Remarkable Rhine & Historic Holland

Remarkable Rhine & Historic Holland

11 DAYS FROM AMSTERDAM TO BASEL

Note: The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise.

Day 1: Amsterdam (Embark)

Arrive at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.

Day 2: Amsterdam

Enjoy the luxury of a full day in the “Venice of the North,” starting with a “Morning with the Masters” tour of the Hermitage Amsterdam. Afterwards, explore the city on foot.

"Morning with the Masters" at the Hermitage Amsterdam

The doors open early to give you a crowd-free viewing of an extraordinary collection of Dutch master paintings: 30 monumental group paintings from the golden age that have been called “cousins of The Night Watch.” Drawn from both the Amsterdam Museum and the Rijksmuseum, these works have rarely been displayed because of their enormous size. The Amsterdam Hermitage, however, devotes an enormous gallery space to this exhibit, which reveals the connections and activities of Amsterdam’s power elite in the 17th century. Meet mayors and regents, colonels of the civil guard, wealthy merchants and their wives and learn something of their lives and the lives of the artists who painted these massive portraits.

“Do as the Locals Do” Amsterdam walking tour

Uncover some of Amsterdam’s most charming and little-known treasures with a stroll to the city’s most notable sights. Cross over the historic and richly-decorated Blauwbrug (Blue Bridge) that sits over the river Amstel. The original Blue Bridge was a wooden structure built in 1600 and painted to match the blue color from the Dutch flag. Next, board a streetcar and head to Rokin Street for a taste of a traditional Dutch delicacy, Haring (a unique raw herring dish) before pressing on towards Begijnhof–one of the oldest groups of historic buildings in Amsterdam. Next, you’ll head into the oldest parts of Amsterdam via Warmoesstraat, one of the oldest, shop-lined streets in the city. Wander along charming streets and indulge in a little bit of window shopping before arriving in Oudezijds Voorburgwal, one the city's central canals flanked by quintessentially Dutch façades, where you’ll see the Oude Kerk (translation: Old Church), the city’s oldest building. Your tour will end in Zeedijk, Amsterdam’s Chinatown, which was originally constructed as a means of protection from the sea.

Amsterdam canal cruise

It’s called the “Venice of the North” for a reason: Canals crisscross the heart of the old city, and bridges link some 90 islands. As the principal city in a newly independent Holland, Amsterdam was a boom town in the early 17th century, rapidly outgrowing its medieval walls. The city’s fathers responded by demolishing most of the old city and building an entirely new one, creating Europe’s first planned city. That “new” district is now 400 years old, and as you glide along the main canals, you’ll pass stately merchants’ houses built centuries ago (some of them are now house museums you can visit on your own). But the canals are not merely scenic; they are essential thoroughfares—people take water buses to work and live in houseboats along the banks—so a canal cruise also gives you a look at the busy modern city.

Visit to the Portuguese Synagogue and Jewish Museum

Anyone who has read The Diary of Anne Frank knows what happened to Amsterdam’s Jews under the Nazis. But not everyone knows that the Jewish community began in the city when Sephardic Jews fled Spain and Portugal after 1492, a group of successful merchants and professionals who in turn sponsored Ashkenazi migrants fleeing Central Europe in the 17th century. Visit the Jewish Historical Museum, with its meticulous re-creation of the Great Synagogue, compelling exhibit called “Friday Night” and lively children’s area, and the nearby Portuguese Synagogue, before strolling through the former Jewish Quarter (Rembrandt lived in in this neighborhood, and he often asked his Jewish neighbors to pose for his Old Testament scenes; his house is now a museum and is one of the few original houses still standing in the area). Today’s Jewish community is largely centered in Amstelveen, where some 15,000 Jews live, work and worship in one of the largest and most vibrant communities in Europe.

Please note: This excursion is included but must be reserved no later than 30 days prior to departure. Due to security requirements the following information is required at time of booking: full name (as written on passport), passport number, passport country, date of birth, and gender. Please call our reservations department to reserve this excursion.

This evening, a special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you.

Day 3: Rotterdam, Kinderdijk

You’ll spend your day exploring Rotterdam’s historic splendor, vibrant culture, varied architectural landscape and maritime heritage. Embark on a stroll around the port city’s most enticing spots, like the spectacular new Market Hall. Venture to the nearby village of Kinderdijk and marvel at a group of 19 towering windmills.

Jewish Rotterdam

Embark on a walking tour through Jewish Rotterdam. Your first stop is the Witte Huis, or White House, a National Heritage Site built in 1898 with a beautiful Art Nouveau façade. During World War II, Rotterdam was the victim of a German bombing, but the Witte Huis made it out relatively unscathed despite its height for the time period. Make your way to the Wijnhaven, a charming old port, on your way to the center of Jewish life in Rotterdam, the Spaansekade (Spanish Quay). After, you’ll visit the location of the first Jewish cemetery, the former Jewish synagogue, the Jewish hospital and more. Cap your discovery of Rotterdam’s Jewish ties with a pit stop at the Holland America Line, the spot where many Jewish people left for the United States during the war.

Please note: This excursion is included but must be reserved no later than 30 days prior to departure. Due to security requirements the following information is required at time of booking: full name (as written on passport), passport number, passport country, date of birth, and gender. Please call our reservations department to reserve this excursion.

Dutch culinary stroll to Rotterdam’s Market Hall

Get a taste for Rotterdam’s culinary prowess and architectural achievements on a walk to Market Hall. Built in 2014, this extraordinary building is known for its futuristic look and unique culinary offerings—from bars and food stands to full-service restaurants. Market Hall is just one example of Amsterdam’s captivating mix of 17th-century canals, gabled façades and modern architecture. You’ll also enjoy a look at the UNESCO-designated Witte Huis, an Art Nouveau masterpiece adorned with mosaics and statues. When it was built in 1898, it was the tallest office building in Rotterdam and Europe’s first skyscraper.

Kinderdijk windmills

At one time 10,000 windmills operated in the Netherlands, pumping water away from low-lying lands (much of the country is below sea level) and creating what are known as polders—arable land reclaimed from the water. Though the mighty windmill has been replaced by newer technology, you can see how effective the system was in Kinderdijk, where a group of 19 windmills erected in the 18th century still function. Most are ground-sail windmills (meaning their sails nearly touch the ground as they whirl) and each one was carefully situated to make sure one did not block another’s wind. Each windmill moves the water a little farther, pumping it from field to canal, from canal to river. Climb the steep stairs of a mill and look out over the quiet fields that would be underwater were it not for the ingenuity of the Dutch. (Of course, you can simply admire it from the outside. But if you do that, you won’t see how the mill keeper’s family lived.) These mills are kept in working order partly as a backup in case modern technology fails, and they were used as recently as WWII, when there was no fuel to keep newer pumping stations working.

Note: If docking in Kinderdijk is not possible, the excursion will be arranged by motorcoach from Rotterdam.

Day 4: Arnhem

Arnhem, almost completely destroyed in WWII, has blossomed into a burgeoning Dutch city, with several museums, shop-lined streets and historic landmarks.

Day 5: Cologne

You have an array of choices for how you wish to experience Cologne’s many treasures. Those interested in history and architecture will want to stroll through the Old Town, featuring 12 stunning Romanesque churches. Guests interested in the city’s Jewish past are welcome to explore the centuries-old mikveh and Cologne’s Jewish quarter.

Cologne walking tour with Old Town visit

As you walk through the narrow lanes of the Old Town, you’ll find it hard to believe that more than 70 percent of the city was destroyed by bombs during WWII. Three medieval gates remain standing, as does the old city hall with its Renaissance facade. The famous 12 Romanesque churches were reconstructed from the rubble, and the cathedral, Cologne’s iconic landmark, rises magnificently in the city center. Though it was badly damaged by WWII, the great UNESCO-designated cathedral retains many of its original treasures—the relics of the Magi and other sacred figures, which inspired its building in the 12th century, the 14th-century stained-glass windows that were stored safely throughout the war and the beautifully painted choir stalls—though other treasures are displayed separately. Enter the awe-inspiring nave and learn about the history of the cathedral and its art collections, especially the pieces surrounding the Shrine of the Magi.

Note: The number of visitors allowed in Cologne Cathedral is regulated by a very strict schedule of time slots. Sightseeing will be arranged around the time slots obtained. On Sundays and Catholic holidays, guided tours inside the cathedral will not be possible.

Cologne’s Jewish Quarter

It's a short walk from the cathedral—where the protections granted Jews in 1266 are etched in stone—to Cologne's ancient Jewish quarter. Jews crossed the Alps with the Romans and were part of Cologne's history from the beginning: Emperor Constantine signed an edict allowing Jews to be elected to the curia in 321. No one knows for sure what happened when the Romans retreated south—did Jews remove with them or remain to form the nucleus of the substantial community that flourished in Cologne a few centuries later? The earliest physical remains of the Jewish community date to the 11th century. The medieval Judengasse, the synagogue and the mikveh were all close to the town hall. An archaeological excavation is slowly revealing the elements of this neighborhood, which is wonderfully well documented, but only the mikveh is open to the public at this time. On today's excursion, see first-hand how Cologne is once again home to a thriving Jewish community.

Please note: This excursion is included but must be reserved no later than 30 days prior to departure. Due to security requirements the following information is required at time of booking: full name (as written on passport), passport number, passport country, date of birth, and gender. Please call our reservations department to reserve this excursion.

Day 6: Oberwesel

Bacharach is an ancient village that appears straight out of the pages of a storybook. Enjoy a guided stroll through town and taste some locally grown Rieslings, a specialty of the region. Alternatively, join a “Let's Go” hike that will take you past the old town walls and up to a fortified 12th-century castle.

Bacharach village stroll with Riesling tasting

What would a cruise on the Rhine be without a stop at one of the picturesque and historic wine villages that dot the banks? Bacharach, first documented in the 11th century, was once critically important to the wine trade as a port where wine casks were transferred from smaller boats, which could navigate the rocky narrows above the town, to larger ones. Join a local guide to stroll among the timbered houses—the oldest dates to 1368 (it’s now a restaurant called, appropriately, Altes Haus)—pausing for a look at the remains of the old town walls, demolished by the French during the Nine Years’ War, the gothic ruins of the Werner Chapel and the single spired St. Peter’s Church. Vineyards rise in terraces all around the town, producing excellent Rieslings; following your tour, you’ll have a chance to taste some of them and find out for yourself just how good they are.

“Let’s Go” Castle Stahleck hike

The round tower and sturdy stone walls of Castle Stahleck guard the heights above Bacharach. The counts Palatine used the fortress to defend their territories from other German lords and from numerous French incursions, so it suffered considerable damage over the centuries, but it has been beautifully restored and enjoys a new life as a youth hostel. Join your guide for a hike—it won’t be too strenuous but you will be climbing the hill outside the village—through the vineyards up to the castle. You’ll be rewarded with fabulous views of the Rhine and the Lorelei valley as well as the town below.

Day 7: Frankfurt

Frankfurt is known as the “Mainhattan” of Europe, a financial powerhouse with soaring skyscrapers as well as traditional Old Town architecture.

“Do as the Locals Do” Frankfurt walking tour

Although Frankfurt is unabashedly modern, with a dynamic international population and a skyline dominated by skyscrapers, it has a much-loved historic core, and your ship docks within easy walking distance of it. Stroll with your guide through Römer Square, bordered by the re-created 15th-century mansions that constitute the old city hall, to the Klein Market Hall, where you’ll sample Frankfurt’s beloved apple cider and sausages as you take in the colorful scene: locals choose produce and sausage, cider and eggs, and flowers and spices from the covered market’s 154 stalls. The city’s residents come from more than 200 nations, so you’ll find plenty of international specialties, too, along with regional items. Your next stop is Goethe House, the house museum devoted to Germany’s national poet, who was born in this city. Though Goethe’s work belongs to the world, Frankfurters take particular pride in their native son; the rooms here display furnishings from the writer’s day, as well as family portraits and the desk where Goethe completed Faust—not to mention a puppet theater with which the four-year-old future poet played. You’ll encounter the city’s bustling present-day economic power as you walk past the Frankfurt stock exchange and continue to Main Tower. Nothing exemplifies Frankfurt more than this lofty skyscraper: The façade of a historic building is incorporated in its base, and 56 stories of glass-encased offices soar above it. Ride up to the viewing platform for an amazing view of the city and its surroundings.

"Let's Go" Mainhattan by bike

Get a different view of the city via bicycle, pedaling through the old town area that was meticulously reconstructed after WWII (St. Paul’s Church was one of the first structures to be rebuilt because of its important place in the development of German democracy—the country’s first freely elected parliamentary body met in St. Paul’s oval hall), along Museum Mile and down the shady, pleasant Main Promenade, which stretches along both banks of the river.

Frankfurt's Jewish history

The Rothschild family fortune began in Frankfurt, along with the family name—taken from the red shield on the family home on Judengasse, the quarter-mile-long street where all of Frankfurt’s Jews were required to live between 1462 and 1811. It was a crowded but prosperous community (it had to be prosperous, since the only way Jews enjoyed imperial protection was by paying enormous fees to the emperor). Mayer Rothschild started as a coin dealer, expanded into dealing antiques, and by 1792, he was a wealthy banker with an international clientele. His five sons followed in his footsteps, extending the family business throughout Europe and lending their names to a raft of famous enterprises—and to numerous cultural and charitable institutions in Frankfurt and elsewhere. The Frankfurt Jewish Museum, located in a former Rothschild home that was recently renovated, offers a fascinating look at the family’s saga. Though none of the houses on Judengasse are still standing, you can see the foundations of some of them when you visit Museum Judengasse, which outlines the history of Jews in Frankfurt and their relations with the Christian community through the centuries. It abuts the Jewish cemetery and the memorial to victims of the Shoah, listing the names of 12,000 Frankfurt Jews who died in the death camps.

Please note: This excursion is included but must be reserved no later than 30 days prior to departure. Due to security requirements the following information is required at time of booking: full name (as written on passport), passport number, passport country, date of birth, and gender. Please call our reservations department to reserve this excursion.

Day 8: Speyer (Worms)

Expect the unexpected in Speyer, where ancient treasures harmoniously coexist with modern-day innovation. Join a local expert for an intriguing guided stroll through the historic small town of Speyer, famous for its vast Romanesque cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another option is our “Jewish Heritage” excursion to an ancient center of learning and religion in Worms.

Private Doktorenhof vinegar estate visit and tasting

For a different spin on the Palatinate wine region, visit the Weinessiggut Doktorenhof estate for a special vinegar tasting. Yes, you read that right—a vinegar tasting. Founded by Georg Wiedemann some 30 years ago, Doktorenhof produces vinegars from premium wines, rather than inexpensive ones. Gewürztraminer, Sylvaner, Riesling and Pinot Noir are aged with a century-old vinegar “mother,” as the bacteria that makes vinegar is known, and flavored with a variety of herbs and fruits. The results make complex and elegant aperitifs, intended to be sipped from a specially designed long-stemmed glass between courses or after a meal. The atmospheric tasting room (think candles, cloaks and choir music) is like no other you’ll ever experience.

Excursion to Worms

Will you leave a pebble on the headstone of Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg? The great medieval scholar was born in Worms and is buried there, in the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in Germany. In his day, Worms was one of three important centers of Jewish learning and trade in the Middle Ages, along with Mainz and Speyer, and was known as “little Jerusalem on the Rhine.” Rabbi Meir taught in Rothenburg for 25 years and died a prisoner in Alsace—and his reasons for refusing to allow anyone to ransom him were cited in discussions in 2011 when Israel exchanged 1027 Hamas prisoners for a single Israeli soldier. Today when you visit Worms’ ancient cemetery, with headstones dating to the 11th century, you’ll find a peaceful place that bears testimony to the long history of Jews in the region. Your tour will also include the re-created 12th-century synagogue and mikveh, which were destroyed on Kristallnacht.

Please note: This excursion is included but must be reserved no later than 30 days prior to departure. Due to security requirements the following information is required at time of booking: full name (as written on passport), passport number, passport country, date of birth, and gender. Please call our reservations department to reserve this excursion.

Speyer walking tour

Speyer—“spire” in English—is well named, since the four red towers of the UNESCO-designated Romanesque cathedral dominate the Old Town just as the medieval bishops dominated the town itself. Though the bishops ruled the town, Speyer also had a special relationship with the Holy Roman emperors: Conrad II ordered the cathedral’s construction around 1030, and eight emperors are interred in its crypts. Your walking tour will take you along the pedestrian-only Maximilian Street—first laid out by Roman soldiers—from the last remaining gate of the medieval wall toward the great church. Near the church you’ll see remnants of a Jewish community established around 1090 under the auspices of the Bishop of Speyer. Though the synagogue is long gone, the vaulted ritual baths have been beautifully preserved. (The area is popularly known as the Jewish Courtyard.) Notice the former mint and Holy Trinity Church, which were built in the 18th century, following a devastating war, and stand as masterful examples of late-baroque style. You’ll have some free time after your tour: If you’re interested in automotive history, trains or aeronautical technology, be sure to drop by the Technik Museum.

Note: Because the Speyer Cathedral is an active place of worship, no tours of its interiors are given.

Day 9: Strasbourg

After docking in town, you’ll have a chance to discover Strasbourg’s many charms with a choice of excursions: a guided “Do as the Locals Do” walking tour of the Petite France district, stopping to try traditional Alsatian treats along the way; a “Let’s Go” bike tour that covers a bit more ground, including the European district; or an in-depth look at the city’s rich Jewish history, which dates back an astonishing 2,000 years.

“Do as the Locals Do” Strasbourg walking tour

Climb aboard your coach for a short ride across the Rhine en route to enchanting Strasbourg. Teeming with narrow cobbled streets, timber-frame houses, town squares and stately patrician homes, this city is the launching pad for today’s journey. Experience local places, traditions and cuisine as you stroll through “Petite France,” along its canals and to the imposing Strasbourg Cathedral, one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture. Stop for a bite to eat and enjoy a delicious Butchers Sausage, gingerbread, “Flammekueche” (which is often referred to as Alsatian Pizza), or a chocolate and liquor tasting at one of the local shops. Admire the city square’s famous Maison Kammerzell, numerous winstubs (wine lounges) and shops before enjoying free time to explore on your own.

Note: Shuttle service will be provided to and from the center of Strasbourg in the afternoon.

“Let’s Go” Strasbourg by bike

Strasbourg loves cyclists! The city has a great network of bike routes, and more residents use bikes as their primary method of transportation than in any other city in France. You’ll soon discover that much of the old city center is car-free, which makes it an especially inviting area to explore via bicycle. Fasten your helmet and pedal with your knowledgeable guide along the charming flower-bedecked lanes of Petite France, which are lined with tall half-timbered houses that date back to the Renaissance, and cross into the European Quarter, so named because of the many pan-European institutions housed in stunning contemporary buildings there. The contrast between the quaint historic district and the glittering modern structures brings home the scope of Strasbourg’s place in Europe’s history and affairs.

Day 10: Basel

Ramble with your guide through the historic heart of Basel. Every historic square you see will hold a special charm.

“Let’s Go” Basel by bike

Fasten your helmet, mount your bike and pedal with your guide along the Wiese River (a tributary of the Rhine) to Fondation Beyeler, a contemporary glass jewel box of a museum designed by Renzo Piano that is set in a gracious green park in the village of Riehen. Some 250 impressionist and modernist works collected by Ernst and Hildy Beyeler are on view under Piano’s ingeniously designed glass roof, which can be adjusted to allow in more or less natural light; among the highlights of the collection are paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Lichtenstein, Klee and Warhol. The Beyeler’s special exhibitions are as noteworthy as its core collection is, so be sure to spend some time checking out those display spaces before heading back to the ship.

This evening, a special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you.

Day 11: Basel (Disembark)

Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg airport for your flight home.
Note: The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise.

Day 1: Basel (Embark)

Arrive at EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.
Important Note: Uniworld's airport services and transfers to the ship will take place on the Switzerland side of the Basel-Mulhouse Airport. Be sure to enter Customs on the Switzerland side, as guests cannot return to the Switzerland side after they have exited the airport from the France side.

Day 2: Basel

Ramble with your guide through the historic heart of Basel. Every historic square you see will hold a special charm.

“Let’s Go” Basel by bike

Fasten your helmet, mount your bike and pedal with your guide along the Wiese River (a tributary of the Rhine) to Fondation Beyeler, a contemporary glass jewel box of a museum designed by Renzo Piano that is set in a gracious green park in the village of Riehen. Some 250 impressionist and modernist works collected by Ernst and Hildy Beyeler are on view under Piano’s ingeniously designed glass roof, which can be adjusted to allow in more or less natural light; among the highlights of the collection are paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Lichtenstein, Klee and Warhol. The Beyeler’s special exhibitions are as noteworthy as its core collection is, so be sure to spend some time checking out those display spaces before heading back to the ship.

This evening, a special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you.

Day 3: Strasbourg

After docking in town, you’ll have a chance to discover Strasbourg’s many charms with a choice of excursions: a guided “Do as the Locals Do” walking tour of the Petite France district, stopping to try traditional Alsatian treats along the way; a “Let’s Go” bike tour that covers a bit more ground, including the European district; or an in-depth look at the city’s rich Jewish history, which dates back an astonishing 2,000 years.

“Do as the Locals Do” Strasbourg walking tour

Climb aboard your coach for a short ride across the Rhine en route to enchanting Strasbourg. Teeming with narrow cobbled streets, timber-frame houses, town squares and stately patrician homes, this city is the launching pad for today’s journey. Experience local places, traditions and cuisine as you stroll through “Petite France,” along its canals and to the imposing Strasbourg Cathedral, one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture. Stop for a bite to eat and enjoy a delicious Butchers Sausage, gingerbread, “Flammekueche” (which is often referred to as Alsatian Pizza), or a chocolate and liquor tasting at one of the local shops. Admire the city square’s famous Maison Kammerzell, numerous winstubs (wine lounges) and shops before enjoying free time to explore on your own.

Note: Shuttle service will be provided to and from the center of Strasbourg in the afternoon.

“Let’s Go” Strasbourg by bike

Strasbourg loves cyclists! The city has a great network of bike routes, and more residents use bikes as their primary method of transportation than in any other city in France. You’ll soon discover that much of the old city center is car-free, which makes it an especially inviting area to explore via bicycle. Fasten your helmet and pedal with your knowledgeable guide along the charming flower-bedecked lanes of Petite France, which are lined with tall half-timbered houses that date back to the Renaissance, and cross into the European Quarter, so named because of the many pan-European institutions housed in stunning contemporary buildings there. The contrast between the quaint historic district and the glittering modern structures brings home the scope of Strasbourg’s place in Europe’s history and affairs.

Day 4: Speyer (Worms)

Expect the unexpected in Speyer, where ancient treasures harmoniously coexist with modern-day innovation. Join a local expert for an intriguing guided stroll through the historic small town of Speyer, famous for its vast Romanesque cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another option is our “Jewish Heritage” excursion to an ancient center of learning and religion in Worms.

Private Doktorenhof vinegar estate visit and tasting

For a different spin on the Palatinate wine region, visit the Weinessiggut Doktorenhof estate for a special vinegar tasting. Yes, you read that right—a vinegar tasting. Founded by Georg Wiedemann some 30 years ago, Doktorenhof produces vinegars from premium wines, rather than inexpensive ones. Gewürztraminer, Sylvaner, Riesling and Pinot Noir are aged with a century-old vinegar “mother,” as the bacteria that makes vinegar is known, and flavored with a variety of herbs and fruits. The results make complex and elegant aperitifs, intended to be sipped from a specially designed long-stemmed glass between courses or after a meal. The atmospheric tasting room (think candles, cloaks and choir music) is like no other you’ll ever experience.

Speyer walking tour

Speyer—“spire” in English—is well named, since the four red towers of the UNESCO-designated Romanesque cathedral dominate the Old Town just as the medieval bishops dominated the town itself. Though the bishops ruled the town, Speyer also had a special relationship with the Holy Roman emperors: Conrad II ordered the cathedral’s construction around 1030, and eight emperors are interred in its crypts. Your walking tour will take you along the pedestrian-only Maximilian Street—first laid out by Roman soldiers—from the last remaining gate of the medieval wall toward the great church. Near the church you’ll see remnants of a Jewish community established around 1090 under the auspices of the Bishop of Speyer. Though the synagogue is long gone, the vaulted ritual baths have been beautifully preserved. (The area is popularly known as the Jewish Courtyard.) Notice the former mint and Holy Trinity Church, which were built in the 18th century, following a devastating war, and stand as masterful examples of late-baroque style. You’ll have some free time after your tour: If you’re interested in automotive history, trains or aeronautical technology, be sure to drop by the Technik Museum.

Note: Because the Speyer Cathedral is an active place of worship, no tours of its interiors are given.

Excursion to Worms

Will you leave a pebble on the headstone of Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg? The great medieval scholar was born in Worms and is buried there, in the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in Germany. In his day, Worms was one of three important centers of Jewish learning and trade in the Middle Ages, along with Mainz and Speyer, and was known as “little Jerusalem on the Rhine.” Rabbi Meir taught in Rothenburg for 25 years and died a prisoner in Alsace—and his reasons for refusing to allow anyone to ransom him were cited in discussions in 2011 when Israel exchanged 1027 Hamas prisoners for a single Israeli soldier. Today when you visit Worms’ ancient cemetery, with headstones dating to the 11th century, you’ll find a peaceful place that bears testimony to the long history of Jews in the region. Your tour will also include the re-created 12th-century synagogue and mikveh, which were destroyed on Kristallnacht.

Please note: This excursion is included but must be reserved no later than 30 days prior to departure. Due to security requirements the following information is required at time of booking: full name (as written on passport), passport number, passport country, date of birth, and gender. Please call our reservations department to reserve this excursion.

Day 5: Frankfurt

Frankfurt is known as the “Mainhattan” of Europe, a financial powerhouse with soaring skyscrapers as well as traditional Old Town architecture.

“Do as the Locals Do” Frankfurt walking tour

Although Frankfurt is unabashedly modern, with a dynamic international population and a skyline dominated by skyscrapers, it has a much-loved historic core, and your ship docks within easy walking distance of it. Stroll with your guide through Römer Square, bordered by the re-created 15th-century mansions that constitute the old city hall, to the Klein Market Hall, where you’ll sample Frankfurt’s beloved apple cider and sausages as you take in the colorful scene: locals choose produce and sausage, cider and eggs, and flowers and spices from the covered market’s 154 stalls. The city’s residents come from more than 200 nations, so you’ll find plenty of international specialties, too, along with regional items. Your next stop is Goethe House, the house museum devoted to Germany’s national poet, who was born in this city. Though Goethe’s work belongs to the world, Frankfurters take particular pride in their native son; the rooms here display furnishings from the writer’s day, as well as family portraits and the desk where Goethe completed Faust—not to mention a puppet theater with which the four-year-old future poet played. You’ll encounter the city’s bustling present-day economic power as you walk past the Frankfurt stock exchange and continue to Main Tower. Nothing exemplifies Frankfurt more than this lofty skyscraper: The façade of a historic building is incorporated in its base, and 56 stories of glass-encased offices soar above it. Ride up to the viewing platform for an amazing view of the city and its surroundings.

"Let's Go" Mainhattan by bike

Get a different view of the city via bicycle, pedaling through the old town area that was meticulously reconstructed after WWII (St. Paul’s Church was one of the first structures to be rebuilt because of its important place in the development of German democracy—the country’s first freely elected parliamentary body met in St. Paul’s oval hall), along Museum Mile and down the shady, pleasant Main Promenade, which stretches along both banks of the river.

Frankfurt's Jewish history

The Rothschild family fortune began in Frankfurt, along with the family name—taken from the red shield on the family home on Judengasse, the quarter-mile-long street where all of Frankfurt’s Jews were required to live between 1462 and 1811. It was a crowded but prosperous community (it had to be prosperous, since the only way Jews enjoyed imperial protection was by paying enormous fees to the emperor). Mayer Rothschild started as a coin dealer, expanded into dealing antiques, and by 1792, he was a wealthy banker with an international clientele. His five sons followed in his footsteps, extending the family business throughout Europe and lending their names to a raft of famous enterprises—and to numerous cultural and charitable institutions in Frankfurt and elsewhere. The Frankfurt Jewish Museum, located in a former Rothschild home that was recently renovated, offers a fascinating look at the family’s saga. Though none of the houses on Judengasse are still standing, you can see the foundations of some of them when you visit Museum Judengasse, which outlines the history of Jews in Frankfurt and their relations with the Christian community through the centuries. It abuts the Jewish cemetery and the memorial to victims of the Shoah, listing the names of 12,000 Frankfurt Jews who died in the death camps.

Please note: This excursion is included but must be reserved no later than 30 days prior to departure. Due to security requirements the following information is required at time of booking: full name (as written on passport), passport number, passport country, date of birth, and gender. Please call our reservations department to reserve this excursion.

Day 6: Oberwesel

Bacharach is an ancient village that appears straight out of the pages of a storybook. Enjoy a guided stroll through town and taste some locally grown Rieslings, a specialty of the region. Alternatively, join a “Let's Go” hike that will take you past the old town walls and up to a fortified 12th-century castle.

Bacharach village stroll with Riesling tasting

What would a cruise on the Rhine be without a stop at one of the picturesque and historic wine villages that dot the banks? Bacharach, first documented in the 11th century, was once critically important to the wine trade as a port where wine casks were transferred from smaller boats, which could navigate the rocky narrows above the town, to larger ones. Join a local guide to stroll among the timbered houses—the oldest dates to 1368 (it’s now a restaurant called, appropriately, Altes Haus)—pausing for a look at the remains of the old town walls, demolished by the French during the Nine Years’ War, the gothic ruins of the Werner Chapel and the single spired St. Peter’s Church. Vineyards rise in terraces all around the town, producing excellent Rieslings; following your tour, you’ll have a chance to taste some of them and find out for yourself just how good they are.

“Let’s Go” Castle Stahleck hike

The round tower and sturdy stone walls of Castle Stahleck guard the heights above Bacharach. The counts Palatine used the fortress to defend their territories from other German lords and from numerous French incursions, so it suffered considerable damage over the centuries, but it has been beautifully restored and enjoys a new life as a youth hostel. Join your guide for a hike—it won’t be too strenuous but you will be climbing the hill outside the village—through the vineyards up to the castle. You’ll be rewarded with fabulous views of the Rhine and the Lorelei valley as well as the town below.

Day 7: Cologne

You have an array of choices for how you wish to experience Cologne’s many treasures. Those interested in history and architecture will want to stroll through the Old Town, featuring 12 stunning Romanesque churches. Guests interested in the city’s Jewish past are welcome to explore the centuries-old mikveh and Cologne’s Jewish quarter.

Cologne walking tour with Old Town visit

As you walk through the narrow lanes of the Old Town, you’ll find it hard to believe that more than 70 percent of the city was destroyed by bombs during WWII. Three medieval gates remain standing, as does the old city hall with its Renaissance facade. The famous 12 Romanesque churches were reconstructed from the rubble, and the cathedral, Cologne’s iconic landmark, rises magnificently in the city center. Though it was badly damaged by WWII, the great UNESCO-designated cathedral retains many of its original treasures—the relics of the Magi and other sacred figures, which inspired its building in the 12th century, the 14th-century stained-glass windows that were stored safely throughout the war and the beautifully painted choir stalls—though other treasures are displayed separately. Enter the awe-inspiring nave and learn about the history of the cathedral and its art collections, especially the pieces surrounding the Shrine of the Magi.

Note: The number of visitors allowed in Cologne Cathedral is regulated by a very strict schedule of time slots. Sightseeing will be arranged around the time slots obtained. On Sundays and Catholic holidays, guided tours inside the cathedral will not be possible.

Cologne’s Jewish Quarter

It's a short walk from the cathedral—where the protections granted Jews in 1266 are etched in stone—to Cologne's ancient Jewish quarter. Jews crossed the Alps with the Romans and were part of Cologne's history from the beginning: Emperor Constantine signed an edict allowing Jews to be elected to the curia in 321. No one knows for sure what happened when the Romans retreated south—did Jews remove with them or remain to form the nucleus of the substantial community that flourished in Cologne a few centuries later? The earliest physical remains of the Jewish community date to the 11th century. The medieval Judengasse, the synagogue and the mikveh were all close to the town hall. An archaeological excavation is slowly revealing the elements of this neighborhood, which is wonderfully well documented, but only the mikveh is open to the public at this time. On today's excursion, see first-hand how Cologne is once again home to a thriving Jewish community.

Please note: This excursion is included but must be reserved no later than 30 days prior to departure. Due to security requirements the following information is required at time of booking: full name (as written on passport), passport number, passport country, date of birth, and gender. Please call our reservations department to reserve this excursion.

Day 8: Arnhem

Arnhem, almost completely destroyed in WWII, has blossomed into a burgeoning Dutch city, with several museums, shop-lined streets and historic landmarks.

Day 9: Rotterdam, Kinderdijk

You’ll spend your day exploring Rotterdam’s historic splendor, vibrant culture, varied architectural landscape and maritime heritage. Embark on a stroll around the port city’s most enticing spots, like the spectacular new Market Hall. Venture to the nearby village of Kinderdijk and marvel at a group of 19 towering windmills.

Jewish Rotterdam

Embark on a walking tour through Jewish Rotterdam. Your first stop is the Witte Huis, or White House, a National Heritage Site built in 1898 with a beautiful Art Nouveau façade. During World War II, Rotterdam was the victim of a German bombing, but the Witte Huis made it out relatively unscathed despite its height for the time period. Make your way to the Wijnhaven, a charming old port, on your way to the center of Jewish life in Rotterdam, the Spaansekade (Spanish Quay). After, you’ll visit the location of the first Jewish cemetery, the former Jewish synagogue, the Jewish hospital and more. Cap your discovery of Rotterdam’s Jewish ties with a pit stop at the Holland America Line, the spot where many Jewish people left for the United States during the war.

Please note: This excursion is included but must be reserved no later than 30 days prior to departure. Due to security requirements the following information is required at time of booking: full name (as written on passport), passport number, passport country, date of birth, and gender. Please call our reservations department to reserve this excursion.

Dutch culinary stroll to Rotterdam’s Market Hall

Get a taste for Rotterdam’s culinary prowess and architectural achievements on a walk to Market Hall. Built in 2014, this extraordinary building is known for its futuristic look and unique culinary offerings—from bars and food stands to full-service restaurants. Market Hall is just one example of Amsterdam’s captivating mix of 17th-century canals, gabled façades and modern architecture. You’ll also enjoy a look at the UNESCO-designated Witte Huis, an Art Nouveau masterpiece adorned with mosaics and statues. When it was built in 1898, it was the tallest office building in Rotterdam and Europe’s first skyscraper.

Kinderdijk windmills

At one time 10,000 windmills operated in the Netherlands, pumping water away from low-lying lands (much of the country is below sea level) and creating what are known as polders—arable land reclaimed from the water. Though the mighty windmill has been replaced by newer technology, you can see how effective the system was in Kinderdijk, where a group of 19 windmills erected in the 18th century still function. Most are ground-sail windmills (meaning their sails nearly touch the ground as they whirl) and each one was carefully situated to make sure one did not block another’s wind. Each windmill moves the water a little farther, pumping it from field to canal, from canal to river. Climb the steep stairs of a mill and look out over the quiet fields that would be underwater were it not for the ingenuity of the Dutch. (Of course, you can simply admire it from the outside. But if you do that, you won’t see how the mill keeper’s family lived.) These mills are kept in working order partly as a backup in case modern technology fails, and they were used as recently as WWII, when there was no fuel to keep newer pumping stations working.

Note: If docking in Kinderdijk is not possible, the excursion will be arranged by motorcoach from Rotterdam.

Day 10: Amsterdam

Enjoy the luxury of a full day in the “Venice of the North,” starting with a “Morning with the Masters” tour of the Hermitage Amsterdam. Afterwards, explore the city on foot.

"Morning with the Masters" at the Hermitage Amsterdam

The doors open early to give you a crowd-free viewing of an extraordinary collection of Dutch master paintings: 30 monumental group paintings from the golden age that have been called “cousins of The Night Watch.” Drawn from both the Amsterdam Museum and the Rijksmuseum, these works have rarely been displayed because of their enormous size. The Amsterdam Hermitage, however, devotes an enormous gallery space to this exhibit, which reveals the connections and activities of Amsterdam’s power elite in the 17th century. Meet mayors and regents, colonels of the civil guard, wealthy merchants and their wives and learn something of their lives and the lives of the artists who painted these massive portraits.

“Do as the Locals Do” Amsterdam walking tour

Uncover some of Amsterdam’s most charming and little-known treasures with a stroll to the city’s most notable sights. Cross over the historic and richly-decorated Blauwbrug (Blue Bridge) that sits over the river Amstel. The original Blue Bridge was a wooden structure built in 1600 and painted to match the blue color from the Dutch flag. Next, board a streetcar and head to Rokin Street for a taste of a traditional Dutch delicacy, Haring (a unique raw herring dish) before pressing on towards Begijnhof–one of the oldest groups of historic buildings in Amsterdam. Next, you’ll head into the oldest parts of Amsterdam via Warmoesstraat, one of the oldest, shop-lined streets in the city. Wander along charming streets and indulge in a little bit of window shopping before arriving in Oudezijds Voorburgwal, one the city's central canals flanked by quintessentially Dutch façades, where you’ll see the Oude Kerk (translation: Old Church), the city’s oldest building. Your tour will end in Zeedijk, Amsterdam’s Chinatown, which was originally constructed as a means of protection from the sea.

Amsterdam canal cruise

It’s called the “Venice of the North” for a reason: Canals crisscross the heart of the old city, and bridges link some 90 islands. As the principal city in a newly independent Holland, Amsterdam was a boom town in the early 17th century, rapidly outgrowing its medieval walls. The city’s fathers responded by demolishing most of the old city and building an entirely new one, creating Europe’s first planned city. That “new” district is now 400 years old, and as you glide along the main canals, you’ll pass stately merchants’ houses built centuries ago (some of them are now house museums you can visit on your own). But the canals are not merely scenic; they are essential thoroughfares—people take water buses to work and live in houseboats along the banks—so a canal cruise also gives you a look at the busy modern city.

Visit to the Portuguese Synagogue and Jewish Museum

Anyone who has read The Diary of Anne Frank knows what happened to Amsterdam’s Jews under the Nazis. But not everyone knows that the Jewish community began in the city when Sephardic Jews fled Spain and Portugal after 1492, a group of successful merchants and professionals who in turn sponsored Ashkenazi migrants fleeing Central Europe in the 17th century. Visit the Jewish Historical Museum, with its meticulous re-creation of the Great Synagogue, compelling exhibit called “Friday Night” and lively children’s area, and the nearby Portuguese Synagogue, before strolling through the former Jewish Quarter (Rembrandt lived in in this neighborhood, and he often asked his Jewish neighbors to pose for his Old Testament scenes; his house is now a museum and is one of the few original houses still standing in the area). Today’s Jewish community is largely centered in Amstelveen, where some 15,000 Jews live, work and worship in one of the largest and most vibrant communities in Europe.

Please note: This excursion is included but must be reserved no later than 30 days prior to departure. Due to security requirements the following information is required at time of booking: full name (as written on passport), passport number, passport country, date of birth, and gender. Please call our reservations department to reserve this excursion.

This evening, a special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you.

Day 11: Amsterdam (Disembark)

Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for your flight home.

Receive our latest offers, news & travel inspiration

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.

Please let us know your email address so we can respond to you.

Please note that unless you have requested to stay updated, the information you've provided here will be used for this request only. 

Request a Quote

Remarkable Rhine & Historic Holland

We're here to answer your questions about Uniworld cruises and ships, as well as any of our special offers.

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.

Please let us know your email address so we can respond to you.
If you've given us your phone number we'll try to call you back. Your phone details will be used in relation to this request only.

Please note that unless you have requested to stay updated, the information you've provided here will be used for this request only.