2018 is The Year of Europe for me with four trips there. Part One is on a Tauck River Cruise from Basel to Amsterdam next month.
I've been a little obsessed with river cruising, and I book quite a few of them for my clients, so I'm thrilled to be experiencing this one with Tauck.
What makes river cruising such a popular travel experience?
All photos credit to Tauck.
The views. Imagine yourself cruising with a view of Heidelberg Castle, sipping a local wine or cocktail, relaxing on the deck.
How would you like to see parts of Switzerland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands without unpacking your suitcase more than once?
Let's start at the beginning.
When I arrange river cruising trips for my clients, frequently they like to experience a "pre" or a "post" stay. I'm going to experience the Grand Hotel Les Trois Bois in Basel the night before departure. Pinch me.
Located at the crossroads of three countries, the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois: The Three Kings lives up to its royal reputation. Since 1681, notables from Napoleon Bonaparte to Theodor Herzl have stayed in its lavish accommodations, which feature the fine brocade and bold hues you would expect, along with antiques and original artworks. The views over the Rhine and Basel's Old Town are equally dramatic. Peter Knogl's French haute cuisine enriched with Mediterranean and Asian influences has garnered three Michelin stars for the Cheval Blanc; other dining choices include the French/Swiss Brasserie and Chez Donati for Italian cuisine.
And then we embark and enjoy a welcome reception followed by dinner onboard the riverboat.
The Tauck Difference in European river cruising is all about where you go and what you do. You can spend the day in Basel, a beautiful city on the banks of the Rhine River, where you'll get a good overview on a brief sightseeing tour that is followed by a walking tour in the Old Town – see the bright-red Rathaus, Basel’s Town Hall. After lunch, you can explore more of one of Europe’s most attractive and best-preserved Old Towns on your own, perhaps taking in one of the city’s 40 museums, or you may take a trip to the town of Schaffhausen for an excursion to the Rhine Falls, the largest plain waterfall in Europe, which you'll experience on a boat ride. Back on the riverboat late afternoon for some free time and then you head for Strasbourg, France.
Next you'll explore Strasbourg, France, seat of the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights, and you’ll see the Parliament buildings before stepping back in time to discover La Petit France by foot, noted for its medieval half-timbered houses set beside its lovely canals. After visiting the famous Gothic Cathédrale de Notre-Dame de Strasbourg on this most extraordinary of Rhine River tours, you'll return to the riverboat for lunch or choose to dine at one of the city’s many intriguing restaurants on your own. Return to the riverboat or spend the afternoon exploring as you please. Enjoy an Alsatian folkloric performance this evening.
Diverging from the Rhine, your day begins with an introduction to the Moselle River, en route to Cochem. Step into the pages of a medieval fairy tale and tour the picture-perfect 1,000-year-old Reichsburg Castle, overlooking Cochem's quaint market square. Historic charm and ambiance Honor the area’s centuries-old winemaking traditions with a tasting of the excellent locally produced vintages at the family-owned Schlagkamp Wine Museum before returning to the riverboat.
After a morning spent cruising the Rhine, arrive this afternoon in the historic German city of Köln (Cologne), where you'll enjoy a city tour with a local guide including the Old Town. This evening, you're off to Burg Satzvey – owned by the same family for more than three centuries, and one of the most beautiful and well-preserved medieval moated castles in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany – for a memorable visit and dinner with entertainment. Return to the ship late tonight to continue your cruise along the Rhine, bound for The Netherlands.
As your cruise – and this most extraordinary of Moselle and Rhine River tours – comes to an end in Amsterdam, you will indulge in the many charms of the Dutch capital today. You'll be introduced to the city's remarkable architecture on a scenic canal cruise along its 17th-century canals, winding up at Museumplein, where you'll visit the famed Rijksmuseum. This afternoon, you have the choice of exploring more of this fascinating metropolis – at once one of Europe's most modern and most historic cities – on your own, or meeting a local family and visiting their home on an Amsterdam canal boat. Then you will spend the evening aboard the riverboat for a farewell reception followed by dinner and a live musical performance.
When I help you plan your cruise with Tauck, virtually every river cruise expense is included in one upfront price… including all shore excursions and unlimited complimentary beverages onboard. There are no little extras to pay for, no hidden expenses, no options sold. You get what you pay for… and then some.
Let's get you on a river cruise. What could be more fun?