Imagine unpacking your bag and settling in to a room with an ever-changing view. Your ship offers a generous array of amenities and Europe’s most charming villages, lush vineyards, bucolic landscapes and vibrant cities are delivered to your door.
Along the way, you indulge in three mouthwatering meals a day, savour local wine, and have a seasoned cruise director by your side to fill you in on the fascinating history and rich culture of thrilling ports.
We’re sure you’ll agree it’s the most relaxing way to see Europe. And because Gate 1 now owns and operates our own river ship, it’s also the most value-packed way: With no middleman to consider, we can pass our savings directly to you.
Embark Gate 1 Travel’s MS Monarch Empress –
Built by Gate 1, Controlled by Gate 1
In 2016, we introduced the MS Monarch Empress, the very first European river ship built by Gate 1 specifically to suit our travellers. Come aboard and you’ll enjoy some of the most spacious and comfortable accommodations on Europe’s rivers. Cabins range in size from 140 to 210 square feet and include large bathrooms. A full 80% of rooms offer French balconies, providing private views as the stunning riverbanks unfold, and rooms can be configured with one or two beds.
With room for just 144 passengers, the ship is designed with the view in mind, with large windows in the cabins, dining room, lounge and other public space – and with few exterior visual obstructions on the outside decks. Throughout, you’ll find soothing blue and white interiors with cherry wood accents, top of the line furnishings and stylish décor. At mealtimes, you’ll have full outdoor views through floor-to-ceiling windows. Lounge on the sun deck and watch the passing scenery or share a drink with fellow travellers in the lounge. Curl up with a book or surf the internet in our generously sized library. Indulge in a massage or spa treatment. Plus, an elevator will whisk you between decks. The MS Monarch Empress promises all the comforts and pleasures of a deluxe floating hotel.
What’s more, because we own the ship, we fully control the quality of your experience. The Monarch Empress is staffed by Gate 1, with Tour Managers, waitstaff, chefs, housekeepers and more all committed to ensuring you have the most memorable experience on Europe’s waterways.
More Gate 1 River Ships Mean More Discovery
For 2017, the Monarch Empress will be joined by our two privately chartered ships, the first class MS Monarch Queen and MS Monarch Baroness. Built in 2006, with a maximum capacity of 144 passengers, these intimate sister ships features 68 spacious outside cabins and 4 suites (170-255 sq ft) each fully air-conditioned with private bath facilities, shower, telephone and flat screen satellite TV.
These two ships will sail amidst the rainbow of colours along Holland’s waterways in Spring 2017. After the height of the tulip season, both the Monarch Empress and Monarch Queen will introduce travellers to the romantic waters of the Danube, sailing between Regensburg and Budapest. For her part, the Monarch Baroness will explore the lilting waters of Germany’s Rhine River between Basel and Amsterdam. She will also be joined by the Monarch Queen with our 14-night sailings along the Rhine, Main & Danube Rivers between Amsterdam and Budapest.
CLASSIC EUROPEAN RIVER CRUISE
Sail Through Five Countries on One Sweeping River Cruise
With the 1992 opening of the Main-Danube Canal, a 106-mile wonder that links two of Europe’s most fabled rivers, river ships could traverse the entire continent from Holland to Hungary. Our Classic European River Cruise takes full advantage of this engineering triumph, delivering you from sea to sea in 16 days, spanning the entire continent of Europe in the process.
THE RHINE: From Dutch Treats to Rich German Culture
Begin among the waters that fan out from the Rhine River into the North Sea. Amsterdam, the charming canal-laced city of gabled houses and graceful bridges, was built on the wealth of the Dutch Golden Age. This cultural centre is rich in treasures, from the art collections of the Rijksmuseum to the bustling stalls of the Albert Cuyp market. As “old world” as Amsterdam feels, it’s Nijmegen that is Holland’s oldest city. And it enjoys a lovely setting on the Waal River. As you wander its charming streets, you are tracing 2,000 years of history.
Soon after entering Germany, the unmistakable twin spires of the Cologne Cathedral come into view. This stunning piece of architecture has watched over the city for centuries and it’s a thrill to tour the atmospheric Old Town, lined with timber-framed houses and distinctive brauhausen (pubs) in its towering shadow. Koblenz, nestled where the Rhine meets the Moselle River, enjoys a picturesque setting, dotted with stunning Romanesque architecture and imposing defensive towers that recall the town’s founding as a Roman stronghold that protected the rivers’ convergence.
THE MAIN: Into the Charms of Franconia
The beautiful medieval town of Miltenberg, with its 14th-century hilltop castle of the same name, is one of the Main River’s true treasures. Its narrow crooked streets lead to half-timbered houses and are a pleasure to explore. Wertheim, too, boasts a hillside fortification, this one of stunning red sandstone. Taken together, these tiny riverside villages remind travellers of the depth of history that has unfolded on these riverbanks. Castles such as these once collected tolls from cargo ships and defended the sovereignty of kingdoms.
In Wurzburg, the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” Germany’s scenic route that reveals the heart of Franconia, another castle looms large: the Marienberg fortress. But the scene stealer here may be the ornate Bishops’ Residenz Palace, a baroque masterpiece that boasts the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. More beauty greets you in Bamberg, set on the old Regnitz Island. This city suffered very little during World War II and so its buildings are remarkably preserved; more than 2,000 of them are listed as historical monuments.
THE DANUBE: Austro-Hungarian Treasures
History remembers Nuremberg best as the site of Hitler’s rallies and as the host city of the post-war Nuremberg trials. But this historic and lovely city has a colourful side, too. Accented by half-timbered houses, cobbled streets and a history of crafting delightful toys, it rests on the Main-Danube Canal.
Downriver, Regensburg graces the river’s banks. This is a true European gem, one of the continent’s best preserved medieval cities thanks to its escape from World War II bombing. As the Danube approaches the Inn and Ilz rivers, Passau emerges where the three rivers meet. Surrounded by tranquil waterways, it enjoys a singular and pretty setting. Passau also enjoys fame as the home of Europe’s largest pipe organ; its 17,774 pipes grace Passau with their musical grandeur from the baroque St. Stephan’s cathedral.
Austria’s Benedictine Melk Abbey perches like a confection on a bluff overlooking the Danube. Its imperial rooms house a library of 85,000 historic volumes, and views of the Wachau Valley from the abbey’s terrace are stunning. This architectural masterwork is the perfect prelude to the wonders of Vienna, elegance unparalleled. Its circular roadway, the Ringstrasse, is lined with some of the most graceful buildings you’re every likely to see, like the famed Opera House. And the city’s sprawling palace of Schonbrunn is a glittering monument to the Habsburg Dynasty that ruled the region for centuries.
Soon, the Danube forms Austria’s border with Slovakia. The latter’s capital city, Bratislava, is the only European capital to share a border with two other countries, Hungary being the third. Its hilltop 16th-century castle is a sight to behold. But little compares to cruising into the heart of Budapest, the Danube’s grand dame. The fortress of Fisherman’s Bastion rises on one bank and the mighty Parliament watches over from the other while the iconic Chain Bridge arcs over the water like a crown.
Tailor your river cruise to your liking: Choose from shorter itineraries.
If a shorter itinerary is more to your liking, Gate 1 Travel has the itinerary for you.
Tulip Time River Cruises. Explore the waterways of the Low Countries, Holland and Belgium, in the springtime. There’s no better way to witness the vibrant colours of tulips, daffodils and countless other blooms than by river ship. Along the way, you’ll explore medieval cities, see the famed windmills of Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and breathe in the clean air of the North Sea as you cruise through the vast Rhine delta system. If you wish, you may select our Tulip Time itineraries that include city stays in Amsterdam, Paris, or both.
Rhine River Cruises. Germany’s wine country comes to life as you drift along “Father Rhine,” lined with vineyard-laden sloping hills, welcoming wine-making villages and storybook hamlets. You’ll follow the Rhine where it forms the border of Germany and France and explore French Strasbourg and its charming Old Town. Add time in Lucerne and you’ll experience more of the allure of Swiss culture.
Danube River Cruises. Experience the best of Bavaria, Austria and Hungary during a cruise into some of Europe’s most scenic corners. Visit all the Danube ports discussed above, plus have the chance to visit Salzburg, Austria’s alpine-ringed city where The Sound of Music was filmed; Cesky Krumlov, an inviting Czech artists’ colony in a beautiful setting; and Bratislava, the Slovakian capital with an atmospheric Old Town. While you’re in this corner of Europe, you can elect to also spend time in Budapest, Prague, or both.
Join us … and discover the ease of exploring Europe by river cruise!
All the exciting corners of Europe are waiting to be explored by river ship with Gate 1 Travel! No matter which itinerary you select, you’ll enjoy an intimate experience that only a small ship allows … included city tours at all ports … the full services of a Tour Manager … and an incredible all-inclusive value. All while unpacking your bags just once and letting Europe come to you!