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19 Day Premium Rhine Cruise & Swiss Scenic Trains

A portion of this tour runs as a group tour where you will be escorted by an expert tour leader. Another portion is self-guided, whether conducted by rail, cruise or land, and you will travel between destinations on your own, with free time to explore at your own pace.

Escorted Type
Partially Escorted

This tour is conducted at a medium-fast pace. Some long travel days may be required to complete this itinerary and you will typically spend two nights at each destination, with some one night stays required. This trip includes a mix of sightseeing and free time to explore at your own pace. You will be required to move about unassisted, including getting on and off vehicles, walking up and down stairs and some activities will be conducted on uneven or steep terrain. You will be required to handle your own luggage.

Pace
Moderate Pace

River cruises are a relaxed, informal way to travel - there are fewer passengers on board compared to an ocean cruise, which means ample opportunity to make lifelong friends. You will pass through the world's most loved cities and towns; disembark and enjoy a shore excursion or two, or simply wander around and explore on your own. 

Cruise Style
River

Take advantage of our 7 day cooling-off period. 

Cooling Off Period
7 Days

✓ Incredible sightseeing! Cruise the Rhine river on board a luxury Star-Ship, explore modern Holland on a glass-top canal boat, soak up Strasbourg’s beautiful architecture, tour Switzerland by world-famous rail journeys, and experience the alpine wonderland of Jungfraujoch – Europe’s highest railway station
✓ 7 nights on board an Emerald Cruises Star-Ship, including port taxes and charges, tipping and gratuities 
✓ 11 nights in handpicked, quality Swiss hotel accommodation
✓ 31 superb meals, including delicious breakfast daily, 6 lunches and 7 dinners 
✓ Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner on board your Star-Ship
✓ Numerous excursions, EmeraldPLUS and EmeraldACTIVE experiences as per the itinerary 
✓ World-famous scenic train journeys through the Swiss Alps, including the spectacular Golden Pass Express, Gotthard Panorama, Glacier Express, Bernina Express
✓ Dedicated Swiss rail ticket in 2nd or 1st class, as per the itinerary, including seat reservation on all scenic trains
✓ Self-guided excursion to Jungfraujoch, Europe’s highest peak 
✓ Entry to Lindt Home of Chocolate
✓ Panoramic cruise on Yacht MS Saphir in Lucerne 
✓ Return airport transfers 

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What we love about this tour

Travel with the experts for a carefully curated, value-packed discovery of the world's most iconic destinations. Our tours are bursting with must-see sights, rich experiences and quality inclusions, all at an unbeatable price. Bucket list dreams are ticked off on these all-encompassing journeys.

Itinerary

Hotel
Emerald Star-Ship Luna or Similar
Meals
Dinner

Upon arrival in Amsterdam, you'll be greeted at the airport and transferred to your innovative Emerald Cruises Star-Ship, where your friendly captain and crew will welcome your arrival.

Hotel
Emerald Star-Ship Luna or Similar
Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Every narrow street and gabled façade in Amsterdam tells a tale of the Dutch Golden Age, a prosperous time when Dutch art was among the most acclaimed in the world. Today, relax during a glass-top canal boat tour through Amsterdam's elaborate UNESCO World Heritage-listed canal system, sailing through the city's medieval centre and past Roman patrician houses. Alternatively, embark on a guided bike tour to Waterland, passing quintessential villages, traditional windmills and flower fields.

Enjoy sailing through the countryside and towards the Rhine River this afternoon, perhaps enjoying a drink on the Sun Deck and watching the passing scenery before joining your captain for a gala dinner.

Hotel
Emerald Star-Ship Luna or Similar
Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Cologne is one of the oldest cities in Germany, effortlessly steeped in history and tales of the past, encapsulating a timeline that spans more than two millennia. Your included city tour will take you to the heart of its Old Town.

Following your tour, you'll visit a one-of-a-kind farm estate found just outside the city limits. The farm provides locals with sustainable products and produce. As part of your EmeraldPLUS programme, enjoy a fantastic cooking demo and have a glimpse behind the scenes of this brilliant place.

Hotel
Emerald Star-Ship Luna or Similar
Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Immerse yourself in fairy tale-like surroundings today as we cruise to Koblenz, a town with a postcard-worthy backdrop of vineyards and mountain ranges. Your included walking tour of this Roman town will unveil the twin-towered façade of the Church of Our Lady, the point at which two of Europe’s great rivers meet at the German Corner and Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, one of the largest preserved fortresses in Europe.

Enjoy sailing through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rhine Gorge this afternoon. Here, romantic castles sit atop tree-covered canyons and half-timbered medieval villages appear suspended in time.

Hotel
Emerald Star-Ship Luna or Similar
Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning, you will discover Heidelberg. The idyllic UNESCO City of Literature has inspired the likes of Mark Twain and famed British artist William Turner. A guided tour of the town will unveil its rich history, starting at the Renaissance ruins of Heidelberg Castle, where the carefully curated gardens host serene water features, sculptures and colourful flowerbeds.

Hotel
Emerald Star-Ship Luna or Similar
Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning, you'll dock in Kehl to be transferred by coach to the picturesque town of Strasbourg, where a medieval past is yours to discover among cobbled squares surrounded by half-timbered houses.

Your included walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town will touch on many of Strasbourg’s highlights, including the astrological signs that adorn the façade of the Maison Kammerzell and the idyllic historic scenery around Petite France. This afternoon, enjoy free time to explore Strasbourg at your leisure.

Hotel
Emerald Star-Ship Luna or Similar
Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today, as part of your incredible EmeraldPLUS programme, you will visit the city of Freiburg. Considered the 'Capital of the Black Forest', Freiburg has lovely sights that will amaze you. As part of your visit, you will also have the opportunity to sample authentic Black Forest delicacies from the lively central market. If you're feeling more active, you can choose to join a guided bike tour of Breisach.

Hotel
Bristol or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Grüezi! Welcome to Switzerland. After disembarking your cruise, use the included rail pass to take a short rail transfer to Zurich and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. As a lakeside "metropolis of experiences", with a magnificent view of the snow‐capped Alps on the horizon, Zurich offers a unique mixture of attractions.

Start with the beauty of the city’s natural surroundings. If you feel like getting a better view, take the train to the summit of Uetliberg Mountain. From the station, it’s a short walk to the peak and the scenery is incredible over Zurich, the lake and the Alps. Or if you’re in the Old Town and fancy a vantage point, you can walk up Lindenhof Hill for sweeping views over the city. 

Hotel
Bristol or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Wake up to a delicious Swiss breakfast, then take a stroll along the famous Bahnhofstrasse — Zurich's shopping paradise. A quick detour will lead you to the narrower cobbled streets of Zurich's Old Town and its smaller, independent artisan shops. Visit the Lindt Home of Chocolate (self-guided), and take the opportunity to use your included 24-hour Zurich Card for local transport and various discounts across the city. Be sure to not miss the picturesque waterfront promenades!

Hotel
Des Alpes or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

After breakfast, transfer by rail to Lucerne in Central Switzerland, situated in an enviable location surrounded by a stunning lake and mountain panorama. The historic town of Lucerne attracts visitors globally with its well-preserved old town, countless shops and restaurants. A visit to Chapel Bridge, which has stood the test of time as a traditional crossing for locals, is one of many highlights that are sure to impress. 

Please note that the maximum luggage allowance is 23 kg due to train compartment restrictions.

Hotel
Delfino Lugano or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

This morning, the Gotthard Panorama Express takes you from the heart of Switzerland, with a journey through Lake Lucerne on a paddle steamer boat. From Flüelen, travel by first-class panoramic train to Lugano, a picturesque lakeside town in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking Ticino region.

Use the provided guest card to take full advantage of local transport and explore nearby villages, such as the pretty village of Morcote.

Hotel
Soldanella or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Board the Bernina Express bus after breakfast, and enjoy a scenic drive to Italy-based Tirano where you join the Bernina Express panoramic train across the border back to Switzerland. You will travel over circular viaducts and pass through winding tunnels, with highlights including the Brusio Circular Viaduct and a photo stop at Alp Grüm. 

Arrive in St. Moritz, a luxury alpine resort town in Switzerland’s Engadin valley, and spend the rest of the day at leisure. This luxury alpine resort town, a favourite for celebrities and royals, is surely one of the world’s most famous winter sports resorts. This was the first mountain village in the country to have a ski school, a tram and electric lighting. The Winter Olympics have been held here twice. It’s a renowned ski destination.

Hotel
Soldanella or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

A full day awaits to explore St. Moritz, where guests from all over the world appreciate the modern Alpine lifestyle. Take advantage of your included guest card to visit the local area. We suggest the nearby mountains of Muottas Murgal or Diavolezza for incredible views that are not to be missed. Various sights including the leaning tower, a remnant of the Mauritius Church from around 1500, or the Segantini Museum, offer unique insight into the city’s fascinating history. 

Hotel
Excelsior or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Ride the world‐famous Glacier Express to Zermatt today, a gorgeous village near the Italian border. Be enthralled by Switzerland’s spectacular scenery, thanks to oversized, panoramic windows that make for an unforgettable experience. Along the deep Rhone valley, the Glacier Express travels through an incredibly fascinating part of the Alps. The route famously takes you through 91 tunnels and 291 bridges, offering unrivalled views. Make sure to have your camera handy! Optionally, you may wish to dine at your seat with a delicious 3-course meal served on your table (additional charges apply). 

 

Hotel
Excelsior or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Zermatt lies at the foot of the iconic Matterhorn peak. The town's touristic development is closely linked to what is arguably the world's most famous mountain. This car‐free resort offers guests an abundance of activities such as visits to the local mountains of Gornergrat or the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. It is also home to the highest open-air cog railway in Europe. 

 

Hotel
J5 Hotels Helvetie or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Continue by train to Montreux, nestled between steep hills and the lakeside of Lake Geneva. The town's promenade is lined with flowers, sculptures, Mediterranean trees and grand Belle Époque buildings. Nearby attractions include the medieval island castle, Chateau de Chillon and the vineyards of the Lavaux region.

Hotel
Bären or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Your journey continues by train on the GoldenPass Express through the wild and romantic Pays d'Enhaut, complete with scenic villages and crystal-clear lakes at every corner. 

Interlaken is a laidback resort town, presided over by three mighty mountains, Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. It makes a great base from which to explore the Bernese Oberland. Unprecedented views of the Swiss Alps give an impression of what is to come during your stay.

Höheweg, the main promenade of Interlaken, is lovely for a stroll. It runs from Lake Brienz to Lake Thun, with flower gardens and parks on one side allowing for a view of the Bernese Alps. On the other side you’ll find high-end hotels, boutiques, cafes and the casino.

Note: if you have selected the 4* hotel upgrade, you will be staying at Interlaken instead of Wilderswil.

Hotel
Bären or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Your penultimate day in Switzerland packs another highlight! This morning you will embark on a self-guided excursion to the Jungfraujoch, also known as the highest railway station in Europe. You may choose to go via Grindelwald Terminal on the technical marvel that is Eiger Express cable car, or take the traditional route by train from Grindelwald via Kleine Scheidegg. Highlights include the world’s highest Lindt Chocolate Shop and the Ice Palace with its impressive ice sculptures.

Note: if you have selected the 4* hotel upgrade, you will be staying at Interlaken instead of Wilderswil.

Meals
Breakfast

Today marks the end of your magnificent and unforgettable tour through Switzerland. We hope you have thoroughly enjoyed your inspiring trip.

Your train ticket includes the rail transfer from Wilderswil to Zurich airport, allowing you the flexibility to select a suitable connection for your departure flight. Trains via Lucerne typically depart every hour. 

Note: If you wish to conclude your journey at a Swiss destination other than Zurich, we can make arrangements for an extra fee. Please reach out to us to inquire about a personalized quotation.

Inclusions

  • Incredible sightseeing! Cruise the Rhine river on board a luxury Star-Ship, explore modern Holland on a glass-top canal boat, soak up Strasbourg’s beautiful architecture, tour Switzerland by world-famous rail journeys, and experience the alpine wonderland of Jungfraujoch – Europe’s highest railway station
  • 7 nights on board an Emerald Cruises Star-Ship, including port taxes and charges, tipping and gratuities 
  • 11 nights in handpicked, quality Swiss hotel accommodation
  • 31 superb meals, including delicious breakfast daily, 6 lunches and 7 dinners 
  • Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner on board your Star-Ship
  • Canal cruise in Amsterdam
  • Excursions to Cologne, Heidelberg and Strasbourg
  • Walking tour of Koblenz 
  • Guided tour of Freiburg with market tasting
  • Visit to a local farm estate with cooking demo
  • Guided bike tours to Waterland and Breisach 
  • Guided hike from Mount Königstuhl to Heidelberg
  • The services of an Emerald Cruises cruise director
  • World-famous scenic train journeys through the Swiss Alps, including the spectacular Golden Pass Express, Gotthard Panorama, Glacier Express, Bernina Express
  • Dedicated Swiss Rail ticket in 2nd or 1st class, as per the itinerary, including seat reservation on all scenic trains
  • Self-guided excursion to Jungfraujoch, Europe’s highest railway station 
  • Entry to Lindt Home of Chocolate
  • Panoramic cruise on Yacht MS Saphir in Lucerne 
  • Guest cards in Zurich, Lucerne, Lugano, Montreux, and Interlaken, providing free local transport and discounted shopping opportunities
  • Return airport transfers

  • Amsterdam – Explore modern and quintessential Holland on a glass-top canal boat cruise
  • Cologne – Enjoy a guided tour of the Old Town with its imposing Cathedral 
  • Koblenz – Visit Ehrenbreitstein Fortress
  • Heidelberg – Hike from Mount Königstuhl to Heidelberg, and continue on with a guided tour of the city
  • Strasbourg – Marvel at the astrological signs that adorn the façade of the Maison Kammerzell and soak up the idyllic historic scenery around Petite France
  • Freiburg – Sample authentic Black Forest delicacies
  • Zurich – Enjoy magnificent views of the snow-capped Alps in this ‘Metropolis of Experiences’ 
  • Lucerne – Visit famous Chapel Bridge and board the Gotthard Panorama Express including a paddle steamer boat experience on picturesque Lake Lucerne 
  • Lugano – Board the Bernina Express including bus and panoramic train rides across circular viaducts and winding tunnels 
  • St. Moritz – Use your included guest card to explore this picturesque village, then take the world-famous Glacier Express through valleys and the Alps
  • Zermatt – Marvel at the Matterhorn, one of the world’s most famous mountains, and stroll through this car-free resort town with an abundance of activities at your leisure
  • Montreux – Walk the town’s promenade and admire grand Belle Epoque buildings, and perhaps consider a visit to nearby Chillon castle or the vineyards of the Lavaux region
  • Wilderswil/Interlaken – On your way stop at the famous Jungfraujoch, Europe’s highest railway station, and marvel at impressive ice sculptures 

Why Emerald Cruises?

Sail the world with Emerald Cruises. Interweaving exploration, innovation, and wellness, you'll immerse yourself in enriching onshore experiences whilst life on board the river cruising Star-Ships promises ultimate relaxation. 

As small ship experts, Emerald Cruises champion the intimate and spacious lifestyle that takes you to the heart of the globe's premiere travel destinations. With an excellent staff-to-guest ratio, you'll relish world-class cuisine, blissful spa treatments (available at an extra cost), and once-in-a-lifetime excursions, all underpinned by superior service and exceptional people.  

The suite of generous inclusions cares for all necessities and comforts, including airport transfers, all gratuities on board and onshore, all on board meals, and illuminating handpicked excursions. 

Cabin Types

Emerald Stateroom
The Emerald Stateroom marries excellent comfort and refinement with practical storage solutions, maximising your living space for a comfortable and restorative break. With picture window or port hole river view window, en-suite bathroom, mini-bar and climate control, you have everything you need for a wonderful getaway. Between 153ft2 – 170ft2. 

Emerald Panorama Balcony Suite
Replacing the traditional French balcony, our innovative all-weather balcony system allows the floor-to-ceiling window to drop down electronically, making the most of the ever-changing scenery. Comfortable and stylish, our Panorama Balcony Suites provide an elegant retreat. Between 160ft2 – 180ft2.

Cabin Inclusions & Upgrades

Emerald Stateroom (Cat E) - Included 

Emerald Stateroom (Cat D) - From $137 per person, twin share. Single price on application.

Emerald Panorama Balcony Suite (Cat C) - From $607 per person, twin share. Single price on application.

Emerald Panorama Balcony Suite (Cat B) - From $672 per person, twin share. Single price on application.

Emerald Panorama Balcony Suite (Cat A) - From $721 per person, twin share. Single price on application.

Please note your upgrade request in the 'Special Request' field whilst making your booking. Once your upgrade has been confirmed, the additional amount will be added to your invoice and payable with your final payment.

1st Class Rail
Select this supplement if you would like to upgrade your itinerary to 1st class rail on all sectors, including seat reservation on the scenic trains. Upgrade for $281 per person.  First Class has dedicated carriages offering a higher level of comfort with spacious seats and less passengers per carriage.  Some trains will have larger windows in First Class.

Golden Pass Prestige Class + 1st class rail supplement
The Prestige class is characterised by its very comfortable, heated seats which enable the passenger to face in the direction of travel. The Prestige area is raised by 40 centimetres to allow the passengers to be fully immersed in the landscape. The passenger feels like sitting in the landscape. Upgrade for $351 per person, which also includes 1st class rail as per the itinerary.  

Glacier Express 3-Course Lunch 
As you gaze out at the stunning alpine panorama, enjoy a freshly prepared 3-course meal on board and served at your seat. Upgrade for $70 per person. 

Glacier Express Excellence Class + 1st class rail supplement
A panoramic trip through the Swiss Alps aboard the Glacier Express is now even more spectacular with guaranteed window seats and panoramic views. The new Excellence Class sets standards that are as high as the mountain peaks along the legendary route. Along the way you will be served a refined regional 5-course menu with accompanying wines. For an aperitif, some delicious cocktail or to exchange with fellow travellers the Glacier Bar is the perfect place to visit. Thanks to the compass on the ceiling none of the many turns will be missed, which also includes 1st class rail as per the itinerary. 

During the entire journey, you will be taken care of by a concierge. Be it with culinary delights, answers to personal concerns or exciting anecdotes and information about nature, culture and people along the journey. Upgrade for $950per person. 

Fine Print

Secure your trip with a $99.00 deposit per person.

Once we receive your deposit, we will send you an invoice with your remaining balance and payment options.

Instalment Schedule:

  1. At the time of booking pay a $99.00 deposit per person.
  2. Pay a 1st installment of $700.00 per person within 7 days.
  3. You will then be invoiced for final payment 280 days prior to departure.

Fitness Requirements
While the tour itinerary should give you some guidance and overview to the expected requirements, to determine if this tour is right for you we categorise each of our tours in terms of their intensity. These guidelines are to ensure that each tour group is conducted as expected and to ensure the overall satisfaction of all Inspiring Vacations customers.

As a general rule, porterage is not included, therefore at all times you are expected to handle your own luggage where help may not be available.

This particular tour is categorised as a”3”

Moderate Tour: A good level of fitness and mobility is required, as this tour includes a moderate level of physical activity and is considered a medium-fast paced tour. You should be able to walk up and down stairs, get on and off the coach and able to walk reasonable distances of approximately 2 kilometres per day or more with ease. Any physical ailments you may have must be disclosed at the time of booking to determine your suitability. If you have any form of walking aids, other than a walking stick or hiking poles, then this tour is not suitable.

Tipping
A friendly reminder that tipping is not included in your package. Tipping is not compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. If you feel that your guide and driver have done an impeccable job, you can choose to give a gratuity, but this is entirely your decision.

Accommodation
The accommodation listed is subject to change. Any changes will be of an equal or higher standard. Bedding configurations (double or twin) are requests only. All efforts will be made to meet your preferences, however, any changes are beyond our control.

Single Supplement
Single supplement is from $2,371.00 per person, in addition to the twin-share price.
Single supplements are seasonal. If booking for travel dates April - June 2024 & September - October 2024, the exact amount will be confirmed upon confirmation.

Triple Share
Not available.

Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for this tour to protect yourself against the unexpected. In addition to the support that a policy may provide, you may be asked to present a copy of your travel insurance documentation while traveling.

Visa & Passport information
It is the traveller's responsibility to ensure they have a valid passport. The passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from the intended date of return.

Visas may be required.

Please note that these details are subject to change without notice. We recommend visiting https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html for up to date information in terms of entry requirements.

Children
Children must be 16 years old or above and share a room with parents at all times. Children are charged the same price as adults.

Tour Style
To meet the needs of various types of travelers, we choose to operate various types of tours, and depending on your selected package will mean different services are provided throughout your trip. The following descriptions of each tour style we hope will ensure that each traveller has appropriate expectations before they start their travels: 

  • Partially Escorted - A portion of these packages runs as a group tour where you will be escorted by an expert tour leader. Another portion is independent, whether conducted by rail, cruise or land, and you will travel between destinations on your own, with free time to explore at your own pace.

This package is sold as land only, however you do have the option of adding international airfares to your booking. Simply click on’ book now’, and under upgrades ,  you will be asked “Would you like us to contact you around our flight service?”

By selecting this option Inspiring Vacations will contact you to discuss adding flights to your chosen destination. We can assist with flying the airline of your choice to turn your booking into a flight inclusive package.

We would be more than happy to provide you with a quote for the following requests:

  • Airline Preferences - You may wish to fly with a particular airline
  • Cabin Preferences - These include upgrading to premium economy or business class
  • Extensions (start and end cities must remain the same) - You may request to extend your stay pre or post tour.
  • Meal Requests - You may request a specific meal for dietary requirements.
  • Seat Requests - If you would like to request particular seating. However please note, not all airlines allow the selection of pre-purchased seat arrangements.

We are currently unable to provide a quote for the following requests:

  • Stopovers - Is where you might want to stop in transit for a certain amount of days prior to your tour or after your tour.
  • One way flights
  • Different start or end city to the tour - you may not amend the arrival or departure city of your itinerary. 
  • Around the world tickets  - Is when a ticket includes multiple stops in different continents.
  • Return home to a different city from the one you departed.
  • Frequent Flyer point redemption - Is when an airline allows you to redeem points to pay for your flights or upgrade your ticket.  

Online check-in 

Some airlines may not permit online check-in where flights have been booked by a travel company. Where unavailable to do so online, you will be required to check-in at the airport. Inspiring Vacations cannot check-in online on behalf of our customers.

You can enhance your holiday by arriving or departing before or after the tour. On this tour you can choose from the following options:

Pre Tour Accommodation

  • $327.00 per room, per night for double and twin share
  • $237.00 per room, per night for solo travellers

Post Tour Accommodation

  • $327.00 per room, per night for double and twin share
  • $237.00 per room, per night for solo travellers

Please select the number of extra nights required in the 'Additional Nights Accommodation' field when making your purchase. The additional cost for these arrangements will be added to your final payment invoice and are subject to availability.

  • International airfares
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Tipping in Switzerland
  • Optional activities
  • Personal expenses
  • Anything not mentioned in the itinerary
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