Depart on your flight to Düsseldorf from where a coach will take you to the ship. Or you can take a late morning Eurostar from London St. Pancras International arriving in Brussels approximately two hours later, where a coach will take you over the German border to our ship. Moored in Cologne, the dedicated crew will welcome you aboard, ensuring you settle into your comfortable and extremely well equipped cabin and familiarise yourself with the ship before dinner.
Our first port of call is Koblenz, with its mighty fortress dominating the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle. We take a guided walk around the principal monuments and historic centre, exploring delightful squares, admiring beautifully restored historic house frontages and quaint hidden passageways. During lunch we cruise to Boppard, ‘Pearl of the Rhine’, a classically picturesque village, lined by typical half-timbered houses and cafés, leading to the town and its main square beyond. Founded by the Romans, as much of the area was, Boppard boasts the best-preserved Roman town walls in Germany.
This morning we journey through the world famous Rhine Gorge. At every turn, the towering valley sides are crowned by the precarious ruins of castles, which once held sway over the fortunes of passing travellers. During the afternoon, we stop in Rüdesheim, with crooked houses sloping down from the wooded hillsides and terraced vineyards. Take a trip on the gondola to see spectacular views or visit the excellent mechanical music museum.
This morning we once again enjoy the Rhine Gorge. Legends abound of ancient travellers lost in the Gorge and passing the Loreley Rock, recall the legend of a beautiful maiden said to have lured sailors on to the rocks with her feminine charms and alluring song. The villages drifting by, St Goar, Bacharach and Kaub are synonymous with wine. This afternoon, we cruise upstream along the Moselle, twisting past verdant hills, its banks studded with yet more picture postcard villages before we stop at delightful Cochem, in times gone by, the centre of the Moselle wine trade.
Leaving Cochem, you will be astonished by the steep dramatic valley sides, covered with reputedly the steepest cultivated vineyards in the world. We meander upstream through the heart of the Moselle’s stunningly beautiful winelands and call at the romantic twin village of Traben-Trarbach, once the second most important wine trading town in Europe after Bordeaux and renowned for the Belle Epoque buildings from that time. During dinner this evening, enjoy the unfolding scene as the vineyards slip by en route to our overnight port, Bernkastel.
Today we drive to Trier. Founded by the Romans, it was the capital of a huge portion of their empire and retains an impressive amphitheatre, baths, a Roman bridge but best of all, the Porta Nigra, an immense fortified gate which formed the eastern border of the Roman Empire and towers above the surrounding medieval buildings. We will enjoy a guided tour, and the rest of the day is free to explore Bernkastel and its delightful cobbled market square and some of the finest, half-timbered houses, most famously, the Pointed House, a classic example of the Moselle vintner’s dwelling.
Rejoining the Rhine this morning, we cruise downstream past pretty riverside towns backed by the rolling volcanic hills. We also see the railway bridge at Remagen, captured intact towards the end of The Second World War. We pass the last riverside vineyards and half-timbered houses, before mooring in the heart of Cologne. Its magnificent Gothic cathedral is a truly staggering building and has the most intricate stained glass in Europe. This afternoon, we have a guided tour of the city with time to explore. This evening, the ‘Captain’s Dinner’ will take place on board.
This morning we drive to Brussels connecting with the Eurostar service to London St. Pancras International. Should you be returning by air, you will be taken to the airport for your homeward flight.