Day 1 Arrive in Budapest, Hungary (Embarkation)
Welcome to Budapest, Hungary’s lively capital. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. (Dinner)
NOTE: Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
Day 2 Budapest
Spanning the banks of the Danube, Budapest is one of Eastern Europe’s liveliest cities. Whether you’re seeing the sights, shopping for handcrafted embroidery or Herend porcelain, or basking in the coffee house culture over a rich cream cake in the renowned Gerbeaud Café, Budapest’s unique energy is positively palatable. On your GUIDED TOUR of the city, see Heroes’ Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church, the coronation spot of several Hungarian monarchs. Be sure to take note of the city’s eight bridges—many famous sights in and of themselves—which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. You may even want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. During your free time this afternoon, perhaps visit St. Stephen’s Basilica, with marvelous views of the city from its viewing platform, or stroll along Váci utca, the main shopping street. Alternatively you can enjoy an afternoon in the royal surroundings of GÖDÖLLÖ PALACE, located in the outskirts of Budapest (Breakfast)
Day 3 Bratislava, Slovakia
This morning, enjoy the beautiful scenery on both banks of the Danube. As you cruise upriver, Hungary is on your left and Slovakia is on your right. The two countries share the Danube for a 58-mile stretch, with the border in the middle of the river. At the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains is Bratislava, the dynamic capital of Slovakia, which you reach in mid-morning. Join a LOCAL GUIDE to explore its fascinating Old Town, where winding cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways twist and turn to reveal the Town Hall, one of the oldest stone buildings in the city; and gothic ST. MARTIN’S CATHEDRAL, coronation church for the Kingdom of Hungary from the 16th to 19th centuries. Before dinner join the on board lecture about the fascinating Habsburg family history. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4 Vienna
Known as the “City of Music,” Vienna inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. Once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s magical capital on the blue Danube is a showcase of gilded architecture. This is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boys’ Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral—plus, countless other sights you’ll see on your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR. In the afternoon visit SCHÖNBRUNN PALACE, a former imperial summer residence and birthplace of Franz Ferdinand, the longest reigning Habsburg emperor of Austria. if you want to enjoy your free time you can stroll through the pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse, and be sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in a neighborhood café. An optional concert is available tonight. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 Dürnstein–Melk
Dürnstein, known for the magnificent baroque, blue Stiftskirche built in the 1700s, is right in the heart of the Wachau wine region. The main street of this small town—with a population of less than 1,000 people—is lined with 16th-century homes and charming cobblestone streets. This morning your Local Guide will take you on an included WALKING TOUR and tell you the tale of England’s King Richard the Lionheart, who was imprisoned in the castle whose ruins still stand above the town. During lunchtime, sail the picturesque Wachau Valley and arrive in Melk in the early afternoon. Here, enjoy a GUIDED VISIT of the magnificent 11th-century BENEDICTINE ABBEY, one of Europe’s largest monasteries. The abbey houses an ornate library with over 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts. You’ll be captivated by the splendor of the church with its frescoed ceilings, stunning high altar, marble statues, and 210-foot-high cupola. The view from the terrace over the Danube and surrounding countryside is breathtaking! This evening, sample some of the Wachau Valley’s FAMOUS WINES. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 Linz
This morning, arrive in Linz, Austria’s third-largest city and enjoy a guided walk which shows you the highlights., Linz is an important river port where culture plays a significant role in everyday life. Composer Anton Bruckner lived here, and Mozart’s Linzer Symphony was composed in the city. See the 13th-century Hauptplatz, Austria’s largest medieval square, and the Trinity Column, built in 1723 as thanks for the city escaping the ravages of the plague, war, and fire. Thjs afternoon there is free time to explore on your own. Perhaps wander around the old castle grounds and take in the beautiful views of the river, or visit the neo-gothic New Cathedral, Austria’s largest church, with capacity for 20,000 visitors. Alternatively, we include a full day “Romantic Austria” excursion, where you will be taken to highly emotional and fateful places related to the Habsburg family or you might choose to join a full-day optional excursion to medieval Ceský Krumlov in the Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; or to Salzburg with its Sound of Music sites. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7 Passau, Germany
This morning, arrive in Passau, located at the confluence of the Rivers Inn, Ilz, and Danube. This is a city of graceful arcades and cobblestone streets dominated by St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture. Join a Local Guide for a Habsburg themed WALKING TOUR through this charming town, and find out much more about the “City of Three Rivers” and about the Habsburg dynasty. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8 Deggendorf (Disembarkation)–Regensburg–Prague, Czech Republic
Today, say goodbye to your crew and travel by motorcoach to Regensburg, one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. Architectural highlights of your GUIDED WALK include the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) and Porta Pretoria,gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Wander through the city’s lanes and alleys to discover the many mansions with high towers. Wealthy families built these towers to emphasize their status and wealth during the Middle Ages, and many still remain today. Grab a beer and enjoy a SNACK at the Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants. Later continue to Prague, also known as the “Golden City” and capital of the Czech Republic. (Breakfast)
Day 9 Prague
Prague is a 1,200-year-old city preserved in time, and, unlike other Central European capitals, it was not bombed during the 20th-century wars. A LOCAL GUIDE will show you its best-known treasures, such as the Old Town’s Astronomical Clock, built in 1410 and once the envy of all of Europe; HRADCANY CASTLE GROUNDS; where you will visit St. Vitus Cathedral housing the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors and the Charles Bridge, the oldest bridge in Prague. Browse the shops for hand-cut crystal or art books. Mix with the locals in Wenceslaus Square, an important meeting point where people demonstrated against the communist regime; watch performers and shop at the market stalls on Charles Bridge; sample the local plum dumplings and Pilsner; stroll along the Vltava River; or wander around Prague’s medieval Old Town, dating from the 10th century. (Breakfast)
Day 10 Prague–Dresden, Germany–Berlin
This morning travel to Dresden, a city badly damaged by Allied bombing during WWII. During your GUIDED WALK visit the COURTYARD of the Zwinger Palace to admire its impressive architecture, see the magnificent baroque Semper Opera, built in 1841, destroyed once by fire and once by bombing and finally restored in 1985; and the newly rebuilt Frauenkirche. Enjoy free time during lunch before continuing to Berlin, Germany’s reunited capital, where you arrive in the late afternoon. (Breakfast)
Day 11 Berlin
Today join a Local Expert for a GUIDED TOUR of the major sites of this metropolis, including the restored Reichstag building, Charlottenburg Palace, and the elegant Kurfürstendamm. See the Holocaust Memorial and the 210-foot Victory Column and make a picture stop at monumental Brandenburg Gate, one of the best-known landmarks of Germany where President John F. Kennedy once famously said “I am a Berliner”. Visit the KAISER WILHELM MEMORIAL CHURCH with its bomb-damaged tower, drive along Unter den Linden boulevard and pass the State Opera House and Checkpoint Charlie. This afternoon is free for your own exploration. (Breakfast)
Day 12 Berlin
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
Cruise along the peaceful Danube River through Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, and Germany—stopping at splendid capitals and charming towns along the way and tracing the footsteps of the Habsburg Royal family.
In Budapest, the magical capital of Hungary, the lovely lookout towers of Fishermen’s Bastion is a must-see. Built in the 19th Century and providing the best panoramic views, you can linger at this unique structure and get some amazing pictures. Also, visit the beautiful Gödöllo Palace, a favorite of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Set sail on the Danube and arrive in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, where you can enjoy a walk through the delightful Old Town and visit the gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral. Vienna, the “City of Music,” makes an immediate impression with its lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace and neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House. Enjoy the magnificent views as your river cruise takes you through the picturesque wine region of Wachau Valley. In Linz, Austria, walk around the Hauptplatz, Austria’s largest medieval square which forms the center of the city and go on a Habsburg Romantic Austria excursion. A walking tour will take you around Passau, Germany, the “City of Three Rivers”—known for its distinctive onion-domed towers. Beautiful Prague, Czech Republic, offers the St. Vitus Cathedral and Old Town’s medieval Astronomical Clock, a unique and intricate piece of art unlike anything else in the world.
To conclude this magnificent river cruise vacation, see the sites in Dresden, Germany, and then enjoy two overnights in Germany’s capital of Berlin! In Dresden, visit the Courtyard of Zwinger Palace to admire its impressive architecture and see other famous buildings that were destroyed in WWII and restored to their former glory. Berlin offers the restored Reichstag building and the elegant Kurfürstendamm. See the Holocaust Memorial and be sure to get a photo at the famous Brandenburg Gate—one of Germany’s best-known landmarks.
Buffet breakfast in Budapest and Prague; superb dining with meals on board featuring full breakfast with complimentary sparkling wine, lunch with complimentary soft drinks, and dinner including complimentary wine, beer, or soft drinks; a welcome reception, Captain’s reception, and farewell dinner; one sitting with open seating arrangements
Deluxe cruise in an outside stateroom with hotel-style beds
Services of a professional Cruise Director
Onboard lectures, activities & nightly piano music
Sightseeing with Local Guides
Headsets for all guided shore excursions
Included excursions with Certified Local Guide; sightseeing as outlined in the day by-day itinerary; inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE.
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.