Day 1 Arrive in Prague, Czech Republic
Welcome to Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, a fascinating city straddling the Vltava River.
Day 2 Prague
A 1,200-year-old city preserved in time, Prague’s best-known treasures include the Old Town’s Astronomical Clock, built in 1410 and once the envy of Europe; HRADCANY CASTLE GROUNDS; St. Vitus Cathedral; and the Charles Bridge, the oldest bridge in Prague, which is guarded on both ends by a tower. Browse the shops for hand-cut crystal or art books and stroll through the Christmas markets. Rows of brightly decorated wooden huts sell Christmas tree ornaments, wooden toys, and Czech handicrafts. Get a little inner warmth with a cup of svarene vino (hot mulled wine) and a traditional hot sausage from one of the stalls. The beautifully decorated tree in the Old Town is an impressive sight.
Day 3 Prague–Nuremberg, Germany (Embarkation)
After lunch, drive to Nuremberg, where your river cruise vessel is docked. Before dinner, meet your crew for a welcome reception.
Day 4 Nuremberg
Although 90% of Nuremberg’s Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to its former glory as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Choose a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR and marvel at this thousand-year-old city’s medieval fortifications, gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS tour. The Old Town is illuminated with festive lights and decorations, and the Christmas market is one of the most famous in the world. The market has dozens of stalls offering traditional wares, including Lebkuchen (spiced gingerbread), baked goods, and typical Christmas decorations and ornaments. After your free time at Christmas Market, a shuttle bus service will be at your disposal to take you back to the ship. During your sail to Regensburg, enjoy an ONBOARD LECTURE about Christmas Traditions.
Day 5 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.” Highlights included on your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR are the 13th-century Old Town Hall, and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Wander through the city’s alleys to discover the many mansions with high towers, built by wealthy families in the Middle Ages to emphasize their status. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany. Grab a beer and enjoy a SNACK at the Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants. This afternoon is free to explore on your own or to visit the Regensburg Christmas market, including the ones hosted by Thurn und Taxis Palace. The tempting aromas of mulled wine, sweet roasted almonds, sausages, and gingerbread create an unforgettable atmosphere. Before dinner we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s FAMOUS BEERS.
Day 6 Passau
Uniquely located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge, Passau is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. The Christkindlmarkt, Passau’s charming Christmas market, is set against the stunning backdrop of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture. Take in the highlights of the “City of Three Rivers” on an included GUIDED WALK. Afterward, set sail for Linz, where you arrive in the evening. Alternatively, you might like to join a full-day optional excursion to Salzburg to see some of the sites from The Sound of Music, find out how mice caused the composition of the famous Silent Night Christmas carol, and learn how the Austrians celebrate Christmas.
Day 7 Melk, Austria–Vienna
This morning, enjoy a GUIDED VISIT of Melk’s 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. Words cannot describe the splendor of the frescoed ceilings, stunning high altar, marble statues, and 210-foot-high cupola. During lunchtime, cruise through the picturesque Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pass the magnificent baroque Stiftskirche with its blue façade, the landmark of Dürnstein, before arriving in Vienna this evening. As you sail through the Wachau Valley, enjoy a special onboard Austrian cookie BAKING DEMONSTRATION AND TASTING. Vienna, “City of Music” inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. An optional concert is available tonight.
Day 8 Vienna
Once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s magical capital is a showcase of gilded architecture. This is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boy’s Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral—and countless other sights you’ll see on your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR. We will offer you a special CULINARY TOUR at Viennese Christmas markets where you can taste all the best flavors that Austria has to offer during Christmas time. Be sure to enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic Viennese coffee houses, historic institutions that helped shape Viennese culture!
Day 9 Vienna (Disembarkation)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.
This festive European river cruise vacation begins in Prague, the beautiful capital of the Czech Republic. See famous sights like Old Town’s Astronomical Clock and the Charles Bridge, but also get the unique chance to stroll through the Christmas markets. It’s a treat to see the rows of brightly decorated wooden huts that sell Christmas tree ornaments, wooden toys, and Czech handicrafts. Explore to your heart’s content with a warm cup of svarene vino (hot mulled wine).
Board your river cruise vessel in Nuremberg, Germany, with its medieval fortifications, gothic churches, and palaces. The Old Town is illuminated with festive lights and decorations and the Christmas market, one of the most famous in the world, has dozens of stalls offering traditional wares, such as Lebkuchen (spiced gingerbread), Glühwein (hot mulled wine), and unique decorations and ornaments. Learn about local Christmas traditions, as you cruise to historical Regensburg, the only German city not bombed during WWII. After a guided tour, savor local sausages at Historiche Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants, and enjoy a tasting of German beers. Experience Passau’s charming Christmas market set against the breathtaking backdrop of St. Stephen’s Cathedral—a masterpiece of baroque architecture.
Arrive in Melk, Austria, and tour the magnificent 11th century Benedictine Abbey—one of Europe’s largest monasteries. As you cruise through the wintery landscape of the picturesque Wachau Valley, enjoy a tasting of traditional Austrian cookies. This Christmas river cruise ends in Austria’s magical capital of Vienna, home to the sounds of Mozart and Strauss, the Vienna Boys’ Choir, and the Spanish Riding School. See the famous sights with a Local Guide, or opt to go on a culinary tour through the Christmas markets to get a taste of all the best flavors Austria offers during this time of year.
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
Included excursions with Certified Local Guide; sightseeing as outlined in the day by-day itinerary; inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE.
Deluxe cruise in an outside stateroom with hotel-style beds
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.