RIVER CRUISES / CHRISTMAS MARKETS ON THE DANUBE
Two packages available. Land & Cruise OR Cruise only
l ARRIVE IN PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Arrive in Prague and check-in to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free to explore this beautiful and historic city.
Day 2 l PRAGUE
This morning’s sightseeing tour reveals why Prague is considered one of Europe’s most attractive cities. Visit the 1,000-year-old Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral, then cross the Charles Bridge to the Old Market Square. The remainder of your morning is free to shop at Prague’s renowned Christmas Market with its tempting assortment of handicrafts, toys and local delicacies; mix with the locals at Wenceslas Square; or relax at a coffeehouse. This afternoon, you may take an optional tour to Terezin , the infamous Nazi WWII concentration camp that now serves as a memorial to those who perished. Tonight, you can choose to attend an optional “Folklore Dinner Show.”
Day 3 l PRAGUE - NUREMBERG, GERMANY - EMBARKATION
Depart Prague after breakfast and drive through the pastoral countryside to Nuremberg. Visit the world’s largest Christmas Market, with over 100 red and white canvas-topped stalls offering unique crafts, toys, dollhouses, carved angels, freshly baked gingerbread, mulled wine and other seasonal delights. Tonight, gather on board your ship for a Welcome Dinner. The ship moors in Nuremberg overnight.
l NUREMBERG - CONTINENTAL DIVIDE
Enjoy a guided morning tour of this historic city with its fabulous Gothic churches, 900-year-old city ramparts, Imperial Castle, and the Justice Palace courtroom where the War Crimes Tribunal sat in 1946. Following your tour, you will have free time to visit the city’s fabled Christmas Market and enjoy some hot mulled Glühwein – the souvenir mug is yours to keep! After lunch, continue on to the Continental Divide at Hilpoltstein – the river’s highest point at 1,332 feet above sea level – before descending through stair-step locks.
Day 5 l REGENSBURG
Arrive in Regensburg after breakfast and enjoy a guided walking tour of this exquisitely preserved medieval city. Marvel at the beautiful churches, the homes of wealthy families, and one of Germany’s oldest bridges across the Danube. Your tour ends with a visit to the Old Kornmarkt Christmas Market, with its festive stalls adorned with fir branches. If you’d like to explore on your own in lieu of our city tour, perhaps you will enjoy visiting the “royal” markets at the Thurn and Taxis Palace, a very traditional handicraft Christmas Market, where you can watch craftsmen at work.
Day 6 l PASSAU
After breakfast, you have two choices for how to spend the day. The first is a walking tour of picturesque Passau , a fairytale city founded more than 2,000 years ago, known for its fortifications and St. Stephan’s Cathedral, home to Europe’s largest pipe organ. Afterwards, take some time to explore the town’s Christmas Market. Or take an optional full day excursion to Salzburg, birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the setting for “The Sound of Music.” You will have time to visit Salzburg’s beautiful Christmas Market, renowned for local handicrafts and one-of-a-kind holiday presents. If you prefer to stay on board, enjoy a scenic cruise from Passau to Linz . After arriving this evening, feel free to take a walk through this delightful town or browse for keepsakes at yet another charming Christmas Market. The ship departs around midnight and cruises overnight.
Day 7 l WEISSENKIRCHEN , AUSTRIA – VIENNA
Today’s guided walking tour takes you to Melk’s magnificent 900-year-old Benedictine Abbey, one of Europe’s largest Baroque monasteries. You will see the famous library that inspired novelist Umberto Eco to write The Name of the Rose. During lunch, the ship cruises through the romantic Wachau Valley en route to Vienna, the “City of Music,” arriving this evening. Tonight, you may head into town to explore on your own or opt for an optional Mozart and Strauss concert. The ship moors overnight in Vienna.
Day 8 l VIENNA
This morning, start your excursion with a driving tour of Vienna. You will see the majestic Opera House, the Ringstrasse , and St. Stephen’s Cathedral, followed by a walking tour of the city center. Afterwards, spend some time enjoying the Christmas Market and holiday festivities at the Town Hall. This afternoon, you can join an optional tour to Schonbrunn Palace, which has its own remarkable Christmas Market, or take a stroll along the Kärntnerstrasse and stop to sample Vienna’s famous pastries. The ship departs around dinnertime for Hungary.
Day 9 l BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
This morning, cruise past the beautiful towns nestled along the Danube Bend en route to Budapest. Your Budapest sightseeing tour takes you to Buda Castle, with its splendid view of the twin cities, as well as the Fisherman’s Bastion, the Royal Palace and St. Stephen’s Basilica. You have the balance of the day to explore the Christmas Market in the main square. Tonight, enjoy a Farewell Dinner, followed by a special “Illuminations Cruise” past Budapest’s glittering river front. The ship moors overnight in Budapest.
Day 10 l DISEMBARKATION - DEPART BUDAPEST
Your cruise comes to an end as you prepare for your homeward flight.