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9 Day Basel to Amsterdam River Cruise

Arriving at Basel you will be transferred to your ship.  On your nine-day journey, you’ll have special access to the art collections of museums in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Cologne and Basel. At Amsterdam Hermitage, you can see the Dutch artwork in the most exclusive manner imaginable—a private “Morning with the Masters” tour of the Portrait Gallery.  With your guide, you can also see part of the museum’s exhibition of Dutch Masters collected by Catherine the Great.

Our itinerary on the Rhine River is a tantalising mix of art, action and authentic encounters, showcasing The Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland at their postcard-perfect best and deeply delving into local culture and traditions.  You can choose from a choice of active adventures onshore each day.  In Basel you can enjoy a walking your and casually take in the medieval town centre or bike ride along the Wiese River and stopping at the Foundation beyeler Museum or maybe the Jewish Heritage tour of Basel, a city considered the cradle of modern Zionism.

Enjoy a walking tour of Strasbourg and visit Broglie Square’s outdoor market, concerts and street performers or cycle in the car free old city centre.  Visiting Speyer why not sample vinegar at the Weinessiggut  Doktorenhof estate or visit Worms’ ancient cemetery, with headstones dating back to the 11th century.  Your tour continues to Frankfurt originally known as the “Manhattan” of Europe, with soaring skyscrapers as well as traditional Old Town architecture.  Tour the city by foot and visit the Städel Museum, Römer Square and Klein Market Hall or cycle along Museum Mile and down the shady, pleasant Main Promenade, which stretches along both banks of the river.

See the ancient village of Bacharach and visit the gothic ruins of the Werner Chapel and the single spired St. Peter’s Church. Hike though vineyards up to Castle Stahleck and admire the views of the Rhine and the Lorelei valley below.  You simply cannot visit Cologne without seeing the Gothic masterpiece that serves as the city’s cathedral or sample the taste of Kölsch beer in one of the local taverns.  You can also visit Cologne’s first museum to exhibit modern art.

Along the way, indulge in Central Europe’s delicious cuisine—Dutch cheese and fries, Alsatian choux-croute, Swiss-style sausages, Kölsch beer, unique wine vinegar aperitifs and Germany’s famous white wines.




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Tour Highlights

  • 4 countries: France, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland
  • 8-night cruise in a riverview stateroom on the elegant River Empress
  • Lavishly appointed riverview staterooms and suites have handcrafted Savoir® of England beds, high-thread count 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and European duvets, and a menu of pillow options
  • Free Internet and Wi-Fi access
  • 4 UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Services of an experienced Cruise Manager
  • All transfers on arrival and departure days
  • All gratuities, both onboard and onshore
  • Captivating onboard local entertainment
Basel
43°
mostly cloudy
86% humidity
wind: 22mph W
H 44 • L 36
43°
Mon
48°
Tue
52°
Wed
55°
Thu
53°
Fri
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Tour Itinerary

Day 1

Basel (Embark)

Day 2

Basel

Day 3

Strasbourg

Day 4

Speyer

Day 5

Frankfurt

Day 6

Oberwesel (bacharach)

Day 7

Cologne

Day 8

Amsterdam

Day 9

Amsterdam (Disembark)

Day 1

Arrive at EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg and be transferred to the ship.

Day 2

There’s much more to Switzerland than chocolate, cuckoo clocks and snow-capped mountain peaks (although we’re big fans of all these things). The cosmopolitan city of Basel is also a hotspot for contemporary art, was once the epicenter of the Zionist movement and has a historic and elegant charm that make it a delight to explore.You’ll have a choice of adventures today in Basel, a refined and cosmopolitan Swiss city synonymous with art and culture. Our “Do as the Locals Do” walking tour is a delightful way to experience Basel’s medieval town center.

Alternatively, take a guided “Go Active” bike ride along the Wiese River, making a stop at the renowned Fondation Beyeler Museum. The museum’s ingenious architecture is reason enough for a visit; inside, the art collection is equally awe-inspiring, ranging from Monet to Warhol. A third option is our Jewish Heritage tour of Basel, a city considered the cradle of modern Zionism.

Exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Basel walking tour

Basel historically has been divided by the Rhine into two sections: Greater Basel, on the south bank, and Lesser Basel, on the north bank—and the Lällekönig has been sticking his long red tongue out at Lesser Basel since 1640. Though the original beaten-copper head with its crown and clockwork mechanism now resides in a museum, a replica still reigns near the Middle Bridge, insulting the grittier side of the city in its time-honored way.

It’s on your itinerary today as you explore both sides of this most walk-able of cities, crossing between them via a traditional ferry that is powered solely by the Rhine’s current. Ramble with your guide through the historic heart of Basel, stopping to nibble some of the city’s delectable specialities, including its celebrated honey-almond cookies, and getting a glimpse of the remarkable range of shops, which display everything from designer fabrics, antique books, quirky figurines and, of course, timepieces.

Every historic square you see will hold a special charm: The spectacular red sandstone 16th-century town hall faces Market Square; Barfüsser Square is named for the reconsecrated church that now houses the city museum (and the original Lällekönig, as well as a fine collection of Hans Holbein paintings); and Cathedral Square is dominated by Basel’s 800-year-old red sandstone Münster, where Erasmus is buried. (The great Renaissance scholar lived in the city for the last 10 years of his life; the university, Switzerland’s oldest, is named for him.)

Exclusive guided “Let’s Go” bicycle ride with Fondation Beyeler Museum visit

Fasten your helmet, mount your bike and pedal with your guide along the Wiese River (a tributary of the Rhine) to Fondation Beyeler, a contemporary glass jewel box of a museum designed by Renzo Piano that is set in a gracious green park in the village of Riehen. Some 250 impressionist and modernist works collected by Ernst and Hildy Beyeler are on view under Piano’s ingeniously designed glass roof, which can be adjusted to allow in more or less natural light; among the highlights of the collection are paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Lichtenstein, Klee and Warhol. The Beyeler’s special exhibitions are as noteworthy as its core collection is, so be sure to spend some time checking out those display spaces before heading back to the ship.

Jewish Heritage, Basel’s Zionist legacy

“At Basel I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today I would be greeted by universal laughter. In five years perhaps, and certainly in 50 years, everyone will perceive it.” Theodor Herzl wrote those lines in his diary in 1897, at the end of the first Zionist Congress, which he organised. Visit sites associated with this remarkable moment in Jewish history today: the concert hall in the Municipal Casino, where the convention was held, no longer exists, but Les Trois Rois, Basel’s oldest hotel, certainly does; Herzl had a corner suite in the hotel, and it’s likely he penned those famous words there.

The connection between Switzerland and Israel runs deep: Israelis came to Switzerland to study its citizen militia and based its army on that model; modern-day Basel’s Israel Park has a lovely grove of 40 trees presented by Israel’s sixth president. The city does not have a traditional Jewish district, but your tour will include stops at the Great Synagogue, which dates to 1868, and the Jewish Museum, as well as a look at Les Trois Rois. Basel welcomed a new synagogue in 2012—the first to be built since 1929—which stands at the heart of a resurgent Jewish community.

Cap off the day with a Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner.

Day 3

Strasbourg is invariably described as quaint, a rather overused word that in this case is perfectly apropos. Whether you see it by bicycle, on foot with an insightful local expert or opt to delve into the town’s Jewish past, Strasbourg’s cobbled lanes, half-timbered homes, giant stork nests and impossible-to-resist pastry shops will win your heart.Postcard-perfect Strasbourg is the very definition of picturesque, with its magnificent Gothic cathedral, cobblestone lanes and half-timbered homes adorned with flower-filled window boxes.

After docking in town, you’ll have a chance to discover Strasbourg’s many charms with a choice of excursions: A guided “Do as the Locals Do” walking tour of the Petit France district, stopping to try traditional Alsatian treats along the way; a “Go Active” bike tour that covers a bit more ground, including the European district; or an in-depth look at the city’s rich Jewish history, which dates back an astonishing 2,000 years. After lunch onboard, spend the afternoon at your leisure, perhaps shopping for handcrafted souvenirs bearing images of white storks—a beloved symbol of the city.

Exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Strasbourg walking tour

Begin in the German Quarter with a stroll through the spacious green spaces of Republic Square, which is surrounded by stately neoclassical structures—among them is the 19th-century Palace of the Rhine, built at great expense as a residence for the Kaiser, if he ever happened to visit Strasbourg—and cross over the water to Broglie Square on Grande Île. Twice a week Broglie Square is the scene of a lively outdoor market, but there’s no shortage of activity on the other days of the week in this area, where impromptu concerts and street performances take place.

Wend your way with your guide through the maze of bustling pedestrian streets lined with historic buildings—many of them housing tempting shops—toward the cathedral, whose single spire can be seen throughout the region. Stop for coffee and perhaps a pastry at a patisserie near the cathedral. Your local expert will tell you about the daily lives of the people in the area and introduce you to the delights of Alsatian cuisine before you go off to explore on your own.

Exclusive guided “Let’s Go” Strasbourg by bicycle

Strasbourg loves cyclists! The city has a great network of bike routes, and more residents use bikes as their primary method of transportation than in any other city in France. You’ll soon discover that much of the old city centre is car-free, which makes it an especially inviting area to explore via bicycle. Fasten your helmet and pedal with your knowledgeable guide along the charming flower-bedecked lanes of Petite France, which are lined with tall half-timbered houses that date back to the Renaissance, and cross into the European Quarter, so named because of the many pan-European institutions housed in stunning contemporary buildings there. The contrast between the quaint historic district and the glittering modern structures brings home the scope of Strasbourg’s place in Europe’s history and affairs.

Jewish Heritage, Alsace’s Jewish past

Strasbourg’s Jewish community was first noted by Benjamin of Tudela, the remarkable medieval traveller and writer who mentioned the Jewish scholars of Strasbourg in 1165. Strasbourg’s Jews, like many others in the area, were driven from the city during the Black Death but remained in the area throughout the centuries, a presence reflected in the many synagogues that still stand (not necessarily in use) and in the community’s unique dialect, Judeo-Alsatian. Explore the living history of this heritage with a stroll through Strasbourg’s old town, beginning at the cathedral, where the medieval Christian view of Judaism is made clear: a statue—Synagoga—is blindfolded, indicating that she has not seen the light of Christianity.

The neighbouring museum courtyard contains some medieval Jewish headstones, relocated from a lost cemetery on the Place de la Republique. As you head down Rue des Juifs, one of the oldest streets in the city, you’ll see the location of the community’s oldest house, built in 1270, and 13th-century bakery and, at the end of the lane, the synagogue; restoration work on the mikveh, around the corner, has just begun. Visit the Alsatian Museum for a look at the Judaica collection and its model prayer room, and, if you like, attend a service at the Synagogue of Peace, built in 1954 to replace the one destroyed by the Nazis and the heart of the thriving modern Jewish community.

Day 4

Expect the unexpected in Speyer, where ancient treasures harmoniously co-exist with modern day innovation. Take it all in during a walk with a local expert, or—for something really unexpected—venture into a spooky, candlelit tasting room to sample flavorful elixirs made from wine vinegar’s. Utterly unique and (surprisingly) delicious! A third option is our Jewish Heritage excursion to an ancient centre of learning and religion.Join a local expert for a guided stroll through the historic small town of Speyer, famous for its vast Romanesque cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You’ll also have some free time to wander on your own, perhaps to have a coffee at a sidewalk café on the town’s bustling central plaza. If you prefer, head to the nearby Doktorenhof vinegar estate for a truly immersive and memorable cultural experience. Discover how the grapes cultivated on this family-run estate are transformed into unique wine vinegar aperitifs, then don a monk’s cloak and sample these rare (and surprisingly delicious) elixirs by candlelight in an atmospheric tasting room. Guests who prefer to take an intimate look at local Jewish history can choose an excursion to Worms, an ancient Jewish center of learning and religion.

Exclusive Doktorenhof vinegar estate visit and tasting

For a different spin on the Palatinate wine region, visit the Weinessiggut Doktorenhof estate for a special vinegar tasting. Yes, you read that right—a vinegar tasting. Founded by Georg Wiedemann some 30 years ago, Doktorenhof produces vinegar’s from premium wines, rather than inexpensive ones. Gewürztraminer, Sylvaner, Riesling and Pinot Noir are aged with a century-old vinegar “mother,” as the bacteria that makes vinegar is known, and flavoured with a variety of herbs and fruits. The results make complex and elegant aperitifs, intended to be sipped from a specially designed long-stemmed glass between courses or after a meal. The atmospheric tasting room (think candles, cloaks and choir music) is like no other you’ll ever experience.

Jewish Heritage excursion to Worms

Will you leave a pebble on the headstone of Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg? The great medieval scholar was born in Worms and is buried there, in the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in Germany. In his day, Worms was one of three important centres of Jewish learning and trade in the Middle Ages, along with Mainz and Speyer, and was known as “little Jerusalem on the Rhine.” Rabbi Meir taught in Rothenburg for 25 years and died a prisoner in Alsace—and his reasons for refusing to allow anyone to ransom him were cited in discussions in 2011 when Israel exchanged 1027 Hamas prisoners for a single Israeli soldier. Today when you visit Worms’ ancient cemetery, with headstones dating to the 11th century, you’ll find a peaceful place that bears testimony to the long history of Jews in the region. Your tour will also include the re-created 12th-century synagogue and mikveh, which were destroyed on Kristallnacht.

Speyer walking discovery tour

Speyer—“spire” in English—is well named, since the four red towers of the UNESCO-designated Romanesque cathedral dominate the Old Town just as the medieval bishops dominated the town itself. Though the bishops ruled the town, Speyer also had a special relationship with the Holy Roman emperors: Conrad II ordered the cathedral’s construction around 1030, and eight emperors are interred in its crypts. Your walking tour will take you along the pedestrian-only Maximilian Street—first laid out by Roman soldiers—from the last remaining gate of the medieval wall toward the great church.

Near the church you’ll see remnants of a Jewish community established around 1090 under the auspices of the Bishop of Speyer. Though the synagogue is long gone, the vaulted ritual baths have been beautifully preserved. (The area is popularly known as the Jewish Courtyard.) Notice the former mint and Holy Trinity Church, which were built in the 18th century, following a devastating war, and stand as masterful examples of late-baroque style. You’ll have some free time after your tour: If you’re interested in automotive history, trains or aeronautical technology, be sure to drop by the Technik Museum.Note: Because the Speyer Cathedral is an active place of worship, no tours of its interiors are given.

Day 5

Frankfurt is known as the “Manhattan” of Europe, a financial powerhouse with soaring skyscrapers as well as traditional Old Town architecture. Experience the city with your choice of adventures today—visit Germany’s oldest museum, take a guided “Go Active” bike ride or learn about the Rothschild family’s rags-to-riches saga.Today we briefly leave the Rhine and cruise the Main to the dynamic metropolis of Frankfurt, the epicentre of German finance and international business.

Step ashore and walk a short distance to the Old Town for our “Do as the Locals Do” walking tour. This part of the city has charming old homes, stately churches and a lively covered market where you can sample all sorts of local delicacies. Later, you can visit Germany’s oldest museum, the Städel, with 700 years of European art housed under a single roof. If you prefer, opt for a guided “Go Active” bike ride that takes you through the Old Town, along the Main River promenade and down the city’s world-famous “Museum Mile”—which boasts no fewer than 13 acclaimed institutions. For something completely different, you can spend your time in Frankfurt delving into the city’s fascinating Jewish legacy.

Exclusive“Do as the Locals Do” Frankfurt walking tour with Städel Museum

Although Frankfurt is unabashedly modern, with a dynamic international population and a skyline dominated by skyscrapers, it has a much-loved historic core, and your ship docks within easy walking distance of it. Stroll with your guide through Römer Square, bordered by the re-created 15th-century mansions that constitute the old city hall, to the Klein Market Hall, where you’ll sample Frankfurt’s beloved apple cider and sausages as you take in the colourful scene: locals choose produce and sausage, cider and eggs, and flowers and spices from the covered market’s 154 stalls.

The city’s residents come from more than 200 nations, so you’ll find plenty of international specialities, too, along with regional items. Your next stop is Goethe House, the house museum devoted to Germany’s national poet, who was born in this city. Though Goethe’s work belongs to the world, Frankfurters take particular pride in their native son; the rooms here display furnishings from the writer’s day, as well as family portraits and the desk where Goethe completed Faust—not to mention a puppet theatre with which the four-year-old future poet played.

You’ll encounter the city’s bustling present-day economic power as you walk past the Frankfurt stock exchange and continue to Main Tower. Nothing exemplifies Frankfurt more than this lofty skyscraper: The façade of a historic building is incorporated in its base, and 56 stories of glass-encased offices soar above it. Ride up to the viewing platform for an amazing view of the city and its surroundings.

Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Eyck, Botticelli, Lucas Cranach the Elder—the Städel’s collection encompasses a magnificent group of Old Master paintings but is by no means limited to them: Monet, Picasso, Francis Bacon, Baselitz, Yves Klein and many other artists also find space on the walls of the 200-year-old museum, which anchors Frankfurt’s Museum Mile, home to a dozen notable art institutions. Explore this collection with a knowledgeable guide, then venture into some of the neighbouring galleries and museums. The ship is anchored nearby, so this wealth of artistic treasures is just steps from the gangplank.

Exclusive guided “Let’s Go” Frankfurt by bicycle

Get a different view of the city via bicycle, pedalling through the old town area that was meticulously reconstructed after WWII (St. Paul’s Church was one of the first structures to be rebuilt because of its important place in the development of German democracy—the country’s first freely elected parliamentary body met in St. Paul’s oval hall), along Museum Mile and down the shady, pleasant Main Promenade, which stretches along both banks of the river.

Jewish Heritage, Frankfurt Jewish Museum and the legacy of the Rothschilds

The Rothschild family fortune began in Frankfurt, along with the family name—taken from the red shield on the family home on Judengasse, the quarter-mile-long street where all of Frankfurt’s Jews were required to live between 1462 and 1811. It was a crowded but prosperous community (it had to be prosperous, since the only way Jews enjoyed imperial protection was by paying enormous fees to the emperor). Mayer Rothschild started as a coin dealer, expanded into dealing antiques, and by 1792, he was a wealthy banker with an international clientele.

His five sons followed in his footsteps, extending the family business throughout Europe and lending their names to a raft of famous enterprises—and to numerous cultural and charitable institutions in Frankfurt and elsewhere. The Frankfurt Jewish Museum, located in a former Rothschild home that was recently renovated, offers a fascinating look at the family’s saga. Though none of the houses on Judengasse are still standing, you can see the foundations of some of them when you visit Museum Judengasse., which outlines the history of Jews in Frankfurt and their relations with the Christian community through the centuries. It abuts the Jewish cemetery and the memorial to victims of the Shoah, listing the names of 12,000 Frankfurt Jews who died in the death camps.

Day 6

Bacharach is an ancient village that appears straight out of the pages of a storybook. Enjoy a guided stroll through town and taste some locally grown Rieslings, a speciality of the region. Alternatively, join a “Go Active” hike that will take you past the old town walls and up to a fortified 12th-century castle.

Exclusive guided “Let’s Go” hike to Castle Stahleck

The round tower and sturdy stone walls of Castle Stahleck guard the heights above Bacharach. The counts Palatine used the fortress to defend their territories from other German lords and from numerous French incursions, so it suffered considerable damage over the centuries, but it has been beautifully restored and enjoys a new life as a youth hostel. Join your guide for a hike—it won’t be too strenuous but you will be climbing the hill outside the village—through the vineyards up to the castle. You’ll be rewarded with fabulous views of the Rhine and the Lorelei valley as well as the town below.

Bacharach village stroll with Riesling tasting

What would a cruise on the Rhine be without a stop at one of the picturesque and historic wine villages that dot the banks? Bacharach, first documented in the 11th century, was once critically important to the wine trade as a port where wine casks were transferred from smaller boats, which could navigate the rocky narrows above the town, to larger ones. Join a local guide to stroll among the timbered houses—the oldest dates to 1368 (it’s now a restaurant called, appropriately, Altes Haus)—pausing for a look at the remains of the old town walls, demolished by the French during the Nine Years’ War, the gothic ruins of the Werner Chapel and the single spired St. Peter’s Church. Vineyards rise in terraces all around the town, producing excellent Rieslings; following your tour, you’ll have a chance to taste some of them and find out for yourself just how good they are.

Day 7

You simply cannot visit Cologne without paying homage to its most notorious site, the Gothic masterpiece that serves as the city’s cathedral. A local expert will show you favourite haunts around the Old Town and share some of the cathedral’s most intriguing and Magi-cal secrets with you. Afterwards, you have a choice of three enticing excursions highlighting beer, contemporary art or Jewish history.Our first stop today is Cologne’s massive cathedral, a UNESCO-designated Gothic masterpiece with a shrine to the Three Magi that has drawn religious pilgrims for centuries.

From there, beer aficionados can visit an Old Town pub for a taste of Kölsch, a brew made only in Cologne. Art lovers can see Europe’s most significant collection of contemporary art at Museum Ludwig. And guests interested in the city’s Jewish past are welcome to explore the centuries-old mikveh and other notable sites in Cologne’s Jewish quarter, once home to Europe’s first Jewish settlement north of the Alps. No matter which excursion you choose, you’ll also have ample free time to explore the city on your own.

Cologne walking discovery tour with Cologne Cathedral

As you walk through the narrow lanes of the Old Town, you’ll find it hard to believe that more than 70 percent of the city was destroyed by bombs during WWII. Three medieval gates remain standing, as does the old city hall with its Renaissance facade. The famous 12 Romanesque churches were reconstructed from the rubble, and the cathedral, Cologne’s iconic landmark, rises magnificently in the city centre.

Though it was badly damaged by WWII, the great UNESCO-designated cathedral retains many of its original treasures—the relics of the Magi and other sacred figures, which inspired its building in the 12th century, the 14th-century stained-glass windows that were stored safely throughout the war and the beautifully painted choir stalls—though other treasures are displayed separately. Enter the awe-inspiring nave and learn about the history of the cathedral and its art collections, especially the pieces surrounding the Shrine of the Magi. Note: The number of visitors allowed in Cologne Cathedral is regulated by a very strict schedule of time slots. Sightseeing will be arranged around the time slots obtained. On Sundays and Catholic holidays, guided tours inside the cathedral will not be possible.

Jewish Heritage, Cologne’s Jewish Quarter

It’s a short walk from the cathedral—where the protections granted Jews in 1266 are etched in stone—to Cologne’s ancient Jewish quarter. Jews crossed the Alps with the Romans and were part of Cologne’s history from the beginning: Emperor Constantine signed an edict allowing Jews to be elected to the curia in 321. No one knows for sure what happened when the Romans retreated south—did Jews remove with them or remain to form the nucleus of the substantial community that flourished in Cologne a few centuries later?

The earliest physical remains of the Jewish community date to the 11th century. The medieval Judengasse, the synagogue and the mikveh were all close to the town hall. An archaeological excavation is slowly revealing the elements of this neighbourhood, which is wonderfully well documented, but only the mikveh is open to the public at this time. Cologne is once again home to a thriving Jewish community, centred on the synagogue on Roonstrasse, the only synagogue of the six destroyed by the Nazis to be rebuilt after the war.

Kölsch beer tasting

Mingle with the locals at a tavern for an exclusive tasting of Kölsch, the celebrated pale ale that is unique to the city. It’s one of the few German beers to have a regional appellation similar to that given to wines; its characteristic flavor comes from the unique yeast used in its brewing. It is always served in a straight-sided narrow glass, called a strange, meaning a rod or stick.

Museum Ludwig

Cologne’s first museum to exhibit modern art, the Ludwig was named for Peter and Irene Ludwig, who donated 350 20th-century works—representing such pop artists as Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, as well as more than 200 Picassos—in 1976. These pieces were joined by a group of Expressionist paintings that collector Josef Haubrich had managed to save from the Nazis, who confiscated some 16,000 samples of “degenerative art” from private hands, selling some and burning others. Haubrich donated paintings by Marc Chagall, Otto Dix, and Ernst Kirchner, among other notable artists, that had been thought lost.
A special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.

Day 8

Enjoy the luxury of a full day in the “Venice of the North,” starting with a private “Morning with the Masters” tour of the Amsterdam Hermitage that includes part of a special exhibition of Dutch art collected by Catherine the Great—a show available only through May 2018. Afterwards, visit significant Jewish Heritage sites or explore the city on foot or by bike.At your private “Morning with the Masters” tour of the Amsterdam Hermitage, you’ll have the museum’s extraordinary collection of Dutch Masters all to yourself, as an art historian shows you Portrait Gallery highlights and part of a special exhibition of Dutch art collected by Catherine the Great—a show available only through May 2018. Afterwards, choose from a trio of enticing excursions: Admire the city’s narrow, gabled homes lining the canals on a “Do as the Locals Do” walking tour; explore the hip and trendy Jordaan district on two wheels, the quintessential way to experience this bike-obsessed city; or opt for our Jewish Heritage tour, with stops at the Portuguese Synagogue and Jewish Museum.

Exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Amsterdam walking tour

Uncover some of Amsterdam’s most charming and little-known treasures with a stroll through the canal district that will take you to two very different historic residences. One is an oasis of quiet just steps from the city’s bustle: the Begijnhof, a residential court dating to the 14th century that was once home to a quasi-religious group, where you’ll find 47 townhouses (including the oldest wooden house in Amsterdam) surrounding a serene grassy courtyard. The other is the Museum Van Loon, a remarkable house museum that shows you how wealthy Amsterdam families have lived over the centuries.

Willem van Loon was a founder of the Dutch East India Company, and the family’s history can be seen in the portraits, silver, porcelain and beautiful furniture found throughout the house. Behind the house, a formal garden leads to the classical façade of the coach house, which is now a gallery. This combination—house, garden and coach house—makes the Museum Van Loon unique; no other house museum in the city has managed to keep all three elements intact. Between your two destinations, you’ll pause for coffee and Dutch apple pie at a local café.

Exclusive guided “Let’s Go” Jordaan district by bicycle

Go native! Amsterdam is a city of bicycles; in fact, there are more bikes than there are residents—881,000 of them. Mount up and join the locals pedalling the crooked little lanes and tiny bridges that crisscross the canals of the Jordaan district, once a poor working class slum and now one of the liveliest and most interesting areas in Amsterdam. Historic houses with stone plaques indicating the one-time occupants’ line of work, attractive courtyards and dozens of art galleries and shops fill the neighbourhood—which, regardless of the changing fortunes of its residents, retains a strong sense of being a neighbourhood.

Exclusive Morning with the Masters at the Hermitage Amsterdam

The doors open early to give you a crowd-free viewing of an extraordinary collection of Dutch master paintings: 30 monumental group paintings from the golden age that have been called “cousins of The Night Watch.” Drawn from both the Amsterdam Museum and the Rijksmuseum, these works have rarely been displayed because of their enormous size. The Amsterdam Hermitage, however, devotes an enormous gallery space to this exhibit, which reveals the connections and activities of Amsterdam’s power elite in the 17th century. Meet mayors and regents, colonels of the civil guard, wealthy merchants and their wives and learn something of their lives and the lives of the artists who painted these massive portraits. (Visitors sailing in the spring will also have an opportunity to see a stunning group of 63 Dutch master paintings from the St. Petersburg Hermitage, on loan to the Amsterdam Hermitage through May 2018.)

Jewish Heritage visit to Portuguese Synagogue and Jewish Museum

Anyone who has read The Diary of Anne Frank knows what happened to Amsterdam’s Jews under the Nazis. But not everyone knows that the Jewish community began in the city when Sephardic Jews fled Spain and Portugal after 1492, a group of successful merchants and professionals who in turn sponsored Ashkenazi migrants fleeing Central Europe in the 17th century. Visit the Jewish Historical Museum, with its meticulous re-creation of the Great Synagogue, compelling exhibit called “Friday Night” and lively children’s area, and the nearby Portuguese Synagogue, before strolling through the former Jewish Quarter (Rembrandt lived is in this neighbourhood, and he often asked his Jewish neighbours to pose for his Old Testament scenes; his house is now a museum and is one of the few original houses still standing in the area). Today’s Jewish community is largely centred in Amstelveen, where some 15,000 Jews live, work and worship in one of the largest and most vibrant communities in Europe.

Day 9

Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport for your flight home.


Sightseeing Highlights

  • 7 days of excursions, including “Choice Is Yours” options, all fully hosted by English-speaking local experts
  • Guided "Jewish Heritage", “Go Active,” “Do as the Locals Do,” “Village Day” and “Gentle Walking” programs
  • State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audio-headset system on all excursions
  • Use of bicycles and Nordic walking stick

Dining Highlights

  • All meals onboard, prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients
  • 8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 8 dinners
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions
  • Welcome and Farewell Dinners
  • Unlimited beverages onboard, including fine wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks, specialty coffee and tea, and mineral water

Important Information

  • All fares are per guest in GBP based on double occupancy unless otherwise noted.
  • Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change at any time without notice.
  • Availability of all stateroom categories cannot be guaranteed.
  • Single Supplement applies for single accommodation.
  • Itineraries, hotels, and vessels may change, and substitute visits to other sites may occur during your trip due to water level fluctuations and other uncontrollable factors.
  • The order of sightseeing and docking ports are subject to change according to port authority assignments.

Departure details

Wednesday March 14, 2018

Thursday March 22, 2018

Friday March 30, 2018

Saturday April 07, 2018

Sunday April 15, 2018

Monday April 23, 2018

Tuesday May 01, 2018

Wednesday May 09, 2018

Thursday May 17, 2018

Friday May 25, 2018

Sunday June 10, 2018

Monday June 18, 2018

Tuesday June 26, 2018

Wednesday July 04, 2018

Thursday July 12, 2018

Friday July 20, 2018

Saturday July 28, 2018

Sunday August 05, 2018

Monday August 13, 2018

Sunday October 28, 2018

Monday November 05, 2018



FAQ’s

What meals are included?

Breakfast is included on all overnight tours.  Lunches are not included, unless otherwise stated.  Evening meals are included when stated on the tour itinerary.  On tours of seven days or more, generally fifty percent of dinners are included.  Please check the itinerary page for exact details.

Where does the trip depart from?

Each UK trip will have a dedicated pick up point in central London.  Shorter duration trips will normally depart from Victoria Coach Station, with longer duration trips leaving from the London Reception Centre, near to Waterloo train station.  Departure points will be confirmed before booking a tour.

Can I get picked up from my hotel?

Pick up from hotels is not possible.  You will need to make your own way to the departure point.  However some tours do have a designated hotel departure, which you can stay in prior to the trip.  Please ask at time of booking for departure points and we can direct you to local hotels.

Are entrance fees included?

Entrance fees are included where specified on the itinerary.

Can I pay in dollars?

All tours are quoted and charged in pounds sterling, but you can pay using your local card and currency.  We will debit the card in pounds sterling and your bank will use their exchange rate at that time to deduct the amount in your local currency.

What time does the trip leave and return?

Departure times will vary depending on the itinerary.  European tours departing from London will usually leave between 05.00am and 07.00am.  Multi day UK tours will leave between 06.00am and 07:30am.  Day trips will depart between 07.00am and 09.00am.  European and worldwide tours that start in an overseas city will have a welcome reception on day one of the tour which is usually around 18.00pm.

Return times vary depending on the itinerary.  All the full day coach tours should be finished by no later than 19.00pm, traffic permitting.  The train tours return between 20.00pm and 22.00pm.  Longer duration trips will return between 16.00pm and 19.00pm.  All times will be confirmed at time of booking.

Is this a definite/guaranteed departure?

A definite departure is guaranteed to operate for that given departure date.  A trip that is not yet designated a definite departure is not yet guaranteed to operate based on current booking numbers.  If a trip and departure date you are interested in is not yet definite, do not let this discourage you from booking.  The more paid passengers received, the odds of the trip operating increase.  In the slim case that the operator withdraw a trip you are booked on due to a lack of numbers, you are entitled to a full refund of any funds already paid towards the tour, or if flexible with your time, we can move you onto another departure.

Who travels on these tours, who else is booked?

Whilst we can not confirm exactly who else is booked on a tour, we can guarantee you will be travelling with fellow liked minded travelers who share a passion for travel, fun, adventure and discovery.  All tours will be run by English speaking guides and age ranges will vary.  The beauty of taking a guided holiday is you’ll have the opportunity to meet and travel with people from all over the globe.

Are transfers included from the airport?

In general, if you are joining or departing your guided holiday on the first or last day, return transfers between the airport and hotel are included (excludes itineraries starting and/or ending in London).  You’ll find specific information on the itinerary’s page.

What optional excursions can I do and can I book them now?

Optional experiences are available on some tours.  These are activities that are not automatically included, but offered during your trip to enhance your travel experience.  These are all bookable whilst on the tour via your tour guide/travel director.  These are payable by cash or card.



Enquire about this tour

Why stop there?


The ever-increasing demand and availability for well-organised, safe and reliable trips means that we now go further afield, so while we love taking people on tours of England, Ireland and Scotland we are pleased to offer that little bit more with river tours of Amsterdam, coach tours of Paris and train trips to the chocolate capital of the world, Brussels!

Our Most Popular Essential Trips


There are so many and we cater for everyone so it may be a case of a leisurely out of London trip to Stonehenge or you may want the buzz and excitement of a theatre tour of London – all the glitz and glamour is there. Out of London, we offer all sorts of adventures: Roman Baths, Shakespeare country, the Royal Pavilion, Brighton – you name it. Same with London – we don’t just do the round London tours – we can take you to Kew Gardens or we can take you on an expedition on the roof of the O2 Dome to the platform at the top offering spectacular views.

So we offer Out of London, Around London, Theatre and Hotels and then there are the spectacular Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day tours – what a way to celebrate the fun season.