Gliding along the mighty Rhine, river cruisers get an intimate perspective on medieval castles, lush vineyards, and historic villages. But for those also hoping to trace the region’s extensive Jewish roots, Uniworld’s new-for-2018 Rhine itinerary features themed Jewish-heritage excursions at nearly every port. Don’t-miss experiences include visits to Basel’s Great Synagogue, Israel Park, and sites significant to the Zionist movement’s inception; the Museum Judengasse in Frankfurt, featuring the foundations of five homes from Europe’s first Jewish ghetto, Judengasse (Jew’s Alley), and an adjacent Holocaust memorial; Amsterdam’s former Jewish Quarter, where Rembrandt lived – the Dutch painter’s works often depicted local Jewish citizens, and his house, now a museum, is one of the few originals still standing in the area; and Strasbourg’s Old Town to tour the Alsatian Museum’s Jewish collection and model prayer room.
Traveling through the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Switzerland, cruisers have the opportunity to mix and match shore excursions as they please, and all ports offer plenty of non-Jewish heritage options as well. Just a few suggestions: Join a local guide for an insider’s tour of Speyer to glimpse its UNESCO-designated Romanesque cathedral; hike to Bacharach’s twelfth-century Stahleck Castle; head into Cologne for a Kölsch beer tasting; and bike along the Rhine in Basel before stopping at the Fondation Beyeler to view works by Cézanne, Klee, and other masters. The sailing also provides special access to art collections in multiple countries, along with a family program for travelers ages 4 to 17 designed to spark a desire for lifelong learning.
All-inclusive, nine-day sailings from Basel to Amsterdam (or reverse) aboard the 130-passenger River Empress include transfers, onboard meals, guided shore excursions, and more. Departures: Multiple dates, March 14 through November 5, 2018.