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Our delightful river cruise along the Rhine and Moselle rivers, the most scenic waterways in Europe.
You take a late morning Eurostar from London St. Pancras International arriving in Brussels approximately 2 hours later where a coach will take you over the German border to MV Serenade 2, moored in Cologne’s picturesque historic centre. Or you can fly to Dusseldorf from where a coach will take you to the ship. The dedicated crew will welcome you aboard, ensuring you settle into your comfortable and extremely well equipped cabin and familiarise yourself with the ship: your first class floating hotel.
Day 2 – Koblenz & Bloppard
The first morning on board a river cruise is always a thrill, awakening to the gentle lapping of the water outside as the scenic valley sides slip silently past your cabin window – there is no other holiday experience quite like it. Your first port of call is thriving, 2000 year old Koblenz, with its mighty fortress dominating the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle, the two great rivers you will explore during your cruise. Moored in the old town, we take a guided walk around the principal monuments and historic centre exploring delightful squares, admiring beautifully restored historic house frontages and quaint hidden passageways. Koblenz will delight you and it is an absolute joy to wander through its tiny streets, pausing to window shop whilst trying to resist the aroma of fresh coffee drifting from the numerous traditional cafés, and all in such historic surroundings.
During your first delightful lunch we cruise to Boppard, also known as ‘Pearl of the Rhine’, a classically picturesque village, located on a long, sweeping, looping bend of the river and exactly how you imagine the Rhineland to be. A bustling stone quayside crowded with people going about their daily business, the cobbled streets, lined by typical half-timbered houses and cafés, leading to the town and its main square beyond. Founded by the Romans, as much of the area was, Boppard boasts the best-preserved Roman town walls in Germany.
Day 3 – Rhine Gorge & Rudesheim
Leaving Boppard, as the sun crests the surrounding hilltops, expectation rises at what lies in store today – this morning’s cruise is a real highlight as you journey through the outstanding natural beauty of the world famous Rhine Gorge. Here, at every turn of the tortuous river, towering valley sides are crowned by the precarious ruins of castles, which once held sway over the fortunes of passing travellers. This is home to numerous medieval legends, tales of mysterious happenings and dark deeds that have been passed down by generations of sailors. The villages drifting by, St Goar, Bacharach and Kaub are synonymous with wine production and one of the most enjoyable things on this cruise is sampling the best of local wines with local produce.
You leave the stunning Gorge and during the afternoon, stop in Rüdesheim, perhaps the most famous of all the Rhine wine towns with crooked houses sloping down from the wooded hillsides and terraced vineyards. A visit to the Asbach brandy distillery is rewarding (tasting assured of course) or you could perhaps take a trip on the unusual gondola lift with its spectacular views across the river. Especially worth a visit is the excellent mechanical music museum: a superb collection of 350 intricate antique musical instruments and musical boxes from all over the world, many in working order, still playing the delicate sounds of yesteryear.
Day 4 – Cochem
Early this morning we cruise once again through, the spectacular passage of the Rhine Gorge. Legends abound of ancient travellers lost in the Gorge and passing the Loreley Rock, the swirling waters of the bend are a reminder of the most famous legend of all: a beautiful maiden is said to have lured sailors on to the rocks with her feminine charms and alluring song.
Passing Koblenz, you cruise upstream along the Moselle, even more beautiful than the Rhine as it twists its way past verdant hills. The banks, studded with yet more picture postcard villages with tottering timber framed houses pass peacefully by, before you stop at delightful Cochem, in times gone by the centre of the Moselle wine trade, with unrivalled views of the castle crowning a mound covered in vineyards. What a wonderful time to relax in one of the comfortable deck chairs on the Sun Deck and really absorb the spectacular scenery in all its glory. This evening, the atmospheric ship’s restaurant promises another memorable dinner.
Day 5 – Traben – Trarbach
Leaving Cochem, you will be astonished by the steep dramatic valley sides, covered with reputedly the steepest cultivated vineyards in the world. The valley’s gradient here means our progress is respectably sedate but never dull as we meander upstream through the heart of the Moselle’s stunningly beautiful winelands. We call at the romantic twin village of Traben-Trarbach, once the second most important wine trading town in Europe after Bordeaux and renowned for the Belle Epoque buildings from that time. During dinner this evening, enjoy the unfolding scene from the panoramic restaurant windows as the vineyards slip by en-route to your overnight port, Bernkastel.
Day 6 – Trier & Bernkastel
Today we drive to Trier, the oldest and one of the most fascinating cities in Germany, sitting serenely astride the river and at one time home to Karl Marx. Founded by the Romans, it was the capital of a huge portion of their empire, encompassing present-day Spain, France, Britain and parts of Germany! It had a population of a staggering 80,000, little different from today, the Emperor Constantine lived here and it boasted a range of buildings to match. It has one of the best amphitheatres in existence, baths, a roman bridge but best of all, the Porta Nigra, an immense fortified gate which formed the eastern border of the Roman empire and towers above the surrounding medieval buildings. This is the largest and best-preserved Roman building north of the Alps and is an awesome testimony to their architectural genius. We enjoy a guided tour of the city during which you learn all about the historical significance of the city.
The rest of the day is free to explore Bernkastel and its delightful cobbled market square surrounded by some of the finest, most ornate half-timbered houses you will ever see, many dating from the 15th century. Most famously, is the Pointed House, a jewel of the rustic middle class building tradition from the Middle Ages and a classic example of the Moselle vintner’s dwelling. As we slip our mooring, and cruise downstream, recline and soak up for one last time the peaceful atmosphere of this magical river whilst enjoying a relaxing drink on the Sun Deck. Retire to the welcoming ambience of the ship’s restaurant for another meticulously prepared dinner, and perhaps enjoy one of the fine Riesling wines, from the very vineyards before you.
Day 7 – Cologne
Rejoining the Rhine this morning, there’s so much to see as you cruise effortlessly downstream past pretty riverside towns backed by the rolling volcanic hills for which the area is renown. We also see the railway bridge at Remagen, captured intact towards the end of WWII, thus arguably shortening the war in Germany. Passing the last riverside vineyards and half timbered houses around Linz, we leave the last great historic strong point before mooring in the heart of Cologne, in the shadow of the magnificent Gothic Cathedral for which the city is so famous. It is a truly staggering building, taking 600 years to build and has the most intricate stained glass in Europe.
This afternoon we have a guided tour of the city and you have time to explore its delightful tree lined squares and perhaps visit one of its famous bars, allegedly some of the finest in the country, many of which still traditionally brew their own beer. This evening the ‘Captain’s Dinner’ will take place on board, during which delicious specialities of the regions we have visited during our cruise will be served, hosted of course by the Captain himself.
This morning at the appropriate time we drive to Brussels connecting with the Eurostar service to London St. Pancras International. Should you be returning by air, you will be taken to the airport for your homeward flight.
Prices are based on twin share departing from London St Pancras. Flights available (at a supplement) – please call us for details.
|Date||Price (pp)||Ship||Depart UK||Arrive UK|
|29 Sep 2015||£1,299||MS William Shakespeare||10:58||16:05|
|29 Sep 2015||£1,329||MS William Shakespeare||12:58||18:06|
|12 Oct 2015||£1,199||MS Jane Austen||10:58||16:03|
|12 Oct 2015||£1,229||MS Jane Austen||12:58||18:10|
|23 May 2016||£1,299||MS Lord Byron||10:58||16:05|
|23 May 2016||£1,329||MS Lord Byron||12:58||18:06|
|20 Jun 2016||£1,399||MS Lord Byron||10:58||16:05|
|20 Jun 2016||£1,429||MS Lord Byron||12:58||18:06|
|04 Jul 2016||£1,299||MS Lord Byron||10:58||16:05|
|04 Jul 2016||£1,329||MS Lord Byron||12:58||18:06|
|21 Jul 2016||£1,199||MS Swiss Tiara||10:58||16:05|
|21 Jul 2016||£1,229||MS Swiss Tiara||12:58||18:06|
|08 Aug 2016||£1,349||MS Jane Austen||10:58||16:05|
|08 Aug 2016||£1,379||MS Jane Austen||12:58||18:06|
|18 Aug 2016||£1,199||MS Swiss Tiara||10:58||16:05|
|18 Aug 2016||£1,229||MS Swiss Tiara||12:58||18:06|
|08 Sep 2016||£1,299||MS Swiss Tiara||10:58||16:05|
|08 Sep 2016||£1,329||MS Swiss Tiara||12:58||18:06|
|19 Sep 2016||£1,449||MS Jane Austen||10:58||16:05|
|19 Sep 2016||£1,479||MS Jane Austen||12:58||18:06|
|02 Oct 2016||£1,199||MS William Shakespeare||10:58||16:05|
|02 Oct 2016||£1,229||MS William Shakespeare||12:58||18:06|
- Standard class reserved seat on Eurostar from London St. Pancras or flight from Heathrow, Manchester, Southampton, Birmingham or Edinburgh (at a supplement)
- Return rail connections on selected dates from more than 30 regional stations
- Guided tour of historic Koblenz
- Visit to Boppard, the picturesque ‘Pearl of the Rhine’
- Time to explore the hillside town of Rudesheim – the most famous of the Rhine’s wine towns
- Cruise through the spectacular Rhine Gorge
- Stop in Cochem – the historic centre of the Moselle wine trade
- Take a romantic stroll in the twin village of Traben-Trarbach
- Tour of Trier – once a key capital of the Roman empire
- Guided tour of Cologne – and see the stunning gothic cathedral
- The services of our experienced tour manager
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, airport/station transfers, coach travel as mentioned, travel to and from port of embarkation and the services of a Riviera Travel Tour Manager.
Standard Premier Class Upgrade
In order to enjoy your Eurostar experience to the full, you may upgrade to Standard Premier Class for only £139 return, subject to availability. This price includes a complimentary light meal, offered from a selection of sweet and savoury cold snacks and includes and a drink appropriate to the time of day, served at your seat while you relax in the spacious comfort of Standard Premier Class.