Ultimate River Cruise
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Spend 2 nights in Budapest, savor a stunning 14-night river cruise from Budapest to Luxembourg, then end your holiday with 3 fascinating nights in Paris.
Combine the highlights of the legendary rivers of Europe and experience a voyage of cultural and scenic diversity through the six countries including Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Luxembourg and France. Start your European vacation with three grand old capitals, vibrant Budapest, historic Bratislava and magnificent Vienna. Discover the medieval cities along the Main River and cruise through the most scenic portion of the Rhine. Continue to the lush Mosel River Valley, famous for its historic castles and the steepest vineyards in the world. Conclude your river cruise vacation in Paris, the "City of Lights."
Day 1, ARRIVE IN BUDAPEST, HUNGARY.
Arrive in Budapest and transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax or begin exploring this beautiful city.
Day 2, BUDAPEST, HUNGARY.
Your morning excursion includes sightseeing in Buda and Pest. From historic Buda Castle, enjoy a spectacular view of the twin cities spread over both banks of the river. Your tour also features the distinctive Fisherman’s Bastion, the marvelous Royal Palace, St. Stephen’s Basilica, the famous Heroes’ Square and more. This afternoon, an optional excursion will take you back to the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. (B)
Day 3, BUDAPEST – EMBARKATION.
After checking out of your hotel in Budapest, you will have a free morning to explore on your own before boarding your luxurious ship. In the alternative, you can join an optional excursion to Puszta, the great Hungarian Plain which stretches across to the East. The excursion includes a savory lunch with Goulash. Tonight, you will meet your fellow passengers at the Welcome Dinner, as you cruise to Bratislava. (B,D)
Day 4, BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA – VIENNA, AUSTRIA.
This afternoon, arrive in Bratislava, capital of Slovakia. You have your choice of two tours today. The first option is a walking tour of the city’s major sites, including the Old Town Hall, the stunning Mirbach Palace and Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral. In the alternative, choose a “Communist Tour” that includes architectural landmarks such as the Radio Building, Liberty Square and the Soviet War Memorial. (B,L,D)
Day 5, VIENNA.
This morning enjoy a guided tour of romantic Vienna that will include the impressive Vienna Opera House, the majestic Ringstrasse and the historic St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Alternatively, join an optional tour this afternoon to the Imperial Schönbrunn Palace. Tonight, enjoy an optional Mozart and Strauss concert in one of the great formal concert houses of Vienna. (B,L,D)
Day 6, DÜRNSTEIN – MELK.
Early this morning reach the Wachau Valley for your walking tour of Dürnstein, known as one of the prettiest towns along the Danube. Marvel at the magnificent blue facade of the Baroque Stiftskirche. Your tour will also include a wine tasting at a local vintner, where you will sample several different wines, presented along with bread, knowledgeable hosts, and plenty of laughter. This afternoon, you can explore the majestic Wachau Valley on a guided bike tour from Dürnstein to Melk (capacity controlled). The ship arrives in Melk late this afternoon, and you will tour the spectacular Melk Abbey, one of Europe’s largest baroque monasteries. (B,L,D)
Day 7, LINZ – PASSAU, GERMANY.
This morning the ship arrives in Linz, where you will have the choice of three different excursions. The first choice is an optional excursion to Salzburg, where you will take a walking tour of the historic center, famous as the setting for the “Sound of Music” and as the birthplace of Mozart. Alternatively, you can join an excursion to the Czech town of Cesky Krumlov. This is a wonderfully preserved medieval town, nestled in the hills just over the Austrian-Czech border. The third option is to remain on the ship and cruise through scenic Upper Austria to Passau. Located where the rivers Inn and Ilz join the Danube, this 2,000-year-old city is noted for its gothic and Italian baroque architecture. A walking tour of Passau will take you along the cobblestone streets of Old Town where you will see the city fortifications and St. Stephan’s Cathedral, home to the largest cathedral organ in the world. (B,L,D)
Day 8, REGENSBURG.
In the early afternoon arrive in Regensburg, one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will have your choice of two different tours here. The first is a guided walking tour, in which you will see the city’s architectural highlights, including the Old Town Hall and the Porta Praetoria — gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 A.D. Alternatively, visit the Audi Factory in Ingolstadt, where a member of the Audi team will take you on a guided tour of the Audi Museum or Factory Floor (subject to availability). (B,L,D)
Day 9, NUREMBERG.
Enjoy a morning of scenic cruising through the Main-Danube Canal and relax during a leisurely cruise through the beautiful Altmühl Valley. This afternoon, you will explore the medieval history of Nuremberg, and see the 900-year-old ramparts that surround the city, the Imperial Castle and Old Town Hall. In the alternative, choose a tour that will focus on Nuremberg during World War II as the center of the Third Reich. See the infamous Zeppelin field used to hold rallies and the Justice Palace (when available) where the War Crimes Tribunal sat in 1946. (B,L,D)
Day 10, NUREMBERG – MUNICH.
Today, you will travel by train to Munich, the capital of Bavaria and one of Germany’s largest cities. Your escort will offer suggestions on what to see while in town, and will take you to lunch in a local restaurant. Tonight, you will meet additional fellow travelers embarking from Prague. (B,L,D)
Day 11, BAMBERG.
This morning you will arrive in the medieval town of Bamberg where you will enjoy a walking tour of this picturesque town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See the cathedral, the Old Town Hall that straddles the river, and explore serpentine streets lined with charming houses. Sample some of Bamberg’s famous smoked beer efore continuing your cruise, now on the Main River. After departing Bamberg you will cruise to the Main River town of Schweinfurt where the ship will moor overnight. (B,L,D)
Day 12, KITZINGEN – WÜRZBURG.
This morning you will arrive in Kitzingen. On your walking tour, you’ll see the famous Leaning Tower, built during the 13th century, the Old Main Bridge, Kitzingen Church and the Renaissance Town Hall. Later, the Aulic Council and Wine Queen will welcome you to Germany’s oldest wine cellar. You will taste several different wines, earning first-hand about wine history and production in the region. In the afternoon, you will have a choice of three different tours. You can choose the Würzburg Tour and Residenz visit, during which you will see the major sights, including the Residenz Palace and gardens, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of Europe’s foremost examples of baroque architecture and design. In the alternative, take a guided bike tour from Kitzingen to Würzburg (capacity controlled) or enjoy an optional tour to medieval Rothenburg, a beautiful walled city situated on the Romantic Road. (B,L,D)
Day 13, WERTHEIM.
This morning, you will tour Wertheim, located at the confluence of the Main and Tauber Rivers. The town has retained much of its medieval Franconian character, which you will discover on your walking tour of the historic city center. In the alternative, a guided bike tour from Wertheim (capacity controlled) will take you along the Main River Valley. Tonight, the ship sails leaving Bavaria, Franconia and the Main River behind. (B,L,D)
Day 14, MAINZ – RÜDESHEIM – KOBLENZ.
Arrive in Mainz after breakfast and decide between two different excursions. You can choose a walking tour of beautiful Mainz, where you will see the famous Gutenberg Museum, home of the world’s first printed bible. Later, arrive in Rüdesheim and visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum, which houses one of the greatest collections of robotic and self-playing musical instruments of the 18th-20th centuries. In the alternative, choose an excursion to Heidelberg, Germany’s oldest university town. You will visit the red-walled Heidelberg Castle, the Great Vat and also take a walking tour of Old Heidelberg. Cruise on the Rhine River, where you will see the stunning beauty of the Rhine castles and the infamous Lorelei Rock as we sail through the fascinating Rhine Gorge as the ship cruises to Koblenz, situated at the confluence of the Mosel and Rhine rivers. (B,L,D)
Day 15, COCHEM – ZELL.
Today, visit the fairytale village of Cochem, surrounded by the scenic wine villages of the Mosel Valley. Walk along narrow cobblestone streets lined with medieval houses before taking a guided tour of Reichsburg Castle. Situated high above Cochem, the castle grounds boast spectacular views of the River Mosel. In the alternative, enjoy a guided bike tour (capacity controlled) of the scenic Mosel Valley. This evening continue past hillside vineyards to Zell, where a welcoming wine fest awaits you. Experience the hospitality of Zell with a visit by the Mayor and Wine Queen. (B,L,D)
Day 16, TRIER.
This afternoon, arrive in Trier, Germany’s oldest city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its rich ancient Roman history. On your guided tour, you will see the old Roman amphitheater, Roman Baths, Basilica of Constantine and the Porta Nigra gate, dating back to 180 A.D. This evening, the ship sails for the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. (B,L,D)
Day 17, LUXEMBOURG – DISEMBARK – PARIS, FRANCE.
This morning, bid farewell to your cruise. You will then take a panoramic tour as you transfer to Grand Duchy, and will see the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, final resting place of Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. You will enjoy a walking tour of Luxembourg, and then have some free time for lunch on your own before boarding a TGV high-speed train to Paris. Arrive in the mid-afternoon and check in to your hotel. (B)
Day 18, PARIS.
Enjoy Paris’ famous sights during this morning’s guided tour. Start with a panoramic tour in which you will see the Champs Élysées, Place de la Concorde and the Eiffel Tower. Your tour concludes with a visit to Notre Dame Cathedral. The remainder of the day is yours to explore on your own. (B)
Day 19, PARIS.
Your last day in the “City of Light” is free for you to enjoy at leisure. Or, you may decide to join the optional Seine Cruise & Eiffel Tower excursion in the morning or the optional Parisian Cabaret excursion this evening. (B)
Day 20, PARIS.
Transfer to the airport for your homeward flight. (B)