainly won't be missing out. To see an example wine list please see our information regarding life on board.