River cruising has become an increasingly popular way to travel in recent years. Unlike ocean cruises, river cruises take travelers along the world's most beautiful and historically significant rivers, such as the Nile, Danube, and Mississippi, offering breathtaking scenery and cultural experiences along the way. With smaller, more intimate ships and all-inclusive packages, river cruises provide a relaxing and luxurious vacation experience that allows travelers to explore multiple destinations while enjoying top-notch amenities and personalized service. River cruising has emerged as a great option for travelers who are looking for a unique and comfortable way to explore the world's most stunning rivers and waterways.
Below view one of our most popular river cruise itineraries, a European Rhine River itinerary, but there are literally hundreds to choose from depending on your specific preferences.
Days 1 - 2 | Amongst the Alps
Begin your trip in Zurich, one of Switzerland's most vibrant cities, for a pre-cruise tour. Located on the banks of the River Limmat and surrounded by the Alps, Zurich offers a stunning backdrop for travelers looking for a mix of urban and outdoor adventure. Enjoy a city walking tour and stay busy during free time with shopping and dining to nightlife and culture.
Days 3 - 4 | Crystal-Clear Waters
Check out of your hotel and transfer to Lake Lucerne, where you’ll enjoy a cruise across the tranquil waters of Lake Lucerne. With its idyllic landscape, crystal-clear waters and many attractions, Lake Lucerne is an ideal destination for travelers looking to explore the beauty of the Swiss Alps.
Day 5 | EMBARKATION
Check out of your hotel and visit the iconic Lion Monument, sculpted in memory of the Swiss Guards massacred during the French Revolution. Later, head to Basel. Upon arrival in Basel, enjoy a highlights tour of Switzerland’s third largest city. Long an important university, banking and trade center, Basel’s glorious past is still evident in its medieval Town Hall and exquisite 18th century patrician homes. Then enjoy free time for lunch on your own before embarking on the cruise portion.
Day 6 | GERMANY
Step back in time with a visit to the enchanting Alsatian town of Riquewihr, which looks almost the same as it did in the 16th century. On your walking tour, admire historic architecture as well as famous sights, such as the Dolder Gate. Alternatively, you may wish to go to Freiburg, founded in 1120 and home to the Freiburg’s Münster, a Gothic cathedral said to have “the most beautiful spire on earth.” Those wishing a more active excursion can cycle through the scenic countryside, or go on a hike to the Black Forest, a magical land full of cultural traditions
Day 7 | FRANCE
Strasbourg, the capital city of Alsace, offers flavors of both France and Germany because of its borderline location. Enjoy a panoramic tour past the stunning Parc de l’Orangerie, the European Parliament and the Place de la République. Then walk through its iconic UNESCO World Heritage “La Petite France” district, which appears to have been lifted straight from the pages of a fairytale. Wander through these charming streets and past the Cathédrale de Nôtre Dame with its famous astronomical clock.
Day 8 | GERMANY
Ludwigshafen is your gateway to a choice of three excursions. Visit Heidelberg, the perfectly preserved medieval city nestled in the Neckar River Valley along Germany’s Castle Road. Discover the iconic red sandstone Heidelberg Castle and Great Vat, an 18th-century 49,000-gallon wine cask. For a more active adventure while in Heidelberg, join a guided hike up the Philosopher's Path, aptly named during the Romantic Period, and be rewarded with panoramic views of the city. Or ride along the river Neckar to the medieval town of Ladenburg where you’ll have some free time to explore the shops and quaint Marktplatz.
Day 9 | GERMANY
Today take a gondola ride to the Niederwalddenkmal Statue, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the river. Afterwards, indulge your taste buds with a sampling of Riesling wines in the vineyards. If you prefer a more active adventure, hike through Rüdesheim’s vineyards, taking in views of the town, the Roman Bridge and Bromersburg Castle. Or join a guided bike ride through the town and along the Rhine River. During the afternoon, set sail along the scenic Rhine River Gorge with its fabled legends and many castles to Lahnstein where you’ll enjoy a visit to Lahneck Castle.
Day 10 | GERMANY
Home to one of Germany’s most revered Gothic masterpieces, the Cologne Cathedral, this 2,000-year-old city is also a bustling cosmopolitan hotspot. Join a guided tour through the enchanting Old Town and explore the UNESCO-designated cathedral, where the remains of the fabled Three Kings—the Magi— are believed to rest. Alternatively, ride a bike along the Rhine and through the historic Stadtgarten; or visit a local tavern to taste Kölsch beer and reibekuchen mit apfelmus—potato pancakes served with applesauce.
Day 11 - 12 | THE NETHERLANDS
Amsterdam boasts amazing history, art, architecture, and museums, and you have a choice as to how you wish to explore it. The famous canals of Amsterdam await discovery on your city tour beginning with a scenic canal cruise. If you prefer exploring the world with your taste buds, stroll past traditional canals, gabled houses, narrow bridges and house boats to taste Dutch specialties at a grand Amsterdam café.
Disembark the ship on day 12 from Amsterdam and begin your journey home.