Rhine, Moselle & Blissful Baden-Baden

Rhine, Moselle & Blissful Baden-Baden

12 DAYS FROM BADEN-BADEN TO FRANKFURT

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: Baden-Baden (Arrive)

Arrive at Frankfurt Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the Hotel Dorint in Baden-Baden for the start of your tour.

Day 2: Baden-Baden

Baden-Baden is known as a spa town, and appropriately so. The city’s contemporary flair meshes with hot springs, spas and unspoiled nature, offering a wonderfully diverse collection of relaxing and invigorating experiences. Whether you embark on a tour of the city with a visit to the Festspielhaus or take full advantage of Baden-Baden’s curative powers at the Caracalla Thermal Bath or Sea Salt Grotto, you’ll leave feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and ready for everything else that’s in store.

Baden-Baden city tour with casino

Join a local guide for a walking tour of enchanting Baden-Baden, which will bring you past two thermal baths and the city’s famous Casino. Gain further appreciation for the Romans and their love of natural spa facilities as you pass by the Fettquelle, a public thermal fountain where it is believed that the water is health-promoting. After learning about the curative powers of Baden-Baden’s water sources, explore the Casino Baden-Baden, and let its ambiance, architecture and atmosphere enthrall you. You’ll enjoy a tour of this grandiose building, complete with a walk through the gambling halls, which offer a look at the casino’s fascinating history dating back to 1855 and Dostoevsky’s novel “The Gambler”—written in Baden-Baden and based on this casino.

Festspielhaus guided visit

Immerse yourself in the melodies of Baden-Baden on a guided visit to the Festspielhaus, the 2,500-seat Opera House. Festspielhaus is Germany’s largest opera house and the largest classical music venue in Europe. Its architecture is particularly unique, as it sits on the trackbed of a former railway station with a neo-classicist structure that serves as the main entrance. The Opera House was reconstructed in the mid-1990s by Viennese architect Wilhelm Holzbauer in accordance with the ideal acoustic values calculated by physicist Karl-Heinz Müller.

Caracalla Thermal Bath

Perhaps Baden-Baden’s most notable attraction, the Caracalla Spa features countless opportunities to enjoy the mineral-rich waters of the thermal baths. This large facility offers a soothing atmosphere unlike anywhere else in the world, from its two marble pools and grottos to whirlpools and sun-bathing lawns. It was here that the thermal water’s healing powers were discovered by the Romans some 2,000 years ago, creating a bathing culture for the very first time under Emperor Caracalla. With plenty of room to relax and unwind, your time at the Caracalla Spa will rival experiences at some of the nicest spas in the world.

Sea Salt Grotto

Experience the benefits of Dead Sea and Himalayan salts in the Salina Sea Salt Grotto of Baden-Baden. The grotto’s walls are dressed in all-natural salt bricks, while the floor is blanketed with a thick layer of salt—working together to provide a microclimate that allows you to breathe in valuable materials and trace elements that strengthen the immune system, enhance the ability to concentrate, and provide physical and mental rejuvenation as well as optimal deep relaxation.

Day 3: Baden-Baden, Strasbourg

Today, you’ll check out of your hotel in Baden-Baden and head to Strasbourg to board the River Queen, one of our most unique ships on Europe’s waterways, for the cruise portion of your tour.

Day 4: Strasbourg

Strasbourg is invariably described as quaint, a rather overused word that in this case is perfectly apropos. This historic town with its cobbled lanes, half-timbered homes, giant stork nests and impossible-to-resist pastry shops will win your heart. You may choose to see Strasbourg via a panoramic tour, which would give you an enlightening and relaxing overview of this historically important city. Or you may experience the historic core as the locals do, with a walking tour.

"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 tasting of local eats. Admire the city square’s famous Maison Kammerzell and the numerous winstubs (wine lounges) and shops before enjoying free time to explore on your own.

Strasbourg panoramic tour with Cathedral and Old Town walk

Controlled over the centuries by either France or Germany, Strasbourg—cross-cultural and bilingual—offers a delightful combination of old and new, as well as French and German characteristics. You’ll see all the highlights on a city tour before venturing inside the cathedral, one of the city’s most famous sites. The same craftsmen who built Chartres worked on it, and the rose window may be Chartres’s equal. Don’t miss the astronomical clock or the truly remarkable statuary and carvings.

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

Day 5: Speyer

Expect the unexpected in Speyer, where ancient treasures harmoniously coexist with modern day innovation. For something really unexpected, venture into a mysterious, candlelit tasting room to sample flavorful elixirs made from wine vinegars. Utterly unique and surprisingly delicious. The ship docks in Speyer, where you’ll have to choose between boarding a motorcoach for a guided walking tour or taking in a private tasting at a local vinegar estate.

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 the Holy Trinity Church, which were built in the 18th century, following a devastating war, and stand as masterful examples of late-baroque style.

Day 6: Cochem

Perhaps one of Germany’s most colorful cities, Cochem feels just like a storybook with its dramatic castle, impressive landscapes and pastel-colored shops, restaurants and buildings lining the banks of the Moselle. Perched high above on a cliff, the brilliant Cochem Castle, or Reichsburg Cochem, brings German history and culture to life and provides panoramic views of the Moselle and Cochem below, which you’ll have the chance to see during the nighttime glow.

Evening visit to Cochem Castle

Hovering over the Moselle River, the stunningly medieval Cochem Castle dates back to 1100 and once served to collect tolls from passing ships. Since its construction, it has changed appearance and rulers many times, currently appearing in the then-popular Neo-Gothic architecture style. Now a popular landmark, Cochem Castle has a vast collection of Renaissance and Baroque furniture, which you’ll have the chance to take a peek at. Your nighttime visit allows you to see the castle illuminated in all of its evening glory—a special treat for guests. Some evenings we will be unable to visit the castle, but will visit it the following morning.

Day 7: Cochem

The picturesque town of Cochem is nestled in a particularly scenic area of the Moselle Valley. The Moselle River cuts through the town, leaving Cochem in two distinct halves on two steep hills, one on the left side of the river and one on the right. Discover Cochem’s perfect quaintness on foot, with stops along the city wall’s medieval gates and Marktplatz. Uncover Cold War secrets in the quiet residential area of Cochem-Cond, the location of a bunker that held replacement currency during the Cold War. Or opt for an active jaunt along the Moselle with a bike tour, mountain golfing or hike.

Cochem walking tour

Set out on foot on a delightful walking tour of Cochem, a hilly small town on the riverbanks of both sides of the Moselle. As you walk through the charming town, you’ll pass by half-timbered homes straight from the pages of a storybook, medieval gates, the city’s walls, Imperial Estate and the historical Marktplatz.

The Secrets of the Cold War

Today, you’ll discover one of the best-kept secrets in Germany: a hidden underground bunker where Germany’s Central Bank stored currency worth billions during the Cold War. Disguised by two residential houses, the massive bunker was concealed by heavy steel doors and a corridor that appears to stretch into infinity. Enter the corridor and descend into the vault, where you’ll learn what measures would have been taken during the Cold War in case the East Germans and Russians flooded West Germany with counterfeit Deutsche Marks. Wind your way through former offices, the kitchen and communication quarters, and learn how those working there were prepared to survive for 14 days in case of an emergency.

"Let's Go" Active on the Moselle

Make your choice of one of three equally invigorating ways to explore the Moselle: take part in mountain golfing on the slopes of a former vineyard that has been transformed into a hillside course. Grab a bike and head out on a leisurely ride along the riverbanks; there’s quite the array of routes and courses, which means you’ll have plenty of options on how you want to cycle the Moselle. Or for a particularly active jaunt, enjoy a hike in a vineyard overlooking the river.

Day 8: Trier

Trier has no shortage of famous landmarks, stunning cathedrals, natural beauty, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and architectural treasures. See Trier’s Roman heritage and Gallic charm as you stroll to some of the city’s most notable spots. Marvel at the stone Roman gate, the Porta Nigra, the Karl Marx house, the Imperial Baths and more.

Trier panoramic walking tour

In ancient times Trier was the largest Roman settlement north of the Alps, and six emperors ruled the Western Empire from here. Remnants of that Roman city still stand, despite taking part in centuries of warfare, earning it UNESCO protection. It’s easy to see the shape of the ancient Roman city, since the layout of the Old Town still exists. Start your visit at the Basilica of Constantine, one of two basilicas built by Emperor Constantine in AD 306. The throne room is the largest surviving single-room structure from Roman times in Germany; it features two tiers of windows with high-rising arches that even now show some of the original wall paintings. The other basilica is St. Peter’s Cathedral, home to the Holy Tunic, a sacred relic donated by Constantine’s mother, St. Helena. Your route to Porta Nigra, the great double-arched stone gate that is all that remains of the Roman wall that used to surround Trier, takes you through Market Square.

Day 9: Trier

Trier is a city surrounded by stunning ruins and remnants of the Roman Empire, and not to mention, neighbor to the small country of Luxembourg. Experience a healthy dose of historical novelties with a visit to the expansive Luxembourg American War Cemetery and Memorial of General Patton, one of the heroes of World War II.

Luxembourg with WWII Cemetery

Over the course of 900 years, Luxembourg grew into one of the greatest fortified sites in Europe because of its strategic geographical position and ever-changing political affiliations. Your panoramic city tour will introduce you to centuries-old battlements as well as to the gleaming high-rises that denote the city’s status as a 21st-century international financial center. To best discover the heart of Old Town, though, you’ll want to walk with a local expert to Notre Dame Cathedral, a fine example of late-Gothic architecture, and the Grand Ducal Palace, where both Louis XIV and Napoleon resided. It has been the official residence of the reigning Grand Duke since 1890.

Your tour ends at Place d’Armes, “the city’s sitting room.” Surrounded by shops and sidewalk cafés, with frequent free afternoon concerts, this is the lively heart of Luxembourg. You’ll have some free time to enjoy yourself on your own there. Or choose to continue to the WWII Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, which lies just within the limits of Luxembourg City. The 50-acre cemetery was established on December 29, 1944, by General George S. Patton’s Third U.S. Army, which liberated Luxembourg. More than 5,000 U.S. military dead are buried here—many of whom lost their lives in the Battle of the Bulge—along with General Patton himself. See the beautiful grounds, white stone chapel and monument honoring the fallen.

Day 10: Bernkastel

Bernkastel sits peacefully in the Moselle Valley and is as romantic and picture-perfect as it gets. Explore by foot its scenic streets, taverns and vineyards, and enjoy a tasting of exceptional regional Rieslings. Aside from the medieval marketplace, a must-see is the Graach Gate, the last remaining town gate of Bernkastel-Kues. Its original purpose was that of protection, hoping to ward off foreign aggression in the 1300s, but now it’s a museum of local history and a beloved landmark. If a bike is your transportation of choice, cycle along the dreamy paths of the middle Moselle.

Bernkastel village walk with Riesling tasting

A leisurely walk around the romantic village of Bernkastel awaits today. Wander through the town’s idyllic cobbled streets that are lined with half-timbered houses and secluded courtyards, and pass by beautiful marketplaces and open air cafés. During this proud winemaking town’s summer harvest, winemakers and residents open their houses throughout the many festivals so you can come in and taste the fruits of their labor. Take note of the lovely Market Square and its remarkably well-preserved buildings clustered around the 17th-century St. Michael’s Fountain.

"Let's Go" biking the scenic Middle Moselle

Follow the serene 14 miles of riverside bike paths along the Moselle. As this gentle pathway twists and turns, you’ll cross over two bridges and enjoy numerous stops for pictures and refreshments. You’ll even enjoy a tasting of three outstanding wines (including the unique Eiswein, a wine produced from grapes frozen while still on the vine) at a wine estate, which boasts immaculately kept vineyards and handpicked grapes.

A special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.

Day 11: Boppard, Rüdesheim

Boppard is as picture-perfect as it gets. Wander through its stone-laden streets, riverside walking paths and historic center, stopping in for wine at the half-timbered taverns serving up exceptional Riesling from grapes grown on nearby vineyards. In Rüdesheim, make your way up to arguably the best view in the entire region, Rhine Bend, by scenic chairlift ride. See the Rhine River at its most astonishing point and stroll through its vineyard-dotted hillsides before heading back down to its waterfront streets. Enjoy a visit to Rheinstein Castle and learn the history of this long-standing medieval castle or embark on a walk around town, complete with local treats.

Boppard village stroll

Embark on a walk on your own through this attractive town with a long and surprising history. Take a chairlift to the top of the hill for a great view of the valley and the river (you can hike the return route, if you’re up for it); enjoy a glass of wine at a local tavern and watch the water traffic on the river; or ride a bicycle along the Rhine promenade. You might also visit Saint Severus Church, whose twin towers dominate the waterfront, or explore the remains of a fourth-century Roman fort. If you’re interested in design and the decorative arts, stop by the Museum Boppard to see the exhibit on native son Michael Thonet, who developed the technique of bentwood furniture in the 1840s. His iconic, lightweight chairs are still popular in cafés throughout Europe. Or simply stroll beneath the trees along the city’s scenic riverside promenade, which is lined with the gorgeous villas of 19th-century entrepreneurs.

Rheinstein visit

Perched on a rock high above the Rhine sits the quaint and romantic, Rheinstein Castle. Originally built around 900 A.D. as a customs post for the German Empire, Rheinstein Castle became home to emperors and archbishops over the course of several hundred years. In 1823, the castle ruins were purchased by the Royal Prince of Prussia and the structure was rebuilt under the direction of a famous castle architect. Note the castle’s working drawbridge, gorgeous stained glass windows, Knight’s Hall, panoramic views of the Rhine below and a 500-year-old Burgundy grape vine (that still produces grapes) in the courtyard known as “Burgunder Garden.”

"Let's Go" hike from Rüdesheim to Assmanshausen

This fun excursion combines several of the area’s attractions. Start by hopping into an aerial cable car and soaring above the vineyards to the Niederwald Monument, which looks out over the entire Rheingau wine region. From the heights above the river, you and your local expert will hike down through vineyards to the picturesque riverfront village of Assmanshausen (which is lauded for its red wine), where a bus will bring you back to the ship in Rüdesheim.

Rüdesheim walk with local treats

The winemaking town of Rüdesheim boasts countless delights, including a slew of culinary delights that you’ll taste on today’s treat-fueled outing. Follow your guide through this quaint town and learn how the famous Rüdesheimer Coffee, a coffee infused with Asbach Uralt (a magnificent German brandy) and topped with whipped cream, is prepared. Savor the rich taste of this beloved treat as you stroll through the famous Drosselgasse, an enchanting alleyway that runs through the city’s Old Town.

"Let's Go" Rhine biking

On today’s outing, you’ll pedal through the incomparable Boppard Hamm, a loop on the Rhine and a famed wine region known for its Riesling, Rivaner and Pinot Noir grapes. The Boppard Hamm is situated between Boppard and Spray in the breathtaking Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a section of the Rhine that’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002. As you bike along miles of sprawling vineyards, you’ll enjoy a stop at the Marksburg Castle. Built in the 12th century, this castle is perched high above the river and was once used as a defense fortress. Today, it still retains all of its medieval glory, complete with a drawbridge, batteries, stables, extensive gardens and more.

Your second stop of the day will bring you to Schloss Stolzenfels, another stunning medieval fortress-turned-castle that sits on the Rhine’s Left Bank. You’ll want to make a stop in the castle’s courtyard for an astonishing view of the Rhine River Valley below. As you continue your cycling journey, you’ll end up at Lahneck Castle, a 13th-century fortress that sits above the confluence of the Rhine and Lahn rivers. Your reward for today’s scenic trek? A stop at the Zur Kipp beer garden. Savor a pint (or two) of a regional beer and take in beautiful views of the Rhine and Lahneck Castle. Then, it’s time to hop back on your bike and make your way back to the ship.

Day 12: Frankfurt (Disembark)

Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group purchase or transfer, you will be transferred to Frankfurt 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: Frankfurt (Embark)

Arrive at Frankfurt Airport. 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: Cochem

Perhaps one of Germany’s most colorful cities, Cochem feels just like a storybook with its dramatic castle, impressive landscapes and pastel-colored shops, restaurants and buildings lining the banks of the Moselle. Perched high above on a cliff, the brilliant Cochem Castle, or Reichsburg Cochem, brings German history and culture to life and provides panoramic views of the Moselle and Cochem below, which you’ll have the chance to see during the nighttime glow.

Evening visit to Cochem Castle

Hovering over the Moselle River, the stunningly medieval Cochem Castle dates back to 1100 and once served to collect tolls from passing ships. Since its construction, it has changed appearance and rulers many times, currently appearing in the then-popular Neo-Gothic architecture style. Now a popular landmark, Cochem Castle has a vast collection of Renaissance and Baroque furniture, which you’ll have the chance to take a peek at. Your nighttime visit allows you to see the castle illuminated in all of its evening glory—a special treat for guests. Some evenings we will be unable to visit the castle, but will visit it the following morning.

Day 3: Cochem

The picturesque town of Cochem is nestled in a particularly scenic area of the Moselle Valley. The Moselle River cuts through the town, leaving Cochem in two distinct halves on two steep hills, one on the left side of the river and one on the right. Discover Cochem’s perfect quaintness on foot, with stops along the city wall’s medieval gates and Marktplatz. Uncover Cold War secrets in the quiet residential area of Cochem-Cond, the location of a bunker that held replacement currency during the Cold War. Or opt for an active jaunt along the Moselle with a bike tour, mountain golfing or hike.

Cochem walking tour

Set out on foot on a delightful walking tour of Cochem, a hilly small town on the riverbanks of both sides of the Moselle. As you walk through the charming town, you’ll pass by half-timbered homes straight from the pages of a storybook, medieval gates, the city’s walls, Imperial Estate and the historical Marktplatz.

The Secrets of the Cold War

Today, you’ll discover one of the best-kept secrets in Germany: a hidden underground bunker where Germany’s Central Bank stored currency worth billions during the Cold War. Disguised by two residential houses, the massive bunker was concealed by heavy steel doors and a corridor that appears to stretch into infinity. Enter the corridor and descend into the vault, where you’ll learn what measures would have been taken during the Cold War in case the East Germans and Russians flooded West Germany with counterfeit Deutsche Marks. Wind your way through former offices, the kitchen and communication quarters, and learn how those working there were prepared to survive for 14 days in case of an emergency.

"Let's Go" Active on the Moselle

Make your choice of one of three equally invigorating ways to explore the Moselle: take part in mountain golfing on the slopes of a former vineyard that has been transformed into a hillside course. Grab a bike and head out on a leisurely ride along the riverbanks; there’s quite the array of routes and courses, which means you’ll have plenty of options on how you want to cycle the Moselle. Or for a particularly active jaunt, enjoy a hike in a vineyard overlooking the river.

Day 4: Trier

Trier has no shortage of famous landmarks, stunning cathedrals, natural beauty, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and architectural treasures. See Trier’s Roman heritage and Gallic charm as you stroll to some of the city’s most notable spots. Marvel at the stone Roman gate, the Porta Nigra, the Karl Marx house, the Imperial Baths and more.

Trier panoramic walking tour

In ancient times Trier was the largest Roman settlement north of the Alps, and six emperors ruled the Western Empire from here. Remnants of that Roman city still stand, despite taking part in centuries of warfare, earning it UNESCO protection. It’s easy to see the shape of the ancient Roman city, since the layout of the Old Town still exists. Start your visit at the Basilica of Constantine, one of two basilicas built by Emperor Constantine in AD 306. The throne room is the largest surviving single-room structure from Roman times in Germany; it features two tiers of windows with high-rising arches that even now show some of the original wall paintings. The other basilica is St. Peter’s Cathedral, home to the Holy Tunic, a sacred relic donated by Constantine’s mother, St. Helena. Your route to Porta Nigra, the great double-arched stone gate that is all that remains of the Roman wall that used to surround Trier, takes you through Market Square.

Day 5: Trier

Trier is a city surrounded by stunning ruins and remnants of the Roman Empire, and not to mention, neighbor to the small country of Luxembourg. Experience a healthy dose of historical novelties with a visit to the expansive Luxembourg American War Cemetery and Memorial of General Patton, one of the heroes of World War II.

Luxembourg with WWII Cemetery

Over the course of 900 years, Luxembourg grew into one of the greatest fortified sites in Europe because of its strategic geographical position and ever-changing political affiliations. Your panoramic city tour will introduce you to centuries-old battlements as well as to the gleaming high-rises that denote the city’s status as a 21st-century international financial center. To best discover the heart of Old Town, though, you’ll want to walk with a local expert to Notre Dame Cathedral, a fine example of late-Gothic architecture, and the Grand Ducal Palace, where both Louis XIV and Napoleon resided. It has been the official residence of the reigning Grand Duke since 1890.

Your tour ends at Place d’Armes, “the city’s sitting room.” Surrounded by shops and sidewalk cafés, with frequent free afternoon concerts, this is the lively heart of Luxembourg. You’ll have some free time to enjoy yourself on your own there. Or choose to continue to the WWII Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, which lies just within the limits of Luxembourg City. The 50-acre cemetery was established on December 29, 1944, by General George S. Patton’s Third U.S. Army, which liberated Luxembourg. More than 5,000 U.S. military dead are buried here—many of whom lost their lives in the Battle of the Bulge—along with General Patton himself. See the beautiful grounds, white stone chapel and monument honoring the fallen.

Day 6: Bernkastel

Bernkastel sits peacefully in the Moselle Valley and is as romantic and picture-perfect as it gets. Explore by foot its scenic streets, taverns and vineyards, and enjoy a tasting of exceptional regional Rieslings. Aside from the medieval marketplace, a must-see is the Graach Gate, the last remaining town gate of Bernkastel-Kues. Its original purpose was that of protection, hoping to ward off foreign aggression in the 1300s, but now it’s a museum of local history and a beloved landmark. If a bike is your transportation of choice, cycle along the dreamy paths of the middle Moselle.

Bernkastel village walk with Riesling tasting

A leisurely walk around the romantic village of Bernkastel awaits today. Wander through the town’s idyllic cobbled streets that are lined with half-timbered houses and secluded courtyards, and pass by beautiful marketplaces and open air cafés. During this proud winemaking town’s summer harvest, winemakers and residents open their houses throughout the many festivals so you can come in and taste the fruits of their labor. Take note of the lovely Market Square and its remarkably well-preserved buildings clustered around the 17th-century St. Michael’s Fountain.

"Let's Go" biking the scenic Middle Moselle

Follow the serene 14 miles of riverside bike paths along the Moselle. As this gentle pathway twists and turns, you’ll cross over two bridges and enjoy numerous stops for pictures and refreshments. You’ll even enjoy a tasting of three outstanding wines (including the unique Eiswein, a wine produced from grapes frozen while still on the vine) at a wine estate, which boasts immaculately kept vineyards and handpicked grapes.

Day 7: Boppard, Rüdesheim

Boppard is as picture-perfect as it gets. Wander through its stone-laden streets, riverside walking paths and historic center, stopping in for wine at the half-timbered taverns serving up exceptional Riesling from grapes grown on nearby vineyards. In Rüdesheim, make your way up to arguably the best view in the entire region, Rhine Bend, by scenic chairlift ride. See the Rhine River at its most astonishing point and stroll through its vineyard-dotted hillsides before heading back down to its waterfront streets. Enjoy a visit to Rheinstein Castle and learn the history of this long-standing medieval castle or embark on a walk around town, complete with local treats.

Boppard village stroll

Embark on a walk on your own through this attractive town with a long and surprising history. Take a chairlift to the top of the hill for a great view of the valley and the river (you can hike the return route, if you’re up for it); enjoy a glass of wine at a local tavern and watch the water traffic on the river; or ride a bicycle along the Rhine promenade. You might also visit Saint Severus Church, whose twin towers dominate the waterfront, or explore the remains of a fourth-century Roman fort. If you’re interested in design and the decorative arts, stop by the Museum Boppard to see the exhibit on native son Michael Thonet, who developed the technique of bentwood furniture in the 1840s. His iconic, lightweight chairs are still popular in cafés throughout Europe. Or simply stroll beneath the trees along the city’s scenic riverside promenade, which is lined with the gorgeous villas of 19th-century entrepreneurs.

"Let's Go" Rhine biking

On today’s outing, you’ll pedal through the incomparable Boppard Hamm, a loop on the Rhine and a famed wine region known for its Riesling, Rivaner and Pinot Noir grapes. The Boppard Hamm is situated between Boppard and Spray in the breathtaking Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a section of the Rhine that’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002. As you bike along miles of sprawling vineyards, you’ll enjoy a stop at the Marksburg Castle. Built in the 12th century, this castle is perched high above the river and was once used as a defense fortress. Today, it still retains all of its medieval glory, complete with a drawbridge, batteries, stables, extensive gardens and more.

Your second stop of the day will bring you to Schloss Stolzenfels, another stunning medieval fortress-turned-castle that sits on the Rhine’s Left Bank. You’ll want to make a stop in the castle’s courtyard for an astonishing view of the Rhine River Valley below. As you continue your cycling journey, you’ll end up at Lahneck Castle, a 13th-century fortress that sits above the confluence of the Rhine and Lahn rivers. Your reward for today’s scenic trek? A stop at the Zur Kipp beer garden. Savor a pint (or two) of a regional beer and take in beautiful views of the Rhine and Lahneck Castle. Then, it’s time to hop back on your bike and make your way back to the ship.

Rheinstein visit

Perched on a rock high above the Rhine sits the quaint and romantic, Rheinstein Castle. Originally built around 900 A.D. as a customs post for the German Empire, Rheinstein Castle became home to emperors and archbishops over the course of several hundred years. In 1823, the castle ruins were purchased by the Royal Prince of Prussia and the structure was rebuilt under the direction of a famous castle architect. Note the castle’s working drawbridge, gorgeous stained glass windows, Knight’s Hall, panoramic views of the Rhine below and a 500-year-old Burgundy grape vine (that still produces grapes) in the courtyard known as “Burgunder Garden.”

"Let's Go" hike from Rüdesheim to Assmanshausen

This fun excursion combines several of the area’s attractions. Start by hopping into an aerial cable car and soaring above the vineyards to the Niederwald Monument, which looks out over the entire Rheingau wine region. From the heights above the river, you and your local expert will hike down through vineyards to the picturesque riverfront village of Assmanshausen (which is lauded for its red wine), where a bus will bring you back to the ship in Rüdesheim.

Rüdesheim walk with local treats

The winemaking town of Rüdesheim boasts countless delights, including a slew of culinary delights that you’ll taste on today’s treat-fueled outing. Follow your guide through this quaint town and learn how the famous Rüdesheimer Coffee, a coffee infused with Asbach Uralt (a magnificent German brandy) and topped with whipped cream, is prepared. Savor the rich taste of this beloved treat as you stroll through the famous Drosselgasse, an enchanting alleyway that runs through the city’s Old Town.

Day 8: Speyer

Expect the unexpected in Speyer, where ancient treasures harmoniously coexist with modern day innovation. For something really unexpected, venture into a mysterious, candlelit tasting room to sample flavorful elixirs made from wine vinegars. Utterly unique and surprisingly delicious. The ship docks in Speyer, where you’ll have to choose between boarding a motorcoach for a guided walking tour or taking in a private tasting at a local vinegar estate.

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 the Holy Trinity Church, which were built in the 18th century, following a devastating war, and stand as masterful examples of late-baroque style.

Day 9: Strasbourg

Strasbourg is invariably described as quaint, a rather overused word that in this case is perfectly apropos. This historic town with its cobbled lanes, half-timbered homes, giant stork nests and impossible-to-resist pastry shops will win your heart. You may choose to see Strasbourg via a panoramic tour, which would give you an enlightening and relaxing overview of this historically important city. Or you may experience the historic core as the locals do, with a walking tour.

"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 tasting of local eats. Admire the city square’s famous Maison Kammerzell and the numerous winstubs (wine lounges) and shops before enjoying free time to explore on your own.

Strasbourg panoramic tour with Cathedral and Old Town walk

Controlled over the centuries by either France or Germany, Strasbourg—cross-cultural and bilingual—offers a delightful combination of old and new, as well as French and German characteristics. You’ll see all the highlights on a city tour before venturing inside the cathedral, one of the city’s most famous sites. The same craftsmen who built Chartres worked on it, and the rose window may be Chartres’s equal. Don’t miss the astronomical clock or the truly remarkable statuary and carvings.

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

Day 10: Strasbourg, Baden-Baden (Disembark)

Today, you’ll disembark the ship and transfer to the Hotel Dorint in Baden-Baden for the tour portion of this itinerary.

Day 11: Baden-Baden

Baden-Baden is known as a spa town, and appropriately so. The city’s contemporary flair meshes with hot springs, spas and unspoiled nature, offering a wonderfully diverse collection of relaxing and invigorating experiences. Whether you embark on a tour of the city with a visit to the Festspielhaus or take full advantage of Baden-Baden’s curative powers at the Caracalla Thermal Bath or Sea Salt Grotto, you’ll leave feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and ready for everything else that’s in store.

Baden-Baden city tour with casino

Join a local guide for a walking tour of enchanting Baden-Baden, which will bring you past two thermal baths and the city’s famous Casino. Gain further appreciation for the Romans and their love of natural spa facilities as you pass by the Fettquelle, a public thermal fountain where it is believed that the water is health-promoting. After learning about the curative powers of Baden-Baden’s water sources, explore the Casino Baden-Baden, and let its ambiance, architecture and atmosphere enthrall you. You’ll enjoy a tour of this grandiose building, complete with a walk through the gambling halls, which offer a look at the casino’s fascinating history dating back to 1855 and Dostoevsky’s novel “The Gambler”—written in Baden-Baden and based on this casino.

Festspielhaus guided visit

Immerse yourself in the melodies of Baden-Baden on a guided visit to the Festspielhaus, the 2,500-seat Opera House. Festspielhaus is Germany’s largest opera house and the largest classical music venue in Europe. Its architecture is particularly unique, as it sits on the trackbed of a former railway station with a neo-classicist structure that serves as the main entrance. The Opera House was reconstructed in the mid-1990s by Viennese architect Wilhelm Holzbauer in accordance with the ideal acoustic values calculated by physicist Karl-Heinz Müller.

Caracalla Thermal Bath

Perhaps Baden-Baden’s most notable attraction, the Caracalla Spa features countless opportunities to enjoy the mineral-rich waters of the thermal baths. This large facility offers a soothing atmosphere unlike anywhere else in the world, from its two marble pools and grottos to whirlpools and sun-bathing lawns. It was here that the thermal water’s healing powers were discovered by the Romans some 2,000 years ago, creating a bathing culture for the very first time under Emperor Caracalla. With plenty of room to relax and unwind, your time at the Caracalla Spa will rival experiences at some of the nicest spas in the world.

Sea Salt Grotto

Experience the benefits of Dead Sea and Himalayan salts in the Salina Sea Salt Grotto of Baden-Baden. The grotto’s walls are dressed in all-natural salt bricks, while the floor is blanketed with a thick layer of salt—working together to provide a microclimate that allows you to breathe in valuable materials and trace elements that strengthen the immune system, enhance the ability to concentrate, and provide physical and mental rejuvenation as well as optimal deep relaxation.

Day 12: Baden-Baden (Depart)

Check out of your hotel and begin your journey home. If your cruise package includes a group purchase or transfer, you will be transferred to Frankfurt Airport for your flight home.

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