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Immerse yourself in the legacies of Van Gogh, the Dutch Golden Age of trade and art, iconic narrow houses and gabled facades, glittering canals, cheese shops at every corner and bike paths to zip past them all in the Netherlands’ unforgettable capital: Amsterdam. Enhance your base tour with more cultural discoveries, such as an included visit to the Rijksmuseum, a canal cruise, and an orientation walk of Dusseldorf along the way.
Fly overnight to Frankfurt, Germany
Today, fly overnight to Frankfurt, Germany. You can also begin your journey earlier with an optional pre-trip extension to Amsterdam.
Enjoy the Mainz attraction
Today, you’ll land in Frankfurt. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to the pier in Mainz, where you will board your Deluxe river ship and officially begin your European river cruise.
Sip Kölsch and explore the cultural center of Cologne
This morning, take a walking tour of this historic German cultural center. This evening, we'll enjoy a Welcome Reception and Dinner as well as some onboard entertainment.
Culinary Feature: Enjoy a tasting of Kölsch beer, a signature brew that is only made here in Cologne.
Biking Opportunity: Enjoy this scenic path along the iconic Rhine River, with terrific views of the Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern Bridge, during this easy 5-mile route. Click here for details.
Rhine Valley views; Rudesheim personalized for you
Scenic sailing: This morning begins with some scenic sailing down the Rhine featuring onboard commentary from our Cruise Director. Some highlights include Lorelei, a steep slate rock that sits at the center of local lore and has enamored singers, poets, and viewers for centuries. We'll also pass a series of castles along the Rhine Gorge, and your Cruise Director will identify them and offer some history!
After our sail, we'll arrive in Rudesheim, where you'll have your choice of three tours. The first is a cable car ride to the historic Niederwald Monument, which overlooks the Rhine Valley and commemorates the unification of Germany in the late 19th century. You can also embark on a mini-train ride to Siegfried's Musikkabinett, an amusing museum dedicated to self-playing music and its instruments. Wine Feature: Your third choice of tours is a newly added wine tasting walking tour, where you’ll sample three different regional vintages — and have a nifty souvenir glass to take home! Afterwards, you'll return to the ship for dinner, which will be followed by onboard entertainment.
Day-tripping through romantic Heidelberg
Today, set off from Frankfurt for a full-day excursion to Heidelberg, a UNESCO site that is home to Germany’s oldest college, Heidelberg University. Unforgettable Moment: In Heidelberg, you’ll tour 15th-century Heidelberg Castle, one of the most famous of European castles, an imposing Gothic-Renaissance ruin of red stone that illustrates the history of Germany. Ride the funicular from the castle to the town center, where you’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then have free time to explore. Cultural Connection: Tonight, the 4 Virtuosos come onboard for evening entertainment.
Exploring village life in Marktheidenfeld, with a BBQ lunch and traditional live music
Wine Feature: This morning, immerse yourself in the culture of two fascinating villages. You’ll have your choice of tours after breakfast when you dock in Wertheim, all of which feature local manufacturing traditions, ranging from an ironmill to a winery, where you’ll get to sample the wares, of course! (Signups will be onboard.)
Unforgettable Moment: The highlight of our day today will be a delightful half-day tour of Marktheidenfeld, during which we’ll savor a BBQ lunch and take in some traditional live music. Back on the ship, a glassblowing demonstration introduces us to the artistry of this age-old craft.
Culinary Feature: This evening, your interactive cooking lesson option includes Käsespätzle or another regional specialty.
Tour and winetasting inside the Würzburg Residenz
Wine Feature: Arriving in Würzburg, set out on a half-day tour of the Würzburg Residenz, a baroque European castle that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your tour includes a visit to the wine cellar for a tasting and lecture from an experienced sommelier. The Residenz are ideal for strolling, and you’ll have time to do so before transferring back to the ship for lunch. More active travelers will have the option to walk back to the ship and take a bike excursion in Wurzburg with your Concierge after lunch onboard.
Alternatively, you may join an optional tour of medieval Rothenburg ob der Tauber, whose timbered homes and cobbled streets are like stepping back in time. Those who’ve been on the optional tour will have their wine tasting at the Residenz Cellar this afternoon, should you use.
Cultural Feature: Late this afternoon, attend a lecture on “Germany in the 21st Century: Changes & Challenges.”
Biking Opportunity: Explore the scenic banks of the Main River during this medium 17-mile route. Click here for details.
Picturesque Rothenburg ob der Tauber features winding cobbled lanes lined with half-timbered houses, as well as massive towers and intact city walls around the Old Town where one can take in views over both the city and the Tauber valley. Known for its “eternal Christmas” atmosphere, the town’s various shops sell beautiful, handcrafted Christmas gifts and souvenirs all year round. Come December, the area comes to life with the famous Christmas Market, one of the most romantic markets in Germany. You’ll take a walking tour and pay a visit to the Christmas Museum; plus, you’ll enjoy some free time to explore the shops and take in the stunning views.
Altmühl Valley sailing and walking tour of Bamberg
Cultural Connection: While we cruise this morning, attend a lecture on the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, one of Europe’s greatest engineering feats. Later, we’ll pass through the locks of the canal and enjoy a day sailing through the lovely Altmühl valley. Arriving in Bamberg, we'll embark on a fascinating walking tour of the historic center of town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is also an opportunity to partake in a cooking demonstration today, one of several available on your journey.
Culinary Feature: Learn how to make Swabian meat pockets during an onboard demonstration this evening, a regional treat customary in southwestern Germany.
Wine Feature: Tonight’s delicious dinner onboard includes a pairing of four wines with insights on their local production.
Nuremberg, customized for you — tour the town’s highlights or explore its WWII history
This morning you'll have your choice of two city tours of Nuremberg. Choose “Nuremberg and World War II” to explore the city’s World War II history and visit the Documentation Center, or take the “Highlights of Nuremberg” tour that includes a visit to the delightful Toy Museum. This evening, chat with your fellow travelers during cocktail hour in the lounge and enjoy a delectable dinner onboard.
Regensburg: Roman architecture and Bavarian charms
Explore Regensburg today. This city has a history stretching back to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and you’ll get to know its heritage during a walking tour. Admire the impressive cathedral, as well as the famous stone bridge which was built in the 12th century. Cultural Connection: Later, back on the ship, enjoy some local entertainment.
Biking Opportunity: Explore Regensburg’s monuments and history, including Walhalla Memorial Hall, during a medium 14-mile route. Click here for details.
Music and painting in picturesque Passau
Today, join a walking tour of baroque Passau, known as the "town of three rivers" because it's located where two tributaries join the Danube river. On your tour, enjoy an organ concert inside St. Stephan’s Cathedral.
Biking Opportunity: Follow the beautiful Ilz River along a scenic 10-mile route (moderate level). Click here for details.
Painting Lesson: Join a local artist to learn how to capture the scenery with a brush.
Music and dancing in Vienna
Scenic sailing: Relax as your ship cruises the Danube River through the scenic Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Landscape.
This afternoon, an apple-strudel-making demonstration awaits in your Captain’s Club. Cultural Connection: Be prepared for what awaits you later this evening with an insightful onboard lecture about Musical Vienna. Once in Austria’s capital, you’ll be treated to a delightful evening filled with tunes and revelry at an exclusive Kursalon music hall concert. Later onboard, keep the party going with dancing onboard; local dancers will show you their fancy footwork and teach you a few steps.
Wine Feature: Tonight's dinner will be further enhanced by a pairing and tasting of local wines with commentary.
Vienna and Liechtenstein Palace
This morning you’ll be treated to a city tour of Vienna, whose historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the many highlights are Liechtenstein Palace, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Wine Feature: Wine enthusiasts should treat themselves to a fun evening with a Viennese Heurigen Dinner, cozy family-style affairs with wine and music.
Culinary Feature: Tonight’s culinary demonstration features mouthwatering Styrian pot roast.
Cultural Connection: Spend the evening with warm-up dancers who come onboard for "A Viennese Party Night"!
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 decor, 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!
Choice of tours in Budapest and the Captain’s Farewell Party
Enjoy a morning at leisure with shuttle service available. This afternoon, sail leisurely towards another great European capital: Budapest. You’ll gather with your fellow travelers tonight for the Captain’s Farewell Party.
Going for baroque on a city tour of Budapest
Scenic sailing: Your European river cruise comes to a conclusion in grand style, as the cultural capital of Budapest first greets you from the ship with grand views of its Parliament building.
During your tour of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, enjoy the stunning panoramic views across the Danube River from the hilltop terraces of Fisherman’s Bastion. You can also opt to enjoy an optional Hungarian Horse Show today.
Biking Opportunity : Enjoy the most magnificent sites of Budapest, including Freedom Bridge, Chain Bridge and the Hungarian Parliament Building during an easy 5-mile route. Click here for details.
Disembark ship and return home (or begin your extension to Bratislava and Prague!)
Transfer to the airport for your return flight home, or begin your optional post-trip extension.
Make the most of your included airfare by adding two more European countries to your passport — three nights in magnificent Prague, an elegant, Old World capital boasting many grand castles, and two nights in Bratislava, the delightful capital of Slovakia.
In Prague, you'll enjoy a walking tour of the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Jewish Quarter. En route to Bratislava, you'll stop in Brno, Czech Republic for a stroll with your city host.
Then, in Bratislava, a baroque city along the Danube River cruise portion of your journey, you'll be captivated by the many historic treasures on a walking tour. To conclude your journey, you'll stop in the village of Dunaalmas, Hungary for a community hosted lunch, where you can help prepare the meal with guidance from your friendly hosts.
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 may affect itinerary.