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EUROPEAN RIVER CRUISE - ITALY - SWITZERLAND - FRANCE - GERMANY - NETHERLANDS, 20 NIGHTS 17 AUGUST ARRIVAL ROME/OR 26 AUGUST ARRIVAL SWITZERLAND - 6 SEPTEMBER (DEPARTURE AMSTERDAM) 2018
In August next year we are taking you on a European River Cruise! You can join us as a landlubber first in Italy and Switzerland, then board the river cruise (all up 21 days - 17 August to 6 September) or skip Italy and join us just for Switzerland and the cruise (all up 12 days - 26 August to 6 September). See the full itinerary below.
Don't let the word "cruise" put you off. This boat only has 80 beds...and all drinks are included!
Switzerland 3 nts & Cruise euro3,100 TWIN SHARE euro4,200 SINGLE
Land only Italy, Switz & Cruise euro6,900 TWIN SHARE euro8,400 SINGLE
Escorted tour ex NZ incl. flights euro8,400 TWIN SHARE euro9,920 SINGLE
PICTURE YOURSELF WITH A WINE OR GIN IN YOUR HAND, CRUISING DOWN THE RIVER!
"LIFE IS UNCERTAIN - EAT CAKE!"
Thu 17 Aug 2018 Rome
We arrive in to Rome and transfer to our centrally located hotel in the 'eternal' city.
After checking in we will meet our local representative for a quick run-down on what's in the
surrounding area, how to explore on your own, where to find the pharmacy, supermarket, best cafes
etc and how to get around safely. The rest of the afternoon to relax after a long flight. This evening
we'll venture out for a classic Italian meal and a stroll around our neighbourhood.
Fri 18 Aug 2018 Rome
We have an early start this morning for our priority early entrance to the Sistine Chapel as a VIP.
We'll be part of the first group in the museum which gives us the chance to admire Michelangelo's
masterpiece before hordes of tour groups arrive. Accompanied by our private expert guide, we
continue through the Vatican Museum and St Peter's Basilica via a privileged path and see the most
important church of the Catholic world.
In the afternoon you can make use of your Hop-On Hop-off pass around Rome's main attractions and
sightsee at your leisure. Or you might choose to fit in some shopping!
Optional Gelato making class: Discover how to make artisanal gelato from scratch and enjoy a one
hour class in one of the best gelaterias in Rome. Learn the importance of choosing quality
ingredients and taste the gelato at the end of the class.
Sat 19 Aug 2018 Rome - Venice
This morning enjoy a fascinating private walking tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatino
Hill, led by an expert guide. We'll gain special access to the Colosseum and, once inside, breathe the
bloody past of the amphitheatre. Admire the arch of Constantine, climb the Palatino hill and stomp on
the legendary Via Sacra or Sacred Way.
This afternoon we head to the train station for a high speed journey to Venice. The trip takes around
3 hours 45 mins with the train reaching up to speeds of 300 kmph. Once in Venice our local rep will
meet us and we'll transfer by water-taxi to our hotel.
Tonight (either before or after dinner depending on how we're feeling) will be a fascinating twilight
walk to discover lesser known pathways accompanied by the legends, anecdotes and tales of a very
secret Venice. We avoid the crowds and immerse ourselves in the intimate and peaceful atmosphere
as we walk through areas of Rialto, Cannaregio and Castello.
Sun 20 Aug 2018 Venice - Murano - Burano - Venice
This morning we'll discover the true charm of Venice by foot on a private walking tour. Starting from
St Mark's Square, we learn the history of its main monuments and have a "skip the line" entry to San
Marco Basilica. Continuing on to San Maria Formosa, with its lively Camp, and the Church and
Campo of SS Giovanni e Paolo, the Pantheon of Venice. Continue to Marco Polo's house and
Malibran Theatre, before returning to St Mark's through the famous Mercerie, Venice's main shopping
district. This afternoon we sail to Murano known throughout the world for its glass manufacturing industry and we visit one of the "untouristy" factories to see glass blowing. We then continue to the picturesque island of Burano, famous for its lace and brightly coloured fishermen houses. Finally, we visit Torcello, the earliest centre of civilisation in the estuary to see the Cathedral and the Church of Santa Fosca.
We'll end the day with a gondola ride - the perfect way to appreciate the beauty, charm and colour of
this unique city built on water.
Mon 21 Aug 2018 Venice - Tuscany
Early train through to Firenze (aka Florence) where we'll meet Massimo, our host for the next 5 days.
After storing our luggage in lockers at the train station, we set off on a guided tour of Tuscany's capital city. This city is blessed with many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. We'll also
visit one of its most iconic sights - the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by
Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto. The Galleria dell'Accademia displays Michelangelo's "David" sculpture. The Uffizi Gallery exhibits Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" and da Vinci's "Annunciation. Massimo will also introduce us to the joys of Italian shopping and if you're in the market for some genuine Italian Leather and Gold, this is the place to buy.
Late afternoon, we leave Firenze by train to Pontedera and then drive to the gorgeous town of
Vicopisano where we're welcomed with an aperitivo and supper. We're here for the next 5 nights with
daily adventures planned to nearby attractions - all within 30-60 min drive.
Vicopisano - Orientation tour, Italian breakfast in main square, cooking class, farewell dinner
Pisa - including a walking tour and climb the Leaning Tower
Lucca - known for its well-preserved Renaissance walls and cobbled stone streets. Cycle or walk
along the walls and lunch at a winery San Gimignano - famous for its central piazza and medieval houses and towers. Visit a Tuscan farm for lunch.
Sun 26 Aug 2018 Vicopisano - Interlaken OR FLY STRAIGHT INTO SWITZERLAND AND JOIN THE TOUR HERE
Leaving Italy this morning and spend the day travelling by trains through to Interlaken in Switzerland.
Interlaken is nestled in the mountains between the emerald-coloured waters of Lake Thun and Lake
Brienz. It is popular with tourists because of the spectacular scenery all around and variety of
activities on offer. In Interlaken you are surrounded by many mountains within easy reach, which you
can walk up or ride a cable car or funicular. There is always a restaurant at the top, great walks to be
had and views to be savoured. It is also well-known for adventure activities, with everything from
paragliding to jet boating on offer. Kiwi/Swiss resident Julie will be on-hand to give us local tips on
activities and the best places to drink and dine.
27/28 Aug Interlaken, Switzerland
For the next 2 days you are free to explore this stunning area. If you like walking there are numerous
hiking trails in the surrounding mountains. If enough people are interested, we can organise a scenic
hike together. Or you might prefer to take a refreshing dip in the lake, cruise on a boat, hire a bike, or
go paragliding. Your days will easily be filled in or you can just relax and take in the mountain air and
check out the chocolate and watch shops, and variety of restaurants and bars.
Wed 29 Aug 2018 Interlaken - Basel
This afternoon we will train through to Basel.
Late afternoon we'll board our ship - the MS Douce France - our home for the next 8 nights. After
comfortably settling into your cabin, we'll meet in the main lounge for a Welcome Cocktail and
introduction to the crew. The first of many amazing meals will be dinner tonight. The ship remains in
Thu 30 Aug 2018 Basel - Schaffhausen - Basel
This morning enjoy a guided tour of Basel with its medieval old town centred around Marktplatz and
dominated by the 16th-century, red-sandstone Town Hall. Its 12th-century Gothic cathedral has
fabulous city views, and contains the tomb of the 16th-century Dutch scholar, Erasmus. After lunch
onboard the ship, you will have the choice of tours:
CLASSIC: Excursion to the Rhine Falls, among the most spectacular sites to visit in Switzerland.
DISCOVERY: Hike around the Rhine Falls.
Enjoy dinner and an evening of entertainment on board as our ship cruises towards Germany.
Fri 31 Aug 2018 Breisach
Enjoy some free time in the morning in Breisach, a former Celtic and Roman settlement that is now a
lovely German city along the Rhine. Your choice of afternoon tours:
CLASSIC: Visit Colmar and the Unterlinden Museum.
DISCOVERY: Bike tour of the Kaiserstuhl, a range of hills perfect for cycling amateurs. We will cross
exceptional landscapes, the orchards in Achkarren, the small village of Burkheim and the Rheinwald
forest. We'll remain in port overnight.
Sat 01 Sep 2018 Breisach - Strasbourg - Mainz
The morning will be spent cruising along the Rhine before arriving in Strasbourg after lunch.
Strasbourg is the formal seat of the European Parliament and oozes cosmopolitan culture and the
architecture blends German and French influences. Its Gothic Cath??drale Notre-Dame features daily
shows from its astronomical clock and sweeping views of the Rhine River from partway up its 142m
spire. Your choice of afternoon exploration:
CLASSIC: Guided city tour of Strasbourg.
DISCOVERY: Bird's eye view of Strasbourg from the cathedral.
Late afternoon will see us cruising through a magnificent wine-producing region towards Mainz in
Sun 02 Sep 2018 Mainz - Koblenz
Mainz is known for its old town, with half-timbered houses and medieval market squares. In the
centre, the Marktbrunnen is a Renaissance fountain with red columns. Nearby, a distinctive octagonal
tower tops the Romanesque Mainz Cathedral, built of deep red sandstone. The Gutenberg Museum
honours the inventor of the printing press with exhibits, including two of his original bibles. Your
choice of shore excursion:
CLASSIC: Join us for a guided tour of Mainz and the Gutenberg Museum.
DISCOVERY: Touring the Rhineland vineyards.
Later we return to the ship and depart for Koblenz, passing the legendary Lorelei rock.
We arrive in Koblenz in the evening. Enjoy some free time or join the ship host/hostess for a stroll of
the city. We'll remain in port overnight.
Mon 03 Sep 2018 Koblenz - Cologne - Dusseldorf
Morning cruise to Cologne. Located in western Germany and spanning the Rhine River, Cologne is
the region's cultural hub. A mere 2000 years old, with high Gothic architecture set amid a
reconstructed old town. The twin-spired Cologne Cathedral is also known for its gilded medieval
reliquary and sweeping river views. The adjacent Museum Ludwig showcases 20th-century art,
including many masterpieces by Picasso, and the Romano-Germanic Museum housing Roman
antiquities. This afternoon there is a guided tour of the city by foot, followed by some free time before
we return by coach to the ship in Dusseldorf. Time to get glammed up for a Gala Evening onboard.
Tue 04 Sep 2018 Dusseldorf - Xanten - Numegen - Amsterdam
The morning will be spent cruising to Xanten, followed by a visit to the open-air museum in Arnhem.
The oldest archaeological findings of human activity in Arnhem are two firestones of about 70,000
years of age. We'll return on board in Nijmegen, and cruise to Amsterdam in the afternoon. Plenty of
time for a gin or two in the bar before an evening of onboard entertainment.
Wed 05 Sep 2018 Amsterdam
We'll wake up in the capital of the Netherlands - Amsterdam. This city is packed with artistic
heritage, elaborate canal systems and narrow houses with gabled facades, legacies of the city's 17th-
century Golden Age. Its Museum District houses the Van Gogh Museum, works by Rembrandt and
Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum, and modern art at the Stedelijk. Cycling is key to the city's character,
and there are numerous bike paths.
Your choice of shore excursion this morning:
CLASSIC: Guided tour of Amsterdam.
DISCOVERY: Amsterdam by bike.
Your choice of afternoon shore excursion:
CLASSIC: Excursion to Haarlem. With its ancient buildings, cobbled streets and winding waterways,
the medieval city of Haarlem is a truly photogenic destination.
DISCOVERY: Guided bike tour of Haarlem and the sand dunes along the Flower Route.
Our ship will remain in port overnight so you have the choice to dine onboard (free) or head to the
bright lights of this vibrant city for a meal and entertainment (own expense).
Thu 06 Sep 2018 Amsterdam - home
Enjoy one last delicious buffet breakfast on board before disembarking at 9:00 am.
The day is free to do some last minute shopping or exploring before heading to the airport for your flight home.
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