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Danube Splendor: A Holiday Cruise - 2021

8-night river cruise with Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Linz, Passau, Regensburg
  • $277
  • 9
  • 22
10 DAYS FROM $3,148
Extend Your journey (2 available)
Budapest, Hungary

3 DAYS FROM $599

Prague, Czech Republic

4 DAYS FROM $799

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Start the holiday season off right with this festive European cruise. You’ll discover Germany, Hungary, Austria, and Slovakia at the peak of seasonal splendor, while enjoying all the delights of the off-season such as fewer crowds and quaint Christmas markets. Sailing from Budapest to Regensburg, you’ll appreciate a fantastic balance of cultural capitals and the charming small towns that embody old-world Europe, only draped in holiday dazzle.

When you’re not shopping for handmade treasures and antiques at the Christmas markets, you’ll follow “The Sound of Music” to Salzburg, discover Bavaria’s unending charms, and enjoy spirited recitals, including a private classical music performance at Vienna’s esteemed Kursalon and an organ concert at a Franciscan church in Bratislava. Onboard lectures and performances will bring culture and the arts right to you, while cooking demonstrations will teach you how to make delicious holiday specialties like Germany’s famous gingerbread. Plus, deck the halls of your ship in a delightful decorating competition that couples and families alike will enjoy.

Treat yourself to more time in Budapest with an optional extension that includes extra holiday markets, cuisine, and a Jewish history tour; or seek more seasonal splendor in Prague, the city of grand castles, unbeatable beer, and cobblestoned treasures. Traveling solo? We’ve added more supplement-free solo cabins to the m/s River Splendor, as well as adjoining cabin options and third-guest accommodations that make cruising Europe with the family the perfect holiday gift.

Regensburg to Budapest

Pre-Trip Extension

Budapest, Hungary

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DAY 1:

Next stop: Munich, Germany!

Your holiday cruise begins with an overnight flight to Germany’s Bavarian hub, Munich. You can also begin your journey earlier with an optional pre-extension to Prague.

DAY 2:

Transfer to Regensburg, embark ship, and enjoy a Welcome Drink with the Captain

Upon arrival in Munich, a Vantage representative will assist you with transferring to your ship in Regensburg. Along the way, you’ll catch glimpses of this city's remarkable architecture, some of which dates back as far as the 11th century. Enjoy your first dinner on board this evening.

Vantage Onboard Enrichment:

  • Morning yoga and stretching, offered throughout the duration of your cruise
  • Optional early risers’ breakfast in the Captain’s Club, offered throughout the duration of your cruise
  • Chess, shuffleboard, track, spa, and other amenities

Included Meals:


DAY 3:

Wandering Regensburg’s historic streets by foot or bike

Delve into Bavarian custom and culture with a day in 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 sample Glüehwein — spiced mulled wine — at the Christmas market. You’ll also meet Martin, Regensburg’s city guard, who will regale you with a special presentation. Later, you'll have leisure time to explore on your own or continue shopping the Christmas market for handmade items including marionettes, dolls, pottery, candles, and more. Enjoy evening entertainment tonight.

Included Feature:

  • Walking tour of Regensburg’s UNESCO-listed Old Town
Cultural Connections:
  • Meet Martin the city guard of Regensburg
  • Evening onboard entertainment
Biking Opportunity:

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 4:

Christmas-themed Passau tour, painting and gingerbread making, decorating the ship before 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. 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. This afternoon, a local painter comes on board for a colorful painting lesson.

Then, learn the secrets of making Germany’s treasured lebkuchen — also known as gingerbread — in the ship’s lounge. Tonight, join the Captain’s Gala Dinner.

Included Feature:

  • Christmas-themed Passau walking tour
Cultural Connections:
  • Onboard painting lesson by a local
  • Learn to make lebkuchen, also known as gingerbread
Biking Opportunity:
  • Ride along the Ilz River on a medium/difficult 10-mile route.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5:

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. Or, 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 which tour you choose, you’ll have time to soak up the charm — and peruse the wares at the local Christmas market.

Included Feature:

  • Your choice of tours: Full-day Salzburg excursion with lunch in a local restaurant, or Linz walking tour with lunch onboard and afternoon at leisure
Biking Opportunity:
  • Discover the landmarks along the Danube, including Bruckner Concert Hall and the Lentos Art Museum, on this easy route to Linz Click here for details

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 6:

Austrian Christmas traditions, exploring Liechtenstein Palace, and traditional heurigen dinner

After breakfast, learn how to make delicious apple strudel during a cooking demo as your ship arrives to Vienna. A panoramic city drive along the UNESCO-listed Ringstrasse will give you a better view of this imperial and artsy capital. Later, feel the grandeur of Palais Liechtenstein on a special tour of this dazzling estate. Then, sit down for a Viennese Heurigen dinner on an optional tour and musical performances. Alternatively, spend some time exploring Vienna on your own, including the city’s Christmas market, via a convenient shuttle to and from the ship.  Tonight, join a lecture on Christmas traditions. Later, warm-up dancers join us on board for a lively show.

Vantage Exclusive:

  • Panoramic city tour of Vienna with a special tour of the Palais Liechtenstein
Cultural Connections:
  • Attend a lecture on Austrian Christmas traditions
  • Warm-up dancers for evening onboard entertainment
  • Apple strudel making demo

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Optional Tour: Viennese Heurigen Dinner, Wine & Music

Viennese Heurigen Dinner, Wine & Music

  • Approximate Cost: $129 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3.5 hours
  • Location: Vienna, Austria
  • When: Evening tour, including dinner

The congenial atmosphere of cozy, family-style wine taverns, known as heurigens, is perfectly complemented by hearty food, lively music — and locally produced vintages, of course. Heurigens traditionally have rustic décor, open courtyards with outdoor seating, and an accordion player playing traditional Viennese songs. You’ll visit an authentic heurigen for dinner, music, and wine! You can look forward to a fun and festive evening!

DAY 7:

The best of Vienna: Lipizzaner horses, Christmas markets, 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.

Vantage Exclusive:

  • Attend an exclusive private classical music concert at the Kursalon music hall
Included Feature:
  • Morning rehearsal of the Lipizzaner horses at the Spanish Riding School, or a guided tour to the Winter Riding School and to the Stables
Cultural Connection:
  • Join a lecture on the Habsburg monarchy
Biking Opportunity: Please note: On dates when the Morning Rehearsal is not available in the Spanish Riding School, a guided tour will be provided to the Winter Riding School and to the Stables.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 8:

Organ recital, the Captain’s Gala Dinner and evening entertainment

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.

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. Tonight, deck 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.

Included Feature:

  • Walking tour of Bratislava’s historic sites
Cultural Connections:
  • Classical organ recital at a local Franciscan church
  • Onboard Christmas tree decorating workshop

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9:

Exploring Budapest on a city tour, optional Hungarian Culinary 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.

Your afternoon is free for you to explore. Perhaps you’ll explore the more than 100 stalls comprising the Budapest Christmas Market, then head to visit a famous confectioner like Gerbeaud, Café Demel, or the Sacher Café, and join the perennial argument over who makes the world’s best Sachertorte. Maybe you’ll do some window shopping on Váci Utca, the pedestrian shopping zone. Or ask your Concierge to help arrange a visit to one of Budapest’s famous thermal baths, such as Széchenyi or Gellért.

Foodies will particularly enjoy our optional Hungarian Culinary Tour, which includes a tour of Budapest’s Central Market Hall and entrance to the Zwack Museum, with a tasting of the country’s trademark Unicum herbal liqueur.

Included Feature:

  • City tour of Budapest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Biking Opportunity:

  • Enjoy the most magnificent sites of Budapest, including Freedom Bridge, Chain Bridge, and the Hungarian Parliament Building during a medium-paced 9-mile route. Click here for details

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Optional Tour: Hungarian Culinary Tour

Hungarian Culinary Tour

  • Approximate Cost: $49 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 hours
  • Location: Budapest, Hungary
  • When: Afternoon Tour

If you ask a Hungarian what some typical Hungarian products are, you will very likely hear of the Hungarian paprika, Tokaj wine, salami, goose liver, and the bittersweet liqueur known as Unicum. Join us on this afternoon tour, and you'll discover the culinary treats offered by this wonderful country! Your tour begins with entrance to the Zwack Unicum Museum, where your English-speaking guide will introduce the secrets of liquor production that have been passed from one generation to the other in the Zwack family since the 18th century. Your visit includes a short film about the history of Unicum, a museum tour, entrance to the cellars, and a tasting of Unicum. 

Your tour continues to the Central Market Hall, the largest and most beautiful market in the city. This three-story hall offers plenty to do and see, and with the help of your guide, you'll have a great experience at the market! You'll see the local housewives’ shopping habits as well as the colorful Hungarian products — including strings of red paprika and garlic, Hungarian salamis, sausages, hams, and other meat products; fresh pastries; dairy products; Hungarian wines and palinka; and more. As you walk row by row to get ideas for souvenirs, you'll take in the vibrant atmosphere of this exceptional hall. Following your market visit, you'll transfer back to your hotel and your tour will come to an end.

DAY 10:

Fly home, or stay in Budapest for a post-trip extension

Disembark your river cruise ship in Budapest and transfer to the airport to return home, or check into your Budapest hotel and begin your post-trip extension here.

Included Meals:


Post-Trip Extension

Prague, Czech Republic


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. 

Contact Vantage

CALL 1-888-514-1845

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Danube Splendor: A Holiday Cruise - 2021

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