Monthly Archives: July 2014
Portugal, Spain & The Douro River Indulge your passion for food, history, and music as you discover the warmth of Portugal and Spain. Experience the “sunny side” of Europe, starting in radiant seaside Lisbon, then follow the Douro River through Portugal and into Spain. Feel the warm sun on your skin as you cruise past terraced hills, quaint villages, and acres of ripe vineyards. Breathe the sea air in Lisbon, the city that launched a host of renowned navigators, including Vasco da Gama. Climb the steep hills and hear the sound of fado music fill the streets as you sip a bica (espresso) at a café. Enjoy a quintessential Portuguese lunch in majestic Coimbra (birthplace of six of Portugal’s kings). And in Porto’s ancient Ribeira district, find picturesque rabelo boats, cutting-edge cuisine, and a thriving art scene. Sail from Porto through the breathtaking, UNESCO- designated Douro Valley, where vines cling to precipitous hillsides. Visit charming quintas and meet the winemakers who run them. See Salamanca, “The Golden City,” and visit its famed university (where Columbus planned his pivotal journey) before enjoying a flamenco show. Then return to Portugal with a visit to the walled village of Castelo Rodrigo and historic Guimarães. Revel in the captivating cities and striking scenery of the serene Douro River Valley on this perfectly paced cruise/tour. This is a perfect tour for wine connoisseurs hoping to indulge in this region’s most celebrated beverage, Port, and those wanting to discover Europe’s best-kept secret, the Douro River, with its spellbinding natural beauty and cultural heritage.
Discover the diverse pleasures of la dolce vita as you make your way from Venice to Rome.
Birthplace of the Renaissance, Italy has given the world a splendid legacy of art, architecture, music, and poetry. No heritage is more splendid than that of Venice, the water-bound city adorned with luminous architecture and romantic canals. Experience the sheer bliss of spending five nights in Venice onboard your luxury floating hotel, conveniently docked so you can easily walk off the ship to indulge in all the pleasures this magnificent city has to offer. You will also discover Northern Italy’s superstars of Renaissance and Gothic treasures: Padua, Bologna, Verona, and Ferrara. These gems provide authentic insight into Northern Italian culture.
Travel to Florence, where the Renaissance began. See astonishing works by Michelangelo, Rafael, Donatello, and Boticelli, and savor a spectacular homemade lunch and a Chianti wine tasting at Castello di Verrazzano. A fitting ending to your Italian adventure awaits in Rome, the “Eternal City,” with all of its wonders: the Coliseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museum, Trevi Fountain, the Sistine Chapel, and so much more.
Ravenna, a vital seaport and Italian capital of the Byzantine Empire, is celebrated for the fifth- and sixth-century mosaics that adorn its churches. You will see the UNESCO-designated Basilica di Sant’Apollinare and the mausoleum of Galla Placidia. The buildings are sheathed in spectacular mosaics. Spend the afternoon rambling through the lovely historic downtown on your own and enjoy an artisinal foods tasting, or enjoy the morning at leisure onboard your floating hotel as your ship sails from Polesella to Taglio di Po. Today, you’ll visit Porto Levante, which is located south of Venice on the Northern Adriatic Sea. This is the perfect place to relax and unwind as you take in the beauty of the Po Delta Nature Reserve with 2 million trees of 150 different species. Be treated to a delicious seafood lunch. Later in the afternoon, reboard your ship in Chioggia and sail to Venice. (BB, L, D)
Shakespeare endowed Verona with enduring fame when he wrote of two star-crossed lovers, but Verona has been an important city in Northern Italy for 2,000 years. Though Juliette and her Romeo are Verona’s best-known pair, Verona’s best-known landmark is the pink-marble-sheathed Roman arena, where many of today’s famous composers, musicians, and opera singers still perform. Savor the magic of Verona and get swept away in its romance. (BB, D)
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of Rome in European history, a historical fact you’ll discover on today’s tour which includes: St. Peter’s Basilica, the Arch of Titus, the Villa Borghese, and the Coliseum. Or “Do as the Locals Do” and walk the heart of Rome, seeing the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, and the Trevi Fountain. (BB, D)
Visit all the highlights of the legendary Rhine in just 8 days. In Germany, see the many charming castles commanding the riverbanks as you sail by, tour both Marksburg Castle and the ruins of Heidelberg Castle. Admire Cologne, the jewel of the Rhine, with its awe-inspiring Dom, and experience the lush landscape of the Black Forest region. Also, explore Holland’s famous windmills and waterworks, encounter multicultural Strasbourg in France, and take part in the inviting nightlife in Rüdesheim’sDrosselgasse. On this itinerary you see a lot without spending a lot of time. I will be on this River Cruise July, 2015. This has a great itinerary and I know you will enjoy it as much as I do.
DAY 1 | AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
Arrive in Amsterdam, then transfer to our ship. After boarding, the afternoon is ours to relax or explore the city on our own. If our arrival schedule permits, we may wish to visit the Anne Frank House. (D) I am all about exploring.
DAY 2 | KINDERDIJK, NETHERLANDS
This morning we sail to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a tour of this ingenious network of windmills and other flood management devices. You learn why the windmills were built and see how they work, plus you enter a working windmill for a tour of its mechanisms and living quarters. Return aboard for lunch and an enjoyable afternoon of Dutch diversions: sample handcrafted Dutch cheeses and jenever, a distilled juniper liquor, and try your hand at sjoelen (Dutch table shuffleboard). We cruise through the night. (B, L, D)
DAY 3 | COLOGNE, GERMANY
Continue along the Rhine this morning; arrive in Cologne and disembark for a walking tour. Stroll through Old Town past St. Martin’s Church, and spend some time inside Cologne’s Dom, a remarkable Gothic cathedral whose construction began in 1248 and was only completed in 1880. Explore the dockside taverns, cafés and shops on our own. As always, our Program Director can help you plan your free time. Dinner is served aboard and we remain docked until late evening. (B, L, D) More exploring!
DAY 4 | KOBLENZ & RÜDESHEIM , GERMANY
Proceed along the Rhine, disembarking to tour the 700-year-old Marksburg Castle and its museum. Enjoy an onboard lunch as you marvel at this scenic passage, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where castles overlook the river from their hilltop posts. Arrive in Rüdesheim in the late afternoon. Spend free time in the pedestrian-onlyDrosselgasse and sample a glass of locally produced wine at one of the restaurants or wine bars. Dine aboard the ship, or in town if you prefer. We depart after midnight. (B, L, D)
DAY 5 | HEIDELBERG & SPEYER, GERMANY
Cruise through the morning as we enjoy breakfast and the passing scenery. Arrive in Mannheim and disembark for a tour of Heidelberg to see Germany’s oldest university, founded in 1386. Then, visit the beautiful sandstone ruins of imposing Heidelberg Castle and take in the scenery of the Neckar River Valley and the city’s many red rooftops from this hilltop post. Continue with a walking tour through the Old Town to Heidelberg’s renowned gates.
Rejoin our ship in Speyer this afternoon and take some time to look around. We dock in full view of the imposing Romanesque cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in the 11th century on the site of a former basilica, the building’s design influenced Romanesque architecture for centuries to come, and is the final resting place of eight German monarchs. Its soaring interior features graceful rows of sandstone columns and a large stained-glass window that was installed in the western façade during a later Gothic period. (B, L, D)
DAY 6 | STRASBOURG, FRANCE
We dock this morning in Kehl and disembark for a guided tour of Strasbourg. See the European Parliament and tour the interior of the city’s famed cathedral. The afternoon is free to further explore this Alsatian city’s blend of French and German cultures, resplendent churches, medieval covered bridges, verdant parks and handsome Art Nouveau and modernist architecture. Dine aboard and enjoy free time this evening in the amiable little city of Kehl. (B, L, D) Time to explore again!
DAY 7 | BREISACH, GERMANY
Arrive in Breisach this morning, gateway to the Black Forest. Take a scenic excursion through the area’s renowned mountain landscape, rolling meadows and dense forests. Once there, visit a local workshop and see a cuckoo clock-making demonstration. Return to Breisach or choose an optional excursion to the quaint Alsatian town of Colmar. Dine aboard and cruise on through the night. (B, L, D) This is a great place to buy your cuckoo clocks.
DAY 8 | BASEL, SWITZERLAND
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for our return flight.* Or, you may want toextend your journey with 2 nights in Lucerne. Enjoy the scenic landscape of the Swiss Alps with a view from your hotel, situated on the banks of beautiful Lake Lucerne. (B) I will be extending my stay in Lucerne, There are a few attractions I would like to re-visit again.