Rhine River Cruise
Cruising the Rhine- a Wonderful Way to Travel
In May of 2004, my husband and I took a river cruise that went from Basel, Switzerland to Antwerp, Belgium.
It was a great way to see that area of the world. We only had to unpack one time and we were able to tour cities in Switzerland, France, Germany, Holland, and Belgium.
Since many cities were built right along the banks of the river we were able to walk off the ship and into the center of each town. On many of the stops we would take a walking tour of the city and then would be on our own to explore. It was definitely our type of trip.
In this lens I will give you the highlights of each days stop and show you some photographs taken on the cruise.
photo by Mary Beth Granger
Arrival in Basel Switzerland
Embark River Cruise Ship
Viking River Cruises
a great way to travel
My husband and I chose to use Viking River Cruises for our cruise of the Rhine. It had been recommended to us by a business colleague who had raved about how wonderful it was to take a river cruise. After taking the cruise, my husband and I would agree it is a great way to travel.
The people at Viking cruise lines made our trip especially nice. They believe in great customer service and it showed throughout our trip.
When we arrived in Basil, they met us at the airport and helped us to get our luggage and make our way through customs. When we arrived at the ship we were greeted by the wonderful staff and made to feel welcome. Throughout the cruise everyone on board the ship was very helpful.
The food on the ship was great and there were several choices at each meal.
We also like the fact that the ship was small. With only 140 passengers on board we got to meet everyone and enjoyed making friends with people from all over the world.
Tour Strasbourg, France
Strasbourg, France - French and German influence
On our first full day on the river cruise we docked in Strasbourg, France. Strasbourg is a wonderful old city that is very well preserved. It is was said to be one of the richest medieval cities in Europe.
In Strasbourg we took a walking tour of the old part of the city and visited the cathedral. This photo was taken to show some of the interesting detail in the houses around the square.
Walking tour of Speyer, Germany
Speyer, Germany - Old Town Gate
In Speyer we took a walking tour of the city. It was a beautiful city with an immense cathedral that was founded in 1030.
This photo shows the Old Town Gate which dates to 1176. At 180 feet, it is one of the oldest and tallest town gates in Germany.
Heidelberg - Morning
Heidelberg City View - beautiful city
In Heidelberg we took a coach tour and visited the castle. It was up a very steep hill and the views were beautiful from the top.
This photo was taken from the castle grounds looking down on the city.
Rudesheim - Morning
Visiting Rudesheim and Cruising the Rhine
On day 5 we visited Rudesheim in the morning. It was a very charming small town with lots of shops and cafes and very narrow streets. We took a mini train up the hill and stopped to visit the Music Museum, which was full of interesting antique musical instruments.
After visiting the museum we strolled the streets visiting the shops and slowly making our way back to the cruise ship.
The afternoon was spent cruising the Rhine and enjoying all the sites the cruise manager pointed out. There were many castles on the hillsides and the ship also passed the Lorelei a legendary rock rising 440 feet above the river.
It was a wonderfully relaxing afternoon!
Cochem - Morning
Cologne at Night - wonderful old cathedral
Read about Germany before you Go - guidebooks are a great way to prepare for your trip
If you want to get the most out of any trip it is good to read about the area before you arrive. This way you can tailor the trip to your tastes and get the most out of your adventure.
There have been many times when I've got back home and wished I had taken in a certain site. I always say "If only I'd known". I now try to prevent that by reading up on each area before I leave on the trip.
Frommer's guidebooks are a good source of information about an area.
a great city to visit
In Amsterdam we took cruise on one of the glass topped canal boats. That is a really great way to see the city. On the cruise you get to see the wooden draw bridges, some very interesting looking houseboats, and some of Amsterdam's oldest and loveliest buildings.
The tour ended at the Rijksmuseum and we went on a tour of the museum. It holds a great collection of some of the great Dutch and Flemish Masters.
View from Top Deck of Cruise Ship - approaching the bridge at Rotterdam
Rotterdam is Holland's great port city. Rotterdam was bombed twice during the last World War and is now a thoroughly modern city.
We took a bus ride in Rotterdam and stopped to visit the Jenever Museum which is dedicated to the juniper brandy that is popular in many Dutch households. We got to sample some of the brandy at the end of our tour.
great Delft pottery
I really enjoyed our visit to Delft, Holland. It was my favorite town on the cruise. We visited the factory where Delft pottery is made. It is a blue and white glazed earthenware that is known worldwide. It was great seeing how it is made and shopping for a few special pieces.
The city of Delft is also the birthplace of the famous painter Jan Vermeer. We took a walking tour of the city and I was delighted with the wonderful canals and the historic buildings. I had just read the book Girl with The Pearl Earring that takes place in Delft and I could just picture the events of the book taking place along the streets that I walked.
The Girl with the Pearl Earring - historical novel
This is the novel that I read just before my trip. It takes place in Delft, Holland and is loosely based on the painting by Jan Vermeer.
It is a delightful book, and visiting Delft made me appreciate it even more.
Antwerp & Bruges
On our last full day of the cruise we docked in Antwerp and took a bus ride to the town of Bruges. We thoroughly enjoyed our day in Bruges. We had friends from England who drove over for a short holiday and met us in Bruges.
We spent the day exploring the town with it's beautiful historic buildings, walking past the canals, and eating at a restaurant right on the town square.
The next day we took a bus to the airport in Brussels for our long trip home.
We have a lot of wonderful memories from our trip and we hope we can go back and take another river cruise some day.