European Luxury River Cruises

RIVIERA TRAVEL – Cruise the Heart of Europe – Cologne to Budapest – 14 days

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​Enjoy our fabulous river cruise along the stunning Rhine, Main and Danube and enjoy our escorted tours to the elegant cities of Budapest and Vienna.

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Itinerary

Day 1

You fly to Düsseldorf from where a coach will take you to the ship. Or you can take a late morning Eurostar from London St. Pancras International arriving in Brussels approximately two hours later, where a coach will take you over the German border to your ship. Moored in Cologne’s picturesque historic centre, the dedicated crew will welcome you aboard your first-class floating hotel, ensuring you settle into your comfortable and extremely well equipped cabin and familiarise yourself with the ship.

Day 2 – Koblenz & Boppard

The first morning on a river cruise is always a thrill. Awakening to the gentle lapping of the water and the colourful valley sides slipping effortlessly past your cabin window, there really is no other holiday experience quite like it. We call at historical Koblenz, dominated by its immense fortress overlooking the confluence of the Rhine and the Moselle. This morning we take a guided walk around the old town exploring its twisting streets and picturesque squares.

During a delightful lunch we cruise to Boppard, ‘Pearl of the Rhine’, wonderfully situated on a sweeping meander, it really is one of the most attractive villages in the Rhineland. Its delightful stone quayside is lined by boats of all descriptions against a backdrop of archetypical half-timbered buildings and cobbled streets, all surrounded by Germany’s finest Roman walls.

Day 3 – Rüdesheim

Today, you experience one of the real highlights of your cruise, the passage through the Rhine Gorge. Here the valley narrows, the current is swifter and the towering valley sides soar to more than 1,000 feet, crowned at every turn of the tortuous river by the precarious ruins of castles that once held sway over passing mariners. We pass rocky outcrops and around endless twisting bends to the famous Loreley Rock, where legend has it, enchanting maidens lured unsuspecting sailors to watery graves. Next we call at Rüdesheim, a true Rhine wine town with many famous wines available to sample, as you wander the typical backstreets.

Day 4 – Mainz

This morning, we take the short cruise to the confluence of the rivers Rhine and Main at the fascinating town of Mainz. An important Roman city for 500 years, with the largest amphitheatre north of the Alps, it is home to the fine St Stephen’s church where light flickers through beautiful blue stained glass windows with their intricate biblical figures – a masterpiece by the great artist Marc Chagall. Mainz’s most famous son though is Gutenberg, father of modern printing, and there is an excellent museum where you can see two original Gutenberg Bibles, the earliest books ever printed in Europe. During dinner our ship cruises up the River Main.

Day 5 – Miltenberg & Wertheim

This morning, we cruise between dense forests to the beautiful small town of Miltenberg. Developing through the Middle Ages under the powerful protection of the nearby castle, surrounded by walls, it is one of Germany’s best preserved medieval villages.

During lunch we cruise around the first of the many meandering bends which so characterise the River Main, pausing at Wertheim, one of those towns which is a joy to stumble across – completely unknown on the mainstream tourist trail. Please note: when cruising from Mainz to Passau the sun deck is closed due to low bridges.

Day 6 – Würzburg

Breakfast is taken whilst cruising towards Würzburg, situated at the head of Germany’s ’Romantic Road’ and we have a walking tour of this lovely city. A former seat of the Prince Bishops, their truly magnificent Residenz is one of Europe’s finest Baroque palaces, constructed to compete with the greatest courts of the day such as Vienna and Versailles, which in artistic terms they more than succeeded in doing.

Day 7 – Bamberg

Today we visit Bamberg, quite simply one of the most beautiful small towns in Europe, easily on a par with Prague. The masterpiece you see today began its artistic journey during the 11th century, when the Emperor Heinrich II planned a capital as grand as Rome and selected Bamberg as the location for this. Although it never became as large as Rome, for its size it has a wealth of fine buildings. Not only is it historic, it is stunning too with a network of canals like Venice and the fascinating tangle of lanes, lined with merchant’s houses.

Day 8 – Nuremberg

We call at Nuremberg which, sadly will always be associated with the Nazi period, where the Third Reich held court against a grandiose background of marching grounds and later with the international war crimes tribunal which brought down the final curtain on that notorious regime. What is less well-known is that Nuremberg is regarded as the capital of Germany’s First Reich, the era that lasted 1,000 years, and was central to the trade routes and power of the Roman Empire.

This morning, we include a guided tour taking in the great ramparts and many fine historic buildings from Nuremberg’s Imperial Age including the Kaiserburg Castle, Craftsmen’s Court, Church of St Lawrence and the Market Square with its beautiful fountain.

Day 9 – Regensburg

This morning, we cruise along the Main- Danube canal to Kelheim and the Danube, one of the most famous and beautiful rivers in the world. We visit Regensburg, originally a Roman garrison guarding the most northwesterly point of their empire, dominated by its cathedral, the finest in Bavaria.

This afternoon, take a stroll into the historic city centre and visit the Altes Rathaus, the town hall with its great Gothic hall where many of the great events in Germany’s history were solemnised. Regensburg calls itself Germany’s best preserved medieval city, and it is hard to argue as you wander amongst the glorious winding streets and alleyways of the old town.

Day 10 – Passau

Passau is our last town in Germany, nestling as it does where the Danube gorge widens. Our fascinating journey continues into Austria, synonymous of course, with superb scenery but this beautiful section of the valley is something of a secret. Relax aboard the ship today, as we cruise through the narrowing valley.

Day 11 – Melk & Vienna

On a striking and resplendent rocky bluff above the town of Melk is an enormous Benedictine Abbey which we visit this morning. This extraordinary building was originally a Hapsburg palace, and subsequently bequeathed to the Benedictine order during the 11th century. It has been a monastery ever since. Reconstructed in full Baroque style during the 18th century, the Abbey has many fine rooms and a stupendous library with more than 80,000 priceless volumes including many intricate medieval manuscripts.

As lunch is served we cruise downstream, through the delightfully picturesque Wachau valley, before approaching our destination, the city of Strauss – Vienna. To celebrate the city’s wonderful legacy we have arranged a classical recital on board by a quartet of talented musicians. To hear this exquisite music whilst in the city of its creation makes a wonderful finale to the day.

Day 12 – Vienna

Vienna, a truly elegant city, is one of the real gems of Central Europe, conjuring up an image in the mind of culture, ornate architecture, elegant cafés, aristocratic palaces, imposing cathedrals and everywhere the romantic music of the great composers. To be fair the reality is little different and as capital of the Hapsburg Empire, which held sway over much of Central and Eastern Europe for centuries, there is an absolute wealth of things to see. In its heart we have the lovely St Stephen’s cathedral, then the Hofburg, now home to the crown jewels and relics of the Holy Roman Empire, the Vienna Boys’ Choir and the famous Spanish Riding School. This morning we will have a guided tour and the afternoon is free.

Day 13 – Budapest

We arrive in imperial Budapest, straddling the beautiful river. Dominated by the castle, the city, often called ‘Little Paris of Middle Europe’, is famous for the monuments that reflect both local culture and that of numerous foreign powers, which ruled here for most of its existence. Today, Budapest is a collage of palatial buildings, baroque churches with archaic spires and a wonderful atmosphere enhanced by the unique sound of Hungary’s music and language.

We enjoy a guided tour and this evening the ’Captain’s Dinner’ will take place, serving delicious specialities of the countries and regions we have visited during our cruise. It will feel like you have been away from home for months, as you recall all the places you have visited, sights you have seen and people you have met, with your fellow travellers.

Day 14

After breakfast it’s time to say goodbye to your crew and transfer to the airport at the appropriate time for your flight home.

 

Prices are based on twin share departing from London Gatwick airport. Other regional airports or Eurostar train are available – please call us for details.

Date Price (pp) Ship Depart UK Arrive UK
24 Jul 2015 £2,509 MS Charles Dickens 15:40info 19:10
24 Aug 2015 £2,509 MS Lord Byron 15:40info 19:10
01 Oct 2015 £2,309 MS Charles Dickens 13:40info 17:00
20 Apr 2016 £2,029 MS Jane Austen 13:45info 19:10
06 May 2016 £2,229 MS Charles Dickens 13:45info 19:10
09 Jun 2016 £2,529 MS William Shakespeare 13:45info 19:10
12 Jul 2016 £2,429 MS Jane Austen 13:40info 17:00
20 Jul 2016 £2,429 MS William Shakespeare 13:40info 17:00
02 Aug 2016 £2,429 MS William Shakespeare 13:45info 19:10
15 Aug 2016 £2,429 MS Lord Byron 13:45info 19:10
19 Sep 2016 £2,529 MS William Shakespeare 13:40info 17:00
06 Oct 2016 £2,179 MS Charles Dickens 13:40info 17:00
30 Oct 2016 £1,429 MS Lord Byron 13:40info 17:00

 

Features

  • Admire the stunning scenery of the Rhine Gorge, Main and Danube
  • Guided tour of 2,000 year-old Koblenz
  • Stop in picturesque Boppard
  • Rüdesheim – a true Rhineland wine town
  • Visit to Mainz – once home to Gutenberg father of modern printing
  • See Miltenberg – one of Germany’s best preserved medieval towns
  • Experience Wertheim – one of the most attractive medieval towns in Germany
  • Guided tour of baroque Würzburg
  • Walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bamberg
  • Tour of Nuremberg – steeped in ancient and modern history – Including visit of the site of the infamous Nuremberg Trials and Nazi rally grounds
  • Visit to the amazingly preserved medieval city of Regensburg
  • Stop in Passau – the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers
  • Visit Melk Abbey – the majestic Benedictine monastery
  • Guided tour of Vienna – city of the Hapsburgs
  • Live classical quartet recital on board
  • Day in Budapest with guided tour – absorb the unique atmosphere
  • Price includes full-board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day

 

Price Includes

Prices are per person, based on two people sharing a twin cabin with a limited number of single cabins available on all decks, at the relevant supplement. The price includes full board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day; if you choose to travel with us on any of the full day excursions by coach, a packed lunch will be provided. Anyone choosing to stay on the ship may of course have lunch in the restaurant; morning/afternoon tea and coffee; all visits and excursions as mentioned in the brochure, airport/station transfers, coach travel as mentioned, travel to and from port of embarkation and the services of a Riviera Travel Tour Manager.

 

 

 

 

 

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