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Cruise Itinerary

Day 1: Cologne, Germany

Sunday, December 1, 2024

The Experience

Germany’s most visited landmark – the UNESCO-listed Cologne Cathedral – dominates the skyline here, its magnificent Gothic twin spires reaching toward the heavens. A timely holiday visit to the cathedral this afternoon gives a glimpse of the gilded shrine, one of the largest in the world believed to contain relics of the Three Kings, or as we commonly know them, the Three Wise Men.

Enjoy time at leisure after visiting Cologne’s famed holiday markets. Located at the base of the Cathedral, these markets provide an idyllic backdrop to a true winter wonderland. Enjoy your first cup of Glühwein and prepare for a warm holiday welcome reception aboard your privately chartered luxury floating boutique hotel this evening.

Cologne

Germany’s famed Holiday Markets alongside its iconic cathedral.

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Koblenz,

Germany

Day 2: Koblenz, Germany

Monday, December 2, 2024

The Experience

Located where the Rhine and Moselle rivers and three mountain ranges meet, Koblenz’s scenery is unmatched. Add to that the city’s 2,000-year-old history, hilltop fortress, and squares lined by classic Germanic architecture, and you will have a place ready-made for photos. Ambling along the town’s narrow lanes and river promenade, we’ll enjoy an afternoon “Weinstube” (wine tavern) tour for a sip (or few) of the Rhine River valley’s renowned Riesling. Guests will enjoy a full day here in Koblenz, allowing time for independent exploration, such as a scenic cable car ride over the river providing incredible vistas of this charming city. Naturally, no visit is complete without visiting the holiday market and enjoying treats unique to this river area.

Day 3: Scenic Sailing / Lorelei-Rhine Gorge / Rüdesheim, Germany

Tuesday, December 3, 2024

The Experience

Enjoy a cozy corner of The Skylight Lounge this morning while enjoying one of our signature hot chocolate drinks with our mixologist. Sailing through the historic middle Rhine region this morning, words cannot express the magic of sailing past one castle after another. The backdrop dotted with trains wrapping around the mountainside inspires the Christmas Villages we decorate our homes with during the holidays.

This afternoon, we dock at Rüdesheim, a picturesque stop nestled in the UNESCO-designated Rhine Gorge. If this morning’s scenic sailing didn’t leave you spellbound, the medieval Old Town, with its half-timbered buildings and winding lanes, especially the lively Drosselgasse brimming with delightful shops and taverns, is sure to captivate you.

The region’s renowned brandy, produced here for centuries to Roman times, promises to delight, too.

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Gutenfels Castle

Gutenfels Castle in Kaub am Rhein, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Heidelberg,

Germany

LGBTQ+ soldier holiday reception,

Ramstein, Germany

Day 4: Mannheim / Heidelberg / Ramstein, Germany

Wednesday, December 4, 2024

The Experience

Sometimes referred to as the most romantic city in Germany, Heidelberg is not just a picturesque destination but also a vibrant hub of LGBTQ+ student life. Home to the nation’s oldest university, a charming baroque Old Town along the banks of the Neckar River, and magnificent castle ruins, Heidelberg offers a unique blend of history and modernity. This morning, tour the castle, with its views of the red-tile roofs of the city below, the handsome Old Bridge and the wooded hillsides beyond, and then into Old Town, where you will see the late-Gothic Holy Spirit Church, and the longest pedestrian street in Germany. Enjoy lunch together with LGBTQ+ students who call this city home, and get a firsthand glimpse into their unique experiences. Afterward, we’ll take a scenic drive to Ramstein Air Force Base.

Ramstein Air Base is in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate (aka Rheinland-Pfalz). It is part of the Kaiserslautern Military Community — the most significant American community outside the United States. The 86th Airlift Wing is the host wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Ramstein is assigned to the U.S. Air Forces in Europe. With its seven groups and 30 squadrons across four bases in Germany, Spain, Belgium, and Portugal, the 86th conducts U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s only airlift, airdrop, and aeromedical evacuation flying operations, providing rapid mobility and expeditionary combat support for military operations. 

Ramstein is also home to two mission partners: the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing and the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing.

This afternoon, we have a special opportunity to meet with LGBTQ+ soldiers at Ramstein Air Force Base. This visit is not just a part of our itinerary, but a heartwarming holiday visit with those who are not able to return home over the holidays. Transcend Cruises has something very special in store for our guests during this must-see visit, making it a truly memorable experience.

Day 5: Wiesbaden, Germany

Thursday, December 5, 2024

The Experience

With 26 thermal springs simmering below Wiesbaden, the state capital of Hesse, this city has a watery past. The Wiesbaden, Germany hot springs have been renowned for centuries. Like the famous spa town of Baden-Baden, the Romans settled here for the hot springs. Some 2,000 years ago, it was known as Aquae Mattiacae and Roman soldiers soaked their aches, pains, and battle scars here. Today, you’ll relax like the Roman soldiers in the renowned Kaiser Friedrich Baths. 

This Roman bathhouse, constructed in 1913, is decorated with intricate Art Nouveau-style tile work, arches, and frescoes. The bathhouse is built on the site of the original Roman baths, which means you are seriously soaking up history. Transcend has arranged an incredible spa day for our guests, and we’ll return to the ship rested, relaxed, and ready to enjoy our final day touring in Frankfurt.

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Kurhaus Wiesbaden at dusk

during the holidays

Day 6: Frankfurt, Germany

Friday, December 6, 2024

The Experience

This morning, visit the Goethe House in the old town of Frankfurt am Main. It was the family residence of the Goethe family, most notably Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, until 1795. Johann Wolfgang was born here in 1749 to his parents, Johann Caspar Goethe, a lawyer, and Katherine Elisabeth Textor, daughter of Frankfurt’s mayor (Bürgermeister). 

Johann Wolfgang lived here along with his sister Cornelia until 1765, aged sixteen, when he moved to Leipzig to study law, returning sporadically after that. Following, we’ll enjoy an LGBTQ+- led tour of the Stadel Museum, viewing colorful works by Kandinsky, Chagall, and Matisse, among others. There are also plenty of LGBTQ+ themes on display, from Max Beckmann as an elegant dandy in a self-portrait with Champagne Glass to Karl Hofer’s Two Friends, highlighting gay life in 1920s Berlin.

Following lunch in and around Schäfergasse and Alte Gasse, Frankfurt’s predominantly gay neighborhood, visit the small square at the intersection of the two streets bearing the name of the gay writer Klaus Mann since 1995. Today culminates at the Grand Dame of Christmas Markets in the heart of Frankfurt at Romerberg Market. We’ll then go to the smaller, cozier, pink-themed market, Rosa Weihnacht in Friedrich Stoltze Square, for our final Glühwein toast to a magical week filled with holiday spirit. For those still on the hunt for adventure, you may enjoy an evening shoreside as the ship overnights in Frankfurt.

Day 7: Frankfurt, Germany / Departure

Saturday, December 7, 2024

Disembarkation/ Departure

Today, we must bid you farewell, but never goodbye. Private transfers have been arranged for your departure.

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