Magnificent Europe - Eastbound River Cruise (WAB)
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River Cruise Description
Welcome to beautiful Holland! Your fabulous 2019 15 day Avalon river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest vacation gets underway in fantastic Amsterdam and includes many impressive stops along the way to Budapest. You’ll find yourself immersed in Central Europe’s amazing culture as you enjoy this wonderful adventure.
Amsterdam is Holland’s lively capital city – both historic and yet contemporary – and this fascinating city showcases sophisticated architecture, classic town squares and peaceful canals. You’ll discover many must-see treasures while touring this 700-year-old city from a unique perspective – with a wonderful canal cruise along the stunning Grachten.
Then, you’re off to picturesque Germany and you’ll be impressed on an expertly guided city stroll in charming Cologne – an ancient 2,000-year-old city known for its amazing gothic architecture. You’ll cruise peacefully through the sensational Rhine Gorge, which veteran travelers consider the most beautiful and breathtaking stretch of the Rhine River. Your next stop on this European river cruise adventure, is in the alluring winemaking town of Rüdesheim. You’ll enjoy fantastic guided sightseeing tours as you visit charming Würzburg, impressive Rothenburg, beautiful Bamberg, historic Nuremberg, and quaint Regensburg. You marvel at the picturesque landscapes as you cruise the breathtaking Main Danube Canal, which connects you with the Main and Danube Rivers.
Your next stop in Austria is the wonderful village of Melk, known for its world-renowned Benedictine Abbey. You’ll marvel at the sensational frescoes, the historic library, and massive pipe organ of this delightful abbey, before you sail through the breathtaking Wachau Valley.
You’ll be discovering two captivating capital cities – charming Vienna, Austria, and bustling Budapest, Hungary. This world-renowned village is known as the “City of Music,” and rightly so. You’ll be able to explore the city that historians say wonderfully inspired the amazing works by world-famous composers – Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss.
Budapest is considered the “Pearl of the Danube.” This glistening city, situated on the river is known for its unique atmosphere and an abundance of historic must-see sites. As your wonderful 2019 15 day Avalon river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest comes to an end, you’ll certainly have many glorious memories and photos to take with you!
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River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 Arrive in Amsterdam, Holland (Embarkation)
Welcome to picturesque Amsterdam! Holland’s sophisticated, modern capital has a rich 700-year-old history and a distinct ambiance. You might wander through the bustling marketplace or see the works of famous Dutch masters at world-renowned museums. This afternoon, board your river cruise ship and meet your crew at a casual evening welcome reception. (Dinner)
*NOTE: Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
Day 2 Amsterdam
Today, get a unique perspective of Amsterdam on an included CANAL CRUISE, floating along the elegant grachten lined with luxurious homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” There’s free time to see more of the city this afternoon – or you might like to join an optional excursion before bidding tot ziens (farewell) to Holland and setting sail for Germany. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3 Cologne, Germany
Today, enjoy a peaceful morning of cruising before reaching Cologne after lunch. One of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles both sides of the Rhine River and is known for its soaring, elegant twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Choose between a GUIDED CITY WALK or JEWISH HERITAGE WALK. Later, during your free time, consider checking out the extravagant Romano-Germanic Museum, home to a large collection of artifacts from the Roman settlement on which modern Cologne is built – a must-see, especially for history buffs! The Old Town abounds with vibrant cafés, charming shops, and friendly taverns. Be sure to try a Kölsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for more than a hundred years! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4 Rhine Gorge–Rüdesheim
This morning, cruise through the sensational RHINE GORGE – without a doubt, the most beautiful stretch of river and where ancient castles stand sentry on towering cliffs rising as much as 400 feet above the river. Cruise past the rock of the Lorelei, where legend tells of enchanted siren song that lured unsuspecting sailors to their doom. On your included shore excursion in stunning Rüdesheim, visit SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM, where you’ll be mesmerized and captivated by the self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. Enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT and free time to shop for some vacation cruise souvenirs along the narrow, cobblestoned Drosselgasse, where colorful flowers, open-air wine gardens, and boisterous live music adds to the festive atmosphere. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 Main Village River
On the banks of the beautiful Main River you find numerous cultural gems of small towns and villages, many of them tucked away behind defensive walls and imposing towered gates. With quaint half-timbered houses, narrow streets, and medieval town centers, these picturesque Bavarian villages are a photographer’s dream come true. Join your Local Guide to experience one of these towns on a GUIDED WALK. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 Würzburg
Surrounded by lush green hillside grape vineyards, Würzburg, the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” makes an immediate impression with a majestic Marienberg Fortress perched high above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrucke (Old Main Bridge). On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR this morning, visit the extravagant baroque BISHOP’S RESIDENZ, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. Depart Würzburg at lunchtime and spend a leisurely afternoon cruising the beautiful Main River. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7 Bamberg
Today, arrive in historic medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germany’s most powerful imperial dynasties and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your GUIDED WALKING TOUR takes in its historic center, including the elegant 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)—built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the Catholic bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! Wander the town’s winding streets with their charming houses and stunning 18th-century mansions. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8 Nuremberg
Although 90% of Nuremberg’s Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. This morning, choose a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR and marvel at this thousand-year-old city’s medieval fortifications, extraordinary gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a more specialized “NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS” tour. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 9 Regensburg
Dating back to the time of the Celts around 500 BC, historic Regensburg is one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval cities. Established during the Holy Roman Empire and the only German city not bombed during WWII, Regensburg has at least 1,300 listed buildings of “historic interest.” Architectural highlights of your GUIDED WALK include the impressive Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), built in the 13th century, and imposing Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Wander through the city’s lanes and alleys to discover the many mansions with high towers. Wealthy families built these towers to emphasize their status and wealth during the Middle Ages, and many still remain today. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany, then enjoy a beer and a SNACK at the Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants. Here – where the locals congregate – feel the vibrant and busy atmosphere and take in the remarkable views along the scenic river. Before dinner we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s FAMOUS BEERS. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 10 Passau
Uniquely situated where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers meet, Passau is an amazing maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. Don’t miss seeing the extravagant St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture, houses one of the world’s largest church organs with 17,774 pipes. Take in the fascinating features on the included GUIDED WALK through this charming town, and find out much more about the “City of Three Rivers.” Or, you might like to join a full-day optional excursion to Salzburg to see some of the famous “Sound of Music” sights or to Ceský Krumlov in the Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 11 Dürnstein, Austria. Excursion to Göttweig Abbey
It’s hard to imagine a more magical day that awaits you! As you cruise into the picturesque Wachau Valley, pass the unmistakable Melk Abbey, high up and overlooking the river. Then, head into the heart of the Wachau wine region to impressive Dürnstein, known for its baroque blue Stiftskirche. A Local Guide will take you on a WALKING TOUR and tell you the centuries-old story of England’s King Richard the Lionheart, who was imprisoned in the castle whose ruins still stand above the town. Later, an excursion takes you to the elegant Benedictine Abbey of Göttweig, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also positioned high up overlooking the blue Danube. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 12 Vienna
Early this morning, arrive in Vienna, the “City of Music,” which inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. Vienna, once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s majestic capital on the blue Danube is a showcase of the city’s gilded architecture. This is home to the extravagant Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its world-famous Vienna Boys’ Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral – plus, countless other sites you’ll see on your GUIDED TOUR. Wander through the charming pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse, and be sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic Viennese coffeehouses – historic institutions that helped shape Viennese culture! You might enjoy an optional concert is available tonight, something you’d expect in the “City of Music.” (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 13 Bratislava, Slovakia
Nestled in the beautiful foothills of the Carpathian Mountains is Bratislava, the charming capital of Slovakia. After a wonderful breakfast, join your Local Guide for a tour of the city, including a GUIDED WALK of its fascinating Old Town, where winding cobblestoned streets and quaint narrow alleyways twist and turn to reveal the Town Hall, one of the oldest stone buildings in the city. Also visit elegant gothic ST. MARTIN’S CATHEDRAL, coronation church for the Kingdom of Hungary from the 16th to 19th centuries. This afternoon is free to explore more of this fascinating city on your own. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 14 Budapest, Hungary
Spanning the banks of the Danube, Budapest is one of Eastern Europe’s most energetic and bustling cities. Whether you’re seeing the sights, shopping for handcrafted embroidery or Herend porcelain, or merely wanting to bask in the coffeehouse culture over a rich cream cake in the world-renowned Gerbeaud Café, Budapest’s unique energy is especially alluring. On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, see historic Heroes Square as well as the magnificant hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion and elegant 11th-century Matthias Church. Be sure to note the city’s eight bridges – many famous sights in and of themselves – which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. During your free time this afternoon you may want to walk across ancient Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and considered a symbol of Budapest. Or, consider visiting extravagant St. Stephen’s Basilica with outstanding views of the city from its viewing platform, or wander along Váci utca, the main shopping street. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 15 Budapest (Disembarkation)
While your Central Europe vacation ends with breakfast this morning, take note of the many wonderful memories you will carry with you for the rest of your life. And the colorful photos you took during your cruise will be important reminders of your fabulous vacation. (Breakfast)
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