Day 1 – Munich Airport, transfer to Passau (embark)
Arrive at Munich Airport, where you will be transferred to the ship docked in Passau.
Day 2 – Passau
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Passau walking discovery tour with Christmas Market and gingerbread-making and floral-decorating demonstrations
Situated at the convergence of three rivers, the medieval town of Passau is a delightful place to explore on foot, especially during the holidays. Your walking discovery tour takes you past all the top sights—including St. Stephan’s Cathedral, home to Europe’s largest pipe organ—and visits the city’s festive Christmas Market. As an extra-special treat, learn how to make delicious lebkuchen and beautiful holiday floral centerpieces. Celebrate your last night onboard with a festive evening at the Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner.
Day 3 – Linz (Salzburg or Linz and Steyr)
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of full day Salzburg with walking discovery tour and Christmas Market OR Linz and Steyr with Christmas markets
Journey through the region known to many as the “smile on the face of Austria,” Salzburg. On your guided tour through the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town, view historical gems, from the 17th-century cathedral to Mozart’s birth house to the famous gardens where scenes from The Sound of Music were filmed and then enjoy the city’s marvelous Christmas Market. Alternatively, visit the lovely Austrian towns of Steyr and Linz, each with their own Christmas markets, holiday traditions and unique character and charm.
Day 4 – Cruising the Wachau Valley, Krems
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Göttweig Abbey with private organ recital
The baroque-style Benedictine Göttweig Abbey, often referred to as Austria’s Monte Cassino because of its fantastic location, is where you’ll be treated to a private organ concert inside the abbey’s beautiful church. You’ll then set sail on a scenic cruise through the UNESCO-designated Wachau Valley, a 19-mile stretch of the Danube with spectacular landscapes and quaint towns and wine villages clustered along the river. Note: The organ concert may take place in a different location if the Göttweig Abbey visit falls on a Catholic holiday.
Day 5 – Vienna
FEATURED EXCURSION: Choice of Vienna city tour with Winter Palace of Prince Eugene visit and Christmas markets
Vienna is at its most dazzling during the holiday season, and you’ll have two choices for how you wish to experience it—both options include the Christmas Market in front of City Hall, Austria’s largest and most famous Christmas market, as well as the small but charming market at Freyung Square. Choose to visit Prince Eugene’s magnificent Winter Palace or experience a taste of Christmas as you are guided through famous shopping streets with windows bedecked with their holiday finery, including stops to sample some of the local seasonal treats with a Viennese coffee.
Day 6 – Bratislava
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Bratislava walking discovery tour with Christmas Market
Slovakia’s capital city is full of surprises, as you will discover on your walking tour of the historic downtown area, which concludes at Bratislava’s Christmas Market. While a relatively new tradition here—the city’s first Christmas Market was held in 1993—the local residents have fully embraced this delightful wintertime event, and today you’ll find a generous array of stalls brimming with unique handicrafts, folk art and decadent holiday treats.
Day 7 – Budapest
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Budapest city tour with Christmas Market
Discover the wonders of the “Queen of the Danube” as you savor the beauty of both Buda and Pest, which lie on opposite sides of the Danube on a panoramic tour showcasing key highlights, including St. Stephen’s Basilica and the UNESCO-designated Castle Hill district, before exploring the Christmas Market on Vörösmarty Square. Only the finest Hungarian craftsmen are invited to display their wares here, so you’re sure to find many well-made, one-of-a-kind gifts. Another extra-special feature of the market is a hand-carved manger with a Nativity scene that includes live animals. Savor mulled wine, cinnamon-spiced gingerbread and traditional honey cakes as you stroll and shop. Celebrate the spirit of the holidays at the Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner.
Day 8 – Budapest (disembark)
Disembark the ship in Budapest and transfer to Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport for your flight home, or extend your stay in Prague.