Festive Time on the Blue Danube Discovery 2018

13 Day River Cruise from Budapest to Prague

2018 Information

Start this timeless Europe river cruise vacation with two nights in vibrant Budapest, Hungary, sail along the Danube River with exciting stops in Austria and Germany, and end with three nights in Prague, capital of the Czech Republic. At this time of year, the towns and cities are festively lit and decorated, each in its own particular style and taste. Christmas markets abound, and the strains of carols and aroma of gingerbread fill the air.

In lively Budapest, enjoy an introduction to the city by a local expert who shows you the must-see sights, and take this first chance to explore a Christmas market. Leave Budapest, and sail up the Danube River to Vienna, Austria. Here, Christmas markets are scattered around the city, with the biggest located in front of the city hall. Join a traditional city sightseeing or a guided culinary walk through the Christmas market to taste some of the local traditional specialties. Glide through the winter wonderland of the Wachau Valley; and in Melk, visit Austria’s majestic Benedictine Abbey and enjoy a tasting of some of the region’s famous wines. You’ll love a guided walk through Passau, with its narrow streets and beautiful patrician houses, and the Christkindl Markt set against the stunning backdrop of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Sail further up the Danube River, and you’ll come to the medieval walls of Regensburg, the only German city not bombed during WWII. Your last stop along the Danube River is thousand-year-old Nuremberg, famous for one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany. After guided city sightseeing, be sure to explore the many stalls and try some spicy gingerbread and Glühwein!

Disembark and travel to beautiful Prague, Czech Republic. See the sights with a Local Guide, and then explore on your own—get your last-minute gifts at the Christmas market, and don’t miss the beautifully-decorated tree in Old Town! The perfect ending to a memorable river cruise vacation!


Dates & Prices Get A Quote Book Online

Highlights & Sightseeing

Day 1 Budapest: welcome to Budapest!

Day 2 Budapest: guided sightseeing, see Fishermen’s Bastion and Heroes’ Square, Christmas markets

Day 3 Budapest (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception

Day 4 Budapest–Vienna: cruising, Austrian cookie tasting

Day 5 Vienna: choice of guided sightseeing or culinary tour at Christmas markets

Day 6 Krems–Melk: guided walk in Krems; guided visit of the Benedictine Abbey; wine tasting

Day 7 Passau: guided walk

Day 8 Regensburg: guided walk; enjoy a snack at the Historische Wurstküche; Christmas markets, onboard lecture, beer tasting

Day 9 Nuremberg: choice of guided sightseeing or Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour, Christmas markets

Day 10 Nuremberg (Disembarkation)–Prague: travel to Prague

Days 11-12 Prague: guided sightseeing, see the Astronomical Clock and visit Hradčany Castle grounds; Christmas markets

Day 13 Prague: your vacation ends this morning

Meals

  • Welcome & farewell cocktails with sparkling wine and canapés
  • Welcome dinner
  • Farewell dinner
  • Daily full buffet breakfast with made-to-order egg station, hot and cold menu items
  • Early and Late Riser breakfast
  • Daily lunch buffet with pasta or carving stations
  • Alternative light lunch or (weather permitting) grill fare at the Sky Bistro on the Sky Deck
  • Daily four-course à la carte dinner in the main dining room
  • Alternative dinner of petite portions or regional specialties with wines, in the Panorama Bistro
  • Daily Afternoon Tea
  • Daily Night Fare
  • Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner are included daily on board your vessel

Day-By-Day Itinerary

(B) = Breakfast   (L) = Lunch   (D) = Dinner

Day 1

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.

Day 2

(B)

Budapest

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 Café, 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. Don’t miss the unique Christmas markets that Budapest hosts every year during the Festive season.

Day 3

(B, D)

Budapest (Embarkation)

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.

Day 4

(B, L, D)

Budapest–Vienna, Austria

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. A special onboard Austrian cookie TASTING is offered to give you a warm welcome to the capital of Austria. 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.

Day 5

(B, L, D)

Vienna

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. Alternatively, taste all the best flavors that Austria has to offer at Christmastime, during our CULINARY WALKING TOUR. In your free time, 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!

Day 6

(B, L, D)

Krems–Melk

This morning, arrive in Krems a small valley town, seemingly untouched by the new world. Enjoy GUIDED SIGHTSEEING and perhaps try some roasted chestnuts, one of the most popular treats at the Christmas market. 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.

Day 7

(B, L, D)

Passau, Germany

This morning, relax on board as you gently cruise to Passau, where you arrive after lunch. The city, located where the Inn, Iltz and Danube rivers converge,is a maze of cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. At this time of year, the Christkindlmart (Christmas market) is located under the backdrop of magnificent St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian and baroque architecture. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK. Alternatively, you may prefer to join an optional full-day excursion to Salzburg to see some of the popular “The Sound of Music” sites. Find out how mice caused the composition of the famous Silent Night carol, and learn how Austrians celebrate Christmas. Rejoin your ship in Passau in the early evening.

Day 8

(B, L, D)

Regensburg

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. Grab a beer and enjoy an included SNACK at the 17th-century 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. You can dedicate your free time to visiting the Christmas markets, including those hosted by Thurn und Taxis Palace. The tempting aromas of mulled wine, sausage, roasted almonds, and gingerbread create a memorable atmosphere. Enjoy an ONBOARD LECTURE on Christmas Tradition in Europe and during our sailing afternoon, we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s FAMOUS BEERS.

Day 9

(B, L, D)

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. 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 specialized “NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS” tour. This afternoon is free to discover the Old Town, illuminated with festive lights, and the Christmas market that is one of the biggest in Germany, featuring 200 stalls selling traditional wares and foods. A shuttle bus service is at your disposal to take you back to the ship.

Day 10

(B)

Nuremberg (Disembarkation)–Prague, Czech Republic

After breakfast, say goodbye to your crew and travel by motorcoach to Prague, the “Golden City.”

Day 11

(B)

Prague

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; HRADČANY CASTLE GROUNDS; St. Vitus Cathedral; and the Charles Bridge, the oldest bridge in Prague.. Browse the Christmas market’s brightly decorated wooden huts, which sell Christmas ornaments and decorations, handcrafted wooden toys, and other Czech crafts. Get a little inner warmth with a cup of svarene vino (hot mulled wine) and a traditional hot sausage. The beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the Old Town is an impressive sight.

Day 12

(B)

Prague

Enjoy a free day to explore the city at your own pace. Perhaps visit the Communist Museum, sample the local plum dumplings and Pilsner, and stroll along the Vltava River. Your Cruise Director will have other suggestions for things to do.

Day 13

(B)

Prague

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

Notes

  • 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.

Ship Details

Illumination

Illumination

Part of Avalon's cutting-edge fleet of Suite Ships®, the Avalon Illumination came onto the river cruising scene with a bang. This gorgeous ship features two full decks of Panorama SuitesSM with Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows that transform the living space into a unique Open-Air BalconySM. With 200 square feet, Panorama SuitesSM are more than 30% larger than the industry standard, affording you the incomparable opportunity to wake each morning facing the splendid passing scenery. Onboard amenities include an alternative light dining option in the Panorama Bistro, a Fitness Center, complimentary Wi-Fi access, and a spacious Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs, whirlpool, and light al fresco lunches at the Sky Bistro on the Sky Deck.

Included Amenities

  • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows
  • State-of-the-art fitness center
  • Convenient Elevator Service
  • Outside viewing deck
  • English-speaking friendly crew, staff & professional Cruise Director
  • Onboard lectures, activities & entertainment
  • Sky Deck whirlpool
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
  • Biking excursions available in Amsterdam and Durnstein
  • Behind-the-scenes galley tour
  • Nordic walking sticks available onboard for complimentary check-out
  • Flatscreen satellite TV with English-speaking channels & over 100 free movie options
  • Linger over several selections from the Panorama Bistro's tasting menu for a less formal "sit-down" atmosphere
  • Self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees, including decaf options
  • Complimentary bottled water, fresh fruit, and cookies available throughout the day
  • Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs, whirlpool, shade awnings, & outdoor deck game area
  • Non-smoking staterooms & ship interior
  • Elegant, contemporary design
  • Headsets for guided shore excursions in Europe
  • Sightseeing with Expert Local Guides
  • Room service for Continental breakfast & beverages (service fee applies)
  • Complimentary computer use in public areas
  • Onboard Adventure Center with active gear, bikes, Nordic walking sticks, watercraft & maps
  • Light lunch & casual dinner in the Panorama Bistro
  • Choice of Leisurely, Traditional or Independent sightseeing pace options
  • Onshore & Onboard experiences with regional customs, cultures & tastings with local artisans, experts & entertainers
  • Onboard assistance is available to recommend, reserve and further personalize your cruise
  • Sky Deck game area
  • Well-stocked library with books, cards, and board games
  • Full-size closet mirror

Staterooms & Suites

Avalon Deluxe Stateroom (Cat. D, E) - 172 sq. ft.
Features
  • Comfort Collection BedsSM
  • Egyptian super-combed cotton linens
  • Soft & firm pillows
  • Choice of bed configuration
  • Bedside tables with reading lamps
  • L'Occitane bath products
  • Easy under-bed luggage storage
  • Alarm clock
  • Bathrobes & slippers
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Individual climate control
  • Large mirror in bathroom
  • USB Ports
  • Full shower with glass door
  • Vanity and lighted makeup mirror
  • Luxurious mattress toppers
  • European-style duvets
  • Extra blankets
  • Nightly turn-down service
  • Hairdryer
  • Spacious 3-door closets with shelves for ample storage
  • Flatscreen satellite TV with English-speaking channels & over 100 free movie options
  • Direct-dial telephone
  • Well-stocked minibar
  • In-room safe
  • Elegant, contemporary design
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Two windows
  • Writing desk and chair
Panorama Suite (Cat. A, B, P) - 200 sq. ft.
Features
  • Comfort Collection BedsSM
  • Egyptian super-combed cotton linens
  • Soft & firm pillows
  • Choice of bed configuration
  • Bedside tables with reading lamps
  • L'Occitane bath products
  • Easy under-bed luggage storage
  • Alarm clock
  • Direct-dial telephone
  • Well-stocked minibar
  • In-room safe
  • Elegant, contemporary design
  • Marble countertops in bathroom
  • USB Ports
  • 6-person sitting area
  • Writing desk and chair
  • Sofa
  • Luxurious mattress toppers
  • European-style duvets
  • Extra blankets
  • Nightly turn-down service
  • Hairdryer
  • Spacious 3-door closets with shelves for ample storage
  • Flatscreen satellite TV with English-speaking channels & over 100 free movie options
  • Make-up mirror
  • Bathrobes & slippers
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Individual climate control
  • Large mirror in bathroom
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Window with Open-Air BalconySM
  • Full shower with glass door
  • Vanity and lighted makeup mirror
  • Coffee table
Royal Suite - 300 sq. ft.
Features
  • Comfort Collection BedsSM
  • Egyptian super-combed cotton linens
  • Soft & firm pillows
  • Choice of bed configuration
  • Bedside tables with reading lamps
  • L'Occitane bath products
  • Easy under-bed luggage storage
  • Alarm clock
  • Direct-dial telephone
  • Well-stocked minibar
  • In-room safe
  • Elegant, contemporary design
  • Marble countertops in bathroom
  • USB Ports
  • 6-person sitting area
  • Writing desk and chair
  • Sofa
  • Double sinks
  • Luxurious mattress toppers
  • European-style duvets
  • Extra blankets
  • Nightly turn-down service
  • Hairdryer
  • Spacious 3-door closets with shelves for ample storage
  • Flatscreen satellite TV with English-speaking channels & over 100 free movie options
  • Make-up mirror
  • Bathrobes & slippers
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Individual climate control
  • Large mirror in bathroom
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Window with Open-Air BalconySM
  • Full shower with glass door
  • Vanity and lighted makeup mirror
  • Coffee table
DECK PLANS

Hotels

Budapest
Prague

 Optional Excursions

The following optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These may or may not be offered, and availability is subject to days of operation and seasonality. Please select a departure date to view optional excursions and pricing for a specific date (due to currency fluctuation, pricing shown is subject to change until purchased). Optional excursions are available for purchase on our MyAvalon site 90 days prior to the tour start date.

Price Ranges

$ ($50 USD and under)
$$ ($51 - $100 USD)
$$$ ($101 - $150 USD)
$$$$ (Over $150)


Budapest
Vienna
Packages
Passau
Prague

Budapest

Tastes of Hungary Dinner & Wine Pairing

Tastes of Hungary Dinner & Wine Pairing

Explore the piquant flavors of traditional Hungarian cuisine and learn the best wines to pair with it during this fun and delicious food and wine-pairing dinner!

Price Range: $$

Vienna

Classical Concert

Classical Concert

Enjoy a spellbinding evening of classical works by Mozart and Johann Strauss, performed brilliantly by professional Salon Orchestra Alt-Wien musicians in one of Europe's prettiest venues.

Price Range: $$

Schönbrunn Palace, Crown Jewel of Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace, Crown Jewel of Vienna

Visit magnificent Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and former summer residence of the Habsburg imperial family.

Price Range: $$

Packages

Celebration Packages

Celebration Packages

Celebrating a birthday or anniversary while you're cruising? Add an Avalon Celebration Package to your vacation. You can make your special day even more memorable with special touches ranging from flowers to a private cocktail reception.

Price Range: $$$$

Passau

Discover Salzburg's Christmas Traditions

Discover Salzburg's Christmas Traditions

See Salzburg most famous sights and learn all about its Christmas traditions, including a tasting of Austrian holiday delicacies, on this enthralling full-day guided excursion.

Price Range: $$$

Prague

Prague Food and Cultural Tour

Prague Food and Cultural Tour

Explore the backstreets of Prague with an expert guide to discover the city¿s best local eateries, meet the people behind the food, and to sample some mouthwatering specialties!

Price Range: $$

Czech Dinner & Folklore Show

Czech Dinner & Folklore Show

Experience the heart and traditions of the Czech Republic at this festive evening featuring the country¿s traditional food, music, song, and dance!

Price Range: $$

The Terrible Tragedy of Terezin

The Terrible Tragedy of Terezin

Prepare for a moving encounter with Terezin, a magnificent 18th-century Austrian fortress with a terrible past. This guided excursion reveals the tragic suffering that took place under the brutal Nazi regime at what became the Terezín Concentration Camp.

Price Range: $$

Wonders & Wines of Castle Melník

Wonders & Wines of Castle Melník

Travel into the Bohemian wine country for an engaging guided visit of medieval Castle Melník and a tasting of the locally produced wines!

Price Range: $$

Discover Prague's Hidden Treasures

Discover Prague's Hidden Treasures

Walk with an expert guide around Prague's Charles Bridge and ancient Malá Strana district on the Left Bank of the Vltava River to discover the city's tucked-away treasures.

Price Range: $

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