Rhine, Strasbourg & Heidelberg - MS George Eliot
Stepping aboard you will appreciate the superb surroundings of your floating luxury hotel for the next seven nights with spacious and well-appointed cabins or suites, private bathrooms and meticulously prepared fine cuisine. From Cologne, we slip our moorings and head on our journey south to Koblenz spending a morning exploring this historic town sitting at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers then continuing to the beautiful old town of Boppard for the evening. Continuing our journey, we navigate through the outstanding natural beauty of the world-famous Rhine Gorge onto Mainz famous for the ‘Gutenberg’ Bibles. Next we enjoy a guided tour of stunning Heidelberg, on the route of Europe’s ‘Grand Tour’, nestling by the picturesque river Neckar. By day five, we arrive in Strasbourg, a delightful city with its centre largely unchanged since the 14th century, a mosaic of winding alleys and lanes lined with quirkily crooked, half-timbered houses. During periods of its history Strasbourg has been both German and French, and today you can see this influence in its language, cuisine and appearance, creating a truly individual city. Then to Colmar, almost embarrassingly perfect - a typically quaint medieval Alsatian town. The following day we return journey downstream, stopping in Rudesheim one of the liveliest towns on the river, before continuing through the Rhine Gorge to Cologne. Here we enjoy a guided walking tour of the city with time to explore the stunning cathedral, an excellent finale to this most wonderful cruise.
- Take a stroll through the winding streets of Koblenz
- Relax at your leisure in Boppard with ample time to explore the stunning castle
- Cruise through the spectacular Rhine Gorge
- Visit to Mainz, capital of the Rhineland and a centre of Germany’s wine lands
- Guided tour of majestic Heidelberg, follow in the footsteps of philosophers and poets
- Enjoy a guided tour of historic Strasbourg, capital of Alsace
- Take a scenic drive through beautiful Alsatian countryside to the pretty town of Colmar
- Visit Cologne and see its magnificent Gothic Cathedral
- Return standard class Eurostar and return rail connections on selected dates from over thirty regional stations to London, or return flights from selected airports (at a supplement)
- Full-board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day
- All tours as mentioned
Depart on your flight to Düsseldorf from where a coach will take you to the ship. Or 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, the dedicated crew will welcome you aboard, ensuring you settle into your comfortable and extremely well equipped cabin and familiarise yourself with the ship before dinner.
This morning we reach Koblenz, beautifully located at the confluence of the rivers Rhine and Moselle, a town founded by the Romans, allowing you to immerse yourself in two millennia of history. Tiny streets and alleyways lead to intimate squares lined by traditional shops and tiny cafés, and this morning we will have a walking tour followed by free time. During our first lunch on board, we continue upstream, arriving in Boppard, beautifully situated on one of the river’s most impressive and sweeping bends. Simply relax on board or take a stroll through the narrow old streets.
This morning we cruise through the Rhine Gorge where the waters narrow to one fifth their normal width. The sheer valley walls soar 400 metres from the river’s edge and magnificent birds of prey glide on the thermals above. Teutonic Knights built numerous castles which crown the adjacent hillsides. Our next port of call is historic Mainz, boasting the largest wine market in Germany, but its most famous son is Gutenberg, father of modern printing. You can visit the excellent museum housing two original 1452 Gutenberg Bibles, the first books ever printed in Europe.
After breakfast, we take the short drive to Heidelberg for a guided walking tour. Its setting is second to none, nestling by the picturesque river Neckar, in a valley dominated by its imposing castle. The city is a maze of historic, baroque and gabled buildings lining the river with its romantic old-town behind. Its 14th century university, one of the most prestigious in Europe lends Heidelberg that atmosphere rather similar to Cambridge. We have free time to explore before rejoining the ship.
We arrive in France and the charming city of Strasbourg, its centre largely unchanged since the 14th century. During periods of its history Strasbourg has been both German and French, and you can see this influence in its language, cuisine and appearance, creating a truly individual city. This morning we have a guided walking tour. Later we take the scenic drive to 16th century Colmar, the best preserved city in eastern France, dissected by canals, it’s a maze of former merchants’ houses. You have free time to wander before we return to the ship in Strasbourg.
Relax on board whilst we cruise back downstream, arriving in Rüdesheim in the late afternoon, one of the most visited and liveliest towns on the river. With its narrow, crooked streets leading down to the sweeping river and surrounded by wooded and vine-covered slopes. This is the heart of Riesling, one of central Europe’s finest wines and Rüdesheim is crammed with places to try this fruity refreshing drink. Rüdesheim is one of those places just to stroll around, enjoy a glass of wine and take in the scenery. This evening the ‘Captain’s Dinner’ will take place on board.
This morning, we can enjoy once again more marvels of the Rhine, as we pass through the gorge. Then the valley sides dissolve away and the hills begin to fade to the plain as the ship drifts towards Cologne. This afternoon we have a walking tour of the attractive old town, beautifully restored and boasting a plethora of excellent shopping and cosy bars, some of which still traditionally brew their own beer. We also see the superb cathedral, the largest gothic structure on earth with stunningly intricate stained glass and taking 600 years to complete.
AThis morning we drive to Brussels connecting with the Eurostar service to London St. Pancras International. Or, should you be returning by air, you will be taken to the airport for your homeward flight.
Life on board
The five-star MS George Eliot – named after one of the leading English novelists of the 19th century – is 110 metres of fine Swiss engineering and craftsmanship. As with all Riviera Travel cruise ships, MS George Eliot was built to the highest specifications and strict safety regulations by Scylla AG, world-renowned builders of the most modern cruisers in Europe. Guests are welcomed in the elegant lobby with its gleaming marble floor, well-lit by sophisticated lighting. Thoughtful design is on tasteful display throughout the ship – sustainable hardwood furniture, intricate wrought-iron work, and polished copper and brass are beautifully complemented by soft leather and sumptuous Italian fabrics
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/station transfers, coach travel as mentioned, travel to and from port of embarkation and the services of a Riviera Travel Tour Manager.
Supplements of £10pp, £20pp, £30pp or £50pp may apply for certain regional stations, prices will be applied to your final tour cost where applicable.