Built in 2006, Brabant is the first-ever dedicated river cruise ship by Fred Olsen. Setting sail with a maximum of 156 passengers and 40 crew members; the ship's compact size and friendly, intimate atmosphere mean you'll soon feel at home. Brabant is spread across four decks, each lined with luxury amenities and well-equipped rooms and suites to add to your cruise experience. Days on board are all about relaxing and enjoying yourself; before evenings spent dining on delicious, locally-inspired cuisine and being entertained in the lounge and bars. Step ashore at your ports of call and join an organised excursion or hire one of the complimentary bikes to explore the local towns, cities, and villages at your own pace.
Start the day with a light 'Early Riser' coffee, tea, and pastries or tuck into a hearty buffet breakfast in Panorama Restaurant. Take your seat for a three-course lunch supplemented by items from the treat-filled buffet. If you have a sweet tooth, afternoon tea in Panorama Lounge is a must. The evening brings a five-course a la carte dinner served to your table in Panorama Restaurant. Late-night snacks are also available if you feel peckish before bed. The on-board cuisine caters for all dietary needs and the flavours reflect the destinations on your itinerary.
Pay a visit round-the-clock to the Amadeus Club for a refreshing cup of coffee or tea. Enjoy an alfresco drink from the Lido Bar on the Sun Deck as you watch the passing scenery unfold. Panorama Bar and Lounge is the hub of the ship after dark; the perfect spot to sit back and socialise with your fellow guests over a drink and enjoy the evening entertainment.
When you're not spending your days exploring the ports; visit Amadeus Club to play games with friends, peruse the books and newspapers, or catch up on news from home on one of the computers. The warm European weather makes the Sun Deck an ideal place to sit and lounge on a sunbed. Spend time enjoying a massage at the Vital-Club or treat yourself to a new hairdo in the neighbouring salon. Unwind in the Panorama Bar and Lounge after dinner and listen to the soft melodies of the pianist, vocalists, musicians, and visiting regional acts.
Day 1: UK to Basel, Switzerland
Fly from your selected UK airport to Basel and be transferred to the port where you will embark on board Brabant.
The boat sets sail this morning via the Upper Rhine and Locks to the German town of Breisach. This picturesque port town has a wine and food loving culture; it's situated among rolling vineyards between the Rhine River and the Black Forest. The town's most iconic landmark is St Stephen Cathedral which has a Romanesque-Gothic style and dates back to the 12th-century. The town has pastel-hued buildings and cobbled streets which replicate the old-world charm of the town.
Day 3: Strasbourg, France
The boat drops anchor today at Strasbourg, the capital of France's Alsace region. Strasbourg is often referred to as the ‘city of two cultures’ due to it being partly in France and partly in Germany. Explore the UNESCO-listed Grande Ile with its 15th-century Gothic cathedral and the ancient St Etienne, St Pierre-le-Jeune, St Pierre-le-Vieux and St Thomas churches. Discover the stunning Petite France with its magnificent half-timbered houses and pay a visit to the former residence of the prince bishops, Palais Rohan. Escape to the tranquil Parc L'Orangerie and Parc de la Citadelle or admire the artworks at Musee d'Art Moderne et Contemporain.
Day 4: Speyer & Mannheim, Germany
Step ashore today in Speyer on the shores of the River Rhine. Explore the streets of this unspoilt haven to discover the neo-gothic Memorial Church, Old City Gate, the medieval synagogue and 12th-century ritual baths in the Jewish Quarter, and the impressive City Hall. No visit here would be complete without paying a call at the UNESCO-listed listed Imperial Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption and St Stephen. Enjoy a relaxing cup of coffee overlooking the tree-studded Fish Market plaza in the old town. Discover the exhibits at Palatinate Historical Museum, all things wine-related at the Wine Museum, and the city's marine history at the Marine Museum.
Step back aboard as the boat makes its way to Mannheim, a historic city on the Rhine and Neckar Rivers in southwest Germany. It is known to the locals as ‘the city of squares’, due to its grid-like layout. Visit the stunning mustard yellow and red sandstone Mannheim Palace and stop by the Schloss Museum to marvel in the palace’s rich history. Get lost in the stunning art at Kunsthalle Museum or gaze in awe at the Jesuit Church and Mannheim’s glowing architecture. Take a stroll through Friedrichsplatz Park and admire the sweeping views of nature and art-nouveau fountains.
Day 5: Rüdesheim, Braubach & Koblenz, Germany
Step ashore at the wine-making town of Rudesheim at the foot of the verdant Taunus Mountains. Ride the cable car to the Germania monument and admire the stunning Rhine Valley spread out below. Stroll along the Drosselgasse with its many shops, taverns and restaurants - no trip here would be complete without sampling one of Rudesheim's famous iced coffees! Pay a visit to the musical instruments at Siegfried's Mechanical Music Cabinet. Explore the world of wine-making at the Rheingau Wine Museum in the medieval Bromserburg Castle.
The cruise then continues via the Middle Rhine Valley to the idyllic medieval town of Braubach on the west bank of the Rhine. Climb uphill to admire the towers, turrets, and crenellations of the 700-year old Marksburg Castle that dominates the skyline. Stroll through the narrow town streets and visit the 13th-century Barbarakirche, 11th-century Martinskapelle chapel, and the ruins of the city walls. Walk though the romantic courtyard of Phillipsburg Castle and stop by its library to view Europe's largest collection of castle documents.
Back aboard; your journey continues through the picture-perfect landscapes of the Lower Moselle Valley towards Koblenz for an overnight stay on board. This city is located at the famous Deutsches Eck where the Moselle and Rhine rivers meet and the Eifel, Hunsruck, and Westerwald mountain ranges converge. Explore the pretty squares, St Castor Basilica, Leibfraukirche, and the Vier Turme towers in the Altstadt area. Gain an insight into Koblenz's fascinating past at the 19th-century Stolzenfels Castle, 13th-century Alte Berg, the Prussian Electoral Palace, and the Prussian government building. Climb up to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress for stunning vistas of the river scenery and beyond.
Day 6: Koblenz & Cochem, Germany
This morning set sail from Koblenz via the Lower Moselle Valley to the German town of Cochem. Take a walk along the Moselle promenade, stopping for a cool glass of local Riesling wine in a friendly pub. Meander through the twisting, narrow town streets and admire the half-timbered houses, old town walls, Endert Gate Tower, the Guard House, and Town Hall. Climb the 330ft-high hill to Reichsburg Castle to admire its amazing architecture and views of the valleys, towns and vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see.
Day 7: Cologne & Dusseldorf, Germany
This morning the boat docks in Cologne. Walk around the historic monuments and picturesque squares in the old town; climb to the top of the UNESCO-listed Cologne Cathedral or the Cologne Telecommunication Tower for city-wide views. Admire the collection of Picasso works at Museum Ludwig; discover all things chocolate-related at the Chocolate Museum, and the delicious aromas at the Fragrance Museum. Explore the city's twelve Romanesque churches including St Kunibert, St Andreas, and St Severin, and stroll across the impressive Hohenzollern Bridge.
Enjoy the vibrant city of Dusseldorf during your overnight stay - from the cosmopolitan culture and attractive architecture to the buzzing nightlife. Admire the 240m high Rhine Tower and the modern cityscape of MediaHarbor with its trendy bars, cafes, and eateries. Stroll along the Konigsallee shopping street and indulge in retail therapy. Take in the ancient baroque palace, St Lambertus Basilika, Neanderkirche, and the Rathaus in Castle Square. Explore the museums, galleries, and markets in the Carlstadt district.
Day 8: Dusseldorf, Germany to UK
Today your cruise comes to an end. Disembark and be transferred to the airport for your flight back to the UK.