Day 1: ARRIVE IN PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC.
Welcome to Prague, capital of the Czech Republic. This fascinating city straddles the Vltava River with domes, cupolas, spires, and pinnacles highlighting its skyline. The remainder of the day is free to start exploring.
Day 2: PRAGUE.
Prague is a 1,200-year-old city preserved in time, and, unlike other Central European capitals, it was not bombed during the 20th-century wars. A LOCAL GUIDE will show you its best-known treasures, such as the Old Town's Astronomical Clock, built in 1410 and once the envy of all of Europe; HRADCANY CASTLE GROUNDS; St. Vitus Cathedral; and the Charles Bridge, the oldest bridge in Prague. Browse the shops for hand-cut crystal or art books. Mix with the locals in Wenceslas Square, an important meeting point and where people demonstrated against the communist regime; watch performers and shop at the market stalls on Charles Bridge; sample the local plum dumplings and Pilsner; stroll along the Vltava River; or wander around Prague's medieval Old Town, dating from the 10th century. In the afternoon you might like to join our included excursion to MELNIK where you will learn more about Czech wines.(B)
Day 3: PRAGUE-REGENSBURG, GERMANY- DEGGENDORF (EMBARKATION).
After breakfast leave Prague and travel by motorcoach to Regensburg, one of Germany's best preserved medieval cities. Established during the Holy Roman Empire and the only German city not bombed during WWII, Regensburg has at least 1,300 listed buildings of "historic interest." Architectural highlights of your GUIDED WALK include the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), built in the 13th century and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. During your free time, grab a beer and enjoy an included SNACK at Historische Wurstkuche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of the Germany's oldest restaurants. Continue to Deggendorf where you'll board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. (B,D)
Day 4: PASSAU.
Passau is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses and dominated by St. Stephen's Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture. Join your Local Guide for a WALKING TOUR that reveals much more about the "City of Three Rivers." This afternoon cruise towards Linz and you might join our Master of Wine who will share his knowledge of some of the region's wines at an onboard lecture and a tasting of wines he has chosen for this occasion. (B,L,D)
Day 5: LINZ, AUSTRIA.
Linz is Austria's third-largest city and an important river port where culture plays a significant role in everyday life. This morning, join a local expert for a GUIDED TOUR. See the 13th-century Hauptplatz, Austria's largest medieval square, and the Trinity Column, built in 1723 as thanks for the city escaping the ravages of the plague, war, and fire. On your own, you might like to wander around the old castle grounds and take in the beautiful views of the river, or visit the neo-gothic New Cathedral, Austria's largest church, with capacity for 20,000 visitors. Alternatively, choose from several full-day excursions. This evening enjoy a special onboard Food and Wine Pairing dinner hosted by our Master of Wine. (B,L,D)
Day 6: MELK-DURNSTEIN.
This morning, our first stop is Melk. Enjoy a guided tour of the magnificent 11th-century BENEDICTINE ABBEY, dominating the town from its commanding hill site and one of Europe's largest monasteries. The abbey church houses stunning frescd ceilings, marvelous statues, a large organ, and an ornate library with a large collection of medieval manuscripts. The view from the terrace over the Danube and surrounding countryside is breathtaking! Then, grab a drink and relax on your ship's Sky Deck as you witness beautiful scenery on the way to Durnstein, situated in the heart of the Wachau wine region and best known for the magnificent baroque Stiftskirche with its blue facade. Your Local Guide will take you on an included WALKING TOUR and tell you the tale of England's King Richard the Lionheart, who was imprisoned in the castle whose ruins still stand above the town, alternatively, you may choose to take an excursion to a fascinating wine MUSEUM with labyrinthine cellars, and enjoy a TASTING of some of the excellent wines of the region. (B,L,D)
Day 7: VIENNA.
Wake up this morning in Vienna, known as the "City of Music" and the place that inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. Once the centre of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria's magical capital on the blue Danube is a showcase of gilded architecture. This is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boys' Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen's Cathedral-plus, countless other sights you'll see on your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR. Stroll through the pedestrian Karntnerstrasse, and be sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in a neighborhood cafe. (B,L,D)
Day 8: BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA.
At the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains is Bratislava, the dynamic capital of Slovakia. Join your Local Guide for a tour of the city, including a GUIDED WALK of its fascinating Old Town, where winding cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways twist and turn to reveal the Town Hall, one of the oldest stone buildings in the city. Also visit gothic ST. MARTIN'S CATHEDRAL, coronation church for the Kingdom of Hungary from the 16th to 19th centuries. This afternoon is free to explore on your own. (B,L,D)
Day 9: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY.
Spanning the banks of the Danube, Budapest is one of Eastern Europe's liveliest cities. Whether you're seeing the sights, shopping for handcrafted embroidery or Herend porcelain, or basking in the coffee house culture over a rich cream cake in the renowned Gerbeaud Cafe, Budapest's unique energy is positively palatable. On your INCLUDED TOUR, see Hers' Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen's Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church, the coronation spot of several Hungarian monarchs. Be sure to take note of the city's eight bridges-many famous sights in and of themselves-which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. You may even want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. An included visit to underground WINE CELLARS, in the middle of Budapest, allows you a TASTING of Hungarian wines in a very special atmosphere. (B,L,D)
Day 10: BUDAPEST (DISEMBARKATION).
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning. (B)