Day 1 Arrive in Amsterdam, Holland (Embarkation)
Welcome to Amsterdam! Holland’s sophisticated, modern capital has a rich 700-year-old history and a distinct ambiance. Maybe stroll through the lively marketplace or see the works of famous Dutch masters at world-renowned museums. This afternoon, board your river cruise ship and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception.
NOTE: Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
Day 2 Amsterdam
Today, get a unique perspective of Amsterdam on an included CANAL CRUISE, floating along the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” There’s free time in the city this afternoon—or you might like to join an optional excursion before bidding tot ziens (farewell) to Holland and setting sail for Germany.
Day 3 Cologne, Germany
Today, experience a peaceful morning of cruising and enjoy a piano recital by a local pianist who will join you on board, before reaching Cologne after lunch. One of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles both sides of the Rhine and is known for its soaring, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Choose between a GUIDED CITY WALK or JEWISH HERITAGE WALK. Later, during free time, consider checking out the Romano-Germanic Museum, home to a large collection of artifacts from the Roman settlement on which modern Cologne is built—a must for history buffs! The Old Town abounds with cafés, shops, and taverns. Be sure to try a Kölsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for over a hundred years!
Day 4 Rhine Gorge–Rüdesheim
This morning, cruise through the dramatic RHINE GORGE—without a doubt, the most beautiful stretch of river and where ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the waters. Cruise past the rock of the Lorelei, where legend tells of enchanted siren song that lured sailors to their doom. On your included shore excursion in pretty Rüdesheim, visit SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM, where you’ll be mesmerized by the self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. Enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT and free time to pick up some souvenirs on the narrow, cobblestoned Drosselgasse, where colorful flowers, open-air wine gardens, and live music add to the festive atmosphere.
Day 5 Main Village River
On the banks of the Main River you find cultural gems of small towns, many of them tucked away behind defensive walls and towered gates. With half-timbered houses, narrow streets, and medieval town centers, these picturesque Bavarian villages are a photographer’s delight. Join your Local Guide to experience one of these towns on a GUIDED WALK.
Day 6 Würzburg
Surrounded by verdant hillside vineyards, Würzburg, the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” makes an immediate impression with imposing Marienberg Fortress perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrucke (Old Main Bridge). On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR this morning, visit the magnificent baroque BISHOP’S RESIDENZ, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. Depart Würzburg at lunchtime and spend a leisurely afternoon cruising the Main River.
Day 7 Bamberg
Today, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germany’s most powerful imperial dynasties and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your GUIDED WALKING TOUR takes in its historic center, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)—built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! Wander the town’s serpentine streets with their charming houses and 18th-century mansions.
Day 8 Nuremberg
Although 90% of Nuremberg’s Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. This morning, choose a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR and marvel at this thousand-year-old city’s medieval fortifications, extraordinary gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a more specialized “NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS” tour.
Day 9 Regensburg
Dating back to the time of the Celts around 500 BC, Regensburg is one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. Established during the Holy Roman Empire and the only German city not bombed during WWII, Regensburg has at least 1,300 listed buildings of “historic interest.” Architectural highlights of your GUIDED WALK include the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), built in the 13th century, 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. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany, then grab a beer and enjoy a SNACK at the Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants. Here—where the locals congregate—feel the vibrant atmosphere and take in the remarkable views along the river. An extra treat is the visit to the VIOLIN MAKER’S WORKSHOP, where you will learn how violins are made. Before dinner we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s FAMOUS BEERS. After dinner enjoy a special lecture on the world of guitars and the story of this instrument.
Day 10 Passau
Uniquely located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge, Passau is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. A full day excursion to Salzburg acquaints you with some of the sites of “The Sound of Music”, and you’ll visit Mozart’s birthplace. Lunch with musical entertainment is included.
Day 11 Krems, Austria. Excursion to Göttweig Abbey
A day of magical scenery awaits you today! As you cruise into the Wachau Valley, pass unmistakable Melk Abbey, high up and overlooking the river. Then, head into the heart of the Wachau wine region to Krems for GUIDED SIGHTSEEING. Later, an excursion takes you to the magnificent Benedictine Abbey of Göttweig, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, positioned high up overlooking the Danube. And for a moment of peace and reflection, attend an uplifting church concert.
Day 12 Vienna
Early this morning, arrive in Vienna, the “City of Music,” which 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 sites you’ll see on your GUIDED TOUR. Stroll through the delightful pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse, and be sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic Viennese coffee houses—historic institutions that helped shape Viennese culture! Tonight you attend a “Royal Waltz” CONCERT in a spectacular location.
Day 13 Bratislava, Slovakia
At the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains is Bratislava, the dynamic capital of Slovakia. After breakfast, join your Local Guide for a tour of the city, including a GUIDED WALK of its fascinating Old Town, where winding cobblestoned streets and narrow alleyways twist and turn to reveal the Town Hall, one of the oldest stone buildings in the city. Also visit gothic ST. MARTIN’S CATHEDRAL, coronation church for the Kingdom of Hungary from the 16th to 19th centuries. This afternoon is free to explore on your own.
Day 14 Budapest, Hungary
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 SIGHTSEEING TOUR, see Heroes Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church. Be sure to note 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. Visit the beautiful OPERA HOUSE and attend a short concert. In your free time this afternoon you may want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. Alternatively, consider visiting St. Stephen’s Basilica with marvelous views of the city from its viewing platform, or stroll along Váci utca, the main shopping street.
Day 15 Budapest (Disembarkation)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.
See the highlights of Central Europe on this enchanting river cruise between Amsterdam and Budapest. Guided sightseeing in each city shows you the highlights, and is conducted by Certified Local Guides. Cruise through the scenic canals of Amsterdam and through the dramatic Rhine Gorge past the legendary Lorelei rock. Spend time in magnificent Cologne, the charming wine village of Rüdesheim, medieval Bamberg, historical Nuremberg, and magical Vienna. Enjoy the music of local musicians in some port of call. Attend a beer tasting in Bamberg and enjoy inside visits of Würzburg’s Bishop’s Residenz, and St. Martin’s Cathedral in Bratislava. And because this is a music theme, you will visit a violin maker in Regensburg, we will take you to Mozart’s birthplace of Salzburg, where the “hills are alive with the Sound of Music”, you will attend a Walzer and Operetta concert in Vienna. While on board, be sure to have your camera ready to capture the scenic beauty, quaint towns, fascinating architecture, and historic buildings dotting the landscape as you sail along.
Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapés, Welcome dinner, Daily Afternoon Tea, Daily Night Fare, Farewell dinner, Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; soft drinks with lunch; and wine, beer, or soft drinks with dinner are included daily on board your vessel
Deluxe cruise in an outside stateroom with hotel-style beds
Included excursions with Certified Local Guide.
Sightseeing as outlined in the day by-day itinerary.
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE.
Headsets for shore excursions
Complimentary Wi-Fi access
Personalized room options & excursions
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.