Cruise the Heart of Europe featuring Susie & Peter - MS Robert Burns

15 Days - River Cruise

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Experience an incredible variety of medieval towns and imperial cities, from quintessential Bamberg to classical Vienna, with their wealth of cultural treasures plus the world-famous scenery of the dramatic Rhine Gorge. This fifteen-day river cruise takes you on an amazing journey from Cologne in the heart of the Rhine valley to Vienna and finally Budapest on the banks of the Danube. Your floating accommodation will be one of the most luxurious vessels cruising the inland waterways of Europe. You will be suitably impressed with the high quality, sumptuous accommodation and simply delicious cuisine in such stylish and relaxing surroundings. Our journey south takes in so many incredible visits and sites starting in Koblenz and then onto the picturesque town of Boppard, continuing through the stunning Rhine Gorge and onto beautiful Rudesheim, one of the most famous wine towns on the Rhine. Next, we cruise to Mainz and then along the river Main to Miltenberg, one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval villages. The river cruise continues towards Wurzburg situated at the head of Germany’s ‘Romantic Road’ where we have a walking tour and time to visit the amazing baroque palace. Next day it’s onto Bamberg, quite simply one of the most beautiful small towns in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Having seen so much we are still only at our halfway point on our river cruise. Next we berth in Nuremberg for a guided tour of this historic city, probably most remembered as the location of the trials at the end of WWII. From here we pass through the Main-Danube canal to the picturesque river Danube, one of the most romantic and beautiful rivers in the world, and our first stop, Regensburg. Over the next five days we take in so much that Bavaria, Austria and Hungary can offer. We stop in Passau and then onto Melk and culminate our time in Austria in classical Vienna, home of Strauss and many great composers. This city offers up so much wonderful architecture as well as a host of other things to see including the Spanish riding school. Cruising into Hungary, we soon arrive in imperial Budapest, straddling the picturesque Danube. After a guided tour of this palatial city we spend the evening on board, where the Captain hosts another spectacular dinner, an excellent finale to this most comprehensive and yet relaxing cruise.

Highlights

  • Standard class one way reserved seat on Eurostar from London St. Pancras with return flight or return flights from selected airports (at a supplement)
  • Guided tour of 2,000 year-old Koblenz
  • Stop in picturesque Boppard
  • Rüdesheim - a true Rhineland wine town
  • Visit to Mainz - once home to Gutenberg father of modern printing
  • See Miltenberg - one of Germany's best preserved medieval towns
  • Experience Wertheim - one of the most attractive medieval towns in Germany
  • Guided tour of baroque Würzburg
  • Walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bamberg
  • Tour of Nuremberg - steeped in ancient and modern history - Including visit of the site of the infamous Nuremberg Trials and Nazi rally grounds
  • Visit to the amazingly preserved medieval city of Regensburg
  • Stop in Passau - the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers
  • Visit Melk Abbey - the majestic Benedictine monastery
  • Guided tour of Vienna - city of the Hapsburgs
  • Live classical quartet recital on board
  • Guided tour of Bratislava, capital of Slovakia
  • Day in Budapest with guided tour - absorb the unique atmosphere
  • Price includes full-board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day

Inclusions

  • Prices are per person, based on two people sharing a twin cabin with a limited number of single cabins available on all decks, at the relevant supplement. The price includes full board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day; if you choose to travel with us on any of the full day excursions by coach, a packed lunch will be provided. Anyone choosing to stay on the ship may of course have lunch in the restaurant; morning/afternoon tea and coffee; all visits and excursions as mentioned in the brochure, airport transfers, coach travel as mentioned, travel to and from port of embarkation and the services of a Riviera Travel Tour Manager.
  • Please note: Wi-Fi speeds on board may vary.

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive for your flight to Düsseldorf or Cologne, or take the Eurostar from London St Pancras International to Brussels. On arrival, transfer by coach to your cruise ship moored in Cologne’s picturesque centre. The dedicated English-speaking crew will welcome you aboard your first-class floating hotel, ensuring you settle in to your luxurious and well-equipped cabin and familiarise yourself with the ship.

Day 2

The first morning on a river cruise is always a thrill as you awake to the gentle lapping of the water and the colourful valley sides slipping effortlessly past your cabin window – there really is no other holiday experience quite like it. We call at historic Koblenz, situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers and dominated by the immense Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. This morning we take a guided walk around the Old Town, exploring its twisting streets and charming squares. During a relaxed lunch we cruise to Boppard, known as the ‘Pearl of the Rhine’. Wonderfully situated on a sweeping meander, it is one of the Rhineland’s most attractive villages. Its stone quayside is lined with boats of all descriptions set against a backdrop of archetypal half-timbered buildings and cobbled streets. There are also some superb Roman walls, reputed to be the finest in Germany.

Day 3

Today you experience one of the real highlights of your cruise – the passage through the Rhine Gorge. Here the river narrows, the current is swifter and the towering valley sides soar 600 feet, while the ruins of castles, which once held sway over passing mariners, crown every tortuous turn. We pass rocky outcrops and cruise around endless twisting bends to the famous Lorelei or ‘murmuring rock’, where according to legend, enchanting maidens lured unsuspecting sailors to watery graves. Next we call at Rüdesheim, a true Rhine wine town surrounded by vineyards whose fruits you can sample in the many wine taverns you’ll find in its cobbled streets.

Day 4

This morning we take the short cruise to the town of Mainz, situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Main Rivers. An important Roman city for over 450 years with the largest amphitheatre north of the Alps, Mainz is also home to the magnificent Romanesque Saint Martin’s Cathedral and the fine Saint Stephen’s Church, whose interior is filled with beautiful blue light flooding through stained-glass windows featuring intricate biblical figures – a masterpiece by the great artist Marc Chagall. Mainz’s most famous son is Johannes Gutenberg, father of modern printing, and there’s an excellent museum housing a reconstruction of his workshop and two original 1455 Gutenberg Bibles, among the earliest books ever printed. This afternoon our ship cruises up the Main River.   Please note: when cruising from Mainz to Passau the main part of the Sun Deck is closed because we pass under low bridges.

Day 5

The views this morning are of dense emerald-green forests as we cruise to Miltenberg, one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval villages. It became prosperous during the Middle Ages under the protection of its castle and today its colourful half-timbered houses and market square with its octagonal Renaissance fountain are an atmospheric reminder of times past.   During lunch we cruise around the first of the many meandering bends that characterise the Main River, pausing at Wertheim, one of those towns that’s a joy to stumble across because it’s completely unknown on the mainstream tourist trail. A russet-walled 12th-century castle overlooks the Old Town, with views of the church spires, turrets and patchwork of multicoloured buildings below.

Day 6

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning as we glide towards Würzburg, situated at the head of Germany’s Romantic Road, so called because of its spellbinding procession of captivating scenery, medieval towns, lofty castles and grand palaces. Würzburg is best explored on foot and we have a walking tour through neat streets dotted with fine pastel-coloured Baroque and Rococo buildings. Its crowning jewel is the truly magnificent Residenz, the former seat of the prince-bishops and one of Europe’s finest Baroque palaces, constructed to compete with the greatest courts of the day such as Vienna and Versailles.

Day 7

Today we visit Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s quite simply one of the most outstandingly preserved and beautiful small towns in Europe, easily on a par with Prague. The masterpiece you see today began its artistic journey during the 11th century when Emperor Heinrich II chose Bamberg as the location for a capital city he planned to be as grand as Rome. Although it never became as large as Italy’s capital, Bamberg nevertheless has a wealth of fine buildings including a stupendous cathedral, a town hall built in the middle of the Regnitz River, a network of canals and former fishermen’s houses called ‘Little Venice’ and hundreds of medieval buildings in the tangled lanes of its Old Town.

Day 8

Today we call at Nuremberg, the Bavarian city which will always be associated with the Nazi period – Hitler’s pre-war rallies and the international war crimes trials that brought down the final curtain on that notorious regime. What is less well known is that Nuremberg is regarded as the unofficial capital of Germany’s First Reich, better known as the Holy Roman Empire, which was founded with the coronation of Charlemagne in 800 AD and lasted for over a thousand years. This morning we have a fascinating guided tour taking in the city’s great ramparts and many fine historic buildings, including the enormous Kaiserburg castle, Craftsmen’s Court, the Church of Saint Lawrence and the Market Square, with its exquisite fountain that resembles a Gothic church tower.

Day 9

This morning we cruise along the Main–Danube Canal to Kelheim, where we join the enchanting Danube River. Our next port of call is Regensburg, formerly an important garrison guarding the most northwesterly point of the Roman Empire whose camp gate, the Porta Praetoria, can still be seen.   Regensburg was spared war damage and today its historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s a delight to explore. This afternoon take a stroll along the iconic stone bridge; see the Altes Rathaus – the seat of the Diet, or parliament, of the Holy Roman Empire from 1663 to 1806 – and gaze in wonder at the Gothic cathedral, the most exceptional in Bavaria. Regensburg calls itself ‘Germany’s medieval miracle’, and it’s hard to argue as you wander along the glorious winding streets and elegant squares of the Old Town.

Day 10

Another day dawns as our journey brings us to Passau, the last town we stop at in Germany, nestling where the Inn and Ilz Rivers join the Danube. After a leisurely breakfast take the opportunity to explore the ‘Three Rivers City’, overlooked by the Veste Oberhaus, a 13th-century hilltop fortress. The Old Town below is known for its Baroque architecture including Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, where the world’s largest cathedral organ sounds.   Back on board this afternoon, make sure to keep an eye on the superb riverside views slipping silently by as we cross into Austria. It’s a country synonymous with superb scenery, but this beautiful section of the Danube Valley is something of a secret.

Life on board

After years of painstaking research to create the most perfect vessels afloat, a new era in river cruising dawns as we introduce our brand new, state of the art, ‘all suite’ ships. Swiss operated and truly world-class, we are absolutely delighted to present the five-star MS Robert Burns.

Extra Information

Exclusive departure on 19th October 2018

Join renowned Masters of Wine, Susie Barrie and Peter Richards, exclusively on our 19th October 2018 departure. Enjoy an insightful after dinner talk on day 11, and the following morning they'll host an informal question and answer session.

  Cost per person: €2,499pp
  Number of nights: 14

Tour supplied in Partnership with:

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  Call:  01 905 6300