Trip Planning Rhine Valley History Viking Longship Alruna Map of the Cruise Daily Photos

Trip Planning

Chuck - Virginia - Rhine and Beer

Virginia and I decided we both wanted to go on the Rhine Cruise and see the castles and cities along the river in Germany and spend a day or two in Switzerland.

Virginia unfortunately, fell on her front steps of her house and we weren't sure if she couldn't make the trip with me.

So we waited for Virginia's doctors to give her the go ahead and take the trip and she was told she could go!

Here we are drinking the local beverage, loved by almost all Germans!

Chuck - Virginia - Rhine and Beer

Commemorating Cruise Ships

A Coin Commemorating the Laying of a Viking Ships Keel in 2013 and a Delftware Tile Commemorating the Holland American Line.

A Coin and Tile for Viking and Holland American Lines.......

Chuck's Travels over the Water Ways of the World

Over the years I have been fortunately able to travel all over the world on long boats, canoes, river cruises and ocean cuises. Here are most of the bodies of water I have been on in various countries. A few are missing as I didn't take a photo on the actual water ways like the Thames in London!

Check out photos of Chuck as he traveled around the world on Rivers, Lakes and Oceans........

Virginia and Chuck's World Travels

Here are the various places Virginia and I have traveled to since we met years ago at the senior center at the YMCA. We first went to Ireland in 2014 for two weeks and had such a great time we started to do more traveling world wide and around the local tourist attractions.

Check out Virginia and Chuck's photos from our previous and future trips........

History of the Rhine Region.

There has been human settlement on the terraces of the Middle Rhine Valley since the last Ice Age. It came under Roman rule in the 1st century BCE, as a frontier province, and a military road was constructed on the left bank, linking military fortress and camps. The Rhine was also a major shipping route during this period, linking northern Europe with the Alpine massif and the Mediterranean lands, a role that exerted a major influence on the subsequent history of the Middle Rhine Valley.

Read More........

Viking Longship Alruna Cruise Ship & Map of the Cruise Itinerary

Alruna - A Valkyrie

The daughter of Kjárr of Valland, Alruna (Ölrún in Old Norse), was one of three Valkyries spinning linen on the shore of Wolf Lake, when they were spotted by three brothers who lived nearby. Alruna and Egil, one of the brothers, lived together for seven winters, until Alruna flew off to battle, never to return.

Read More about the Ship, Itinerary and Special Features........

Viking Longship Alruna Cruise Ship Guest Statements

Guest Statements

One can review our costs for the Rhine River cruise and also see how much savings one can get when shopping around for special deals. You will notice that the cruise and airfare are drastically cut and the only thing that hasn't changed is the $349.00 for the Travel Protection Plan. Check it out!

Guest Statements and Overview of Savings on the Cruise........

Special Notice: Thank you for choosing Viking for your upcoming European voyage. This message is to advise you regarding low water levels on the Rhine River that will likely impact your itinerary.

As this summer has been unusually dry, many European rivers have reached historically low levels. While conditions had improved somewhat, water levels continue to fluctuate. Unlike ocean sailing, as little as an inch or two determines whether navigation is possible, and river levels have been changing quickly throughout the season. Our nautical team continues to monitor the river levels closely to determine if and how your cruise may be affected. At this time, we expect to enact what we call a mid-cruise "ship swap" part way through your itinerary to bypass the affected area. Because Viking operates identical ships traveling in opposite directions along the river, we are able to transfer you by motorcoach from your ship to an identical sister ship further along the river. There, you can resume your itinerary with minimal impact.

If water levels remain low, we may also need to dock in alternate locations where our regular docking locations are adversely affected by the conditions to ensure you are able to see the sights you came to see. While we strive to give you as much information regarding how your cruise may be impacted ahead of time, river conditions today may be very different than on the day you pass through the affected area. This means we cannot confirm exact details until closer to departure, or even possibly after. Rest assured, we have considerable experience in navigating situations like this and we are confident you will enjoy your journey with us, despite the low water conditions.

Should you have any questions regarding your cruise before your departure, please contact Customer Relations at or call 1-877-523-0579, Monday through Friday, 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and Saturday to Sunday, 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM, PDT. We look forward to welcoming you on board and wish you a wonderful journey. Sincerely, Viking

    My Personal Travel Agent - Setting up trips to Morocco, Portugal, Sicily and many other destinations. A top Travel Consultant.

I met Viviane in 1999, sailing from Southern Chile to Southern Argentina and visiting Patagonia in April. We celebrated the Millenium New Year in Vienna in 2000 and the actual New Year of 2001 in Morocco! She can plan great trips for you with years of unique travels under her belt!

Personnal Travel Agent........

  Days 1 to 3

    Flying from San Francisco to Basel Switzerland - Transfer to Ship.

Leave San Francisco on Delta Airlines to Minneapolis, de Gaulle Paris and on to Basel

We did a two day stay in Basel before boarding the Cruise Ship.

  Day 04 - 2018.11.04

    First Port of Call - Breisach, Germany

Arrive at Breisach in the A.M. and a Morning Tour - Depart at P.M.

Explore the dense, lofty fir forests of Germany’s Schwarzwald, the fabled Black Forest. Meet your guide at your ship, then embark on a scenic coach excursion through a mythical land of cuckoo clocks, glassblowing and timeless fairy tales. You will begin with a drive into the woods, passing the wine-producing villages of Ihringen, Gottenheim and Bötzingen, each of them cradled among the soft, undulating hills and prolific vineyards of southwestern Germany. After a photo stop, continue to the beautiful Hofgut Sternen hotel, a loyal keeper of Black Forest traditions. During your visit, you may choose your immersion into Black Forest culture: take a forest stroll, attend a demonstration of cuckoo clocks or glassblowing, or learn to make the decadent Black Forest Cake for which this region is known. After, you will return to your ship via Freiburg, a major university and ecclesiastical center.

Largest Cockoo Clock in the World

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Making a Black Forest Cake

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Medieval Village of Colmar

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  Day 05 - 2018.11.05

    Second Port of Call - Strasbourg, France

Arrive at Strasburg A.M. and a Morning Tour - Depart P.M.

Get to know this delightful city steeped in equal parts French and German culture. Join your local guide for a drive through the German Imperial District and the European Quarter, home of many institutions of the European Union and the Council of Europe. Continue past remarkable Renaissance architecture, then proceed to the city center for a walking tour of the picturesque Petite France area, the former Tanners’ District surrounded by the small Ill River and crisscrossed by charming canals. Here, you will see the Old Customs House and charming covered bridges with their defensive towers. In Cathedral Square view the magnificently restored Strasbourg Cathedral, towering above merchant houses. One of the finest of Europe’s great Gothic cathedrals, it was once the world's tallest building from 1647 to 1874. You will have time to admire the great Gothic rosette window, beautiful red sandstone portal and the remarkable astronomical clock.

Strasbourg - Council of Europe

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VES Cocktail Party

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  Day 06 - 2018.11.06

    Third Port of Call - Heidelberg Germany

Arrive at Heidelberg in the A.M. and a Morning Tour - 6 Hours - Depart P.M.

See the castle and old medieval town so steeped in romance that they stood at the center of the German Romantic movement. You will join your guide for a drive to Heidelberg, several miles up the Neckar River. The town sits on a narrow passage of the river at one end of the graceful Old Bridge. You will ascend to the majestic , which has long inspired writers as varied as Johann von Goethe and Mark Twain. Originally built during the early 13th century, it was the residence of the Palatinate monarchy through the 18th century. Descend into the Altstadt, or Old Town, for a walking tour toward the turreted Heidelberg University. Founded in 1386, it is Germany’s oldest. You can see the school’s tower in which unruly boys were incarcerated for misdeeds, and the Red Ox tavern in which they boasted to their mates about their imprisonment.


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  Day 07 - 2018.11.07

    Fourth Port of Call - Koblenz Germany

Arrive at Koblenz in the A.M. - Afternoon Tour of Marksburg Castle for 3 Hours - Depart P.M.

Visit the only castle in the Rhine Valley to have never been destroyed. You will drive with your guide to Braubach, where the incredible Marksburg Castle watches over the town as it has since the 13th century. Because this magnificent structure was built with strong fortifications, it was never besieged by enemies. Upon arrival on its lofty grounds, enjoy spectacular views of Braubach, the Rhine and the surrounding countryside from its 550-foot perch. You will tour the citadel, see the impressive kitchens in the Gothic Hall building and step into the ancient torture chamber to view some grisly instruments. The distinct butter-churn tower, so named because the upper reaches have a smaller diameter than the lower, is a beloved landmark of the town with its distinct profile. Today, Marksburg Castle is home to the German Castles Association, which works to preserve medieval fortifications such as Marksburg all over Germany.

Rhine Cruise & Castles

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Marksburg Castle

The Marksburg is a castle above the town of Braubach in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is one of the principal sites of the Rhine Gorge UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fortress was used for protection rather than as a residence for royal families. It has a striking example of a bergfried designed as a butter-churn tower. Of the 40 hill castles between Bingen am Rhein and Koblenz the Marksburg was the only one which was never destroyed.

A stone keep was built on the spot in 1100 by the Eppstein family and expanded into a castle around 1117 to protect the town of Braubach and to reinforce the customs facilities. It was first mentioned in documents in 1231. The Eppsteins were a powerful family in the region, with several members becoming archbishops in Mainz and Trier. In 1283, Count Eberhard of Katzenelnbogen bought it and throughout the 14th and 15th century the high noble counts rebuilt the castle constantly. In 1429 the male line of the Counts of Katzenelnbogen became extinct, and the territories went to the Count of Hesse, who expanded the castle to accommodate artillery and added the round towers of the outer curtain wall.

The French emperor Napoleon seized then abolished the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. He gave the Marksburg to his ally the Duke of Nassau for his service. He used the castle as a prison and as a home for disabled soldiers. After the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 the Duchy of Nassau became a territory of Prussia, which took ownership of the Marksburg.

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  Day 08 - 2018.11.08

    Fifth Port of Call - Cologne Germany

Arrive at Cologne in the A.M. - Tour in the Morning - Depart P.M.

Learn about the treasured heritage of Cologne and visit its spectacular cathedral, towering over the Old City in its Gothic splendor. You’ll step into a rich past here, following some of its preserved historic street pattern and hearing about its Roman and medieval history along the way. You will also stop at Cologne’s magnificent Gothic cathedral. Construction of this towering structure, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, began in 1248 and continued in several stages over seven centuries. Finally completed in 1880, it largely escaped damage that ravaged the city and the rest of Germany during World War II. The largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe, it is a magnificent church with two soaring spires and beautiful stained-glass windows. Please note: On some occasions, a guided visit inside may not be possible. In that case, you can tour on your own after an introductory explanation by your guide.

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Cologne Cathedral

On our tour, we were told the Arch Bishop of Cologne decided to build the cathedral as the largest in the world. He was put in place by the Pope and had power over the population. He started to tax people in the city and countryside. At that date, there were around 30,000 people in the city and the farming land. After many years of heavy taxation, the people rose up and chased the Arch Bishop out of the area. The Pope was not amused. So the people were poor and many were starving from being taxed to death but, the building of the cathedral was more important. The taller the cathedral, the more one had to look to the top and closer to heaven.

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Augustusburg Palace

The Augustusburg and Falkenlust Palaces form a historical building complex in Brühl, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, which has been listed as a UNESCO cultural World Heritage Site since 1984. The buildings are connected by the spacious gardens and trees of the Schlosspark. Augustusburg Palace (German: Schloss Augustusburg) and its parks also serve as a venue for the Brühl Palace Concerts. The Max Ernst Museum is located nearby.

The palaces were built at the beginning of the 18th century by the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, Clemens August of Bavaria of the Wittelsbach family. The architects were Johann Conrad Schlaun and François de Cuvilliés. The main block of Augustusburg Palace is a U-shaped building with three main storeys and two levels of attics. The magnificent staircase was designed by Johann Balthasar Neumann.

The gardens were designed by Dominique Girard. An elaborate flower garden for an area south of the palaces was also designed, but it was restructured by Peter Joseph Lenné in the 19th century and turned into a landscape garden. Attempts to renovate the area have proven difficult, due to poor source material availability.

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Falkenlust Hunting Lodge

Falkenlust hunting lodge was designed by François de Cuvilliés and built from 1729 to 1740, in the style of the Amalienburg hunting lodge in the park of Nymphenburg Palace.

From shortly after World War II until 1994, Augustusburg was used as a reception hall for guests of state by the German President, as it is not far from Bonn, which was the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany at that time.

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  Day 09 - 2018.11.09

    Sixth Port of Call - Kinderdijk the Netherlands

Arrive at the Netherlands and visit the Kinderdijk Windmills - Afternoon Tour 2 Hours - Depart P.M.

See the picturesque Dutch countryside and the original technological marvels of historic Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will walk with your guide into the serene polder lands of South Holland. As you cross the dike to the windmills, you will notice that they in fact are at a lower elevation than your ship, as much of this part of The Netherlands is below sea level. Built in the mid-18th century, these 19 windmills, the largest concentration in The Netherlands, stand like sentinels on a hushed landscape. You will learn why they were built and see firsthand how they work, even stepping into a working windmill to observe its mechanics and living quarters. Families who live in these mills are required to keep them in working order. This excursion provides a revealing look at these marvelous buildings that helped shape the legendary Dutch landscape.

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  Day 10 - 2018.11.10

    Seventh Port of Call - Amsterdam the Netherlands

Arrive in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in the A.M. - Depart at nine a.m. for an 11 hour flight direct to San Francisco on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines .

Created on: 2018.03.10
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Updated on: 2018.11.17