Welcome to Budapest, capital of Hungary. We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your ship.* After boarding, the afternoon is yours to relax or do a bit of exploring; if your arrival schedule permits, you may join an organized walk to Budapest's famous covered market housed in the three-story Great Market Hall established in 1897. (D)
Day 2 - Monday - Oct 5, 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 dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 3 - Tuesday - Oct 6, 2015
Arrive in Bratislava this afternoon 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. This evening you can relax, take a walk or attend an optional evening performance before a late departure. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - Wednesday - Oct 7, 2015
Ride along Vienna's Ringstrasse, which replaced the city walls in the mid-19th century. See some of Vienna'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 choose to join an optional tour of 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 5 - Thursday - Oct 8, 2015
This morning, we dock 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. After lunch on board, 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. Rejoin your ship and cruise through dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 6 - Friday - Oct 9, 2015
Awaken in Linz and set off on an all-day excursion to the beautiful Austrian city of Salzburg, famous 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. You have some free time to enjoy Salzburg's narrow cobbled streets and colorful shops and get lunch in one of the charming cafes, then return aboard for dinner and a late-evening departure. (B, D)
Day 7 - Saturday - Oct 10, 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 8 - Sunday - Oct 11, 2015
After breakfast, disembark and we will take you to the Munich airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your journey with 3 additional nights in the lovely Czech capital of Prague. (B)
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