Immerse yourself in the beauty and traditions of this world-famously scenic region, on our longer river cruise showcasing the very best of the Middle Rhine. Discover spectacular cities boasting a hoard of UNESCO cathedrals and ancient castles, and savor gentle vine-clad landscapes awash with timber-framed towns soaked in medieval charm.
Arrive at your five-star cruise ship moored on the banks of the Rhine in historic Cologne, one of Germany’s oldest cities. Your professional, English-speaking crew will welcome you on board, show you to your cabin and help you familiarise yourself with all aspects of this first-class floating boutique hotel before dinner is served. Overnight we set sail on our journey towards Andernach.
Awake in the delightful town of Andernach, nestling behind sturdy medieval walls.
One of the oldest towns in Germany, it was founded by the Romans in 12BC on the site of an old Celtic settlement then seized by the Franks in 450 AD who set up a royal court within its old fort walls. By medieval times, the town had grown in stature and was trading with places as far away as England and Scandinavia – even having its own mint and coinage. Andernach and the surrounding area is well known for its pumice with production booming since the 1950s. Enjoy a guided walking tour around its picturesque streets and admire the town’s mighty defensive walls, gates and towers, the finest of which is the 56-metre tall Round Tower. See the impressive, ruined castle with its well-preserved keep, and the majestic cathedral with its four soaring towers, fine interior and unusual wall decorations. At the old harbour area discover the Old Crane, a 16th-century stone-turning tower crane, still in use until 1911 to load millstones, tuff and wine.
Over lunch, we set sail, arriving before long at the magnificent city of Koblenz, sited at the confluence of two of Europe’s great rivers – the Rhine and Moselle. An expert local guide will take us on an insightful tour to learn more about this 2,000-year-old city. Discover its historic squares, beautifully restored buildings and cosy little cafes with the aroma of fresh coffee and pastries tempting you inside. Over tonight’s splendid four-course meal our ship gracefully sails on along the Moselle’s gently winding course.
After breakfast head up onto the magnificent sun deck to enjoy some fabulous river views during a morning of scenic sailing through this magical natural landscape, with gentle forested hills sweeping down to the rippling water’s edge.
After lunch on board, explore the medieval town of Bernkastel, a huddle of pointy roofs and spires, tall timber framed treasures and intriguing alleys hiding a host of wineries and cosy taverns. Stroll the cobbled lanes, pausing to admire the famous Pointed House, the perfect example of a Moselle vintner’s traditional dwelling, its ancient timber frame bedecked with colourful window boxes. Look out for the Graacher Tor, the last remaining gate dating from 1300 ow housing a local history museum or if you’re feeling energetic, take a walk up to the old castle for amazing views.
The Moselle is of course synonymous with wine production. One of thirteen wine growing regions in Germany it is the third largest yet most famous wine producing area. Mainly cultivating grapes for white wines, the Rieslings crafted from the Moselle’s vineyards are considered some of the finest in the world. Enjoy a visit to a local cellar to learn more about this ancient process, followed by a wine-tasting of some of their best produce.
Return to the ship for dinner and perhaps end the evening with a nightcap in the bar to the soothing tones of the on-board pianist as we sail overnight to Trier.
This morning we drive from Trier through this famously scenic region to Luxembourg. Small but beautifully formed, just under 1,000 square miles in size, this diminutive country boasts fine castles, medieval fortifications and beautifully preserved little towns. We arrive in the capital bearing the same name, located amidst the deep gorges cut by the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers where a local guide will impart their knowledge of this interesting city. Discover sights including the fine cathedral, charming old town and grand squares lined with fine public buildings. The city is also famed for its extraordinary UNESCO Bock Casemates, a defensive subterranean tunnel network, initially carved in the 17th century under Spanish rule, and subsequently extended. There’ll be some free time to explore under your own steam so why not head for the beautiful Place d’Armes, fringed by the impressive facades of the city’s palace, as well as buzzing bars and restaurants and shady lime trees.
Return to the ship for lunch, before disembarking to discover the treasures of Germany’s oldest city. Trier, founded by the Romans, was the capital of much of their empire, encompassing present-day Spain, France, Britain and parts of Germany. The city had a population of 80,000 people – enormous for ancient times – and Emperor Constantine lived here. It boasts a wealth of intact Roman monuments, including an amphitheatre, baths and bridge – the most impressive being the Porta Nigra, a fortified gate made of huge stone blocks that towers above the medieval rooftops. This is the largest and best-preserved Roman city gate north of the Alps, and testimony to the Romans’ architectural genius. Discover Trier’s Roman heritage, together with its impressive cathedral, the oldest bishop’s church in Germany through the expert eyes of our local guide before some free time for you to explore on your own. After tonight’s dinner we set sail towards Cochem.
A morning of scenic cruising awaits, so catch up on a spot of reading in the ship’s library, book yourself in for a little pampering in the spa, or simply enjoy the views from the sun deck. Approaching Cochem we pass through an impressive series of locks – so head up on deck to watch this fascinating system in operation. This is the very heart of the Moselle wine trade and all around you’ll note steep, tree-crested slopes covered in a patchwork of tidy vineyards, crisscrossed by narrow tracks and winding roads allowing access to the vines; these are some of the steepest vineyards in the world!
During lunch, we arrive in Cochem, the traditional wine trade centre. Perched high above the town is a splendid multi-turreted castle, its many spires puncturing the sky above the velvet green backdrop of thick forest and regimented vines. Enjoy a guided tour before free time to explore under your own steam. Laid back and charming, it’s a delight wandering Cochem’s streets, enjoying the fairytale backdrop of pastel-coloured houses, quirky shops and inviting wine cellars. Visit the Reichsburg, an imperial castle surveying the town below, to explore the sumptuous dining and hunting rooms and step back in time as you wander through the Knights’ Hall imagining the feasts that once took place here. The structure you see today was built in the 1868 on the site of a 12th-century castle which served to collect tolls from passing ships. The views from the castle grounds are spectacular and well worth the walk.
Return to our ship where the chef presents tonight’s delicious menu. As evening falls our ship slips away from port and our adventure continues.
There’s a bucket-list treat in store this morning as we cruise through the world-famous Rhine Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and area of outstanding natural beauty. As the river twists and turns, encased by sheer valley sides 600 feet high, make sure you’re up on deck to experience these incredible views close up. Ruins of ancient castles teeter on the valley slopes, built by wealthy princes eager to display their power and influence and to extort tolls from passing river traffic. Legends abound here, most famously of the Lorelei - murmuring rock – where enchanting maidens lured unsuspecting sailors to watery graves. Look out for birds of prey floating above as we cruise on passing quaint villages – Saint Goar, Bacharach and Kaub – all famed for their wine production.
At lunchtime we arrive in Rüdesheim. A tangle of crooked houses, winding cobbled alleys and curious little shops, this pretty town is famous for its wine making. This afternoon we’ll board the Winzerexpress road train for a tour of the sights and the surrounding vineyards, enjoying some superb views of the town and river below. Later join an optional visit to Siegfried’s Mechanical Museum located in the turreted Brömserhof, a collection of around 350 intricate, antique instruments and musical boxes from around the world, many still in working order, evoking the sounds of yesteryear with their delicate melodies. Alternatively, explore on your own to discover a delightful marketplace lined with pastel facades and cosy taverns at Rüdesheim’s heart, overlooked by Brömserburg Castle. As you wander the maze of streets, don’t miss the impressive Klunkhardshof, one of the town’s finest 15th-century homes with its traditional timber frame and gabled roof.
After dinner back on board, reconvene in the bar for a digestif or perhaps a coffee with a shot of locally produced Asbach brandy as we set sail once more.
Wake this morning in the ancient city of Worms, its skyline dominated by the four, tiered towers and huge domes of the magnificent Romanesque cathedral. The Romans settled here as early as 14BC, and as you wander with our local guide, you’ll find relics of its fascinating past scattered across the old town, from impressive churches, ruins of the city’s fortifications and a Jewish cemetery. We’ll visit Worms’ centrepiece, the 12th-century cathedral, to admire its beautiful colonnaded interior and lovely chapel. Whilst much of its stained glass was replaced after a nearby explosion, you cannot fail to marvel at the intricate Gothic reliefs and the gilded high altar.
Over lunch on board we sail on to Mannheim. This afternoon there’s the option to join our visit to Speyer. Founded by the Celts, this historic city is celebrated for its illustrious past. You’ll have free time here to discover some of its many sights including the Imperial Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and amongst the largest and finest Romanesque cathedrals in the world. Visit the beautiful four-roomed crypt, resting place of many Holy Roman Emperors and German kings. Another landmark is the magnificent neo-Gothic Gedächtniskirche; built at the turn of the 20th century, it commemorates the 1529 ‘Protestation at Speyer’ during which supporters of Martin Luther protested his imperial ban, with these religious followers subsequently known as ‘Protestants.’
Alternatively, stay to explore Mannheim, an innovative city with a world-famous reputation – the automobile, bicycle and tractor were all invented here. Visit the impressive baroque palace, Germany’s largest, to wander its splendid staterooms and palace church, or take in its trio of museums with superb collections from art and antiquities to photography and music history. Stroll to the sixty-metre-high Water Tower dating from 1886, set amongst cascading fountains and neatly tended flower gardens – you’ll understand why it was once known as ‘Little Paris’.
We moor in Mannheim overnight.
This morning you have a choice of activities, the first a visit to the refined city of Heidelberg. An architectural treasure, escaping damage during the Second World War, this beautifully preserved city straddles the banks of the river Neckar, against an idyllic backdrop of thickly forested slopes. An imposing castle stands guard over its romantic Altstadt – old town – a huddle of gabled terracotta roofs and pointy spires. Its 14th-century university is one of Europe’s most prestigious, and reminiscent of its ‘twin’ – Cambridge. During the 19th century it was the centre of Germany’s Romantic Movement, on the route of the Grand Tour and visited by many artists including JMW Turner who captured its splendours for eternity. On our guided walking tour you’ll discover the main attractions, including the magical stone bridge with its twin white towers and there’ll also be some free time to explore yourself.
Alternatively, visit Schwetzingen Palace to enjoy a tour of its superb grounds. Built on the site of a former castle, dating back to 1350, the palace reached the height of its splendour under the Prince Elector Carl Theodor during the 18th century, who instructed the most notable landscape gardeners of the time to create the exquisite gardens, the design of which survives today. A baroque masterpiece, stroll the painstakingly tended paths and leafy avenues, admiring the vibrant blooms from far and wide and a host of eye-catching sculptures. An assortment of whimsical buildings – a small Temple of Apollo, a Bathhouse in the style of an Italian villa and the Turkish Garden’s Mosque with its intricate oriental decoration - lend an exotic touch. The 18th-century English-style park is one of the earliest of its kind in Germany and it’s a joy to amble around the lake, with the many tree species mirrored in its tranquil water.
Return to the ship for lunch, then enjoy the ship’s excellent facilities during our scenic afternoon’s cruising towards Niederlahnstein. After tonight’s dinner we cruise through the iconic Rhine Gorge once more as evening falls, arriving in Niederlahnstein later tonight.
After breakfast, we visit the magnificent Marksburg Castle, dating from the 13th century and as one of the only castles on the Rhine to fully escape war damage, it well-deserves its UNESCO status. On a guided tour learn about life here through the ages as you wander through the impressive Gothic Hall, armoury and kitchen. Take in the expansive views stretching for miles over the river and valley below – you can see exactly why the castle was so well sited to view oncoming enemies.
Return to the ship for lunch after which we set sail for Bonn, so relax on board for the afternoon, enjoying the views from a comfortable chair or sun lounger. Freshen up for dinner then reconvene for an aperitif in the lounge to watch our arrival in the vibrant city of Bonn. Tonight enjoy a superb dinner hosted by the Captain.
This morning enjoy free time to explore Bonn at your own pace. This historic city served as the capital of the West German state from 1949-1990 until the reunification of Germany which restored Berlin as the country’s capital. Whilst it lost the battle to retain the parliament, Bonn still holds the status of a secondary governmental seat, so many government ministries and public bodies still have their headquarters here. But behind its official façade lies a historic and fascinating city which you’ll discover as you wander its old town, centred around two grand squares fringed by the pastel pink town hall with its gleaming gilding. The soaring spire of the imposing Romanesque church is the city’s landmark, and the great classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven was also born here. You can visit his home – now a museum detailing the life and work of this musical genius, one of the greatest composers of all time.
As lunch is served on board, we set sail once more and it’s not long until Cologne’s skyline appears on the horizon. Head up on deck to watch our final approach into this most majestic of cities. The cathedral’s famous spires tower above the old town’s maze of cobbled streets, where our expert guide will bring the city’s fascinating history to life. Visit the cathedral, the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe, miraculous survivor of Second World War bombing and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It took six centuries to complete this iconic masterpiece and among its many treasures are the magnificent stained-glass windows and gilded sarcophagus said to contain the remains of the three kings from the Nativity story. Explore the vibrant old town, beautifully restored and boasting an abundance of excellent shopping and cosy bars, some of which still brew their own beer.
After some free time, we’ll return to the ship to enjoy our final dinner, the perfect finale to this spectacular cruise.
Depart the ship after breakfast for your onward journey or return home.
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:
Available for purchase on 2023 departures (excluding July & Aug)
During lunch and dinner in our restaurants
Included free on July - August 2023 departures
10am - midnight in our restaurants and bar
View our Enhanced drinks package.
Included free on 2024 departures
With lunch in our restaurants:
From 6pm to midnight in our bars and restaurants, all of the above plus:
View our Superior drinks package.
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship for the duration of your cruise. Please note that speeds may vary.
We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your vacation with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the vacation due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to contact us to discuss these concerns.