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. (B, L, D)
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. (B, L, D)
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)
Disembark your ship in Basel and set out on a scenic drive through an alpine landscape to Innsbruck. Along the way, enjoy a short stop in Vaduz-the quaint capital city of one of the world's smallest and wealthiest countries, Liechtenstein. Enjoy free time for lunch and take a stroll around the town before continuing your journey. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel and enjoy an evening at leisure to explore on your own. Your Viking Tour Director is available to help you plan your time here so you can make the most of your visit. (Breakfast)
This morning, enjoy a guided walking tour of historic Innsbruck and explore the Old Town, where a wealth of imperial architecture awaits. See the Goldenes Dachl, a gold-colored roof that covers the balcony where Emperor Maximilian once stood and a symbol of the city's heritage. The afternoon is free for you to explore at your leisure. Perhaps take a cable car ride to the Nordkette for spectacular panoramic views over the valley and the surrounding peaks of the Alps. Or, you may choose to visit the grand Imperial Palace and discover the history of the Hapsburgs, one of Europe's most distinguished royal houses. This evening, join an optional excursion to a traditional Austrian folklore dinner at a local restaurant or enjoy free time to dine on your own. (B)
Set out on a scenic drive to Oberammergau. Along the way, stop in the charming hamlet of Mittenwald, renowned for the art of violin making and known as the "Village of a Thousand Violins.” This afternoon, visit Ettal for a guided visit of the baroque-style monastery located in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. Arrive in Oberammergau and check in to your hotel, then enjoy free time before dinner at your hotel this evening. (B, D)
After breakfast, enjoy a morning at your leisure, or you may choose to join an optional tour to Linderhof Palace, the former residence of Bavarian King Ludwig II. After lunch, take your seats for a performance of Passionsspiele, The Passion Play. The play's origins date back to 1633 when the Great Plague descended upon the village. After many lives were lost, the villagers made a promise to God that they would tell the story of Christ, should no more lives be lost. The tradition continues today and it is a great honor for Oberammergau's residents to be a part of this powerful dramatic performance. During the intermission, enjoy a traditional Bavarian dinner at a local restaurant.
(B, L, D)
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and proceed to the airport for your return flight. Or, extend your journey with an extension in Munich, giving yourself more time to explore the bustling Bavarian capital. (B)
12 Days 9 Guided Tours / 6 Countries
Daily Shore Excursions: 9 included guided tours
Port Charges: Included on all itineraires
I Would like to see Viking offer more flexible dinner times right now everyone sits down at 7 o'clock and you're done eating by eight. I think it's too regimented, it almost felt like a sit down buffet .
Although it was a little confusing between Affordable Tours and Viking websites, Rich made it easy to navigate and was always available to assist.
Excellent food and service provided by Viking
We've been on ocean cruises so had an idea of what to expect for accommodations, food, and service. The food quality, and accommodations on Viking were what we expected. The exceptional Viking customer service set a new benchmark for us. From meeting us at the arrival airport to accompanying us to the check in at our departing airport, the Viking employees were always available, friendly, very informative and made us feel like we were visiting with friends. The ship's daily communications were timely and clear. The tour guides were polite,.had excellent subject matter knowledge, and provided tips on how to make the most of our shopping money. Great friendly service with a smile in our stateroom, the restaurant and lounge. It was nice to have the captain at the ship entrance welcoming us aboard when we retutned from shore excursions!
Prior to booking we were not aware that the depth of the river could potentially force us off the boat. We were lucky that this did not happen to us but it should be discussed at time of booking.
Our only complaint with Viking is their inability to provide detail information regarding optional tours or pre and post-accommodation experiences.
Ms. Vivian Vo was extremely professional yet warm and fun to work with in every way. She went out of her way to help us many times and always made us feel like special friends getting first class attention.
The price was very affordable and that made the trip possible for me. This was my second Viking River Cruise and both were great. The boats are easy to get around. I would suggest the elevator go to the main deck. Not just the two upper decks. The crew on both ships are professional and courteous, but more than that, they are friendly and happy. They work very hard, but they will always stop to ask if everything is OK. What ever is asked of them, they will do with a smile.
This trip met all are expectations. We would take another river cruise.
I was under the impression there was elevator service throughout the boat. However, that service is only available between the 2nd and 3rd floor decks, leaving my wheelchair bound Mother dependent on crew muscle to physically lift her between the 1st and 2nd floors. They were Incredible and always available!!! Whether the concierge, waiter, head chef; they were there willing to assist! I was blown away!!!
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