Iconic Rivers of Europe - The Rhine, Main and Danube

  • 22 Days

  • Netherlands

On this deluxe Danube River cruise from Holland to Romania, guided sightseeing in each city will show you the highlights. Make your way through the scenic canals of Amsterdam, through the Rhine Gorge past Lorelei rock, through Cologne, Rüdesheim, Bamberg, Nuremberg and magical Vienna. Attend a beer tasting in Bamberg and enjoy visits to Würzburg's Bishop's Residenz and St Martin's Cathedral in Bratislava. Visit the Hungarian Puszta (grasslands) from Budapest, enjoy an organ concert in Pecs and marvel at the eclectic rock formations of Belogradchik. Visit Veliko Târnovo and Arbanassi, concluding your trip with one night in Romania's capital, Bucharest.

Your journey starts here

Highlights

VIP private home pick-up service
Flights
Transfers
Services of a cruise director
Accommodation
Selected meals
Wine & beer with lunch and dinner
Excursions
Gratuities on cruise
All airport and port taxes
  • Overview

  • Day 1

  • Day 2

  • Day 3

  • Day 4

  • Day 5

  • Day 6

  • Day 7

  • Day 8

  • Day 9

  • Day 10

  • Day 11

  • Day 12

  • Day 13

  • Day 14

  • Day 15

  • Day 16

  • Day 17

  • Day 18

  • Day 19

  • Day 20

  • Day 21

  • Day 22

of 22 days

Your detailed itinerary

Cruise departing on 29th April 2018

Meals included: 21 breakfasts, 19 lunches, 20 dinners

Overview

At a glance

Cologne Choice of guided city walk or Jewish Cologne tour before cruising through the Rhine Gorge past Lorelei Rock
Veliko Târnovo & Arbanassi Guided sightseeing, visit Tsarevet's Fortress in Veliko Târnovo, and the Ethnographical Museum in Arbanassi; or guided sightseeing of Rousse
Bucharest Guided sightseeing, see the Parliament Building, visit the National Art Museum

Day 1

Amsterdam (Embarkation)

Holland's sophisticated, modern capital has a rich 700-year-old history and a distinct ambiance. Maybe stroll through the lively marketplace or see the works of famous Dutch masters at world-renowned museums. This afternoon, board your river cruise ship and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 2

Amsterdam

Included today: Canal cruise Today, get a unique perspective of Amsterdam on an included canal cruise, floating along the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam's 'Golden Age'. There's free time in the city this afternoon—or you might like to join an optional excursion before bidding tot ziens (farewell) to Holland and setting sail for Germany.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 3

Cologne

Included today: Choice of Guided city walk or Jewish Cologne tour. Today, enjoy a peaceful morning of cruising before reaching Cologne after lunch. One of Germany's largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles both sides of the Rhine and is known for its soaring, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Choose between a guided city walk or Jewish Heritage walk. Later, during free time, consider checking out the Romano-Germanic Museum, home to a large collection of artefacts from the Roman settlement on which modern Cologne is built—a must for history buffs! The Old Town abounds with cafés, shops, and taverns. Be sure to try a Kölsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for over a hundred years.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 4

Rhine Gorge - Rüdesheim

Included today: cruise through the Rhine Gorge; visit Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. This morning, cruise through the dramatic Rhine Gorge—without a doubt, the most beautiful stretch of river and where ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the waters. Cruise past the rock of the Lorelei, where legend tells of enchanted siren song that lured sailors to their doom. On your included shore excursion in pretty Rüdesheim, visit Siegfried's Mechanical Music Museum , where you'll be mesmerised by the self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. There is free time to pick up some souvenirs on the narrow, cobbles toned Drosselgasse, where colourful flowers, open-air wine gardens, and live music add to the festive atmosphere.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 5

Main River Village

Included today: Guided walk. On the banks of the Main River you find cultural gems of small towns, many of them tucked away behind defensive walls and towered gates. With half-timbered houses, narrow streets, and medieval town centres, these picturesque Bavarian villages are a photographer's delight. Join your Local Guide to experience one of these towns on a guided walk.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 6

Würzburg

Included today: Guided sightseeing. Surrounded by verdant hillside vineyards, Würzburg, the 'Pearl of the Romantic Road', makes an immediate impression with imposing Marienberg Fortress perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrucke (Old Main Bridge). On your guided sightseeing tour this morning, visit the magnificent baroque Bishop's Residenz, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. Depart Würzburg at lunchtime and spend a leisurely afternoon cruising the Main River.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 7

Bamberg

Included today: Guided sightseeing. Today, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germany's most powerful imperial dynasties and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your guided walking tour takes in its historic centre, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)—built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! Wander the town's serpentine streets with their charming houses and 18th-century mansions.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 8

Nuremberg

Included today: Choice of guided sightseeing in Nuremberg or Roth or choose the Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour; on board beer Tasting Although 90% of Nuremberg's Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. This morning, choose a guided sightseeing tour and marvel at this thousand-year-old city's medieval fortifications, extraordinary Gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a more specialised Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 9

Regensburg

Included today: Guided walk. Dating back to the time of the Celts around 500 BC, Regensburg is 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. Wander through the city's lanes and alleys to discover the many mansions with high towers. Wealthy families built these towers to emphasize their status and wealth during the Middle Ages, and many still remain today. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany, then grab a beer and enjoy a snack at the Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany's oldest restaurants. Here—where the locals congregate—feel the vibrant atmosphere and take in the remarkable views along the river. Before dinner we'll introduce you to some of Germany's famous beers.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 10

Passau

Uniquely located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge, Passau is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. Take in the highlights on the included guided walk through this charming town, and find out much more about the 'City of Three Rivers'. Alternatively, you might like to join a full-day optional excursion to Salzburg to see some of The Sound of Music sights or to Ceský Krumlov in the Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 11

Melk - Wacchau Valley - Dürnstein

Included today: Guided visit of Melk's Benedictine Abbey, sail through the Wachau Valley. Guided walk in Dürnstein, see the Stiftskirche. A day of magical scenery awaits you today! As you cruise into the Wachau Valley, enjoy a guided visit of Melk's magnificent 11th century Benedictine Abbey, one of Europe's largest monasteries. The Abbey houses an ornate library with over 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts. Words cannot describe the splendour of the church with its frescoed ceilings, stunning high altar, marbled statues and 210 foot high cupola. Then, head into the heart of the Wachau wine region to Dürnstein, known for its baroque blue Stiftskirche. A Local Guide will take you on a walking tour and tell you the tale of King Richard the Lionheart, who was imprisoned in the castle whose ruins still stand above the town.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 12

Vienna

Included today: Guided sightseeing. Early this morning, arrive in Vienna, the 'City of Music', which 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 sites you'll see on your guided tour. Stroll through the delightful pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse, and be sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic Viennese coffee houses—historic institutions that helped shape Viennese culture! An optional concert is available tonight.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 13

Bratislava

Included today: Guided sightseeing. At the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains is Bratislava, the dynamic capital of Slovakia. After breakfast, join your Local Guide for a tour of the city, including a guided walk of its fascinating Old Town, where winding cobblestoned 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.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 14

Budapest

Included today: Guided sightseeing. 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 basking in the coffee house culture over a cream cake in the renowned Gerbeaud Café, Budapest's unique energy is positively palpable. On your guided sightseeing tour, see Heroes Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen's Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church. Be sure to note the city's eight bridges—famous sights in and of themselves—which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. In your free time this afternoon you may want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. Alternatively, consider visiting St. Stephen's Basilica with marvellous views of the city from its viewing platform, or stroll along Váci utca, the main shopping street.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 15

Budapest

Enjoy a free day today to explore on your own. Your Cruise Director will have suggestions for things to do.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 16

Mohács

Included today: Guided sightseeing. This morning, an included excursion takes you to Pécs. Established by the Romans in the 2nd century, this was a flourishing and important town for Christianity by the 4th century. These early Christians left behind many underground burial chambers with memorial chapels above ground. With a Local Guide, visit the underground tombs—now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site—many of which have splendidly decorated murals with Christian themes. Later, enjoy an organ concert. Pécs is also a rich showcase of Turkish architecture and home to Turkish mosques, striking churches, and an enjoyable atmosphere around its restaurants and cafés.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 17

Belgrade

Included today: Guided sightseeing One of the oldest cities in Europe, the capital of Serbia is situated at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers. A local guide will be proud to show you its main sights, including St. Sava, the world's largest orthodox church. In your free time, be sure to check out the city's lively pedestrian area and charming outdoor cafés. Perhaps visit one of the many art galleries or museums or browse the local shops. Stroll through Belgrade's largest and most beautiful park which surrounds the city's principal landmark, Kalemegdan Fortress, and gaze down on the confluence of the Danube.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 18

Iron Gates Gorge

This morning, dock at Donji Milanovac, where a short drive takes you to the impressive Lepenski Vir Exhibition Centre, which houses area archaeological artefacts and from where you have unique views of the Danube Gorge. Return to your ship before lunch, then cruise what must surely be the most spectacular scenery of the dramatic Iron Gates gorge, a narrow and formerly very dangerous passage dividing Europe's Alps in the Northwest from the Carpathians in the south-east and forming a natural border between Serbia and Romania.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 19

Cetate

This morning, stop in Cetate, an old Danubian grain shipping port that is now a cultural centre. The owner will explain the concept of this fascinating venture before you have a chance to see for yourself and to taste some of the locally made products. In nearby Belogradchik, view the eclectic group of rock formations on the western slopes of the Balkan Mountains. Sculpted by natural elements for more than 200 million years and with a variety of sizes and shapes.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 20

Nikopol - Rousse

This morning stop in Nikopol from where an excursion takes you to the ancient Bulgarian capital of Veliko Târnovo. Situated on three hills surrounding the Yantra River, the city was a natural fortress with ancient stone houses clinging to the steep slopes. One of the oldest towns in Bulgaria (dating back to 4300 BC), the oldest part is Tsarevets Hill, home of the Royal Fortress, and the Patriarch's Church. With your local guide, discover this town that played an important role in Bulgaria's history. Next, journey to Arbanassi, founded in the 15th century, and best known for its Bulgarian Revival architecture and Ethnographical Museum, a 400-year-old house preserved as a museum. Visit the Church of the Nativity, one of the town's oldest churches, and see its outstanding collection of frescoes. Return to your ship in Rousse, Bulgaria's largest inland port. If you don't wish to participate in the full-day excursion, stay on board and relax or join a guided tour of Rousse.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 21

Oltenita (Disembarkation) - Bucharest

After breakfast, say goodbye to your crew. Bucharest, Romania's lively capital, is only a short drive from Oltenita. Its wide, tree-lined boulevards and Arc de Triomphe—built in 1922 to honor the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in WWI—have gained it the name 'Paris of the East'. Much recent history has taken place in the city. During the included tour this afternoon, see the main sights including Royal Palace Square, the scene of riots in 1989, which led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. In your free time, discover this interesting city even further. Stroll down Calea Victoriei, 'Victory Avenue' Bucharest's most historic and alluring street. Initially built in 1692, today it is lined with shops, museums, churches, restaurants, cafés, and fine houses.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 22

Bucharest

Return travel to the UK.

Meals included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Hotels

•2 nights hotel stay in Transylvania

Please call our Travel Specialists to book this holiday with an extension

Your ship

Avalon Illumination

Avalon Illumination accommodates 166 passengers. This gorgeous ship features two full decks of Panorama Suites with wall-to-wall panoramic windows that transform into a unique open-air balcony. With 200 square feet, Panorama Suites are more than 30% larger than the industry standard, affording you the unique opportunity to wake each morning facing the splendid passing scenery. Onboard amenities include an alternative light dining option in the Panorama Bistro, a fitness centre, complimentary Wi-Fi access, and a spacious Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs, whirlpool, and light al fresco lunches at the Sky Bistro.

Amenities
  • Smoking
  • Adults only
  • Childrens facilities
  • Nursery
Ship facts
  • Style: Luxury
  • Class: Suite ship
  • Size: Boutique
  • Number of crew: 47
  • Number of cabins: 83
  • Number of wheelchair cabins: 0
  • Number of large cabins: 0
  • Capacity: 166 passengers
  • Main language on board: en
  • Currency on board: EUR
  • Number of decks: 4
  • Length (m): 135
  • Width (m): 11.45
  • Speed in knots: 13
  • Launch year: 2014
Available cabins on this cruise
Royal Suite

These suites feature a 6-person sitting area, bathrobes & slippers, choice of bed configuration, Comfort Collection Beds, complimentary Wi-Fi, double sinks, Egyptian super-combed cotton linens, European-style duvets, flatscreen satellite TV with movie channel, hairdryer, in-room safe, L'Occitane bath products, marble countertops in bathroom, nightly turn-down service, soft and firm pillows, vanity, well-stocked minibar, alarm clock, bedside tables with reading lamps, coffee table, complimentary bottled water, direct-dial telephone, easy under-bed luggage storage, elegant, contemporary design, extra blankets, full shower with glass door, individual climate control, large mirror in bathroom, make-up mirror, memory foam mattress toppers, a sofa, spacious 3-door closets with shelves for ample storage, wall-to-wall panoramic window with Open-Air Balcony®, and a writing desk.

Details

  • 300 square feet
  • Sleeps 2

Panorama Suite

These suites feature a 6-person sitting area, bathrobes & slippers, choice of bed configuration, Comfort Collection Beds, complimentary Wi-Fi, easy under-bed luggage storage, elegant, a contemporary design, extra blankets, full shower with glass door, individual climate control, large mirror in bathroom, make-up mirror, memory foam mattress toppers, sofa, spacious 3-door closets with shelves for ample storage, wall-to-wall panoramic window with Open-Air Balcony®, writing desk, alarm clock, bedside tables with reading lamps, coffee table, complimentary bottled water, direct-dial telephone, Egyptian super-combed cotton linens, European-style duvets, flatscreen satellite TV with movie channel, hairdryer, in-room safe, L'Occitane bath products, marble countertops in bathroom, nightly turn-down service, soft and firm pillows, vanity and a well-stocked minibar.

Details

  • 200 square feet
  • Sleeps 2

Deluxe Stateroom

These staterooms feature an alarm clock, bedside tables with reading lamps, Comfort Collection Beds, complimentary Wi-Fi, easy under-bed luggage storage, an elegant, contemporary design, extra blankets, full shower with glass door, individual climate control, large mirror in bathroom, memory foam mattress toppers, soft and firm pillows, two windows, well-stocked minibar, bathrobes & slippers, choice of bed configuration, complimentary bottled water, direct-dial telephone, Egyptian super-combed cotton linens, European-style duvets, flatscreen satellite TV with movie channel, hairdryer, in-room safe, L'Occitane bath products, nightly turn-down service, spacious 3-door closets with shelves for ample storage, vanity and a writing desk.

Details

  • 172 square feet
  • Sleeps 2

Life onboard

Avalon Illumination accommodates 166 passengers. This gorgeous ship features two full decks of Panorama Suites with wall-to-wall panoramic windows that transform into a unique open-air balcony. With 200 square feet, Panorama Suites are more than 30% larger than the industry standard, affording you the unique opportunity to wake each morning facing the splendid passing scenery. Onboard amenities include an alternative light dining option in the Panorama Bistro, a fitness centre, complimentary Wi-Fi access, and a spacious Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs, whirlpool, and light al fresco lunches at the Sky Bistro.

 

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