Best of the Rhine 2020 Saga River Cruise
Sail from the edge of Switzerland to Holland, calling at many fascinating cities en route. Compare the pretty canals of the French town of Strasbourg to historic Cologne with its mighty Gothic cathedral and cosmopolitan Amsterdam.
Fly to Basel or Zurich and transfer to your ship, Dutch Melody, moored in Basel. Enjoy a welcome reception and dinner on board this evening as you spend the night cruising towards Breisach.
Arrive in Breisach in the early hours. The town is set at the foot of the Kaiserstühl, or Emperor's Chair, hills named in honour of Holy Roman Emperor Otto III. The hill upon which the town is built would frequently become an island when this area of the river flooded – until the river was 'straightened' by Johann Gottfried Tulla, a German engineer. You'll have a day to explore this medieval town whose cobbled streets and painted houses have been sympathetically reconstructed since World War ll. The town is dominated by the Romanesque and Gothic St Stephansmünster, home to an exquisitely carved wooden triptych altar. Breisach is also known as known as the 'gateway to the Black Forest' and you could join an optional excursion there, to Lake Titisee. Alternatively, join an optional trip to picturesque Colmar. Depart late tonight and cruise overnight to Strasbourg.
You'll have a full day to explore this delightful French city – the capital of the Alsace region which was restored to France in 1919, after centuries of tug-of -war with Germany. This morning discover the UNESCO-listed Grand Île, with its picturesque medieval half-timbered houses and the 17th-century Ponts Couverts – covered bridges – that cross the river Îll, its cobbled streets and magnificent cathedral, on an included tour and cruise on the canals. This afternoon you might like to join an excursion to the pretty walled city of Obernai, to stroll along the ramparts and admire attractive 13th-century buildings with flower-filled balconies. Your ship departs for Mannheim during dinner.
Pause awhile in Mannheim to join an included visit to the old university city of Heidelberg. Highlights include the Old Bridge across the River Neckar and the ruined castle high above the city. Its rather random appearance is due to it having been added to through different periods of German architectural styles. Virtually destroyed by lightning in 1764 it was cannibalised by locals who used stones from it in their own houses!
Rejoin the ship in Mainz where you spend the afternoon. Perhaps explore the atmospheric Old Town and famous Gutenberg Museum, dedicated to Johannes Gutenberg. Born in the city he was the inventor of the 'moveable type' printing press, and is known as the 'father of modern printing'. Later, cruise to charming Rüdesheim, the epitome of a Rhineland wine town, where you will moor for the night. This evening you can take a stroll down the cobbled Drosselgasse, a narrow street lined with taverns, to enjoy a glass of local wine or a flagon of ale.
Cruise a scenic stretch of the Rhine this morning past a collection of fairy-tale castles and villages, and the impressive Lorelei Rock, before arriving for an afternoon in Koblenz. The city sits at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers and is an important centre for the wine industry. Stroll along the pretty riverside promenade, overlooked by the Festung Ehrenbreitstein citadel, which sits on a hill across the river. Work started on it in the 11th century and it was at the forefront of a succession of conflicts right through to the end of the First World War. Perhaps join an optional Koblenz tour which also visits the fortress, travelling to the summit by cable car. Depart later tonight and cruise overnight to Cologne.
A morning in Cologne provides the opportunity to visit one of Germany's most popular attractions, the vast Gothic cathedral, started in 1248 to house the relics of the three Magi but not finally completed until 1880! You can see the magnificent shrine to Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar – now among the patron saints of Cologne – behind the high altar. Around lunchtime you'll leave for Amsterdam.
Arrive in the Dutch capital, rightly popular for its friendly welcome, picturesque canals, world-class museums and galleries and laid-back cafes and bars, this morning. Perhaps take an optional excursion to gain a comprehensive overview of the city on a combined coach tour and canal cruise. Your ship remains moored here overnight.
Disembark your ship after breakfast and travel to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
|Date||Price from (pp)|
|5 October 2020^||£1,299|
|12 October 2020||£1,249|
- Low deposit of £99pp
- VIP door-to-door travel service
- Optional travel insurance or a discount of £20 if not required†.
- Return flights from London Gatwick and non UK transfers. Return regional flights may be available & may carry a supplement.
- 7 nights on board Dutch Melody
- Complimentary Return UK Travel Service
- 20 meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners
- Drinks reception and Captain’s dinner
- Saga cruise director & Saga cruise escort on board
- Entertainment and activities on the ship
- Excursions & visits: Tour and canal cruise in Strasbourg & Heidelberg walking tour and castle visit