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The Leader in Small Ship and River Cruising Worldwide
Worldwide Discovery at Extraordinary Value Since 1958

2017 Essence of the Elbe: Berlin to Prague

14 Days from only $2895 including international airfare

ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 90-PASSENGER M/S RIVER ALLEGRO DESIGNED FOR AMERICAN TRAVELERS

Germany: Berlin, Woerlitz, Wittenberg, Torgau, Meissen, Dresden, Swiss Saxony • Czech Republic: Litomerice, Prague

Courtesy Small World Productions
Berlin

Join travel expert Rudy Maxa for an in-depth exploration of Berlin's complex history and thoroughly modern culture.

Trip Experience

See the historical and cultural highlights that await in Wittenberg, Germany, by meeting a few people who call it home.

Trip Itinerary

Learn more about your itinerary, like optional tours, exclusive Discovery Series events, and more.

Trip Extension: Poland

Join travelers as they explore Poland—from Frederic Chopin's Warsaw to culture-rich Krakow.

Trip Extension: Hamburg, Germany

Get a glimpse at what awaits on this trip extension by meeting some locals from the trendy “Schanze” neighborhood.

Program Director

Meet Czech Program Director Miroslav Skraban, who explains how communism impacted his family—and his worldview.

Program Director

Program Director Christian Gossmann reveals Germany's varied history and culture. 

Courtesy Small World Productions
Munich and Bavaria

Toast to the Alpine beauty of southern Germany as travel expert Rudy Maxa previews what awaits on our Munich trip extension.

Courtesy BBC.com Travel
The Heart of Prague Pumps Lager

Raise a glass to pilsner and learn about the famous pale lager that has satisfied Czech beer fans since 1842.

©2014 The New York Times
Berlin's Wall of Light

See how German artists created a powerful tribute Berlin's rebirth, 25 years after its namesake wall fell.

Courtesy Jose Alberto Soler
Aerial Tour of Munich

Lift off for a special aerial exploration of Munich, and sample the city highlights that you can explore on our optional trip extension.

Courtesy Epiphany Morgan
Liss: A 365 Docobites Film

See how Berlin welcomes cultural traditions from the world over—especially when celebration is involved.

Courtesy CNN
Europe's Creative Hub

See how Berlin’s modern scene thrives alongside its ever-present history through the eyes of creative locals.

Courtesy CNN
The Best Puppet Show in Prague

Local artists show off their favorite spots in Prague—from a marionette workshop to a pub.

Courtesy CNN
Berlin's hidden charm

From concert halls to currywurst stands—Berlin’s locals show you their favorite side of the city.

Courtesy Regina Fraser, Pat Johnson and Kathy Monk
Poland – Warsaw and Krakow: Sophisticated Sister Cities

Join the Grannies on Safari for a preview of the cultural delights on display in Warsaw and Krakow during our trip extension to Poland.

Courtesy Small World Productions
Prague and Budapest

Join travel expert Rudy Maxa to discover the Old World splendor on display in Prague and Budapest.

Courtesy Anika Pilnei and Ian Cross
Great Railway Journeys of Europe: Budapest to Warsaw

Follow historian Julian Davison on a scholastic journey from Budapest to Warsaw--you can visit Warsaw on an optional extension.

New Year, New Stories

Take a look at the films that inspire filmmaker David Conover—and preview the stories that await this year.

Climate Change & Travel

Travel with David Conover to see how people—from street protesters to Heads of State—respond to a changing climate and ocean.

Produced for CuriosityStream
Big Picture Earth Trailer

David Conover's newest television series takes us from Stonehenge to Petra, from Iceland to the Oracle at Delphi ... and beyond.

Sharing Travel Moments

Hear why visual storytelling helps to build a conversation about the world from filmmaker David Conover.

Solo Traveler Experience

Hear about one solo traveler’s experiences in Turkey and Greece.

The Grand Circle Cruise Line Experience

Travel aboard Grand Circle Cruise Line’s selection of river and small ships—from the Adriatic Sea to the Danube River.

Travel Protection Plan

Learn about the benefits of Grand Circle's plan—and how you can protect your entire trip investment.

FROM
$2895
14 DAYS
$207/DAY
including international airfare
13 DAYS FROM $1795 River Cruise Only
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ATTENTION
This cruise may be affected by the Elbe River's varying water levels

 
 

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Itinerary Overview

Bookended by stays in Berlin, Germany’s capital and the second-largest urban area in Europe, and Prague, the capital of Czech Republic, our Essence of the Elbe River Cruise Tour is punctuated by memorable stays in Western Europe’s riverside gems. Spend three nights in Berlin, with time to explore this historic city on your own and on an included tour. Along the Elbe, you'll discover the birthplace of some of the world's finest porcelain during a visit to the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory. You'll also visit the Wittenberg church where Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses ... explore charming Woerlitz Park, the largest English-style garden in continental Europe ... witness Dresden’s stunning renewal—still in progress since the end of World War II ... sail through the dramatic sandstone mountains of Swiss Saxony ... and round out your trip with two nights in Prague, featuring an included city tour. You can also enhance your Elbe River Cruise with our optional extensions to Hamburg, Germany; Warsaw & Krakow, Poland; and Munich, Germany.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

  • 3 nights from only $595

    Explore Hamburg before your European river cruise

    Hamburg is Germany’s second-largest city—and its greenest. Nourished by the Elbe and studded with lakes and canals, Hamburg is as rich in natural beauty as it is in history and culture. You’ll discover this Hanseatic port, as well as the historic town of Schwerin. You’ll also enjoy ample time at leisure—whether you choose to explore maritime treasures or revel in the beauty of the city’s parks, you’ll find delights to suit every whim.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • Fly from one of several U.S. gateway cities to Berlin, Germany.

  • Depending on your departure city, you will arrive either this morning or afternoon. A Grand Circle representative will meet you at the airport and assist you to the hotel, where you'll enjoy an introduction to the lively surrounding neighborhood during a vicinity walk with your Program Director.

    Meet your fellow Grand Circle travelers—including those joining us after their pre-trip extensions to Hamburg, Germany—for a Welcome Dinner in a local restaurant this evening.

  • Berlin's Wall of Light

    See how German artists created a powerful tribute Berlin's rebirth, 25 years after its namesake wall fell.

    This morning, after breakfast at your hotel, set out on your first full day of discovery with an included city tour of Berlin.

    The second-largest urban area in Europe, Berlin is an enormous city, but most of its most iconic sites are relatively close together. Divided at the end of World War II, blockaded by the Soviets during the Cold War, riven by a cruel grey wall, and finally delivered by the sledgehammers of freedom fighters, Berlin is once again a united city. The city's lakes and forests provide bucolic retreats in an urban setting, while the city's divided history has led to a truly unique collection of architectural styles.

    If you find yourself in the old Soviet sector of the city, keep your eyes open for extant Ampelmannchen, the “little traffic light man” who adorned East German traffic lights. The Reichstag, site of the final defense of the Third Reich, was rebuilt after World War II and now features an enormous glass dome, emphasizing the transparency and openness of the new Germany. Like so much of Berlin, the future and past are inextricably mixed.

    After lunch on your own, use your new-found knowledge of Berlin to explore the city during an afternoon at leisure.

    Tonight, enjoy dinner on your own.

  • Berlin

    Join travel expert Rudy Maxa for an in-depth exploration of Berlin's complex history and thoroughly modern culture.

    After breakfast this morning, you'll be presented with an included pass for public transportation around Berlin. With an entire day of independent exploration ahead of you, Germany's iconic capital is yours to discover. Perhaps you will visit historic sites such as Checkpoint Charlie, which was once the main gateway for Allies, non-Germans, and diplomats between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. You could also stroll through Gendarmenmarkt, the city's most elegant square, which is graced by a pair of domed 18th-century German and French cathedrals.

    Or, join an optional tour to nearby Potsdam. The residence of Prussian kings until 1918, Potsdam is home to Cecilienhof Palace, constructed for Crown Prince Wilhelm, and the Sanssouci, the former summer palace of Frederick the Great. 

    Lunch and dinner today are on your own.

  • After breakfast this morning, you'll transfer to Magdeburg, which was once one of the most important cities in medieval Europe. Heavily bombed during World War II, much of Magdeburg was rebuilt in the modern style. Today, it's one of the fastest-growing former East German states. You'll enjoy an included tour of its main highlights, as well as free time to explore on your own, before boarding your private river ship this afternoon.

    This evening, gather for a Captain's Welcome Drink and crew introduction, followed by a Captain's Welcome Dinner.

  • While you sail this morning, enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series event—a German language lesson. The words and phrases you'll learn will help you to better connect with the local people you'll encounter.

    After lunch, you will disembark in Wittenberg and transfer overland to the charming town of Woerlitz. With a history dating back approximately 1,000 years, Woerlitz made its mark in the second half of the eighteenth century when it became home to Woerlitz Park, one of the first and largest English-style gardens in continental Europe. You'll experience this UNESCO World Heritage Site, also known as the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Woerlitz, for yourself on today's included tour with a local guide.

    You'll return to the ship this evening for dinner.

  • This morning, enjoy an included tour of the twelfth-century city of Wittenberg. Officially known as Lutherstadt Wittenberg, the cradle of the Protestant Reformation is best known as the town where Martin Luther lived, preached, and began his philosophical dispute with the Catholic Church. You'll see Wittenberg's oldest surviving structure—the twin-towered Stadtkirche (Town Church) and visit the most important landmarks in the history of Protestantism, including the Augustinian Monastery where Martin Luther first became a Catholic priest and later lived with his family following his excommunication.

    Your tour will also take you to the All Saints' Schlosskirche (Castle Church) where the theologian first posted his 95 Theses criticizing the Catholic Church's practice of selling “indulgences” (Pope-sanctioned absolution for any sin). As an academic who taught theology at the University of Wittenberg, Luther challenged local church authorities to a theological debate—but the Bishop never responded. By the time 95 Theses reached Rome, the document had been seen all over Europe. Due to his continuing theological criticism of the papacy, Luther was officially declared a heretic and effectively sentenced to death. He escaped arrest and returned to Wittenberg in secret, where he developed the tenets of Lutheranism. The Church never got its vengeance—30 years after writing 95 Theses, Luther died of natural causes. He had successfully started a new denomination of Christianity and inspired others around Europe to do the same.

    You'll have the remainder of the morning to follow your own agenda before returning to the ship for lunch.

    Early this afternoon, you'll join a local family in their home for a special Home-Hosted Kaffeeklatsch—featuring an enjoyable taste of German hospitality and culture over coffee and cake.

    Afterwards, you'll return to your river ship and enjoy dinner onboard.

  • After a morning of sailing and lunch aboard your ship, you'll disembark in Torgau, where you'll discover this port on an included tour. You'll visit the town center—restored since the German reunification—and see the town hall built in Renaissance style. You'll also witness the monument along the Elbe that was built in honor of the meeting between U.S. and Soviet soldiers during the invasion on April 25, 1945—coined "Elbe Day." The meeting of soldiers signified an important action towards the end of World War II, with the allied powers avowing to complete the dissolution of the Third Reich.

    Enjoy some time on your own to further explore Torgau before returning to your ship.

  • Today, you'll step ashore at Meissen for a walking tour—encompassing its historic market square, Renaissance architecture, and Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady).

    While it's often called the “Cradle of Saxony,” Meissen is internationally known for the high-end porcelain of the same name, which has been produced there for more than 300 years. During your tour, you'll pay a visit to the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory—Europe's first and oldest continuously running porcelain maker—to learn about its five-stage production process.

    Johann Friedrich Bottger, a purported alchemist who had been unable to create gold for Augustus II, may have saved his own life when he presented the porcelain recipe in 1709. Though it's unlikely that Bottger devised the recipe himself, it was regarded as “white gold” by the monarch, who opened the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory. Prior to this, all porcelain in Europe was imported from China. They began with simple tableware and quickly expanded into a range of exquisitely hand-painted products, ranging from figures to clocks.

    Spend the rest of the day exploring Meissen at your own pace, or join us for an optional tour of the royal vineyard at Proschwitz Castle, an 800-year-old vineyard and winery still in production today. Visit the picturesque vineyard, then enjoy a tasting at a nearby contemporary wine cellar.

  • Today, immerse yourself in the remarkable city of Dresden. A flourishing artistic center until the rise of the Nazis, it was completely destroyed during World War II. Writer Kurt Vonnegut, himself a survivor of the controversial air raids that leveled the Baroque city, chronicled the events in Slaughterhouse-Five. Dresden has since risen from the ashes and been rebuilt from the ground up—reclaiming its place as one of Germany's intellectual and cultural hubs.

    Your day begins with an included tour past the city's historic sights, including the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), Residenzschloss (Dresden Castle), the spectacular 18th-century Baroque Zwinger Palace, and the Semper Opera House—set in a large, public square along the banks of the Elbe.

    After lunch onboard, you'll enjoy free time to relax or explore more of Dresden at your own pace.

  • This morning, you'll disembark in the spa town of Bad Schandau and transfer by motorcoach to the highlight of this region: the Bastei. Millions of years ago, these rocks were at the bottom of the sea and the evident water erosion still evokes the memory of an undersea wonderland. The Elbe Sandstone Mountains attract rock climbers from far and wide with their enticing 1,100 free-standing peaks. The Bastei sandstone bridge high above the green valley connects the series of rock promontories and overlooks the Elbe—an incredible vista from this perspective. The impossibly smooth cliffs and castle-like detailing of the bridge are straight out of a medieval fairy tale.

    You'll then return to your ship to set off to enjoy scenic sailing through one of the Elbe River's most beautiful regions—Swiss Saxony—accompanied by enlightening commentary from your Program Director. For panoramic views of the dramatic Elbe Sandstone Mountains, find a seat on the ship's Sun Deck.

    After enjoying an included lunch, you'll return to Dresden, where you'll enjoy free time to bid auf Wiedersehen to your favorite sites.

    This evening, your final night onboard, join your fellow travelers in the ship's lounge for the Captain's Farewell Drink, followed by a Captain's Farewell Dinner.

  • You'll dismbark this morning in Dresden and then drive to Litomerice, set at the confluence of the Elbe and Ohre rivers in the Czech Republic. Here, you'll enjoy an informative stroll and an authentic included lunch.

    This afternoon you'll transfer to Prague, and upon arriving at the hotel, you'll join your Program Director for a relaxing walk in the vicinity. Dinner on your own tonight. Or, join us for a traditional meal, and a folk performance at a local restaurant on our optional Czech Block Party tour.

  • This morning, begin your exploration of Prague, "City of 100 Spires." Prague's regal beauty spreads on both sides of the winding Vltava River, connected by 16 picturesque bridges. Like Rome and San Francisco, the city is built over a series of hills and its varied architecture spans many centuries.

    Today's included city tour begins with a visit to the Charles Bridge, which has spanned the Vltava River since the 15th century. Then continue to Prague's historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the highlights of your guided walking tour is the Old Town Square, home to the city's famous, medieval Astronomical Clock—or Orloj—parts of which date back to the early 15th century. Every hour, crowds assemble below to watch Christ and the twelve Apostles appear at two little windows above the clock face, followed by the skeleton of Death tolling the bell.

    Enjoy the remainder of the day relaxing or exploring independently. As you'll discover, Prague boasts many landmarks worth seeing. Perhaps you'll visit Stare Mesto, the Old Town, with its many wonderful Gothic and Baroque buildings. Or explore St. George's Basilica, with its tenth-century towers, or enjoy a stroll through the elegant Prague Castle Gardens—home to an impressive collection of marble monuments.

    On this final night of your trip, join your fellow travelers—and new friends—for a Farewell Dinner.

    • Meals included:

    After breakfast, you will be assisted to the airport for your flight home. Or, begin your Highlights of Poland: Warsaw & Krakow or Munich, Germany post-trip extension.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Highlights of Poland: Warsaw & Krakow

    5 nights from only $995

    Immerse yourself in the highlights of Poland, and discover all that Warsaw and Krakow have to offer. Explore the history and charm of Warsaw’s Old Town on an included city tour, discover Krakow’s rich architecture and culture, and pay a memorable—and moving—visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Auschwitz.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Munich, Germany

    3 nights from only $695

    Munich and Bavaria
    Produced by Small World Productions
    This independent film features destinations you can visit on this trip extension.

    Join our extension to Munich, and immerse yourself in the gem of Bavaria. An included tour introduces you to highlights like the Marienplatz, the city’s grand central square lined with historic buildings, and during time at leisure, you’ll be able to discover Munich’s many palaces, churches, and museums. Perhaps you’ll even join your fellow travelers at a beer garden for another taste—literally—of Munich’s rich culture.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • 5 nights from only $995

    Immerse yourself in the highlights of Poland, and discover all that Warsaw and Krakow have to offer. Explore the history and charm of Warsaw’s Old Town on an included city tour, discover Krakow’s rich architecture and culture, and pay a memorable—and moving—visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Auschwitz.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • 3 nights from only $695

    Munich and Bavaria
    Produced by Small World Productions
    This independent film features destinations you can visit on this trip extension.

    Join our extension to Munich, and immerse yourself in the gem of Bavaria. An included tour introduces you to highlights like the Marienplatz, the city’s grand central square lined with historic buildings, and during time at leisure, you’ll be able to discover Munich’s many palaces, churches, and museums. Perhaps you’ll even join your fellow travelers at a beer garden for another taste—literally—of Munich’s rich culture.

    View Extension Itinerary
  • Fly from one of several U.S. gateway cities to Prague.

  • Depending on your departure city, you will arrive either this morning or afternoon. A Grand Circle representative will meet you at the Prague airport and assist you to the hotel, where you'll get to know the surrounding neighborhood during a vicinity walk with your Program Director.

    Once you've settled in, gather with your Program Director and fellow Grand Circle travelers, including those who took the pre-trip extension to Highlights of Poland: Warsaw & Krakow or Munich, Germany, for a Welcome Drink.

  • This morning, begin your exploration of Prague, "City of 100 Spires." Prague's regal beauty spreads on both sides of the winding Vltava River, connected by 16 picturesque bridges. Like Rome and San Francisco, the city is built over a series of hills and its varied architecture spans many centuries.

    Today's included city tour begins with a visit to the Charles Bridge—perched regally over the Vltava River and offering stunning views of the city. You'll also explore Prague's historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the highlights of your guided walking tour is the Old Town Square, home to the city's famous, medieval Astronomical Clock—or Orloj—parts of which date back to the early 15th century. Every hour, crowds assemble below to watch Christ and the twelve Apostles appear at two little windows above the clock face, followed by the skeleton of Death tolling the bell.

    Enjoy the remainder of the day relaxing or exploring independently. As you'll discover, Prague boasts many landmarks worth seeing. Perhaps you'll visit Stare Mesto, the Old Town, with its many wonderful Gothic and Baroque buildings. Or explore St. George's Basilica, with its tenth-century towers, or enjoy a stroll through the elegant Prague Castle Gardens—home to an impressive collection of marble monuments. Dinner will be on your own tonight. Or, join us for a traditional meal, and a folk performance at a local restaurant on our optional Czech Block Party tour.

  • After breakfast, you'll visit the iconic Prague Castle with your fellow travelers before transferring to Litomerice, set at the confluence of the Elbe and Ohre rivers near the Czech border. Here, you'll enjoy an informative stroll and an authentic included lunch.

    This afternoon, you'll head to Dresden, where you'll board your private ship to begin your cruise. This evening, gather in your ship's lounge for a Captain's Welcome Drink and crew introduction, followed by the Captain's Welcome Dinner in the dining room.

  • Today, immerse yourself in the remarkable city of Dresden. A flourishing artistic center until the rise of the Nazis, Dresden was completely destroyed during World War II. Writer Kurt Vonnegut, himself a survivor of the controversial air raids that leveled the Baroque city, chronicled the events in Slaughterhouse-Five. Dresden has since risen from the ashes and been rebuilt from the ground up—reclaiming its place as one of Germany's intellectual and cultural hubs.

    Your day begins with an included walking tour past the city's historic sights, including the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), Residenzschloss (Dresden Castle), the spectacular 18th-century Baroque Zwinger Palace, and the Semper Opera House—set in a large, public square along the banks of the Elbe.

    After lunch onboard, you'll enjoy free time to relax or explore more of Dresden at your own pace. 

  • This morning, you'll disembark in the spa town of Bad Schandau and travel overland by motorcoach to the highlight of the Saxony region: the Bastei. Millions of years ago, these sandstone rock formations were at the bottom of the sea and the evident water erosion still evokes the memory of an undersea wonderland. Today, the Bastei attract rock climbers from far and wide with their enticing 1,100 free-standing peaks. The Bastei sandstone bridge high above the green valley connects the series of rock promontories and overlooks the Elbe—an incredible vista from this perspective. The impossibly smooth cliffs and castle-like detailing of the bridge are straight out of a medieval fairy tale.

    You'll then return to your ship to set off to enjoy scenic sailing through one of the Elbe River's most beautiful regions—Swiss Saxony—accompanied by enlightening commentary from your Program Director. For panoramic views of the dramatic Elbe Sandstone Mountains, find a seat on the ship's Sun Deck.

    After lunch aboard your river ship, you'll return to Dresden, where you'll enjoy free time to relax or continue your explorations in this striking city. Dinner will be aboard ship this evening.

  • Today, you'll step ashore at Meissen, an ancient town straddling both banks of the Elbe River. While it's often called the “cradle of Saxony,” Meissen is internationally known for the high-end porcelain of the same name, which has been produced there for more than 300 years. During your time here, you'll pay a visit to the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory—Europe's first and oldest continuously running porcelain maker—to learn about its five-stage production process.

    Johann Friedrich Bottger, a purported alchemist who had been unable to create gold for Augustus II, may have saved his own life when he presented the porcelain recipe in 1709. Though it's unlikely that Bottger devised the recipe himself, it was regarded as “white gold” by the monarch, who opened the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory. Prior to this, all porcelain in Europe was imported from China. They began with simple tableware and quickly expanded into a range of exquisitely hand-painted products, ranging from figures to clocks.

    Later this afternoon you'll enjoy a walking tour of Meissen encompassing its historic market square, Renaissance architecture, and Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). Then continue your discoveries on your own in Meissen, or join us for an optional tour of the royal vineyard at Castle Proschwitz, an 800 year old estate still producing wine today. Visit the picturesque vineyard, then enjoy a tasting at a nearby contemporary wine cellar.

  • This morning, enjoy scenic views as you cruise to Torgau.

    After lunch, experience the town firsthand during an included tour. You'll visit the town center—restored since the German reunification—and see the town hall built in Renaissance style. You'll also witness the monument along the Elbe that was built in honor of the meeting between U.S. and Soviet soldiers during the German invasion on April 25, 1945—coined "Elbe Day.". The meeting of soldiers signified an important action towards the end of World War II, with the allied powers vowing to complete the dissolution of the Third Reich.

    Enjoy some free time to explore before boarding the ship this evening.

  • This morning, enjoy an included tour of the twelfth-century city of Wittenberg. Officially known as Lutherstadt Wittenberg, the cradle of the Protestant Reformation is best known as the town where Martin Luther lived, preached, and began his philosophical dispute with the Catholic Church. You'll see Wittenberg's oldest surviving structure—the twin-towered Stadtkirche (town church) and visit the most important landmarks in the history of Protestantism, including the Augustinian Monastery where Martin Luther first became a Catholic priest and later lived with his family following his excommunication.

    Your tour will also take you to the All Saints' Schlosskirche (castle church) where the theologian first posted his 95 Theses criticizing the Catholic Church's practice of selling “indulgences” (Pope-sanctioned absolution for any sin). As an academic who taught theology at the University of Wittenberg, Luther challenged local church authorities to a theological debate—but the Bishop never responded. By the time 95 Theses reached Rome, the document had been seen all over Europe. Due to his continuing theological criticism of the papacy, Luther was officially declared a heretic and effectively sentenced to death. He escaped arrest and returned to Wittenberg in secret, where he developed the tenets of Lutheranism. The Church never got its vengeance—30 years after writing 95 Theses, Luther died of natural causes. He had successfully started a new denomination of Christianity and inspired others around Europe to do the same.

    You'll have the remainder of the morning to follow your own agenda before returning to the ship for lunch. Early this afternoon, you'll join a local family in their home for a special Home-Hosted Kaffeeklatsch—featuring an enjoyable taste of German hospitality and culture over coffee and cake.

  • After breakfast, you will disembark in Wittenberg and transfer overland to the charming town of Woerlitz. With a history dating back approximately 1,000 years, Woerlitz made its mark in the second half of the eighteenth century when it became home to Woerlitz Park, one of the first and largest English-style gardens in continental Europe. You'll experience this UNESCO World Heritage Site, also known as the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Woerlitz, for yourself on today's included tour with a local guide.

    In the evening, your final night onboard, join your fellow travelers for a Captain's Farewell Drink and Dinner.

  • After breakfast this morning, you'll transfer to Magdeburg, which was once one of the most important cities in medieval Europe. Heavily bombed during World War II, much of Magdeburg was rebuilt in the modern style. Today, it's one of the fastest-growing former East German states. You'll enjoy an included tour of its main highlights this morning, as well as free time to explore on your own.

    After lunch, you'll transfer to Berlin, where you'll check into your hotel, and enjoy an orientation walk with your Program Director to get better acquainted with the area. This afternoon and evening are at your leisure.

  • Berlin

    Join travel expert Rudy Maxa for an in-depth exploration of Berlin's complex history and thoroughly modern culture.

    After breakfast at your hotel, set out on an included city tour of Berlin. The second-largest urban area in Europe, Berlin is an enormous city, but most of its most iconic sites are relatively close together. Divided at the end of World War II, blockaded by the Soviets during the Cold War, riven by a cruel grey wall, and finally delivered by the sledgehammers of freedom fighters, Berlin is once again a united city. The city's lakes and forests provide bucolic retreats in an urban setting, while its divided history has led to a truly unique collection of architectural styles.

    If you find yourself in the old Soviet sector of the city, keep your eyes open for extant Ampelmannchen, the “little traffic light man” who adorned East German traffic lights. The Reichstag, site of the final defense of the Third Reich, was rebuilt after World War II and now features an enormous glass sphere, emphasizing the transparency and openness of the new Germany. Like so much of Berlin, the future and past are inextricably mixed.

    After lunch on your own, use your new-found knowledge of Berlin to explore the city during an afternoon at leisure. Or, join an optional tour to the nearby city of Potsdam.

    Tonight, dinner will be on your own.

  • Berlin's Wall of Light

    See how German artists created a powerful tribute Berlin's rebirth, 25 years after its namesake wall fell.

    After breakfast this morning, you'll be presented with an included pass for public transportation around Berlin. With an entire day of independent exploration ahead of you, Germany's iconic capital is yours to discover. Perhaps you will visit historic sites such as Checkpoint Charlie, which was once the main gateway for Allies, non-Germans, and diplomats between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. Or you could stroll through Gendarmenmarkt, the city's most elegant square, which is graced by a pair of domed 18th-century German and French cathedrals.

    This evening, enjoy a Farewell Dinner and Drink with your fellow travelers.

    • Meals included:

    After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or begin your post-trip extension in Hamburg, Germany.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Hamburg, Germany

    3 nights from only $595

    Explore Hamburg before your European river cruise

    Hamburg is Germany’s second-largest city—and its greenest. Nourished by the Elbe and studded with lakes and canals, Hamburg is as rich in natural beauty as it is in history and culture. You’ll discover this Hanseatic port, as well as the historic town of Schwerin. You’ll also enjoy ample time at leisure—whether you choose to explore maritime treasures or revel in the beauty of the city’s parks, you’ll find delights to suit every whim.

    View Extension Itinerary

Click below to read our Travel Planning Guide on Essence of the Elbe: Berlin to Prague

Read Travel Planning Guide