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Cologne, the Rhine Gorge & Medieval Germany River Cruise - MS George Eliot

11days from
£2,949*per person


11 Days - River Cruises

Experience some of the world’s most inspiring scenery on our spectacular cruise celebrating the wonders of the famous Middle Rhine Valley. Sail the great engineering feat, the Main-Danube Canal to discover medieval treasures off the tourist trail, the legendary Romantic Road and Germany’s exceptional winelands.


  • Arrival in Cologne Arrive at your five-star cruise ship moored on the banks of the Rhine in historic Cologne, one of Germany’s oldest cities. Your professional, English-speaking crew will welcome you on board, show you to your cabin and help you familiarise yourself with all aspects of this first-class floating boutique hotel before dinner is served.
  • Cologne After breakfast, disembark for a guided walking tour of this most majestic of cities, Cologne.  The cathedral’s famous spires tower above the old town’s maze of cobbled streets, where our expert guide will bring the city’s fascinating history to life. Explore the vibrant old town, beautifully restored and boasting an abundance of excellent shopping and cosy bars, some of which still brew their own beer. See the cathedral, the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe, miraculous survivor of Second World War bombing and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It took six centuries to complete this iconic masterpiece and among its many treasures are the magnificent stained-glass windows and gilded sarcophagus said to contain the remains of the three kings from the Nativity story. After some free time, return to the ship to enjoy lunch and relax on board as our journey truly begins. Cruise towards Andernach As we leave Cologne’s imposing skyline behind head up onto the sun deck to enjoy fabulous river views during an afternoon of scenic sailing. Sink into a good book in a comfortable lounge chair, cool off in the splash pool or relax on the terrace area with a refreshing drink. Freshen up in your elegant cabin before reconvening with your fellow cruisers in the bar for an aperitif. During tonight’s dinner we arrive in Andernach. Included experience: Guided tour of Cologne.
  • Andernach One of the oldest towns in Germany, Andernach was founded by the Romans in 12BC on the site of an old Celtic settlement then seized by the Franks in 450 AD who set up a royal court within its old fort walls. By medieval times, the town had grown in stature and was trading with places as far away as England and Scandinavia – even having its own mint and coinage. Andernach and the surrounding area is well known for its pumice with production booming since the 1950s. Enjoy a guided walking tour around its picturesque streets and admire the town’s mighty defensive walls, gates and towers, the finest of which is the 56-metre tall Round Tower. See the impressive, ruined castle with its well-preserved keep, and the majestic cathedral with its four soaring towers, fine interior and unusual wall decorations. At the old harbour area discover the Old Crane, a 16th-century stone-turning tower crane, still in use until 1911 to load millstones, tuff and wine. Boppard Back on board for lunch, take in the glorious river scenery as we set sail for Boppard. Later, discover this hidden gem, set against a backdrop of rolling forested slopes and vineyards.  Also known as the ‘Pearl of the Rhine’, this famously picturesque town is located on a long, looping bend of the river. The black and white spires of the Church of Saint Severus can be seen from a distance, but as we draw closer its bustling quayside comes into view. Captivating, cobbled streets, lined by half-timbered houses, tucked-away shops selling traditional goods and characterful restaurants, lead into the town and its main square. Like many riverside settlements in the area, the Romans founded Boppard, and their legacy remains in the superbly preserved town walls, the finest in Germany. There’s time to explore or promenade along the river, gazing at views of the vineyard-covered hillsides. Or you can simply pass time on board in anticipation of more fine dining in the ship’s restaurant this evening. After dinner enjoy professional musicians from leading symphony orchestras demonstrating perfect mastery of their instruments, showcasing melodies from the most famous European composers with a special focus on Beethoven, who was born in Bonn - a splendid finale to this memorable holiday. Our ship remains moored overnight and after dinner there’s the chance to enjoy a special onboard performance by professional musicians from leading symphony orchestras. They will showcase melodies from the most famous European composers, with a particular focus on Beethoven, who was born in Bonn. Included experiences: Guided tour of Andernach, visit to Boppard & classic duo musical performance.
  • Rhine Gorge & Rudesheim There’s a bucket-list treat in store this morning as we cruise through the world-famous Rhine Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and area of outstanding natural beauty. As the river twists and turns, encased by sheer valley sides 600 feet high, make sure you’re up on deck to experience these incredible views close up. Ruins of ancient castles teeter on the valley slopes, built by wealthy princes eager to display their power and influence and to extort tolls from passing river traffic. Legends abound here, most famously of the Lorelei - murmuring rock – where enchanting maidens lured unsuspecting sailors to watery graves. Look out for birds of prey floating above as we cruise on passing quaint villages – Saint Goar, Bacharach and Kaub – all famed for their wine production. Later, arrive in Rüdesheim for a guided walking tour. A tangle of crooked houses, winding cobbled alleys and curious little shops, this pretty town is famous for its wine making. Set amongst vineyard-clad slopes, Riesling is the region’s speciality grape, and you’ll find a wealth of Weinstuben where you can sample the locally produced wines. A delightful marketplace lined with pastel facades and cosy taverns lies at Rüdesheim’s heart, overlooked by Brömserburg Castle. As you wander the maze of streets, don’t miss the impressive Klunkhardshof, one of the town’s finest 15th-century homes with its traditional timber frame and gabled roof. After dinner back on board, reconvene in the bar for a digestif or perhaps a coffee with a shot of locally produced Asbach brandy. We remain moored in Rüdesheim overnight. Included experiences: Cruise through Rhine Gorge & guided tour of Rüdesheim.
  • Mainz During breakfast arrive in the historic city of Mainz, a colourful ensemble of domes and spires rising above the riverbank. Situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Main Rivers, it’s famed as Germany’s wine capital and the birthplace of Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the movable type printing press. The excellent city museum houses a reconstruction of his workshop and two copies of original Gutenberg Bibles dating from 1455. Dominating Mainz’s skyline is the St. Martin's Cathedral, with its fine Romanesque architecture and another must-see is the spectacular stained-glass windows in Saint Stephen’s Church. On our guided walking tour explore the cobbled streets of the old town, stopping to admire the elegant patrician houses and charming timber-framed buildings. Cruise towards Miltenberg Lunch is served on board as we continue our scenic cruise so it’s the perfect opportunity to relax and make the most of the ship’s excellent facilities. Indulge in a treatment in a treatment at the hairdressers or the nail salon, or simply find a comfy seat in the lounge with an afternoon cup of tea and enjoy the views. This is the very heart of Germany’s winelands, a dreamy landscape of lush woodland and fertile vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see. Enjoy dinner on board as we continue sailing overnight to Miltenberg. Included experience: Guided tour of Mainz.
  • Miltenberg This morning we arrive in Miltenberg, a beautifully preserved medieval village with a labyrinth of winding alleys and lanes to explore. With our local guide, discover the impressive gatehouse, standing as a proud guardian of the village and the charming marketplace, lined by traditional fachwerk buildings, with their characterful timber frames. Legend has it that the locals were allowed free wood from the surrounding forests, hence the abundance of this architectural style. Admire the square’s trickling fountain, ornately carved from stone and complete with dancing cherubs, and the intricately detailed Gasthaus Zum Riesen, claiming to be Germany’s oldest tavern. Wertheim Later as we drift away, we’ll pass under Miltenberg’s red-brick bridge as our Captain skillfully navigates the gentle meandering bends of the Main. This afternoon we’ll arrive in Wertheim, a delightful surprise, off the tourist trail and all the better for its unspoilt ambience. Passing the fishing boats at anchor, admire the little houses opposite, painted in cheery pastel tones. A russet-walled 12th century castle overlooks the old town, surveying the church spires, turrets and patchwork of multicoloured buildings below. Enjoy a late afternoon walking tour, discovering the town’s secrets through the eyes of an expert guide. Look out for the Zobelhaus, a contender for the narrowest house in Germany! This evening enjoy another delectable dinner as we set sail towards Würzburg. Included experiences: Guided tours of Miltenberg & Wertheim.
  • Cruise towards Würzburg Enjoy a relaxed morning of scenic sailing – one of the real treats of a river cruising holiday. Perhaps catch up on some reading or simply watch the world float by. Würzburg Early afternoon we arrive in the refined Bavarian city of Würzburg, sitting resplendent on the banks of the Main. A fascinating contrast to the quintessential villages we’ve encountered, after lunch disembark for a guided tour. Founded in the 10th century as the centre of the kingdom known as Franconia, the Marienberg Fortress overlooks neat rows of grand, pastel-coloured buildings punctuated by the spires and domes of the city’s many churches. The jewel in Würzburg’s illustrious crown is the Residenz, a magnificent Baroque palace that whisks you back to a more romantic age. Originally conceived to rival the Palace of Versailles in scale, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and features one of Germany’s most ornate staircases and dozens of interconnecting rooms adorned with frescoes, priceless tapestries, sculptures and paintings. We moor in Würzburg overnight so there’s plenty of time to explore under your own steam too. After dinner it is time to shake a leg! Highly skilled artists will cater for an hour of party mood and present musical highlights from the past and present. Included experience: Guided tour of Würzburg & live on-board music entertainment.
  • Rothenburg This morning, experience something a bit different as we take a drive along the Romantic Road – aptly named to describe this route through some of the most spellbinding scenery in the world. Our journey takes us through a folkloric landscape, threaded by a procession of medieval towns, lofty castles and grand palaces. As you soak up the cinematic views, we’ll arrive at the glorious town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, crowning a hill with sensational views over the meandering river Tauber below. The quaint old town is cradled within immaculately preserved walls and there’ll be time to explore its pretty, cobbled lanes, lined with tall gables and pointy roofs. Ochsenfurt Our ship awaits a short drive away in Ochsenfurt and after lunch, spend the afternoon enjoying a guided tour. Wander through the old town, pausing to admire the town hall’s impressive mechanical clock and 13th-century church with its vibrant interior. You’ll be transported back in time as you stroll amongst the romantic, timber-framed houses and ancient ramparts.  We return to the ship for dinner where another superb menu awaits and set sail towards Bamberg. Included experiences: Visit to Rothenburg & guided tour of Ochsenfurt.
  • Cruising to Bamberg Enjoy a morning of scenic sailing, taking a spot in the lounge or up on deck as a kaleidoscope of glorious vistas slip past. The foredeck features exquisite outdoor furnishing and there’s nothing quite as refreshing as the gentle breeze as we progress along the serene waters of the Main. Alternatively, why not find a quiet alfresco seat at the Riverview Kitchen at the stern of the ship and admire one enchanting vista after another? Bamberg This afternoon we moor in Bamberg, undoubtedly one of Europe’s prettiest small towns and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Planned by Emperor Heinrich II in the 11th century as a Franconian capital, it sits on seven lush green hills, reminiscent of Rome – a city whose grandeur it endeavoured to equal. Discover its history and architectural highlights on our informative tour led by a local guide, taking in the exquisite old town and exceptional multi-spired cathedral. Perhaps the most intriguing landmark is Bamberg’s town hall, which sits on an island in the middle of the burbling river, flanked by bridges on either side. From here you can also see ‘Little Venice’ – a picturesque cluster of fishermen’s houses built along the waterfront, mostly dating from the Middle Ages. This evening promises another highlight, with a magnificent dinner hosted by the Captain, followed by a performance of traditional folk music played on traditional instruments by a lively Bavarian trio. Let's sing and dance together to the music of the world-famous Oktoberfest.  Tonight, there’s another culinary highlight – the Chef’s Dinner, when the chef prepares his superb ‘signature’ dishes for you to enjoy in the splendid surroundings of the ship’s restaurant, with a chance to reflect on the fascinating places you have discovered, poignant stories you have heard and the new friends you have made. And after dinner, there's even more fun to be had as we enjoy Bavarian dance and songs performed on traditional instruments by a skilled trio. Leaving Bamberg, we join the Main–Danube canal, a superb feat of engineering guiding us to our next fascinating stop, Nuremberg. Included experiences: Guided tour of Bamberg & performance of traditional Bavarian music.
  • Cruise towards Nuremberg Enjoy a relaxing start to this final morning of sailing on the way to our last stop on this cruise. Maybe treat yourself with an appointment at the Hair dressers or Nail salon, browse the onboard boutique, or simply find a comfortable seat in the lounge with a cup of tea watching the world go by! Nuremberg Intriguing for its association with the Second World War, as the site of many pre-war Nazi rallies and later, the war crimes trials. What is less known however is that this historic city captivates visitors by its cobbled streets with classic half-timbered houses, an enchanting castle – rebuilt after the war – plus a plethora of historic landmarks. These include the Church of Saint Lawrence, a stunning example of Gothic architecture, and the intricate Church of Our Lady with its working mechanical clock dating from 1506. It overlooks the bustling Hauptmarkt, an elegant square renowned for its intricate fountain resembling a Gothic church tower. Discover all these and more on our insightful city tour before there’s some time to explore at your own pace. Amid all this splendour, spare a moment to taste some of Nuremberg’s prized gingerbread or take some home as a delicious souvenir. After a fascinating day, return to the ship for our last dinner, a splendid finale to this memorable holiday. Included experience: Guided tour of Nuremberg.
  • Return home Depart the ship after breakfast, transferring to Munich airport for your flight home.

What's Included

Holiday Highlights

  • Along the might Rhine explore Cologne, Andernach and Rüdesheim on guided tours, visit Boppard and sail through the magnificent Rhine Gorge.
  • Enjoy a tour of Mainz with its St. Martin's Cathedral and the beautiful stained glass windows in Saint Stephens Church, and the Baroque jewel Würzburg with its impressive Marienberg Fortress and the famous Residence palace.
  • Drive along the Romantic Road to enjoy the old town of charming Rothenburg, and see the medieval villages of Miltenberg and Wertheim with the traditional fachwerk buildings this area is renowned for.
  • Visit one of Europe's prettiest cities, Bamberg and discover the exquisite old town through our guided tour.
  • Explore the historical landmarks of Nuremberg, including the Church of Saint Lawrence and the bustling Hauptmarkt.

Our Price Includes

  • Prices are per person, based on two people sharing a twin cabin with a limited number of sole occupancy cabins available, at the relevant supplement. The price includes:
  • Full board during your cruise from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day 
  • Free Superior drinks package
  • Complimentary on-board tea and coffee
  • Complimentary on-board Wi-Fi (connection speeds may vary)
  • All visits and excursions as mentioned 
  • Return flights 
  • Coach travel as mentioned
  • Transfers from the airport to and from the port of embarkation
  • English-speaking expert guides 
  • The services of a Riviera Travel Cruise Director and Concierge
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Dates and Prices

August 2024
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Price from:£2,949
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