Rhine and Mosel River Cruise with Scenic Opal

Wander With Wonder – Discovering Wow Moments Around the World or Across the Street

A cruise along the Rhine and Mosel rivers aboard the Scenic Opal is an immersive journey of sensory, cultural, and visual experiences. Read on for the details of this captivating itinerary through Central Europe. 

In the heart of Germany, the Scenic Opal presents a grand river cruise adventure, “Charming Castles and Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle.” Setting sail from Mainz, Germany, this 7-day voyage aboard the Scenic Opal promises to immerse travelers in a world of natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, historic castles and villages, delectable regional cuisine, award-winning Rieslings, and unparalleled onboard experiences.

Note: The Mosel River runs through Germany; it is called the Musel in Luxembourg and the Moselle in France.

Scenic Opal. Photo Courtesy Scenic Cruises

As we ventured from Germany to Switzerland through the river’s rolling waters, I discovered the wonders of this picturesque region, relishing in regional wines, gourmet dishes, and captivating excursions along the way.

Scenic Opal on the Mosel River. Photo Courtesy of Scenic Cruises

Day 1 on Our Rhine and Mosel River Cruise: Mainz, Germany

After flying overnight from San Francisco to Frankfurt, we headed about an hour’s taxi ride away to the charming German town of Mainz. Just down from our hotel was the dock where we were to board the Scenic Opal on the cruise’s 7-day journey the following afternoon. Mainz is a city steeped in history and culture. It is known for its old town, half-timbered houses, and medieval market squares. It is also famous for its University, the Romanesque cathedral, the Gutenberg printing press, and the Rhineland Carnival. Spring blooms blanketed the streets and dotted the shores of this magical mecca of Mainz.

Blanket of Flowers in the Spring in Mainz. Photo by Dynie Sanderson

As I boarded the Scenic Opal on the first day of our river cruise, I was immediately struck by the ship’s elegant ambiance. The crew’s warm hospitality made every guest feel at home. All cabins boasted stunning river views, ensuring no one missed the breathtaking scenery—whether in their cabin, on the deck, or viewing from the lounge area’s panoramic picture windows.

All Aboard! Cheers! Scenic Opal First Day. Photo by Dynie Sanderson

The Onboard Experience of Scenic Opal

Throughout each day on the cruise, Scenic Opal’s team pampered us with exceptional onboard experiences.

Scenic Opal sun deck. Photo Courtesy Scenic Cruises

The ship provides the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure, from the spacious and elegantly appointed cabins to the top-notch amenities, including a wellness area, a small swimming pool, and an expansive viewing deck.

Scenic Opal guest cabins. Photo Courtesy Scenic Cruises

Dining Experiences

Dining on board is a culinary journey in itself. The ship’s chefs expertly craft regional and international dishes, ensuring each meal is a delight for the senses. From themed dinners highlighting local cuisine to fine dining experiences in the ship’s restaurant, every meal is an opportunity to savor the flavors of the regions we visited.

Our first dinner featured marinated herring, forest mushroom tart, pork filet wrapped in bacon and prunes, and sesame-crusted haddock fish, all expertly prepared by the ship’s talented chefs. Photo by Dynie Sanderson

There are a variety of dining options offered on board the Scenic Opal:

The Crystal Dining Room is the expansive main restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Portobellos, on the ship’s main level, offers a lighter fare for breakfast, lunch, and late evening small bites. It also hosts specialty dinners, where approximately 32 guests dine once during their cruise. These special dinners offer a 5-course specialty menu in an exclusive and intimate setting, serving regional specialties and local wines paired with the dishes.
Table La Rive offers an extraordinary special evening with exquisite dining and fine wines set in an intimate setting in a private area of the Crystal Dining Room. This memorable dining experience is for ten guests on select evenings for those staying in the Royal, Junior Suites, and Diamond Deck cabins. They are presented with a sumptuous 6-course degustation menu with sommelier-paired wines, all showcased by the ship’s executive chef.
In-room dining is available 24/7 and served by your personal butler.

Scenic Opal’s specialty dinner at Portobello featured Risotto Milanese. Photo by Dynie Sanderson

Evenings on the Scenic Opal

After dinner each evening, our charismatic Cruise Director, Alex, hosted the daily “Port Talk,” complete with a slide show and presentation about our next port and excursions.

Alex is the cruise director on the Scenic Opal. Photo by Dynie Sanderson

Following the port talk, Aida, we were serenaded by background music provided by Aida, the assistant cruise director.

Evening Entertainment by Assistant Cruise Director Aida. Photo by Dynie Sanderson

Day 2 on Our Rhine and Mosel River Cruise: Koblenz and Burg Eltz

Our first stop brought us to Koblenz, a city nestled at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel rivers. Here, we explored the charming old town, taking a cable car ride up to the imposing Ehrenbreitstein Fortress for panoramic views where the two rivers meet.

Deutsches Eck at the confluence of Rhine and Mosel rivers in Koblenz, Germany. Photo by bbsferrari via iStock by Getty Images

Koblenz, a UNESCO-listed city with a history spanning over 2000 years, provided us with multiple tour options for the day: A Walking Tour of Koblenz, A Bike Tour of Koblenz, or a visit to Burg Eltz. These activities filled our morning, followed by a delightful onboard lunch before we set sail for our next port of call, Bernkastel-Kues.

Burg Eltz is a medieval castle on the hills above the Mosel River near Koblenz. Photo by SCStock via iStock by Getty Images

Savoring Regional Wines in Koblenz

Koblenz is the gateway to the renowned German Rhine and Mosel wine regions, celebrated for their exceptional riesling wines. During our visit, we tasted a variety of crisp and aromatic Rieslings from local vineyards, where we gained a deeper appreciation for the terroir that makes these wines world-famous.

Terraced riesling vineyards. Photo by Dynie Sanderson

Day 4 on Our Rhine and Mosel River Cruise: Bernkastel-Kues

The fourth day brought us to Bernkastel-Kues, a charming town that embodies the Mosel Valley’s wine culture. Walking along its cobblestone streets, we visited the iconic Spitzhäuschen (Pointed House) and savored the diversity of exquisite wines, which set each micro-region apart.

Our afternoon took us on an invigorating walk to the town’s summit, where this magical castle in Bernkastel-Kues peers over the colorful village below.

View of the Scenic Opal from the top of the village of Bernkastel. Photo by Dynie Sanderson

To our delight, we discovered it was the season for Germany’s famous white asparagus or Weisser Spargal. We stopped for a beer in Bernkastel’s courtyard, where they served spargal and schnitzel with homemade hollandaise sauce—a delightful treat after our walk.

White asparagus season in Bernkastel, Germany. Photo by Dynie Sanderson

For our evening entertainment, we were treated to an enchanting musical event—Scenic Enrich: Choir and Trio Concert at the Church of our Lady in nearby Trier.

Savoring Bernkastel-Kues: Wines and Local Cuisine

Bernkastel-Kues is renowned for its exceptional Mosel rieslings, with the town’s cellars filled with fruity and elegant wines shaped by the region’s microclimate. Tastings in historic wine cellars, where winemaking traditions date back centuries, offer a deeper understanding of these delightful wines.

Wine tasting in Bernkastel-Kues. Photo by Dynie Sanderson

Additionally, the town’s culinary offerings allowed us to indulge in local dishes like hähnchenkeulen (chicken drumsticks) and riesling soup, showcasing the region’s flavors while complementing the celebrated Rieslings.

Magical Bernkastel at night. Photo by Dynie Sanderson

Day 4 on Our Rhine and Mosel River Cruise: Cochem and Reichsburg Castle

Cochem greeted us with the fairytale-like Reichsburg Castle dominating the skyline as we arrived at the dock. Our guided castle tour was followed by yet another wine tasting at a local winery. Here, we discovered more of the unique charms of Mosel rieslings, which they paired perfectly with local cheeses. This city, rich in history, treated us to mesmerizing views of the Mosel River from the castle’s heights.

Reichsburg Castle in Cochem. Photo by Dynie Sanderson

Exploring Mosel Vineyards

The Mosel Valley is a paradise for wine enthusiasts and offers visits to many of the area’s family-run wineries. We learned about the steep slopes and slate soils contributing to the region’s distinctive riesling wines. These vineyards clinging to the hillsides create an artistic landscape, adding to the allure of wine-tasting experiences.

Day 5 on Our Rhine and Mosel River Cruise: Rüdesheim am Rhein

Rüdesheim am Rhein, an enchanting riverside village surrounded by lush green vineyards and colorful historic buildings, provided the perfect setting for a guided hike along the breathtaking river views. The town is renowned for its unique German coffee drink known as Rüdesheimer Kaffee, a warm coffee concoction available in nearly every café. Of course, we couldn’t resist trying it, and it lived up to its reputation.

The famous Rüdesheimer Kaffee. Photo by Dynie Sanderson

Sitting high above the town, looking down on vineyards and the river, is the Niederwald Monument. We took the hike to the top. While challenging, with a steep elevation climb of almost 1500 feet, it rewarded us with spectacular vistas upon reaching the summit.

Niederwald Monument in Rüdesheim am Rhein. Photo by PHammer via iStock by Getty Images

At the mountain’s crest, we indulged in an ice-cold regional beer at the mountain-top pub with sweeping views of the river valley below. Our tram ride down to the base gave us a perfect view of the Scenic Opal docked in the distance, glistening in the sun.

Tram from Niederwald Monument back into Rüdesheim. Photo by cmfotoworks via iStock by Getty Images

Day 6 on Our Rhine and Mosel River Cruise: Rastatt to Breisach

Scenic Opal offered passengers various excursions to explore the adjacent areas once we reached the port in Breisach. Options included Baden Baden with its Roman Baths, a tour of Strasbourg, a visit to the Technical Museum in Speyer, or exploring Schloss Favorite Rastatt. Having never been to Strasbourg, I chose to venture over to France.

We took a bus into Strasbourg, where French and German cultures harmoniously coexist. Visitors can also take a canal cruise to appreciate the city’s stunning architecture, including the enchanting Petite France district.

Cathédral Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

While in Strasbourg, we indulged in local cuisine, freshly baked pastries, and regional beers on our walking tour of this historical French town.

Strasbourg cafés line the old town in Strasbourg. Photo by Dynie Sanderson

A Gala Dinner to Remember

That evening, we gathered for a gala dinner in the luxurious Crystal Dining Room. Everyone wore their finest attire to celebrate the week’s fantastic journeys along the Rhine and Mosel. It was also an opportunity to applaud and celebrate the hard work, commitment, and diligence of the versatile and talented ship’s crew. Their impeccable service and dedication made our voyage unforgettable.

The farewell gala evening included applauding Scenic Opal’s dedicated crew. Photo by Dynie Sanderson

Day 7 on Our Rhine and Mosel River Cruise: Breisach to Colmar, France

On our final day, we journeyed through the rippled waters of the Rhine, making our way to Colmar, our last port. We crossed the French border to this colorful Alsatian town, often called “Little Venice,” with its quaint waterways and half-timbered houses.

Half-timbered homes line the streets in Colmar, France. Photo by Janoka82 via iStock by Getty Images

We ended the day’s excursion with a wine tasting at Kaiserstuhl, sitting on the German side of the Rhine a few miles from Colmar, with a lovely sampling of the Alsatian wines from this burgeoning lush grape-growing region.

Fond Farewells

Our journey ended in Basel, Switzerland, where we bid Auf Wiedersehen (goodbye) to the Scenic Opal and its dedicated crew. Basel’s art and culture scene provided the perfect conclusion to our adventure.

Before departing, Alex, our beloved cruise director, provided an informative presentation on canals, river locks, and everything we needed to know about river cruising. It was an excellent opportunity to understand better the dynamics of the river locks we had experienced throughout the week.

One of the many locks we went through along the Rhine and Mosel rivers. Photo courtesy Scenic Cruises

As we sailed along the rivers and passed through numerous locks during the week-long luxury cruise, we appreciated the intricate engineering that allowed us to navigate these waterways.

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A Rhine and Mosel River Cruise with Scenic Opal

My 7-day cruise along the Rhine and Mosel Rivers aboard the Scenic Opal proved to be an immersive journey of sensory, cultural, and visual experiences that left me with many captivating memories. From the cultural gems of Rüdesheim and Koblenz to the fairytale charm of Bernkastel and the blend of French and German influences in Strasbourg, every moment was a treasure to remember.

The culinary journey on board was equally rewarding, with various presentations of regional delicacies and world-class wines that enhanced the voyage. I can’t wait to join Scenic Cruises again for another adventure and new destinations.

We invite you to explore Wander With Wonder for more of our favorite small-ship cruise experiences and suggestions for more things to do when you visit Germany.


Rhine and Mosel River Cruise with Scenic Opal