Cruising The Moselle & More On Avalon Waterways
On Monday, I fly to Amsterdam to board Avalon Waterways’ Visionary for 10-day trip through Holland, Germany, Luxembourg and France. I’m excited about my first experience on Avalon’s “Suite Ships®,” a concept that the company felt so good about that it trademarked the name. I’ll take a look at the Panorama Suites, which promise innovative room configurations to highlight the views along the rivers. In fact, I’ll be in 318, Category P, on the Royal Deck.
I’ll also take a look at Avalon Choice®, which allows for a uniquely customizable river cruise adventure. Avalon’s website tells me that I will be able to personalize every element of my cruise. Al fresco lunch or overflowing buffet? Ancient village by foot or bicycle? I will decide what and where to eat on board, how I wish to explore destinations, and even the style and pace I wish to experience the included port excursions. For further customization, I can pre-purchase additional activities, excursions, and even celebration packages.
Our trip begins with a cruise through Amsterdam’s intricate network of canals. Then, we head into Germany and the majestic city of Cologne. In pretty Rüdesheim, we’ll visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum, then cruise through the dramatic Rhine Gorge and up the Moselle to enjoy the magnificent views from Reichsburg Castle above the charming town of Cochem, and wine tasting in Zell. We’ll end our voyage with a visit to Luxembourg City and travel via high-speed train to Paris for guided sightseeing, two overnights, and the conclusion of an amazing cruise.
Here’s a description of the itinerary from Avalon Waterways’ website.
DAY 1 ARRIVE IN AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND (EMBARKATION)
Welcome to Amsterdam! Holland’s capital is sophisticated and modern, with a rich and fascinating history. This delightful 700-year-old city with its elegant and classic architecture, cafés, restaurants, and lively marketplace has a distinct ambiance. If your flight arrives early enough, you might like to take one of a selection of optional excursions. Then, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. NOTE: Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
DAY 2 AMSTERDAM
After breakfast, set out to discover the treasures of this city by CANAL BOAT, cruising through the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” Later, cruise out of Amsterdam and head for Germany.
DAY 3 COLOGNE, GERMANY
One of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles the Rhine and is known for its soaring, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Choose between a GUIDED CITY WALK or a JEWISH HERITAGE WALK. The Old Town abounds with cafés, shops, and taverns. Be sure to try a Kölsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for over a hundred years, and shop for a bottle of “4711,” the original eau de cologne.
DAY 4 RHINE GORGE–RÜDESHEIM
This morning sail through the RHINE GORGE, the most dramatic and beautiful stretch of the river. Here, ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the waters. Cruise past the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where echoes of enchanted siren song lured unwitting sailors to their doom. Further upstream is pretty Rüdesheim, the perfect example of a Rhine Valley wine town, and SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM is a real surprise! Here you’ll see and hear a large collection of self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. Enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT, then there’s free time to pick up some souvenirs on the narrow, cobblestoned Drosselgasse, where colorful flowers, open-air wine gardens, and live music add to the festive atmosphere.
DAY 5 COCHEM
This morning, as you cruise the wide, peaceful curves of the Moselle River, it quickly becomes obvious why the Moselle Valley is famous for its beautiful and tranquil scenery, and that this is an important wine-growing area. After lunch, arrive in Cochem, a charming, picturesque town with half-timbered houses and winding streets full of history and legends that will be brought to life during your GUIDED WALK. Visit REICHSBURG CASTLE, built in 1000 AD and furnished with renaissance and baroque furniture. Sitting dramatically atop a conical hill covered in vines, this castle offers splendid views of the little town nestled down below and of the river valley. Cochem is at the heart of the Moselle wine trade and, most notably, the Riesling grape is cultivated, producing a dry to sweet, floral white wine.
DAY 6 ZELL–BERNKASTEL
This morning dock in Zell and enjoy a guided walk through this pretty little town. Next up, in the middle of the Moselle region, is the charming wine village of Bernkastel with its fascinating narrow streets and half-timbered houses that have stood since the Middle Ages. Enjoy a GUIDED WALK that includes the beautiful marketplace with its renaissance-style Town Hall and the “pointed house,” built in 1416. Wine growers in this area look after Germany’s largest expanse of vineyards, the most celebrated of the vintages being the Bernkasteler Doktor. This afternoon you might like to visit the Wine Museum to learn more about the history of the region’s wine. Before dinner, enjoy a pleasant included TASTING of several of the region’s varietals.
DAY 7 GREVENMACHER, LUXEMBOURG–REMICH. EXCURSION TO LUXEMBOURG CITY
Today enjoy a tranquil morning of cruising or join an optional excursion to the Roman city of Trier. After lunch drive to Luxembourg. Because of its location and natural geography, Luxembourg City has been a place of strategic military significance throughout history; the first fortifications were built as early as the 10th century. The city center occupies a picturesque site, perched high on precipitous cliffs that drop into the narrow valleys of the Alzette and Pétrusse Rivers. A LOCAL GUIDE will acquaint you with this city whose layout is complex as it is set on two levels, straddling hills and dropping into the two river valleys.
DAY 8 REMICH, LUXEMBOURG (DISEMBARKATION)–PARIS, FRANCE
Today, travel by motorcoach to Luxembourg City or Metz to board a HIGH-SPEED TRAIN to Paris, and enjoy GUIDED sightseeing upon arrival. Known as one of the world’s most romantic and lively cities, Paris is a delight for all your senses. Your INCLUDED CITY SIGHTSEEING shows you magnificent must-see sights, such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the unique Louvre Museum with its glass pyramid as a contrast to its ancient architecture, the commemorative Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower.
DAY 9 PARIS
Today in your free time, stroll down the Champs-Elysées with its lavish cafés, or perhaps visit the world-famous Louvre, Palace of Versailles or Montmartre with its gleaming white Sacre Coeur Basilica and bevy of artists on Place du Tertre. Paris is also well known for its colorful nightlife that includes some of the world’s most famous cabaret shows. All of this awaits your discovery!
DAY 10 PARIS
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.
- Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows
- Sky Deck with shade awnings
- Non-smoking interior
- Elegant, contemporary design
- Headsets for all guided shore excursions in Europe
- Sightseeing with Certified Local Guides
- Onboard lectures, activities & nightly entertainment
- Room service for Continental breakfast & beverages (service fee applies)
- Complimentary computer use in public areas
- Complimentary Wi-Fi access
- Biking excursions available in Amsterdam and Durnstein
- Sky Deck game area
- Avalon Choice cruising experience
- Use of Nordic walking sticks
- Self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees
- Fresh fruit available throughout the daySky Deck with premium lounge chairs
- Expanded Fitness Center
- Outside viewing deck
- Friendly, English-speaking crew and Cruise Director
- Cruise Director
- Revolutionary engineering
- Sky Deck whirlpool
- Hair salon (manicures available)
- Onboard movie nights
- Bicycles you can check out and use around many port towns for free
- Alternate light lunch and dinner in the Panorama Bistro
- Choice of Leisurely, Traditional or Independent sightseeing options
- Local Favorites onboard experiences with local chefs, entertainers, artisans & experts
- Well-stocked library
- Selection of Local Favorites to bring the customs, cultures, and tastes of your destination to life