Rhine Cruise to Switzerland - MS Charles Dickens
On our journey through the Rhine valley, we visit historic Koblenz where we have time to explore the old town at the confluence of both the Rhine and Moselle rivers. Next, we continue our navigation through the dramatic Rhine Gorge where the sheer valley walls tower over 400m above our heads and onto Rudesheim, where we enjoy another evening complemented with an excellent dinner on board. As the Rhine widens and the landscape becomes less rugged, our cruise continues south, stopping in fascinating Rudesheim onto medieval Speyer with its stunning Romanesque Basilica that dominates this pretty town. Next day we arrive at the city of Strasbourg where you enjoy a walking tour of the old town. Continuing, we drive through the typical rolling tree-clad massif of the Black Forest onto the charming town of Titisee, nestling on the shores of its namesake lake. Our final destination is Switzerland where we moor in Basel. Experience the most breathtaking Alpine scenery on earth on a mountain rail journey into the spectacular Bernese Oberland, seeing the majestic Eiger and Jungfrau, then discover Switzerland’s most attractive city, magnificent Lucerne, on our included tour.
- Explore medieval Koblenz
- Visit to the pretty, romantic town of Rüdesheim - centre of the Rhineland wine trade
- Cruise through the spectacular Rhine Gorge
- An evening in Speyer - dominated by the imposing basilica
- Guided tour of Strasbourg - amazingly rich in a wealth of sights
- Visit to the old walled town of Breisach
- Tour of the beautiful Black Forest and lakeside town of Titisee
- Tour of some of the finest Swiss Alpine scenery, seeing the Jungfrau and the Eiger, and the stunning lakeside town of Lucerne
- Price includes full-board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day
- The services of a cruise director and tour manager
- Standard class reserved seat on Eurostar from London St. Pancras or return flights from selected airports (at a supplement)
- Prices are per person, based on two people sharing a twin cabin with a limited number of single cabins available on all decks, at the relevant supplement. The price includes full board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day; if you choose to travel with us on any of the full day excursions by coach, a packed lunch will be provided. Anyone choosing to stay on the ship may of course have lunch in the restaurant; morning/afternoon tea and coffee; all visits and excursions as mentioned in the brochure, airport transfers, coach travel as mentioned, travel to and from port of embarkation and the services of a Riviera Travel Tour Manager.
Depart on your flight to Düsseldorf from where a coach will take us to the ship. Or you can take a late morning Eurostar from London St. Pancras International arriving in Brussels approximately two hours later, where a coach will take us over the German border to our ship. Moored in Cologne’s picturesque historic centre, the dedicated crew will welcome us aboard our first-class floating hotel, ensuring we settle into our comfortable and extremely well equipped cabin and familiarise ourselves with the ship.
The real delights of this river cruise begin to unveil as we pass the first rolling hills of the Rhine Valley. Firstly we see the forested Siebengebirge. We pass the famous ruined bridge at Remagen. The pretty waterfronts of riverside towns come into view and the first of the Rhine’s vineyards can be seen as we glide into our mooring to visit picturesque Koblenz. The afternoon is free to wander ashore and explore the many medieval buildings, housing a fine array of traditional shops and classic Rhineland cafés.
This morning’s cruise weaves around this long meander, guarded by the mighty Marksburg Castle. Sailing past St Goar and the many ruined castles, we get a real sense of the myths of this historic river coming alive around us. No legend is more famous than that surrounding the Loreley rock, where beautiful nymphs distracted hapless sailors, luring them to their deaths in the treacherous waters. After lunch we berth and visit Rüdesheim. The afternoon is free to relax in its bustling cafés, take a quiet stroll through the vineyards or maybe a cable car ride to the great statue of Germania.
Still sailing upstream, the ship berths in delightfully medieval Speyer. During the 16th century in nearby Worms, Martin Luther was excommunicated for his religious beliefs and banished from the Holy Roman Empire. His followers in Speyer protested at this and for the first time were called ‘Protestants’. Visit the neo-gothic Gedächtniskirche, built to commemorate this event and the huge, richly decorated Basilica. We also have some free time to explore before rejoining the ship.
This morning, we gently cruise upstream and soon arrive in France and Strasbourg. This afternoon, we will have a walking tour of its unique and picturesque 16th century old town, bisected by canals and a maze of narrow streets lined with timber-framed houses and sculptured portals plus the superb cathedral. This evening, the ‘Captain’s Dinner’ will take place on board, serving delicious specialities of the countries and regions we visit during our cruise, hosted of course by the Captain himself.
Our final day’s cruising is spent gliding between the ancient forested outcrops of the Vosges and the Black Forest, through the great rift valley. We arrive at the ancient town of Breisach whose historic heart is surrounded by immense stone ramparts. This afternoon, we drive through some of central Europe’s most stunning scenery, the Black Forest at its best. We visit the archetypical town of Titisee, nestling on the shores of its crystal clear lake. We enjoy this evening’s dinner cruising to Switzerland and our next mooring at Basel.
For many today will be the highlight of the cruise. You firstly take the short drive to Lucerne; spectacularly nestled among stunning mountain views, it is by far Switzerland’s most beautiful city and has been attracting well-heeled visitors for two centuries, one of the most famous being our very own Queen Victoria. You must take an invigorating stroll along the Chapel Bridge – symbol of the city, a unique covered wooden walkway crossing the lake supported by stilts, lined with colourful, flower-filled window boxes and a superb way to absorb Lucerne’s rather regal atmosphere. The scenery becomes ever more dramatic and then as you enter the Bernese Oberland in central Switzerland, it becomes quite literally breathtaking! This is the grand Alpine heart of Europe and amongst the finest mountain scenery on earth, described by the composer Mendelssohn as ‘the most wonderful of all in this unbelievably beautiful country’. On viewing the spectacular snow-capped peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau you will be quite simply awestruck. We then ascend into the lofty scenery on the most scenic journey by mountain railway for more breathtaking vistas with the crystal-clear shimmering lakes reflecting the alpine meadows and lush forests below. This truly magical landscape will enchant you. Please note temperatures will be significantly lower at altitude even in summer months so it is advised that you pack suitable clothing.
Transfer to the station to take the TGV (France’s famous high-speed train) to Paris, connecting with the Eurostar service to London St. Pancras International. Should you be returning by air, you will be taken to the airport for your homeward flight.
Life on board
We are proud to unveil the latest addition to our fleet – the brand new, state-of-the-art, five-star MS Charles Dickens. Specially commissioned and designed to our exacting specifications, she is, without doubt, one of the world’s finest river cruise ships. We have worked tirelessly with one of Europe’s most experienced and respected luxury shipbuilders, Veka Group, to create the perfect ship, featuring many unique, ground breaking innovations. The finest of materials have been used in construction with virtually no expense spared; its sustainably sourced tropical hardwoods, highly polished brass and wrought iron fittings, thick pile high-quality carpets, luxuriously comfortable deep armchairs and settees will absolutely delight you. In addition the ship’s spacious layout, subtle and tasteful lighting, elegant décor, luxurious cabins and excellent facilities are undoubtedly the very best on cruise ships today. Superb attention to detail continues outside the vessel, where the extensive use of glass and polished stainless steel complements her sleek modern profile perfectly. As the ship glides, serenely, through the water, she truly is a wonderful sight to behold! As you would expect, the ship also incorporates the very latest in modern construction techniques and safety systems, ensuring your cruise is as comfortable and secure as possible. Finally the ship carries just 140 passengers and with 35 crew; a 4:1 ratio ensures excellent service levels. With many similar size vessels carrying 180 passengers or more, you will find the extra space, especially in the restaurant, very noticeable indeed. The Decks The four-deck design helps to enhance the ship’s spaciousness and is typified by the delightful lobby on the Hamlet (upper) deck. As you are greeted on board, you will appreciate the five-star quality of the warm-coloured wood and marble that has been extensively utilised, whilst above, the innovative atrium tastefully bathes the whole welcoming scene in natural light. There is also a lift and small boutique stocking those essentials which always run out whilst one is away! Moving towards the front of the ship you will find the classically appointed Globe lounge and bar, with a wide selection of comfortable and elegant seating. Here you can relax and enjoy the delights of the passing scenery through the superb observation windows on both sides of the vessel, whilst the forward facing panoramic bay window ensures the most extensive and uninterrupted viewing of any river cruise ship! The welcoming bar offers a full range of drinks sourced from all over the world, including the finest wines and spirits. When the sun sinks slowly below the riverside hills this is the perfect place to relax and reflect on another day’s experiences. Then, as the evening progresses into darkness, subtle lighting evolves through colour and intensity accompanied by gentle piano background music, creating a very special ambience. However should you prefer a good book to read you can always visit the library, which, with its leather-effect wall linings, offers a gentile environment reminiscent of the golden age of cruising. To the rear of the ship is the Midsummer bar, with large panoramic windows and outside seating, where again you can enjoy and relax, watching the passing scenery. Here, in the evenings the chef presents his personal signature dishes for just 24 diners – this intimate dining experience can be reserved on board at no extra charge. Stairs and a lift lead down to the Othello (middle) deck, where the culinary delights of a superbly elegant restaurant are enhanced by sparkling crystal and crisp, high-quality table linen. Here the ship’s outstanding chefs will amaze you with superb fine dining of the highest order, using freshly prepared seasonal produce to create very best of European cuisine. The sumptuous breakfast buffet, with omelettes and fresh eggs prepared to order, ensures a great start to the day and a lunchtime buffet ensures you can eat a full meal or something as simple as a fresh crunchy salad – just as you desire. The evening dinner features excellently executed dishes with silver service, plus a relaxed atmosphere and our ‘open seating’ policy that ensures your dining experience is one you will always look forward to. Wonderfully illustrating the extraordinary attention to detail focussed on the Charles Dickens’s design is the use of special ‘sound absorbent’ paint on the restaurant ceiling to reduce noise levels whilst dining – remarkable! Another outstanding restaurant feature are the large tinted panoramic windows, so as you enjoy your epicurean adventure you will also be able to enjoy the scenery as it glides past – you miss nothing! A further staircase descends to the Romeo (lower) deck, where a small but well equipped fitness suite is available for the energetic, whilst others may choose to plump for an invigorating sauna! There is also a hairdressing salon so you can always look your best (small additional fee). Crowning the ship is the magnificent Sun deck, where you are very welcome to visit the Bridge whenever you wish except when berthing or navigating locks. You can discuss life on the river and view the fascinating technologically advanced array of ‘state of the art’ navigation and control equipment, whilst highly skilled officers guide all 110 metres of the Charles Dickens carefully along the river. Of course the view from the sun deck is just wonderful, whilst the informal café style seating is an ideal place to relax with like-minded travellers. Just absorb the magical sights, sounds and unique river atmosphere whilst perhaps availing yourself of the attentive bar service. Or just relax on a sun bed and read a book, solve the crossword from a deck chair, take a dip in the whirlpool, play chess, try your hand on the putting green or just relax and admire the ever-changing kaleidoscope of stunning views passing by.
Prices are per person, based on two people sharing a twin cabin with a limited number of single cabins available on all decks, at the relevant supplement. The price includes full board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day; if you choose to travel with us on any of the full day excursions by coach, a packed lunch will be provided. Anyone choosing to stay on the ship may of course have lunch in the restaurant; morning/afternoon tea and coffee; all visits and excursions as mentioned in the brochure, airport transfers, coach travel as mentioned, travel to and from port of embarkation and the services of a Riviera Travel Tour Manager.