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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 orientation walking tour 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.
Vantage Onboard Enrichment:
Sip Kölsch while exploring the historic cultural center of Cologne
Today, take a walking tour of the historic German cultural center of Cologne, where you’ll see the iconic Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This evening, we'll enjoy a Welcome Reception and Dinner as well as some onboard entertainment.
Culinary Feature: Enjoy a tasting of Kölsch beer at a traditional German brewhouse, a signature flavor that is only made here in Cologne.
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!
You'll then 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 vigorous hiking tour, where you’ll sample three different regional vintages. Afterwards, you'll return to the ship for dinner.
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. 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. Travel from the castle to the town center, where you’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then have free time to explore. Tonight, enjoy onboard entertainment from four musical virtuosos.
Exploring village life in Wertheim, 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.)
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, enjoy a German language lesson.
Culinary Feature: This evening, your interactive cooking lesson option includes Käsespätzle or another regional specialty.
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 are 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 use.
Late this afternoon, attend a lecture on “Germany in the 21st Century: Changes & Challenges.”
Altmühl Valley sailing and walking tour of Bamberg
While we cruise this morning, attend a lecture on the "Main-Danube Canal". 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.
Learn how to make Swabian meat pockets during an onboard demonstration this evening, a regional treat customary in southwestern Germany and a glassblowing demonstration about the artistry of this age-old craft.
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 Medieval Nuremberg” tour that includes a visit to the Castle grounds and walking tour from Hauptmarkt to St. Sebald Church. During afternoon free time, feel free to visit the Toy Museum, as Vantage will cover the entrance fee, and attend an onboard lecture about "Bavaria, Germany's special state." This evening, chat with your fellow travelers during cocktail hour in the lounge and enjoy a delectable dinner on board.
Regensburg: Roman architecture and Bavarian charms
Explore UNESCO-listed 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. Later, back on the ship, enjoy the "Magic of Rhythm Show," where international tap stars showcase a variety of styles, from ferociously fast Paddle-and-Roll rhythms to languid, elegant Soft Shoe to fiery a-cappella counterpoint. From the first taps to last, these artists will captivate you with thrilling, humorous and unforgettable performances.
Music and pub crawls 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.
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 morning, an apple strudel making demonstration awaits in your Captain's Club while you sail, followed by an onboard lunch. Be prepared for what awaits you later this afternoon 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, with a dinner and wine pairing later on. Later onboard, keep the party going with dancing onboard; local dancers will show you their fancy footwork and teach you a few steps.
Vienna and the Austrian National Library
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 the Austrian National Library and St. Stephen’s Cathedral, followed by lunch onboard the ship.
Wine Feature: Wine enthusiasts should treat themselves to an optional fun evening with a Viennese Heurigen Dinner, cozy family-style affairs with wine and music.
Join us for this lively optional tour and take a seat inside a traditional heurigen — a cozy, family-style tavern — for hearty food, lively music, and locally produced vintages, of course. Heurigens customarily feature rustic décor, open courtyards with outdoor seating, and an accordion player playing traditional Viennese songs. Look forward to a fun, authentic, and festive evening!
Vienna as you like it, then Budapest-bound
You'll have your choice of two tours this morning: either the city'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.
Going for baroque on a city tour of Budapest
Your European river cruise comes to a conclusion in grand style, as you arrive in Budapest. During your tour of this 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.
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 driving. 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.
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.