European River Cruises - Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland - The Zoos of Europe & Cruising the Rhine River

Embark on this unique tour of Europe, where the customary stops in major cities are each punctuated with a trip to that city’s zoo. This trip has been carefully curated to feature some of the most remarkable zoos in Europe, from the open environment that puts tourist next to ape in Apenheul Primate Park to the rebuilt and reclaimed zoos of Germany that were once demolished during the world wars. This is an opportunity to visit some of the most incredible animal sanctuaries on Earth, places where exotic species were bred in captivity for the first time, and where millions upon millions of people have discovered a love for our animal brethren. Explore the wild side of Europe on this tour of its most superlative zoos.

Days 1/2


Your journey begins as you board your plane from the USA for your flight to Berlin where you will be met and escorted to your hotel. Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight in local restaurant. GRAND HYATT BERLIN. (Meals Aloft, D)


Days 3/4

BERLIN (Berlin Zoo, Tierpark Berlin)

Start your morning with a guided tour of Berlin, taking in classic attractions like the government quarter, historical Berlin, the Jewish quarter, and the Olympic stadium. Enjoy lunch on your own in the city and then transfer to the 170-year old Berlin Zoo, the oldest and most well-known zoo in Germany. The next day, visit Tierpark Berlin, a zoo built on the former grounds of Friedrichsfelde Palace, which still stands within the zoo. Your afternoon is at leisure to explore Berlin. GRAND HYATT BERLIN. (B,D)


Day 5

Berlin/Amsterdam (Artis Amsterdam Zoo)

Fly to Amsterdam, and embark on a short, guided city tour. Head to the Artis Amsterdam Zoo in the afternoon. Founded in 1838, this is one of the oldest zoos in Europe. The grounds are home not only to a traditional zoo complex, but also an aquarium, a planetarium, an art gallery, and an arboretum. ANDAZ AMSTERDAM PRINSENGRACH. (B,D)


Day 6

Amsterdam /Apenheul/Embarkation

Transfer to Apenheul for a morning visit to Apenheul Primate Park. This primate-focused zoo opened in 1971 and was the first zoo in the world where monkeys could walk around freely in the forest and between the visitors. The rare proboscis monkey can be found here, as well as an assortment of gorillas, orangutans, lemurs, macaques, and more. In the afternoon, board your river cruise, your home for the next seven nights.  The beautiful EMERALD STAR-SHIPS launched in 2014, 2015 and 2017, each carrying 182 guests and 47 crew. Enjoy dinner with your fellow travelers on board and a presentation from your cruise director about the days ahead.


Day 7


This morning, you have a choice to explore the city in one of two ways: enjoy a glass-top boat tour through Amsterdam’s canal or a guided bike tour. Return to the ship for your first day sailing through the Dutch countryside, passing windmills and sailing through locks towards the Rhine River. Tonight, the Captain will be delighted to host a gala dinner.

Day 8

Cologne (Cologne Zoo)

Dock in Cologne, Germany and visit the Cologne Zoo. This zoo has a particular focus on primates such as bonobos and is known for its species preservation efforts on species in danger of extinction. Enjoy the cavernous rain forest hall and the new elephant park.


Day 9

Koblenz (Frankfurt Zoo)

Cruise to the 2000-year-old town of Koblenz, which is situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers. Sail through spectacular Rhine Gorge, passing the infamous Lorelei statue and Pfalzgrafenstein Castle. Enjoy an early lunch then on to Frankfurt Zoo, founded in 1858, the second oldest Zoo in Germany.

Day 10

Mannheim/Heidelberg (Heidelberg Zoo)

Continue upstream to the town of Mannheim, located at the confluence of the Rhine and Neckar rivers, where you’ll visit the Heidelburg Zoo, originally a foundation founded by an oncologist named Otto Fehringer with the support of Nobel laureate Carl Bosch.


Day 11


Once docked in Kehl, you will be transferred by coach across the river to Strasbourg, the capital city of the Alsace Region in France. Your guided walking tour will include the Grande Ile, the historical city center and a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its medieval black and white timber framed buildings, old tanning houses, baroque sandstone buildings, canals, and river locks. Your afternoon is free to continud exploring Strasbourg.

Day 12


Today you have the option to commence your morning with a visit to the Vogtsbauernhof Museum, an open-air exhibition devoted to life in the 16th century. The exhibit features a number of reconstructed Black Forest farms. Enjoy a Black Forest Cake Assembling presentation and tasting. Alternatively, take part in the Emerald Active hike through a Typical Black Forest Village (active fitness level recommended).


Day 13

Basel, Switzerland (Basel Zoo)

Welcome to Switzerland and the Rhine–side town of Basel. Disembark and head to the Basel Zoo, or as the locals call it, Zolli, the oldest and largest zoo in Switzerland. It also has the honor of being the first zoo to ever birth an Indian Rhino in captivity.  Tonight, sit down with your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner in local restaurant. GRAND HOTEL LES TROIS ROIS. (B,D)


Day 14



Transfer to the airport for your flights home.

Prices starting at $8,995. For further booking, date, and pricing info please contact info@classicescapes.


Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.