Welcome to Budapest, capital of Hungary. Transfer to your ship from the airport.* 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. Return to your ship for a traditional Hungarian dinner. (D)
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 Nouveau Gellért Spa or one of the many other lavish facilities in this “City of Healing Waters.” Return to your ship for dinner and evening departure. (B, L, D)
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 Jesuit 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 or take a walk before a late departure. (B, L, D)
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 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 Schönbrunn 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 5Dürnstein & Melk
This morning, we dock at the picturesque Wachau Valley town of Dürnstein, where you can explore on your own, or take an optional stroll with your Program Director to see 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 6Linz & Salzburg
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 cafés, then return aboard for dinner and a late-evening departure. (B, D)
Sail into Passau early this morning as you sit down for breakfast. 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†. After lunch, your afternoon is free to spend at leisure enjoying the sights and sounds of Passau. Board your ship and relax before a dinner featuring German delicacies.
†Passau organ concert is only available May 1-October 31 and is closed on Sunday.
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the Munich airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your journey with 3 additional nights in the lovely Czech capital of Prague. (B)