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15 Day Rhine River Cruise with Italian Lakes, Swiss Alps, Paris & Bruges (Monarch Countess)

15 days with Gate 1  Rating: Deluxe

River Cruise Itinerary

DAY 1, Wednesday - Depart for Italy
Depart for Italy.

DAY 2, Thursday - Arrive in Milan, Lake Como
Welcome to Italy! Arrive in Milan and transfer independently to your hotel on the western shore of spectacular Lake Como, one of the world's most romantic destinations. The remainder of the day is at leisure to enjoy the beautiful new surroundings. Tonight, a Welcome Drink and orientation meeting with your local host at the hotel at approximately 6pm, followed by a briefing about the journey. We recommend that you select flights which arrive in your destination no later than 4pm on Day 2 or earlier, if possible.

DAY 3, Friday - Village of Bellagio
Begin the day in this paradise with a scenic morning cruise on Lake Como to the exquisite village of Bellagio, named "The Pearl" of Lake Como. Nestled amid cypress groves, its earthy colored buildings climb up from the lakeside promenade. Wander along the narrow streets and alleyways, lined with craft shops, boutiques and cafés; or visit some of the gorgeous gardens with manicured lawns and fountains at Villa Melzi or Villa Serbelloni. Upon return, time at leisure to experience your lakeside village with its spectacular mountain views, restaurants, and boutiques. (Breakfast)

DAY 4, Saturday - Lake Lugano, St. Gotthard Tunnel, Lucerne's Old City
Travel this morning to Lugano in southern Switzerland's Italian-speaking Ticino region on the northern shore of glacial Lake Lugano. Its Swiss-Mediterranean mix of cultures is similar to Italy's northern Lombardy region and reflected in its architecture. The palm trees give way to Alpine peaks and glaciers as you continue heading north traversing through the St. Gotthard Tunnel built under the Swiss Alps. On your journey to Lucerne, pass magnificent Alpine scenery, roaring waterfalls and running rivers. In the stunning lakeside Swiss city of Lucerne, get acquainted with the city on your walking tour to the sentimental Lion Monument, the 14th Century Chapel Bridge and the cobbled streets of the well-preserved medieval Altstadt (Old Town). (Breakfast)

DAY 5, Sunday - Cruise Embarkation in Basel
The day is yours to independently discover Lucerne, in the heart of central Switzerland. Wander through the lively streets, over bridges and along the picturesque lakeshore. Shop to your heart's content for chocolates, watches, the famous Swiss and German cuckoo clocks, or sip coffee at an outdoor café and just "people-watch". Perhaps, join the exciting optional tour to the summit of Mt. Pilatus. Ascend the world's steepest cogwheel railway that winds up through lush meadows and sparkling mountain streams to nearly 7,000 feet. After time to admire the splendid panoramic views, descend by aerial cableway. This afternoon travel to Basel. After arrival formalities, time to relax on board. Tonight, a gala Welcome Dinner sets the mood for your delightful river cruise. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Optional: Mount Pilatus Tour (AM)

DAY 6, Monday - Breisach Walking Tour
Arrive this morning in the small town of Breisach that dates back over 4,000 years. On your walking tour along the cobbled streets lined with pastel-painted houses, it's hard to believe this town was mostly destroyed in WWII and then totally restored to its original beauty. View the towering Romanesque and Gothic St. Stephansmunster Cathedral, a highlight of the city. Spend free time in town, or, join the optional tour to Colmar in France, known as Alsace's most beautiful city with its dramatic steep pitched roofs, pastel stucco and distinctive French shutters accented by window boxes filled with colorful geraniums. At the end of your tour, stop by a local wine maker to sample a few of the region's varietals. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Optional: Colmar City Tour (PM)

DAY 7, Tuesday - Strasbourg City Tour
A lovely day awaits you in Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace, situated on the border of France and Germany, blending the cultures of both countries. Discover Strasbourg on the tour highlighting the city's center, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Of special note is the stunning Gothic Cathedral, an exquisite example of late Gothic architecture that houses one of the finest astronomical clocks in existence. See the magical La Petite France district, home to quaint shops and charming bistros, Place Kleber, a large historic square in the center of the city and Place Gutenberg, dedicated to the inventor of the printing press. This evening, the ship sets sail toward Speyer. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 8, Wednesday - Morning in Speyer & Evening in Rudesheim
This morning arrive in Speyer. Perhaps take a refreshing morning walk through this picturesque town founded by the Romans, or alternatively, join the optional tour to Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany and inspiration for some of the world's greatest writers and artists. The ship will continue sailing this morning and passengers joining the tour will rejoin the ship at lunchtime and relax on board this afternoon. After dinner, arrive in Rudesheim, a lively village in the heart of the Rhine; perhaps take a leisurely walk through town or visit a quaint wine tavern. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Optional: Heidelberg City Tour (AM)

DAY 9, Thursday - Morning Cruising & Afternoon in Koblenz
This morning take in the spectacular vistas as the ship sails past castles perched on lofty cliffs, terraced vineyards and tiny villages. Pass the mighty Lorelei Rock on the eastern bank of the Rhine rising vertically from the waters, named for the siren "Lorelei" who bewitched sailors passing by. After lunch on board, the ship docks in Koblenz, located at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. Join an orientation walk and free time to explore the Romanesque architecture and imposing defensive towers of this 2000-year old city. Or, join the optional tour to the dramatic Marksburg Castle, the only hill castle on the Rhine that's never been destroyed and has been continuously occupied for over 700 years. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Optional: Marksburg Castle (PM)

DAY 10, Friday - Cologne City Tour
Today the ship will dock in Cologne, one of Germany's largest cities and capital of the Rhineland. Your walking tour of the city is highlighted by the soaring, twin-steeple Gothic cathedral that is the geographical and spiritual heart of the city. Known for its vibrant art scene, Cologne abounds with cafes, galleries, shops and taverns. The ship will set sail just before dinner this evening. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 11, Saturday - Amsterdam City Tour
Cruise into Amsterdam as you enjoy breakfast on board, and join a panoramic tour of 700-year-old Amsterdam. View the Royal Palace on Amsterdam's Dam Square, the Queen's official home-away-from-home. On to the Dutch National Monument dedicated by Queen Juliana as a memorial to the victims of WWII and to the unusual Skinny Bridge, once so narrow that pedestrians could not pass each other. Then, board a glass-top boat and cruise the winding canals for an up-close view of the stately historic homes, 16th-century warehouses and charming churches with striking bell towers. This evening bid farewell to your traveling companions on your final night on board. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 12, Sunday - Tour Brussels, Bruges Orientation Walk
This morning, disembark your ship and travel through the countryside to reach Brussels. In Belgium's capital city, view the gigantic Atomium, that still remains from the 1958 World Expo, the Palace of Justice and the Grand Place, a re-created 15th century town square with decorated guild houses. Stroll the city center with the well-known Manneken Pis bronze sculpture before continuing to your journey to Bruges. Enjoy an orientation walk through one of Europe's most beautiful cities. This afternoon walk along the picturesque cobbled lanes lined with historic churches and whitewashed almshouses. View the Lake of Love (Minnewater), the Beguinage convent and Our Lady's Church, housing the astonishing Madonna statue by Michelangelo. This evening, treat yourself to an extraordinary dinner or perhaps just sample the city's famous chocolate and beer. (Breakfast)

DAY 13, Monday - Afternoon in Paris, the "City of Lights"
On to Paris, the "City of Lights." Upon arrival, start your discovery of one of the world’s greatest cities with its endless treasures. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure. Perhaps, visit the bustling Montmartre and see spectacular views of the city, visit the Basilica of Sacre Coeur, and walk the winding streets to mingle with the street artists selling their wares at Place du Tertre Shop. (Breakfast)

DAY 14, Tuesday - Tour of Paris
Drive along the famous Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe, Concorde Square, and the iconic Eiffel Tower, symbol of Paris. On to the celebrated "Rive Gauche," the vivacious Left Bank where artists, philosophers and writers in a long gone era flourished in the artistic community at Montparnasse. View the imposing Cathedral of Notre Dame, and the Latin Quarter, home to many of France’s higher education establishments, such as the Sorbonne. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure or join the optional tour to magnificent Versailles to witness the grandeur of French classical architecture on the visit to the Palace and extravagant State Apartments. (Breakfast)

Optional: Versailles Apartments (PM)

DAY 15, Wednesday - Depart France
This morning, your vacation ends after breakfast. (Breakfast)

Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • A scenic cruise on spectacular Lake Como takes you to the exquisite village of Bellagio
  • Walk the cobbled streets of tiny Breisach, a city that dates back over 4,000 years
  • Visit the Alsace capital of Strasbourg, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Stroll the lanes filled with quaint wine taverns in the lively village of Rüdesheim
  • View the mighty Lorelei Rock named for the siren "Lorelei" rising vertically from the waters
  • Discover 2000-year-old Koblenz, with its superb Romanesque architecture
  • Sail on the legendary Rhine to Cologne, capital of the Rhineland
  • In Amsterdam, board a glass-top boat and cruise the winding canals
  • Tour Brussels and Bruges in Belgium, two of Europe's most beautiful cities
  • Discover Paris, the “City of Lights,” with its endless treasures

All This Included
  • 13 nights accommodations
  • River port charges of $190 per person
  • Cruise porterage
  • 26 meals: 13 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Cruise director & activities host throughout cruise
  • Tour manager in Como, Lucerne, Bruges & Paris
  • Services of local guides in all major cities
  • Entrance fees per itinerary
  • Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring during excursions

River Cruise Features & Amenities

  • Gala Welcome Dinner and Farewell Dinner
  • Wine and beer with dinners
  • Locally inspired recipes
  • Early riser breakfast in addition to buffet breakfast
  • Late night snack
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access in public areas
  • Self-serve coffee and tea station
  • Lounge serving premium spirits
  • Daily entertainment including an on-board musician
  • Fitness center
  • Non-smoking ship interior
  • Shore excursions conducted exclusively in English

Accommodations on this Tour
Cruising: Cabin onboard Monarch Countess
Lake Como: Albergo Terminus or Hotel Metropole Suisse
Lucerne: Grand Europe Hotel
Bruges: Novotel Brugge Centrum or NH Brugge
Paris: Paris Marriott Opera Ambassador
Notes
  • Cruise only price does not include arrival/departure transfers. Due to physical constraints and space limitations, wheelchairs and walkers are not allowed on motor coaches and/or river cruises. There are no elevators or chair lifts on board. While sailing with Monarch Cruises, passengers are subject to the cruise's Terms & Conditions.
  • European river cruising has gained in popularity for very good reason. It's a relaxing and convenient way to experience Europe while enjoying the comfort of a deluxe ship. However, before making the decision to reserve your vacation, please be aware of potential conditions which may impact your cruise. While most of the time river cruises operate exactly as planned, weather conditions may result in high or low water levels which impact a ship's itinerary and, on occasion, render a ship unable to sail at all. On very rare occasions, other events such as heavy fog, a damaged lock, or an incapacitated vessel blocking the river, may impact a sailing. These events typically occur with little or no notice. In the event that a cruise is partially or completely impacted, the itinerary will be operated by deluxe motor coach, accompanied by a Tour Manager, with overnights in hotels. The itinerary will include as many of the originally scheduled sightseeing features as possible, considering the travel time and distances required, as well as meals. While it is not possible to recreate the more leisurely comforts of sailings, we will endeavor to provide a comparable itinerary. These alternative services will be provided at no additional charge.
  • This moderately active trip covers a fair amount of ground each day. Expect from three to four hours walking every touring day. The pace is moderate, however you will encounter some uneven surfaces, stairs, steps and significant slopes. There is a potential for a small number of sailings to be impacted by river water levels, or other factors which may impact safe navigation. This may cause part or all of the cruise itinerary to be operated by motor coach and may also involve hotel accommodations. This is a Classic program.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions

* 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.



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