Day 4:
Alsatian Highlights $60 per person
Explore the cobblestone streets of Riquewihr

Join us for an Alsatian Highlights excursion through the famous wine region of Alsace, where the culture is a delightful blend of French and German influences. Travel through the fertile Elsass region to the wooded foothills of the Vosges Mountains and drive parts of the Route du Vin, the Alsatian Wine Road, past rolling vineyards and flower-decked villages. Upon arrival in the quaint town of Riquewihr, your Program Director will take you on an info stroll to introduce you with the main points of interest. You'll then visit the Stork Park, where this lovely white bird is being re-populated into the local area. At one time, the bird was so plentiful in this region that it was considered the symbol of Alsace and was often mentioned in children’s stories. In 1900, thousands of storks could be spotted in Alsace during the warmer spring and summer months, but by the 1980s their local population had been reduced to fewer than ten. Their numbers are again increasing, and the Stork Park offers a safe refuge for this long-legged bird. On your route, you might even spot some of their nests, high atop a local home or a church roof.

Day 7:
Marksburg Castle & Brewery $85 per person
Discover Marksburg Castle and Brewery while touring Germany

Join us on an optional excursion to one of the most beautiful, hillside castles along the Rhine River, Marksburg Castle. The only 13th-century castle unchanged by war or reconstruction, it offers an unprecedented glimpse into the daily life of the time. Walking through the three towers and the connecting rooms, you will fully feel what it was like to live in a castle. You'll climb a stone staircase leading to the romantic bed chamber (the only room heated with a stove), see the great hall with its enormous fireplace (large enough to grill a steer whole), and take in a commanding vista from the east bank of the Rhine as you stand atop the towers.

Then make a discovery of a different nature as we stop in at a family-owned brewery. Here we will try a home-brewed beer as we mingle with the locals at the beer garden.

Please note: This optional tour features a considerable amount of walking uphill and on uneven surfaces; steep inclines; rocky terraces; narrow passages, no handrails; and dim lighting, at times.

Day 11:
Luxembourg $110 per person
See a German church while touring Luxembourg

Join our full-day optional tour to Luxembourg, the tiny nation whose territory comprises less than 1,000 square miles. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy located between Belgium, France, and Germany. Here, the everyday language is Letzebuergesch, which symbolizes the national identity of the people. In addition to a city tour and a visit to the Battle of the Bulge Cemetery, you’ll also enjoy lunch and free time to explore on your own. German forces occupied Luxembourg in May of 1940, and its liberation (primarily by American troops) began in September of 1944. The Battle of the Bulge began with Hitler’s desperate attack through the Ardennes to attempt to drive out the Allied forces. The resulting battle, called “the greatest American battle of the Second World War” by Winston Churchill, raged here from the 16th of December 1944 through the 28th of January 1945. In the city of Luxembourg itself, you’ll see the historical center during a walking tour. In addition, you'll also enjoy lunch and leisure time to explore.

Day 12:
Augustusburg Palace $60 per person
Explore Augustusburg Palace in Bruehl

Join an optional excursion to the Augustusburg Palace. Located in Bruhl, a small town on the edge of the Naturpark Kottenforst-Ville Nature Reserve, you'll enjoy a guided tour of Schloss Augustusburg, a horseshoe-shaped palace widely considered to be a masterpiece of Rococo architecture. Built in the 18th century for Clemens August of Wittelsbach, the powerful Archbishop of Cologne, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was used by the German government until 1994 to receive special guests of state. Please note: Schloss Augustusburg is closed on Mondays. Travelers visiting on Mondays will instead explore the Remagen Peace Museum.

Day 13:
Liberation Museum $55 per person

Or, you can join an optional tour to the National Liberation Museum 1944-1945, located a short motorcoach ride from the city. Although this is a contemporary museum, it brings history alive through captivating interactive and multi-sensory exhibits. Covering the period preceding World War II, the Netherlands’ occupation, and its rebuilding following liberation, this museum provides visitors with a vivid, educational, and often-uplifting, experience.

Day 14:
Delta Works $70 per person
View the delta works project in Zeeland

If you choose the optional Delta Works tour, you'll ride by motorcoach to see a restoration project known worldwide for its hydro-engineering, begun after flooding had devastated Holland. Originally, the province was a collection of islands—easy prey to the sea. Now the islands are connected and protected by a series of dams, dikes, and bridges. The destructive tides that flooded the islands in 1953 and claimed the lives of 1,800 people are still remembered by the inhabitants of Zeeland. Since then, the gigantic Delta Works have prevented a recurrence. This tour shows you several of the ingenious technical achievements designed over the past 35 years, and gives you an impressive idea of how the Dutch have claimed, reclaimed, and protected their homeland from the threat of the sea. You'll rejoin the ship in Willemstad.