Experience a once-in-a-decade performance of the Oberammergau Passion Play before embarking on a wonderful cruise on the Rhine
About the Tour
The Oberammergau Passion Play is famous across the world for its marvelous retelling of the Passion of the Christ. Explore the charming town of Oberammergau and enjoy a performance of the play with tier 1 or 2 category tickets. Then travel by rail to Basel, where you meet your river cruise ship for a scenic 7-night cruise on the magnificent Rhine River.
- Rail travel on the high-speed Eurostar and TGV trains
- Scenic rail journey on the Drachenfelsbahn
- Hotel accommodations for 3 nights
- 7-night cruise on the MS Amadeus Silver III
- 26 meals, including a special Passion Play dinner
- Tickets to a performance of the Oberammergau Passion Play
- Visits to Strasbourg, Speyer, Heidelberg, Cologne, Amsterdam, Koblenz and Rudesheim
- Sail through the Rhine Gorge, an UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Services of a professional Tour Manager
Days 1 & 2 - To the Oberammergau region
Meet your group and Tour Manager at our dedicated Departure Office at London St Pancras where we board the Eurostar service to Paris. From here, we join the rail service to Stuttgart. We spend the night here before continuing the following day down to the beautiful Oberammergau region in southern Germany, our base for the next two nights. (Day 1 – Eurostar meal, D; Day 2 – B, D)
Day 3 - The Oberammergau Passion Play
The magnificent Oberammergau Passion Play is held only once every 10 years and is a spectacle worthy of all that preparation. Depicting the final days of Jesus Christ, this theatrical extravaganza features a cast and crew numbering up to the thousands and features a dazzling array of props, costumes, and backdrops. The play is the oldest Passion Play in the world, first put on by the villagers in 1634 as a plea to God to save them from the plague which was flooding Germany at the time. When the plague miraculously cleared up, the villagers vowed to put on a play for every 10 years thereafter. The result is a marvelous display, one which is produced by everyone in the village for thousands of international visitors each decade.
The majority of our tickets for the play are Category 1 Tickets*, providing us with front and central seats under the roof of a specially made auditorium. Split into two halves with a break for a special dinner, we enjoy the performance in the afternoon, leaving you the morning to soak up the atmosphere of this unassuming, yet distinctly charming German town. (B, D)
*For the departure on June 28, 2020, you will have Tier 2 tickets to the Passion Play Performance.
Day 4 – Basel
Today, we depart for Basel, traveling by rail via Ulm and München-Pasing. On arrival you board your ship, the 5-Star MS Amadeus Silver III. A floating hotel, this fantastic vessel is your home for the next seven nights. As you get your bearings on board, be sure to head up to the Sun Deck and take in the final hours of sunlight before we set sail. This evening, we enjoy a welcome cocktail before a delicious first meal. (B, D)
Day 5 – Strasbourg
Our vessel sails into the charming German town of Kehl today. Sat across the Rhine from Kehl is the beautiful city of Strasbourg, whose position on the German-French border has seen it change hands between the two nations frequently throughout history. Because of this, Strasbourg represents the best of both cultures, with colorful half-timbered houses and cobbled streets. You may wish to take a city tour of Strasbourg, uncovering its charm and history. Alternatively, you may wish to travel along the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse into the famous Black Forest of Germany. (B, L, D)
Day 6 - Speyer and Heidelberg
We arrive in Speyer this morning, where you have free time to explore. This town is home to one of the largest privately-owned collections of vehicles in the world, the Technik Museum Speyer. Featuring an entire jumbo jet, army vehicles, emergency vehicles, a submarine and much more, this museum is a treasure trove of vehicular delights and is well worth a visit. Later in the afternoon, we have an excursion to the delightful academic town of Heidelberg where we are treated to a guided tour. Heidelberg is famous for a magnificent ruined castle, proudly stood high above the town below, gazing down onto the river and the attractive town houses. (B, L, D)
Day 7 - Rüdesheim and the Rhine Gorge
We sail into the classic German town of Rüdesheim am Rhein, known for its formidable wine production especially of the dry Riesling variety. Perhaps walk along the river during your free time here this morning, before our ship departs for Koblenz. This afternoon includes one of the highlights of the tour as we pass through the glorious Rhine Gorge, one of the most beautiful sections of the river and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sheer riverbanks rise up, towering over the river below, covered in deep forests and miles of green vineyards, lending an almost ethereal feel to the waterway. We enjoy a commentary from our knowledgeable Cruise Director during this passage.
Our lunch today sees us tuck into a wonderful themed buffet with a suckling pig as the striking centerpiece, and several smaller dishes from this part of the world making up the rest of the offerings. Weather permitting we'll enjoy our lunch on the sun deck as we take in the majesty of the glorious Rhine Gorge. We sail this evening into the enchanting city of Koblenz, you may wish to visit one of the famous wine taverns here. (B, L, D)
Day 8 - The Lower Rhine and the Drachenfelsbahn
We depart from Koblenz this morning and discover the marvelous Lower Rhine, a stretch of river characterized by lush green meadows and postcard villages. Our Cruise Director provides us with the history of this area, and highlights points of interest. In the afternoon, we dock in Koenigswinter, where we embark on a journey on the Drachenfelsbahn railroad. This rack railroad rises into the mountains and high into the forests for wonderful views across the Rhine- Westphalia region of Germany. In the evening, we indulge with a traditional gourmet dinner which features Spargelzeit, a kind of white asparagus which is famous in this area. (Please note, Spargelzeit depends on seasonal availability). (B, L, D)
Day 9 – Cologne
Arriving into Cologne this morning, we venture forth into this vibrant German city on a walking tour. We visit the resplendent cathedral, a centuries-year-old building that survived 14 aerial hits during bombing across the Second World War. We also wander through the many bustling squares, labyrinthine streets and see Romanesque townhouses. Tonight is an opportunity to dress up in our finest as we enjoy a Gala dinner with the captain and crew. (B, L, D)
Day 10 - Amsterdam and the Medemblik Steam Train
We arrive into Amsterdam this morning, the Dutch capital, where we have a choice of two excursions, the first of which is a city tour of Amsterdam. One of the most popular of all the European cities, Amsterdam is as modern as it is historic, as young as it is old. From idyllic canals and large parks, to contemporary art galleries and futuristic architecture, this is a city that boasts something for everyone. The second option is an excursion to Hoorn where we board the splendid Medemblik Steam Train and enjoy a nostalgic trip through splendid Dutch scenery. (B, L, D)
Day 11 – Tour Conclusion
After a buffet breakfast, we disembark the ship and here your cruise concludes. Make your way back to the railroad station with your Tour Manager to board your train back to London St Pancras, on arrival your tour concludes, and you are free to make your way home. (B)
MS Amadeus Silver III
The MS Amadeus Silver III is an enchanting vessel and excellent floating hotel, cruising along the rivers of northern Europe. Charming interiors, impeccable service, and 5-star catering make this ship one of the finest ways to experience the natural and human beauty of the European rivers as you relax, sleep and dine against spectacular backdrops and wonderful scenery. Enjoy the serene tranquility that only river cruising can bring on board the MS Amadeus Silver III. Amenities on board include a restaurant serving international and domestic food, a panoramic bar with specially designed windows, a fitness suite and a hair salon. On top of the ship is the Sun Deck with deck games, loungers, and deck chairs. Each cabin has a television, an en-suite bathroom, a walk-in wardrobe, and a minibar. The suites all have walk-out exterior balconies.
The high-speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International in London with Paris and Lille in France as well as Brussels in Belgium. Eurostar's Standard Class coaches feature two seats on either side of the central aisle, most of which is arranged in an 'airline' seating configuration with drop down tray tables. There are two tables for four per carriage. Passengers traveling in Eurostar Standard Class coaches can take advantage of the Bar-Buffet which sells a range of snacks, meals, hot and cold drinks - including Champagne!
Introduced in 1981, France's TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) was the original European high-speed train. Linking Paris with Lyon, the new service revolutionized train travel and meant that traveling by air over medium and short distances was no longer seen as the best option, even for business travel. The network has expanded rapidly and today these sleek, stylish trains offer links to over 60 destinations throughout France. Operated by SNCF, the French national rail operator, TGV trains travel over specially constructed high-speed lines. The trains can achieve speeds of up to 186mph (300km/h) on most long-distance routes and 200mph (320km/h) on the new TGV Est line, which links Paris with Strasbourg, Luxembourg, and Basel. Except for shorter journeys, TGVs almost always have an on-board buffet car, serving a selection of drinks and light refreshments.
Travel on the Drachenfels Cog Railroad, that starts at the bottom of Königswinger and takes us up 722 feet to the top of Drachenfels Mountain, and past Schloss Drachenburg - a stunningly beautiful villa that is said to have inspired the castle in Disney's 'Sleeping Beauty'. On arrival at the top of the mountain, you will see the ruins of Burg Drachenfels, a castle that was built in the 12th century, and destroyed 500 years later. The line started running in 1883, using steam powered trains, changing to electric traction in 1953, and continues to run today.
Tour Dates & Prices
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*For the departure on June 28, 2020, you will have Tier 2 tickets to the Passion Play Performance.