Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Enjoy the insights of a National Geographic Expert as we venture to the enchanting old town of Strasbourg, the baroque heart of Heidelberg, and the architectural marvels of Cologne.
  • Choose from a range of excursions every day, from bike rides and tasting tours to leisurely or active walking tours.
  • Explore Germany’s Rheingau wine region by foot, bike, or gondola, and sample Rieslings at a renowned winery.
  • Capture images of the spectacular Rhine Gorge during an on-deck photo workshop led by our National Geographic Photography Expert.

Itinerary

Itinerary

The mighty Rhine pours out of the Alps and meanders towards the North Sea, passing through storied landscapes dotted with castles, vineyards, and medieval towns. On an eight-day cruise, journey to four countries linked by this fabled waterway, discovering their intertwined histories and cultures. Encounter Strasbourg’s charming half-timbered houses, and marvel at Germany’s magnificent castles and cathedrals from Heidelberg to Cologne. Pass through the dramatic Rhine Gorge—a UNESCO World Heritage site—and glide along Amsterdam’s iconic canals. Tailor the itinerary to your interests, choosing from a variety of excursions at each port of call—and benefit from the insights provided by the National Geographic Expert and the National Geographic photographer who accompany us on the voyage.

As we sail this storied waterway, enjoy the freedom and flexibility to tailor the itinerary to your interests, choosing from a variety of available excursions at each port of call—from guided tours of iconic sites to culinary experiences and active adventures.

Day 1: Basel, Switzerland
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Arrive in Basel and transfer to our ship in the afternoon. Settle into your stateroom and join the captain and your National Geographic Expert and Photographer for a welcome reception and dinner. This evening, soak up the rhythms of the Alps during a traditional Swiss-style performance.

Meals Included:Dinner
Accommodations:

AmaMora for the entire voyage

Day 2: Basel/Lucerne/Strasbourg, France
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Set on a bend in the Rhine just at the junction of France, Germany, and Switzerland, Basel’s rich history dates back to the ancient Celts. Delve into the city’s past—and admire its architecture—on a walking tour of Basel’s historic highlights, or go bike riding on a route that passes through all three countries. This afternoon, head into the Alps for a visit to the picture-perfect mountain town of Lucerne—or choose to spend the full day in Lucerne, exploring its covered bridges and charming plazas. We set sail north for France tonight.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Strasbourg
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Having switched allegiances between France and Germany several times, Strasbourg is a fascinating cultural amalgam. Today you’ll have the option to explore the city on a guided tour of its half-timbered old town and its fabulous cathedral, home to a unique astronomical clock. Or explore the city on a guided bike ride. After lunch, enjoy time at leisure to explore Strasbourg on your own, or take a guided excursion to the charming walled town of Riquewihr for a walking tour and free time to explore. This evening, gather for a special meal prepared by the chefs of the Chaîne de Rôtisseurs, an international gastronomic society.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: Heidelberg, Germany/Rüdesheim am Rhein
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Spend the morning in Heidelberg, a baroque beauty that inspired authors and composers from the 19th-century German Romantic movement. Stroll the old town—one of the few in Germany to survive World War II largely unscathed—and visit its sandstone castle. Or hike the winding Philosophers’ Walk to a historic amphitheater and ancient monastery ruins. Alternatively, enjoy a bike ride along the Neckar River to Ladenburg, where you’ll have free time to explore the town. An afternoon of sailing brings us to the Rheingau wine region and the town of Rüdesheim am Rhein. After dinner, ride the Winzerexpress mini train into town for one of two excursions. See whimsical, self-playing instruments at Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet before a visit to the Adolf Störzel Winery. Or head to Hotel Lindenwirt to try a Rüdesheimer Kaffee—a traditional, alcoholic coffee drink.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Rüdesheim am Rhein/Rhine Gorge
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Soar over the vineyards of the Rheingau in a gondola this morning, taking in views of the Rhine and the wine villages on its banks. Then stop for a tasting of a local Rieslings. Or set off on a bike ride or a hike through the vineyards, seeing historic sites along the route. This afternoon, we’ll glide past the many medieval towns and castles that dot the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, or Rhine Gorge—a World Heritage site. Head to the deck to practice your photography skills alongside our National Geographic photographer, capturing fresh angles on this stunning scenery. Late this afternoon, take a guided tour of Lahneck Castle, a 13th-century fortress built high on a hilltop at the confluence of the Rhine and Lahn rivers.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Cologne
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After a leisurely morning sail, arrive in the vibrant city of Cologne. Discover the city’s unique blend of old and new architecture on a walking tour, and step into its iconic Gothic cathedral—the largest in northern Europe. Or choose to experience Cologne through its food on a tour that combines visits to the city’s important sites with a sampling of local specialties such as reibekuchen, or potato pancakes, and Kölsch beer. Take advantage of free time to see more of Cologne before returning to the ship for a farewell dinner and a Dutch dance performance as we cruise into the Netherlands.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: Amsterdam, Netherlands
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Enjoy brunch during a relaxed morning on the water. Our final port of call is the spirited city of Amsterdam, known as the Venice of the North for its picturesque canals. Encounter the city from water level during an afternoon canal cruise, or get immersed in great art at the renowned Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. Alternatively, delve into the past on a walking tour that includes remnants of the old city wall, stately canal homes, and historic ships; and cap off the walk with a tasting of Dutch specialties such as genever (a juniper liquor), local cheeses, and bitterballen (Dutch meatballs).  

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: Amsterdam
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After breakfast, disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast