Fly in to Munich; we will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your ship in Passau.* After boarding, use free time to explore-or join our "welcome walk" to stretch your legs and start getting oriented. (D)
Day 2 - Monday - Oct 5, 2015
Today you may take an optional full-day excursion to two small Bohemian Czech cities: Budweis, with its impressive town square featuring Gothic, Renaissance and baroque buildings, and Cesky Krumlov, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded by a Bohemian king in the 13th century, Budweis was for a time the royal brewery for the Holy Roman Emperor, and beer remains a major industry there. Founded at about the same time as Budweis, Cesky Krumlov is known for its unusually large castle, and is an important cultural center, hosting various festivals throughout the year. Rejoin your ship for dinner. Or, join a morning walking tour of Passau's Italianate Old Town area, passing by the Veste Oberhaus, a 13th-century fortress that served as a bishop's stronghold for several centuries. Enjoy a concert on Europe's largest pipe organ in St. Stephan's Cathedral, then relax on board before dinner. (B,L,D) Passau organ concert not available after November 1.
Day 3 - Tuesday - Oct 6, 2015
Today's activity is an excursion to the legendary Austrian city of Salzburg, known as the location for the film, The Sound of Music. Ride through the scenic Austrian countryside to Salzburg's Old Town area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and take a walking tour featuring the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the Hohensalzburg Fortress just above the city center. Take free time to explore Salzburg's narrow cobbled streets and colorful buildings and get lunch in one of the charming cafes; return aboard for dinner and a late-evening departure. (B, D)
Day 4 - Wednesday - Oct 7, 2015
This morning, visit the 900-year-old abbey at Melk, a Benedictine monastery that was originally one of Leopold II's castles. See its spectacular wall and ceiling frescoes, note the library's comprehensive collection of medieval manuscripts, and admire the graceful spiral staircase. After lunch aboard, we stop at the picturesque Wachau Valley town of Durnstein, where you can explore on your own, sample some local vintages from this famous wine-producing region, or join an optional walking tour of the town's highlights. Dine aboard as you depart. (B,L,D)
Day 5 - Thursday - Oct 8, 2015
Today we tour the Austrian capital of Vienna. Ride along the Ringstrasse, which replaced the city walls in the mid-19th century. See some of the city's baroque architecture, including the world-famous Opera House, St. Stephan's Cathedral and Hofburg Palace. Return to your ship for lunch. The rest of the day is yours to further explore-as always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Or you may take an optional tour to Schonbrunn Palace, the Versailles of Vienna, graced by a number of formal gardens, classical statuary, the world's oldest zoo and the "Roman ruin" erected in 1778. After dinner, relax or enjoy an optional classical concert. (B,L,D)
Day 6 - Friday - Oct 9, 2015
Arrive in Bratislava this morning and embark on a walking tour of Slovakia's charming capital-the only national capital that borders two other countries, Austria and Hungary-with a long and fascinating history. See attractions like the medieval Town Hall complex and fortifications at Michael's Tower, baroque Trinity Church and Gothic St. Martin's Cathedral, and pass by several Habsburg-era baroque palaces before returning to your ship for lunch and departure. Enjoy relaxing Danube cruising; sail into Budapest late this evening. (B,L,D)
Day 7 - Saturday - Oct 10, 2015
Today we visit highlights of both the older "Buda" and more cosmopolitan "Pest" sides of the city, starting with Pest's National Opera House and historic Heroes' Square. In Buda, walk along Fishermen's Hill to Fishermen's Bastion and Matthias Church. Enjoy lunch aboard with the rest of the day to explore on your own-you may wish to visit the Art Deco Gellert Spa or one of the many other lavish facilities in this "City of Healing Waters." Return to your ship for a traditional Hungarian farewell dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 8 - Sunday - Oct 11, 2015
After breakfast, disembark and we will take you to the airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your journey with 2 additional nights in Budapest, giving yourself more time to explore the Hungarian capital. (B)
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