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Music along the Rhine - Outstanding music, beautiful countryside and historic towns along Germany’s principal river

There is nothing to match the experience of floating through some of Europe's loveliest landscapes on the deck of a comfortable river cruiser. And there is little to match the pleasure of a curated sequence of concerts in beautiful historic buildings. This event combines the two to produce an experience which is quite exceptional and unique.

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  • Freiburg Baroque Orchestra ©Annelies an der Vegt.
  • Mandelring Quartet ©Uwe Arens.
  • Per Sonat ©Daniel Blaser.
  • Basel Chamber Orchestra ©Lukasz Rajchert.
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Eight private concerts in beautiful and appropriate historic buildings

There have been eleven previous editions of Music Along the Rhine, the first in 1997. Every one has been different, but all have been characterised by the highest quality of performance in venues which are chosen for their beauty or charm or for their music history connection. All are relatively small, leading to an informality and intimacy of musical communication which engenders a heightened artistic experience.

Music from the medieval to Late Romantic

Among the music are core classics by Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Debussy, orchestral, chamber and song; life-enchanting Baroque concerti by Corelli, Vivaldi, Telemann and Handel; evocative medieval song by Hildegard of Bingen and Walter von der Vogelweide; and less known delights such as Swiss Romantic choral music and 18th-century symphonies from the court of The Hague. 

Musicians of the highest calibre 

As with all Martin Randall Festivals, the musicians are among the finest in their fields. They include the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and the Basel Chamber Orchestra, pianist Freddy Kempf and the Mandelring String Quartet, Dutch baritone Thomas Oliemans and medieval specialists Per Sonat, the New Dutch Academy, and the Basler Madrigalisten. Most do not have to travel far. 

Accommodation on a first-class river cruiser

Acting as both hotel and principal means of transport, MS Amadeus Queen sails from Basel to Amsterdam, enabling passengers to attend all the concerts and see some of the finest art and architecture in the region without having to change hotel or drive long distances. The experience differs significantly from conventional cruising in many ways: little regimentation, no obligatory seating plan, no on-board entertainment, minimal announcements – and absolutely no piped music!


Discover the place

On the way from its source in the Swiss Alps to its extinction in the North Sea Basin, the Rhine traverses more than a thousand kilometres and passes through four countries.

For millennia the river has been a vital trading route, linking people across a broad stretch of Europe. At the same time it has always been a boundary, a border, demarcating cultures and nations and empires. It once constituted the Roman Empire's northern frontier, and there is still much significant archaeology to be found along its banks.

Travelling downstream, you pass through a variety of landscapes and urban scenes. North from Basel, with France on the left bank, the river is flanked by wooded hills and pasture and is populated by several historic towns. The loveliness reaches a peak in the wine-producing region of the Middle Rhine before the river enters a deep gorge, a stretch much evoked in German folklore, poetry and music.

Further downstream you will experience the charming scenery of the Lower Rhine with pollarded willows and grazing cattle interspersed with building clusters of the once heavily industrialised Rhine-Ruhr valley, still today the largest conurbation in Germany. The river was at the heart of Germany's industrial revolution.

There is some time to explore a selection of the towns, palaces and gardens along its course, to see some great art and architecture, and to watch the countryside slide by as you travel along Germany's most important river.  

Meet the musicians

Basel Chamber Orchestra

The Basel Chamber Orchestra is recognised as one of the world’s leading chamber orchestras, performing regularly at major international concert houses. Various recordings have been awarded prestigious international prizes. The ensemble has a long association with its principal guest conductor, Giovanni Antonini: a collaboration which led to the award of ‘Ensemble of the Year’ by ECHO Klassik in 2008. Under Antonini’s baton, along with Italian ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, the orchestra will perform and record all 107 Haydn symphonies by the year 2032.

Sol Gabetta

Argentinian, with French and Russian ancestry, Sol Gabetta is one of the most exciting cello players of our time, much in demand around the world. She recently released a recording of works by Schumann.

Basler Madrigalisten

Basler Madrigalisten are Switzerland’s oldest and first professional chamber choir. They specialise in the interpretation of old and new music and regularly première commissions by contemporary composers. The choir has performed at the most prestigious of European cultural institutions and festivals including the Berliner Festspiele, Lucerne Festival and Zurich Opera House. Over thirty CD recordings document their varied and unique repertoire, garnering numerous prizes.

Raphael Immoos

Artistic director Raphael Immoos is Professor for Choral Conducting and the conductor of various vocal ensembles at the University of Music in Basel as well as the Artistic Director of the Summer Academy Thun.

Freddy Kempf

Freddy Kempf is one of today's most successful pianists, performing to sell-out audiences all over the world. Exceptionally gifted with an unusually broad repertoire, Freddy has built a unique reputation as an explosive and physical performer who is not afraid to take risks as well as a serious, sensitive and profoundly musical artist.

Born in London in 1977, Freddy made his concerto debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 8 and further came to national prominence in 1992 when he won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition.

A committed recitalist, Freddy has appeared in many of the world's most important concert halls. His 2022/23 highlights include performing at the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, a tour with the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and the Martin Randall Music Along the Rhine Festival.

Freiburg Baroque Orchestra

The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra is among the most brilliant and celebrated period-instrument orchestras in the world today. Formed by students at the Freiburg music school in 1985, from the outset they were devoted to careful research into historical performance practice and, in the absence of a conductor, lively discussions about interpretation. Scholarship never dampens their artistic instincts, and they play with unsurpassed verve and virtuosity and breath-taking synchronicity – a by-product of being one of the busiest of chamber orchestras.

Mandelring Quartet

In a career spanning over 30 years the Mandelring Quartet has established a reputation as one of the world’s leading string quartets. Famed for their expressivity and remarkable homogeneity of sound and phrasing they have won numerous prizes for their recordings as well as prestigious competitions such as Munich International Music Competition, Evian and Reggio Emilia. Their busy concert schedule has taken them to major venues and festivals worldwide, including their own festival, the Hambacher Musikfest and an annual concert series at the Berliner Philharmonie.

New Dutch Academy

Founded in 2002 by conductor and violist Simon Murphy, The New Dutch Academy (NDA) is an award-winning group of highly engaged specialist musicians from around the world. Using authentic instruments, they explore 18th-century music in all its forms, embracing music from across Europe, although they have a particular focus on composers who lived and worked in the Netherlands. They have toured in four continents, winning acclaim for their fresh, vibrant and dynamic performance style.

Simon Murphy

Simon Murphy was born in Sydney and studied viola there before moving to the Netherlands. Performing at the world's most prestigious halls and festivals, he has won international recognition for delivering fresh perspectives on classic symphonic repertoire and for bringing newly rediscovered master-works to life, with enthusiasm, sensitivity and élan.

Per Sonat

Per Sonat was formed in 2008 by soprano Sabine Lutzenberger, a renowned pioneer of medieval singing, and since then the ensemble has been dedicated to the task of researching Medieval and Renaissance music and bringing it closer to their audiences through their performances. The ensemble has performed at major festivals in Germany and across Europe including Oude Muziek in Utrecht and Stockholm Early Music Festival.

Thomas Oliemans

Dutch baritone Thomas Oliemans has established himself in recent years as a singer of outstanding musicality, intelligence and compelling stage presence.

In a repertoire that spans from Mozart to the 21st century, Thomas has appeared at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, the English National Opera and the Staatsoper Berlin, amongst many others. 2022/23 will see his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and a return to the Oxford Lieder Festival.

Thomas Oliemans has collaborated with conductors such as Barenboim and Petrenko, and is a regular guest at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam.

Day 1

Friday 23 June


Join one of our festival flights to Basel or Zurich (see page 17). Coaches take you to the ship, MS Amadeus Queen, or direct to the concert in the centre of Basel. Lunch is provided in restaurants for those on our festival flights.

You are welcome to make your own travel arrangements to Basel, and to join one of our airport transfers if timings fit. By train from London is nearly 7 hours – it is possible to arrive in time for the first concert.

The ship is moored in Basel. You can board any time from 4.00pm onwards. 

Straddling the Rhine at the uppermost point for shipping, the Swiss city of Basel (Bâle) abuts the borders of France and Germany. In part due to its nodal location, Basel has always been an important centre of music, with many of the great performers, teachers and composers passing through. It retains much of its centuries-old streetscape and architecture, including a cathedral and four fine churches dating to the Middle Ages. There are many museums here including the Kunstmuseum, Switzerland's finest gallery of historic art – reason enough to consider spending a night or two in the city before the cruise.  


Concert, 5.30pm

Peterskirche, Basel

Basler Madrigalisten

Raphael Immoos director

Swiss Romantic Choral Music


Specialists in Swiss vocal music of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Basler Madrigalisten this evening present a harmonically rich, Romantic programme about love, passion and nature drawn from their recent (2022) and forthcoming (2023) recordings. The composers are undeservedly little known in the English-speaking world, among them Friedrich Hegar, Hans Huber, Hermann Suter, August Walter and Joachim Raff. Raff (1822–82) was a highly influential figure in European music through teaching in conservatoires as well as his compositions.

The Peterskirche, dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, is a Gothic church of the 14th century. A distinctive feature is the many medieval wall paintings, revealed after removal of Reformation whitewash. Among the fine furnishings are the 1490s choir stalls and an organ case by a member of the Silbermann dynasty.

The concert lasts an hour, after which you return to – or board for the first time – MS Amadeus Queen. After settling into your cabins, there is a reception followed by dinner.

The ship remains moored in Basel until 3.00am the following morning.

Day 2

Saturday 24 June 

Breisach, Freiburg im Breisgau

Wake to the scenic delights of the Upper Rhine passing by your cabin window. The first of the daily talks by Dr Katy Hamilton, music critic and historian, follows an ample breakfast.

Moor at Breisach am Rhein at 10am. This morning you have a choice: free time in Breisach until after lunch, or travel by coach immediately after the talk to Freiburg to join a guided tour – see below.

Breisach is an attractive town built on a hill which rises from the water's edge with a superb Gothic church crowning its summit. The climb to the top well repays the effort, though the lower town has plenty of charm. Or you could just relax on the ship. Lunch is on board – as every day, except for those on optional excursions. Set off by coach for the afternoon concert at 2.30pm.

There is an option of an excursion to Freiburg im Breisgau to join a tour with a local expert. This is one of Germany's loveliest historic towns, with fine streetscape, a major Gothic cathedral and an excellent art gallery. The coach leaves at 10.30am and does not return to the ship before the concert. Lunch in Freiburg is included; there is some free time in the afternoon. Details of this and all the other optional excursions will be distributed in due course.


Concert, 4.00pm

Historisches Kaufhaus, Freiburg im Breisgau

Freiburg Baroque Orchestra

Baroque Concertos


The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra is among the most brilliant and celebrated period-instrument orchestras in the world. Formed by students at the Freiburg music school in 1985, from the outset members have been devoted to careful research into historically-informed performance and, in the absence of a conductor, lively discussions about interpretation. Scholarship never dampens their artistic instincts, and they play with unsurpassed verve and virtuosity and breath-taking synchronicity – a by-product of being one of the busiest of chamber orchestras.

Their high spirited, virtuosic programme of Baroque concertos presents soloists on the flute, oboe, chalumeau (an ancestor of the clarinet), bassoon, horn and double bass. The first half is Italian – Corelli, Vivaldi, Platti, Geminiani – and the second German: Telemann and Handel, though arguably the latter's journeyman years in Italy were more significant for his Concerti Grossi Op. 6 than his Germanness.

The hall in which they perform for us is in the Historisches Kaufhaus, the Merchant's Hall, a partly medieval building in the main square with a wonderfully flamboyant 1520s façade.

Return to the ship and sail through the night to Mannheim

Day 3

Sunday 25 June


Arrive at Mannheim in the morning. The ship remains there all day.

Mannheim succeeded Heidelberg as the capital of the Palatinate, one of the richest and most culturally accomplished of the smaller states of Germany. In the mid-18th century the court orchestra was famous throughout Europe; Mozart called it an army of generals. The great Baroque Schloss, within walking distance of the ship and venue for our concert, is one of the largest in Europe.

Time here is free until the afternoon concert – opportunity for gentle sightseeing or relaxing on board. Mannheim was laid out in the 18th century on a grid system, and is now a bustling, largely modern city. Among the attractions are the Kunsthalle (art museum), Baroque Jesuit church and the splendid palace itself.

Alternatively, there are two optional excursions with guided tours to choose from, one to Heidelberg, the other to the palaces and gardens of Schwetzingen and Bruchsal. 


Concert, 5.00pm

Barockschloss Mannheim, Rittersaal

Basel Chamber Orchestra

Giovanni Antonini conductor

Sol Gabetta cello

Kraus, Schumann and Beethoven


The concert opens with the overture to Olympie by Joseph Martin Kraus (1756–92), whose musical training was received at the Jesuit school here in Mannheim. Robert Schumann's Cello Concerto is another piece with a Rhenish connection as it was written shortly after he took up his appointment as director of music at Düsseldorf in 1850. The third piece is Beethoven's largely cheery Eighth Symphony of 1812, one of his more unconventional and startling works.

The Basel Chamber Orchestra (Kammerorchester Basel) is one of the leading chamber orchestras of the world and appears regularly at every important festival and in international concert halls. Their repertoire ranges from the Baroque and Classical periods to the present day.

Born in Milan, Giovanni Antonini is one of the leading lights in the Early Music world. As both conductor and player of the recorder and flute, he has worked with many of the leading orchestras and soloists around the world. He has led the Baroque ensemble Il Giardino Armonico since it was founded in 1989 and is the principal guest conductor of the Basel Chamber Orchestra.

Argentinian, with French and Russian ancestry, Sol Gabetta is one of the most exciting cello players of our time, much in demand around the world. She recently released a recording of works by Schumann.

Moor for most of the night in Mannheim.

Day 4

Monday 26 June


Sail this morning through the Middle Rhine, the most enchantingly beautiful stretch of the river. Rolling hills gradually become higher; vines, woods, pasture and charming little towns and villages nestling at the water's edge. Moor at Bingen in the early afternoon.


Concert, 3.00pm

Rochuskapelle, Bingen

Per Sonat Ensemble

Sabine Lutzenberger director

Songs of a Saint and a Travelling Minstrel


Bingen am Rhein is now world-famous as the birthplace of St Hildegard (1098–1179), nun, mystic, thinker, poet and composer. This concert reveals what is becoming known by an increasingly wide segment of the listening public, that Hildegard's music is not just of historical interest but is among the most beautiful and spiritually charged of any composed at any time, anywhere. The best characterisation is in the words of Hildegard herself – 'a feather on the breath of God'.

Also in the programme are songs by Walther von der Vogelweide (c.1170–c.1230), perhaps the greatest of Minnesänger (minstrels) and with a claim to be the greatest German lyrical poet before Goethe. His innovations breathed new life into the tradition of poetry and song about courtly love.

Sabine Lutzenberger is known internationally for her research into medieval vocal music. She founded Per Sonat in 2008 with a mission to bring her studies to life for audiences who had rarely heard such music. They have performed at many festivals throughout Europe. Lutzenberger is from Switzerland, while other members of the group come from Germany, France, Canada and Australia.

Rising on the ridge of a hill outside Bingen, the pilgrimage church of St Roch (Rochuskapelle) is idyllically located among vineyards, with views down to the Rhine on one side and across undulating hills to the other. Burnt down twice, the current building is a beautiful and richly decorated Gothic Revival building of the 1890s.

The voyage resumes in the late afternoon and we enter the Rhine Gorge, scenically the most dramatic stretch of the Middle Rhine where steep banks in places become cliffs and vines cling to improbably precipitous plots. Castles crown many of the peaks, picturesque ruins or restored as grand homes in the Romantic era. 

Moor at Bonn towards midnight

Day 5

Tuesday 27 June


Famously disparaged as a village by the diplomatic corp when it was capital of the Federal Republic, Bonn had in fact been a significant cultural centre for centuries, especially while seat of the Elector Archbishops of Cologne in the early modern period. In the 18th century a second-rate tenor inclined to drink, named Johann van Beethoven, was employed at the archiepiscopal court. His son was the better musician.


Concert, 11.15am

Beethovenhaus, Kammermusiksaal

Freddy Kempf piano

Beethoven and Schubert on the Piano


Beethoven's birthplace is one of the best stocked and well presented of composers' house museums. There is time to visit before or after the morning recital.

The Kammermusiksaal, adjacent to the Beethovenhaus, is a small, handsome and acoustically perfect recital hall which opened in 1989. Depending on the mooring, this will probably be within walking distance of the ship.

Freddy Kempf is one of today's most successful pianists. Bold, sensitive and profoundly musical, he excels in both concerto repertoire and solo recitals. Born in London – and winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 1992 – he now lives near Munich.

This morning he performs Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 in C minor Op. 13 ('Pathétique') and the Sonata No. 23 in F minor Op. 57 ('Appassionata'), with Schubert's Six Moments Musicaux (D780) between.

There is some free time in Bonn, perhaps to return to the Beethovenhaus with its remarkable collection of memorabilia, or to visit the Minster and its cloister, an impressive monument of the transition from Romanesque to Gothic. Lunch is provided on the ship as usual. 


Concert, 4.45pm

Electoral Palace, Festsaal

Mandelring Quartet

String Quartets


The Mandelring Quartet, a Rhineland ensemble now performing around the world, stand out for their technical brilliance and expressive force while communicating their simple, sensuous joy of living with the music. Their exceptional synchronicity may or may not have something to do with the fact that three of them are siblings.

The programme begins with Haydn, the first and greatest master of the string quartet, Op. 33 No. 1. This is followed by Debussy's fluid, impressionistic Op. 10, a plangent abandonment of classical structure. The concert finishes with Schubert's haunting, piercingly beautiful and ultimately tragic 'Death and the Maiden' (D810).

The Electoral Palace in Bonn dates to the years around 1700 and was where the teenage Beethoven worked in his first professional appointment. Since 1818 it has been the main building of the university, and the Festsaal (Great Hall) is one of the few rooms to have been restored to its pre-war glory.

Overnight in Bonn. 

Day 6

Wednesday 28 June 


Having left Bonn in the early hours, continue sailing downstream through the morning, passing the gentle and largely rural landscapes of the Lower Rhine. There is a lecture but otherwise time is free until lunch.

Moor at Wesel and in the afternoon drive to Wasserschloss Raesfeld, a very pretty lakeside manor house built in the mid-17th century, now a cultural centre. It was once a much larger building, and it still boasts the highest secular tower in the north German state of Westphalia.


Concert, 3.00pm & 4.45pm

Schloss Raesfeld

Thomas Oliemans baritone, pianist

Song Recital – Late Schubert


The hall in Schloss Raesfeld is small, and therefore the audience divides and the hour-long concert is repeated.

Dutch baritone Thomas Oliemans is a remarkably versatile and charismatic artist, performing in opera (Mozart to Strauss) around the world, in orchestral concerts (Bach, Mahler) and as a recitalist in song of all sorts. And he plays the piano – sometimes accompanying himself, as he does this afternoon.

Centrepiece of the recital is the 'Urfassung' of Winterreise, the first twelve songs set to music by Schubert before he knew that there were another dozen in the cycle. To this will be added other Schubert Lieder composed late in his career.

Return to the ship for dinner. Sail through the night from Wesel to Amsterdam, crossing from Germany to the Netherlands around midnight. 

Day 7

Thursday 29 June

Amsterdam, The Hague

Amsterdam is as distinctive as it is beautiful. It grew rapidly in the 16th and 17th centuries from a small and precarious seaport into the greatest trading emporium in Europe. With its concentric canals and close-set merchant houses of brick and glass, soaring churches and picturesque alleys, the inner city has hardly changed since its heyday.

There are several options for the day before the afternoon concert. As always, you could just relax on the ship, or make your way independently into Amsterdam – or join the coaches which set off after breakfast to the precinct where two of Europe's finest art museums are situated, the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. In due course you can sign up for a guided tour of the Rijksmuseum, the unrivalled collection of Dutch painting.

Coaches then set off in the early afternoon for The Hague, where the concert takes place.

The alternative is to join a paid-for excursion to The Hague for a guided walk in the afternoon, lunch and a visit to the Mauritshuis, the wonderful collection of art of the Dutch Golden Age.


Concert, 4.00pm

The Hague, Old Catholic Church

New Dutch Academy

Simon Murphy director

Dutch Crown Jewels


In the 18th century, the Dutch court city of The Hague and the bustling trading centre of Amsterdam were glittering, cosmopolitan centres of international cultural exchange and musical endeavour.

This programme presents some sparkling Dutch symphonic and concerto gems by composers working in these places. They include Friedrich Schwindl, virtuoso cellist Francesco Zappa, 'The Dutch Haydn', Joseph Schmitt, Giovanni Paisiello, Carl Friedrich Abel, Carl Friedrich Zelter and Johann Sebastian Bach – his Adagio and Fugue as reworked by W.A. Mozart.

The New Dutch Academy is an international award-winning orchestra based in The Hague. Using authentic instruments, the NDA is known for its fresh, engaging and dynamic performance style. As well as core Baroque repertoire, they present with missionary zeal works by less well-known composers of 18th-century Holland.

Conductor and artistic director of the NDA is the Australian/Dutch conductor and viola player Simon Murphy.

The venue is the secret Oude-Katholieke Kerk (Old Catholic Church), a lovely Baroque church which because of sanctions against Catholic worship was hidden from the street by a facade like an ordinary house. Opened in 1722, it has traditionally been attributed to the prolific court architect Daniel Marot, but recent research has shown that the designer was Nicolaas Kruysselbergen.

Return to Amsterdam for the final dinner on board MS Amadeus Queen. Overnight Amsterdam.

Day 8

Friday 30 June


Coaches leave the ship between 8.15 and 9.15am. See page 17 for the flight and rail options available for returning to London.

All passengers have to disembark by 9.30am.

One coach goes straight from the quay to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, arriving there by 9.00am. This is for those booked on Option 1 (BA 437, Amsterdam–London Heathrow, 10.50–11.10) and anyone else who wants to join this transfer.

Other coaches take participants to the museums quarter of Amsterdam, as yesterday. You can choose to be independent or to take a guided tour, details of which will be sent to participants. You may make your own arrangements for onward travel from here or join the coach to Amsterdam Centraal station at 11.45am (Options 2, 3 & 4). See 'Practicalities' for details of optional flight and rail arrangements.

The festival package

– Eight private concerts in historic and appropriate buildings.

 Daily talks on the music.

 Accommodation on a first-class river cruiser for seven nights.

 All meals, from dinner on the first day to breakfast on the last, with wine, and interval drinks.

 Coach travel between airport and ship or hotel, and to concert venues when not reached on foot.

 All tips, taxes and admission charges.

 A detailed programme booklet.

 The assistance of an experienced team of festival staff.


Festival flight options

Option 1 – flights both ways

23 June: London Heathrow to Basel (BA 752) departing at 8.15 and arriving at 10.50. Lunch is included in Basel on 23 June. This is followed by free time for independent exploration before the concert at 5.30pm.

30 June: Amsterdam to London Heathrow (BA 437) departing at 10.50 and arriving at 11.10.

Option 2 – flight out, train back

23 June: London Heathrow to Basel (BA 752) departing at 8.15 and arriving at 10.50. Lunch is included in Basel on 23 June. This is followed by free time for independent exploration before the concert at 5.30pm. 

30 June: Amsterdam to London St Pancras (Eurostar) departing at 13.47 and arriving at 16.57. There is time for independent exploration of Amsterdam before departing for London.

Option 3 – flight out, train back

23 June: London Heathrow to Zurich (BA 712) departing at 9.25 and arriving at 12.20. Lunch is included at a restaurant en route to Basel on 23 June.

30 June: Amsterdam to London St Pancras (Eurostar) departing at 13.47 and arriving at 16.57. There is time for independent exploration of Amsterdam before departing for London.

Option 4 – rail only

23 June: London St Pancras to Basel (Eurostar & TGV) departing at 7.55 and arriving at 15.26, including a c. 50-minute change in Paris. 

30 June: Amsterdam to London St Pancras (Eurostar) departing at 13.47 and arriving at 16.57. There is time for independent exploration of Amsterdam before departing for London.

Supplement for Option 4 (train both ways): £100 per person. Trains cannot usually be booked further in advance than six months before departure so this schedule is subject to change.

Please note that each outbound option is tied to a particular inbound option – we are unable to amend your return transport to include the outbound and inbound travel from two different options.

Connecting flights

It may be possible to arrange connecting flights with British Airways from Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow, Aberdeen or Belfast.

No flights or rail

You can choose not to take any of our flight/rail options and to make your own arrangements for joining and leaving the ship. You are welcome to join our airport coach transfers if your flights coincide with any of the options above. 

Price reduction for ‘no flights’: £200.

Pre-festival tours

The price for the pre-festival tour includes a return flight – out at the start of the tour, and back at the end of the festival. 

All pre-festival tour participants return to the UK on festival flight Option 1.

We charge for flights, if you are taking them, as part of your pre-festival tour booking. You therefore pay the ‘no flights’ price for the festival.

Accommodation and prices

The ship

Launched in 2018, the MS Amadeus Queen is one of the most comfortable river cruisers in Europe. The multinational crew is dedicated to the highest standards of service.

With a floor area of 16m2 (Haydn deck) or 17.5m2 (Strauss and Mozart decks) the cabins are reasonably spacious by the standards of river cruisers. All have windows to the outside and are equipped with the facilities one would expect of a first-class hotel such as adjustable air-conditioning, telephone, TV and safe. Bathrooms have showers only. Special attention has been paid to noise insulation. 

In layout and furnishings the cabins are identical, the significant differences being the size of windows and height above water level (higher cabins enjoy better views and fewer stairs).  

Cabins on the top decks (Mozart and Strauss) are the most desirable, with floor-to-ceiling windows which slide open, and minibars. There are twelve suites (Mozart) measuring 26.4m2 with a corner sofa area and small balcony. Cabins on the lowest (Haydn) deck have smaller windows which do not open. There are no single cabins as such but we are allocating some twin-bed cabins for single occupancy.

The public areas include the lounge and bar, a library area and a restaurant which can seat everyone at a single sitting. The sun deck has a tented area for shade.


Haydn deck – lowest

Two sharing: £3,510 per person 

Single occupancy: £4,110 

Strauss deck – middle

Two sharing: £4,230 per person

Single occupancy: £5,030

Mozart deck – top

Two sharing: £4,720 per person

Single occupancy: £5,570

Suites – Mozart deck

Two sharing: £5,560 per person

Not available for single occupancy


No flights/trains: if you choose not to take one of the included transport options on page 17, there is a price reduction of £200 per person.

Train travel: if you choose to take Option 4 (train both ways), there is a supplement of £100 per person. 

The concerts

Duration. The duration of most of the concerts is between one and two hours; all concerts longer than 75 minutes have an interval.

Seating. Seats are not numbered – you sit where you want, or where space is left. There are pews in some churches but most seating is shaped or upholstered chairs. 

Private. All eight concert have been set up by Martin Randall Travel exclusively for those who buy the complete package which includes accommodation, dinners, talks etc. as well as access to the concerts.

Fitness for the festival

Quite a lot of walking is necessary to reach some concert venues and to get around the towns we visit. Most of the concert venues do not have a lift. You need to be averagely fit, sure-footed and able to manage everyday walking and stairclimbing without difficulty. We ask that you take the simple fitness tests on page 20 before booking.

A higher fitness level is required for the Walking Party. You will need to be in good physical condition, and used to country walking over hilly terrain. There is not always the opportunity to return to the hotel to freshen up before every concert or dinner.

If you have a medical condition or a disability which may affect your holiday or necessitate special arrangements being made for you, please discuss these with us before booking – or, if the condition develops or changes subsequently, as soon as possible before departure.

Are you fit enough to join the tour? 

Travel advice

Before booking, please refer to the FCDO website to ensure you are happy with the travel advice for the destination(s) you are visiting

'The opportunity to hear top class artists in attractive surroundings without the hassle of booking, travel and planning is worth a lot.'

'I can’t fault any aspect.'

'Thoroughly enjoyable. How lovely to glide down the Rhine listening to interesting lectures, with access to gorgeous towns and music – without unpacking.'

'Excellent variety and inspired choice of locations.'

'We enjoyed every minute. No detail left to chance. Good to find so many like-minded music-loving fellow travellers from all over the world.'

'Every performance a highlight.'

'Meals served by a genial crew to just over 100 people all at the same time are impressive, a triumph of imagination and organisation.'