Arrive Amsterdam, Embark Ship
Fly into eccentric Amsterdam
today and transfer to your premium river ship. After settling in, perhaps grab a map explore the canal crossed streets lined with unique tall and narrow buildings that epitomise this carefree, cosmopolitan city. Enjoy a myriad of great shopping opportunities, stopping to see the traditional blue and white Delfware pottery and making sure to visit one of the many artisan cheese makers or chocolatiers found in the traditional tall houses that line the canal shores. Perhaps visit the bustling Dam Square and visit Madame Tussauds to see this famous wax museum's lifelike exhibits, or art lovers might want to explore the city's thriving art scene, being sure to stop in at the Van Gogh Museum. This evening meet your Cruise Director and fellow passengers at a Captain's Welcome Reception. Afterwards perhaps discover Amsterdam by night, as your river ship stays docked only a short stroll from the city centre. Stay 14 Nights:
aboard your premium Travelmarvel river ship (D)
A canal cruise with a local guide, ready to share stories of daily life, is the best way to get to know Amsterdam and today, you'll board a glass-top boat and glide through the city's maze of waterways. Back on land join your local guide for a walking tour through Amsterdam's more lively neighbourhoods. Later travel by coach to Utrecht, via Rembrandt's Windmill, and join back up with your river ship. Alternatively stay aboard your ship for a leisurely day cruising down the Rhine arriving in Utrecht just before lunch to meet with the day trippers. From here, your ship will set off along the Rhine as you prepare for tonight's special Gala Dinner. (B/L/D)
As you cruise into the riverside city of Cologne, the sheer magnitude of the history of the region becomes apparent as your Cruise Director tells of how the twin spires of the famous cathedral, the Kolner Dom, took over six centuries to complete. Head to the Sun Deck as this magnificent architectural masterpiece comes into view and marvel at the tenacity of its craftsmen and builders. Disembark your ship in Cologne and take the short drive to Bruhl. Later, return to Cologne and enjoy free time to discover over 2,000 years of history at the Old City. (B/L/D)
Insider Experience: Imagine what life would have been like in the times of archbishop-elector Clemens August on a visit to World Heritage-listed Augustusburg Castle and Falkenlust hunting lodge. On a tour of the 18th-century castle, learn enthralling stories of its infamous former resident and enjoy a walk through the perfectly landscaped parks and gardens between the castle and the lodge, where the archbishop would come to practise falconry.
Rhine Gorge, Rüdesheim
See the ever-changing colours of the Rhine Gorge, with vineyards that turn from deep green, to red, to bare wood through the seasons as Pfalzgrfenstein Castle and Lorelei Rock stand unchanged by the passing of the centuries. Dock in Rudesheim, and board the Winzerexpress mini-train, bound for Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. Admire delicate songbird boxes and curious musical dolls. Later stroll back to your river ship, perhaps stopping for a Rudesheimer coffee along the way. (B/L/D)
Today, you are welcomed to the Main River, known as "the snake" because of its meandering path through Germany. Although the Main is one of the longest rivers in Germany it is somewhat sleepier than the Rhine. With its banks spotted with quaint and colourful villages, this section of your cruise is sure to yield plenty of picture perfect moments. Disembark your river ship and explore the evocative town of Miltenberg, seemingly stuck in time, with many of Miltenberg's half-timbered buildings dating from the 15th to 18th century. Later this evening, enjoy a superb dinner on board before settling into the Lounge or up on the Sun Deck to watch the glittering lights of medieval towns and villages glide past as you cruise through the night. Witness a feat of engineering as you pass through a handful of the river's 34 locks. (B/L/D)
Insider Experience: Get a rare glimpse into local life as you are welcomed into the home of a friendly Miltenberg family. Enjoy coffee and cake made fresh for you that morning by your gracious hosts, who are eager to share with you stories of their town's history and way of life.
After an early breakfast, board a coach and travel through the green rolling hills and rich vineyards which sit on the fringe of the pretty town of Wurzburg. The architectural beauty that defines Wurzburg is on show today as you admire its magnificent Baroque palace. A walk through the Court Garden is a delight, with its terraced gardens and water basin encircled by stunning yew trees. After lunch, you might like to enhance your journey even further with an excursion to medieval Rothenburg. This small fairytale village, one of the prettiest in Germany. Upon arrival embark on a walking tour and discover narrow cobblestone streets and alleys, overlooked by narrow towers and imposing ramparts. This evening, sit down to dinner with your fellow travellers back on board your river ship as you cruise this evening towards the Bavarian town of Bamberg. (B/L/D)
Spend a leisurely morning cruising along the last stretch of the Main River before arriving at Bamberg. One of the few German cities that wasn't destroyed during World War II, World Heritage-listed this pretty city beckons this morning. Here you can choose between an afternoon of free time or a guided tour, during which you'll gaze upon such sights as the Old Town Hall and the Bamberg Cathedral. A visit to one of the historic taverns is perhaps the best place to get a taste for the local Bavarian culture where you'll find locals enjoying pretzels and steins of smoked ale. Later on this evening, your ship will reach the Main-Danube Canal. (B/L/D)
The site of Hitler's now infamous Nuremberg rallies, held annually from 1927 to 1938, Nuremberg played a pivotal role for the Nazis during World War II. Learn about the city's Nazi era as you see such sights as the Zeppelin Field and the Palace of Justice. Nuremberg is also a great place to explore, as you wander the cobblestone streets discovering hidden boutiques and artisan stores. Finish your day cruising through the Main-Danube Canal, crossing Europe's Continental Divide (435 metres above sea level) thanks to the canal's 16 stair-step locks. (B/L/D)
Having reached the Danube River overnight, Regensburg awaits at the meeting point of the Danube and Regen rivers. Join the guided walking tour which tells of the medieval city's story through the ages. There are plenty of well preserved sights to see as Regensburg was lucky to escape most of the devastating bombings of World War II. See the ancient Stone Bridge, which gracefully arches across the water, as well as the Old Town Hall, the World Heritage-listed city centre and the Porta Pretoria - ancient gates to a Roman fort built in AD179. You will spend the entire day in this charming city, docked right in the heart of town, so another option is to organise a packed lunch and a bicycle and enjoy the freedom as you head out to explore the city or surrounding countryside on your own terms. Reboard your river ship for lunch, or perhaps grab something yourself at a local restaurant or cafe, then spend the rest of the day at leisure. (B/L/D)
Insider Experience: Enjoy an authentic Bavarian experience on board your river ship as you sample local beer and snacks, accompanied by traditional folk music, song and dance.
As you enjoy your breakfast this morning, arrive in the 'Three Rivers City' of Passau, where the rivers Inn and Ilz join the Danube. Today you are spoilt for choice as you can choose to either take part in a morning walking tour, grab a bike and set out to explore, or join one of the optional Enhance Your Journey day trips. As you explore, stroll past the city's colourful buildings that line the riverbank. Discover Passau's Baroque character, owing to the fact it was rebuilt in the style after fires destroyed it in the 1600s. Alternatively, you have the option to travel to enjoy a fascinating day excursion to the city of Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, home to more than 300 historical buildings. Another option is to travel to Salzburg
and enjoy a tour of the sights from the classic musical movie 'The Sound of Music', including the famous Wedding Church. Those not undertaking day trips meet back on board for lunch, spending a relaxing afternoon cruising to Linz where the day trippers reboard. (B/L/D)
Dock in Melk and join a local guide for a tour through magnificent Melk Abbey, an active Benedictine monastery since 1089 that sits majestically atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube River. It is then entirely up to you whether you want to catch the coach back down to the river, or take a stroll through the forest back to your ship, which departs shortly after lunch. Ensure you are on the Sun Deck or in the Lounge as you cruise through the picturesque Wachau Valley, one of the most beautiful and famous in Austria. Continue to Durnstein, where you have a free afternoon to explore at your own pace. The town is overlooked by the hilltop ruins of the castle where legendary King Richard the Lionheart was held captive after attempting to return to England through mainland Europe after being shipwrecked in the Adriatic at the conclusion of the Third Crusade. A walk through the cobbled streets leads to 16th-century town houses and taverns, while surrounding vineyards provide the opportunity to taste some of the local wine or the apricot schnapps this lovely little town is known for. (B/L/D)
Embrace the splendour of the former Habsburg empire in Vienna
, a cultural utopia of music, art and food. Discover the sheer elegance of this opulent city as you drive around the Ringstrasse. Learn about some of the city's most famous buildings - the Vienna State Opera House, the Museum of Fine Arts and more - as well as the rich classical music culture and history. Upon arriving in the city centre, join a walking tour for an insider's view of a number of landmarks, including St Stephen's Cathedral, the Graben, Hofburg Palace and the Albertina. Perhaps stop and taste for yourself the cafe culture that influences this city so much. Perhaps this evening, enjoy a concert featuring some of the most famous compositions by Mozart and Strauss, through to music from the movie The Sound of Music. (B/L/D)
Pay a visit to the famous Naschmarkt, the most popular and most luxurious food and produce market in Vienna. Browse the fresh produce stalls and sample some local delicacies, including delicious Kaiserschmarrn and Palatschinken.
Today you decide on how to shape your experience in glorious Vienna. Perhaps visit the Hofburg area and the Imperial Treasury, brimming with bejewelled crowns and precious gems, as well as the Spanish Riding School. If you're feeling peckish, perhaps head to a cosy coffee house where you can try a traditional Sachertorte - a chocolate tart with a lush apricot filling. You'll be spoilt for choice in a city so rich in great cafes, impressive historical buildings and fabulous shopping opportunities, so be sure to ask your expert Cruise Director for any insider tips. Otherwise, embark on an optional excursion, perhaps visiting Schonbrunn Palace, to see what is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture, or head to Bratislava to discover a soviet history that only ended in the 1980s. See communist buildings and monuments and learn about life in the soviet era before enjoying free time in Bratislava's Old Town. (B/L/D)
Today, enjoy views of one of the Danube's most enchanting riverside cities as you arrive into the heart of Hungary's capital. After breakfast, the history, beauty and charm of Budapest
are illuminated as a local guide leads you through the city. See Matthias Church, Fisherman's Bastion and Heroes' Square. Learn about the turbulent history of the regal Buda Castle and take the chance to see the spectacular Hungarian Parliament Building, perched on the edge of the Danube River. After a Captain's Farewell Dinner, set off on a magical twilight cruise through the glittering heart of Budapest, passing under the Chain Bridge and past Parliament building, lit up and sparkling while Buda Castle and the Fisherman's Bastion shimmer in the distance. (B/L/D)
Disembark Ship, Depart Budapest
After breakfast this morning bid your river ship and new found friends farewell as you disembark and transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B)