Europe’s most legendary cities, rivers, and sights await on this mesmerizing journey. Your vacation begins with two overnights in lovely Lucerne, Switzerland, where an included guided walk features the poignant Lion Monument, the ornate historic homes lining the walled Old Town, and Chapel Bridge—the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe. There’s free time to explore on your own, then a real treat! An excursion takes you to the top of Mount Pilatus for spectacular Alpine views. (Departures October 19 to November 2 visit the Swiss Transport Museum as transportation up Mt. Pilatus is unavailable due to maintenance.) In the afternoon, a short transfer delivers you to your Avalon ship for the cruise portion of your adventure. Enjoy guided sightseeing in Strasbourg, Koblenz, and Cologne, as well as an excursion to the Black Forest and to Heidelberg, Germany’s oldest university town. Sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge, the most beautiful stretch of river dotted every mile with castles. Visit the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, see the legendary Lorelei rock, and enjoy a canal cruise in splendid Amsterdam. Be sure to pack your camera so you can capture the romance and splendor of this magical journey. Your ship will be decorated and dressed up in Christmas colors. You will have free time to explore some of Europe’s famous Christmas Markets where you will find all sort of gifts to bring home. After disembarking your Avalon cruise ship in Amsterdam, we transfer you by high-speed train to Paris for your exciting Monograms extension. We’ve arranged your hotel reservations, daily breakfast, sightseeing with local experts, transfers from/to your hotels to/from the train stations, and more. Plus, we know you are not familiar with the cities, so we’ve arranged the services of friendly and knowledgeable Local Hosts® to answer questions, share inside information, help you arrange your activities and excursions, and more. The moment you arrive in Paris, you’ll feel the magic. We know the very best place to photograph the iconic Eiffel Tower, and we’ll take you there to get your shots! We’ll also take you to Notre Dame Cathedral to admire its amazing stained-glass Rose Window, then for a different perspective of the city, we’ve arranged for you to enjoy a cruise along the Seine. With three overnights, the “City of Light” is yours for discovering. Next, bid “Au Revoir” as an included high-speed train transfer whisks you from Paris to London for three nights and plenty of time to investigate just what makes England so jolly. We’ll pick you up at your hotel for exclusive, guided sightseeing with a local expert. You’ll hear the inside stories around places like Westminster Abbey, where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married, and the Houses of Parliament. We’ll take you inside St. Paul’s Cathedral, the iconic cathedral where Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married. We’ll also take you to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace (if available). In both cities you’ll have a full day to explore on your own. From Paris, perhaps hunt for the many celebrity tombstones in the Père Lachaise Cemetery, take a French cooking lesson, or enjoy a cabaret show at the world-famous Moulin Rouge. In London, you may want to ride the London Eye, shop at the iconic Harrods department store, ride a red double-decker bus or the “Tube,” or take in a West End theater show.
Cruise: deluxe 7-night cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSMDay 1 Zurich, Switzerland–Transfer to Lucerne. Welcome to Switzerland! Day 2 Lucerne. Guided sightseeing, see the Lion Monument, walk across CHAPEL BRIDGEDay 3 Lucerne–Transfer to Basel (Embarkation): Mountain excursion; onboard welcome receptionDay 4 Breisach. Excursion to the Black Forest: visit a woodcarver’s workshop; Christmas marketDay 5 Strasbourg: guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral, Christmas MarketDay 6 Excursion to Heidelberg–Mainz: guided visit of the castle, see the Great Vat in Heidelberg; visit the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Christmas MarketDay 7 Rüdesheim–Rhine Gorge–Koblenz: visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum and enjoy a special treat in Rüdesheim; cruise through the Rhine Gorge; guided walk in KoblenzDay 8 Cologne: choice of guided city walk or Jewish Heritage walk, Christmas MarketDay 9 Amsterdam: canal cruise and Illumination Cruise during Lights Festival.Paris & London: 6 nights hotel accommodation with buffet breakfast (B); Monograms Local Host Service & Destination Guides with city maps; guided sightseeing, inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE; high-speed Thalys train (first-class) from Amsterdam to Paris; high-speed Eurostar train (standard class*) from Paris to London (porterage available for one suitcase on Paris–London stretch only); transfers to/from train stations; discounts at the famous Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris.
Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapésWelcome dinnerDaily Afternoon TeaDaily Night FareFarewell dinnerComplimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; soft drinks with lunch; and wine, beer, or soft drinks with dinner are included daily on board your vesselBuffet breakfast daily in Lucerne, Paris & London
NOTES:In the event that a high-speed train is unavailable due to strikes or technical reasons, the route will be altered or operated by motorcoach.In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program.Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change becomes necessary, a substitute will be offered.