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Oberammergau and Rhine Cruise

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3.0 stars(18 reviews)
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Experience the theatre event of the decade before taking in the attractions of the majestic Rhine and attending the exclusive Floriade flower show

11 days Sold out

2022 Tour code: OBR22

About the tour

Take your seat for the world-famous Oberammergau Passion Play, held in the heart of Bavaria, then travel to Switzerland to begin a spectacular cruise that reveals the majesty of the Rhine River in all its fairytale glory. We'll also enjoy tickets to the Floriade flower show, another unique event which only occurs every ten years.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary: Basel - Amsterdam

Some departures run a reversed itinerary – View reversed Amsterdam - Basel itinerary (ORR22)

Itinerary: Amsterdam - Basel

You are viewing the reversed itinerary – switch back to Basel - Amsterdam itinerary (OBR22)

Day 1 - To Stuttgart

We meet at our dedicated Departure Office at London St Pancras where we board the Eurostar service to Brussels. From here, we join the rail service to Stuttgart. We spend the night here.

Includes
  • Eurostar Meal (First Class only), Dinner
Day 2 - Oberammergau

We continue the following day down to the beautiful Oberammergau region in southern Germany, our base for the next two nights.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - The Oberammergau Passion Play

The magnificent Oberammergau Passion Play is held only once every 10 years and is a spectacle worthy of all that preparation. Depicting the final days of Jesus Christ, this theatrical extravaganza features a cast and crew numbering up to the thousands, and features a dazzling array of props, costumes and backdrops. The play is the oldest Passion Play in the world, first put on by the villagers in 1634 as a plea to God to save them from the plague which was flooding Germany at the time. When the plague miraculously cleared up, the villagers vowed to put on a play for every 10 years thereafter. The result is a marvellous display, one which is produced by everyone in the village for thousands of international visitors each decade.

The majority of our tickets for the play are top tier tickets, providing us with front and central seats under the roof of a specially-made auditorium. Split into two halves with a break for a special dinner, we enjoy the performance in the afternoon, leaving you the morning to soak up the atmosphere of this unassuming, yet distinctly charming German town.

Please Note: For departure OBR2222s you will have Tier 2 tickets to the Passion Play Performance. Seating plan of the theatre is shown further down in the itinerary.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Basel

Today, we depart for Basel, travelling by rail via Ulm and München-Pasing. On arrival you board your ship, the 5-Star MS Amadeus Silver III. A floating hotel, this fantastic vessel is your home for the next seven nights. As you get your bearings on board, be sure to head up to the Sun Deck and take in the final hours of sunlight before we set sail. This evening, we enjoy a welcome cocktail before a delicious first meal.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Strasbourg

Our vessel sails into the charming German town of Kehl today. Sat across the Rhine from Kehl is the beautiful city of Strasbourg, whose position on the German-French border has seen it change hands between the two nations frequently throughout history. Because of this, Strasbourg represents the best of both cultures, with colourful half-timbered houses and cobbled streets.

You have two choices here. Your first option is a city tour of Strasbourg, uncovering its charm and history. Your second alternative sees you travel along the Schwarzwaldhochstraße into the famous Black Forest of Germany.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Speyer and Heidelberg

We arrive into Speyer this morning, where you have free time to explore. This town is home to one of the largest privately owned collections of vehicles in the world, the Technik Museum Speyer. Featuring an entire jumbo jet, army vehicles, emergency vehicles, a submarine and much more, this museum is a treasure trove of vehicular delights and is well worth a visit. Later in the afternoon, we have an excursion to the delightful academic town of Heidelberg where we are treated to a guided tour. Heidelberg is famous for a magnificent ruined castle, proudly stood high above the town below, gazing down onto the river and the attractive town houses.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Rüdesheim and the Rhine Gorge

We sail into the classic German town of Rüdesheim am Rhein, known for its formidable wine production especially of the dry Riesling variety. Perhaps walk along the river during your free time here this morning, before our ship departs for Koblenz.

This afternoon includes one of the highlights of the tour as we pass through the glorious Rhine Gorge, one of the most beautiful sections of the river and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Sheer river banks rise up, towering over the river below, covered in deep forests and miles of green vineyards, lending an almost ethereal feel to the waterway. We enjoy a commentary from our knowledgeable Cruise Director during this passage.

Our lunch today sees us tuck into a wonderful themed buffet with a suckling pig as the striking centrepiece, and several smaller dishes from this part of the world making up the rest of the offerings. Weather permitting we'll enjoy our lunch on the sun deck as we take in the majesty of the glorious Rhine Gorge. We sail this evening into the enchanting city of Koblenz, you may wish to visit one of the famous wine taverns here.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - The Lower Rhine and the Drachenfelsbahn

We depart from Koblenz this morning and discover the marvellous Lower Rhine, a stretch of river characterised by lush green meadows and postcard villages. Our Cruise Director provides us with the history of this area, and highlights points of interest. In the afternoon, we dock in Koenigswinter, where we embark on a journey on the Drachensfelbahn railway. This rack railway rises into the mountains and high into the forests for wonderful views across the Rhine- Westphalia region of Germany. In the evening, we indulge with a traditional gourmet dinner which features Spargelzeit, a kind of white asparagus which is famous in this area. (Please note, Spargelzeit depends on seasonal availability).

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - Cologne

Arriving into Cologne this morning, we venture forth into this vibrant German city on a walking tour. We visit the resplendent cathedral, a centuries-year-old building which survived 14 aerial hits during bombing across the Second World War. We also wander through the many bustling squares, labyrinthine streets and see Romanesque town-houses.

Tonight is an opportunity to dress up in our finest as we enjoy a Gala dinner with the captain and crew.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - Amsterdam, Floriade and the Medemblik Steam Train

We sail into Amsterdam this morning. One of the most popular of all the European cities, Amsterdam is as modern as it is historic, as young as it is old. From its iconic canals and large parks to its contemporary art galleries and futuristic architecture, Amsterdam boasts something for everyone. You have a choice of three exciting excursions. You could choose to explore the city on an immersive guided tour or travel to Hoorn to board the Medemblik Steam Train for a nostalgic trip through enchanting Dutch scenery. Your third option is to visit the Floriade flower show, a horticultural event that takes place once every decade. Taking place in the Dutch town of Almere, floriade is not only the world's ultimate flower show - spread over five themed zones across an enormous 66 hectares - it is also a celebration of plants, vegetables, fruit and produce. Gardeners from all over the world offer you the opportunity to enjoy the most exquisite and exceptional examples of horticulture found anywhere on Earth.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11 - Amsterdam and London

We leave the ship after breakfast and make our way to the station to board our train back to London St Pancras.

Please Note: For departure OBR2201s and OBR2201f you will travel by coach from Amsterdam to Brussels, where you will catch the Eurostar Service back to London.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 1 - Amsterdam

Today, meet your Tour Manager and the rest of your group at London St Pancras* before travelling on the Eurostar service to Amsterdam, where you'll be escorted to the ship. This evening, we enjoy a welcome cocktail before dinner this evening.

*If you would like to travel by air, view our Fly & Cruise option here.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Amsterdam and the Medemblik Steam Train

After Breakfast this morning, we have a choice of two excursions, the first of which is a city tour of Amsterdam. One of the most popular of all the European cities, Amsterdam is as modern as it is historic, as young as it is old. From idyllic canals and large parks, to contemporary art galleries and futuristic architecture, this is a city that boasts something for everyone. The second option is an excursion to Hoorn where we board the splendid Medemblik Steam Train and enjoy a nostalgic trip through splendid Dutch scenery.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 - Cologne

Arriving into Cologne this morning, we venture forth into this vibrant German city on a walking tour. We visit the resplendent cathedral, a centuries-year-old building which survived 14 aerial hits during bombing across the Second World War. We also wander through the many bustling squares, labyrinthine streets and see Romanesque town-houses.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 - The Upper Rhine and the Drachenfelsbahn

We depart from Cologne this morning and discover the marvellous Upper Rhine, a stretch of river characterised by lush green meadows and postcard villages. Our Cruise Director provides us with the history of this area, and highlights points of interest. In the afternoon, we dock in Koenigswinter, where we embark on a journey on the Drachensfelbahn railway. This rack railway rises into the mountains and high into the forests for wonderful views across the Rhine- Westphalia region of Germany. In the evening, we indulge with a traditional gourmet dinner which features Spargelzeit, a kind of white asparagus which is famous in this area. (Please note, Spargelzeit depends on seasonal availability).

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - Rüdesheim and the Rhine Gorge

You have free time here this morning to explore Koblenz.

This afternoon includes one of the highlights of the tour as we pass through the glorious Rhine Gorge, one of the most beautiful sections of the river and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sheer river banks rise up, towering over the river below, covered in deep forests and miles of green vineyards, lending an almost ethereal feel to the waterway. We enjoy a commentary from our knowledgeable Cruise Director during this passage.

Our lunch today sees us tuck into a wonderful themed buffet with a suckling pig as the striking centrepiece, and several smaller dishes from this part of the world making up the rest of the offerings. Weather permitting we'll enjoy our lunch on the sun deck as we take in the majesty of the glorious Rhine Gorge. 

This evening we sail to the classic German town of Rüdesheim am Rhein, known for its formidable wine production especially of the dry Riesling variety.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Speyer and Heidelberg

We arrive into Speyer this morning, where you have free time to explore. This town is home to one of the largest privately owned collections of vehicles in the world, the Technik Museum Speyer. Featuring an entire jumbo jet, army vehicles, emergency vehicles, a submarine and much more, this museum is a treasure trove of vehicular delights and is well worth a visit. Later in the afternoon, we have an excursion to the delightful academic town of Heidelberg where we are treated to a guided tour. Heidelberg is famous for a magnificent ruined castle, proudly stood high above the town below, gazing down onto the river and the attractive town houses.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Strasbourg

Our vessel sails into the charming German town of Kehl today. Sat across the Rhine from Kehl is the beautiful city of Strasbourg, whose position on the German-French border has seen it change hands between the two nations frequently throughout history. Because of this, Strasbourg represents the best of both cultures, with colourful half-timbered houses and cobbled streets.

You have two choices here. Your first option is a city tour of Strasbourg, uncovering its charm and history. Your second choice sees you travel into the famous Black Forest, passing through stunning fairytale panoramas.

Tonight is an opportunity to dress up in our finest as we enjoy a Gala dinner with the captain and crew.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - Basel and Fussen

After a buffet breakfast, we disembark the ship in Basel and make your way back to the railway station for your journey by rail to Fussen.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 9 - Oberammergau

After a free morning in Fussen, we travel by coach to Oberammergau. After checking into our hotel the rest of your day is free to explore Oberammergau.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 - The Oberammergau Passion Play

The magnificent Oberammergau Passion Play is held only once every 10 years and is a spectacle worthy of all that preparation. Depicting the final days of Jesus Christ, this theatrical extravaganza features a cast and crew numbering up to the thousands, and features a dazzling array of props, costumes and backdrops. The play is the oldest Passion Play in the world, first put on by the villagers in 1634 as a plea to God to save them from the plague which was flooding Germany at the time. When the plague miraculously cleared up, the villagers vowed to put on a play for every 10 years thereafter. The result is a marvellous display, one which is produced by everyone in the village for thousands of international visitors each decade.

The majority of our tickets for the play are top tier tickets, providing us with front and central seats under the roof of a specially-made auditorium. Split into two halves with a break for a special dinner, we enjoy the performance in the afternoon, leaving you the morning to soak up the atmosphere of this unassuming, yet distinctly charming German town.

Please Note: For departure OBR2222s you will have Tier 2 tickets to the Passion Play Performance. Seating plan of the theatre is shown further down in the itinerary.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11 - Stuttgart

After breakfast, we disembark and start our journey back home via Stuttgart, where we spend the night. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12 - London

Today we complete our journey back to London.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Seating Plan

For the Passion Play Performance you will be seated in category 1 or 2 seats, located at the front and centre of the theatre. 

Passion Play Theatre Seating Plan
- Travel Options

We offer a Standard Class and First Class rail options for departures on this tour. You can find out which class each departure is by clicking on the information button in the pricing grid.

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Trains

Drachenfels Railway
Eurostar
TGV

Ships

MS Amadeus Imperial
MS Amadeus Cara

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Upgrades

London Hotels
UK rail connections

Reviews

3.0 stars3.0 / 5 · 18 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (5)
  2. 4 stars
    (3)
  3. 3 stars
    (3)
  4. 2 stars
    (1)
  5. 1 star
    (6)

J C DOWNING

3 stars

Submitted 3/Aug

Our experience was marred by exhausting disrupted train journeys, inability to join the boat at Basel, an unexpected 3 hour coach journey to Mannheim, an unexpected 3 hour coach journey from Amsterdam to Brussels instead of a 1 hour train journey. Before we left there were multiple changes to the trip which were poorly communicated by phone and through the website portal with frequent inaccuracies as to dates and class of travel. Our tour manager Phil Orbell worked hard to manage these disappointments.

Collected by Trustpilot

Peter

4 stars

Submitted 29/Jul

A superb holiday let down slightly by the "Butlins" approach of the Cruise Directors. The initial Tour Director (Philip Obell) was first class, as a guide he was brilliant but he really came into his own when issues arose with the health of one tour participant. His calm manner and approach resolved some very complicated issues. I cannot praise him highly enough. Sadly the Cruise Directors seemed to think the Cruise Participants needed to be jollied along. Not the approach I and other participants either wanted or needed. There were also ageist and sexist comments. Of a more suspect issue was the decision not to broadcast announcements into cabins, as not everyone was in communal areas. The boat crew were brilliant. One criticism of the boat was the lack of a lift to the very top deck. For persons of limited mobility this was unacceptable in a boat built less than 3 years ago.

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J Curtis

1 stars

Submitted 30/Jun

The Oberammergau Passion Play was wonderful, but the much anticipated Rhine Cruise was a real disappointment. There were ongoing problems with river locks and we missed planned visits to both Strasbourg and Speyer due to the locks and associated docking issues - the real frustration was the lack of communication from both our Tour Guide and Captain and being stuck on board for over 40 hours with little explanation and just an ice cream and beer to keep us happy! As our boat cruises regularly back and forth along the Rhine, it is inconceivable that these issues were not apparent when we all joined the cruise as Basel. There were also issues travelling home from Amsterdam when we almost missed our Eurostar connection - for some reason travelling by bus to Brussels. All-in-all a very disappointing and not inexpensive holiday!

Collected by Trustpilot

Ian Willson

3 stars

Submitted 29/Jun

Booking ref XXXXXX We have enjoyed several GRJ holidays over recent years, and our expectations of this one was that we were about to experience a similarly high standard. Although we have taken numerous excellent river cruises with another company in the past, we were expecting as good, of even better from Amadeus! Having met our excellent Tour Manager Iain Russell-Jarvie, we knew we were in good hands, especially as we were aware of the potential difficulties that could arise as a result of the rail disaster at Garmisch. Iain coped with these admirably, and our visit to the Passion Play was an amazing and memorable experience. Sadly, our 5-star cruise was disappointing in several ways; Iain had to leave the group after we embarked the Imperial, so we lost the tour leader assigned to our specific group for the duration of the cruise. A number of destinations had to be missed due to delays and alterations to the schedule; right from the start, our visit to Strasbourg was cancelled (as was the Black Forest trip looked forward to by many) we didn’t get to visit Speyer, and worst of all, we failed to make our Eurostar connection at Brussels on our homeward journey. We ourselves fared better than others of our group, in that on arrival at St. Pancras, we managed to scramble aboard a Leeds-bound train, which arrived ten minutes after our Harrogate train had departed. After a 90minute wait at Leeds we boarded the last train home (fortunately not cancelled) finally arriving at our door at half past midnight. Again.our original Tour Manager who returned to see us safely home, was on hand to sort out the mess as best as he was able. We had no complaints about the standard of the ship, facilities were good and the crew and food were excellent. Just a pity that the itinerary didn’t work well; we suggest that GRJ should stick to rail journeys which you do well, and leave cruising to the companies that specialise in cruising. Jean and Ian Willson

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DA

2 stars

Submitted 29/Jun

While the play was fine and the cruise ship was very comfortable and elegant, the overall organisation of rail travel and cruise ship timings was not up to the standard we expect from Great Rail - too many delays, missed links and poor planning. Is this a result of people lost during the pandemic? Will they improve again in future? It all felt far too hand-to-mouth during the transfers

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Mr Ronald Sumner

3 stars

Submitted 29/Jun

The first part of the holiday, the Passion Play was excellent was worth the lifetime's wait to experience it. Would have benefitted from a little more time in Oberammergau. The second week was the Rine Cruise, advertised as 5-star but did not match up to that level..Too many problems occurred with the itinerary and two excursions were missed. and, at the end, we came home with Covid. The bus journey from Amsterdam to Brussels was horrendous, resulting in missing our Eurostar service to London and having to wait 6 hours to be rebooked on "the next available service." Poor show by Eurostar

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Oberammergau and Rhine Cruise

Experience the theatre event of the decade before taking in the attractions of the majestic Rhine and attending the exclusive Floriade flower show

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