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Majestic Rivers of Europe featuring Oberammergau extension - 2020

Oberammergau extension • 14-day river cruise with Mainz, Cologne, Rüdesheim, Heidelberg, Wertheim, Marktheidenfeld, Würzburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau, Vienna, Budapest
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What could make the charm of a classic Alpine village even more magical than mountainous scenery punctuated by woodcarvings and Lüftlmalerei wall paintings? It’s the once-every-decade Passion Play, staged by villagers in Bavaria, re-enacting the life and times of Christ. A fascinating pageant and cultural tradition that can’t be replicated anywhere else is available to you on deluxe small-group tours with Vantage Travel when you add on exclusive extension to Oberammergau, on select 2020 departures only — we offer you the best seats and accommodations among American cruise lines today.

No matter which departure you choose, Majestic Rivers of Europe: Castles, Cathedrals & Fairytales offers you storybook castles and vineyard-covered hillsides. The opportunity to raise a stein at a historic brewery. Savor the flavors of the Rhine Valley at a barbecue with live music in a German village. Hear waltz music in Vienna, where we are the only European river cruise company that takes you there for two full days and take in the view across the Danube from Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest.

You’re invited to come aboard 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 deluxe riverboat cruise into a delightful immersion in the sights, sounds, flavors, and most of all, the beauty, along Europe’s great waterways.

Interested in a solo vacation? Vantage is the only cruise line in the travel industry whose river ships include cabins built specifically for solo travelers, with free Single Supplements. You'll enjoy free Single Supplements on every Oberammergau extension, as well (first come, first served!). 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.

Budapest to Mainz

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DAY 1:

Fly overnight to Budapest, Hungary

Today, fly overnight to Budapest, Hungary.

DAY 2:

Satisfy your thirst for Hungary

Today, you’ll land in Budapest, Hungary. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to the pier, where you will board your Deluxe river ship and officially begin your European river cruise.

Included meals:


DAY 3:

Going for baroque on a city tour of Budapest

Draped over several hills on a gentle curve in the Danube River, Budapest is a beautiful, baroque capital whose city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Get to know the city on an included panoramic tour. Unforgettable Moment: On the Buda side of the river, take in stunning views of Pest across the Danube from a fairytale-like terrace called Fisherman’s Bastion. You can also choose to enjoy an optional Hungarian Horse Show today. Tonight, celebrate the beginning of your European river cruise with the Captain’s Welcome Party and Dinner. 

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: $69 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 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.

DAY 4:

Waltzing into Vienna and the Austrian National Library 

This morning during your sail, you can learn the secrets of making a perfect Austrian apple strudel during an onboard cooking demonstration. There will also be a German language lesson as well as lunch onboard.

In the afternoon, set off on a panoramic city drive of Vienna, giving you a comprehensive view of this storied city at the heart of central Europe, including a visit to the Austrian National Library, the largest Baroque library in Europe.

Tonight, join us in the lounge for a Viennese Party Night, with dance instructors to get you up and celebrating with style. Or, you might also consider our optional Heurigen dinner at a traditional weingut in the city’s vineyard district.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Optional Tour: Viennese Heurigen Dinner, Music & Wine

Viennese Heurigen Dinner, Music & Wine

  • Approximate Cost: $109 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3.5 hours
  • Location: Vienna, Austria
  • When: Evening tour, including dinner

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!

DAY 5:

Vienna as you like it, and a private Kursalon concert

Join an onboard lecture this morning on "Musical Vienna" prior to venturing to Austria's grand capital. Then you'll experience another Vantage Exclusive on your choice of two tours: either the Museum of Art History or Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is one of the grandest of European castles. With the afternoon at leisure, perhaps you can schedule a visit to a spa in Vienna through our Vantage Concierge Service, or take one of the complimentary ship-board bicycles. Vantage Exclusive This evening, you’ll be treated to a private classical music concert at the Kursalon.

Back onboard ship, dancers will entertain you and welcome you up into the crowd to enjoy some fancy stepping with a waltzing lesson.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 6:

Scenic Wachau Valley cruising

Relax as your ship cruises the Danube River through the scenic Wachau Valley, now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Landscape. As you take in the romantic views of hilltop castles, ancient monasteries, and terraced vineyards, you'll cruise by the wine town of Dürnstein. In 1192, King Richard the Lionheart of England was imprisoned in the castle that looms above the town.

Culinary Feature: Enjoy a demonstration on how to make sour cabbage and sausage. This evening, enjoy a wine pairing dinner onboard the ship.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 7:

Music 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.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 8:

Regensburg: Roman architecture and Bavarian charms

You’ll arrive at the picturesque Regensburg today, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating to the Roman era. A morning walking tour reveals what many call the most charming town on the Danube River — it's sure to be a highlight of your Europe river cruise.

Biking Opportunity: Explore Regensburg’s monuments and history, including The Walhalla memorial hall, during a moderate 14-mile route. Click here for details.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 9:

Nuremberg, customized for you — tour the town’s highlights or explore its WWII history

This morning, learn about the Main-Danube canal during an onboard presentation, followed by lunch.

This afternoon, 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.

Later this evening, 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.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 10:

Altmühl Valley sailing and walking tour of Bamberg

Enjoy your cruise this morning. 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. Cultural Connection: This afternoon, attend a lecture on "Bavaria - Germany's special state."

Culinary Feature: Learn about to make Swabian meat pockets, a hearty dish that is well known in this region.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 11:

Tour and wine tasting inside the Würzburg Residenz

Your European river cruise continues to Würzburg. Here, you'll set out on a half-day tour of the Würzburg Residenz, a baroque European castle that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your tour includes a visit to the wine cellar for a tasting and lecture. You may also 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 Connection: Late this afternoon, attend a lecture on “Germany in the 21st Century: Changes & Challenges.”

Culinary Feature: During an onboard cooking demonstration today, try making and savoring some beef roulade.

Biking Opportunity: Explore the scenic banks of the Main River during this moderate 17-mile route. Click here for details.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Optional Tour: Tour to Rothenburg with Christmas Museum

Tour to Rothenburg with Christmas Museum

  • Approximate Cost: $69 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 9 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 12:

Exploring village life in Marktheidenfeld, with a BBQ lunch and traditional live music

Unforgettable Moment: The highlight of our day today will be a delightful half-day tour of a local German village, 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:
Watch a cooking demonstration on kasspatzle (the German version of macaroni and cheese).

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 13:

Day-tripping through romantic Heidelberg

Unforgettable Moment: Enjoy panoramic views from the plaza of imposing Heidelberg Castle, a Gothic-Renaissance ruin of red stone looming above the downtown and see the castles famed Heidelberg Tun, an immense wine barrel, now empty, with a capacity of some 58,000 gallons. Afterwards, descend via funicular from the castle to the town center to stroll the pedestrian-only main street.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 14:

Sip Kölsch while exploring the historic cultural center of Cologne

This morning, take a walking tour of this historic German cultural center, which includes a Kölsch beer tasting. The afternoon includes time to relax on your own. This evening, we'll enjoy some onboard entertainment prior to dinner.

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 15:

Rhine Valley views; Rüdesheim personalized for you

After some scenic sailing in the morning — during which we'll marvel at the scenery and hear about local lore — you'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. Or, embark on a mini-train ride to Siegfried's Musikkabinett, an amusing museum dedicated to self-playing music and its instruments. 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 the Captain's Farewell Dinner.

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 16:

Disembark ship and return home (or begin your extension to Amsterdam!)

Today, return home or opt for our optional extension to Bratislava & Prague, or Oberammergau and Munich (select departures).

Included meals:


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 featuring Oberammergau extension - 2020

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