The Blue Danube Discovery for Wine Lovers 2018 (Cruise-Only)
8-day River Cruise with Avalon Waterways
Day 1 Budapest (Embarkation)
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. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at a welcome reception. (D)
Day 2 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. Our Master of Wine joins you and will share his knowledge of some of the regional wines at an onboard lecture and a tasting of wines he has chosen for this occasion. 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. (B,L,D)
Day 3 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. 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! This evening enjoy a special onboard FOOD AND WINE PAIRING DINNER hosted by our Master of Wine. (B,L,D)
Day 4 Dürnstein–Melk
Dürnstein, 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. (B,L,D)
Day 5 Passau, Germany
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 Ceský 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 and dominated by St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK. (B,L,D)
Day 6 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. (B,L,D)
Day 7 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 afternoon, 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. (B,L,D)
Day 8 Nuremberg (Disembarkation)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
River Cruise Highlights
Budapest (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception
Budapest–Vienna: cruising; onboard wine tasting and lecture by Master of Wine
Vienna: guided sightseeing; special onboard food and wine pairing dinner
Dürnstein–Melk: guided walk in Dürnstein, see the Stiftskirche; guided visit of the Benedictine Abbey; wine tasting
Passau: guided walk
Regensburg: guided walk; enjoy a snack at the Historische Wurstküche
Nuremberg: choice of guided sightseeing, or Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour
All This Included
Start this timeless Europe river cruise vacation in vibrant Budapest, Hungary, and then sail along the Danube River with exciting stops in Austria and Germany. A Master of Wine joins this cruise and you can enjoy his expertise at lectures, as well as wine tastings and an exclusive food and wine-pairing dinner with wines chosen especially for the occasion.
Embark your ship in lively Budapest and marvel at the impressive Parliament Building as you sail out of the city. Vienna, Austria, offers stunning St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Hofburg Palace, Vienna Opera House, and much more. In your free time, be sure to stop in a Viennese café to taste a piece of decadent Apfelstrudel or Sachertorte. In the heart of the Wachau wine region is Dürnstein, a 16th-century town with charming cobblestone streets and the baroque Stiftskirche with its luminous blue façade. In Melk, you’ll visit Austria’s majestic Benedictine Abbey and enjoy a tasting of some of the Wachau Valley’s famous wines. You’ll love a guided walk through Passau, with its narrow streets and beautiful patrician houses, all dominated by St. Stephens’ 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, and offering at least 1,300 listed buildings of historic interest. Your last stop along the Danube is thousand-year-old Nuremberg. During guided sightseeing, marvel at the medieval fortifications, extraordinary gothic churches, and the Imperial Castle. The perfect ending to a memorable river cruise vacation!
Superb dining with meals on board featuring full breakfast with complimentary sparkling wine, lunch with complimentary soft drinks, and dinner including complimentary wine, beer, or soft drinks; a welcome reception, Captain’s reception, and farewell dinner; one sitting with open seating arrangements
Deluxe cruise in an outside stateroom with hotel-style beds
Services of a professional Cruise Director
Onboard lectures, activities & nightly piano music
Sightseeing with Local Guides
Headsets for all guided shore excursions
Inside visits as shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges, where applicable
Accommodations on this Tour
Cruising: Cabin onboard Avalon Illumination
Cabin upgrades are available.
Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.
Gratuities to Local Guides & Excursion Drivers are included.
Port charges of $168 per person are not included in the prices shown above.
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.
Please ask your Vacations to Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.