Straddling the northernmost tip of Lake Zurich, Zurich is one of the most beloved cities in Switzerland. Today, you will be able to explore the city at leisure, perhaps taking in its delightful lakeside setting or frequenting one of its many charming cafés. Included is a restful one-night stay in Zurich.
This morning, enjoy a walking tour of Zurich before you are transferred to Lucerne, an area known for its spectacular natural setting. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to explore Lucerne, perhaps strolling down cobblestone streets in its colourful Altstadt.
A guided tour of Zurich
The awe-inspiring natural beauty enveloping Lucerne is a true delight, and yours to discover today during a guided tour of this small city. Lucerne effortlessly reflects what most people imagine when they think of a Swiss city, with a backdrop of snow-capped mountain ranges and tree-lined boulevards cutting through the city centre. Enjoy learning about the history of Lucerne as you visit the well-preserved medieval Altstadt, Chapel Bridge and the octagonal Water Tower.
A guided tour of Lucerne
Train and cable car to Rigi - Weggis (extra expense)
This morning, journey by coach through idyllic landscapes as you carve a course to the Rhine-side town of Basel. When you arrive, you will be able to board your Emerald Cruises Star-Ship, where your friendly captain and crew will be waiting to welcome you. This evening, join your fellow guests for dinner on board.
Today, you will experience the tale of two cities divided by the Rhine, Breisach (Germany) and Neuf-Brisach (France). During your guided visit to these two wonderful gems on the Rhine River, you'll pass by the main sights and attractions, one of which is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed fortress overlooking Neuf Brisach.
A tale of two cities divided by the Rhine
Guided bike tour in Breisach
Today, you will dock in Kehl, where you will be transferred by coach to medieval Strasbourg. Your local guide will teach you about the history of the city during an insightful guided tour, passing through cobbled squares that are adorned with quaint boutiques and charming cafés. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town, including Petite France. An area of unmatched beauty, the picturesque canal system cascades past half-timbered houses that were once home to fishermen, tanners and millers during the Middle Ages. The narrow lanes and footbridges that pepper the area all add to its undeniable charm. This afternoon, Strasbourg is yours to explore at leisure.
Guided tour of Strasbourg
Alsace wine route with tasting (extra expense)
Schwetzingen Palace is famous for the beauty and harmony of its gardens. Remarkably, the original design, in all its diversity, survives to this day. Besides the palace interior, you will also visit the Palace Gardens which are a cultural heritage site of European significance boasting more than 100 sculptures. Alternatively, you can embark on a hike through the beautiful vineyards of the quaint wellness town of Bad-Dürkheim.
Visit to Schwetzingen Palace & Gardens
Guided hike through a vineyard in Bad-Dürkheim
Today, we will take you into the heart of Koblenz, an ancient city that looks as though it has been pulled from the pages of a German fairytale. Enjoy the picturesque backdrop of vineyards and snow-topped mountain ranges as your local guide takes you through open cobbled squares and down narrow streets, passing façades adorned with boxes of spring-blooming flowers. You will also have the chance to see the point at which two of Europe’s great rivers meet at the German Corner and Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, one of the largest preserved fortresses in Europe.
Orientation walk of Koblenz & a visit to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress
A Moselle Valley & Cochem Castle visit (extra expense)
The largest city on the Rhine awaits your arrival today. Once a major trade route linking both sides of Europe, this city now offers the perfect platform from which to explore Roman history, including the ornate Roman mosaics that have stood the test of time.
Your insightful guided tour of Cologne will detail how the air raids of WWII turned its streets into a blank canvas, resulting in the loss of many of its ancient monuments and cultural treasures. As many historic buildings as possible were restored following the war years, but they now sit aside modern architecture. Your tour will conclude at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cologne Cathedral, constructed over six centuries using medieval techniques to retain its authenticity. You will also explore the Botanical Gardens, established in the 19th century and visited by more than a million people every year.
Guided tour of Cologne's Old Town & a visit to the Botanical Gardens
A visit to the iconic Keukenhof Gardens is certain to be unforgettable, as more than 800 varieties of spring-flowering tulips and regular flower shows showcase spring in a quintessentially Dutch manner. Each year, the gardens adopt a theme and you will have every opportunity to learn about different planting techniques and the work completed behind the scenes by the landscape architects.
Soak in the sights of expertly arranged tulips, hyacinths and orchids of every colour, creating a swathe of natural beauty. You will also have the opportunity to see statues that have been commissioned by artists from around the world.
Visit to Keukenhof Gardens
After breakfast, it’s time to say farewell to your fellow guests as you disembark the ship and transfer to the airport, taking memories of spring-blooming flowers and delightful cobblestone squares with you.
This itinerary is a guide only and may be amended for operational reasons such as high and low water. As such, the cruise may operate altered from that stated above. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information.
The world may have changed, however, our commitment to our guests and crew, the guest experience and their health, safety and wellbeing remains our key priority. We are working closely with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), local and international Government Health agencies, to ensure our protocols exceed the latest regulatory requirements. Our Health & Safety Steering Committee oversees all health and safety policies and training with Emerald Cruises, ensuring you can travel with complete confidence that your wellbeing and safety are taken care of to the highest standard. In addition, we are implementing the most recent insights and technologies, with our Emerald Cruises team dedicated to exceeding the levels of cleanliness required in today’s travel climate.
We are continuously updating our protocols to safeguard both the health, safety and the experience of our valued guests. You will be informed about these important procedures, well in advance of your journey departure, which may include the following information and guidelines:
Medical Evaluation & Test
To ensure all of our guests are safe and well before your journey with us begins, we will require you to complete a pre-departure medical health evaluation. During the phased embarkation process you, and your fellow passengers, will be tested for COVID-19 by a medical specialist. This will allow you to relax with complete peace-of-mind when you board our Star-Ships, in the company of other like-minded travelers.
Our Dedicated Team
Our Captains, Hotel Managers and Cruise Directors, alongside their exceptional teams, will deliver a first-class level of service during your time traveling with us. You can enjoy the same exciting program of on board and on shore experiences, tailored to smaller groups to allow for safe social distancing. The team are readily available to ensure every detail of your journey with us is memorable, for all the right reasons. They will ensure health and safety protocols are followed on a daily basis.
Having the best crew to look after you is at the heart of our core values at Emerald Cruises, and we will go the extra mile to ensure our crew is healthy in doing so. All crew will be regularly tested for COVID-19 and will have daily temperature and health checks. They will also be trained and regularly briefed on all aspects in preventing COVID-19 amongst themselves as well as our guests. They will go beyond the ordinary to make your cruise a truly exceptional experience.
Contact-Free Check In & Check Out
We have adjusted the various touchpoints of your journey, allowing you to check in and check out in a completely contact-free way. Through a phased embarkation you will be able to arrive and depart from your Star-Ship smoothly and with safe social proximity in mind. And, of course, every time you return to your Star-Ship, our crew will be there to greet you with a warm smile.
Briefings & Screenings
Our medical expert will host mandatory briefings and screenings. These events are designed to ensure every member of our guests and crew are healthy, and also offer an opportunity to allay any concerns or ask any questions you may have about our safety protocols.
Enhanced Cleaning Commitment
Our on board crew will be increasing and enhancing our already frequent and high standard cleaning protocols in public areas and suites, leaving surfaces and spaces spotless. Additional care and attention will be paid to high contact zones, such as communal restrooms and dining facilities.
Socially Aware Dining
You can expect the same delightful dining experiences when you travel with us, savoring a choice of dishes inspired by regional cuisine and local produce. We are adapting and redesigning our on board food and beverage service to ensure extra care is taken in order to minimize social contact. We will serve our delicious food a la carte or via served buffets.
The spacious surrounds of our ships in combination with the guest numbers provide ample room for you to relax, allowing for an abundance of personal space. We are introducing contact-free movement across our Star-Ships to further reduce risks. Contact-free hand sanitizer dispensers will be readily available in all public spaces and guest corridors on board, whilst automated doors and contact-free guest servicing will minimize the number of touchpoints.
Our Star-Ships are equipped with air circulation systems. These systems ensure there is no re-circulation of inside air on board the ship. When you are relaxing in your suite you will be breathing air from outside the ship that is channeled directly to your suite. The air will also be released from your suite directly to the outside.
Smaller Groups & Social Proximity
Discovering the local culture of your destination is the highlight of every river cruise. Create memories to cherish during our choice of on shore excursions. You will travel in smaller groups, allowing for a more intimate travel experience, whilst respecting social proximity and destination specific regulations. To enhance your sightseeing, you can utilize our digital headsets, which will act as your personal tour guide and travel map.
Carefully Selected Local Partners
As well as enhancing our health and safety protocols on board and with our crew, we’re working closely with our local partners. We have forged long-standing relationships with our local partners, all of whom have been carefully selected for their expertise and high levels of service, and are committed to ensuring your safety. They will receive extensive training to adhere with our enhanced protocols. We will also introduce strict control and screening procedures for anyone boarding our Star-Ships.
Wellness Throughout Your Journey
Your wellbeing is our number one priority, both during your time on board and on shore. Journey to and from your destination with complete peace-of-mind. All transport vehicles will be equipped with hand sanitizer and will undergo deep cleaning after every journey, surpassing the high industry standards required. You can also rest assured that we will monitor social proximity, allowing you to travel safely, with plenty of personal space.
We are committed to continually reviewing and updating our protocols and guidelines as new information becomes available, to ensure that our guests can travel safely in the many destinations we operate in.
This trip was wonderful, with only 160 passengers we were treated royally. Everyone on board the ship worked with only one thing in mind to please the customers.
Derek was very thorough and easy to work with. Our trip was what we expected.
We were fortunate the trip went as planned. A lock was damaged and the ship we were scheduled for was unavailable. Emerald provided a different ship and we completed our full itinerary. Great job Emerald. The trip wonderful. Great staff, tours and food. Our Affordable agent Allyson fulfilled all our needs efficiently providing excellent customer care.
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We had an outstanding trip down the Danube on Emerald Waterways. The food was amazing, the service was absolutely top-notch, the places we stopped (Passau, Linz and Cesky Krumlov, Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest) were all wonderful in their own way. The options provided by Emerald (active vs. included, and the add-on activities) were just right. Our Cruise Director and the Activity Manager were very knowledgeable and attentive throughout our trip. As alway, Affordable Tours helped us book, and provided great follow-up care when we needed it.