The delightful Danube sets the stage for this incredible journey as you sail through beautiful scenery and quaint towns. Begin in Budapest, Hungary, with two overnights and guided sightseeing. Enjoy Hungarian cuisine, explore its famous produce market-Central Market Hall, wander around the former royal palace grounds, explore its famous churches, or visit one of the many museums. Then, board your river cruise vessel and sail westward, with guided sightseeing in magical Vienna, Passau, and medieval Regensburg. Also take a guided walk in the charming town of Durnstein and see the baroque Stiftskirche, and visit the awe-inspiring Benedictine Abbey in Melk. Enjoy wine tasting in Melk and beer tasting in fascinating Regensburg. Disembark your ship and travel to the "Golden City" of Prague for a final three overnights, guided sightseeing, and plenty of free time to discover the Hradcany Castle grounds, wander through Prague's Jewish Quarter, shop for hand-cut crystal, savor authentic Czech dumplings, stand in the square where protestors demonstrated against Communism, or visit one of the many churches. All of this and more await you on this marvelous vacation!
You see life differently. While others chase what's popular, you follow your own path. At Avalon, we share your unique point of view. That's why we've used our 85-plus years to design a cruise experience that's just a bit different. Here are some of the features and amenities you'll experience on board our Avalon ships. Panoramic windows throughout Elegant, contemporary design Remarkable service Professional Cruise Director Friendly, English-speaking crew Non-smoking interior Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the ship Fitness Center with state-of-the-art equipment Upscale bar serving premium spirits Included sightseeing with headsets by Certified Local Guides Complimentary Nordic walking sticks Complimentary bicycles available for time on shore Sky Deck shade system & premium lounge chairs Hair Salon Well-stocked library with books, cards, and games Comfort Collection BedsSM Egyptian super-combed cotton linens European-style duvets Nightly turn-down service Bathrobes & slippers Premium L'Occitane bath products & hairdryer Large bathroom featuring shower with glass door Flatscreen satellite TV with free movie channels Spacious 3-door closets for ample storage Well-stocked minibar In-room safe Individual climate control Complimentary bottled water daily Captain's welcome & farewell receptions Breakfast, lunch & dinner on board daily Daily full breakfast buffet with hot/cold menu items Complimentary sparkling wine at breakfast Complimentary juices at breakfast Made-to-order egg station at breakfast Daily early- and late-riser breakfasts Daily lunch buffet with pasta and carving stations Grilled lunch alternative at the Sky Bistro (weather permitting) Light lunch alternative in the Panorama Bistro Four-course a la carte dinners with open seating Nightly choice of appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, desserts or cheese Regional wine, beer & soft drinks at all onboard lunches and dinners Daily regional, Western & Avalon FreshSM vegetarian/healthy cuisine Alternative dinner of petite portions and wine in the Panorama Bistro Club Lounge with 24-hour, self-serve beverage station Premium coffees, cappuccinos, lattes, hot chocolate & teas Cookies & fresh fruit available throughout the day Daily Afternoon Tea with tea, coffee, sweet treats & sandwiches Daily Night Fare served at 10:30 pm And, much more
Highlights & Sightseeing
Cruise: deluxe 7-night cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon's exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM
Day 1 Budapest, Hungary: welcome to Budapest!
Day 2 Budapest: guided sightseeing, see Fishermen's Bastion and Heroes' Square
Day 3 Budapest (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception
Day 4 Budapest-Vienna: cruising
Day 5 Vienna: guided sightseeing
Day 6 Durnstein-Melk: guided walk in Durnstein, see the Stiftskirche; guided visit of the Benedictine Abbey and wine tasting
Day 7 Passau: guided walk
Day 8 Regensburg: guided walk; enjoy a snack at the Historische Wurstkuche; beer tasting
Day 9 Roth-Nuremberg: choice of guided sightseeing in Roth, or guided sightseeing in Nuremberg
Day 10 Nuremberg (Disembarkation)-Prague: travel to Prague
Days 11-12 Prague: guided sightseeing, see the Astronomical Clock and visit Hradcany Castle grounds; free time
Day 13 Prague: your vacation ends this morning
Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.
Enjoy a special local treat of sausage, sauerkraut & beer.
Meals Captain's welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapes Welcome dinner Daily Afternoon Tea Daily Night Fare Farewell dinner Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner are included daily on board your vessel
NOTES:Departure July 16 is offered as an exclusive Beer Tasting Cruise, including special features at no additional cost. A visit to Europe is even better when it includes a discovery of the regional beers! Enjoy onboard tastings, visit historic breweries, and learn about European beer-brewing techniques during fascinating onboard lectures. Prost! Departure August 13 is offered as an exclusive Jewish Heritage Cruise, including special lectures and features at no additional cost. Explore sites important to Jewish history, like the world's second-largest synagogue in Budapest, the WWII Terezin ghetto, Prague's Jewish Museum & Cemetery, Regensburg's Document Museum, and more. (NOTE: Kosher foods not available.) Departure October 29 is offered as an exclusive Wine Appreciation Cruise, including special lectures and tastings at no additional cost. Your palate will applaud as you learn what to look for in a good wine. A distinguished wine authority will teach you the ropes as you visit a wine village and attend tastings to test your newfound talent. Departures November 27 and December 11 are offered as exclusive Festive Time Cruises, Experience the holiday season the European way! Enjoy the jolly atmosphere on your festively decorated ship as you delight in the sights, smells, and tastes of local customs and traditions. In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program. Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change is necessary, a substitute will be offered. Please check visa requirements with your local consulate(s); responsibility for obtaining visas rests with the traveler.
Arrive in Budapest, Hungary
Welcome to Budapest, Hungary's lively capital spanning the banks of the Danube. The remainder of the day is free to start exploring Eastern Europe's most cosmopolitan metropolis.
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 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, 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. (Breakfast)
You have time this morning to explore Budapest further. Perhaps visit St. Stephen's Basilica for marvelous views of the city from its viewing platform. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at a welcome reception. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Enjoy a day of relaxation on board and marvel at the beautiful scenery on both banks of the Danube. Hungary is on your left as you cruise upriver and Slovakia is on your right. The two countries share the Danube for a 58-mile stretch, with the border in the middle of the river. This evening, arrive in Vienna, Austria's capital. Known as the "City of Music," it inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. An optional concert is available during your stay. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Once the center 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 your LOCAL GUIDE will show you during an included CITY SIGHTSEEING TOUR. Stroll through the delightful pedestrian Karntnerstrasse, 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! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Durnstein, known for the magnificent baroque, blue Stiftskirche built in the 1700s, is right in the heart of the Wachau wine region. The main street of this small town-with a population of less than 1,000 people-is lined with 16th-century homes and charming cobblestone streets. This morning 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. During lunchtime, sail the picturesque Wachau Valley and arrive in Melk in the early afternoon. Here, enjoy a GUIDED VISIT of the 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. You'll be captivated by the splendor of the church with its frescoed ceilings, stunning high altar, marble statues, and 210-foot-high cupola. The view from the terrace over the Danube and surrounding countryside is breathtaking! This evening, sample some of the Wachau Valley's FAMOUS WINES. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Today, you might wish to choose from a couple of full-day optional excursions: to Salzburg, taking in some of The Sound of Music sights or to medieval Ã??esky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alternatively, you may choose to stay on the ship and relax as you cruise to Passau, uniquely located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge. Passau is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. St. Stephen's Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture, houses one of the world's largest church organs with 17,774 pipes. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
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 Brucke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany. Grab a beer and enjoy an included SNACK at the 17th-century Historische Wurstkuche (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. After dinner, we'll introduce you to some of Germany's FAMOUS BEERS. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
This morning, the choice is yours-join a Local Guide for GUIDED SIGHTSEEING of nearby Nuremberg. 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. Marvel at this thousand-year-old city's medieval fortifications, extraordinary gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle). Alternatively, join a Local Expert for a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING of Roth. This delightful Bavarian town, with its half-timbered houses and market square, is also an industrial center for textile manufacturing. Take pictures of Schloss Ratibor, an ancient hunting lodge built in 1535, with a most picturesque inner courtyard. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Nuremberg (Disembarkation)-Prague, Czech Republic
After breakfast, say goodbye to your crew and travel by motorcoach to Prague, the "Golden City." (Breakfast)
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 shows you its best-known treasures, such as the Old Town's Astronomical Clock, built in 1410 and once the envy of all of Europe; HRADÃ??ANY 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 where people demonstrated against the communist regime; or watch performers on Charles Bridge. (Breakfast)
Enjoy a free day to explore the city at your own pace. Perhaps visit the Communist Museum or take an optional excursion around the Jewish Quarter. Sample the local plum dumplings and Pilsner; stroll along the Vltava River. Your Cruise Director will have other suggestions for things to do. (Breakfast)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)