Traveling through Germany on the Rhine and Main rivers, the country's Jewish history stretches out before you.
From Nuremberg, where trials brought Hermann Goering and other members of the Nazi regime to justice after World
War II, to Cologne, where archaeological research has revealed an ancient synagogue, Germany's Jewish heritage is everywhere.
Those sites and others that commemorate the history of Jews in Germany are the focus for a river cruise itinerary launching from Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection in 2017. The first departure of the 10-day Rhine-Main Discovery & Munich itinerary will be on May 28, with prices starting at $3,749.
"This itinerary gives guests the opportunity to explore the deep Jewish history of Germany while also discovering all regions of Germany from a more general perspective," said Ellen Bettridge, president and CEO of Uniworld.
The itinerary marks the company's first foray into Jewish-focused cruising. However it's not the only river cruise highlighting Europe's Jewish heritage.
Avalon Waterways offers a special-interest departure on its Blue Danube Discovery itinerary, which sails from Budapest to Nuremberg before ending in Prague. Along the way, guests tour Budapest's Jewish Quarter and dive into the Jews' medieval past at Document Neupfarrplatz in Regensburg, Germany, a museum that houses the ruins of an ancient Jewish ghetto and synagogue.
AmaWaterways used to have specific Jewish heritage special-interest sailings on the Rhine and Danube, but now the company offers Jewish heritage excursions on all departures with relevant itineraries.
"The consumer demand for Jewish heritage excursions was extremely high, so AmaWaterways elected to expand its tour choices," said Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-owner.
"Jewish heritage tours highlight ancient culture, modern museums and historical monuments dedicated to Europe's rich Jewish legacy."
By expanding the excursions to all departures, Karst said, it also gives travel agents more booking flexibility.
On Uniworld's Rhine-Main Discovery & Munich, the heritage programming is infused throughout the trip.
Onboard lectures focus on the history of the Jewish community in Europe, and on most days a Jewish heritage excursion is offered alongside alternative options such as a beer tasting at a Kolsch brewery or lawn bowling in the village of Miltenberg.
Bettridge said the Jewish heritage programming came about "as a result of guest feedback as well as Uniworld's desire to expand its current offerings."
Guests who opt for the heritage excursions will have the opportunity to visit notable historic sites that help tell the story of the Jewish community in Germany.
In Munich, guests can visit Hitler's mountaintop hideaway at Eagle's Nest; tour the nearby Dachau concentration camp, where more than 41,000 prisoners of the Third Reich were murdered; or see the city's contemporary Jewish institutions, including a new synagogue.
In Cologne, they can walk through the historical Jewish quarter, home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in Northern Europe. And in Wertheim, they can see a more intimate tribute to those who perished at the hands of the Nazis: brass brick "stumbling stones," thousands of which have been embedded into German sidewalks memorializing individual victims of the Holocaust at the site of their former homes.