Arrive in Luxembourg and transfer to your luxurious river cruise ship. Tonight, gather on board for a Welcome Dinner. The ship departs late tonight for Trier.
Early this morning, the ship arrives in the charming village of Trier, Germany’s oldest city. You can take a guided tour that introduces you to the city’s rich Roman past, with stops at the Roman amphitheater, Roman Baths, Basilica of Constantine and Porta Nigra – an ancient Roman gate that dates back to 180 A.D. Continue on to Bernkastel, a town in the Mosel wine-growing region that has been making wine for over 500 years. After arriving this evening, visit a vineyard and sample several wines, and also take a guided walking tour through the old town center with its many medieval and Renaissance buildings. The ship departs later this evening.
Today, decide between an excursion to Cochem or to Koblenz. In Cochem, you can take a guided tour of the spectacular hilltop Reichsburg Castle, which offers fascinating views of the river valley. Another option is to travel to Koblenz, a historic wine-growing town, where you can see the Four Towers, the Church of Our Lady, and hear the story behind the Schängel Fountain and City Hall. A guided bike tour of Koblenz is also available. Rejoin the ship in Koblenz and cruise to Rüdesheim, where a visit to the Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum is planned after dinner. The ship moors overnight in Rüdesheim.
The ship arrives after noon today in beautiful Mainz, where you can visit the famous Gutenberg Museum, home of the world’s first printed bible. Alternatively, join an excursion to Heidelberg, Germany’s oldest university town, where you can visit the red-walled Castle, enjoy gorgeous views of the Neckar Valley, and see the Great Vat, a 49,000-gallon 18th-century wine cask. A guided bike tour is also available. Later this afternoon, the ship leaves Mainz and cruises to Wertheim.
Arrive in charming Wertheim early this afternoon, where you have a guided walking tour and free time to explore on your own. If you are feeling active, a guided bicycle tour is also available (capacity controlled). Later this evening, your ship sets sail for an overnight cruise to Würzburg.
This morning, take a guided tour of Würzburg showing you all of the major sights or visit the Residenz Palace and gardens, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Europe’s best examples of Baroque architecture. This afternoon, you may also take an optional tour along the Romantic Road to medieval Rothenburg. With its old city walls, towers, gates, timber-framed buildings and centuries-old churches, a walking tour of this charming town is a sheer delight. You have free time here to shop at a well-known Christmas boutique, filled with a tempting array of handmade German ornaments and decorations. If you prefer, join a guided bike tour (capacity controlled). The ship departs after lunch and arrives in Kitzingen in the evening. Kitzingen’s Aulic Council and Wine Queen welcome you at the pier and escort you to Germany’s oldest wine cellar, where you can sample several different regional wines. The ship cruises to Bamberg overnight.
Arrive this afternoon in enchanting Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your guided walking tour of this medieval gem includes the town’s breathtaking cathedral, the Old Town Hall that straddles the river, serpentine streets, and gracious 18th-century mansions. You can also sample some of Bamberg’s famous smoked beer. An alternative is a guided bike tour of the local area (capacity controlled). This evening, the ship cruises to Nuremberg.
Today, travel by train from Nuremberg to Munich, the capital of Bavaria and one of Germany's largest cities. Your guide offers suggestions on what to see during your free time in town and takes you to lunch in a local restaurant. Back on board the ship tonight, meet newly arrived travelers embarking from Prague.
This morning, you have an opportunity to explore the medieval history of Nuremberg. See the 900-year-old city ramparts, the Imperial Castle, and the Old Town Hall. As an alternative, opt for the “WWII” tour that includes the infamous Zeppelin field Hitler used to stage his Nazi party rallies and the Justice Palace courtroom where the War Crimes Tribunal sat in 1946 (available when court is not in session). The ship departs early afternoon for Regensburg.
This morning’s scenic cruising takes you through the final stretch of the Main-Danube Canal en route to Regensburg, one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. A guided tour shows you the city’s architectural highlights, including the Old Town Hall and the Porta Praetoria – the gate to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. As an alternative, visit the Audi Factory in Ingolstadt, where a member of the Audi team takes you on a guided tour of the Audi Car Museum or the production line (subject to availability). This afternoon, you are welcome to join an optional excursion to beautiful Weltenburg Abbey and see the dramatic Danube Gorge (if conditions permit), or take a guided bike tour to the Walhalla Temple, which honors a number of distinguished Germans. We leave Regensburg later this evening and cruise towards Passau.
After breakfast, the ship arrives in the picturesque city of Passau, where the Inn and Ilz rivers join the Danube. You have your choice of two tours today. The first is a walking tour of Passau, a 2,000-year-old city noted for its Gothic and Italian Baroque architecture. Stroll the cobblestone streets of the Old Town, see the city’s fortifications, and stop at St. Stephan’s Cathedral, home to the largest pipe organ in the world. If you prefer, take an optional excursion to Salzburg, famous as the setting for “The Sound of Music” and as the birthplace of Mozart. Enjoy free time in this lovely Alpine city on your own, then return to the ship now docked in Linz. After dinner, enjoy a leisurely walk through this delightful town. The ship departs around midnight for Melk.
Cruise through the narrow Strudengau and reach the Wachau Valley early this morning. Your guided tour takes you to Melk’s magnificent Benedictine Abbey, which has a medieval library that inspired Umberto Eco’s novel The Name of the Rose. Return to the ship for lunch and enjoy the views as the ship cruises through the romantic Wachau Valley. Arrive in Vienna this evening and either explore the magnificent Austrian capital on your own or enjoy an optional evening Mozart and Strauss concert. The ship moors in Vienna overnight.
Savor Vienna’s Baroque elegance on your guided city tour, which includes the world famous Vienna Opera House, the Ringstrasse, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and more. The tour is followed by free time in the city center to shop for souvenirs or sample some of Vienna’s famous pastries (such as the sinfully rich sachertorte. As an alternative, join an optional tour to Schonbrunn Palace, former summer home of the Hapsburgs and a fine example of Baroque architecture. The ship leaves this evening and cruises to Budapest.
This morning, a sightseeing tour takes you to historic Buda Castle, which offers a splendid view of the twin cities of Buda and Pest. Your tour also features the Fisherman’s Bastion, the Royal Palace, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Heroes’ square and more. After dinner, the ship sails a special “Illuminations Cruise” past the stunning river front of Budapest. The ship moors overnight in Budapest.
This morning, transfer from the ship to the airport to continue your travels.