Our custom-developed itinerary is designed to showcase both ancient Roman heritage and 20th century war history along the Rhine and Moselle rivers. Two of the best-preserved Roman sites —the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Augusta Raurica and Trier– are included, along with a visit to lesser-known Kalkriese. Add a trove of World War II visits, including Arnhem’s Airborne Museum, Operation Market Garden, and the Oversteek Bridge, where American soldiers fought for the liberation of the Netherlands. These specialized options are blended with classic highlights such as Alsace wine tasting, Strasbourg by canal boat, a private quartet concert in a castle, and the incredible art collections housed in Basel’s Kunstmuseum and Arnhem’s Kröller-Müller Museum. The 90-passenger Royal Crown is just over half the size of most riverboats in the region, with elegant public areas and staterooms and refined cuisine and service.
- Pricing from
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International River Voyages
- Departure Dates
Oct 22, 2021 - Nov 2, 2021
OPTIONAL PRECRUISE EXTENSION IN SWITZERLAND
Spend two nights in Basel and immerse yourself in the alpine scenery of Lake Lucerne. Visit several of the city’s chocolatiers to learn about the history and traditions that make Swiss
chocolates some of the most sought after in the world.
OPTIONAL POST-CRUISE EXTENSION IN HOLLAND
Visit highlights and top sites in Amsterdam, The Hague, Delft, and Haarlem, including a canal cruise and viewings of timeless art by Dutch masters.
Complete Terms and Conditions including Statement of Responsibility will be made available to you after registration. A signed “Terms & Conditions, Release from Liability, Assumption of Risk and Binding Arbitration Clause” is required from each applicant prior to participation on the tour.
CANCELLATIONS & REFUNDS
Upon payment of the per person deposit, all reservations are subject to the cancellation provisions set forth below and by which the passenger agrees to be bound. Cancellations shall not be in effect until they are received in writing and confirmed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Final payments will be due at 120 days prior to departure, the final payment is 100% refundable, as well as the deposit, until 95 days prior to the tour departure. Refundable deposit only applies to NEW bookings.
Trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended. NOTE: Neither the National Trust for Historic Preservation nor Criterion Travel, the tour operator, accepts liability for any airline cancellation penalties incurred with the purchase of non-refundable tickets.
Overnight flight to Basel, Switzerland
Arrive Basel; Embark Royal Crown for welcome reception & dinner on board.
This morning take a walking tour of Basel’s medieval Old Town. Steeped in Celtic-Roman history and situated at the crossroads of France, Germany, and Switzerland, much of the ancient city of Basel still stands and is well preserved. An important cultural center, Basel is home to Switzerland’s oldest university, where the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche taught.
In the afternoon, choose from one of two options.
OPTION 1: Augusta Raurica, site of the oldest known Roman colony on the Rhine. The onsite museum houses important finds from the excavation and details the history of the colony. OPTION 2: The Kunstmuseum Basel, which contains the most important public art collection in Switzerland.
Like many of the region’s border cities, Strasbourg has traded hands several times between France and Germany; today, the French capital of Alsace and seat of the European Parliament reflects both cultures—linguistically, architecturally, and gastronomically. Strasbourg features a historic UNESCO World Heritage-designated city center with 16th-century half-timbered houses and a Gothic cathedral built of red sandstone. Explore the city by coach and on foot, then meander on local boats through the canals of Strasbourg’s “Petite France”
(the former tanners’ and fishmongers’ districts).
This afternoon, choose from one of two options.
OPTION 1: Ouvrage Schoenenbourg (Fort Schoenenbourg), a Maginot Line fortification. Although heavily bombarded during the Battle of France in 1940, it retains all of its original structural elements.
OPTION 2: A wine tasting in Alsace, an important wine-producing region in France.
Enjoy a morning of cruising along the beautiful Rhine River to Mainz, where native son Johannes Gutenberg developed movable type printing in 1439. Take a guided tour of the Gutenberg Museum, where you can view a replica of Gutenberg’s workshop, observe a demonstration of his printing method, and see a copy of his 42-line Bible, printed between 1452 and 1455. Then take an opportunity to stroll along the banks of the river in the shadow of Mainz’s charming architecture.
Rhine Gorge Cruising
This morning traverse the scenic Rhine Gorge, the popular name for the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, which earned UNESCO World Heritage designation in 2002 for its unique combination of geological, historical, cultural, and industrial reasons. This part of the Rhine also features strongly in folklore, including the opera Gotterdammerung. After lunch the Royal Crown enters the Moselle River and cruises past storybook castles and lush vineyards en route to Bernkastel and Trier.
Bernkastel / Trier
Trier is possibly the oldest city in Germany and well known for its Roman and medieval buildings. Visit the well-preserved Porta Nigra city gate, the 4th-century Basilica of Constantine (Aula Palatina), and a 2nd-century A.D. Roman bridge, still in use. After lunch visit, Bernkastel-Kues, an acclaimed wine-growing center on the Middle Moselle and birthplace of one of the most famous German polymaths, the medieval churchman and philosopher Nikolaus von Kues. Enjoy a private tasting of wines, primarily Rieslings, grown on steep-sloped vineyards.
After a morning of cruising, disembark in Koblenz and continue to Namedy Castle, the personal residence of Princess Heide von Hohenzollern; a private concert; and a private tour while the ship continues to Remagen. Namedy Castle dates back to the 14th century and, since the late 20th century, has functioned as a cultural center featuring concerts, art exhibitions, and the annual Art in the Park week. Continue overland to Remagen to view the Bridge Towers and hear a guest lecture on the Battle of Remagen, when Allied troops unexpectedly capture the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine in March 1945 and seriously thwarted German military operations in the area.
Arrive in Cologne after a morning of on-board lectures and cruising. Germany’s fourth most populous city straddles the Rhine near Germany’s borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, and is home to one of Europe’s oldest and largest universities. Tour Cologne Cathedral, the city’s most famous and most beloved landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also visit the Roman-German Museum to view a large collection of artifacts from the Roman settlement on which modern Cologne is built. This evening enjoy free time for independent
exploration in Cologne.
Arnhem, The Netherlands
Today choose from two optional activities.
Park Kalkriese, archaeological site of a pivotal Germanic tribes’ victory over the Romans in A.D. 9. The museum highlights ongoing research in the area.
OPTION 2: A walking tour and museum visit in Kampen, a former Hanseatic League city with one of the best-preserved old town centers in the Netherlands. Afternoon tea will be taken in Middachten Castle, a monumental Dutch manor house originally built in the 12th century. ALL: This evening enjoy an optional walk at sunset across the modern De Oversteek Bridge in Nijmegen, where the American soldiers who died here fighting for the liberation of the Netherlands are honored every night with the lighting in slow succession of street lamps spanning the bridge.
Today choose from one of two full-day options.
OPTION 1: Visit Frost Bridge, named after the British officer in command at Arnhem, and the Airborne Museum, dedicated to the Battle of Arnhem. Also explore the Overloon War Museum in Nijmegen, located on the site of the Battle of Overloon, a World War II tank and infantry battle that occurred in September and October 1944 in the aftermath of Operation Market Garden.
OPTION 2: Explore the Kröller-Müller Museum, a national art museum and sculpture park that boasts the second-largest collection of van Gogh paintings and a fine assemblage of modern and contemporary sculptures. Those who wish may enjoy optional cycling in the surrounding Park Hoge Velwe.
After breakfast and disembarkation, transfer to the airport for flights home.
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