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Enchanting Alsace and the Rhine Valley

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Overview

2 Included Excursions
  • Admire historical Alsace and charming Heidelberg
  • Explore the city of Strasbourg
  • Visit pretty Koblenz and Rudesheim
  • Discover Speyer, one of Germany’s oldest cities

Take in magical riverside scenery as we cruise along the beautiful Rhine and continue into the Alsace region of France. Relax on board and explore some of Germany’s most historical cities during this wonderful river cruise.


This Holiday is Great For

  • 46x44-icon-culture
  • 46x44-icon-history
  • 46x44-icon-nature
  • 46x44-icon-scenery
  • 46x44-icon-walking

Itinerary

Day One - UK to Northern France
Across to Calais then onwards to Northern France for dinner and an overnight stay. (D)

Day Two - Embark in Cologne
We depart Northern France and join the MV Virginia in vibrant Cologne, dominated by its stunning Gothic cathedral, the city’s most famous landmark. (B,L,D)

Day Three - Cologne to Koblenz
We begin our leisurely cruise this morning, arriving in Koblenz this afternoon. This welcoming city is filled with cultural monuments and historical buildings, plus quaint alleyways and river promenades. (B,L,D)

Day Four - Koblenz to Rudesheim
Relax on board and admire the scenery passing us by, during our cruise to Rudesheim. This enchanting winemaking town forms part of the designated UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Rhine Gorge. Take time to sample some of the famous local wines as well as enjoying a stroll through the picturesque Old Town. (B,L,D)

Day Five - Rudesheim to Speyer
Enjoy a day of cruising, mooring in Speyer later this afternoon. Speyer’s 11th-century Imperial cathedral is a must-see, being one of Germany’s largest and most important cathedrals. (B,L,D)

Day Six - Speyer to Strasbourg
Spend the day at leisure on board, as we leave the Rhineland and sail into the Alsace region, arriving in Strasbourg late evening. (B,L,D)

Day Seven - Strasbourg
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, The stunning city of Strasbourg is truly a delight to explore. Join our included tour of the magnificent Alsace region, visiting Obernai. The medieval streets of its old town are bordered with magnificent half-timbered houses which are overlooked by the twin towers of the St Pierre and Paul church and the belfry. We continue on to the wonderful Mont Sainte Odile with an extraordinary panoramic view of the Alsatian plain. (B,L,D)

Day Eight - Strasbourg – Mannheim – Mainz
Leaving Strasbourg early this morning, we enjoy the sights as we cruise to Mannheim, with an included transfer to discover charming Heidelberg this afternoon before we re-join the ship in Mainz. (B,L,D)

Day Nine - Mainz to Northern France
We bid farewell to the MV Virginia in Mainz and travel to Northern France for dinner and an overnight stay. (B,D)

Day Ten - Northern France to UK
We depart Northern France and return to the UK, via Calais. (B)

Extras included on this holiday

FREE wine, beer and soft drinks (June and July Only)

FREE wine, beer and soft drinks during lunch and dinner (2 drinks per person)

FREE wine, beer and soft drinks (May Departures Only)

FREE wine, beer and soft drinks served in the bar after dinner until 22.30

 

MV Virginia

Whether you want to discover the Rhine and Moselle rivers, or Dutch Waterways, the MV Virginia is the ideal choice. Our warm, inviting ship is a firm favourite with Shearings customers, and it’s very easy to see why. If you’re after scenic River Cruises that give you the opportunity to travel in style and comfort, while exploring beautiful destinations and taking in stunning scenery, we have the perfect selection of Europe River Cruises for you. 

Having been fully refurbished in 2013, the MV Virginia provides a modern, relaxed atmosphere, with impressive decor and a fantastic environment in which you’ll be able to relax at ease while enjoying Rhine River Cruises. 

You’ll experience the classic Shearings charm that our customers are now accustomed to. Our friendly staff will be on-hand at all times to welcome you aboard the ship after exiting excursions in fantastic destinations, and they’ll be happy to recommend ideas for things to do and sights to see when we’re docked. 

The MV Virginia is the perfect vessel for first-time River Cruise travellers - if you’re booking your very first Dutch Waterways, Rhine or Moselle River Cruise, you’ll feel right at home on this ship. With its intimate and relaxed atmosphere, you’re sure to make a number of firm friends with your fellow passengers. 

While we’re travelling, be sure to admire the changing scenery from the sundeck, where you can soak up the rays or sit under the covered area. Why not enjoy a pre-dinner drink with your new friends at the bar, before tucking into the sumptuous meals served on-board. You’ll get to enjoy buffet breakfasts, as well as three-course lunches and four-course evening meals with waiter service. 

Step aboard the MV Virginia with Shearings to discover just why this ship is so popular with our customers.

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Cabins


Ship Gallery

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The Local Area

Included Excursions

Heidelberg Transfer

Join us in beautiful Heidelberg as we enjoy an included transfer into this splendid city during our holiday. Heidelberg is overlooked by its majestic castle - explore at leisure to discover the city's many sights and attractions.

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Obernai and Mont Sainte Odile

We visit Obernai, an attractive town on the Alsace wine Route. Encircled by ramparts, the old town has a beautiful architectural heritage with its central market square surrounded by period buildings, such as the 13th-century belfry and the town hall, and also with the Renaissance well and the Saints-Pierre-et-Paul church of neo-Gothic architecture.

On to Mont Sainte Odile where Sainte-Odile created a monastery from an existing castle at this strategically important point around the year 700. The monastery remained in use for 11 centuries, until the revolution in 1789, when it was subsequently re-acquired and resumed its original monastic role from 1853. Next to the church a second courtyard contains pretty gardens and a statue of Saint-Odile, leading to a chapel where you can see the tomb and sarcophagus containing the remains of Odile. This leads on to the cloisters and then a large terrace with amazing views across the Alsatian Plain.

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Optional Excursions

Historical Koblenz

Get to know one of the oldest towns in Germany on our guided walking tour around the historical Old Town. The charming and romantic streets between the St. Castor’s Basilica and 'Liebfrauenkirche' (Church of Our Beloved Lady) represent today’s main tourist attraction of Koblenz.

Of course, the sightseeing tour would not be complete without a visit to the Monument of Emperor Wilhelm I at 'Deutsches Eck' (German Corner) and the town’s landmark, the 'Schangel' Fountain in the courtyard of the present Town Hall. 

 

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Historical Speyer And Cathedral

Dominated by its Romanesque Cathedral, Speyer is one of Germany’s oldest cities and is the resting place of eight medieval emperors and kings of the Salian, Staufer and Hapsburg dynasties. During our guided walking tour we visit the stunning Cathedral - a UNESCO heritage site and the largest of Germany's three Imperial Romanesque Cathedrals.

Speyer Dom survived destruction by the French armies in 1689 and is today considered one of the finest examples of High Romanic architecture in Germany (entrance included). We head through the beautiful historical old town seeing the Alportal (Old Gate). Built between 1230 and 1250, the gate is one of the 68 towers and gates within the city walls. We continue to Trinity Church, constructed in memory of the protest that took place at the Diet of Speyer. 

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Majestic Heidelberg and Castle

Join us as we head to the beautiful city of Heidelberg. Considered as one of the many jewels in Germany’s crown, this city is one of the most popular destinations in this country and is situated on the banks of the Neckar River. Heidelberg is home to the oldest university in Germany, dating back to 1386 and has over 28,000 students. The city's main attraction is its stunning castle, perched on the hillside overlooking the city.

Our comprehensive panoramic tour takes us to the Altstadt (historical city centre) and Hauptstrasse (main street), approximately one mile in length, which is reputedly the longest pedestrian shopping street in Germany. We will also explore the Philosophenweg, which provides wonderful views across the oldest part of the city, before we enjoy a leisurely drive along the river Neckar.

We then head to the castle. Nestled 300 feet above the city, Heidelberg Castle is a combination of several buildings surrounding an inner courtyard, put together with a haphazard look. Each building highlights a different period of German architecture.

The castle has a history almost as old as the city itself, with the first parts of the castle being constructed around 1300. From the Great Terrace and gardens, enjoy amazing views of Heidelberg, the Neckar River and the Neckar valley, and on a clear day Mannheim is even visible on the horizon.

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Rudesheim and St Hildegard Abbey

Rudesheim is a famous winemaking town in the Rhine Gorge and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as being one of Germany’s most visited towns. Join us on our guided walking tour of this wonderful town and discover its cosy traditional wine taverns, historical half-timbered houses and the world-famous Drosselgasse. 

We see the Eagle Tower which was originally part of the city walls and fortifications, and which dates back to the 15th century. We'll also discover the Market Square with St. Jakobus Catholic Parish Church, which also dates back to the 15th-century, and the Klunkardshof - a very impressive half timbered building, the famous Drosselgasse. This street is known for its many restaurants, shops and wine bars. 

In the beautifully located St. Hildegard convent above Rudesheim, the nuns live according to the rules of St. Benedict. We visit the convent and gain an insight into life there, which follows the tradition of Hildegard of Bingen, and see the picturesque abbey church. This is followed by a conversation with one of the nuns, depending on availability. The visit to the convent is completed with a trip to the popular convent shop. 

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Wine Tasting and Siegfried's

The region around Rudesheim is famous for its wine production and attracts three million tourists a year who are looking to enjoy the rich wine tradition of the area. One of the main grapes here is Riesling and you’ll have an opportunity to try this wine as well as many others on our tour of a local vineyard. We’ll then visit Siegfried’s, which is famous for its collection of music boxes some of which date back to the 16th century.

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