Day 1Arrive in Vienna, Austria (Embarkation)
Welcome to Vienna, known as the “City of Music” and a place that inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. (Dinner)NOTE:Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
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 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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Dürnstein, known for the magnificent baroque Stiftskirche with its blue façade, lies right in the heart of the Wachau wine region. Above town are the ruins of the castle where England’s King Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192. A Local Guide will tell you the tale during your GUIDED WALK. Those seeking some sporting activity might like to climb up the steep hill to the castle ruins for spectacular views of the town and river. Alternatively, you may just want to stroll through the narrow streets on your own. Then, cruise through the beautiful Wachau Valley to reach Melk after lunch. This afternoon you may choose to visit either Melk’s 11th-century BENEDICTINE ABBEY, or renaissance SCHALLABURG CASTLE. Melk’s abbey towers over the town and is one of Europe’s largest. It houses an ornate library with over 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts. Words cannot describe the splendor of its church with its frescoed ceilings, stunning high altar, marble statues, and 210-foot-high cupola. Schallaburg Castle was built as a defensive stronghold 900 years ago, but was later redesigned as a magnificent princely home. This evening you’ll be able to sample some of the region’s FAMOUS WINES. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
This morning, arrive in the attractive country resort of Grein, which is nestled at the foot of a bluff in the shadow of its castle. Take an included GUIDED WALK through the town and visit its unique historical THEATER, the oldest in Austria still holding regular performances. A behind-the-scenes peek to learn about some of the curiosities of this rococo-style, 167-seat theater will certainly tell you much about life as it was—and as it now is in this small town. Or, you may prefer to join one of a variety of optional excursions today. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5Passau, Germany
Today, enjoy a relaxing morning of sailing. This afternoon, arrive in Passau, located at the confluence of the Rivers Inn, Ilz, and Danube. This is a city of graceful arcades and 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. Join a Local Guide for a GUIDED WALK through this charming town, and find out much more about the “City of Three Rivers.” (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6Passau (Disembarkation)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.