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The Leader in Small Ship and River Cruising Worldwide

Worldwide Discovery at Extraordinary Value Since 1958

New! 2018 Essence of the Elbe: Berlin, Dresden & Prague

Germany: Berlin, Potsdam, Wittenberg, Woerlitz, Leipzig, Torgau, Meissen, Dresden, Swiss Saxony • Czech Republic: Melnik, Prague

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

16 Days from only $4295 including international airfare

Courtesy CNN
Berlin's hidden charm

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

Trip Itinerary

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

Courtesy CNN
The Best Puppet Show in Prague

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

Trip Extension: Hamburg, Germany

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

Trip Extension: Poland

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

FROM
$4295
16 DAYS
$269/DAY
including international airfare
15 DAYS FROM $3495 River Cruise Only
Extend Your Trip
 

Don’t miss out! Save a FULL 10%
on April-June 2018 departures.
Reserve by 6/30 >>

 
 

See how you can create your own unique travel experience.

NEW: Activity Level

Our NEW Activity Level rating system ranks our trips on a scale of 1 (easiest) to 5 (most difficult) to help you determine if a trip is right for you. The information below is a general guide to our rating system, but see our itineraries for much more detailed physical activity information about each trip.

Activity Level 1:

1 2 3 4 5

Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 25 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 1-2 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last at least 1-2 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 2:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 40 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 2-3 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for at least 2-3 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 3:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderate

Travelers should be able to climb 60 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 3 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 3 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.

Activity Level 4:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 80 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 4 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 7,000 to 9,000 feet.

Activity Level 5:

1 2 3 4 5

Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 100 or more stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 8 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 10,000 feet or more.

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 NEW 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 and discover Leipzig, where he famously debated the Catholic church ... 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; and Warsaw & Krakow, Poland.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

  • 3 nights from only $695

    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 Drink this evening. Dinner is on your own tonight.

  • 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.

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

    Tonight, get to know your fellow travelers a little better during an included Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.

  • 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 Allies in Berlin tour to learn more about Berlin’s Cold War history. Following the defeat of the Nazis in World War II, Berlin was split among the allied nations into four sectors of occupation—American, Soviet, British, and French. Your tour today will take you by bus through historic sites of significance located in what was once the American sector, starting with Schoeneberg Town Hall. It was here that John F. Kennedy delivered his notorious “ich bin ein Berliner” speech, and a replica of the liberty bell currently occupies the clock tower.

    Your optional tour continues with a ride past the building where RIAS, or “Radio in the American Sector,” issued its broadcasts, billing itself as “the free voice of the free world,” countering the Soviet broadcasts coming from the east. You’ll also travel along the Clayallee, a road named after American general Lucius D. Clay, who organized the famous Berlin Airlift in 1948.

    The final stop on your optional tour is the Allied Museum, which hosts exhibits that document the full story of Berlin’s history from the start of the East-West partition to the fall of the Berlin Wall. After your museum visit, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, included in the cost of your optional tour, before returning to your hotel this afternoon, where the rest of the day is yours to spend as you please.

    Dinner today is on your own.

  • After breakfast this morning, you'll transfer to Potsdam, the residence of Prussian kings until 1918. Here, you’ll embark upon a tour of Cecilienhof Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally the last palace built by the Hohenzollern dynasty, and constructed between 1914 and 1917 for Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Cecilie von Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Cecilienhof is now a museum, as well as a hotel. It was here that Winston Churchill, Josef Stalin, and Harry Truman hammered out the details of the German surrender in World War II.


    You’ll have some free time to explore Potsdam on your own after your palace tour before regrouping with your fellow travelers for an included lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, you’ll transfer to Wittenberg, where you’ll board your private river ship this afternoon.

    This evening, meet your ship’s crew and gather for a Captain’s Welcome Dinner in the dining room.

  • 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 joining a local family in their home for a special Home-Hosted Visit—featuring an enjoyable afternoon of German hospitality and culture during an exclusive Discovery Series event.

    Afterwards, you'll have more time to explore Wittenberg on your own before returning to your river ship. Lunch and dinner are included today.

  • This morning, 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 18th 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.

    After your tour, return to your ship for lunch, and then set sail for Torgau, your next destination. You’ll arrive tonight, just after your included onboard dinner, and set out for a discovery walk with your Program Director.

  • After breakfast, drive by motorcoach to Leipzig for an included city tour. This Saxon cultural capital boasts an impressive cast of characters in its long history. It was here that Martin Luther made his irreversible split from the Catholic Church in 1519 during an infamous theological debate with the Dominican friar Johann Eck at Pleissenburg Castle. The city has also been the home and workshop of some of the world’s most famous classical composers, including Bach, Mahler, Wagner, and Mendelssohn.

    In more recent history, Leipzig earned the title “City of Heroes” as it took the vanguard role in the ultimately successful “Peaceful Revolution” against the communist regime in 1989. Today, Leipzig is an up-and-coming favored city of German youths, which give it a vibrant and bohemian flair.

    After your city tour, you’ll have some free time to wander on your own before an included lunch at a local restaurant. You’ll then return to Torgau to board your ship, where dinner is included tonight.

  • Today, head out into Torgau for 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.

    After your tour, return to the ship for an onboard lunch, and set sail for your next port early this evening.

  • Today, you'll step ashore at Meissen. 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. 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 during an included tour.

    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.

    After your manufactory tour, you’ll head back to the ship for an included lunch, walking through the historic market square along the way for a look at the city’s Renaissance architecture and Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). The rest of your day is free to explore Meissen on your own. Dinner is included onboard tonight.

  • Early this morning, your ship departs Meissen, arriving in Dresden around breakfast time. 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 introduction to the city begins with an exclusive Discovery Series discussion, led by a local expert, about Life Before & After Reunification. During the Cold War, Dresden was one of the key cities of East Germany, and during your enlightening discussion, you’ll learn about how this period has affected the city’s character, and how things have changed since the end of communist rule.

    You’ll then head out to explore the city itself on an included tour of 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.

    Next, head to a local restaurant for an included lunch. The rest of the day is yours to explore Dresden as you please. Dinner is included onboard tonight.

  • Enjoy a free morning and afternoon for independent exploration in Dresden today, with lunch included onboard.

    Or, you may choose to join us on a full-day optional tour to the hilltop Saxon town of Bautzen. In the morning, you’ll set out on a walking tour of the city, characterized by its skyline of medieval stone towers. You’ll explore the town, including its well-preserved medieval center, and then enjoy lunch in a local restaurant.

    After lunch, your optional tour continues with an excursion into Bautzen’s dark past. Although the town today seems sunny and cheerful with its storybook architecture, Bautzen is also notorious for its Cold War prison operated by the stasi, or East German secret police. Here, thousands of dissidents, refugees, disgraced government officials, and other political prisoners were held and abused—sometimes fatally—for years. It wasn’t until reunification that the true impact of the stasi’s presence in Bautzen was realized. You’ll delve into this controversial history during a tour of the former prison site, now a memorial dedicated to its victims.

    Following your optional tour, you’ll return to your ship this evening, and then set off on a scenic sail down the Elbe toward Bad Schandau, your next destination. Dinner is included in the ship’s dining room tonight.

  • After breakfast, your ship departs from the port of Bad Schandau for a morning of 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.

    Your ship then returns to Bad Schandau, where you’ll enjoy lunch onboard before transferring overland 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.

    After your tour, you’ll return to your ship for your final night onboard. Join your fellow travelers for a Captain’s Farewell Drink in the lounge, followed by a Captain’s Farewell Dinner in the dining room as you cruise back to Dresden, arriving late tonight.

  • Bid auf Wiedersehen to your ship this morning in Dresden and then drive to Melnik, set at the confluence of the Elbe and Vltava rivers in the Czech Republic. Here, you'll enjoy an included lunch at a local restaurant before continuing your transfer to Prague.

    Upon arriving at your hotel, you'll join your Program Director for a vicinity walk. Dinner is on your own tonight. Or, join us for a traditional meal, and a folk performance at a local restaurant on our optional Czech folklore dance with dinner 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.

    After lunch on your own, enjoy the remainder of the day relaxing or exploring independently. As you'll discover, Prague boasts many landmarks worth seeing. Perhaps you'll 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 Drink and Dinner.

  • After breakfast, you will transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or begin your post-trip extension and discover the Highlights of Poland: Warsaw & Krakow.

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

    5 nights from only $995

    Explore the history and charm of Warsaw’s Old Town

    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
  • 5 nights from only $995

    Explore the history and charm of Warsaw’s Old Town

    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
  • 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 our Highlights of Poland: Warsaw & Krakow pre-trip extension for a Welcome Drink followed by a Welcome Dinner.

  • 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 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 folklore dance with dinner. 

  • After breakfast, you'll visit the iconic Prague Castle with your fellow travelers before transferring to Melnik, set at the confluence of the Elbe and Vltava 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 for the first of your series of nightly Port Talks, in which your Program Directors will give you background information about the discoveries you will enjoy on each stop of your cruise. Then, join your travel companions 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.

    Late tonight, your ship sets sail for Bad Schandau.

  • After breakfast, your ship departs from the port of Bad Schandau for a morning of 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.

    Your ship then returns to Bad Schandau, where you’ll enjoy lunch onboard before transferring overland 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.

    After your tour, you’ll return to your ship and cruise back to Dresden. Dinner is included onboard.

  • Today, you discover 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 introduction to the city begins with an exclusive Discovery Series discussion, led by a local expert, about Life Before & After Reunification. During the Cold War, Dresden was one of the key cities of East Germany, and during your enlightening discussion, you’ll learn about how this period has affected the city’s character, and how things have changed since the end of communist rule.

    You’ll then head out to explore the city itself on an included tour of 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.

    Next, head to a local restaurant for an included lunch. The rest of the day is yours to explore Dresden as you please. Dinner is included onboard tonight.

  • Enjoy a free morning and afternoon for independent exploration in Dresden today, with lunch included onboard.

    Or, you may choose to join us on a full-day optional tour to the hilltop Saxon town of Bautzen. In the morning, you’ll set out on a walking tour of the city, characterized by its skyline of medieval stone towers. You’ll explore the town, including its well-preserved medieval center, and then enjoy lunch in a local restaurant.

    After lunch, your optional tour continues with an excursion into Bautzen’s dark past. Although the town today seems sunny and cheerful with its storybook architecture, Bautzen is also notorious for its Cold War prison operated by the stasi, or East German secret police. Here, thousands of dissidents, refugees, disgraced government officials, and other political prisoners were held and abused—sometimes fatally—for years. It wasn’t until reunification that the true impact of the stasi’s presence in Bautzen was realized. You’ll delve into this controversial history during a tour of the former prison site, now a memorial dedicated to its victims.

    Following your optional tour, you’ll return to your ship this evening, and then set off on a scenic sail down the Elbe toward Meissen, your next destination. Dinner is included in the ship’s dining room tonight.

  • Today, you'll step ashore at Meissen. 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. 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 during an included tour.

    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.

    After your manufactory tour, you’ll head back to the ship for an included lunch, walking through the historic market square along the way for a look at the city’s Renaissance architecture and Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). The rest of your day is free to explore Meissen on your own. Dinner is included onboard tonight.

  • This morning, depart Meissen and sail toward Torgau, where you’ll arrive this afternoon. After lunch onboard the ship, set out for 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.

    After your tour, return to the ship for an onboard dinner.

  • After breakfast, drive by motorcoach to Leipzig for an included city tour. This Saxon cultural capital boasts an impressive cast of characters in its long history. It was here that Martin Luther made his irreversible split from the Catholic Church in 1519 during an infamous theological debate with the Dominican friar Johann Eck at Pleissenburg Castle. The city has also been the home and workshop of some of the world’s most famous classical composers, including Bach, Mahler, Wagner, and Mendelssohn.

    In more recent history, Leipzig earned the title “City of Heroes” as it took the vanguard role in the ultimately successful “Peaceful Revolution” against the communist regime in 1989. Today, Leipzig is an up-and-coming favored city of German youths, which give it a vibrant and bohemian flair.

    After your city tour, you’ll have some free time to wander on your own before an included lunch at a local restaurant. You’ll then return to Torgau to board your ship, where dinner is included tonight. Later, your ship sets sail toward Wittenberg overnight.

  • 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 joining a local family in their home for a special Home-Hosted Visit—featuring an enjoyable afternoon of German hospitality and culture during an exclusive Discovery Series event.

    Afterwards, you'll have more time to explore Wittenburg on your own before returning to your river ship. Lunch and dinner are included today.

  • This morning, 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 18th 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.

    After your tour, return to your ship for lunch, followed by free time to explore Wittenberg as you please. This evening, your final one aboard your ship, join your fellow travelers for a Captain’s Farewell Drink and Dinner to bid auf Wiedersehen to your ship’s crew.

  • After breakfast this morning disembark your river ship and transfer to Potsdam, the residence of Prussian kings until 1918. Here, you’ll embark upon a tour of Cecilienhof Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally the last palace built by the Hohenzollern dynasty, and constructed between 1914 and 1917 for Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife Cecilie von Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Cecilienhof is now a museum, as well as a hotel. It was here that Winston Churchill, Josef Stalin, and Harry Truman hammered out the details of the German surrender in World War II.

    You’ll have some free time to explore Potsdam on your own after your palace tour before regrouping with your fellow travelers for an included lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, you’ll transfer to Berlin, where you’ll check in to your hotel and, after a vicinity walk, you’ll have the rest of the day to explore at leisure. Dinner is on your own tonight.

  • 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 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.

    Dinner is on your own tonight.

  • 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 Allies in Berlin tour to learn more about Berlin’s Cold War history. Following the defeat of the Nazis in World War II, Berlin was split among the allied nations into four sectors of occupation—American, Soviet, British, and French. Your tour today will take you by bus through historic sites of significance located in what was once the American sector, starting with Schoeneberg Town Hall. It was here that John F. Kennedy delivered his notorious “ich bin ein Berliner” speech, and a replica of the liberty bell currently occupies the clock tower.

    Your optional tour continues with a ride past the building where RIAS, or “Radio in the American Sector,” issued its broadcasts, billing itself as “the free voice of the free world,” countering the Soviet broadcasts coming from the east. You’ll also travel along the Clayallee, a road named after American general Lucius D. Clay, who organized the famous Berlin Airlift in 1948.

    The final stop on your optional tour is the Allied Museum, which hosts exhibits that document the full story of Berlin’s history from the start of the East-West partition to the fall of the Berlin Wall. After your museum visit, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, included in the cost of your optional tour, before returning to your hotel this afternoon, where the rest of the day is yours to spend as you please.

    Tonight, join your fellow travelers one last time for an included Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.

  • After breakfast, you will 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 $695

    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

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