Set sail from Amsterdam to Basel on a deluxe ship, cruising past castle-topped hills, medieval villages, and rolling vineyards and exploring culture and history along the Moselle and Rhine Rivers.

Starting at: $3,990 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The delightful Alsatian city of Strasbourg, France
 Typical scene in Amsterdam
 Self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh. Credit: Netherlands Tourism Bureau
 Vermeer's <i>The Milkmaid</i> in Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum. Credit: Frans Lemmens/Alamy
 View of Cologne along the Rhine River
 City of Cologne, showcasing the High Gothic cathedral
 The Rhine River Valley
 The medieval town of Rüdesheim, located along the Rhine
 The German university town of Heidelberg, along the Neckar River
 The French city of Strasbourg
 Half-timbered houses of Strasbourg

Cruising the Rhine and Moselle Rivers

From Amsterdam to Alsace

9 days from $3,990

Set sail from Amsterdam to Basel on a deluxe ship, cruising past castle-topped hills, medieval villages, and rolling vineyards and exploring culture and history along the Moselle and Rhine Rivers.

or Call 855-330-1542

SPECIAL OFFER

Save $250 per person when you book by April 5, 2024!

No Single Supplement for solo travelers! (Limited availability, book early to ensure your space)

Overview

The Moselle and Rhine Rivers link enchanting towns and cities across western Europe—from Amsterdam and Cologne to Heidelberg and Strasbourg. They also weave through renowned wine regions and valleys dotted with castles and medieval villages. Set sail from Amsterdam to discover the culture, folklore, and history of two rivers and three countries. In many ports along the way, enjoy your choice of excursion—be it a bike ride from village to village in Holland, a wine tasting in the Rheingau, or a cruise along the canals of Strasbourg. With your Smithsonian Journeys Expert and local experts on board, delve deep into local culture, discovering the rich legends of the Moselle River Valley, the Rhine Gorge, and beyond.

Highlights Include:

  • Amsterdam: Enjoy a private cruise on the city’s World Heritage-listed canals, and choose from three excursions: a visit to the Rijksmuseum, a bike ride to rural villages, or a foodie tour of the lively Jordaan district.
  • Cologne and Cochem: Visit the extraordinary Dom Cathedral of Cologne, the largest Gothic cathedral in Germany and a World Heritage site. In Cochem, explore a historic castle and the terraced vineyards of the Moselle River Valley.
  • The Rhine Gorge and the Rheingau: Cruise the Rhine Gorge hearing the lore of the villages and castles along the riverbanks. Then visit Rüdesheim in the Rheingau wine country and sample wines or visit an eclectic music “cabinet” full of antique automatic instruments.
  • Heidelberg and Strasbourg: Discover two centuries-old university towns. In the baroque gem of Heidelberg, explore the old town and the Renaissance castle, or hike the Philosopher’s Way for breathtaking views. In Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace, visit the historic center and its cathedral, take a canal cruise through Petite France, or savor Alsatian delicacies on a food and wine tour.
  • Small Ship Experience: With an elegant river ship as your base, you unpack just once and settle into life onboard. Sit down to meals inspired by the cuisines along the Moselle and Rhine, and enjoy culinary traditions such as a Frühschoppen. You’ll travel with a Smithsonian Journeys Expert as well as local experts. (2024) The May 17-25 program will be aboard the Amadeus Cara. (2025) The May 27-June 4 program will be aboard the Amadeus Queen, July 21-29 & August 25-September 2, 2025 program will be aboard the Amadeus Star and departure dates will operate from Zurich/Basel to Amsterdam. Each voyage will also host other leading cultural and educational institutions, which will add to the excitement and energy of the experience.

Please note: Our Winter 2024 catalog printed with the incorrect date for our Spring 2025 program. The correct date is May 27-June 4, 2025 and this departure travels from Zurich/Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, The Netherlands aboard the Amadeus Queen. See our 2025 itinerary below for full details.

2024 Itinerary

Days 1-2 – Depart the U.S. for Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Arrive in Amsterdam on an overnight flight and transfer to the port where the new Amadeus Cara awaits. Take some time to get settled in your cabin before meeting to hear a local expert discuss current affairs in the Netherlands and the European Union. Late this afternoon, board a local boat for a private canal cruise along Amsterdam’s tree-lined waterways, enjoying lovely views of 17th-century gabled houses and picturesque bridges. Return to the ship for dinner. (D)

Day 3 – Amsterdam

A full buffet breakfast will be served each morning during the cruise. This morning, choose one of the following tours ashore:

Choice #1 - Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum: Delve into a world-renowned art collection that includes the works of Dutch Masters such as Rembrandt, Hals, and Vermeer, as well paintings by Van Gogh, Delft pottery and much more. Experience the museum at your own pace with an audio-guided tour and time at leisure.

Choice #2 - Waterland Bike Hike: Travel to Waterland, just north of Amsterdam, and set off on a guided bicycle tour through fields and wetlands. Your route leads you from one historic village to the next. Stop for coffee and a pastry in Broek.

Choice #3 - Jordaan District Walking and Food Tour: Take a walk through the Jordaan district, where almshouses were built in the 14th century to accommodate the poor. Today it is a bustling neighborhood of specialized food shops, art galleries, and coffee houses. On your walk, stop in at kiosks and restaurants to sample a range of Dutch specialties, from herring, a popular street food, to poffertjes, little pancakes served with powdered sugar and butter. You will also have the chance to taste a variety of Dutch cheeses accompanied by a glass of wine.

Return to the ship in time for lunch. In mid-afternoon, cruise south from Amsterdam to meet the Rhine River and enjoy a peaceful sail toward Germany. Gather with your fellow travelers for a welcome aboard reception and dinner this evening. (B,L,R,D)

Day 4 – Cologne, Germany

Spend much of the day relaxing on the ship, following the Rhine as it curls through the farmlands and towns of western Germany. Arrive in Cologne in the afternoon and take a guided tour, admiring the diverse architecture of the town, which ranges from medieval churches to avant-garde buildings erected after the Allied bombings of World War II. Stroll through the Old Town and visit Cathedral Square and the iconic 13th-century Dom Cathedral—Germany’s largest Gothic cathedral and now a World Heritage site. Take advantage of free time to explore on your own or linger at a charming café to watch life go by. Back on board, enjoy dinner as the ship prepares to continue south toward the Moselle River. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Cochem

Enter the Moselle River Valley, navigating a narrow and picturesque stretch of river flanked by rolling vineyards and medieval villages. Join the crew on the sun deck in mid-morning to take part in the old German tradition of Frühschoppen: drinking a beer before midday along with a snack of pretzels, sausage, and mustard. Dock in Cochem in the early afternoon and venture into its narrow, winding streets with a local guide. Hear the colorful legends associated with the town and ascend to Reichsburg Castle, which towers majestically over the river valley. Here, you’ll be treated to a glass of Moselle wine. Enjoy time to discover Cochem on your own before returning to the ship for dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Koblenz / The Rhine Gorge / Rüdesheim

Make a morning stop in Koblenz for a walking tour of this historic town established by the Romans some 2,000 years ago to guard the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine rivers. In its Alstadt, or Old Town, see an onion-domed church with origins dating back to the 5th century. Continue cruising toward the spectacular Rhine Gorge.  Atop the cliffs on either side of the river stand restored castles and fortress ruins, each with its own story to tell.  The landscape is also steeped in legend, including that of Lorelei, a siren who lured sailors with her song, causing them to wreck their ships on the slate rock outcropping near St. Goarshausen. As you sail through this stunning landscape, a local expert will share its rich history and folklore.

Dock in Rüdesheim, a village of half-timbered houses and narrow, medieval lanes that is a gateway to the Rheingau wine region. Board the Rüdesheimer Winzerexpress for a panoramic tour of the village and surrounding vineyards. See the city’s 15th-century defensive walls and the Eagle Tower, a 67-foot fortification where the poet Goethe is said to have spent time. Then choose one of two afternoon excursions.  

Choice #1: Wines of the Rhine – Along the Drosselgasse, you will find numerous wine houses and garden taverns. Enjoy a wine tasting with a local vintner.

Choice #2: A Musical Walk In Time – Visit the Siegfried Mechanical Music Museum and encounter a whimsical collection of self-playing instruments that date back to the 18th century. Examine music boxes and mobile organs, and learn about the mechanisms that make these instruments play.

This evening, depart the ship for the historic Eibinger Zehnthof  winery located in the small town of Eibinger situated above Rüdesheim. Here you’ll enjoy an exclusive dinner featuring homemade regional specialties complemented by local wine. In late evening, the ship makes its way to Mannheim. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Heidelberg / Speyer

This morning, experience the historic town of Heidelberg, a baroque university town poised on the banks of an offshoot of the Rhine, the Neckar River, on one of the following morning excursions:

Choice #1: Heidelberg Castle and Town Travel to historic Heidelberg, for a visit to the red-walled castle with its Great Vat (a 49,000-gallon 18th-century wine cask) and see beautiful views of the Neckar Valley and city below.  Afterwards, board a cog wheel train down to the city center where you’ll enjoy a short walking tour.

Choice #2: Philosopher’s Way Hike – Hike up the famous “Philosopher’s Way” for spectacular views of Heidelberg castle and the old town. Take a rest in Philosopher’s Garden while enjoying the view along with snacks and drinks.

After lunch on board, the ship arrives in Speyer, one of Germany’s oldest cities. Tour the World Heritage-listed Speyer Cathedral, the largest Romanesque church in the world and burial place of numerous kings and emperors. Other historic highlights include the 13th-century Altpörtel or Old Gate and the city’s Old Town Center. Enjoy time to explore on your own before dinner on board. (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Strasbourg, France

Arrive in the French province of Alsace and spend the day discovering its captivating capital city, Strasbourg. Located just across the Rhine from Germany, Strasbourg weaves together French and Germanic cultural heritage, and serves as the capital of the European Union. Tailor your experience to your interests on one of the following excursions:

Choice #1: Strasbourg Panoramic Tour – Set out by coach to discover this city with a knowledgeable guide. At the Notre Dame Cathedral, a Gothic marvel finished in the 15th century, admire exquisite facades and stained glass and see its astronomical clock. Then take a walking tour of the old town, including Petite France, where half-timbered houses cluster along picturesque canals.

Choice #2: Strasbourg Canal Cruise and Petite France – Focus on the historic heart of Strasbourg, a World Heritage site known as Grand Ile circumscribed by canals.  Board a local boat to navigating these canals and glide into Petite France for views of its brightly painted, half-timbered houses from the water.

Choice #3: Culinary Strasbourg - Gain insight into Strasbourg’s culinary heritage on a “foodie” tour. Stop in traditional weinstubs to try Alsatian dishes such as flammkuchen, choucroute, or spaetzle and note the German influence in the region’s cuisine. You’ll also have the opportunity to sample fine Alsatian wines.

This afternoon, the ship sails for Basel. The balance of the afternoon on board is at leisure. Tonight, toast your cruise through three countries at a farewell reception and dinner. (B,L,R,D)

Day 9 – Basel, Switzerland / Zurich / Return Home

Early this morning, the ship will dock at Basel. Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport in Zurich for your flight home. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

2025 Itinerary

Days 1-2 – Depart the U.S. for Zurich, Switzerland

Arrive in Zurich on an overnight flight and transfer to Basel where your ship awaits. Approximate driving time to Basel is one hour. Take some time to get settled in your cabin and enjoy leisure time. Your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will be available this afternoon and throughout the program for suggestions regarding tours, restaurants and independent activities. Gather this evening for a welcome aboard reception and dinner on board the ship. (R,D)

Day 3 – Strasbourg

After breakfast, arrive at the captivating city of Strasbourg. Located just across the Rhine from Germany, Strasbourg weaves together French and Germanic cultural heritage, and serves as the capital of the European Union. Tailor your experience to your interests on one of the following excursions:

Choice #1: Strasbourg Panoramic Tour – Set out by coach to discover this city with a knowledgeable guide. At the Notre Dame Cathedral, a Gothic marvel finished in the 15th century, admire exquisite facades and stained glass and see its astronomical clock. Then take a walking tour of the old town, including Petite France, where half-timbered houses cluster along picturesque canals.

Choice #2: Strasbourg Canal Cruise and Petite France – Focus on the historic heart of Strasbourg, a World Heritage site known as Grand Ile circumscribed by canals Board a local boat to navigating these canals and glide into Petite France for views of its brightly painted, half-timbered houses from the water.

Choice #3: Culinary Strasbourg - Gain insight into Strasbourg’s culinary heritage on a “foodie” tour. Stop in traditional weinstubs to try Alsatian dishes such as flammkuchenchoucroute, or spaetzle and note the German influence in the region’s cuisine. You’ll also have the opportunity to sample fine Alsatian wines.

This afternoon, a shuttle will be available between the ship and the city center. The balance of the afternoon is at leisure. Dinner is served on board the ship. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Speyer / Mannheim / Heidelberg

This morning start exploring in Speyer, one of Germany’s oldest cities. Tour the World Heritage-listed Speyer Cathedral, the largest Romanesque church in the world and burial place of numerous kings and emperors. Other historic highlights include the 13th-century Altpörtel or Old Gate and the city’s Old Town Center. After lunch arrive in Mannheim where you’ll have a choice of tours ashore in Heidelberg, a baroque university town poised on the banks of an offshoot of the Rhine, the Neckar Rivers.

Choice #1: Heidelberg Castle and Town – Travel to historic Heidelberg, for a visit to the red-walled castle with its Great Vat (a 49,000-gallon 18th-century wine cask) and see beautiful views of the Neckar Valley and city below.  Afterwards, board a cog wheel train down to the city center where you’ll enjoy a short walking tour.

Choice #2: Philosopher’s Way Hike – Hike up the famous “Philosopher’s Way” for spectacular views of Heidelberg castle and the old town. Take a rest in Philosopher’s Garden while enjoying the view along with snacks and drinks.

Enjoy time to explore on your own before dinner on board. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Rudesheim / The Rhine Gorge / Koblenz

Dock in Rüdesheim, a village of half-timbered houses and narrow, medieval lanes that is a gateway to the Rheingau wine regionBoard the Rüdesheimer Winzerexpress for a panoramic tour of the village and surrounding vineyards. See the city’s 15th-century defensive walls and the Eagle Tower, a 67-foot fortification where the poet Goethe is said to have spent time. Then choose one of two afternoon excursions.

Choice #1: Wines of the Rhine – Along the Drosselgasse, you will find numerous wine houses and garden taverns. Enjoy a wine tasting with a local vintner.

Choice #2: A Musical Walk In Time – Visit the Siegfried Mechanical Music Museum and encounter a whimsical collection of self-playing instruments that date back to the 18th century. Examine music boxes and mobile organs, and learn about the mechanisms that make these instruments play.

The ship sails from Rüdesheim just after noon headed for the famed Rhine Gorge. Atop the cliffs on either side of the river stand restored castles and fortress ruins, each with its own story to tell.  The landscape is also steeped in legend, including that of Lorelei, a siren who lured sailors with her song, causing them to wreck their ships on the slate rock outcropping near St. Goarshausen. As you sail through this stunning landscape, a local expert will share its rich history and folklore. This afternoon stop in Koblenz for a walking tour of this historic town established by the Romans some 2,000 years ago to guard the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine rivers. In its Alstadt, or Old Town, see an onion-domed church with origins dating back to the 5th century. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Cochem

Enter the Moselle River Valley, navigating a narrow and picturesque stretch of river flanked by rolling vineyards and medieval villages. Join the crew on the sun deck in mid-morning to take part in the old German tradition of Frühschoppen: drinking a beer before midday along with a snack of pretzels, sausage, and mustard. Dock in Cochem in the early afternoon and venture into its narrow, winding streets with a local guide. Hear the colorful legends associated with the town and ascend to Reichsburg Castle, which towers majestically over the river valley. Afterward, you’ll be treated to a glass of Moselle wine at a local winery before returning to the ship. Gather this evening in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for casual conversation about all you have experienced so far on the trip, then enjoy a festive dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Cologne, Germany

Spend much of the day relaxing on the ship, following the Rhine as it curls through the farmlands and towns of western Germany. Arrive in Cologne in the morning and take a guided tour, admiring the diverse architecture of the town, which ranges from medieval churches to avant-garde buildings erected after the Allied bombings of World War II. Stroll through the Old Town and visit Cathedral Square and the iconic 13th-century Dom Cathedral—Germany’s largest Gothic cathedral and now a World Heritage site. Take advantage of free time to explore on your own or linger at a charming café to watch life go by. After lunch, the ship sails to Amsterdam. This evening, gather for a festive farewell reception and dinner. (B,L,R,D)

Day 8 - Amsterdam

Begin exploring this morning with a choice of one of the following activities.

Choice #1 - Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum: Delve into a world-renowned art collection that includes the works of Dutch Masters such as Rembrandt, Hals, and Vermeer, as well paintings by Van Gogh, Delft pottery and much more. Experience the museum at your own pace with an audio-guided tour and time at leisure.

Choice #2 - Waterland Bike Hike: Travel to Waterland, just north of Amsterdam, and set off on a guided bicycle tour through fields and wetlands. Your route leads you from one historic village to the next. Stop for coffee and a pastry in Broek.

Choice #3 - Jordaan District Walking and Food Tour: Take a walk through the Jordaan district, where almshouses were built in the 14th century to accommodate the poor. Today it is a bustling neighborhood of specialized food shops, art galleries, and coffee houses. On your walk, stop in at kiosks and restaurants to sample a range of Dutch specialties, from herring, a popular street food, to poffertjes, little pancakes served with powdered sugar and butter. You will also have the chance to taste a variety of Dutch cheeses accompanied by a glass of wine.

Lunch is served on board and the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. Later, Review the current state of affairs in Europe, learn about the European Union, and discuss its future with a local expert. Early this evening, an included scenic canal cruise takes you through the city known as the “Venice of the North.” See the tall narrow homes lining the canals and the famous Skinny Bridge. This evening gather will fellow travelers and staff for a final toast to your trip and dinner aboard ship. (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Amsterdam / Return Home

This morning, disembark the ship and transfer to the airport to board homeward flights. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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