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Viking Rhine Excursions: What Not To Miss?

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I have booked my included excursions and am waiting for the other excursions to go “live”. We are sailing from Amsterdam to Basel on Viking Summer 2018.

 

I was wondering if anyone had any input on what are the not to miss excursions by Viking or other options. In addition the cost?

 

Is there something better? A private tour company or just walk off the boat to specific destination?

 

I thought I read somewhere that you can book a excursion online (pay for it) and when you get to the boat you can cancel it. Then re-book with your on board credit. Is this true?

 

Strasbourg, France

 

-Strasbourg Highlights - 4 hours/Included

-Alsatian Wine Tasting ( for us skip)

-Taste the best of Alsace (for us skip )

-Mercedes-Benz Factory (for us skip )

 

 

 

Heidelberg, Germany

-Panoramic Heidelberg Included - 6 hour/Included

 

 

 

Koblenz, Germany

-Marksburg Castle - 3 hours/included

-Moselle Wine Tasting (for us skip )

-Ehrenbreitstein Fortress 3 hours cost $?

-Dine in Rüdesheim am Rhein - (debating on this one, book on ship and use credit ?)

-Wine Tasting & Dinner at Eberbach Monastery (for us skip )

 

 

 

Cologne, Germany

-Cologne Walking Tour 2 hour/included

-Brühl UNESCO Palaces 3 hours/ cost (maybe? Book on ship)

-Top of Cologne (for us skip )

- Cologne’s Beer Culture & Dinner (for us skip )

 

Black Forest, Germany

 

- Looking into a private tour for Black Forest

- 2:00 – 5:45PM: Optional Excursion – Colmar City Tour ( I definitely would like to do this and would book before we leave. Anyone know the cost?

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Just a couple of thoughts.

 

I think you might enjoy the Brühl excursion to the palaces if you like that sort of architecture. I do not think any other stop on your cruise offers a similar experience.

 

On Ehrenbreitstein fortress I do not know what Viking includes, perhaps a commentary and shuttle, but you can do this on your own if you take the cable car there and back. I recommend it for the views. Here is some info (needs updating): https://www.seilbahn-koblenz.de/homepage.html

 

In Rüdesheim I recommend the wine tasting and dinner at Eberbach monastery. You might not drink wine but I am sure the hosts will be accommodating to your wishes. The buildings are very interesting and the scenery lovely. A bit more sophisticated than Rüdesheim but for entertainment "the olde worlde kind" Rüdesheim is good. Kloster Eberbach: http://kloster-eberbach.de/en/monastery

 

Have fun planning.

 

notamermaid

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Just a couple of thoughts.

 

On Ehrenbreitstein fortress I do not know what Viking includes, perhaps a commentary and shuttle, but you can do this on your own if you take the cable car there and back. I recommend it for the views

 

notamermaid

On past cruises, you could not do this on your own because the ship moves to Marksburg castle to pick up guests from the included excursion. We left the ship at appx 9:00 and were picked around noon below the castle by the ship. It's been awhile but I think the ship left at 9:30 from Koblenz.

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I highly recommend the Brühl UNESCO Palaces. It was one of the highlights on our Grand European tour.

The Rococo architecture is incredible and the grand staircase is more impressive that the one at the Wurzburg Bishop's Residenze.

You also visit the falcon hunting "lodge" where they really roughed it.

The staircase there is covered in Delft tile.

 

Germany-palace-800.jpg

 

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So on a whim I took a look at my Viking Journey. Turns out the excursion are up (way earlier than I thought). Can you get a refund if you change your mind? How do you find out the time as I am looking into a private tour. I don't want to miss Colmar 69;p

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So on a whim I took a look at my Viking Journey. Turns out the excursion are up (way earlier than I thought). Can you get a refund if you change your mind? How do you find out the time as I am looking into a private tour. I don't want to miss Colmar 69;p

If you prepay for excursion through Viking Journey it is not refundable. In general you can book when you are aboard the ship but some popular tours do fill up.

 

You will not be given specific times until the night before at the daily briefing. Due to a number of factors it is impossible to give precise times on river cruises. For example you may depart/arrive earlier or later based on river traffic. You travel through many locks and will queue up. If you miss your allotted time, you go to the back of the line. I've also been on board when we departed early because there was an opening in the lock traffic.

 

The best guesstimate for times are already posted. The tour will have a duration and will state if it is in the morning, afternoon, or all day.

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On our cruise this past September I believe the only excursion that sold out before the trip was the Rudeshiem dinner. The only optional tour we did was Colmar, and would recommend it - a delightful town.

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We took the Colmar village tour which was very enjoyable. Friends took the historic tour in Colmar and loved it. The dinner in Rudesheim was a fun night, good and plentiful food , entertainment also.

 

 

 

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I have booked my included excursions and am waiting for the other excursions to go “live”. We are sailing from Amsterdam to Basel on Viking Summer 2018.

 

 

 

I was wondering if anyone had any input on what are the not to miss excursions by Viking or other options. In addition the cost?

 

 

 

Is there something better? A private tour company or just walk off the boat to specific destination?

 

 

 

I thought I read somewhere that you can book a excursion online (pay for it) and when you get to the boat you can cancel it. Then re-book with your on board credit. Is this true?

 

 

 

Strasbourg, France

 

 

 

-Strasbourg Highlights - 4 hours/Included

 

-Alsatian Wine Tasting ( for us skip)

 

-Taste the best of Alsace (for us skip )

 

-Mercedes-Benz Factory (for us skip )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heidelberg, Germany

 

-Panoramic Heidelberg Included - 6 hour/Included

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Koblenz, Germany

 

-Marksburg Castle - 3 hours/included

 

-Moselle Wine Tasting (for us skip )

 

-Ehrenbreitstein Fortress 3 hours cost $?

 

-Dine in Rüdesheim am Rhein - (debating on this one, book on ship and use credit ?)

 

-Wine Tasting & Dinner at Eberbach Monastery (for us skip )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cologne, Germany

 

-Cologne Walking Tour 2 hour/included

 

-Brühl UNESCO Palaces 3 hours/ cost (maybe? Book on ship)

 

-Top of Cologne (for us skip )

 

- Cologne’s Beer Culture & Dinner (for us skip )

 

 

 

Black Forest, Germany

 

 

 

- Looking into a private tour for Black Forest

 

- 2:00 – 5:45PM: Optional Excursion – Colmar City Tour ( I definitely would like to do this and would book before we leave. Anyone know the cost?

 

 

 

We did this cruise at the end of August last year.

 

The included Strasbourg tour was very nice - beautiful city.

We did the Mercedes tour as well. DH enjoyed it. I wasn’t bored . If you’re a car buff, a Mercedes fan or just interested in the assembly line process, it was interesting. I was amazed at how clean everything was and how many women were working on the line. If you go, note that you can’t take ANYTHING in with you - not even a small purse. You have to leave your things on the bus or use one of their lockers.

 

Heidelberg was gorgeous. It was one of my favorite stops. I wished we had more time there.

 

We did Marksburg Castle - it’s worth the climb and traversing the rough stone entrance. The buses can’t park or turn around at the top so you have to walk up the last loop of the road. If you are not in the first tour group, you get a bit of a rest

 

On our cruise you had to choose Marksburg or Ehrenbreitstein. You couldn’t do both because the ship moved on from Koblenz and we were picked up closer to Marksburg at Braubach. People who did the fortress were bused to to Braubach. We are doing the Grand European Tour next fall and it includes a stop at Koblenz. We hope to do Ehrenbreitstein then. I looked through all of my trip paperwork and I can’t find the price - sorry.

 

We had lots of time in Cologne after the included walking tour. Unfortunately we were not docked close to the city center. It’s the luck of the draw. There was a shuttle bus that went back and forth.

 

We went to the Roman-Germanic museum which was very interesting. After that we went to Früh - brewer of the famous Kölsch beer for lunch and some beer, of course.

 

We were there late because many people did the beer and dinner optional excursion. They all said it was great fun.

 

We will be in Cologne again on our cruise next fall. We will skip the included tour. I might do the Top of Cologne (this was not offered on our cruise because we were there on Sunday). We will definitely go back to Früh and possibly do the beer and dinner tour.

 

We enjoyed the Black Forest tour. I didn’t find the bus ride overly long or boring but we had a great tour guide who kept us entertained. The huge clock is cool and we got to see it in action. We did the hike along the waterfall and it was lovely but steep . I had a piece of Black Forest cake. I just had to do it. It was yummy!

 

We did the Colmar village tour in the morning with the same guide. I absolutely loved it. It’s quaint and just lovely. I would recommend it highly. They brought us back to the ship with time for lunch before we set out for the Black Forest.

 

Our experience with these 2 stops is why it’s nearly impossible to plan tours on your own. When I first booked the tours on the MyViking site, the Black Forest tour and the Colmar village tour were at the same time, so I booked the WWII one so we would at least see a little of the town.

 

A few weeks later I get an email saying that my schedule had a conflict. I went into the site and the times had been changed and now the WWII tour was at the same time as the Black Forest trip. This was the only time I had difficulty dealing with Viking. I called to straighten this out and change the WWII tour to the village tour - which was now no longer a conflict with the Black Forest trip.

 

The guy I spoke with was kind of rude and he scolded me for picking 2 things in the same time slot - which I didn’t do and the system won’t allow. He would not accept my assertion that Viking changed the time. He did grudgingly cancel the WWII tour but he told me I had to add the village tour myself.

 

I hung up and wrote to the tellus email they always post here and they were fantastic. Contacted me right away, apologized and took care of the change for me.

 

Anyway after all that, when we got to Breisach where both of these tours leave from, they announced that the times of all the tours had changed once again because another Viking ship had arrived at the same time we did - a change in their schedule. We still got to do both tours but in the reverse order. So you never know.

 

I think I covered everything. If you have any other questions, just ask and have a wonderful time on your cruise!

 

 

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My Viking journey says Colmar is going to be in the afternoon. Do they change the tours from morning to afternoon often? I can't wait to see Colmar as it lookeds like a great stop but just found out I had ancestors from the area.

 

 

 

We did this cruise at the end of August last year.

 

The included Strasbourg tour was very nice - beautiful city.

We did the Mercedes tour as well. DH enjoyed it. I wasn’t bored . If you’re a car buff, a Mercedes fan or just interested in the assembly line process, it was interesting. I was amazed at how clean everything was and how many women were working on the line. If you go, note that you can’t take ANYTHING in with you - not even a small purse. You have to leave your things on the bus or use one of their lockers.

 

Heidelberg was gorgeous. It was one of my favorite stops. I wished we had more time there.

 

We did Marksburg Castle - it’s worth the climb and traversing the rough stone entrance. The buses can’t park or turn around at the top so you have to walk up the last loop of the road. If you are not in the first tour group, you get a bit of a rest

 

On our cruise you had to choose Marksburg or Ehrenbreitstein. You couldn’t do both because the ship moved on from Koblenz and we were picked up closer to Marksburg at Braubach. People who did the fortress were bused to to Braubach. We are doing the Grand European Tour next fall and it includes a stop at Koblenz. We hope to do Ehrenbreitstein then. I looked through all of my trip paperwork and I can’t find the price - sorry.

 

We had lots of time in Cologne after the included walking tour. Unfortunately we were not docked close to the city center. It’s the luck of the draw. There was a shuttle bus that went back and forth.

 

We went to the Roman-Germanic museum which was very interesting. After that we went to Früh - brewer of the famous Kölsch beer for lunch and some beer, of course.

 

We were there late because many people did the beer and dinner optional excursion. They all said it was great fun.

 

We will be in Cologne again on our cruise next fall. We will skip the included tour. I might do the Top of Cologne (this was not offered on our cruise because we were there on Sunday). We will definitely go back to Früh and possibly do the beer and dinner tour.

 

We enjoyed the Black Forest tour. I didn’t find the bus ride overly long or boring but we had a great tour guide who kept us entertained. The huge clock is cool and we got to see it in action. We did the hike along the waterfall and it was lovely but steep . I had a piece of Black Forest cake. I just had to do it. It was yummy!

 

We did the Colmar village tour in the morning with the same guide. I absolutely loved it. It’s quaint and just lovely. I would recommend it highly. They brought us back to the ship with time for lunch before we set out for the Black Forest.

 

Our experience with these 2 stops is why it’s nearly impossible to plan tours on your own. When I first booked the tours on the MyViking site, the Black Forest tour and the Colmar village tour were at the same time, so I booked the WWII one so we would at least see a little of the town.

 

A few weeks later I get an email saying that my schedule had a conflict. I went into the site and the times had been changed and now the WWII tour was at the same time as the Black Forest trip. This was the only time I had difficulty dealing with Viking. I called to straighten this out and change the WWII tour to the village tour - which was now no longer a conflict with the Black Forest trip.

 

The guy I spoke with was kind of rude and he scolded me for picking 2 things in the same time slot - which I didn’t do and the system won’t allow. He would not accept my assertion that Viking changed the time. He did grudgingly cancel the WWII tour but he told me I had to add the village tour myself.

 

I hung up and wrote to the tellus email they always post here and they were fantastic. Contacted me right away, apologized and took care of the change for me.

 

Anyway after all that, when we got to Breisach where both of these tours leave from, they announced that the times of all the tours had changed once again because another Viking ship had arrived at the same time we did - a change in their schedule. We still got to do both tours but in the reverse order. So you never know.

 

I think I covered everything. If you have any other questions, just ask and have a wonderful time on your cruise!

 

 

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If the Rudeshiem dinner is sold out do you think it is possible to do something similar on our own? Walk off the ship shop and find a place to eat? Is this a safe area? Anyone know the docking area so I can take a look on google maps?

 

 

On our cruise this past September I believe the only excursion that sold out before the trip was the Rudeshiem dinner. The only optional tour we did was Colmar, and would recommend it - a delightful town.

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Another question.... How long after the tour of free time are you given in Colmar?

 

 

 

On the optional medieval Colmar we had at least an hour if not longer of free time Had time to wander, shop, and enjoy a beverage

 

 

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If the Rudeshiem dinner is sold out do you think it is possible to do something similar on our own? Walk off the ship shop and find a place to eat? Is this a safe area? Anyone know the docking area so I can take a look on google maps?

 

This is the map of Rüdesheim: https://www.ruedesheim.de/fileadmin/RUE/www.ruedesheim.de/Inhalte/7_Service/7_6_Stadtplan/0311-14-R%C3%9CD_R%C3%BCdinfo_2015_Plan.pdf The docking areas of the large ships are numbers 7 to 1 I believe. You can relatively safely walk along the bank, you are bound not to be the only one, it is not far into town and there are plenty of restaurants.

 

notamermaid

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Notamermaid thank so much for the map! I am thinking yes to skip the excursion andgo to town on our own in Rudesheim. Does anyone know what time the boat gets in and leaves? I am thinking maybe a cable car ride to Niederwalddenkmal (car closes at 1900?), shopping ( Drosselgasse) and dinner.

Edited by Cruiseoholic000

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On the optional medieval Colmar we had at least an hour if not longer of free time Had time to wander, shop, and enjoy a beverage

 

 

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Agree. Something over an hour.

We had plenty of time to tour the beautiful Little Venice section, tour inside the Cathedral and head back to the meeting point restaurant for a toilet break and a drink had we desired.

Highly recommend this tour.

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@cruiseoholic000,

 

On our June Rhine Getaway A->B, the Rudesheim stop was from 5:30 PM to midnight.

 

 

As you have heard, Rudesheim is quite safe and has many, many restaurants. We were getting tired of German food by then, and had a very good Italian meal in Rudesheim. You will find plenty of choices.

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I would be careful about this excursion: Brühl UNESCO Palaces

When we were on the Grand European in July 2016 we booked this side trip. Got the Palace and it was booked for a wedding or event at that time and we were allowed to see one room and then were quickly ushered out to spend the rest of the time at the hunting lodge. That was nice to see, but since the time was allotted to see both, we had way too much time standing around with nothing much to see. Since we'd paid to see the whole thing, it was pretty disappointing. We were told this happens fairly often. I'm not sure if there's any way for Viking to know in advance if you'll be able to see the whole things or not.

Going on the Rhine Getaway in July 2018 and won't pre-book any excursions. There were several impromptu excursions offered we would have liked to have done, but were pre-booked on other excursions so we would have lost our money if we'd changed courses. We did not see any excursion fill to capacity on the Grand European Tour. I'd recommend waiting to book everything on the ship.

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I have booked my included excursions and am waiting for the other excursions to go “live”. We are sailing from Amsterdam to Basel on Viking Summer 2018.

 

I was wondering if anyone had any input on what are the not to miss excursions by Viking or other options. In addition the cost?

 

Is there something better? A private tour company or just walk off the boat to specific destination?

 

I thought I read somewhere that you can book a excursion online (pay for it) and when you get to the boat you can cancel it. Then re-book with your on board credit. Is this true?

 

 

Strasbourg, France

 

-Strasbourg Highlights - 4 hours/Included

-Alsatian Wine Tasting ( for us skip)

-Taste the best of Alsace (for us skip )

-Mercedes-Benz Factory (for us skip )

 

 

 

Heidelberg, Germany

-Panoramic Heidelberg Included - 6 hour/Included

 

 

 

Koblenz, Germany

-Marksburg Castle - 3 hours/included

-Moselle Wine Tasting (for us skip )

-Ehrenbreitstein Fortress 3 hours cost $?

-Dine in Rüdesheim am Rhein - (debating on this one, book on ship and use credit ?)

-Wine Tasting & Dinner at Eberbach Monastery (for us skip )

 

 

 

Cologne, Germany

-Cologne Walking Tour 2 hour/included

-Brühl UNESCO Palaces 3 hours/ cost (maybe? Book on ship)

-Top of Cologne (for us skip )

- Cologne’s Beer Culture & Dinner (for us skip )

 

Black Forest, Germany

 

- Looking into a private tour for Black Forest

- 2:00 – 5:45PM: Optional Excursion – Colmar City Tour ( I definitely would like to do this and would book before we leave. Anyone know the cost?

 

 

We just did the Viking Basel to Amsterdam in May and LOVED it! We really enjoyed the tour of Colmar. It is a darling town with beautiful buildings and little streets. Very colorful. The schedule may be different for you since you are going the other direction, but that morning we had our Black Forest excursion (included). It was a bit of a long bus ride (in the rain) to the location, and it seemed a bit rushed when we got there. We did the Black Forest walk, which was actually a rather steep, but short hike to a waterfall in slippery conditions. Pretty, but it was not exactly a "stroll". We went back to the boat for a quick lunch before taking the bus to Colmar. I think that tour was $69 PP, and it was the only optional tour we took all week. So many of the tours were wine tasting or something along those lines and we just were not interested in that for ourselves (we live in California and have tons of wineries within 30 minutes of our home). There was no Bruhl palace tour or BMW tour or Mercedes Benz tour offered on our trip -- I wonder why??? It seemed like all of the tours were still available to book once on board the boat, but perhaps May is not as crowded. Our boat only had 165 on board and not the capacity 195.

 

 

 

In Rudesheim we just walked off the boat and about 5-7 minutes to the sweet, safe little town. No shortage of restaurants if you choose to skip the optional dining tour, although people said it was very enjoyable. Viking gave us incorrect info, but we were able to take the gondola to the top of the hill to the Niederwold Monument. It would have been nice to get the correct times and go there directly and have more time, but it did work out after all. We enjoyed that ride and the nice weather and views, and then just wandered around town a bit (took way too many photos!). We hadn't been that hungry in town after gorging on gelato, so we just strolled back to the boat and the staff was nice enough to let us go in to dinner about 40 minutes late and still serve us just a smaller portion of the menu offerings. We were docked in Rudesheim overnite. BTW -- it seemed that most times the boat would dock in an area that had a park area just off the ship.

 

 

 

When we were in Strasbourg, we did the AM included walking tour and took the first bus back to the boat.(they offered 2 other later buses if you wanted to stay in town longer). No Mercedes Benz tour offered on our trip! There was a nice park & residential area off the dock area and after lunch we went out and walked there. There were shops, pretty homes and a lake, and at the end there was something called the White Fir tower (commemorated something or other) that is really tall. It's about 150' and you can climb it for free for a great view if you're energetic.

 

 

 

It rained the day we went to Marksburg Castle. It was a bit of a hike on a paved road to get up there, and it was a tad slippery initially once inside on an uneven section, and did have some narrow steps and walkways. A couple of people in our group actually fell down. But it was a nice tour and fun to see the castle, and the rainy weather sort of added to the mystique.

 

 

 

In Cologne we docked right in the city and could walk to everything and go to and from the ship whenever we wanted. It felt safe and was well lit at nite. We did the walking tour, and then since we had not booked the evening tour, we had lunch at a restaurant nearby the Cathedral. It happened to be some sort of holiday, so most of the museums were closed. But I had read about some Roman ruins under the area in front of the Cathedral, so we found those. Nothing much, but our own little discovery. I could never do the top of the Cathedral tour (afraid of heights), so we walked across the bridge with the locks all over it to a large skyscraper on the other side called Koln Triangle. For cheap (like 5 euros each?) you can take an ELEVATOR to the glass enclosed viewing area on the top for a nice view. Personally, I thought we had a bit too much time in Cologne and too little time in other spots. Maybe that is why Viking offers that Bruhl palace tour now. Since most people were doing an evening tour, we booked the Italian Dinner that nite on the boat in the Aquavit Terrace rather than eat in the dining room. You can only book it once on your trip, and it only seats maybe 16 each nite, and this was a good nite to grab a reservation. There is no extra charge for that, and it was a nice, quiet diversion for us.

 

 

I don't think I ran in to anyone who was doing any private excursions the entire trip, unless they were maybe meeting up with European relatives. It might be difficult to time correctly due to schedule changes, and really, a lot of the stops are just in small towns. If your included tour includes free time, Viking always gives you a local map, so it's easy enough to wander around on your own, which is part of the fun. If you're observant, there are often signs on the sides of the buildings or on the streets directing you to the things you want to see, so that helps you to not get lost.

 

 

 

If you have any other questions (or would like to take me along as your own person tour director!), let me know.

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We also did Basel to Amsterdam this spring on Viking. We did the Black Forest included tour in the morning and the optional Colmar WW2 tour in the afternoon. If you have any interest in WW2 history, this was excellent.

Our friends did the optional Top of Cologne Cathedral tour and said it was fascinating. We did all the included tours and for the most part, I would say they were very good. Marksburg Castle was a bit of a challenge but I brought along my collapsible cane and it was a good decision. Enjoy your cruise!

 

 

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See below:

IStrasbourg, France

 

-Strasbourg Highlights - 4 hours/Included

-Alsatian Wine Tasting ( for us skip) I would definitely do this one. It is a great tour of a small, family-owned vineyard and winery. You get a real up-close and personal tour by the owner and his family. It is a very nice small town to tour also.

-Taste the best of Alsace (for us skip )

-Mercedes-Benz Factory (for us skip )

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heidelberg, Germany

-Panoramic Heidelberg Included - 6 hour/Included

 

 

 

Koblenz, Germany

-Marksburg Castle - 3 hours/included

-Moselle Wine Tasting (for us skip )

-Ehrenbreitstein Fortress 3 hours cost $?

-Dine in Rüdesheim am Rhein - (debating on this one, book on ship and use credit ?)

-Wine Tasting & Dinner at Eberbach Monastery (for us skip )

 

 

 

Cologne, Germany

-Cologne Walking Tour 2 hour/included

-Brühl UNESCO Palaces 3 hours/ cost (maybe? Book on ship)

-Top of Cologne (for us skip )

- Cologne’s Beer Culture & Dinner (for us skip ) If you like beer, you will love this one. Colgne is one of the nicest places we've ever visited and this tour, at night, really shows off the city.

 

Black Forest, Germany

 

- Looking into a private tour for Black Forest

- 2:00 – 5:45PM: Optional Excursion – Colmar City Tour ( I definitely would like to do this and would book before we leave. Anyone know the cost?

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We stopped in Cologne on our Budapest-Amsterdam cruise in May, 2018. We did the morning walking tour which ended at about noon in front of the cathedral. The tour does not take you inside the cathedral. There is an English language tour of the interior of the cathedral that costs 8 €. You can buy the tickets at the Domforum across the plaza from the cathedral http://www.domforum.de/english/open-guided-tours/. We had an excellent lunch at Hof 18 on Am Hof near the cathedral. Viking offered a shuttle back to the boat (we were docked near the Zoo). The tour takes about an hour (although it is advertised as 45 minutes).

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