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Stops Along A Rhine River Cruise

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A Seven Day Journey Along An Enchanting River

Rhine River Cruise

Photo: Rhine River Rainbow, Sandi Barrett

Half timbered houses perched on the edge of the Rhine River flanked by fairy tale castles is just the beginning of the beautiful scenery along your journey through France, Germany, Netherlands, and Switzerland. A Rhine River cruise makes a wonderful European vacation.

In general when sailing on a river cruise, there are a certain number of expected stops. Most cruise companies also offer several different cruise options along the same river. Today we are going to consider the stops along the Rhine River with AmaWaterways Cruises. Personally, I love AmaWaterways, they offer all-inclusive pricing, exceptional quality, and top notch service — they offer the best Rhine River cruises in my opinion. And, you only unpack once — your floating hotel room takes you from stop to stop.

There are several things you need to decide as you venture into the world of river cruising.

  1. What time of year do you want to travel?
  2. Which spots are a must see?
  3. Do you want a special type of cruise, i.e. wine cruise, Christmas Markets, etc.?
  4. Which excursions peak your interest?
  5. What level of exertion can you handle on your excursions?

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Hamlets And Vineyards Of The Rhine Gorge

The Rhine Gorge is breathtaking. Rolling hillside vineyards are guarded by medieval towns and towering hilltop castle ruins. As the boat glides along, you will love getting lost in the panoramic scenery from the upper deck.

Rhine River Cruises on AmaWaterways

The cruises change a bit from year to year, but in general there are only so many stops along the river. Below is a list of the AmaWaterways Rhine River Cruises for 2023/2024 that are seven days long. You can extend your cruise with a pre or post cruise land package. You can add several days, along with more included excursions, to Amsterdam, Basel, Paris, Prague, Zurich, and others.

Rhine cruise options:

The Captivating Rhine River Cruise

The Captivating Rhine sails from Amsterdam to Basel. This is a popular Rhine River cruise.

Stops Include: Amsterdam, Cologne, Rhine Gorge, Rüdesheim, Ludwigshafen, Strasburg, Breisch, and Basel.

The Enchanting Rhine River Cruise

Photo: Wine Cruise, Sandi Barrett

The Enchanting Rhine sails from Basel to Amsterdam. This is essentially the reverse of the one above with the addition of Lahnstein. I sailed on this cruise in 2019 on the AmaSerena — it was an unforgettable adventure. It was our first river cruise, and we haven’t stopped.

Stops Include: Basel, Breisch, Stasburg, Ludwigshafen, Strasburg, Rudesheim, Lahnstein, Rhine Gorge, Cologne, and Amsterdam.

Christmas Markets On The Rhine River Cruise

Rhine River Cruise

Photo: Christmas Market Cologne, Courtesy of AmaWaterways

The Christmas Markets On The Rhine River Cruise sails from Amsterdam to Basel and offers the same stops as the Captivating Rhine River Cruise. If you have never been to the charming European Christmas markets, it might be worth considering. They start in November, and each little town is sweetly decorated.

Stops Include: Amsterdam, Cologne, Rhine Gorge, Rüdesheim, Ludwigshafen, Strasburg, Breisch, and Basel.

Rhine Castles And Swiss Alps River Cruise

The Rhine Castles And Swiss Alps River Cruise also sails from Amsterdam to Basel and offers the same stops as the Captivating Rhine River Cruise. This also is listed as a Christmas cruise during the season.

Stops Include: Amsterdam, Cologne, Rhine Gorge, Rüdesheim, Ludwigshafen, Strasburg, Breisch, and Basel.

The Cities Along The Rhine River

Each one of these cities will have tours highlighting the best of the city. Since the shore excursions are included in your AmaWaterways River Cruise, you should definitely take advantage and visit these wonderful spots in the Rhine region. You have several excursion options for each city.

Chris and I like different things and we almost never end up on the same excursions. He likes history, castles, and battlefields. I like food, wine, and charming towns. Since you are traveling with a group, you can feel comfortable choosing different options from your sailing partner. There will be a guide and other cruisers on the tours with you – you won’t be alone. It makes coming together for dinner so much more interesting!

Basel, Switzerland

Rhine River

Photo: Basel, Switzerland, Sandi Barrett

The Swiss really know how to live well. I highly recommend adding a day or two in Basel before/after your cruise. You can use AmaWaterways land package deal, or strike out on your own. If you go on your own, I recommend staying at the Sorell Hotel Merian. It is perfectly located on the Rhine River, close to food, sites, and your ship.

Breisch, France

Rhine River Cruise

Photo: Main Lounge, Courtesy of AmaWaterways

Breisch is a little docking spot launching you into the area to visit pretty little spots along the river or into the Black Forest.

Sample Excursions:

  • Riquewihr excursion
  • Freiburg excursion
  • Black Forest hike
  • Breisach wine country bike tour

Strasburg, France

Sandi Barrett

Photo The Strasbourg Astronomical Clock, Sandi Barrett

The Strasbourg Astronomical Clock is so charming. If you visit the Cathedrale Notre-Dame of Strasbourg, hopefully your timing will be good to see it strike at 12:30 p.m.

Sample Excursions:

  • “The Gem of Alsace” tour
  • Strasbourg bike tour

Ludwigshafen, Germany

Rhine River Cruise

Photo: Heidelberg Castle, Sandi Barrett

German vineyards and castles are fun to explore. The history of these medieval structures simply boggles your mind.

Sample Excursions:

  • “Romantic Heidelberg” excursion
  • Heidelberg Philosopher’s hike
  • “Secrets of Speyer” tour
  • Ladenburg bike tour

Rudesheim, Germany

Rhine River Cruise

Photo: Castle Rudesheim, Sandi Barrett

You will fall in love with Rudesheim. A charming village to wander around, particularly at night when the light shines off the cobbled streets and pours out from pubs and coffee houses.

Sample Excursions:

  • Gondola ride and wine tasting
  • Vineyard hike
  • Guided bike tour of the Rheingau
  • And Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Museum
  • Rüdesheimer Coffee

Rhine Gorge, Germany

Rhine River Cruise

Photo: Rhine Gorge, Sandi Barrett

Sailing through the Rhine River Gorge is one of the highlights of the Rhine River. You will want to be on the upper deck for this mid-day, onboard event. Rain or shine it is a breathtaking, panoramic landscape.

Watch the video at the beginning of this post and you will definitely agree.

Lahnstein, Germany

Rhine River Cruise

Photo: AmaPrima, Courtesy of AmaWaterways

Sample Excursions:

  • Lahnstein Lahneck Castle Visit

Cologne, Germany

Photo: Cologne Cathedral, Sandi Barrett

Cologne (Köln) is a lovely old city that was mostly rebuilt after World War II. The Gothic Cathedral, left intact during the city bombing, is spectacular. Simply gorgeous when it is lit up at night.

Sample Excursions:

  • “Holy City” walking tour and cathedral visit
  • Kölsch Beer tasting
  • Cologne bike tour

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rhine River Cruise

Photo: Amsterdam, Sandi Barrett

Many of the cruise itineraries have the ship staying over a night in Amsterdam. However, it is such a fascinating city, adding an additional night or two would be a fun way to end/begin your Rhine River journey.

Sample Excursions:

  • Amsterdam Canal Cruise
  • A Taste of Amsterdam

Rhine River Cruises Wellness

Photo: Wellness Classes, Courtesy of AmaWaterways

In addition to all the walking you are enjoying on your excursions (or biking) there is an on-board wellness host. You can enjoy a morning stretch on the deck, or cardio and circuit training in the fitness room.

Additionally, you can make an appointment for a therapeutic massage — that’s the way to vacation.

The Cuisine

Rhine River Cruise

Photo: Griesflammerie – Semolina Mouse, Forest Berry Ragout, Vanilla Ice Cream, Sandi Barrett

The gourmet dining menu is well crafted. Unlike the humongous cruise ships, the River Cruise ships have two dining rooms. The main dining room serves a chef special every night that reflects the region the ship is sailing through. Escargot in Alsace and a beer garden fest in Cologne are items you might find on the daily chef’s menu. There is always a traditional steak, chicken, or fish options available along with a “healthy choice” menu. Anyway you slice it, AmaWaterways chefs serve up fabulous food.

The specialty dining room is the Chef’s Table where you will enjoy a perfectly crafted tasting menu paired with hand selected wines that compliment your dishes.

European River Cruises – The Rhine River

Rhine River Cruise

Photo: Shop in Strasburg, Sandi Barrett

Are you ready to sail down — or up — the Rhine River? It is the perfect trip for new-to-river-cruising guests. With good reason, it is a nice mix of relaxation, high energy fun, and beautiful places to visit.

Fairytale castles dot the Rhine valley and hillsides, framed by storybook towns combine to creat a romantic Rhine experience.

Be sure to be on the top deck when you sail through the locks it is a fascinating adventure.

What To Pack

I have a great starter list about what to pack on your River Cruise. You can peruse one of my stories about fabulous cruise wear you can sew — or buy.

Happy Sailing on your Rhine River cruise.



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Travel health insurance when you are heading out of the country is an important consideration. Many policies don’t fully cover you outside of the US. I use Safety Wing for my international travels. I use the one-time coverage option for individual trips – luckily I haven’t had to use it, but it’s comforting to know I have it in place. 

If you know me, you know I love a glass of wine (or two). My favorite mail order wine company is Naked Wines. I order a case every month or so – no judgment please. I love that they work with small independent winemakers and I get to choose what wine I want and when I want it delivered. Don’t forget to download my free packing list! It’s the perfect jumping off point to get your adventure started.

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  1. This would be such an amazing trip! I’d love to do it one day. It looks like a great way to sample some places in Europe. The food on the cruise looks delicious, too. So much fun!

  2. Wow, what an amazing experience! I would love to go during the Christmas markets

  3. What a gorgeous river cruise along the Rhine River. Thank you for sharing.

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