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18 Day Danube River Cruise with Germany, Switzerland & Austria

18 days with Gate 1  Rating: Deluxe

River Cruise Itinerary
DAY 1, Thursday - Depart for Germany
Depart for Frankfurt, Germany.
 
DAY 2, Friday - Arrive in Frankfurt
Arrive in Frankfurt. The remainder of the day is on your own to rest and relax. In the evening, a briefing by your Tour Manager introduces you to the delightful program that lies ahead, followed by a Welcome Drink and Dinner with your fellow travelers. (Dinner)
 
DAY 3, Saturday - Rhine River Cruise & Heidelberg City Tour
This morning, begin with a cruise on the scenic Rhine. See stunning vistas of hilltop castles, terraced vineyards and villages of timber-framed houses along the course of the river. Pass the mighty Lorelei rock rising vertically from the waters named for the siren "Lorelei" who bewitched sailors passing by. In Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany, view the imposing red sandstone ruins of Heidelberg Castle originally built in the 12th century. This hilltop Gothic masterpiece has encountered turbulent times but still stands as a dominant symbol of the city. Rest of the day at leisure in Heidelberg to discover the enchanting alleys and lanes in the Old Town with its small gardens, museums and lovely galleries. (Breakfast)
 
DAY 4, Sunday - Black Forest 
Head south on a scenic drive through the Black Forest region, an area of unrivaled natural beauty with its dense forests of thick pine trees. Nestled in the forest, you will see some of the charming traditional homes with their long sloping roofs. Continue on a drive to Schaffhausen, surrounded by vineyards. Here, you will see the thunderous Rhine Waterfall; one of Europe's largest and most powerful. Then, on to beautiful Lucerne, with its pristine lakeside setting and gorgeous mountainous panorama. You spend two relaxing nights here in the center of the Swiss Alps. (Breakfast, Dinner)
 
DAY 5, Monday - Full Day in Lucerne 
A full day to explore the heart of central Switzerland. Begin the day at the inspiring Lion Monument, one of the best-known monuments in the country, created in remembrance of the heroic death of Swiss guard killed in 1792. Continue to the 14th century medieval Chapel Bridge one of the oldest covered wooden bridges in Europe, forming the centerpiece of Lucerne's townscape. Later, time to shop for chocolate, watches and the famous Swiss and German cuckoo clocks or sip coffee at an outdoor cafe. In the afternoon, there is an opportunity to join the exciting optional tour to Mount Pilatus. Ascend the world's steepest cogwheel railway which winds up through lush meadows and sparkling mountain streams to the summit of Mt. Pilatus at nearly 7000 feet. After admiring the splendid panorama, descend by aerial cableway and return to your hotel. (Breakfast)
 
Optional: Mount Pilatus Tour ($95)
 
DAY 6, Tuesday - Neuschwanstein Castle
The first stop today is in the tiny storybook Principality of Liechtenstein and its capital Vaduz, a proud remnant of feudal Europe, sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria. Next, drive through glorious Alpine scenery to visit Bavaria's "Mad" King Ludwig's fantasy castle of Neuschwanstein perched high above the valley below. This is one of the most visited castles in Germany and a symbol of idealized romantic architecture. Among the castle's finest rooms are two magnificent halls with extravagant decorations dazzling in gold and blue. Cross into Austria via the mighty Fern Pass and journey to Innsbruck, the Tyrolean "capital" of the Austrian Alps. (Breakfast, Dinner)
 
DAY 7, Wednesday - Innsbruck at leisure
Steeped in centuries of colorful history, Innsbruck features fine examples of Imperial splendor. Journey back in time with an array of splendid architectural gems from the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-Classical period. On our orientation tour, stop at the Golden Roof, overlooking a bustling square in the heart of historic Innsbruck and the Wilten Basilica, one of the most splendid churches in Tyrol with its stunning rococo decorations. Innsbruck has also hosted two Olympic Winter Games (1964 and 1976); see the famous ski jump used in the winter Olympics. Enjoy our afternoon optional tour to Seefeld with Carriage Ride Tonight experience an authentic Tyrolean evening on the optional tour featuring a varied entertainment program including folk music, Tyrolean dances and yodeling. (Breakfast)

Optional: Seefeld with Carriage Ride (PM).
Optional: Tyrolean Evening with drinks (PM).
 
DAY 8, Thursday - Salzburg City Tour
After breakfast, we drive to Salzburg. This baroque jewel was the birthplace of Mozart. The guided walking tour takes us to view the house where Mozart was born, as well as to the squares and gardens of this beautiful city, crowned by the 11th century Hohensalzburg Fortress. The city is also known for the singing Trapp family and the setting for the film, The Sound of Music. (Breakfast)
 
DAY 9, Friday - Morning in Salzburg
More time to explore charming Salzburg or, participate in the optional excursion into the surrounding countryside to the ruins of Obersalzburg, once a mountain retreat for senior Nazi SS officers. Then, transfer to special motor coaches adapted for the scenic mountain climb and ascend to Hitler's notorious "Eagle's Nest." This afternoon, continue to Munich. Upon arrival join your tour manager for an orientation of the Marienplatz, the heart of the city with it’s plethora of shops, restaurants and beerhalls to explore at leisure. (Breakfast)
 
Optional: Eagle's Nest Tour ($64)
 
DAY 10, Saturday - Munich City Tour
This morning drive past the Olympic Stadium situated in the heart of Olympia Park in northern Munich built as the main venue for the 1972 Summer Olympics. Continue for a photo stop at the breathtaking Nymphenburg Palace, once summer residence of the rulers of Bavaria, decorated with a gorgeous baroque façade. Driving through the city, we see countless museums, galleries, palaces and historic monuments. Arrive at Marienplatz square, cultural center of the city, dominated by the gothic New Town Hall housing Munich's world-famous Glockenspiel, which dates back to 1908. This colorful mechanical clock has life-size figures that dance to music with shows several times a day. This afternoon venture to the mountains on our optional tour to the fairytale village of Oberammergau and visit Linderhof castle. Tonight, toast your final night in Munich with a delicious dinner at a local restaurant. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Optional: Linderhof & Oberammergau.
 
DAY 11, Sunday - Embark in Regensburg
Time this morning for last minute sightseeing, or shopping in Munich before the early afternoon departure to Regensburg. Arrive at the port to embark on the Monarch Empress. After arrival formalities, time to relax on board. Tonight, a gala Welcome Dinner sets the mood for your delightful river cruise. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
DAY 12, Monday - Regensburg City Tour
This morning, explore Regensburg, one of Germany's largest and best preserved medieval cities, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The guided walking tour highlights the city's stunning architecture as you view the Old Town Hall, Dom St. Peter and the Porta Praetoria, gateway to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Marvel at beautiful churches and one of the oldest stone bridges crossing the Danube. Return to the ship for lunch or spend the afternoon at leisure discovering the delights of Regensburg on your own. At 3:00 pm, the ship will set sail for Passau. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
DAY 13, Tuesday - Morning in Passau
Dock this morning in 2500-year-old Passau, known for its pastel patrician houses, cafes, cobblestone lanes and riverfront promenade. Passau is a Bavarian town with a mix of Roman, Italian Baroque and Gothic architecture. Explore Passau independently in the morning and continue sailing during lunch. Relax on board this afternoon as the ship sails to Melk. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
DAY 14, Wednesday - Melk Abbey
Disembark in Melk this morning for a guided tour of the historic Benedictine Abbey, considered one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Europe. View the Abbot's chambers, the Kaiser's walk and the lavish library. Then, return to the ship and continue cruising through the scenic Wachau Valley on the way to Vienna, the Imperial city legendary for its opulence and elegance. Tonight, perhaps take the opportunity to attend an evening of Viennese culture in the "City of Music" at an optional concert performance of the classical masterpieces of Mozart and Strauss, two of Vienna's most famous citizens. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Optional: Classical Viennese Concert ($62)
 
DAY 15, Thursday - Vienna City Tour
This sparkling city on the Danube has captivated travelers for years with its elegant shops, world-class museums, and beautiful gardens. Drive along the famed Ringstrasse, Vienna's main boulevard lined with magnificent Baroque palaces, parks and monuments. View the lavish Hofburg Palace, and the impressive Vienna Opera House. Continue to majestic St. Stephen's Cathedral and the Parliament building. Enjoy the afternoon at a café sampling the famous Viennese Sacher Torte, or, join the optional afternoon tour to the Imperial Schonbrunn Palace, once summer residence of the Hapsburgs. Visit the opulent baroque apartments and stroll through the world-famous manicured gardens. Set sail for Bratislava this evening. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Optional: Schonbrunn Palace Tour ($49)
 
DAY 16, Friday - Bratislava City Tour
This morning, enjoy the tranquil scenery as the ship sails along the scenic Danube. At noon, arrive in Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, a mix of modern and Baroque architecture. This capital city is among the youngest in Europe, yet retains a rich history dating back more than 2000 years. Walk along the cobblestone lanes of the historic town center; view St. Martin's Cathedral, coronation site of the Kings of Hungary, the 13th century Old Town Hall and the Franciscan church. Time to explore this colorful city on your own before returning to the ship for dinner as you sail for stunning Budapest. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
DAY 17, Saturday - Budapest City Tour
Your morning tour begins on the Pest side of the city, view the Parliament, City Park and Heroes Square. Cross to Buda to see the Royal Palace, Matthias Church and the graceful medieval architecture along the cobbled streets. Explore the city's wonderful shops and cafes this afternoon on your own. Tonight, enjoy a lavish Captain's Dinner on board. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
DAY 18, Sunday - Depart Hungary 
Your vacation ends after breakfast.  Disembarkation will end at 9:30 am. (Breakfast)
Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • Enjoy a scenic cruise on the Rhine, view hilltop castles and villages of timber-framed houses
  • Wonder at the Rhine Falls, Europe’s largest waterfall
  • In the heart of historic Innsbruck view the Golden Roof, overlooking a bustling square
  • View the famous fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle, perched on a rugged cliff high above the valley
  • In Lucerne, in the heart of the Swiss Alps, visit the inspiring Lion Monument
  • Marvel at the beautiful churches and ancient stone bridges in Regensburg
  • Tour romantic Vienna with its magnificent Baroque palaces, parks and monuments
  • See magnificent panoramic views of Budapest from atop Fisherman's Bastion
All This Included
  • 16 nights accommodations
  • Hotel & cruise porterage
  • All port fees
  • 33 meals: 16 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 11 dinners
  • Services of English-speaking tour manager & cruise director
  • Shore excursions per itinerary
  • Entrance fees per itinerary
  • Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring during excursionss
Accommodations on this Tour
Mainz: Hilton Mainz
Heidelberg: Crowne Plaza or Marriott Heidelberg
Lucerne: Grand Europe Hotel or Radisson Blu Hotel Lucerne
Innsbruck: Hilton Hotel
Salzburg: Castellani Parkhotel Salzburg
Munich: Holiday Inn Munich City Centre
Cruising: Cabin onboard MS Monarch Empress    
Notes
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • Land/Cruise only price does not include arrival/departure transfers.
  • Due to physical constraints and space limitations, wheelchairs and walkers are not allowed on motor coaches and/or river cruises. The Monarch Empress is equipped with elevator access between the Empress and Countess decks, however passengers will encounter some uneven surfaces, stairs, steps and significant slopes while touring. 
  • European river cruising has gained in popularity for very good reason. It's a relaxing and convenient way to experience Europe while enjoying the comfort of a deluxe ship. However, before making the decision to reserve your vacation, please be aware of potential conditions which may impact your cruise. While most of the time river cruises operate exactly as planned, weather conditions may result in high or low water levels which impact a ship's itinerary and, on occasion, render a ship unable to sail at all. On very rare occasions, other events such as heavy fog, a damaged lock, or an incapacitated vessel blocking the river, may impact a sailing. These events typically occur with little or no notice. In the event that a cruise is partially or completely impacted, the itinerary will be operated by deluxe motor coach, accompanied by a Tour Manager, with overnights in hotels. The itinerary will include as many of the originally scheduled sightseeing features as possible, considering the travel time and distances required, as well as meals. While it is not possible to recreate the more leisurely comforts of sailings, we will endeavor to provide a comparable itinerary. These alternative services will be provided at no additional charge.
  • Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions

* 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.



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