Board your cruise in Nuremberg. Tonight, gather on board your ship for a Welcome Dinner. The ship will moor overnight in Nuremberg.
Enjoy a guided morning tour of this historic city with its fabulous Gothic churches. See the storybook 900-year-old ramparts that surround the city, the Imperial Castle and the Justice Palace where the War Crimes Tribunal sat in 1946. After your tour, you will have time to visit the Christmas Market. Enjoy a complimentary drink of hot mulled Glühwein in your own souvenir mug to ward off the chill. After lunch continue to the highest point of your cruise - 1,332 feet above sea level - before descending through stair-step locks.
Arrive in Regensburg after breakfast and enjoy a guided tour of one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. Marvel at beautiful churches, the famous towers of the wealthy families, and one of the oldest bridges crossing the Danube. Your tour ends with a visit to the Old Kornmarkt Christmas market, where you can shop at festive stalls adorned with fir branches. In the alternative this afternoon, visit the “royal” Christmas markets at the Thurn and Taxis Palace, a very traditional handicraft Christmas market, where you can watch the craftsmen make their goods.
After breakfast, arrive in picturesque Passau, where the rivers Inn and Ilz join the Danube. Take a walking tour of this fairytale city that was founded more than 2,000 years ago. Walk the cobblestone streets of the Old Town where you will see the city fortifications and St. Stephan’s Cathedral, which is home to the largest cathedral organ in the world. Afterwards, take some time to experience the traditional Christmas Markets. Or take an optional full day tour to Salzburg, birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the setting for “The Sound of Music.” Join in the merriment at the beautiful Christmas Markets, renowned for local handicrafts and unusual holiday presents. For those staying on board, enjoy a scenic cruise from Passau into Austria and on to Linz. After dinner, take a walk through this delightful town, Austria’s third largest city and a major river port.
Cruise through the narrow Strudengau and reach the Wachau Valley early this morning. A tour takes you to Melk’s magnificent Benedictine Abbey. At lunchtime, continue through the romantic Wachau Valley. Late this afternoon arrive in Vienna, the “City of Music.” Tonight, return to town on your own or come along for an optional Mozart and Strauss concert.
This morning, start your excursion with a driving tour of Vienna including the impressive Vienna Opera House, the majestic Ringstrasse, and the awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral, followed by a walking tour of the city center. Afterwards, spend some time enjoying the festivities of the Christmas Markets at the Town Hall. This afternoon, you can join an optional tour to the Imperial Schönbrunn Palace, which features over 60 Christmas Market stalls and provides a spectacular festive atmosphere with the aroma of Glühwein and gingerbread. In the alternative, you can stroll along the Kärntnerstrasse and stop to sample Vienna’s famous pastries.
This morning, cruise the Danube Bend past beautiful towns nestled on the curve of the river bank to Budapest. Your Budapest sightseeing includes Buda and Pest. From historic Buda Castle, a splendid view of the twin cities of Buda and Pest is spread over both banks of the River. Your tour also features the distinctive Fisherman’s Bastion, the marvelous Royal Palace and St. Stephen’s Basilica. You have the balance of the day to explore the Christmas markets. Tonight, enjoy a Farewell Dinner. After dinner, your ship will sail a special “Illuminations Cruise” past the illuminated river front of Budapest.
Your cruise comes to an end as you transfer to the airport for your homeward flight.