I remember my river cruise holiday last year with my partner. My favourite part was the castle-studded stretch of the beautiful, romantic Rhine river in Germany. I remember seeing the sun tip over castles that were straight out of storybooks – eminent, grand and awe-inspiring. This stretch of castles made the valley the centre of the Thirty Years War in the Middle Ages, leaving many of the castles in ruin. So now they are steeped in tales of battles, betrayals, heroes and villains. With the amount of ghosts who walk the banks, some say they still hear the sounds of clashing swords.
Our cruise brought us face-to-face with the Lorelei, where it is said you can still hear the song of the enchantress who died there. According to legend, she was spurned by her lover and took to bewitching sailors and luring them to their deaths on the treacherous rocks. Spared from a death sentence, she was consigned to a nunnery, and on her way, she asked to climb the Lorelei rock and view the river once more. When she reached the edge, she fell and died, and it is said that her spirit continues to haunt the rock.
It is stories like this which make a river cruise in Europe – a continent that simply overflows with fables and folklore – such an unforgettable experience. Tens of thousands of years of history have left their rich mark, and we reap the benefits.
Explore Europe on a luxury star-ship
Those who want to explore this great realm of stories should consider a river cruise on a luxury ‘star-ship’, a revolutionary new invention that can take you right into the heart of Europe’s mysteries, culture and beauty in an all-new way. The star-ship features spacious, contemporary cabins and a unique heated pool that has a retractable roof, transforming into a cinema in the evenings – not something you’d expect on a river cruise ship. Enjoy a carefully crafted cruise ranging from 8 to 17 days, which are all-inclusive – emphasis on the ALL. You could even leave your wallets and purses at home as the delicious meals and drinks, extravagant onshore excursions, travel and transfers are all included when you book this kind of cruise holiday.
Taking a cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest allows one to discover the picturesque and cultural wonders of Amsterdam, the expansive history of Cologne, traditional glassblowing demonstrations at Miltenberg, the beauty of Vienna, and the unmissable scenery and stories on the castle stretch of Rhine Gorge.