Day 1 Arrive in Zürich, Switzerland. Transfer to Basel (Embarkation)
Welcome to Switzerland, home of the Matterhorn and the majestic Alps! Transfer by motorcoach to Basel, where your river cruise vessel is docked. Meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. (Dinner)
NOTE: Flights into Zürich must arrive before 3 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
Day 2 Breisach, Germany. Excursion to the Black Forest
Located at the foot of Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border, Breisach is the gateway to Germany’s BLACK FOREST region, an area of unrivaled natural beauty. The area got its name because the pine forests are so dense, local residents described them as black. The most well-known products from this region are Black Forest ham, Black Forest cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks! This afternoon there’s free time in Breisach to visit the Christmas market —or you may join an optional excursion to Colmar in France’s Alsace region. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3 Strasbourg, France
Situated on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg blends the cultures of both countries in a delightful way. On your walking tour, you will discover Europe at its most quintessential. Visit the monumental red-sandstone GOTHIC CATHEDRAL with its ancient murals, stained-glass windows, and fascinating astronomical clock, as well as the magical LA PETITE FRANCE district, home to half-timbered houses, quaint shops, inviting bistros, and a waterfront promenade. Explore Place Kléber, a large historic square in the heart of the city, and Place Gutenberg in the heart of medieval Strasbourg, which features a statue of the inventor of the printing press. Dating back to 1570, the traditional Christmas market is one of the oldest and finest in Europe. Located around Place de la Cathédrale and Place Broglie, its centerpiece is a giant Christmas tree. As you stroll through the festively decorated and illuminated streets you’ll notice the pleasing aromas of mulled wine, sweets, spice cakes, and biscuits—a truly magical atmosphere! This afternoon, an optional excursion into the Alsace wine country is available. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4 Excursion to Heidelberg, Germany–Mainz
This morning, an excursion takes you to Heidelberg, home to Germany’s oldest university, which was founded in 1386. Visit the ruins of HEIDELBERG CASTLE, towering magnificently over the city and among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. You’ll also see the famed GREAT VAT, the “World’s Largest Wine Barrel.” At nearly 23 feet high and 28 feet wide, it holds over 58,000 gallons of wine and has a dance floor on top of it! The Christmas market in Heidelberg is scattered over five town squares, and you’ll find a wide array of crafts and regional delicacies. In the afternoon, arrive in Mainz, which today is Germany’s largest and most important wine market. The Altstadt (Old Town) has many intriguing shops and the whimsical Fastnachtsbrunnen (Carnival Fountain) on the Schillerplatz is a tribute to the jesters at the city’s annual Carnival celebration. Gutenberg, father of modern printing, was born here, and during a GUIDED WALK you’ll visit the captivating GUTENBERG MUSEUM. Then there’s free time to explore the local Christmas market in this beautiful city. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 Rüdesheim–Rhine Gorge–Koblenz
This morning, dock in pretty Rudesheim, a typical Rhine Valley wine town. Visit SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM to see and hear a large collection of self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries, and enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT. During the festive period the entire town transforms itself into one large Christmas market, offering products and specialties from a number of nations, all presented in a distinctive manner. You’ll be spoiled by the selection of shops offering a vast variety of Christmas presents and decorations. In the Market Square you’ll find Europe’s largest nativity scene, with life-size figures. Downstream from Rüdesheim is the dramatic RHINE GORGE, the most beautiful stretch of river. Here, ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the water. Cruise past the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where echoes of enchanted siren song lured sailors to their doom. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 Cologne
One of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne, straddles both sides of the Rhine, and is known for its soaring, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. This morning, join an included GUIDED CITY 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! Wander through the fabulous and magical Christmas market before leaving Cologne and sailing to Amsterdam. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7 Amsterdam, Holland
Welcome to Amsterdam! Holland’s sophisticated, modern capital has a rich and fascinating history. This delightful 700-year-old city with its elegant and classic architecture, cafés, and restaurants has a distinct ambiance. There is no better way to see Amsterdam than by CANAL BOAT, cruising through the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” There’s free time this afternoon to enjoy the city or perhaps join an optional excursion. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8 Amsterdam–Paris, France
Disembark your Avalon ship for your included transfer to the train station, where you will travel via HIGH-SPEED THALYS TRAIN (first class) to join your Monograms package. (Breakfast)
Day 9 Paris
Morning guided sightseeing takes you to NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL, where Napoleon was crowned emperor in 1804, to admire its famed 13th-century Rose Window. Pass the Latin Quarter, Les Invalides, the Opéra, Place de la Concorde, and Arc de Triomphe. Drive by the Seine River with its beautiful bridges and stop to take photos of the iconic Eiffel Tower from one of the best viewing points. Also enter the world’s most visited museum, THE LOUVRE, to see Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and other treasures (Louvre replaced with Seine cruise on Tuesdays). (Breakfast)
Day 10 Paris
Your Local Host can suggest options, like an excursion to Monet’s Giverny or Versailles Palace, a visit to Musée d’Orsay, where to try French onion soup, and many other possibilities. (Breakfast)
Day 11 Paris–London, England
Travel to London by HIGH-SPEED EUROSTAR TRAIN (Standard class). (Breakfast)
Day 12 London
Morning guided sightseeing includes London’s landmarks. Drive past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben; Westminster Abbey, where Prince William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were married; Whitehall’s mounted horseguards; the Prime Minister’s Downing Street; and Piccadilly Circus. Take photos of the London Eye, the giant Ferris wheel situated on the river bank, and the Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe. Then, visit ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL (except on Sundays). Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece with its world-famous dome is an iconic feature of London’s skyline. (Breakfast)
Day 13 London
Your Local Hosts will be pleased to give you some interesting suggestions for the day—perhaps a visit to the blood-curdling London Dungeon or Madame Tussauds’ celebrity wax figure exhibition, and an acclaimed West End show with pre-theater dinner at a London restaurant. (Breakfast)
Day 14 London
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
One of Europe’s most legendary rivers awaits you on this mesmerizing river cruise along the Rhine River. Enjoy guided sightseeing in Strasbourg, Koblenz, and Cologne, as well as an excursion to the Black Forest and to Heidelberg—Germany’s oldest university town. Sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge, the most beautiful stretch of river dotted every mile with majestic castles. Visit the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, see the legendary Lorelei rock, and enjoy a canal cruise in splendid Amsterdam.
After disembarking your Avalon cruise ship in Amsterdam, we transfer you by high-speed train to Paris for your exciting Monograms extension. We’ve arranged your hotel reservations, daily breakfasts, sightseeing with local experts, transfers to and from your hotels and train stations, and best of all—the services of friendly and knowledgeable Local Hosts®. Your Local Hosts are there to answer questions, share inside information, help you arrange your activities and excursions, and more. The moment you arrive in Paris, you’ll feel the magic. We know the very best place to photograph the iconic Eiffel Tower, and we’ll take you there to get your shots! We’ll also take you to Notre Dame Cathedral to admire its amazing stained-glass Rose Window, and the Louvre museum to see Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and other treasures. With three overnights, the “City of Light” is yours for discovering.
Next, bid “Au Revoir” as an included high-speed train transfer whisks you from Paris to London for three nights and plenty of time to investigate just what makes England so jolly. From your local expert, you'll hear the inside stories of famous places like Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. We’ll take you inside St. Paul’s Cathedral, the iconic cathedral where Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married. You’ll also be able to take photographs of Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, and the Shard—just to name a few iconic London landmarks. Enjoy a full day of exploring London on your own. Perhaps step back in time on a Classic Rock & Beatles tour, see the “Beefeaters” at the Tower of London, or take in a West End theater show. A perfect ending to wonderful Avalon European river cruise and Monograms land vacation!
Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapés; Welcome dinner; Daily Afternoon Tea; Daily Night Fare; Farewell dinner; Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; soft drinks with lunch; and wine, beer, or soft drinks with dinner are included daily on board your vessel
Included excursions with Certified Local Guide; sightseeing as outlined in the day by-day itinerary; inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE.
Deluxe cruise in an outside stateroom with hotel-style beds
Headsets for shore excursions
Complimentary Wi-Fi access
Personalized room options & excursions
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.