Day 1 Budapest.
Fly to Budapest where you will be met and transferred to your cruise ship for 14 nights. This afternoon, meet your crew at a welcome reception. (D)
Day 2 Budapest.
Included today: Guided sightseeing, see Fisherman's Bastion.
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. 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. In your free time this afternoon you may want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest; visit St. Stephen’s Basilica with marvellous views of the city from its viewing platform; or stroll along Váci utca, the main shopping street. (B, L, D)
Day 3 Bratislava.
Included today: Guided walk, visit St Martin's Cathedral.
Situated at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia. Your guided walk with a Local Guide explores the charming Old Town with its winding cobbled streets, the old stone Town Hall and the Gothic cathedral of St Martin. (B, L, D)
Day 4 Vienna.
Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Once the centre of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Vienna has much to offer: the lavish Hofburg Palace, the impressive Vienna Opera House, the majestic Ring Boulevard and awe-inspiring St Stephen's Cathedral, to name just a few of the sights you will see during your tour. Shop on the Kärntnerstrasse and enjoy Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in a local café. Tonight, an optional concert is available. (B, L, D)
Day 5 Excursion to Gottweig Abbey - Durnstein
Included today: Gottweig Abbey visit in the morning and a guided walk in Dürnstein in the afternoon and see the Stiftskirche.
This morning a short drive takes you to the Benedictine Abbey of Göttweig, a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE, perched high on a hill overlooking the Danube. A visit with a Local Guide shows you this magnificent monastery whose fresco-decorated imperial staircase is considered a masterpiece of baroque architecture. Re-join your ship in Dürnstein in time for lunch. Dürnstein, situated in the heart of the Wachau wine region, is known for the magnificent baroque, blue Stiftskirche built in the 1700s. The main street of this small town—with a population of less than 1,000 people—is lined with 16th-century residences and charming cobblestone streets. A Local Guide will take you on a 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. This evening you’ll be able to sample some of the FAMOUS WINES of this region. (B, L, D)
Day 6 Passau.
Included today: Guided walk in Passau.
Today, choose from full-day optional excursions: to Salzburg, taking in some of The Sound of Music sights,; the popular “Romantic Austria” tour; or to Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Re-join your ship in Passau in the early evening. Alternatively, you may choose to stay on the ship and relax as you cruise to Passau, uniquely located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge. Passau is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture, houses one of the world’s largest church organs with 17,774 pipes. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK. (B, L, D)
Day 7 Regensburg.
Included today: Guided walk.
Regensburg is one of Germany's best-preserved medieval cities. Architectural highlights include the Old Town Hall and Porta Pretoria — gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179AD. The city is the capital of Upper Palatinate, a bustling university town, and one of Bavaria's cultural centres. It is here you will find Germany's oldest restaurant, the 12th century Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen). (B, L, D)
Day 8 Nuremberg.
Included today: Choice of guided sightseeing or Nuremberg Trials tour; beer tasting.
This morning, relax on board, then the afternoon is dedicated to 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. During free time, be sure to try some tasty Lebkuchen and make a wish at the beautiful fountain in the Hauptmarkt (main square). Legend says your wish will come true if you turn its gold ring three times. (B, L, D)
Day 9 Bamberg.
Included today: Guided walk, see the Old Town Hall.
This morning, 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 centre, 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! This afternoon, cruise gently along the Main River as you head for Würzburg (B, L, D)
Day 10 Würzburg.
Included today: Guided sightseeing, visit the Bishop's Residenz.
Surrounded by steep, verdant vineyards, Würzburg is known as the 'Pearl of the Romantic Road' and makes an immediate impression with views of its beautiful Marienberg Fortress and 15th century Old Main Bridge. Today's guided sightseeing tour visits the magnificent Bishop's Residenz, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. (B, L, D)
Day 11 Main River Village Experience
Included today: Guided walk.
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. Half timbered houses, narrow streets and medieval town centres, these picturesque Bavarian villages are a photographer’s delight. Join your Local Guide to experience one of these towns on a GUIDED WALK. (B, L, D)
Day 12 Rüdesheim - Rhine Gorge.
Included today: Visit Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum: cruise through the Rhine Gorge.
Today, arrive in Rüdesheim, a quintessential Rhine Valley wine town. Visit SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM, where you’ll see and hear a large collection of self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. Enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT, then head downstream from Rüdesheim, through the dramatic RHINE GORGE, the most beautiful stretch of river. Here, ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the waters. Cruise past the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where echoes of enchanted siren song lured unwitting sailors to their doom. (B, L, D)
Day 13 Cologne.
Included today: Choice of Guided city walk or Jewish Cologne tour.
Cologne is one of Germany's largest cities, with a river skyline dominated by the soaring twin spires of its magnificent Gothic cathedral. This afternoon, choose between an included Guided City Walk or a 'Jewish Cologne' tour. The Old Town offers up a great choice of cafés, shops and taverns so be sure to try a Kölsch in one of the many taverns and shop for a bottle of 4711, the original 'eau de cologne'. (B, L, D)
Day 14 Amsterdam.
Included today: Canal cruise.
Holland's delightful 700-year-old capital is sophisticated and modern, with a rich and fascinating history. The works of famous Dutch masters can be seen in world-renowned museums such as the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum. There is no better way to see Amsterdam than by canal boat, cruising along elegant grachten lined by stately homes dating back to Amsterdam's 'Golden Age'. (B, L, D)
Day 15 Amsterdam.
Disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK. (B)