Celebrate the season in the birthplace of many beloved holiday traditions on this 8-day cruise through the Danube. Budapest has celebrated Christmas for a thousand years, since the reign of St. Stephen, the king who founded Hungary and encouraged the spread of Christianity. In Bratislava, where a lively young art scene is revitalizing the compact city core, stalls abound with traditional Slovakian Christmas items such as medovníky (spiced ginger cookies) and šúpolie (figurines made from corn husks). Head to Mozart’s birthplace of Salzburg, which is nestled in a glorious alpine setting. Glorious baroque architecture, delightful concerts and ravishing scenery on board S.S Maria Theresa will make this Christmas season truly unforgettable.
Select departures run in reverse (Passau to Budapest)
Visit the Christmas Market on Vörösmarty Square
Experience a traditional Slovakian Christmas
Visit 4 UNESCO World Heritage sites
Discover "Morning with the Masters" at the Vienna Art History Museum
Step into Benedictine Monastery Göttweig with organ concert
Located on opposite sides of the Danube, Buda and Pest each have their own distinctive character and allure. You’ll get a taste of this dynamic capital city with your choice of tours, and visit Budapest’s celebrated Christmas Market—one of the largest in Europe. Christmas has been celebrated in Budapest for a thousand years, since the time of St. Stephen, the king who founded the nation of Hungary and encouraged the spread of Christianity throughout his realm, but the city began as a Roman encampment almost a millennium before that. Over the centuries it was controlled by Germans, Austrians, Ottomans and Communists, all of whom have left traces.
Enjoy a special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner prepared for you this evening.
Once hidden from the world behind the “Iron Curtain,” Slovakia retains an air of mystery and intrigue, and its small capital city has an unexpectedly colorful history. You’ll learn more about Bratislava’s past from a local expert and also visit the local Christmas Market—a relatively new (and thoroughly delightful) tradition for Slovakians. How do you say “Merry Christmas” in Slovak? “Veselé Vianoce!” The heart and soul of Slovakia, Bratislava is full of surprises. The city straddles the mighty Danube and has played a leading role in the politics and culture of the region for many centuries. Unlike cities with venerable Christmas Markets, Bratislava just established its first holiday market in 1993. But the Slovakians have quickly embraced the seasonal traditions of their Austrian and Hungarian neighbors—and you’ll get to embrace them as well.
Renowned for its art and architecture, its classical music, its decadent pastries and its lengthy list of famous former residents, the refined city of Vienna is a cultural treasure trove. Experience the city with your choice of tours, as well as something extra special—VIP access to an extraordinary collection of art.
One of the most beautiful abbeys in Austria is still an active Benedictine monastery, but a monastery the likes of which you’ve never seen— Napoleon himself once laid his head here in the lavish imperial quarters. With its 14th-century stained glass windows, the abbey’s jewel box of a church is the perfect setting for a soul-stirring concert of organ music. Both the millennium-old town and the valley itself have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
You’ll want to find a comfortable seat in the lounge or on the Sun Deck today as your ship cruises through the Wachau Valley. Over the eons, the Danube cut a gorge through the foothills of the Bohemian Mountains, resulting in a 19-mile (30-kilometer) stretch of riverine scenery so beautiful; UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Landscape. Castle ruins dominate hilltops; baroque church towers appear on the riverbanks, marking historic villages and splendid abbeys; and vineyards and apricot orchards cling to the rocky slopes. Some of Austria’s finest white wines are produced from grapes grown on the dry-stone terraces above the river, where grapes were first planted 2,000 years ago.
Your ship docks at Linz, a modern yet historic city that extends across the shimmering waters of the Danube. From there, you’ll head to Mozart’s birthplace of Salzburg, which is nestled in a glorious alpine setting that sparkles like a winter wonderland this time of year. Fans of “The Sound of Music” may recognize locations from the Oscar-winning film in the city’s Old Town, the site of the grand cathedral and absolutely enchanting Christmas Market.
Passau is a crossroads in more ways than one—three rivers meet here and three nations nearly do, making for a fascinating cultural mosaic. Get to know the town with a guided stroll, then visit the local Christmas Market on the square in front of the cathedral. You’ll find a lot to enjoy here—from miniature houses and blown-glass ornaments to spun-sugar confections—in more than 70 stalls.
Enjoy special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner.
Day 8: Passau | Disembark
After disembarking the ship, be transferred to Munich Airport for your flight home.
Apologies for the inconvenience. Prices for not yet published. Below per person rate based on previous season. Contact us to confirm upcoming season pricing.
Prices for are estimated based on inflation. Contact us to confirm pricing and availability for your desired departure date.
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Magnificent appointed riverview stateroom (162 sq ft - 15 sq m) located on the Bavarian Deck. Handcrafted Savoir Beds of England, built-in closet, safe, hair dryer, individual thermostat, flat TV screen and bottled water. Marble bathroom with Asprey bath and body products, plush towels, towel warmer, cozy bathrobes and slippers.
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Sumptuous appointed riverview stateroom (194 sq ft - 18 sq m) located on the Schönbrunn Deck with a French balcony. Handcrafted Savoir Beds of England, built-in closet, safe, hair dryer, individual thermostat, flat TV screen and bottled water. Marble bathroom with Asprey bath and body products, plush towels, towel warmer, cozy bathrobes and slippers.
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Luxuriant appointed riverview stateroom(194 sq ft - 18 sq m) located on the Hofburg Deck with an open-air balcony. Handcrafted Savoir Beds of England, built-in closet, safe, hair dryer, individual thermostat, flat TV screen and bottled water. Marble bathroom with Asprey bath and body products, plush towels, towel warmer, cozy bathrobes and slippers.
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Lavishly appointed riverview suite (305 sq ft - 28.3 sq m) located on the Hofburg Deck with an open-air balcony. Handcrafted Savoir Beds of England, built-in closet, safe, hair dryer, individual thermostat, flat TV screen and bottled water.
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Luxurious appointed riverview grand suite (410 sq ft - 38 sq m) with a French balcony. Handcrafted Savoir Beds of England, built-in closet, safe, hair dryer, individual thermostat, flat TV screen and bottled water.The Grand Suite offers extra benefits, including a separate spacious living room, bathroom with a separate rain shower and tub, and secluded toilet and bidet area.
Included in Cruise Fare:
All meals onboard, prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients
Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions
Welcome and Farewell Gala Dinners
Unlimited beverages onboard, including fine wine, beer, spirits, specialty coffee and tea, soft drinks and mineral water
6 days of excursions, including "Choice Is Yours" options, all fully hosted by English-speaking local experts
Guided “Taste of Christmas” program
State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audio-headset system on all excursions
Use of Nordic walking sticks
Free Internet and Wi-Fi access
4 countries: Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia
4 UNESCO World Heritage sites
Services of an experienced Cruise Manager
All transfers on arrival and departure days
Gratuities for onboard personnel (ship staff, crew, Cruise/Tour Manager) are included during the cruise/tour
Captivating onboard local entertainment
Excluded from Cruise Fare:
Prices exclude additional port charges of $190 per person
Airfare, international or local
Passport or Visa fees
Travel protection plan
Extensions or land tours
Losses or costs incurred as a result of medical services obtained while on tour
Any additional personal expenses
Note: The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided on board on the first day of your cruise.
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!