- Raise a glass
- Going underground
- The heart of the Moselle
Wine Festivals of the Moselle and Rhine
The Rhine and Her Tributaries
- VIP on selected river cruises
- Full board
Discover the true Spirit of the Rhine
Join Saga’s brand new luxury ship, Spirit of the Rhine, for a very special 12-night cruise along the idyllic Rhine and Moselle rivers, timed to coincide with some of Europe’s biggest and most vibrant wine festivals. It’s been more than 2,000 years since the Romans discovered the mineral-rich and fertile German landscape was perfect for growing grapes and laid the foundations for the vineyards which cover a quarter of a million acres of the country today.
Our expert cruise creators have a nose for picking out the best annual celebrations in atmospheric towns and villages along the riverbanks of the Middle Rhine and Moselle – two of the most prominent among the 13 official wine-growing regions in Germany. In addition to enjoying these Unique Experiences, they have also arranged some on-board tastings for you too! In addition to an abundance of wine, this full-bodied cruise promises to be packed with music, food and laughter, plus plenty of local pageantry and tradition.
Set sail from Amsterdam and enjoy an included tour of Dusseldorf’s famous Old Town, packed with hostelries for you to explore, you’ll spend time in Koblenz, where the two stately rivers converge, and moor in Oberwesel to enjoy the spectacular Rhine in Flames celebrations and annual wine festival the following day. Explore the pretty wine towns of Bingen, Winningen, Alken and Cochem before joining the celebrations at Traben-Trarbach’s annual festival. Moor in Piesport and enjoy an included tour of historic Trier, where Germany’s wine heritage began, to round-off this voyage of a lifetime...
35 meals: 12 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 12 dinners
Wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
Plus, all this...
- Drinks reception and Captain’s dinner
- Complimentary Wi-Fi on board
- All gratuities on board
- Return coach travel via Eurotunnel or ferry*
- Dusseldorf city tour
- Tour of Trier
Unique Included Celebration Experiences
- Two wine festivals, plus tastings on board
Interactive maps and audio headsets for independent exploration.
*Return flights or direct Eurostar train to Amsterdam for a supplement.
- Day 1 UK to Amsterdam
- Day 2 Düsseldorf
- Day 3 Koblenz to Oberwesel 🎧
- Day 4 Oberwesel to Bingen
- Day 5 Bingen to Winningen
- Day 6 Winningen to Alken
- Day 7 Alken to Cochem 🎧
- Day 8 Cochem-Traben-Trarbach
- Day 9 Traben-Trarbach
- Day 10 Traben-Trarbach
- Day 11 Traben-Trarbach to Bernkastel to Piesport 🎧
- Day 12 Piesport to Trier
- Day 13 Trier to UK
Day 1 UK to Amsterdam
Travel to Amsterdam - a journey from Calais of four and a half hours - and embark Spirit of the Rhine.
Enjoy a welcome reception and dinner on board as you depart early this evening bound for Düsseldorf.
Day 2 Düsseldorf
Arrive in Düsseldorf after lunch and this afternoon look forward to joining an included walking tour of the city’s famous Altstadt – Old Town – a square kilometre full of churches and art, plus more than 250 bars, restaurants and cafes in the heart of the city.
Join an expert guide on a stroll through the picturesque lanes and discover why the Gothic St. Lambertus church has a twisted tower, how The Rider statue of popular elector Jan Wellem came about, where Heinrich Heine was born, and how tailor Wibbel gained fame.
Return to your ship for dinner before cruising through the night towards Koblenz.
Day 3 Koblenz to Oberwesel 🎧
Early this morning arrive in Koblenz, nestled at point where the Rhine and Moselle rivers meet and inbetween the famous wine regions of the Moselle and the Middle Rhine – renowned for their Rieslings and among the oldest in Germany.
Discover the attractive riverside promenade and several historic churches, all set beneath the gaze of the looming Festung Ehrenbreitstein citadel on top of the hill, which you can visit on an optional excursion this morning. The fortress also houses a museum dedicated to the wines of the region and the 2,000 year heritage of winemaking in the Rhineland Pfalz.
Late this afternoon cruise on to Oberwesel where your arrival at dinner coincides with the traditional Rhine in Flames celebrations. Every year, this illuminated ship parade and fireworks spectacular takes place at some of the most scenic locations on the Middle Rhine and, as you’ll remain moored here for the rest of the evening, you can observe the passing flotilla and enjoy the firework display. Plus there is usually plenty of celebrating going on ashore – particularly wine tasting, live music and dancing. Perhaps seek out a tasty slice of Zwiebelkuchen – a traditional savoury onion tart – and wash it down with some local Federweisser (new wine).
Day 4 Oberwesel to Bingen
Your cruise has also been timed so you are able to spend the day enjoying the Oberweseler Wine Market Festival.
Head to the market place late this morning to find stalls and booths offering local wares and perhaps enjoy live music on the promenade at lunchtime. The highlight of the day is sure to be this afternoon’s 90-minute grand parade from the train station to the north end of town and culminating back in the market place where the procession is greeted by dignitaries from neighbouring towns and Oberwesel’s very own wine witch.
Late this afternoon set sail once again, bound for Bingen, where you’ll have time to explore ashore after dinner and enjoy some of the festivities at the 68th annual Bingen Wine Festival – the longest running on the Rhine which will take place across 11 days in September 2021. Be sure to seek out the local speciality, Ice Wine, which gets its name from a grape which flourished despite a particularly harsh frost in 1830.
Day 5 Bingen to Winningen
Enjoy this morning at leisure in Bingen, which has several historic buildings of interest, such as Ehrenfels Castle which overlooks the town and the fabled Mouse Tower, a stone tower which stands on an island where legend has it the cruel Bishop of Mainz was imprisoned and eaten by mice.
Set sail before lunch and cruise through the afternoon to arrive in Winningen before dinner. Enjoy an evening at leisure wandering the narrow streets of half-timbered buildings in the pretty wine village.
Day 6 Winningen to Alken
Enjoy a free morning in Winningen before cruising on to Alken before lunch.
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure in another picture postcard small town, with quiet lanes packed with Tudor architecture. Perhaps stroll on the riverside promenade before returning to your ship for dinner.
Day 7 Alken to Cochem 🎧
Leave Alken in your wake at breakfast and cruise through the morning to Cochem.
With the romantic backdrop of neo-Gothic Reichsburg Castle, Cochem is understandably one of the most visited places on the Moselle. An optional excursion is available to the castle, which sits atop a hill cloaked entirely in vines. Although most of the castle was rebuilt in the 19th century, the original 11th-century keep still survives. The excursion will also visit a local vineyard for a wine tasting. Another optional tour explores the town by land train.
Remain moored here overnight.
Day 8 Cochem-Traben-Trarbach
You’ll have until lunchtime to explore Cochem independently before sailing through the afternoon past the glorious sweeping forest and vineyard-clad bends of the Moselle to reach the picturesque wine town of Traben-Trarbach this evening.
Perhaps sample some of the local delights this evening as you remain moored here for the next three nights.
Day 9 Traben-Trarbach
The ‘twin towns’ of Traben-Trarbach straddle the Moselle and are linked by a bridge.
Arrive late afternoon and spend the next two nights moored in what was once the second-largest wine-trading centre in Europe, after the French city of Bordeaux. You will be struck by Traben-Trarbach’s contrast with the half-timbered architecture of other Moselle wine villages. Many of its buildings are in a smart art nouveau style, known in Germany as Jugendstil. These include a number of grand villas built for wealthy wine merchants by the Berlin architect Bruno Möhring.
The steep slate slopes around Traben-Trarbach produce exquisite wines which are celebrated each year at the Federweisser (Young wine) Festival. Your cruise has been timed so you can look forward to attending the opening of this year’s festival this evening. After dark, dignitaries will gather at the City Tower for a ceremony to kick-off the celebrations featuring a choral rendition of the traditional Weinlieder followed by live music. Sample some of the local produce – new and old – and be sure to keep an eye out for the fabled Federweisser Fairy!
Day 10 Traben-Trarbach
Look forward to a full-day packed with fun, food, music and of course, more wine.
The festivities will continue both in the open air and in the underground cellars of Traben-Trarbach while the occasion will be marked by a ceremonial grape planting. Central to the festival is the interesting Mittelmosel Museum – a stately Baroque villa in Trarbach built for the merchant family Böcking. The house was built around 1755 and escaped the great fire which swept through the town 102 years later. It features more than 20 showrooms of art, furniture and an extensive collection on the history of Traben-Trarbach including Roman relics.
Day 11 Traben-Trarbach to Bernkastel to Piesport 🎧
You’ll be cruising again before breakfast and if you head to the sun deck, the fresh autumn air might help clear any fuzzy heads this morning.
After breakfast arrive in Bernkastel, which is one of the most prominent wine-growing towns in the Moselle. Though the Mosel Wine Festival, with its vintners parade, fireworks and Wine Queen pageant, take place at the start of September in Bernkastel, the whole region remains in festive mode throughout the month so be sure to seek out a dash of the local riesling before you set sail again at lunchtime, arriving in the historic village of Piesport, on the north bank of the river, later this afternoon. You remain moored here overnight so perhaps seek out a tavern after dinner and sample an authentic Piesporter light white wine.
Day 12 Piesport to Trier
Set sail for the final time over breakfast and cruise through the morning to spend an afternoon in Germany’s oldest city, Trier, founded in 16BC by Emperor Augustus.
Trier lies in the heart of Germany’s oldest wine region, the Moselle, which is home to many fine white wines and its location close to the steep banks of the Moselle River was the location the Romans first chose to plant their vines. Trier retains many relics of its illustrious past, as you will discover on an included tour to see the spectacular Porta Nigra, one of the best-preserved Roman city gates in the world, the city walls and cathedral.
Should you wish to explore independently the oldest winery is the Vereinigte Hospitien, which still features one of the original Roman walls, while the wine cellar of the renowned producer Bischoefliche Weingueter is located under the pedestrianised area of the city centre. Spend the last night of your holiday moored in Trier.
Day 13 Trier to UK
Disembark Spirit of the Rhine after breakfast and begin your return journey to the UK.
Cochem Noddy Train
From the pier you'll be met by the Cochem land train, which will take you on a 25-minute guided tour around the town. Starting at the old Mosel Bridge, you'll be taken through the old town and will then cross the new bridge into the Cond district, from where you'll have great views of Cochem and Reichsburg. The land train then takes you to the Moselstrabe and alongside the vineyards which ascend up the valley. After your sightseeing tour you'll have some free time to spend in Cochem, before being collected by the land train and taken back to the ship.
Walking Grade 2
Optional on 12 nights itinerary
Cochem, Reichsburg Castle and Wine tasting
Visit fairy-tale Reichsburg Castle to learn about its colourful history and see magnificent views of the Moselle. Enjoy a guided tour of the castle, which was rescued and restored in the 19th century in neo-Gothic style. Today it is a fabulous showcase for Renaissance and baroque furniture. Later head to a local vineyard and winery for an introductory talk, and a tasting of four regional white Rieslings. There'll be the chance to purchase some wine before returning to the ship.
Walking Grade 3
Optional on 12 nights itinerary
Koblenz and Ehrenbreitstein Fortress
Immortalised by Byron and Herman Melville, lofty fortifications have glowered over Koblenz since 1,000AD and changed faces over the centuries. The Prussians constructed Festung Ehrenbreitstein in the early 19th century, when Rhineland became a Prussian province. Despite being Europe’s second largest fortress, after Gibraltar, it played no part in either WWI or WWII. Enjoy a panoramic cable car ride from Koblenz up to the fortress, the views are astounding and you’ll learn about the history of the site. There will be a guided walk around the historic city of Koblenz, and you can admire the elegant architecture.
Walking Grade 4
Optional on 12 nights itinerary
Pre-holiday extension with breakfasts
Before your cruise stay two nights at a locally rated 4-star Westcord Fashion Hotel (4Q) with breakfasts included. The hotel is located within walking distance of the Vondelpark and is a five-minute walk from a tram which arrives into Amsterdam Central 15 minutes later. Available only when you fly or travel by Eurostar.
You can look forward to a special celebrity guest joining the first week of your cruise. Oz Clarke is one of the world’s leading wine experts, whose formidable reputation is based on his extensive wine knowledge and abundant enthusiasm. His passion for the subject dates from his student days at Oxford University, where he won tasting competitions at a precociously early age.
Since then his tasting skills have won him an international reputation, and he is acknowledged as having one of the finest palates of anyone writing about wine today. Oz’s frequent BBC TV and radio appearances are broadcast around the world. Before wine took over his life in 1984, Oz was a full-time actor and singer, appearing in West End hit shows such as ‘Evita’, ‘Sweeney Todd’ and ‘The Mitford Girls’, and touring with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
🎧 Interactive maps and audio headset tours available for exploring independently in Koblenz, Cochem and Bernkastel.
Some of the highlights may only be seen on optional excursions at an additional cost, or by exploring independently.
The cruise itinerary has been designed around the festivals, but should their dates change, alternatives will be sought.