Arrive in Zürich, Switzerland's largest city and often cited as one of Europe's most livable places. Transfer from the Zürich airport to your hotel for a 2-night stay. After check-in, enjoy free time to explore this exciting lakeside city.
Discover Zürich during a city walk and lake cruise. As you explore, the distant snowcapped Alps tower across the lake and cast their reflection in the glassy waters. See the twin-spired Grossmünster church, founded by Charlemagne, with its stained-glass windows by Augusto Giacometti. Across the Limatt River, admire the Fraumünster, with its distinctive green spire. Marc Chagall created five windows of the abbey's choir. After your walk, embark a boat for a scenic tour on Lake Zürich.† (Breakfast)
†Lake cruise is available April 7-October 20, 2019.
Transfer to Basel this morning, a fascinating blend of modern and traditional with a thriving arts scene. Get acquainted with its Market Square of guild houses and Gothic, Renaissance and baroque splendor. Then embark your ship in time for dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Visit Strasbourg today, the cultural center of France's Alsace region. Thanks to its location at the border of France and Germany, it boasts a convivial mix of cultural influences. See its well-preserved Old Town, or Petite France, enclosed on all sides by the little Ill River. Stroll the cobblestone streets lined with half-timbered houses and intersected by picturesque canals, pausing to visit the cathedral. Indulging in Alsatian café culture is central to any visit here. You might join an excursion to sample Alsatian wine. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Explore the quiet German town of Speyer, on the west bank of the Rhine. Visit its stunning Romanesque imperial cathedral, considered a pivotal structure in the evolution of European architecture. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the burial place of eight emperors, including some of the most famous Holy Roman Emperors. Stroll Speyer's charming, shop-lined main street and see the impressive clock tower of its Altpörtel, the Old Town Gate. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Arrive in Mainz today in the heart of the Rhine wine region. Visit one of the Upper Rhine's most dramatic cathedrals here: Mainz Cathedral, with its six towers reaching toward the heavens. Browse the Gutenberg Museum, dedicated to the inventor of movable type and book printing. The collection includes many beautiful books and fascinating printing technologies, including a replica of Gutenberg's workshop. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
This morning, sail along the Middle Rhine and enjoy scenic cruising through the Rhine Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pass the sleepy town of Sankt Goar, home to Rhinefels Castle, the largest fortress on the Rhine. See Lorelei Rock, named after the fabled figure who once lured sailors to her shores and stop in Koblenz. Stroll around the romantic town, witness where the Rhine and Moselle Rivers meet and explore its historic past. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
This morning, cruise the Moselle before disembarking in the quaint town of Cochem for a tour of this stunning medieval town and its millennium-old Reichsburg Castle perched on a hill. Visit the scenic Moselle wine country, where some of the finest Rieslings in the world are produced along terraced slopes. During your tour, delve into a wine-making history that dates back nearly 2,000 years to Roman times. Stop at a local winery for a tour and tasting before returning to your ship. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
We dock in Bernkastel this morning, one of the Moselle's most beloved medieval villages and a thriving wine center. You might join an optional wine-tasting excursion during your stay. Later, continue cruising to Trier, Germany's oldest city, set on the banks of the Moselle River. See the wonderfully preserved Roman Porta Nigra gate, Trier Cathedral and the Church of Our Lady. Your ship remains docked here this evening. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Disembark this morning and transfer to Paris, France. En route, pass through Luxembourg where, at the American Cemetery, you can pay homage to the thousands of soldiers who lost their lives during the World War II Battle of the Bulge. Then, pause in Reims to visit the cathedral and stop for lunch before continuing on to Paris. When you arrive in the romantic capital of France, check in to your hotel for a two-night stay. Your evening is free to explore and dine on your own. (Breakfast)
Today's tour begins with a drive along the Seine River, past the city's landmarks such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the world-famous Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay. Ride along the Champs-Élysées past the Arc de Triomphe. The remainder of the day is yours to experience more of this timeless city: you may visit a museum or explore Montmartre. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. (Breakfast)
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and proceed to the Charles de Gaulle airport for your return flight. (Breakfast)
12 Days 10 Guided Tours / 4 Countries
Daily Shore Excursions: 10 included guided tours
Port Charges: Included on all itineraires
Karen did a great job coordinating this wonderful trip from Miami to Zurich .we flow many airlines before, but Swiss Air is the best. Cruise was great , staff was very courteous , helpful and attentive to our needs. . Will try Viking in the future.
David has been exceptional in assisting us with our travel needs.
It's unfortunate that excursions and Silver Spirits beverage package cost more if booked on the ship. If booked early, the cost is in dollars. If booked on the ship, the cost is in Euros (15+ percent higher). Onboard credits provided by Travel Agent are not available until boarding so the credits are not worth as much as anticipated. When calling Viking to ask about cost of booking excursions after boarding, I was told we would not pay more than the early booking cost. Viking agent said we would pay in Euros but the price would be adjusted for the exchange rate so it would cost the same as booking early in dollars. We learned this was incorrect information after boarding. We were also told we could use onboard credits for tips. This contradicts Viking literature so not sure if that is really the case. We booked our trip only two months ahead so some optional excursions were full. Viking agent told us there likely would be space available on the full excursions when we started our trip. We were told to check myvikingjourney.com 3 days ahead of departure because there may be cancellations. We learned bookings cannot be made online this close to departure so not sure why were given this advice. We were also told to check with the Program Director upon arrival because they keep a few slots open. This also was not the case.
The cruise was wonderful, but I was surprised how much time we spent on buses. The tours and guides we're great. I just felt like I hadn't read the fine print to know that the included tours all required bus transport, which took time away from cruising on the ship. I envisioned stepping on and off the ship and walking around some towns and villages on our own, but it was usually required to go with the bus trip if we wanted to see anything. The entire package was a classy trip, but it was different than I thought it would be.
Overall the booking experience, patience that our agent had with our relentless questions, was excellent. River cruise with Viking outstanding. The only problem we had was on the return flight. (not the problem of affordable tours) Our 11:00 AM booked flight from Zurich to Amsterdam was cancelled. Had to stand in line over 3 hours at KLM. Couldn't take next day flight which was offered due to work-business commitment that I needed to get back for - so flew that night to London - had to sleep in airport overnight - catch early morning flight back to states. Put a damper on what was an outstanding vacation.
This was an awesome river cruise. Highly recommend.
This was our first time with Viking and on a river cruise. After taking over 10 ocean cruises, we will NEVER go back to the ocean cruises. On the river, there is always something to see, and with the small group of people, you get to know and you are not lost in a sea of 1000 passengers. The views from the river cruise were so much better, up close, and in view. Not miles away. The food was so good, and having wine with meals at no extra charge were so very nice. Tours were included too. No extra money every time you turn around. The staff were so well-organized, you never had to worry about anything. Everyone was very welcoming and friendly. Top notch staff all the way around. We will be taking another RIVER cruise soon!! Thank you!
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