Zermatt, Switzerland, Matterhorn
The famous Matterhorn outside Zermatt, Switzerland

Great European JourneyRiver cruising and train travel through the heart of Western Europe

Jun 15 - 25, 2014 (Call to Inquire)
Cruise the Rhine River and enjoy historic train rides through the Swiss Alps
Call 855-330-1542 or Ask Us a Question
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Overview
This extraordinary 11-day “Grand Tour” of Europe features five nights aboard the Deluxe M.S. Amadeus Princess. Travel through the Western heart of the continent, through Switzerland, France, Germany and The Netherlands, cruising the most scenic sections of the fabled Rhine River. Specially arranged guided excursions feature five great World Heritage sites—walk through Berne’s Old Town, tour the lovely Alsatian city of Strasbourg, cruise through the heart of the Rhine River, visit Cologne’s magnificent Gothic cathedral and explore Amsterdam’s storybook canals. Also visit Germany’s medieval Rüdesheim and 13th-century Heidelberg Castle. Begin with two nights each in Zermatt and Lucerne, Switzerland; enjoy a scenic cruise on Lake Lucerne, and ride aboard three legendary railways — the Gornergrat Bahn, for breathtaking views of the Matterhorn; the famous Glacier Express from Zermatt to Andermatt; and the Pilatus Railway, the world’s steepest cogwheel railway. This incredible combination of river, rail, lake and mountains is the trip of a lifetime at an exceptional value! Complement your journey with the two-night Amsterdam Post-Program Option.

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Itinerary
June 15-16 — U.S., Geneva, Switzerland, Zermatt

Depart the U.S. for Geneva. Following your morning arrival, enjoy a scenic motorcoach transfer to the Alpine resort of Zermatt, dramatically located beneath the pinnacle of the iconic Matterhorn. Check into the Chalet-style Hotel Alex and join your travel companions for dinner. (D)

June 17 — Zermatt
Today, travel aboard the famous Gornergrat Bahn, the highest cog railway in Europe. Ascend through forests of pine and larch and cross meadows ablaze with wildflowers to the 10,000-foot-high Gornergrat. From the observatory atop the Gornergrat, look out over sweeping vistas of Europe’s most breathtaking Alpine scenery—the serrated profiles of the Matterhorn, the Liskamm and Dufourspitze mountains and vast Gorner Glacier. Return to Zermatt at your leisure, with the option to stop en route at Riffelberg for the panoramic view of Monte Rosa and the majestic Matterhorn. Enjoy the Welcome Reception and dinner in the hotel this evening. (B,R,D)

June 18 — Zermatt, Andermatt, Lucerne
Relax during a scenic transfer from Zermatt to Andermatt aboard the fabled Glacier Express, “the world’s slowest fast train.” Travel through the heart of the Alps, where the natural beauty of the mountains rivals the skill and ingenuity of the engineers who created this rail route across Europe’s most challenging terrain—requiring the construction of 291 bridges and 91 tunnels. Lunch is included in Andermatt before transferring to Lucerne.

Arrive in Lucerne and check into the lakeside, deluxe Hotel Monopol Luzern. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is at leisure. (B,L)

June 19 — Lucerne
A long-favored destination of travelers, Lucerne is set against the backdrop of its deep blue lake and the rugged grandeur of Mounts Pilatus and Rigi. Begin your morning walking tour in the Weinmarkt (wine market), surrounded by historic burghers’ houses. See the Hofkirche (Court Church), one of the finest examples of German Renaissance architecture, and the Lion Monument, dedicated to the Swiss Guards who gave their lives defending Louis XVI during the French Revolution. Walk across Lucerne’s most famous landmark, the delightful, 14th-century wooden Chapel Bridge, which spans the Reuss River and is adorned with 17th-century paintings.

Ascend Mount Pilatus by panoramic gondola to its 7,000-foot summit for a magnificent 360-degree panorama of central Switzerland’s mountains, peaks, forests and lakes. Enjoy lunch in a summit restaurant followed by free time. Board the Pilatus Railway, the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, then descend more than 5,300 feet in less than three miles on return to the shores of Lake Lucerne, where you will enjoy a scenic lake cruise. Dinner with wine is included in the hotel tonight. (B,L,D)

June 20 — Lucerne, Interlaken, Berne, Basel
After breakfast at the hotel, continue on through one of the most beautiful areas of Switzerland, the spectacular Bernese Oberland, traveling from snow-crowned heights of the Alps to the subtropical lowlands. Admire its impressive natural treasures, including soaring jagged peaks, rolling green hills, crystal-clear glacial lakes and densely wooded forests.

Stop in the charming resort town of Interlaken, located between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Here, you will find the perfect vantage point for admiring the towering Jungfrau, an imposing summit in the Bernese Alps known as the “Top of Europe.”

Transfer across the rolling Swiss countryside to Berne, Switzerland’s historic capital, and visit the Old Town, a World Heritage site and beautifully preserved medieval gem noted for its arcaded sidewalks. Have lunch in a traditional Bernese restaurant.

In Basel, embark the deluxe M.S. AMADEUS PRINCESS and join fellow participants this evening for the Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner. (B,L,R,D)

June 21 — Strasbourg, France
The lively Alsatian city of Strasbourg fuses the Old and New Europe. The Old City, a World Heritage site, is a treasure trove of medieval houses, and the charming Ponts-Couverts, covered bridges flanked by watchtowers at each end, span the picturesque canals. It was in Strasbourg that John Calvin first established a reformed parish. See remnants of the Reformation in the beautiful Protestant and Catholic Church of St-Pierre-le-Vieux; and see the graceful sandstone Catholic Cathedral of Notre Dame, a Romanesque-Gothic masterpiece that, according to the poet Goethe, rises “like a most sublime, wide-arching tree of God.”

In the Petite-France district, the historic millers’, tanners’ and fishermen’s quarter along the Ill River, the fairy-tale look of a past era lives on, while nearby, 27 nations engage in the daily discourse of the European Union Parliament.

Enjoy lunch aboard ship. The afternoon is free for independent pursuits. (B,L,D)

June 22 — Mannheim, Germany for Heidelberg
This morning, from Mannheim, transfer to Heidelberg, where luminaries such as Goethe and Schumann came to experience the intellectual atmosphere of Heidelberg University, Germany’s oldest, founded in 1386. To many on the “Grand Tour” of Europe, fashionable in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, Heidelberg epitomized Germany, nestled in the densely wooded valley of the Neckar River and alive with the spirit of German Romanticism. Heidelberg has preserved its authentic Renaissance-Baroque character, including the eight remaining arches of the famous Alte Brücke (Old Bridge) that span the Neckar River. Visit imposing Heidelberg Castle, a magnificent, 13th-century edifice perched above the river. The stately ruins preserve Heidelberg’s links to its medieval past.

Reboard the ship and cruise through the Rheingau, Germany’s most famous wine-growing region, known particularly for its Riesling. (B,L,D)

June 23 — Rüdesheim, Koblenz
Go ashore in the medieval town of Rüdesheim, the heart of Germany’s wine country. Enjoy a tour aboard the unique Winzerexpress mini-train, traveling through bucolic countryside vineyards and passing historic castles, followed by a private tasting of German wines.

Cruise through the spectacular Rhine River Valley, a World Heritage site, legendary for its scenery and riverside architectural treasures. Be on deck for a front row view of the steep terraced vineyards rising on the slopes of the riverbanks. With each bend in the river, a medieval castle crowns the crags and a tranquil village nestles along its banks. See the famous Lorelei Rock—legend holds that a beautiful siren lured sailors here with her enchanting song.

Dock this afternoon in Koblenz, where Germany’s Roman past dates to nine B.C., during the reign of Augustus Caesar, when it was strategically established at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. From the famous Deutsches Eck (German Corner), enjoy a view of the impressive 19th-century fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, once the residence of the powerful Archbishop-Electors of Trier. The twin-towered Basilica of St. Castor, built between the ninth and 13th centuries, features the Rhineland’s distinctive Romanesque architecture. (B,L,D)

June 24 — Cologne
One of Germany’s most ancient cities, Cologne was founded as a Roman military outpost in 38 B.C. From the time of Charlemagne to present day, it has flourished as the Rhineland’s foremost mercantile and religious center, and is the birthplace of the original world-famous Eau De Cologne perfume. Explore the Altstadt (Old Town) and visit the historic Kölner Dom (cathedral), a World Heritage site and the finest example of High Gothic architecture in Germany; construction began on the cathedral in 1248 and lasted for six centuries. Among its artistic treasures are the Milan Madonna and the Shrine of the Three Holy Kings.

Enjoy the afternoon while cruising along the picturesque Rhine River. This evening, attend the Captain’s Farewell Dinner. (B,L,D)

June 25 — Amsterdam, The Netherlands, U.S.
Following breakfast, disembark the ship and continue on the Amsterdam Post-Program or depart for the U.S. (B)

* Post-Program Options are available at additional cost. Details will be included with your reservation confirmation.

All program features are contingent upon final brochure pricing.