Celebrate the holidays with Vantage on a leisurely yet festive cruise over Thanksgiving — one departure only! You’ll discover the joys of traveling in Europe during the low season, including fewer crowds, all while taking in the pleasures of European wintertime. Setting sail from charming Regensburg, you’ll visit festive Bavarian towns such as Passau, explore UNESCO-listed Vienna over two days, and hear an organ concert at a Franciscan church in Bratislava that will put you in the holiday mood.
You’ll sail the Danube on the 5-star m/s River Splendor, which we’ve reoutfitted with even more supplement-free single cabins with French balconies and adjoining cabin options that are perfect for traveling with the family or a group of friends! Learn how to make gingerbread . . . Hear about Austrian Christmas traditions . . . Follow The Sound of Music to Salzburg . . . Discover Regensburg, the gem of Bavaria, and its famous sausages . . . And enjoy special dinners and deck the halls of your ship for a spirited journey.
Add pre- and post-trip extensions to Prague and Budapest for more holiday magic in two of Europe's grandest cities. Don’t miss this delightful holiday journey that’s perfect for friends, family, and solo travelers!
Next stop: Munich, Germany!
Your holiday cruise begins with an overnight flight to Munich, Germany. You can also begin your journey earlier an explore beer, history, and architecture on our optional pre-trip extension to Prague.
Board the m/s River Splendor and enjoy a Welcome Drink in Regensburg
Today you’ll land in Munich. Upon your arrival, a Vantage representative will transfer you to the m/s River Splendor. This evening, you’ll gather with the Captain and your fellow travelers for a Welcome Drink & Briefing before your first dinner on board.
Vantage Onboard Enrichment:
Wandering Regensburg’s historic streets by foot or bike
Delve into Bavarian custom and culture with a day to explore medieval Regensburg. Largely spared from World War II bombing, Regensburg is remarkably well-preserved, with an Old Town doubling as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander the city on a walking tour of the city’s medieval highlights, and meet Martin, the city guard, in a special acting scene we’ve arranged — don’t forget your camera!
If you’re more active, you’ll have the opportunity to join the same walking tour but at a faster clip. Alternatively, feel free to explore on one of the complimentary bicycles aboard your ship.
Later, you'll have leisure time to explore on your own, including a chance to dine at the Regensburg Sausage Kitchen, a historic restaurant on the Danube that’s also the oldest continuously open restaurant in the world. Don’t miss the finger-sized sausage, sauerkraut, and sweet mustard — a delicacy! You can also join the Cruise Director for a warm, mulled cup of Glühwein at the local Christmas Market. Tonight, enjoy a festive dinner with on board entertainment.
Christmas-themed Passau tour, painting and gingerbread making, plus the Captain’s Gala Dinner
More baroque splendor awaits you in picturesque Passau, located at the confluence of the Inn, Ilz, and Danube rivers. On a Christmas-themed walking tour, we’ll admire the UNESCO-listed Old Town and spend some time at the Christmas market, located just outside St. Stephan's Cathedral. (A more active walk and cycling are also available.) Don’t forget to try the gingerbread here in Passau — it’s spiced, warm, delectable, and you’ll even learn how to make it later this afternoon.
Plus, break out your artistic side when a local painter comes on board for a colorful painting lesson. Tonight, enjoy the Captain’s Gala Dinner, followed by movie night featuring The Sound of Music.
Follow The Sound of Music to Salzburg, or explore the cultural capital of Linz
You'll have a choice of tours in Austria today. Set off today for storybook Salzburg, nestled in the Austrian Alps. This city — Mozart’s hometown, in fact — also boasts a few locales featured in the beloved classic, The Sound of Music. Lunch is in a local restaurant.
Or, have lunch on board and choose to explore lovely Linz, a cutting-edge city at the forefront of the arts and technology that UNESCO dubbed a City of Media Arts. No matter what tour you choose, you’ll have time to soak up the charm — and peruse the wares at the local Christmas markets. After dinner, enjoy more local entertainment in the ship’s lounge.
Learn about Austrian Christmas traditions and explore the Liechtenstein Palace
After breakfast, learn how to make warm apple strudel, a European holiday staple. After lunch, your ship arrives in Vienna for two days of discovery. A panoramic city drive along the UNESCO-listed Ringstrasse will give you a better view of this imperial and artsy capital. Then, feel the grandeur of Palais Liechtenstein on a special tour of this dazzling estate.
You’ll return to the ship this evening to hear a fascinating lecture on Austrian Christmas traditions. Tonight, look forward to a special wine-paired dinner, followed by more festive onboard entertainment.
Vienna’s best: Lipizzaner horses, Christmas markets, and a private Kursalon concert
A lecture on the Habsburg monarchy kicks off your second day of discoveries in Vienna. Afterward, attend a rehearsal of the famed Lipizzaner horses at the Spanish Riding School. After lunch on the ship, catch the Vantage shuttle back to the center of Vienna where more fabulous Christmas market shopping awaits.
This evening, attend an exclusive private classical music concert at the Kursalon music hall, a frequent haunt of Vienna’s own Johann Strauss. But the festivities continue — after tonight’s dinner, enjoy a waltz dance course on board the ship.
Attend an organ recital and go treasure hunting in Bratislava; plus, deck the halls of your ship!
After breakfast, get to know Bratislava on a walking tour of the city’s historical sites including the Main Square, National Theater, and an inside visit to the Bishop’s Palace before attending a classical organ recital at a local Franciscan church that’ll put you even more in the holiday mood.
Afterward, enjoy free time to peruse the local Christmas market, where you can find fine crystal, handmade leather slippers, honey wine, and other treasures. Your ship sets sail for Budapest this afternoon. During some scenic sailing, enjoy afternoon tea and decking the halls of your ship in a fun Christmas tree decorating workshop. This fun, family activity culminates with a competition, and the winner will be announced afterward at the festive Captain’s Farewell Reception.
Explore Budapest on a city tour
Wake up in Budapest, which you’ll see this morning on a city tour. Almost the entirety of Budapest’s historic center has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you’ll see the best of it as you visit City Park; Heroes' Square with its statues of Magyar chieftains; elegant Andrassy Avenue; the iconic Parliament building; and Castle Hill, where you’ll have free time and entrance to Fisherman's Bastion and the Citadel.
Your afternoon is free for you to explore, with complimentary shuttle service to and from the ship. Perhaps you’ll explore the more than 100 stalls comprising the Budapest Christmas Market, or ask your Concierge to help arrange a visit to one of Budapest’s famous thermal baths, such as Széchenyi or Gellért.
After breakfast, transfer to Budapest’s airport for your return flight home.
Important Notice:The above day-by-day itinerary is preliminary and subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert. In addition, should there be an extreme change in water levels, Vantage will do everything possible to provide either the included excursion or an alternate excursion at Vantage’s discretion.
Please Note: Port times & itineraries are subject to change. Fluctuating water levels and winter weather may affect itinerary. All Christmas markets are subject to local traditions and opening dates and times are dependent on the local authorities.