Arrive in Amsterdam, then transfer to your ship.* After boarding, the afternoon is yours to relax or explore the city on your own. If your arrival schedule permits, you may wish to visit the Rijksmuseum, or the van Gogh Museum next door. (Dinner)* Ground transfers are included with Viking Air purchase.
This morning we sail to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a tour of this ingenious network of windmills and other flood management devices. You learn why the windmills were built and see how they work, plus you enter a working windmill for a tour of its mechanisms and living quarters. Return on board for lunch and an enjoyable afternoon of Dutch diversions: sample handcrafted Dutch cheeses and jenever, a distilled juniper liquor, and take in a culturally enriching presentation on the Dutch Golden Age. We cruise through the night. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Begin your day with a morning tour of Cologne, Germany's fourth largest city. Stroll through Old Town past St. Martin's Church and see the Dom, Germany's largest cathedral and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spend your free time enjoying Cologne's atmospheric waterfront, or perhaps join an optional excursion on which you ascend to the Dom's roof for up-close views of the cathedral's architecture and bird's-eye vistas of Cologne. Afterward, return on board for dinner. Alternately, you may set off on an optional excursion to explore Cologne's spirited beer culture, sampling Kölsch, a light, crisp beer brewed only in Cologne, and enjoying a brauhaus dinner. After, return to your ship for a late-evening departure. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Proceed along the Rhine, disembarking for a lively and informative tour of Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. Alternately, choose an optional excursion to tour the 700-year-old Marksburg Castle, or enjoy an optional guided exploration of Koblenz on foot. After, enjoy an onboard lunch as you cruise the scenic Middle Rhine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where turreted castles and fortresses overlook the river from their hilltop posts. Arrive in Rüdesheim in the late afternoon. Spend free time in the pedestrian-only Drosselgasse and sample a glass of locally produced wine at one of the restaurants or wine bars. Dine on board your ship, or in town if you prefer. You may also choose to experience one of our optional dinners on shore tonight. We depart after midnight. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Cruise into midmorning as you enjoy the passing scenery. After lunch, enjoy an included tour to visit the historic town of Speyer and take in views of the imposing Speyer Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in the 11th century on the site of a former basilica, the building's design influenced Romanesque architecture for centuries to come, and is the final resting place of eight German monarchs. Alternatively, after breakfast, you may choose to disembark for a full day tour of Heidelberg, the home of Germany's oldest university, founded in 1386. Visit the beautiful sandstone ruins of imposing Heidelberg Castle and admire the Neckar River Valley. Continue with a walking tour through Old Town to Heidelberg's renowned gates. After lunch, visit the historic town of Speyer on your way back to your ship. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
We dock this morning in Kehl and disembark for a guided tour of Strasbourg. See the European Parliament and tour the interior of the city's famed cathedral. The afternoon is free to further explore this Alsatian city's blend of French and German cultures, resplendent churches, medieval covered bridges, verdant parks and handsome art nouveau and modernist architecture. Alternately, join our optional excursion into Alsatian wine country for an informative winery tour and tasting. Or, spend your full day exploring culinary Strasbourg on an optional excursion; as you explore the city and take in its sights, savor samples of the renowned Alsatian cuisine, from regional dessert specialties and meats to wine pairings with local foods. On board this evening, enjoy a Taste of Germany dinner event. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Arrive in Breisach this morning, gateway to the Black Forest. Take a scenic excursion through the area's renowned mountain landscape, rolling meadows and dense forests. Once there, visit a local workshop to see a cuckoo clock-making demonstration, and learn how Black Forest Cake is made. Return to your ship for lunch. This afternoon, perhaps join an optional excursion to the quaint Alsatian town of Colmar to discover the storybook charm of its streets lined with medieval, Gothic and Renaissance buildings, and visit a fine arts museum. Alternately, choose an optional excursion that explores Colmar's World War II history. Dine on board this evening and cruise on through the night. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your journey with 2 nights in Lucerne or Basel, or 3 nights in Lake Como. (Breakfast)* Ground transfers are included with Viking Air purchase.
8 Days 6 Guided Tours / 4 Countries
Daily Shore Excursions: 6 included guided tours
Port Charges: Included on all itineraires
Only exception was with a pre-sail excursion. We Booked thru Viking a tour in Amsterdam called "Taste of Amsterdam". This tour ended up going over the exact tour we had done that morning, a provided walking tour of Amsterdam. The tour guide did the best she could, but she could see how frustrated all six were that booked it. Viking had always set a standard much higher than what was provided on this tour. Other than this total disappointment, Viking met or exceeded my expectations!!
Linh made everything SO easy! She was able to book us on the same Viking river (Rhine) cruise as our friends and we all had a terrific time! We had a slight scare when we learned that our passports had to be valid for 6 months after the cruise, but Linh reassured us that we had ample time to renew and showed us how. Air flights were smooth (Delta lost one bag in Paris on the return, but delivered it to our house in Dallas the next evening! Whew!) The Amsterdam hotel for the add-on days was quite nice. This was our first Viking cruise and we were impressed by the level of service, the excursions, and the food/drinks! Thank you, Linh!
Middle Rhine River water levels were not navigable, but Viking instead took us on a day boat to tour that part of the river which was great. Also made transfer to a different ship easy and we also received an awesome lunch at a Heidelberg beer hall in the old town.Viking staff, most notably room stewards , waiters, bar tenders and cooks who made morning omlets were exceptional, warm, friendly and immensely helpful. Viking reps. On 2 day extension not so much. Their response to most iquiries was see the hotel concierge. However, transfer to Amsterdam airport was flawless.
The Viking Cruise was very well run.
We found Affordable Tours to be absolutely wonderful! Our travel consultant talked us through every detail and every question. She was so patient and kind. And even aboard ship when we thought we had a problem, all it took was one email from me, and she talked us through everything almost immediately. I know that we enjoyed our Viking Cruise so much because Affordable Tours made it all so easy.
Could not have gone better. Exceeded our expectations. 1st river cruise and it was quite memorable. Everything went as planned.
This was our first cruise so everything was new and exciting. The trip was as advertised. The friendliness and helpfulness of the crew was better than expected. They took the time to know each passenger personally and greeted us by name. We will definitely travel with Viking in the future.
Trip down the Rhine with Viking Cruises was above expectations!
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