Majestic Rivers of Europe Wine Cruise: Castles, Cathedrals & Fairytales - 2019

14-night river cruise with Mainz, Cologne, Rüdesheim, Aschaffenburg, Marktheidenfeld, Würzburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau, Vienna, Budapest
  • CRUISE THROUGH LEGENDARY EUROPEAN LANDSCAPES, INCLUDING THE WACHAU VALLEY AND THE RHINE-MAIN-DANUBE CANAL
  • DELVE INTO REGIONAL WINES WITH TASTINGS AND LECTURES, AND MEET THE VINTNERS WHO BRING THESE WINES TO LIFE
  • PRIVATE CONCERT AT THE KURSALON MUSIC HALL IN VIENNA
  • CITY TOUR OF BUDAPEST, A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
  • YOUR CHOICE OF GUIDED TOURS IN VIENNA: SCHONBRUNN PALACE OR THE MUSEUM OF ART HISTORY
DATES & PRICES
STARTING FROM
$5,799
  • $386
    PER DAY
  • 15
    DAYS
  • 29
    TOURS
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16 DAYS FROM $5,799
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Amsterdam, Netherlands

4 DAYS FROM $699

Bratislava, Slovakia & Prague, Czech Republic

6 DAYS FROM $999

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Marvel at storybook castles and cruise past vineyard-covered hillsides on this beautiful river cruise in Europe. Raise a stein at a historic brewery. Surprise yourself with new sensations when you sample juicy, sweet, dry, and effervescent varietals of regional wines (only available in these time-honored regions), enhanced with the expertise of locals who have been producing these vintages for centuries. Savor the flavors of the Rhine Valley at a barbecue with live music in a German village. Hear waltz music in Vienna with the only river cruise company that takes you there for two full days and admire the view across the Danube from Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest. Visit pretty half-timbered river villages and stroll the medieval jewels of Regensburg and Würzburg.

You’re invited to come aboard for our all-time, top-rated riverboat cruise as we follow history down the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers. Thirteen guided tours, including nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as entertaining and informative shipboard lectures and Cultural Connections, transform a river cruise into a delightful immersion in the sights, sounds, flavors, and most of all, the beauty, along Europe’s great rivers.

Traveling solo on your European tour? Vantage is the only company in the cruise line industry whose river ships include cabins built specifically for solo travelers, with free Single Supplements. We’ve also designed this itinerary to give you more opportunities for independent exploring and for staying active. Take one of the ship’s bikes for a spin along the shore, join a longer walk or hike, and sign up for onboard cooking classes.

Mainz to Budapest

Pre-Trip Extension

Amsterdam, Netherlands

FROM: $699 PER PERSON | 4 DAYS | $175 PER DAY
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DAY 1:

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.

DAY 2:

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.


Included Meals:

Dinner

DAY 3:

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.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 4:

Rhine Valley views; Rüdesheim 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 Rüdesheim, 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! Afterwards, you'll return to the ship for dinner, which will be followed by onboard entertainment.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 5:

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. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 6:

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 iron mill to a winery, where you’ll get to sample the wares, of course! (Sign-ups will be on board.)

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.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 7:

Tour and wine tasting 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 is ideal for strolling, and you’ll have time to do so before transferring back to the ship for lunch.

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 choose.


Cultural Feature: Late this afternoon, attend a lecture on “Germany in the 21st Century: Changes & Challenges.”

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Full-day Rothenburg Tour with Christmas Museum

Full-day Rothenburg Tour with Christmas Museum

  • Approximate Cost: $69 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 8.5 hours
  • Location: Würzburg, Germany
  • When: Full-day tour
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 take in the stunning views, explore the shops and enjoy lunch on your own.

Note: Lunch is not provided on this tour. The Christmas Museum is not available during holiday season departures.

DAY 8:

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.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 9:

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 on board.


Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

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.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 11:

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. 

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.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 12:

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 on board, keep the party going with dancing; 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.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 13:

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 on board for "A Viennese Party Night"!

Biking Opportunity: Enjoy the architecture of Vienna, including panoramic sights of the city’s skyscrapers, during a medium 8-mile route. Click here for details.

Water Sport Opportunity: Alternatively, ask your Concierge about renting a boat or kayak during your free time.

Please note: The heurigen optional tour is not available on the 8/5 departure.

Included Meals:

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

Viennese Heurigen Dinner, Wine & Music

  • Approximate Cost: $99 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 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!


DAY 14:

Choice of tours in Vienna and the Captain’s Farewell Party

You'll have your choice of two tours today: either Vienna's excellent Museum of Art History or the grand Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This afternoon, sail leisurely towards another great European capital: Budapest. You’ll gather with your fellow travelers tonight for the Captain’s Farewell Party.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 15:

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.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Hungarian Horse Show

Hungarian Horse Show

  • Approximate Cost: $65 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4.5 hours
  • Location: Budapest, Hungary
  • When: Half-day tour
Enjoy the romantic scenery of the countryside as you visit the Equestrian Park of the Lázár brothers, who have won several world championships in carriage riding. Hungarian horsemen will welcome and accompany you to the inn’s yard where you will enjoy the famous Hungarian “pálinka” (brandy) before going to the show. The horse show features varied styles of dressage and fun competition with guests. After the show, a carriage awaits you for a scenic ride through the surrounding area.

DAY 16:

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.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

Post-Trip Extension

Bratislava, Slovakia & Prague, Czech Republic

FROM: $999 PER PERSON | 6 DAYS | $166 PER DAY

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.

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Majestic Rivers of Europe Wine Cruise: Castles, Cathedrals & Fairytales - 2019

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