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From the waft of fresh-baked strudels to simmering mulled wine, there’s nothing like Europe in the holiday spirit. Join Vantage on this gala holiday cruise through four countries — Germany, Hungary, Austria, and Slovakia — while exploring Europe’s best Christmas Markets, too. Delve into a majestic Budapest bedecked with yuletide flair, attend a Vantage-exclusive private concert at Vienna’s Kursalon Music Hall, enjoy a guided tour of the Spanish Riding School, and trace Salzburg’s storied heritage — one of four UNESCO World Heritage Sites you’ll discover! On top of seven guided tours, enjoy a roster of onboard entertainment — including performances, cooking demos, and Christmas tree decorating activities — while reveling in Europe in the off-season, but at the peak of seasonal magic.
Interested in solo travel? Vantage is the only company with river ship cabins built specifically for solo travelers! Gift yourself more time in Europe with pre- and post-trip extensions to Budapest and Prague to maximize the splendor at this time of year. But departures are limited on this seasonal voyage — so reserve yours soon!
Next stop: Budapest!
Your holiday cruise begins with an overnight flight to Budapest, Hungary. You can also begin your journey earlier — and spend more time in Budapest — with an optional pre-trip extension.
Enjoy a Welcome Drink in Budapest and board your Deluxe ship
Prepare to experience the joys of a festive river cruise when you arrive to grand Budapest, steeped in old-world splendor and yuletide flair. Upon your arrival, a Vantage representative will transfer you to the m/s River Voyager. This evening, you’ll gather with the Captain and your fellow travelers for a Welcome Drink & Briefing before dinner on board.
Apple strudel, organ recital, and treasure hunting in Bratislava; plus, deck the halls of the ship!
Warm apple strudel . . . it’s a European holiday staple, and you’ll learn how to make it today during a cooking demonstration. Afterwards, get to know Bratislava on a walking tour of the city’s historical sites including Bishop’s Palace, Main Square, and the National Theater before attending a classical organ recital at a local church. This afternoon, enjoy free time to peruse the local Christmas market, where you can find fine crystal, handmade leather slippers, honey wine, and other treasures. Deck the halls of your ship later in a fun Christmas tree-decorating workshop, then enjoy onboard entertainment with your fellow travelers.
Scenic Sailing: Enjoy morning scenic sailing to Bratislava, including views of Bratislava Castle.
Austrian Christmas traditions, exploring Liechtenstein Palace, exclusive tour of Vienna’s Spanish Riding School, and optional Heurigen dinner
After breakfast, hear a fascinating lecture on Austrian Christmas traditions — a perfect introduction to your Vienna experience today. Unforgettable Moment: A panoramic city drive will give you a comprehensive view of this imperial and artsy capital, including a special tour of the dazzling Palais Liechtenstein. Unforgettable Moment: Lunch is back onboard, followed by an exclusive guided tour of the Winter Riding Hall and the stables of Vienna’s Spanish Riding School. This nearly 500-year-old school is dedicated to the preservation of classical dressage and the training of famed Lipizzaner horses.
Your evening is at leisure to explore Vienna, including its Christmas Market. Or, join an optional tour full of food, music, and wine tasting during a Viennese Heurigen dinner.
Vienna at your leisure, private Kursalon music hall concert
Cultural Connection: Begin your day with another delectable breakfast before a lecture on the Habsburgs in Vienna. Lunch is on board, but both the morning and afternoon are at your leisure, with complimentary shuttle service into Vienna’s center where more fabulous Christmas market shopping awaits. Cultural Connection and Unforgettable Moment: This evening, attend an exclusive private classical music concert at the Kursalon music hall — a frequent haunt of Vienna’s own Johann Strauss.
Your choice of tours: The cultural capital of Linz or follow The Sound of Music in Salzburg
You’ll have a choice of tours in Austria today. Choose to explore lovely Linz, a cutting-edge city at the forefront of the arts and technology, or set off for storybook Salzburg, nestled in the Austrian Alps. This city — Mozart’s hometown, in fact — also boasts a few locales featured in The Sound of Music. No matter which tour you choose, you’ll have time to soak up the charm — and peruse the wares — of the local Christmas market. Cultural Connection: After dinner, enjoy more local entertainment in the ship’s lounge.
Enjoy a walking tour of baroque Passau, gingerbread making, and more Christmas markets before the Captain’s Farewell Party
More baroque splendor awaits you in picturesque Passau, located at the confluence of the Inn, Ilz, and Danube rivers. Admire the UNESCO-listed Old Town's beguiling combination of Italian baroque and medieval architecture on your walking tour. Cultural Connection: Learn the secrets of making Germany’s treasured lebkuchen — also known as gingerbread — from your chef on board. Then spend some time visiting Passau’s Christmas Market, located just outside St. Stephan's Cathedral.
Wandering Regensburg’s historic streets by foot or bike
Unforgettable Moment: 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 with an acting scene. Later, you'll have leisure time to explore on your own or visit the Christmas market.
Fly home from Munich or stay on for an extension to Prague
Disembark your river cruise ship in Regensburg and transfer to the Munich airport to return 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.