Pasha Kovalev, 39, was born in Siberia and started dancing at the age of eight. He competed in the US series So You Think You Can Dance before moving to the UK in 2011 to become a dancer on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing. Since then Pasha, above, has competed in eight series, winning in 2014 with TV presenter Caroline Flack. He also met his wife, Countdown queen Rachel Riley, on the series, which he left earlier this year.
Meet Strictly’s Pasha on a Rhine river cruise
As ever, the whole country is glued to its TV screens on Saturday evenings to enjoy the Strictly Come Dancing celebrities' journey down the sequined road towards the famous Glitterball trophy.
Old favourites Anton Du Beke, Kevin Clifton and Oti Mabuse are back in action on our screens but one face that is missing from series 17 of the show is 2014's winning professional Pasha Kovalev, who left the team earlier this year.
You'll get the chance to meet the much-loved dancer, who reached the final in 2018 with former Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts, on this incredible eight-day river cruise that will take you along the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam.
Pasha will greet you at a drinks reception and a photo opportunity at Koblenz's stunning rococo Electoral Palace before he and his dance partner put on an exclusive dance performance to some of his favourite numbers. The three-time Strictly finalist will also give a dance masterclass onboard and share the secrets behind the sequins during an exclusive talk and question and answer session.
Your Rhine river cruise on your stylish Emerald Waterways Star-Ship will take you from Switzerland through Germany's fairytale Black Forest to medieval Strasbourg in France and includes excursions to Heidelberg Castle, to see the Roman mosaics and ancient monuments of Cologne, and finally to the colourful Keukenhof Gardens in Holland.
Reasons to book
Best of the Rhine
Exclusive events with Pasha
Your expert guides
- Drinks reception followed by an exclusive dance performance by Strictly's Pasha Kovalev
- Private dance masterclass with Pasha and his partner
- Q&A session with Pasha
- Guided tours of Strasbourg, Heidelberg, Koblenz and Cologne
- Black Forest gateau demonstration and tasting
- Beautiful Keukenhof Gardens visit in Amsterdam
- Seven nights in deluxe river cruise ship accommodation
- Direct flights to and from the UK
Welcome to Switzerland. After your economy flight to Basel, you will be met at the airport by an Emerald Waterways representative and transferred to your luxurious Star-Ship, where your friendly captain and crew will be waiting to greet you. This evening, join your fellow guests for dinner on board.
The Black Forest is a fairytale-like region full of charming cuckoo clocks and live oompah bands. Today, enjoy an immersive learning experience as you visit a Black Forest village, complemented by a series of wooden outbuildings and demonstrations of traditional handicrafts, each offering a glimpse into rural life among the surrounding forests and mountain ranges. Alternatively, explore your surroundings during a hike through the Black Forest, traversing well-trodden trails underneath a lush canopy. Later enjoy a Black Forest gâteau demonstration and tasting.
Day3Kehl - StrasbourgKehl, Germany
Today, you will dock in Kehl, where you will be transferred by coach to medieval Strasbourg. Your local guide will be available to teach you about the history of the city during an insightful guided tour. Pass through cobbled squares that are adorned with quaint boutiques and charming cafés as you explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town, including Petite France, an area of unmatched beauty with a picturesque canal system that cascades past half-timbered houses that were home to fishermen, tanners and millers during the Middle Ages. The narrow lanes and footbridges that pepper the area all add to its undeniable charm. This afternoon, Strasbourg is yours to explore at leisure.
Day4Mannheim – Heidelberg – RüdesheimHeidelberg, Germany
This morning, relax on board as we cruise along the Rhine River, passing Mannheim on our way to Heidelberg. The streets of Mannheim are laid out in a traditional grid system, which is why it is also known as the "City of Squares".
When you arrive in Heidelberg, the UNESCO City of Literature will be yours to explore, with publishing houses and libraries on every corner, and a vibrant artistic culture resonating through the streets.
Your guided tour of Heidelberg's rich history includes a wine tasting, and a visit to the ruins of Heidelberg Castle, overlooking the Rhine River and a red-roofed skyline. Some of the most successful painters of the Romantic era drew inspiration from Heidelberg Castle, including British artist William Turner, who depicted images of the ruins in several of his paintings. Afterwards, stroll down the cobbled streets of the old town, touching on the Church of the Holy Spirit and the oldest university in Germany.
Exclusive Event: This afternoon, join ex-Strictly Come Dancing Star and professional Latin and ballroom dancer, Pasha Kovalev and his dance partner on board for a special dance masterclass. The pair will teach you their favourite steps and offer hints and tips to perfect your moves in this private and interactive session.
EmeraldACTIVE: An active hike from Mount Königstuhl to Heidelberg
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided tour of Heidelberg with wine tasting
Day5Koblenz Electoral Palace performanceKoblenz am Rhein, Germany
Exclusive Event: This morning on route to the ancient city of Koblenz, join Pasha and his dance partner for the chance to ask them any burning questions about their dancing careers, personal lives and Strictly Come Dancing during an interactive Q+A session.
Today, we will take you into the heart of Koblenz, an ancient city that looks as though it has been pulled from the pages of a German fairytale. Enjoy a picturesque backdrop of vineyards and snow-topped mountain ranges as your local guide takes you through open cobbled squares and down narrow streets, passing façades adorned with boxes of spring-blooming flowers. Your tour will include the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle at the German Corner and idyllic panoramic views of the Rhine from Ehrenbreitstein Fortress.
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided walking tour of Koblenz and a visit to Ehrenbreitstein FortressDiscoverMORE: A Moselle & Cochem Castle visit (extra expense)
Exclusive Event: Tonight, you will attend an exciting private event at Koblenz' stunning Electoral Palace. The palace is considered one of the most beautiful rococo palaces in the world and tonight Pasha and his dance partner will join you there for a cocktail reception and photo opportunity followed by a unique dance performance including a number of Pasha's favourite dance numbers and genres. A true trip highlight.
The largest city on the Rhine awaits your arrival today. Once a major trade route linking both sides of Europe, this city now offers the perfect platform from which to explore Roman history, including sights of ornate Roman mosaics that have stood the test of time.
Your insightful guided tour of Cologne will detail how the air raids of WWII turned its streets into a blank canvas, resulting in the loss of many of its ancient monuments and cultural treasures. As many historic buildings as possible were restored following the war years, but they now sit aside modern architecture.
A visit to the iconic Keukenhof Gardens is certain to be a memorable experience today, as you stroll down serene paths that showcase spring in a quintessentially Dutch manner, with more than 800 varieties of spring-flowering tulips and regular flower shows. Each year, an annual theme spreads across the gardens, and you will have every opportunity to learn about different planting techniques and the work completed behind the scenes by landscape architects during your time here.
Soak in sights of tulips, hyacinths and orchids of every colour, creating a swathe of natural beauty as they have been expertly arranged. You will also have the opportunity to see statues that have been commissioned by artists from around the world, each honing in on the annual theme.
Day8Depart AmsterdamAmsterdam, Netherlands
After breakfast, it's time to say farewell to your fellow guests as you disembark the ship and transfer to the airport for your onward or homebound flight, taking memories of spring-blooming flowers and delightful cobblestone squares with you.
Chic, contemporary and stylish
Comprising over 90 generously-sized suites and staterooms, the ship's four top suites include an outdoor private balcony, a separate living room and bedroom, a walk-in wardrobe, a complimentary minibar and an invitation to dine at the Captain's Table.
The Sun Deck acts as an excellent communal area where you can enjoy the river breeze, raise a toast with new friends and relax as you watch areas of natural beauty pass by.
Emerald Sun offers all the comforts of home as well as exceptional dining options and an array of incredible extras. Chic, contemporary and stylish throughout; Emerald Sun boasts sophisticated social spaces and comfortable suites and staterooms. Contemporary designs include a three-tiered atrium and heated pool that seamlessly transforms into a cinema.
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