Explore Medieval Germany in its purest form, cruise the gentle meanders of the Main and mighty Danube discovering the aptly named Romantic Road, the twisting streets of medieval Bamberg, enchanting Rothenburg and fascinating Nuremberg. Following embarkation in Mainz we enjoy a leisurely start with time to explore this pretty town, with its stunning Romanesque cathedral and timber-clad buildings, at the very scenic heart of the country’s famous winelands. Our cruise along the Main with its characteristic meandering bends takes us firstly to idyllic Miltenberg, a fantastically well-preserved medieval village set against a spectacular backdrop of lush green forests and rolling hillsides.
Then it’s on to delightful Wertheim, off the well-trodden tourist trail, its ancient castle standing proud over the neat, pretty houses and colourful market square below. Further delights are uncovered as we arrive in Wurzburg, the most elegant of Bavarian cities, crowned by the stunning Baroque palace, a relic of a bygone age. Take the Romantic Road to Rothenburg on our optional tour for spectacular views of the river below as it winds its way through this fairy-tale land. The beauty of Bamberg never fails to enchant as our cruise arrives in undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and historic towns in Europe.
Sitting atop lush green hills, the spires of the stunning cathedral stretch to the sky above, whilst below the winding streets and quaint squares are a delight to explore. More picture perfect views as we awake in historic Nuremberg, synonymous with the Second World War, but today an intriguing and stunning city once again with its ornate Gothic church and bustling market, a fitting finale to our magical cruise along one of Europe’s most spectacular waterways.
You fly to Munich, where your comfortable coach transfer awaits to take you to your ship in Nuremberg and the beginning of your great Bavarian adventure. Be welcomed aboard by the dedicated crew, taking in the air of anticipation and excitement as you explore the luxury surroundings that you will call home for the next 7 days. Settle into your exceptionally well-equipped cabin, then get acquainted with your ship and your fellow cruisers while you look forward to a delicious first night dinner to start your cruise off in style.
Waking in the historic city of Nuremberg, excitement mounts as you enjoy your first breakfast. History buffs will find this Bavarian city intriguing for its association with the Second World War, as the site of many pre-war Nazi rallies and then, later, the International War Crimes Tribunal. What’s little known, however, is that Nuremberg also captivates visitors with its cobbled streets with classic half-timbered houses, an enchanting castle (rebuilt after wartime bombings) and many historic landmarks. These include the Church of Saint Lawrence, a stunning example of Gothic architecture, and the intricate Church of Our Lady, which features a working mechanical clock dating from 1506 and overlooks the bustling Hauptmarkt square, itself renowned for its intricate fountain resembling a Gothic church tower. Amid all this splendour, spare a moment to taste Nuremberg’s famous gingerbread and perhaps stock up with a packet to spice up the biscuit tin back home!
After a busy morning of exploration and discovery, we return to the ship and during lunch, we commence sailing through Germany’s rural heart towards Bamberg, arriving in the early hours.
Another day brings another new view when you draw back the curtains in your cabin. Bamberg is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful small towns in the whole of Europe, and UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site by way of confirmation. Planned by Emperor Heinrich II in the 11th century as a Franconian capital as grand as Rome, Bamberg sits on seven lush green hills, akin to its Italian inspiration. Join the guided tour and see the historic old town and impressive multi-spired cathedral, although perhaps the most noticeable and intriguing landmark is Bamberg’s old town hall, which sits on an island in the middle of the burbling river, flanked by bridges either side. From here you can also see ‘Little Venice’ – a delightful cluster of former fishermen’s houses built along the waterfront, mostly dating from the Middle Ages. During another splendid lunch on board, the ship departs for picturesque Ochsenfurt.
Take the afternoon to enjoy the ship’s five-star facilities, while taking in the magnificent undulating landscape as we venture deeper into this beautifully scenic region. Indulge in afternoon tea and, perhaps, our chef’s special patisserie, while being sure to leave room for the evening’s dinner.
After a leisurely breakfast, we spend the morning exploring Ochsenfurt on a walking tour. Nestled on the banks of the Main, with its quintessential half-timbered houses and ancient ramparts; it’s a joy to wander through the old town, stopping to admire the façade of the town hall with its impressive mechanical clock and a lovely 13th-century church with its strikingly colourful interior, before returning to the ship where lunch is served.
This afternoon we take the short drive to Rothenburg, a spectacular 16th-century town crowning a hill, with exceptional views over the meandering river below. Our drive takes us along the aptly named Romantic Road – a magically scenic route which weaves its way alongside a procession of folkloric scenery, medieval towns, lofty castles and grand palaces, so picture-perfect they could all serve as film sets. Explore Rothenburg’s narrow, cobbled streets, lined with elegant and gabled half-timbered houses, surrounded by perfectly preserved medieval walls, before we return to our ship moored in Würzburg.
You’ll have worked up an appetite, so reconvene with your fellow passengers for an aperitif in the bar before tonight’s excellent dinner is served.
Würzburg is quite a marvel, contrasting with the quaint towns and villages that you’ve encountered on your adventure so far. This elegant Bavarian city, founded in the 10th century as the centre of the kingdom known as Franconia, sits resplendent and impressive on the banks of the Main. Neat blocks of grand pastel buildings are peppered with the spires and domes of the city’s many churches, chapels and cathedrals. The jewel in Würzburg’s illustrious crown is the Residenz, a truly magnificent Baroque palace which whisks you back in time to a more romantic age. Originally conceived to rival the Palace of Versailles in scale, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features one of Germany’s most spectacularly ornate staircases and dozens of interconnecting rooms, adorned with gorgeous frescoes, priceless tapestries, sculptures and paintings. We enjoy a guided tour of the old town with some time at leisure, allowing you to soak up the ambience of this wonderful town.
One of the delights of river cruising is indulging in complete relaxation. As we slip our moorings later this afternoon, catch up on some reading in the lounge, book an appointment at the on-board hairdresser’s or simply watch the world float by before heading to the restaurant for another delicious dinner.
Awaking refreshed, look out of your cabin window to find a complete change of scenery in Wertheim, where we’ll enjoy a morning tour. Wertheim is completely off the main tourist trail, making it a delightful surprise, all the better for its untouched ambience. We pass the fishing boats riding at anchor while admiring the muted colours of the sage-green, pale lilac and buttercup-yellow houses opposite. A russet-walled 12th-century castle overlooks the Old Town, surveying the church spires, turrets and patchwork of multicoloured buildings below. There’s time to explore here and, as you wander the quaint and colourful market square, look out for the blink-and-miss-it Zobelhaus, a contender for the narrowest house in Germany.
In the afternoon we pass under the famous red-brick bridge between Wertheim and Miltenberg, navigating the gentle meandering bends typical of the Main River. Relax and take in the scenery while sipping your choice of tea or coffee or maybe something a little more fortifying from the bar. Or watch the riverside scenes slip by from the comfort of your sumptuous cabin, many of which have French balconies with splendid unhindered views.
We arrive in Miltenberg, a beautifully preserved medieval village whose labyrinth of winding alleys and lanes begs exploration. And so, this afternoon we do exactly that, as our local guide shows us the highlights of this charming destination. Backed by dense emerald-green forest, this picturesque stop-off has something of the feel of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale, complete with a castle nestled into the lush tree-clad hillside. Admire the impressive gatehouse which stands like a proud guardian of the village, and wander across the charming marketplace, lined by traditional fachwerk buildings instantly recognisable by their grids of timber framing. The story goes that locals were allowed free wood from the surrounding forests, hence the abundance of this architectural style. Highlights of this beautiful square include the trickling fountain, ornately carved from stone and complete with dancing cherubs, and the intricately detailed Gasthaus Zum Riesen, which claims to be Germany’s oldest tavern.
This evening you’ll be served another delectable dinner, and overnight we cruise towards Mainz.
Whether you decide to take breakfast in bed or set yourself up for the day at the plentiful buffet, afterwards you can enjoy a morning exploring bustling Mainz on our guided tour. Dominating its skyline is the colossal six-towered 12th-century cathedral – Martinsdom – a pinnacle of German Romanesque architecture that houses a spectacular nave, many elaborate tombs and a peaceful colonnaded cloister. Also unmissable is Saint Stephen’s Church, which features nine breathtaking stained glass windows, created by the artist Marc Chagall, that bathe the interior in magical blue light. Book-lovers will appreciate the Gutenberg Museum, located in a gorgeous 17th-century building in Mainz’s Old Town, whose star attractions are two 1455 Gutenberg Bibles, among the first books ever printed.
Of course, Mainz is also at the heart of Germany’s winelands, so it’s a pleasure to seek out a traditional wine tavern in the pastel-painted, timber-crisscrossed buildings of the old town to sample a glass. If you prefer beer, the vaulted chambers of the Eisgrub-Bräu beer hall are a fine place for a mug of the local dark brew. Back on board your floating boutique hotel in the afternoon, find a relaxing seat in the lounge to take in the lovely views of lush woodland and fertile vineyards seamlessly idling by. As evening approaches, why not enjoy an apéritif in the bar before choosing a table in the restaurant to enjoy the chef’s masterful creations for dinner?
Transfer to the airport for your return flight.
Prices are per person based on one person in a twin cabin for sole occupancy. The price includes:
Tea, coffee and water will be served complimentary throughout your cruise, but should you wish to indulge in a glass of wine or a beer with your lunch or dinner, we would recommend adding our drinks package to your booking.
Simply relax and when it’s time to dine in the restaurant, take your pick from a range of: draught beer; non-alcoholic beer; soft drinks; juices; red, white and rosé house wines; and wine recommendations from the menu by the glass.
If you choose not to purchase a drinks package, there is a vast selection of drinks on board each ship available for individual purchase. To see an example bar list please click here.
To purchase the drinks package please call our reservations team.
Please note that drinks packages do not include drinks from the bar. The bar menu is an example, with brands and prices varying across ships and itineraries.
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship for the duration of your cruise. Please note that speeds may vary.
UK Citizens do not require a visa to enter Germany however must have a valid passport. For the most up-to-date passport and visa information visit
We are unable to accept responsibility if you are unable to travel because you have not complied with any passport/entry/immigration requirements.
We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.
Low Locks & Bridges
Due to locks and low bridges along this stretch of river, the rear main part of the sun deck will be closed between Mainz and Nuremberg. The other outside areas in front of the lounge, the lido bar and the lower section of the sun deck in front of the wheel house are still accessible.
All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependent on traffic. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us.
|Airport or train station||Ship location||Transfer time|
|Munich Airport||Nuremburg||2 hrs|
Sailed from Budapest to Cologne on MS William Shakespeare at end of July 2017. Our first ever cruise and it was really good. The ship, the service (under "hotel manager" Christian) and the food (under head chef Gabi) were all ex...
Alexander and Cheryl Paterson
Wonderful holiday, great service from customer services in booking plane seats and a very good tour rep(Keith). Hotel was excellent, with good staff and good food. Nothing bad to say as with all Riviera holidays we have been on...