Magnificent Europe
Grand Cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest—16 Days


River Ship Day 1, Sat: USA – Amsterdam.

Day 2, Sun: Amsterdam. Arrive in Amsterdam and transfer to your luxurious river cruise ship, which is conveniently moored near the city center. Start discovering the town during the balance of the day, before meeting your fellow travelers at the Welcome Cocktail Reception. Following dinner in the elegant Panorama Restaurant, savor the piano music in the beautiful Main Lounge, relax in the intimate atmosphere of the Amadeus Club, or head back into town to take in Amsterdam's fascinating nightlife.

Europe Itinerary Day 3, Mon: Amsterdam. Fitness enthusiasts can opt for an early morning stroll into the city, enjoy the ship's unique 110-yard walking track on the large Sun Deck or work out in the ship's gym. After a delectable breakfast, admire the wonderful architecture of the city from a guided canal boat tour. Sail in a glass-top boat past beautiful 17th century homes, charming churches with bell towers and 16th century merchant houses. Free time before departing Amsterdam around lunch. Enjoy an afternoon information briefing as you cruise towards Germany. Tonight you'll be a guest at the Captain's Gala Welcome Dinner. Then join your fellow travelers for evening of dance and dance lessons in the front lounge.

Day 4, Tue: Cologne – Koblenz. Early riser cruise through fashionable Düsseldorf, before arriving in Cologne for a guided morning walking tour through the old part of the city and a visit to the fabled 13th century Gothic cathedral. At lunchtime continue to 2000-year old Koblenz, located at the confluence of the Rhine and the Moselle rivers. Take an after dinner walk through this charming town.

Day 5, Wed: Rüdesheim. Today, sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge, the most beautiful stretch of the river. Every mile along the river you'll admire a different, magnificent castle. Then see the legendary Lorelei Rock, where sweet songs of local beauties lured enchanted sailors to their doom. Arrive in Rüdesheim, the perfect example of a Rhine Valley wine town. Here, a mini-train picks you up at the ship and takes you to the fascinating Siegfried's Musical Instrument Museum for a guided tour. During dinner bid farewell to the Rhine and enter the Main river. Tonight's fascinating Crew Show will conclude a great day of river cruising.

Day 6, Thu: Miltenberg – Wertheim. Arrive in Miltenberg and disembark for a guided morning walking tour of this old Franconian town, which reveals narrow cobblestone streets and gabled, half-timbered houses. Shop for souvenirs before a bus takes you to charming Wertheim where you can browse leisurely in the market square before boarding the ship in time for lunch. The rest of the day, cruise through the sunny valleys of the meandering Main, which has always been the major lifeline of this region. Listen to an exciting afternoon lecture about the Main region, relax on the beautiful Sun Deck or take photos of the lovely towns along the river.

Day 7, Fri: Würzburg. After a morning filled with beautiful Main river scenery, you'll be romanced by Würzburg, "The Pearl of the Romantic Road". Surrounded by sloping hills covered with vineyards, the city is the capital of Lower Franconia, a center of wine and trade. During your morning tour visit the major sights including the magnificent Residential Palace. A short afternoon cruise takes you to charming Volkach, a fascinating town known for its great Franconian wines and its romantic ambience. An after dinner wine tasting will highlight the evening.

Day 8, Sat: Bamberg. This morning, enter the Main-Danube Canal at enchanting Bamberg, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. Disembark for a guided tour of this medieval gem, with its uniquely intact townscape. Marvel at the breathtaking Cathedral, the Old Town Hall, which straddles the river, and the city's serpentine streets with charming houses and 18th century mansions. From here your bus will take you through the picturesque countryside to rejoin your ship in Erlangen. Continue along the Main-Danube Canal to ancient Nuremberg, capital of Franconia.

Day 9, Sun: Nuremberg. Enjoy a guided morning tour of this historic city with its fabulous Gothic churches and elegant patrician houses. 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. At lunchtime, continue to transit the Main-Danube Canal as you arrive at the highest point of your cruise—1332 feet above sea level before your descend through stair-step locks to charming Berching, where Bavarian folklore entertainers will come aboard for some hearty Oompah music.

Day 10, Mon: Danube Gorge – Regensburg. This morning takes you through the final stretch of the fascinating Main-Danube Canal. Arrive in Kelheim and embark on an excitingboat trip through the lovely Danube Gorge to Weltenburg Abbey. Return to your ship in magnificent Regensburg, one of Germany's best preserved medieval cities. A guided tour will show you the city's architectural highlights, including the Old Town Hall, and the Porta Pretoria—gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179AD. Marvel at beautiful churches and one of the oldest bridges crossing the Danube.

Day 11, Tue: Passau – Salzburg – Linz. Early this morning the ship takes you through scenic valleys past charming riverside towns. After breakfast, arrive in Passau, where the rivers Inn and Ilz join the Danube. Here you board your modern bus for an exciting full-day tour to Salzburg and its most popular Sound-of-Music sights including Nonnberg Abbey, the Wedding Church, the exquisite Mirabell Gardens, the monumental Domplatz, the Great Salzburg Festival Hall and much more. A festive lunch celebration in charming surroundings ill further highlight this wonderful excursion. Also enjoy a stroll through Salzburg's narrow Getreidegasse or shop for souvenirs before returning to your cruise ship, which is docked in nearby Linz. After dinner, take a walk through this delightful town, Austria's third largest city.

Day 12, Wed: Melk – Dürnstein. Cruise through the narrow Strudengau and reach the Wachau Valley early this morning. A guided tour takes you to Melk's magnificent Benedictine Abbey, one of Europe's largest baroque monasteries. At lunchtime, continue on a short cruise to Dürnstein. Marvel at the magnificient blue fa‡ade of the Baroque Stiftskirche. Above town you'll spot the ruins of the castle where Richard the Lionheart, the King of England, was imprisoned in 1192. Your walking tour through medieval cobblestone streets reveals 16th century town houses and wine taverns. Continue through the romantic Wachau Valley, dotted with magnificent castles and charming riverside towns. Tonight arrive in Vienna, the "City of Music".

Day 13, Thu: Vienna. Enjoy a wonderful day to savor the captivating baroque elegance of romantic Vienna. A guided sightseeing tour includes the lavish Hofburg Palace, the impressive Vienna Opera House, the majestic Ringstrasse and awe-inspiring St. Stephen's Cathedral. Free afternoon to stroll along Kärntnerstrasse or sample Vienna's famous pastries. Tonight explore the vibrant Austrian capital on your own, or come along for an optional Mozart and Strauss concert.

Day 14, Fri: Bratislava. After midnight the ship slips away from Vienna and continues to nearby Slovakia. A guided morning tour of Bratislava reveals the city's major sights, including the Old Town Hall, the stunning Mirbach Palace, the Gothic St. Martin's Cathedral. From 13th century Bratislava Castle you'll enjoy breathtaking views overlooking three countries—Slovakia, Austria and Hungary. Free afternoon to shop or explore on your own followed by an evening filled with local folklore. Before midnight depart for Hungary.

Day 15, Sat: Budapest. Morning sightseeing includes historic Buda Castle, from where you have a splendid view of the twin cities of Buda and Pest spread over both banks of the river. Your tour also features 500-year old Matthias Church, St. Stephen's Basilica, distinctive Fisherman Bastion, the marvelous Royal Palace and much more. Your afternoon is free to explore on your own. Tonight gather on board for a Gala Farewell Dinner with gypsy violins.

Day 16, Sun: Budapest – USA. Your fascinating cruise comes to an end as you transfer to the airport and return home.

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