Magnificent Europe with Paris & London For Music & Opera Admirers - Westbound 2018

21 Day River Cruise from Budapest to London

2018 Information

See the highlights of Central Europe on this enchanting river cruise vacation. Guided sightseeing in each city is conducted by Certified Local Guides and shows you the must-see sights.

In Regensburg, we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s famous beers, and there’s wine tasting in Austria’s Wachau Valley. Visit Vienna, charming Dürnstein, Regensburg, Nuremberg, medieval Bamberg, picturesque Rüdesheim, and Cologne. Also enjoy inside visits of Bratislava’s gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral, the amazing Benedictine Abbey of Melk, and Würzburg’s Bishop’s Residenz. Cruise through the dramatic Rhine Gorge past the legendary Lorelei rock; glide past quaint towns, beautiful scenery, and historic buildings along the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers; and enjoy a scenic cruise through the delightful canals of Amsterdam.

After disembarking your Avalon cruise ship in Amsterdam, we transfer you by high-speed train to Paris for your exciting Monograms extension. We've arranged your hotel reservations, daily breakfasts, sightseeing with local experts, transfers to and from your hotels and train stations, and more. Plus, we know you may not be familiar with the cities, so we’ve arranged the services of friendly and knowledgeable Local Hosts® to answer questions, share inside information, help arrange your activities and excursions, and make you feel right at home. The moment you arrive in Paris, you’ll feel the magic. We know the very best place to photograph the iconic Eiffel Tower, and we’ll take you there to get your shots! You’ll go to Notre Dame Cathedral to admire its amazing stained-glass Rose Window and the Louvre museum to see Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and other treasures. Enjoy free time in the “City of Light” to hunt for the many celebrity tombstones in the Père Lachaise Cemetery, take a French cooking lesson, or enjoy a cabaret show at the world-famous Moulin Rouge. Next, bid “Au Revoir” as a high-speed train whisks you from Paris to London for three nights and plenty of time to investigate just what makes England so jolly. You'll hear the inside stories of places like Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. You’ll go inside St. Paul’s Cathedral, the iconic cathedral where Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married. You’ll also see Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, and Piccadilly Circus—just to name a few iconic London landmarks. With your free time in London, you may want to ride the London Eye, shop at the iconic Harrods department store, or take in a West End theater show.

For specific details on this special interest river cruise, please view the day-by-day itinerary.


Dates & Prices Get A Quote Book Online

Highlights & Sightseeing

Day 1 Budapest (Embarkation): welcome reception

Day 2 Budapest: guided sightseeing, see Fishermen’s Bastion and Heroes’ Square, visit the Opera House

Day 3 Bratislava: guided sightseeing, visit St. Martin’s Cathedral

Day 4 Vienna: guided sightseeing

Day 5 Krems–Melk: guided walk in Krems; cruise through the Wachau Valley; guided visit of the Benedictine Abbey; wine tasting

Day 6 Passau: choice of Passau guided walk or full day excursion to Salzburg with lunch included

Day 7 Regensburg: guided walk; enjoy a snack at the Historische Wurstküche; choir concert

Day 8 Roth–Nuremberg: choice of guided sightseeing in Nuremberg or Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour or guided sightseeing of Roth

Day 9 Bamberg: guided walk, see the Old Town Hall

Day 10 Würzburg: guided sightseeing, visit the Bishop’s Residenz

Day 11 Main River Village: guided walk

Day 12 Rüdesheim–Rhine Gorge: visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum; enjoy a special treat; cruise through the Rhine Gorge

Day 13 Cologne: choice of guided walk or Jewish Heritage walk

Day 14 Amsterdam: canal cruise

Paris & London: 6 nights hotel accommodation with buffet breakfast (B); Monograms Local Host Service & Destination Guides with city maps; guided sightseeing, inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE; high-speed Thalys train (first class) from Amsterdam to Paris; high-speed Eurostar train (Standard class*) from Paris to London (porterage available for one suitcase on Paris– London stretch only); transfers to/from train stations

*NOTE: Upgrade option available on Eurostar

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

(D)

Arrive in Budapest, Hungary (Embarkation)

Welcome to Hungary’s exciting capital city! This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. Meet our opera singers who be with you throughout this cruise, and entertain you with their beautiful voices and performances. Moreover, we will surprise you with a special concert performance in one of the cities you will be visiting.

NOTE:
Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

Day 2

(B, L, D)

Budapest

Spanning the banks of the Danube, Budapest is one of Eastern Europe’s liveliest cities. 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 TOUR of the city, see Heroes’ Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church. 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. Visit the beautiful OPERA HOUSE. In your free time this afternoon you may want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest; visit St. Stephen’s Basilica with marvelous views of the city from its viewing platform; or stroll along Váci utca, the main shopping street.

Day 3

(B, L, D)

Bratislava, Slovakia

Today, arrive in Bratislava, situated at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains and the dynamic capital of Slovakia. Join a Local Guide for a tour of the city, including a GUIDED WALK of its fascinating Old Town, where winding cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways twist and turn to reveal the Town Hall, one of the oldest stone buildings in the city. Also visit gothic ST. MARTIN’S CATHEDRAL, coronation church for the Kingdom of Hungary from the 16th to 19th centuries. Later, enjoy free time to explore on your own. Tonight, depart for Vienna.

Day 4

(B, L, D)

Vienna, Austria

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 you’ll see on your included GUIDED 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.

Day 5

(B, L, D)

Krems–Melk

Head into the heart of the Wachau wine region to Krems for GUIDED SIGHTSEEING. Then, cruise through the beautiful Wachau Valley to reach Melk after lunch. Visit the magnificent 11th-century BENEDICTINE ABBEY which 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. This afternoon you will be able to sample some of the FAMOUS WINES of this region.

Day 6

(B, L, D)

Passau, Germany

Today, a full day EXCURSION TO SALZBURG acquaints you with some of the sites of “The Sound of Music”, and visit Mozart’s birthplace. Lunch with music entertainment is included. Rejoin your ship in Passau in the early evening. 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 and dominated by St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK.

Day 7

(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. 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. 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 Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants. Bask in the vibrant atmosphere and take in the remarkable views along the river. An exclusive CHOIR CONCERT is offered this afternoon.

Day 8

(B, L, D)

Roth–Nuremberg

This morning, relax on board, before docking in Roth. After lunch, join a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING of the city. 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. Or you may prefer to choose a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR 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), or join a more specialized “NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS” tour.

Day 9

(B, L, D)

Bamberg

This morning, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germany’s most powerful imperial dynasties and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your GUIDED WALKING TOUR takes in its historic center, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)—built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! This afternoon, cruise gently along the Main River as you head for Würzburg.

Day 10

(B, L, D)

Würzburg

Surrounded by verdant hillside vineyards, Würzburg, the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” makes an immediate impression with imposing Fortress Marienberg perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrücke (Old Main Bridge). On your included GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, visit the magnificent baroque BISHOP’S RESIDENZ, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. This afternoon you are free to explore on your own, or perhaps join an optional excursion to medieval Rothenburg.

Day 11

(B, L, D)

Main River Village

On the banks of the Main River you find cultural gems of small towns, many of them tucked away behind defensive walls and towered gates. With half- timbered houses, narrow streets, and medieval town centers, these picturesque Bavarian villages are a photographer’s delight. Join your Local Guide to experience one of these towns on a GUIDED WALK.

Day 12

(B, L, D)

Rüdesheim–Rhine Gorge

Today, arrive in Rüdesheim, a quintessential Rhine Valley wine town. Visit SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM, where you’ll see and hear a large collection of self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. Enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT, then head downstream from Rüdesheim, through the dramatic RHINE GORGE, the most beautiful stretch of river. Here, ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the waters. Cruise past the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where echoes of enchanted siren song lured unwitting sailors to their doom.

Day 13

(B, L, D)

Cologne

Arrive in Cologne this morning. One of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles both sides of the Rhine and is known for its soaring, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Choose between an included GUIDED CITY WALK or JEWISH HERITAGE WALK. Later, during free time, perhaps look in on the Romano-Germanic Museum, home to a large collection of artifacts from the Roman settlement on which modern Cologne is built—a must for history buffs! The Old Town abounds with cafés, shops, and taverns. Be sure to try a Kölsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for over a hundred years!

Day 14

(B, L, D)

Amsterdam, Holland

Holland’s sophisticated, modern capital has a rich and fascinating history. This delightful 700-year-old city with its elegant and classic architecture, cafés and restaurants, and lively marketplace has a distinct ambiance. With over 60 museums, Amsterdam has the highest museum density in the world. Get a unique perspective of the city on an included CANAL CRUISE, floating along the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” There’s free time this afternoon to enjoy the city or perhaps join an optional excursion.

Day 15

(B)

Amsterdam (Disembarkation)–

Paris, France. Disembark your Avalon ship for your included transfer to the train station, where you will travel via HIGH-SPEED THALYS TRAIN (first class) to join your Monograms package.

Day 16

(B)

Paris

Morning guided sightseeing takes you to NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL, where Napoleon was crowned emperor in 1804, to admire its famed 13th-century Rose Window. Pass the Latin Quarter, Les Invalides, the Opéra, Place de la Concorde, and Arc de Triomphe. Drive by the Seine River with its beautiful bridges and stop to take photos of the iconic Eiffel Tower from one of the best viewing points. Also enter the world’s most visited museum, THE LOUVRE, to see Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and other treasures (Louvre replaced with Seine cruise on Tuesdays).

Day 17

(B)

Paris

Your Local Host can suggest options, like an excursion to Monet’s Giverny or Versailles Palace, a visit to Musée d’Orsay, where to try French onion soup, and many other possibilities.

Day 18

(B)

Paris–London, England

Travel to London by HIGH-SPEED EUROSTAR TRAIN (Standard class).

Day 19

(B)

London

Morning guided sightseeing includes London’s landmarks. Drive past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben; Westminster Abbey, where Prince William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were married; Whitehall’s mounted horseguards; the Prime Minister’s Downing Street; and Piccadilly Circus. Take photos of the London Eye, the giant Ferris wheel situated on the river bank, and the Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe. Then, visit ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL (except on Sundays). Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece with its world-famous dome is an iconic feature of London’s skyline.

Day 20

(B)

London

Your Local Hosts will be pleased to give you some interesting suggestions for the day—perhaps a visit to the blood-curdling London Dungeon or Madame Tussauds’ celebrity wax figure exhibition, and an acclaimed West End show with pre-theater dinner at a London restaurant.

Day 21

(B)

London

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 becomes necessary, a substitute will be offered.
  • Please check visa requirements with your local consulate(s); responsibility for obtaining visas rests with the traveler.
  • In the event that a high-speed train is not available due to strikes or technical reasons, the route will be operated by motorcoaches.

Ship Details

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Hotels

Budapest
Paris
London

 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)

No Excursions are available at this time.

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