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Rhine Cruise: Musical Legacy, Festive Traditions

1 Dec — 7 Dec 2020 | Tour Directors: John Bryden, Sarah Burles, Nicholas Wearne, Steve Mastin, Judy Brown

ACE Aquileia tour: Basilica of Aquileia


Tour Directors

Andrew Wilson portrait

John Bryden,


international concert pianist and organist and classical music lecturer

full biography and other tours

Andrew Wilson portrait

Sarah Burles,


art historian who works in museum and gallery education

full biography and other tours

Andrew Wilson portrait

Nicholas Wearne,

BA, MPhil

a former ACE Bursary student, who is a tutor and Junior Fellow at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

full biography and other tours

Andrew Wilson portrait

Steve Mastin,


Steve studied history and classics before becoming a teacher and is a Fellow of the Historical Association

full biography and other tours

Andrew Wilson portrait

Judy Brown

Scottish mezzo-soprano, sought-after recitalist, opera and consort singer

full biography and other tours




Please note while we will endeavour to deliver the below itinerary in full, some details may be subject to confirmation.

Depart London St Pancras 0922 on Eurostar and TGV via Paris, arriving Strasbourg 1709 (rail group) or depart London Heathrow 1155 on British Airways, arriving Basel 1435 (flight group). Transfer to MS Lafayette for six nights. Welcome drink and introduction. Evening music recital, including works by Mozart, Schumann and Brahms.  



Bach before breakfast followed by optional choir practice. Morning lectures on board: History of the Rhine and Art and the Christmas Story Part I: Annunciation & Nativity. Afternoon: free time in Frankfurt with opportunity to visit Christmas market (one of the oldest in the world, dating back to the 14th century) or historical sites. Evening song recital on board: Schumann Frauenliebe und Leben.



Bach before breakfast followed by optional choir practice. Illustrated morning lecture: Brahms’s Journey on the Rhine. Afternoon: time to explore Cochem (characterful town with half-timbered buildings and medieval gates), with visits to local mustard mill, St Martin’s Church (beautiful stained glass) and Christmas market. Evening piano recital by John Bryden: Schumann Carnaval.



Bach before breakfast. Whole day excursion to Cologne for visits to the cathedral (Reliquary of the Three Kings), Wallraf-Richartz Museum and some free time.



Bach before breakfast followed by optional choir practice. Morning lectures: Art and the Christmas Story Part II: The Shepherds & Magi and St Nicholas. Afternoon: excursion from Rudesheim mooring to Kloster Eberbach (former Cistercian monastery with renowned Romanesque-Gothic architecture).



St Nicholas’s Day Bach before breakfast followed by optional choir practice. Morning lecture: The Medieval Feast. Afternoon: organ recital in Mannheim Christuskirche followed by opportunity to visit Christmas market. Celebratory gala dinner and evening recital, including festive works.



Bach before breakfast. Depart Strasbourg 1043 via Paris, arriving London St Pancras 1639 (rail group) or depart Basel 1545, arriving London Heathrow 1630 (flight group).

Tour Dates

1 Dec — 7 Dec 2020





Tour Code



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“The lectures were interesting, the concerts amazing and the food excellent.” 
“The boat was comfortable with excellent service and good food. The itinerary was well planned and the music and lectures a great pleasure.”
“The attentive, knowledgeable and friendly booking team set the standard for what was delivered. Nothing was too much trouble. It set the standard for the actual trip and we were not disappointed.”
  • Customers on board ACE’s 2019 Advent Rhine Cruise


Our base for this cruise will be the MS Lafayette, a premium five-anchor ship featuring comfortable accommodation over two decks and a sundeck. The MS Lafayette was entirely refurbished in 2015.


This cruise has been designed as a relaxing, musical voyage soaking up the special atmosphere of Germany during Advent. Much time is spent cruising, with many of our mornings dedicated to lectures and recitals. Afternoon visits to nearby historical and cultural sites are followed by music and dinner in the evenings. Participants should not find the itinerary particularly strenuous, however please note that some visits involve city-based walking, standing in galleries and climbing/descending quayside steps, and participants should therefore meet our usual fitness requirements.


Calling all carollers! This cruise will feature an optional, on-board choir, which will rehearse a variety of well-known traditional carols in preparation for a gala concert at the end of the cruise. Whether you sing regularly, or if you have just always wanted to be in a choir, all are very welcome to join.


We are offering two return travel options on this cruise:
The flights package includes return flights with British Airways from London Heathrow to Basel, followed by a coach journey of around 2 hours to the MS Lafayette in Strasbourg.
The rail package (at a supplement) includes return rail travel in Standard Premier / first class from London St Pancras to Paris on Eurostar, then first class from Paris to Strasbourg on TGV, followed by a short coach journey to the MS Lafayette. The Paris transfer (from Gare du Nord to Gare de l’Est) will be made by coach. On board lunch is included on the Eurostar.

Cost of £2295 includes: return travel (air), accommodation based on sharing a main deck twin cabin, full board (except lunch on days 1, 4 & 7) with unlimited wine, beer, soft drinks, tea & coffee, shore excursions & admissions, crew gratuities.

Not included: travel insurance, main deck twin cabin for single use supplement £250. Upper deck supplements available upon request. Rail travel supplement in Standard Premier / first class (including lunch on board Eurostar) £129.