A Perfect Time to Enjoy the Gardens of Europe on a Rhine River Cruise:
Spring is a beautiful time in Europe and for anyone doing a river cruise starting or ending in Amsterdam, there’s the added bonus of visiting the world’s most beautiful spring garden – the Keukenhof Gardens.
A number of river cruise companies offer 7-night cruises from Amsterdam and which travel down to the Romantic Rhine River. This cruise will allow passengers to see the magnificent spring flowers in Europe as well as get a taste of a Rhine River cruise.
The first two or three nights of the cruise are in Amsterdam before the river boat makes its way down the Rhine and finishing off at different cities.
- APT – Amsterdam to Trier (Amsterdam to Trier)
- Avalon – Amsterdam to Basel (Romantic Rhine)
- Uniworld – Amsterdam to Frankfurt (Springtime along the Rhine)
- Viking – Basel to Amsterdam (Majestic Rhine)
Although the above are all 7-night cruises, there are significant differences in the way the cruise prices are packaged. APT for instance quotes their price inclusive of gratuities. Uniworld’s cruise price covers a lot of included shore excursions, including the Keukenhof Gardens visit. So, in deciding which cruise is right for you, look at the what’s included in your cruise price section. Another important factor to consider is the river boat that is being employed for the particular cruise.
Below is a sample itinerary of Uniworld’s “Springtime Along the Rhine” cruise which I particularly like because of the included Keukenhof Garden visit and the many other included shore excursions.
|DAY AND DESTINATION
|Day 1: Amsterdam||Arrive at Amsterdam Airport where you’ll be transferred to the ship.
|Day 2: Amsterdam||Featured Excursion:
Experience Amsterdam on a canal boat cruise. Along the way, you’ll see sights such as Mint Tower, Dam Square, Royal Palace, and Museum Square. Later, a visit to Anne Frank House’s where the Frank family hid during WWII. This is also where Anne Frank wrote her diary.
Optional Tour: Holland in a Nutshell – Zaanse Schans
|Day 3: Amsterdam, Volendam
Visit Keukenhof Gardens, one of the most impressive public gardens in all of the world, and it is only open for a few weeks each year. Later in the day, you’ll sail to Volendam, where you’ll dock in the heart of the village and have the opportunity to experience early Dutch life. The afternoon is free to explore this quintessentially Dutch village.
|Day 4: Arnhem||Featured Excursion:
A morning of cruising before you reach Arnhem. At Arnhem enjoy a one-hour guided tour through the Kröller-Müller Museum, home to a huge collection of Van Gogh’s paintings — 278 to be exact. There are also works by Picasso, Mondrian, and Rodin, as well as many modern European artists. There’s free time to explore more of the museum and to venture outside and soak in the beautiful Sculpture Garden, the largest in Europe and which features works by Rodin.
|Day 5: Cologne||Featured Excursion:
Arrive in Cologne after lunch and stroll through the narrow streets of Old Town with your guide, passing by tiny squares and little churches and the awe-inspiring Cologne Cathedral. You’ll then tour the Roman-Germanic Museum, built on the walls of a Roman villa. Discovered in 1941, it contains the world-famous Dionysos mosaic.
|Day 6: Cruising the Romantic Rhine||Featured Excursion:
From your ship’s sundeck, enjoy the area’s natural and cultural highlights as your journey takes you along 40 miles of the most beautiful sections of the Rhine River Valley. Along the way, you’ll pass the famous Lorelei Rock and the German Corner, with its famous monument to Emperor William II.
You’ll arrive in Mainz in the afternoon for a tour of downtown Mainz, including a visit to the Gutenberg Museum, where you can step back in time to the Middle Ages while viewing a reconstruction of Gutenberg’s printing press room, which features an actual printing press that works.In addition, you’ll get to see Gutenberg’s first Bible on display, which is also the world’s tiniest Bible.
|Day 7: Frankfurt||Featured Excursion:
After a relaxing morning onboard, you’ll be taken on a scenic drive around Frankfurt off the Main, dubbed “Mainhattan”. Frankfurt’s skyline is defined by 50 high-rise buildings, two of which are the tallest skyscrapers in the European Union.
Visit the historical area around Römer Square, Old Town, the Golden Mile, and Frankfurt’s Times Square. You’ll also see Goethe-Haus, the childhood home of Johann Von Wolfgang Goethe. You’ll then go to Goethe University, birthplace of the Frankfurt school of philosophy, and the beautiful Botanical Gardens.
|Day 8: Disembark||Disembark after breakfast.