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

2017 Grand European Cruise

28 Days from only $7695 including international airfare

ABOARD OUR PRIVATELY OWNED 140- TO 164-PASSENGER SHIPS DESIGNED FOR AMERICAN TRAVELERS

The Netherlands: Amsterdam • Germany: Cologne, Koblenz, Rudesheim, Heidelberg, Wertheim, Wurzburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Passau • Austria: Melk, Vienna • Hungary: Budapest • Croatia: Vukovar, Osijek • Serbia: Novi Sad, Belgrade • Bulgaria: Vidin, Ruse • Romania: Constanta, Bucharest

Courtesy Small World Productions
Brussels and Belgium

Join travel expert Rudy Maxa through Old World heritage and the discoveries that await on our Bruges trip extension.

Trip Experience

Watch travelers drift past the elegant architecture of Budapest, Hungary, and view a glassblowing demonstration aboard their ship.

Trip Itinerary

Get more information about your detailed itinerary, like optional tours, exclusive Discovery Series events, and more.

Trip Extension: Transylvania

Experience the towering castles, iconic Alpine landscapes, and ghoulish folklore of Transylvania on our optional trip extension.

Trip Extension: Bruges

Watch travelers on a canal tour of Bruges and visiting a local lace-maker shop on the optional extension.

Program Director

Learn why Mihai Dimofti considers Vienna one of Europe’s greatest cities and an unforgettable moment he had in Bamberg.

Courtesy Small World Productions
Vienna and the Danube

Revel in the iconic staples of Viennese culture, from coffeehouses to dance floors, with travel expert Rudy Maxa.

Courtesy Titus-Armand Napirlica
Portrait of a Train Driver

See how—and why—a Romanian man has fulfilled his childhood dream of driving trains.

Courtesy BBC.com Travel
A Stranger in Brasov

In this animated short film, a woman recaps her incredible introduction to warm Romanian hospitality.

Courtesy Kirsten Horne
The Missing Lynx

Travel through the wilderness of the Carpathian Mountains in search of wolves, bears, and the elusive lynx.

Courtesy CNN
The Artistic Side of Amsterdam

Contemporary art to chocolate tastings—local gallery owners show you Amsterdam is more than just canals.

Courtesy CNN
Cruising the Canals of Amsterdam

Stroll a morning market, a home fashion shop, and more—with Amsterdam’s canals always in sight.

Courtesy CNN
Amsterdam's Mouth-Watering Street Food

Get a unique look into what makes Amsterdam special, from the best casual cuisine to local hangouts and more.

Courtesy David Conover
The Beer of Bamberg

Trace the history and cultural influence of beer—and brewing—in this German town.

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
$7695
28 DAYS
$275/DAY
including international airfare
27 DAYS FROM $6295 River Cruise Only
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Itinerary Overview

Voyage from Amsterdam on the North Sea to Constanta on the Black Sea—experiencing eight different countries—on an ultimate, continuous river cruise in Europe. Rich and textured Old World canvases come to life and rejuvenated world capitals thrive along this storied region's major waterways, the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers. From the Netherlands' low countries to Germany's famed wine regions, from rich Hungarian cultures to the heart of Eastern Europe in Bulgaria and Romania, uncover the diversity within the region, storybook scenery, and historic wonders on this European River Cruise.

Day-to-Day Itinerary

  • 3 nights from only $695

    Experience the beauty of Bruges, nestled amongst the coastal plains of northern Belgium. This former capital is said to be one of the most well-preserved cities in Europe—and has undergone many restorations in order to keep its medieval architecture intact. Stroll through the bustling streets and discover the city’s colorful market squares, cozy homes, and circle of canals, and enjoy included tours of Ghent, Belgium and Delft, the Netherlands.

    View Extension Itinerary
Amsterdam Bucharest Reverse Direction Expand All
  • Depart the U.S. today on your flight to Amsterdam.

  • Arrive today in Amsterdam. You are met at the airport by a Grand Circle representative and transferred to the pier to embark your river ship, which will be your home for the duration of the European cruise.

    Enjoy a light lunch onboard and time before dinner to relax after your flight, or do some exploring on your own. Amsterdam is a thoroughly modern city that has taken extraordinary measures to retain its Old World charm and historical significance. The narrow Dutch houses with their tidy window boxes and hand-scrubbed stoops and sidewalks will charm you. The city is easy to get around in and explore on your own. You may want to spend time in Dam Square, the heart of the city. This is the spot where the Amstel River once flowed. Due to flooding caused by high river tides, a dam was built—thus, the square's name. Or relax and do some people-watching in Rembrandt and Leidse squares.

    During your cruise, whenever you have leisure time at a port along your route, you'll receive a Port Talk about the pier area and town prior to arrival so you can make the best use of your free time. Tonight, you'll gather for your first Port Talk. Then get better acquainted with your Program Director and traveling companions over a Welcome Drink.

  • View five passengers enjoying a cruise down an Amsterdam canal

    After breakfast, join us for a boat tour introducing you to Amsterdam’s famed canals, providing a matchless perspective on the city’s remarkable architecture and relaxed pace. You also see the Mint Tower, which has retained its name even though gold and silver coins were minted here for only a few years, and other city highlights. Following the conclusion of your tour, you can enjoy free time in downtown Amsterdam before returning to the ship.

    After lunch back onboard your ship, begin your European River Cruise Tour as you sail the Rhine River towards Germany.

    This evening, meet your crew and fellow travelers at the Captain's Welcome Reception and Dinner.

  • Explore the streets of Cologne

    Enjoy a relaxing morning on the ship, cruising to your first German port, Cologne—a former Roman settlement called Colonia Agrippina after AD 50 that came under Frankish control in the fifth century. As you cruise, learn about immigration in Germany and country's open borders for refugees in an exclusive Discovery Series discussion.

    Arrive in Cologne after lunch, and set off on an included walking tour. You can still see the remains of Roman ruins scattered throughout the city, including the Roman Gate near the cathedral, once part of the medieval town walls. During the 15th century, the city flourished as a member of the Hanseatic League. Finish your tour at Cologne's magnificent Gothic cathedral—the Dom. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the cathedral largely escaped the World War II damage that ravaged the city and the rest of Germany. There's evidence that Allied forces had orders to avoid damaging this beautiful structure. It is the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe, boasting beautiful stained-glass windows, an ornate gold shrine on its elaborate altar, and the intricate detail common to 14th-century Gothic churches.

    The rest of the afternoon is yours to spend as you please. You may want to go inside the cathedral, or explore the Roman Germanic Museum to see its magnificent mosaic floor, discovered in the ruins of a Roman villa.

  • Explore the streets of Koblenz

    This morning, enjoy a walking tour of Koblenz, set at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel rivers. Originally established as an outpost of the Roman Empire and named Castellum apud Confluentes, the town became a city in the 13th century and served as a haven for French refugees during the French Revolution. During your tour, you'll see the highlights of the Old Town.

    You'll then disembark in Rudesheim, where you'll enjoy an informative stroll, followed by an included dinner off the ship, featuring traditional folk music normally played in beer halls, at a local restaurant.

  • Join a full-day tour of Heidelberg. You begin by touring the impressive ruins of the city's Gothic castle, where you'll have an expansive view of the surrounding area. Your tour continues with a walk through the city.

    From here, you'll enjoy lunch in a traditional Gasthaus that has been part of Heidelberg's Old Town for centuries. After some free time to make discoveries on your own, you return to the ship in time for dinner onboard.

  • View castle ruins and fairy tale sights while touring Wertheim

    Disembark for a walking tour of Wertheim, a charming fairy-tale town located at the meeting of the Main and Tauber rivers. Admire the imposing ruins of its castle, set on a hill overlooking the town.

    Enjoy the rest of the morning exploring Wertheim on your own. You may want to climb the stairs to the castle and follow the trail around the castle walls. Or you could visit the renowned Glass Museum in Wertheim, where exhibitions display the town's long and proud tradition of glass production.

    In the early afternoon, we visit with a local family and share coffee and cake with your hosts, an exclusive Discovery Series event. This is a great opportunity to experience what life is like for a typical family in this region of Europe.

  • View scenic German towns and countryside while sailing along the Main River

    In the early morning, start sailing from Wertheim to Wurzburg. 

    This afternoon, we'll dock in Wurzburg, a city on the Main River in Bavaria. Founded in the tenth century, Wurzburg was home to several powerful prince-bishops for many centuries.

    We'll enjoy an informative walk here. Perhaps you'll view the Residenz, commissioned by prince-bishop brothers Johann Philipp Franz and Friedrich Karl von Schonborn. The complex was almost completely destroyed during World War II, but has since been rebuilt to its original grandeur prior to the war.

  • View scenic German towns and countryside while sailing along the Main River

    Spend a relaxing day onboard as the ship continues cruising to Schweinfurt.

    Or, disembark during a stop in Gerlachshausen this morning for an optional full-day excursion to Rothenburg—a lovely old town that sits on the Tauber River, where undamaged 14th-century city walls and beautifully preserved fortifications stand tall to this day. During this optional tour, see stately towers and imposing burghers' houses, enjoy an included lunch at a local restaurant, and spend time making your own discoveries before meeting back up with the ship in Schweinfurt.

  • The Beer of Bamberg

    Trace the history and cultural influence of beer—and brewing—in this German town.

    Today, join your Program Director for a guided tour of Bamberg, a hidden gem dating back to AD 902 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bamberg began to prosper in the twelfth century and was the center of southern Germany's Enlightenment in the late 18th century. The great German philosopher Hegel lived here, and Bamberg was the second city (after Mainz) to introduce book printing.

    Today, Bamberg boasts 2,000 buildings listed as historical monuments, and its old city center is Europe's largest existing group of historic buildings. The city was awarded the title of “World Cultural and Natural Heritage of Mankind” by UNESCO in 1993.

    You have some free time to explore Bamberg on your own before returning to the ship. Later this afternoon, you'll set sail for Nuremberg.

  • View a group of travelers in front of a beautiful fountain in Nuremberg Germany

    After breakfast, we disembark for an included tour of Nuremberg, Bavaria's second-largest city and the most important city in Franconia, with a local guide. Once the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire, Nuremberg evokes its exalted past with its imposing medieval Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle). However, its more recent history is intricately linked to its role in World War II.

    During your included tour here, you'll visit the Zeppelin Field where the Nazi party held rallies for up to 100,000 spectators. The rally grounds were designed by Hitler's chief architect, Albert Speer, who went down in history as "the Nazi who said sorry" during the Nuremberg Trials. You'll learn more about the trials during an included tour of Room 600, the courtroom where the hearings took place.

    We return to the ship for lunch. This afternoon, you can choose to relax onboard or take advantage of our complimentary shuttle bus into town. While there, you may want to explore the Documentation Center, which offers a sobering look at the causes, context, and consequence of the Nazi reign of terror. Or take time to explore Nuremberg's Old Town on your own. The city was devastated by bombs during the war, and subsequently rebuilt and painstakingly restored. Today the city thrives as a bustling industrial and commercial center.

    Dinner tonight is onboard. This evening, enter the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal and learn about the construction and history of this engineering marvel.

  • This morning, we sail to Kelheim and Regensburg. You can enjoy leisure activities aboard ship.

    Or, delve deeper into the Danube's scenic splendor during an optional excursion from Kelheim to the Weltenburg Monastery.  Before you visit the monastery, you'll board a ferry for a ride through the beautiful Danube Gorge, Donaudurchbruch, the river's narrowest and deepest stretch. From your ship's outdoor deck, you'll enjoy close-up views of towering Jurassic-era limestone cliffs as you wend your way through this scenic passage. Along the way, you'll discover the town's impressive Befreiungshalle, or Liberation Hall. Built by Bavarian King Ludwig I in the mid-18th century, the tower-like structure honors the German tribes who banded together to defeat the French during the Napoleonic wars of 1813-1815.

    At the monastery, you'll marvel at its Baroque construction of stucco, polished marble, gilt, and painted ceilings. There, you'll have the opportunity to reflect in the cool stillness of the abbey—Germany's oldest, founded at the beginning of the seventh century by the Abbot Eustasius. The compound also houses the oldest monastery brewery in the world. Here, visitors have enjoyed its famous dark brew for nearly 1,000 years.

    Transfer by motorcoach to Regensburg, where the ship has cruised to meet you.

    After lunch onboard, enjoy a walking tour of Regensburg, Germany's largest medieval city. Since the historic city center was undamaged during World War II, it remains beautifully preserved. Your tour features the Old Town Hall and the famous Stone Bridge (Germany's oldest bridge), constructed during the twelfth century. You also see soaring St. Peter's Cathedral, a Gothic church adorned with beautiful stained glass. Admire the narrow medieval streets and the relics of Regensburg's Roman past at the ruins of Castra Regina fort—the Porta Praetoria—containing a stone inscribed in AD 179, when Marcus Aurelius was emperor.

    After your tour, enjoy time to explore on your own before dinner onboard.

  • After breakfast, you enjoy a walking tour of Passau, situated at the confluence of the Danube, Ilz, and Inn rivers. Called the Dreifluessestadt (City on Three Rivers), Passau is an elegant town that has served as a German cultural and intellectual hub for centuries. You see the impressive Bishop’s Residenz, the 14th-century Town Hall. You'll walk to the lavish St. Stephen's Cathedral. This magnificent 17th-century cathedral contains one of the world’s largest pipe organs, with 17,774 pipes and 234 resounding stops. The cathedral’s original Gothic plan is still evident through the 17th-century reconstruction it received in the grand Baroque style. One of its most striking features is the gorgeous octagonal dome that hovers over the intersection of the nave, where the congregation sits, and the transept, which runs perpendicular to it.

    Your afternoon is at leisure.

    Our evening cruise carries us into Austria, the third country on our itinerary.

  • View Durnstein while cruising through Austria along the Melk River

    You will arrive at Melk early in the morning. From your ship, you'll be able to see the formidable Melk Abbey as it rises up from the surrounding countryside along the Danube. After breakfast, enjoy a guided tour of the dramatic 900-year-old Baroque abbey. This magnificently ornate structure has a long and storied history. Strategically situated on a steep, cliffside perch, Melk Abbey's earliest incarnation was as a Roman border post. Later, it served as a tenth-century Babenberg fortress. It became a Benedictine monastery in 1089 and earned a distinguished reputation for medieval scholarship. Its library includes more than 70,000 books and 2,000 manuscripts, chiefly from the ninth through the 15th centuries. The abbey was ravaged by fires in 1297 and 1683. The stately Baroque edifice that stands today, with its twin towers and 208-foot-high dome, dates from its reconstruction in 1736.

    In addition to the remarkable cherub-filled library, the Abbey features 365 windows—one for each day of the year. The interior of the Abbey's church is a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and gold—with a magnificent carved pulpit and shimmering ceiling frescoes. During your tour, you'll get the chance to observe and explore it up close, learning more about Melk Abbey's fascinating story.

    After setting sail again, your travel on the river takes you through the lovely landscape of the Wachau Valley—past terraced vineyards and lush flowering fields—on your way to Vienna.

    In the early evening, you arrive in Vienna, Austria's capital. This evening, you can relax or spend the evening exploring on your own. After dinner onboard, join us on an optional Musical Vienna tour this evening. Vienna without music wouldn't be Vienna. So, subject to availability of tickets, you can enjoy an evening in one of Vienna's famed concert halls.

  • View Durnstein while cruising through Austria along the Melk River

    After breakfast on board the ship, you'll enjoy a tour of Vienna, including the Ringstrasse, one of the greatest achievement of the Emperor Franz Joseph. In 1857, the Emperor ordered the demolition of the ancient city walls, which were no longer needed as fortifications and which were impeding the growth of the city. In their place was constructed an elegant 2.5-mile-long boulevard, encircling the Innere Stadt ("Inner City"). The Neo-classical buildings along the Ringstrasse bring together all the greatest architectural styles in an exuberant celebration of all that seemed possible during the Industrial Revolution.

    Our stroll continues along the city sidewalks, passing by the well-known Hofburg Palace, home to many generations of the Habsburg family, and the renowned Spanish Riding School.

    The balance of the day is free to relax or do some more exploring on your own.

    Your evening is free to do as you please. Ask your Program Director for suggestions.

  • Vienna and the Danube

    Revel in the iconic staples of Viennese culture, from coffeehouses to dance floors, with travel expert Rudy Maxa.

    This morning, join your Program Director in discovering more of Vienna via public transportation. Then return to your ship for lunch and cruise toward Hungary.

  • This morning, disembark for a discovery walk with your Program Director. The day is then yours in Budapest to pursue your own interests.

  • See St Stephen Basilica while touring Budapest

    After breakfast, set out to explore Budapest on an included city tour. Budapest is situated on both sides of the Danube River, with Buda (the right bank) to the west and Pest (the left bank) to the east.

    In Pest, you'll see Heroes' Square, with its Millennial Column set off by equestrian statues of the ninth-century Magyar leaders who conquered this region in the ninth century. The adjoining colonnade displays more statues of kings, dukes of Transylvania, and liberty fighters who influenced the history of Hungary.

    As your tour takes you over the Danube bridges into Buda, you can see how the imposing Parliament Building dominates on the opposite side of the river. Then, turn your attention to beautiful and historic Buda. Here, you'll visit Castle Hill, where a massive castle complex, including its protective ramparts, has been designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Mostly destroyed during World War II, the Royal Palace has been lovingly restored, approximating its former splendor, and now includes the Hungarian National Gallery.

    In your free time, you can also visit the Church of Our Lady, formerly used for the coronations of Hungarian kings. Its popular name of Matthias is in recognition of the Renaissance king who ruled in the 15th century and whose heraldic sign—a raven—is displayed on one of the towers of the church. Dating to the 13th century, the structure is an interesting mix of architectural styles used during reconstruction of the building at different times in its history. Note that during the 150-year Turkish occupation of Hungary, the church served as Eski Djami (Old Mosque) for the Turks. Inside the church, you can view art of Bertalan Szekely and Karoly Lotz, 19th-century Hungarian painters.

    After lunch onboard, you'll have the balance of the afternoon to relax on the ship or explore Budapest on your own.

    Budapest offers some particularly fine museums and galleries. The Hungarian National Gallery contains excellent examples of Hungarian art from the Middle Ages on. The collection is comprehensive and somewhat massive, so give yourself plenty of time to enjoy it. The Museum of Contemporary Art and the Budapest History Museum are also worth a visit.

  • View Budapest's Fisherman's Bastion while cruising Hungary

    Spend the day enjoying the wonders of Budapest on your own. Or, join an optional tour exploring Hungarian Jewish Heritage. You'll visit the Great Synagogue, the largest in Europe, designed in a Moorish style but with Byzantine, Romantic, and Gothic elements. Then you'll see the Kazinczy Street Orthodox Synagogue, the center of traditional orthodox Jewish life here; the Emanuel Memorial Tree, a memorial to Hungarian victims of the Holocaust; and the Jewish Museum.

    After lunch onboard, the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to make further discoveries on your own in Budapest.

    This evening, begin cruising along the Danube from Hungary to Croatia—and learn about a few of the cherished customs of Central Europe, passed down through the generations, during an exclusive Discovery Series discussion.

  • Discover local culture at a Home Hosted Lunch in Osijek

    After passing through customs this morning and docking in Batina, you'll set out to explore Osijek, the administrative and economic center of eastern Croatia.

    Situated on the Drava River, about 15 miles from the mouth of the Danube, this area was populated even in prehistoric times, and the first urban settlement was erected by the Romans. But the area's advantageous geographical location made it prey to assault throughout the centuries. It was destroyed by the Huns, rebuilt in the Middle Ages, destroyed by the Turks, and rebuilt again in the 18th century. As a result, Osijek boasts an eclectic architectural heritage, which you'll see on your included city tour.

    Among the more notable sites are the Tvrdja, a unique urban and military complex that lies in the center of the city and was built between 1712 and 1721 by the new Austrian authorities; the neo-Gothic Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, with a 290-foot spire; and the striking, 690-foot modern pedestrian bridge that rises over the Drava.

    Reliving its own cruel history in our era, Osijek was heavily damaged during the Croatian-Serbian war. Now peaceful, the city is experiencing a rebirth of civic pride and cultural and economic achievement.

    Following your walking tour, you will visit with students at a local school that's supported, in part, by Grand Circle Foundation. Please note: The school visit is not possible on weekends, or during the summer or national holidays, when school is not in session. Instead, Croatian teachers will join you for an onboard discussion.

    You'll enhance your appreciation for everyday Croatian life as you join a local family for lunch in their home, an exclusive Discovery Series event.

    Later this afternoon, transfer by motorcoach to Vukovar, where you'll meet your ship. Enjoy a short walk through the town and see some of its scars (Vukovar suffered the worst artillery shelling during the Croatian-Serbian war that waged from 1991 to 1995), as well as witness its revival.

    This evening, after dinner onboard, enjoy a Slavonian musical performance.

  • After breakfast this morning, enjoy an included tour of Novi Sad, Serbia's cultural hub and second-largest city. The beauty of the city is in its name—novi sad in English translates to "new garden." Nestled along a bend in the Danube river, Novi Sad is peppered with myriad historical and cultural monuments, verdant parks, bustling squares, a thriving pedestrian zone, and a history-rich fortress standing tall on the right bank of the river.

    After lunch onboard, the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to make further discoveries of Novi Sad on your own. Perhaps you'll choose to explore the Petrovaradin Fortress, built between 1692 and 1780 by the Austrians as a defense against invading Turks. Declared a historical monument 200 years later, this partially restored fortress is now a museum. Delve deep into the monument's strange past, including a 12-mile network of underground tunnels, a mysterious well with supposed links to black magic, and an iconic clock tower where the size of the minute and hour hands are reversed.

    Or, join us on an optional excursion to Sremski Karlovci, a culture-rich town just 10 miles southeast of Novi Sad. Spend the afternoon exploring the town, including visits to a beekeeping museum and a 300-year-old wine cellar.

    Tonight, dinner is onboard.

  • Witness the sights along the banks of the Danube this morning as the captain weighs anchor for your cruise to Belgrade. Belgrade and the rest of Serbia are just now emerging from many years of repressive rule with a welcoming spirit for visitors.

    Enjoy a full morning in Belgrade, beginning with an included tour around this grand old city, which was built centuries ago along important east-west trade routes and used as a gateway to Western Europe from the Balkans. You'll see the old Town Hall, St. Sava Orthodox Cathedral—the largest Orthodox cathedral in the world—and Kalemegdan Castle. You also explore the Tito Memorial, erected to honor Josip Broz Tito, who held Yugoslavia together as an independent country in the turmoil that followed World War II and the subsequent Cold War. Then, enjoy lunch on board. Please note: The Tito Memorial is closed on Mondays.

    This evening, join a local resident for an exclusive Discovery Series discussion about their lives in this dynamic country. Enjoy dinner onboard.

  • Today, you cruise along a stretch of the Danube that was once a raging river pounding through deep gorges. In the 1960s, Yugoslavia and Romania cooperated on a joint venture that raised the level of the Danube with a series of hydroelectric dams called the Iron Gates. The Danube is now placid through the Iron Gates, its spectacular two-mile-long gorge now underwater. Though the river is tamed, the views along the Danube at this point are exceptional. We cruise by fields and vineyards that are sculpted into the riverbank and where farmers pause to watch our passage and wave a greeting.

    Before lunch, join us for an exclusive Discovery Series discussion about life under communism with your Program Director. You can then linger over lunch as we navigate the Danube. In mid-afternoon, join the chef in the galley (the ship's kitchen) for a special tour. This afternoon finds us passing through Iron Gate I and Iron Gate II.

    Join us in the lounge after dinner onboard for a special show, presented by the crew.

  • This morning, you'll stop in Vidin and then travel to Baba Vida, a medieval fortress of two walls and four towers. Baba Vida was the city's main defense in the Middle Ages, and also the most important fortress of northwestern Bulgaria.

    After lunch onboard, you'll set sail for Ruse.

  • Early this morning, arrive in Ruse, which is situated where the Danube forms a natural border between Romania and Bulgaria.

    Disembark after breakfast for an excursion to discover two key Bulgarian historic sites: Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi. First, travel by motorcoach to Veliko Tarnovo, the capital of Bulgaria from 1186 until 1394. This cultural center rewards visitors with views of the fortification wall atop Zarevez Hill, the cobblestoned old city, ancient ruins, and a steep ravine plunging down from two towering promontories.

    Continue on to Arbanassi, a historical village of Bulgarian heritage. Its 80 houses, five churches, and two monasteries reflect a unique, fortress-like architectural style of the 17th and 18th centuries, when the village flourished. Enjoy free time to make your own discoveries, and savor typical Bulgarian fare at a local restaurant.

    Return to the ship for dinner onboard, followed by a special Crew show in the lounge.

  • Early this morning, sail into the Danube-Black Sea Canal, a 40-mile engineering marvel begun in 1949, but not fully completed until 1987. You'll pass through the canal's lock system and cruise by the inland port towns of Murfatlar and Medgidia.

    Following lunch, you'll call on Constanta, a Romanian port on the Black Sea that is the country's oldest continually inhabited city. Dating back more than 2,500 years, Constanta boasts a wealth of fascinating architecture and history. Myth holds that Jason and the Argonauts stopped here after recovering the legendary Golden Fleece. On your included tour, you'll explore the charming old city, the mosaic-paved Roman Edifice of Tomis, and other highlights of this beloved city.

    Tonight, celebrate your Eastern European odyssey at the Captain's Farewell Dinner.

  • See the Romanian Athenaeum while touring Bucharest

    We disembark shortly after breakfast for motorcoach transfer to Bucharest, Romania. We will arrive in about four hours.

    Upon arriving in Bucharest, you'll enjoy an included lunch at a local restaurant and explore the city by motorcoach. This is an old city that has served as the capital of Wallachia, and later Romania, since 1659. Today, it is noted for its broad, tree-lined boulevards, well-kept parks, and mix of architectural styles that combine Neo-classical 19th-century structures with monumental 20th-century edifices (the latter built for the most part to satisfy the late dictator Nicolae Ceausescu). You'll view the Arc de Triomphe commemorating the heroics of World War I soldiers and drive along Victory Avenue to Revolution Square, where recent events in history are inscribed. You have some time in the late afternoon to relax. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel. Please note: If you have chosen the optional post-trip extension to Transylvania, you will continue your motorcoach ride to Sinaia.

    • Meals included:

    Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Transylvania, Romania

    3 nights from only $595

    Experience the Transylvania region of Romania—a castle-dotted landscape whose well-preserved, Old-World character evokes an era of bygone, macabre figures both mythical (Count Dracula) and actual (Vlad the Impaler) from the historic resort town of Sinaia, known for centuries as the "Pearl of the Carpathians."

    View Extension Itinerary
  • 3 nights from only $595

    Experience the Transylvania region of Romania—a castle-dotted landscape whose well-preserved, Old-World character evokes an era of bygone, macabre figures both mythical (Count Dracula) and actual (Vlad the Impaler) from the historic resort town of Sinaia, known for centuries as the "Pearl of the Carpathians."

    View Extension Itinerary
Bucharest Amsterdam Reverse Direction Expand All
  • Fly from New York to Bucharest, Romania. 

  • Arrive today in Bucharest. You are met at the airport by a Grand Circle representative and transferred to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time and hotel check-in policy, you may not be able to check into your hotel room immediately upon arrival at your hotel. Your Program Director will advise you of your check-in status and activity schedule for the day when you arrive. You have the balance of the day to relax after your overseas flight.

    Celebrate your arrival in Romania with a Welcome Drink, and get acquainted with your traveling companions and your Program Director. This evening, enjoy an included dinner at your hotel.

  • See the Romanian Athenaeum while touring Bucharest

    This morning, you'll get acquainted with the city by motorcoach. This is an old city that has served as the capital of Wallachia and later Romania since 1659. Today, it is noted for its broad, tree-lined boulevards, well-kept parks, and mix of architectural styles that combine Neo-classical 19th-century structures with monumental 20th-century edifices (the latter built for the most part to satisfy the late dictator Nicolae Ceausescu). You'll view the Arc de Triomphe (which commemorates the accomplishments of World War I soldiers) and drive along Victory Avenue to Revolution Square, where recent events in history are inscribed.

    After an included lunch at a local restaurant, travel by motorcoach to Constanta, Romania, where you'll board the ship that will be your home for the duration of your river cruise.

    This evening, enjoy a Welcome Drink and meet your ship's crew. You'll also attend a ship and safety briefing on your upcoming journey and the ship itself. During your cruise, you'll receive several Port Talks. Your Program Director will describe the approaching port area and town prior to arrival so you can prepare for the next day's tour and so you'll be able to make the best use of your free time at the next day's port-of-call.

    Tonight, we enjoy dinner onboard.

  • This morning, you'll call on Constanta, a Romanian port on the Black Sea that is the country's oldest continually inhabited city. Dating back over 2,500 years, Constanta boasts a wealth of fascinating architecture and history. Myth holds that Jason and the Argonauts stopped here after recovering the legendary Golden Fleece. On your included tour, you'll explore the charming old city, the mosaic-paved Roman Edifice of Tomis, and other highlights of this beloved city.

    Following lunch, sail into the Danube-Black Sea Canal, a 40-mile engineering marvel begun in 1949, but not fully completed until 1987. You'll pass through the canal's lock system and cruise by the inland port towns of Murfatlar and Medgidia.

    Tonight, celebrate the start of your Eastern European odyssey at the Captain's Welcome Dinner.

  • Arrive in Ruse early this morning, which is situated where the Danube forms a natural border between Romania and Bulgaria.

    Early this morning, arrive in Ruse, which is situated where the Danube forms a natural border between Romania and Bulgaria.

    Disembark after breakfast for an excursion to discover two key Bulgarian historic sites: Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi. First, travel by motorcoach to Veliko Tarnovo, the capital of Bulgaria from 1186 until 1394. This cultural center rewards visitors with views of the fortification wall atop Zarevez Hill, the cobblestoned old city, ancient ruins, and a steep ravine plunging down from two towering promontories.

    Continue on to Arbanassi, a historical village of Bulgarian heritage. Its 80 houses, five churches, and two monasteries reflect a unique, fortress-like architectural style of the 17th and 18th centuries, when the village flourished. Enjoy free time to make your own discoveries, and savor typical Bulgarian fare at a local restaurant.

  • This morning, you'll stop in Vidin and then travel to Baba Vida, a medieval fortress of two walls and four towers. Baba Vida was the city's main defense in the Middle Ages, and also the most important fortress of northwestern Bulgaria.

    Tonight, enjoy dinner onboard.

  • You have a day of leisurely cruising, and a good opportunity to observe life along the banks of the Danube from your comfortable deck chair, as your Program Director provides insights about the region. After breakfast, enjoy a bridge commentary about the Danube River.

    Later in the morning, join us in an exclusive Discovery Series discussion, Life Under Communism, with your Program Director. Then, after lunch onboard, join the chef in the galley (the ship’s kitchen) for a special tour.

    Tonight you cruise along a stretch of the Danube that was once a raging river pounding through deep gorges. In the 1960s, Yugoslavia and Romania cooperated on a joint venture that raised the level of the Danube with a series of hydroelectric dams called the Iron Gates. The Danube is now placid through the Iron Gates, its spectacular two-mile-long gorge underwater. In the morning we pass through Iron Gate II, and then through Iron Gate I early in the afternoon.

  • Continue to enjoy the sights along the banks of the Danube this morning as we cruise toward Belgrade, the capital of Serbia (and former capital of Yugoslavia), one of Europe's oldest cities and the center of political and cultural life in the country. Belgrade and the rest of Serbia are just now emerging from many years of repressive rule, with a welcoming spirit for visitors.

    After we dock, you have a full morning to explore the treasures of Belgrade, which was built centuries ago along important east-west trade routes and used as a gateway to Western Europe from the Balkans. Begin with an included tour around this grand old city, where you'll see the old Town Hall, St. Sava Orthodox Cathedral—the largest Orthodox cathedral in the world—and Kalemegdan Castle. You also explore the Tito Memorial, erected to honor Josip Broz Tito, who held Yugoslavia together as an independent country in the turmoil that followed World War II and the subsequent Cold War. Please note: The Tito Memorial is closed on Mondays.

    This evening, join a local resident for an exclusive Discovery Series discussion about their lives in this dynamic country. Enjoy tonight's dinner onboard.

  • After breakfast this morning, enjoy an included tour of Novi Sad, Serbia's cultural hub and second-largest city. The beauty of the city is in its name—novi sad in English translates to "new garden." Nestled along a bend in the Danube river, Novi Sad is peppered with myriad historical and cultural monuments, verdant parks, bustling squares, a thriving pedestrian zone, and a history-rich fortress standing tall on the right bank of the river.

    After lunch onboard, the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to make further discoveries of Novi Sad on your own. Perhaps you'll choose to explore the Petrovaradin Fortress, built between 1692 and 1780 by the Austrians as a defense against invading Turks. Declared a historical monument 200 years later, this partially restored fortress is now a museum. Delve deep into the monument's strange past, including a 12-mile network of underground tunnels, a mysterious well with supposed links to black magic, and an iconic clock tower where the size of the minute and hour hands are reversed.

    Or, join us on an optional excursion to Sremski Karlovci, a culture-rich town just 10 miles southeast of Novi Sad. Spend the afternoon exploring the town, including visits to a beekeeping museum and a 300-year-old wine cellar.

    This evening, after dinner onboard, enjoy a musical performance.

  • Discover local culture at a Home Hosted Lunch in Osijek

    After docking this morning and passing through customs in Vukovar—site of the worst artillery shelling of the Croatian-Serbian war—you'll take a short walk through the town and see some of its scars, as well as witness its revival. Then you'll set out to explore Osijek, the administrative and economic center of eastern Croatia.

    Situated on the Drava River, about 15 miles from the mouth of the Danube, the area the city occupies was populated even in prehistoric times, and the Romans erected the first urban settlement. But the area's advantageous geographical location made it prey to assault throughout the centuries. It was destroyed by the Huns, rebuilt in the Middle Ages, destroyed by the Turks, and rebuilt again in the 18th century. As a result, Osijek boasts an eclectic architectural heritage, which you'll see on your city tour.

    Among the more notable sites are the Tvrdja, a unique urban and military complex that lies in the center of the city and was built between 1712 and 1721 by the new Austrian authorities; a neo-Gothic Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, with a 290-foot spire; and a striking, 690-foot modern pedestrian bridge that rises over the Drava.

    Reliving its own cruel history in our era, Osijek was heavily damaged during the Croatian-Serbian war that waged from 1991 to 1995. Now peaceful, the city is experiencing a rebirth of civic pride and cultural and economic achievement.

    Following your walking tour, you will visit with students at a local school that's supported, in part, by Grand Circle Foundation. Please note: The school visit is not available on weekends, or during the summer or national holidays, when school is not in session. Instead, Croatian teaches will join you for an onboard discussion.

    You'll enhance your appreciation for everyday Croatian life as you join a local family for a Home-Hosted Lunch, an exclusive Discovery Series event.

    Later this afternoon, transfer by motorcoach to Batina, where you'll meet your ship. Dinner is onboard this evening.

  • See St Stephen Basilica while touring Budapest

    After breakfast, you'll set out to explore Budapest on an included city tour. Budapest is situated on both sides of the Danube River, with Buda (the right bank) to the west and Pest (the left bank) to the east.

    In Pest, you'll see Heroes' Square, with its Millennial Column set off by equestrian statues of historic ninth-century Magyar leaders who conquered this region. The adjoining colonnade displays more statues of kings, dukes of Transylvania, and liberty fighters who influenced the history of Hungary.

    As your tour takes you over the Danube bridges into Buda, you can see how the imposing Parliament Building dominates Pest on the opposite side of the river. Then, turn your attention to beautiful and historic Buda. Here, you'll visit Castle Hill, where a massive castle complex with its protective ramparts has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mostly destroyed during World War II, the Royal Palace has been lovingly restored, approximating its former splendor, and it now includes the Hungarian National Gallery.

    In your free time, you can also visit the Church of Our Lady, formerly used for the coronations of Hungarian kings. Its popular name of Matthias is in recognition of the Renaissance king who ruled in the 15th century and whose heraldic sign—a raven—is displayed on one of the towers of the church. Dating to the 13th century, the structure is an interesting mix of architectural styles used during reconstruction of the building at different times in its history. Note that during the 150-year Turkish occupation of Hungary, the church served as Eski Djami (Old Mosque) for the Turks. Inside the church you can view the art of Bertalan Szekely and Karoly Lotz, 19th-century Hungarian painters.

    After lunch onboard, you can relax or explore more of this grand city.

    Budapest offers some particularly fine museums and galleries. The Hungarian National Gallery contains excellent examples of Hungarian art from the Middle Ages on. The collection is comprehensive and somewhat massive, so give yourself plenty of time to enjoy it. Parliament, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Budapest History Museum are also worth a visit.

    This afternoon, continue your discoveries in Budapest on your own. Dinner tonight is onboard.

  • Spend the day at leisure exploring Budapest on your own.

    Or, join us this morning on an optional tour exploring Hungarian Jewish Heritage. You'll begin with a visit to the Great Synagogue, the largest in Europe, designed in a Moorish style but with Byzantine, Romantic and Gothic elements. Then you'll see the Kazinczy Street orthodox synagogue (the center of traditional orthodox Jewish life here), the Emanuel Memorial Tree (a sculpture in the form of a weeping-willow tree, a memorial to Hungarian victims of the Holocaust), and the Jewish Museum.

    In the afternoon, enjoy lunch onboard followed by time to make further discoveries on your own.

    This evening, relax during an onboard dinner.

  • Enjoy a full day cruising as your ship makes its way to Vienna. Spend time conversing and taking in the passing scenery from the comfort of the Sun Deck, or perhaps meet new friends for a drink in your ship's lounge. Take advantage of the onboard fitness center, or peruse the ship's library. Your crew will offer additional onboard activities, and your Program Director will host an informative Port Talk about Vienna just before dinner.

  • Vienna and the Danube

    Revel in the iconic staples of Viennese culture, from coffeehouses to dance floors, with travel expert Rudy Maxa.

    This morning, begin your discoveries in Vienna via public transportation with your Program Director. Then continue exploring this historical city on your own.

  • View a few travelers enjoying their time in Melk Austria

    After breakfast onboard the ship, you'll enjoy a tour of Vienna, including the Ringstrasse, one of the greatest achievement of the Emperor Franz Joseph. In 1857, the Emperor ordered the demolition of the ancient city walls, which were no longer needed as fortifications and which were impeding the growth of the city. In their place was constructed an elegant 2.5-mile-long boulevard, encircling the Innere Stadt ("Inner City"). The Neo-classical buildings along the Ringstrasse bring together all the greatest architectural styles in an exuberant celebration of all that seemed possible during the Industrial Revolution.

    Our stroll continues along the city sidewalks, passing by the well-known Hofburg Palace, home to many generations of the Habsburg family, and the renowned Spanish Riding School.

    The balance of the day is free to relax or do some more exploring on your own. Feel free to ask your Program Director for suggestions about where to go. 

  • View a few travelers enjoying their time in Melk Austria

    Spend a relaxing morning cruising through the captivating, lovely landscape of the Wachau Valley—past terraced vineyards and lush flowering fields. As you cruise, partake in an exclusive Discovery Series discussion about German immigration, learning more about how the country has been opening its borders to refugees.

    Arrive in Melk, where you can glimpse its formidable abbey from the ship, as it rises up from the surrounding countryside along the Danube. Disembark after an early lunch for a guided tour of the the magnificently ornate 900-year-old Baroque abbey. Strategically situated on a steep cliffside perch, Melk Abbey's earliest incarnation was as a Roman border post. Later, it served as a tenth-century Babenberg fortress. It then became a Benedictine monastery in 1089, and earned a distinguished reputation for medieval scholarship.

    Its library includes more than 70,000 books and 2,000 manuscripts, chiefly from the ninth through the 15th centuries. The abbey was ravaged by fires in 1297 and 1683—the stately Baroque edifice that stands today, with its twin towers and 208-foot-high dome, dates from its reconstruction in 1736. In addition to those thousands of volumes, the Abbey library houses a remarkable collection of cherubs, and 365 windows—one for every day of the year. The interior of the Abbey's church is a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and gold, with a intricately carved pulpit and shimmering ceiling frescoes, which you'll observe up close during your tour.

  • This morning, you cruise to Passau, situated at the confluence of the Danube, Ilz, and Inn rivers. Called the Dreifluessestadt (City on Three Rivers), Passau is an elegant town that has served as a German cultural and intellectual hub for centuries.

    After breakfast, you'll enjoy an exclusive Discovery Series German language lesson onboard. We then disembark for a walking tour of the city. You'll stop at the Dom, the twin-towered St. Stephen's Cathedral. This magnificent 17th-century cathedral contains one of the world's largest pipe organs, with 17,774 pipes and 234 resounding stops. The cathedral's original Gothic plan is still evident through the 17th-century reconstruction it received in the Grand Baroque style. One of its most striking features is the gorgeous octagonal dome that hovers over the intersection of the nave, where the congregation sits, and the transept, which runs perpendicular to it.

    Following lunch, you have leisure time to explore more of Passau on your own.

    Once you set out on the river again, relax over dinner and join in this evening's onboard activities. The ship cruises through the night on its way to your next port-of-call.

  • After breakfast, you arrive in Regensburg, Germany’s largest medieval city, and disembark for a walking tour. Since the historic city center was undamaged during World War II, it remains beautifully preserved. Your tour features the turreted Old Town Hall and the famous Stone Bridge (Germany’s oldest bridge), constructed during the twelfth century. See soaring St. Peter’s Cathedral, a Gothic cathedral adorned with beautiful stained glass.

    After lunch aboard ship, your afternoon is at leisure to relax, do some shopping, or explore the town further on your own. Admire the relics of Regensburg’s Roman past at the ruins of the Castra Regina fort—Porta Praetoria—containing a stone inscribed in AD 179, when Marcus Aurelius was emperor. Stroll the narrow medieval streets, or just relax at a sidewalk cafe.

    Tonight, enjoy an included dinner off the ship, featuring traditional folk music, at a local restaurant. Your ship remains in Regensburg through most of the night, resuming cruising in the very early hours of tomorrow morning.

  • You can enjoy leisure activities onboard the ship as we cruise to Kelheim and Riedenburg.

    Later this morning, you can delve deeper into the Danube's scenic splendor this morning during an optional Bavaria: Baroque & Beer excursion. First, you'll board a ferry for a ride through the beautiful Danube Gorge, Donaudurchbruch, the river's narrowest and deepest stretch. From your ship's outdoor deck, you'll enjoy close-up views of towering Jurassic-era limestone cliffs as you wend your way along this scenic passage. After, you'll discover the town's impressive Befreiungshalle, or Liberation Hall, built by Bavarian King Ludwig I in the mid-18th century. You'll then visit the Weltenburg Monastery, a Baroque confection of stucco, polished marble, gilt, and painted ceilings. There, you'll have the opportunity to reflect in the cool stillness of the abbey—Germany's oldest, founded at the beginning of the seventh century by the Abbot Eustasius. Surprisingly, the compound also houses the oldest monastery brewery in the world. Here, visitors have enjoyed its famous dark brew for nearly 1,000 years. You'll sample some yourself while relaxing after your tour. You'll then transfer by motorcoach to Riedenburg, where the ship has cruised to meet you.

    After lunch onboard, travel by bus to the village of Beilngries. Here you have a special opportunity to visit a local home for a Home-Hosted Kaffeeklatsch, where you enjoy coffee and cake with your host and get a glimpse of life in this Bavarian community.

    Later tonight we start the transit of the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, Europe's highest canal. The technological workings of this canal are an engineering marvel. During the night you cross the European watershed (at 1,332 feet, the highest point of the canal). This ridge of higher land divides the areas drained by the two different rivers, the Main and Danube. Here, rain north of the watershed flows to the North Sea, and rain to the south flows to the Black Sea.

  • View  beautiful fountains in Nuremberg Germany

    This morning, you'll disembark for an included tour of Nuremberg, Bavaria’s second-largest city and the most important city in Franconia, with a local guide. Once the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire, Nuremberg evokes its exalted past with its imposing medieval Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle). However, its more recent history is intricately linked to its role in World War II.

    During your included tour here, you'll visit the Zeppelin Field where the Nazi party held rallies for up to 100,000 spectators. The rally grounds were designed by Hitler's chief architect, Albert Speer, who went down in history as "the Nazi who said sorry" during the Nuremberg Trials.  explore this walled 13th-century city and stroll streets lined with half-timbered houses. You'll learn more about the trials during an included tour of Room 600, the courtroom in which the hearings took place.

    We return to the ship for lunch.

    Later, choose to relax onboard or take advantage of our complimentary shuttle bus to town. You may choose to explore the Documentation center, which offers a sobering look at the causes, context, and consequences of the Nazi regime of terror. Or take time to explore Nuremberg's Old Town on your own. Nuremberg was devastated by bombs during World War II. After the war, much of the city was rebuilt and its Old World charm was painstakingly restored. Today, the city thrives as a bustling industrial and commercial center.

    Dinner tonight is onboard.

  • The Beer of Bamberg

    Trace the history and cultural influence of beer—and brewing—in this German town.

    Today, join your Program Director for a guided tour of Bamberg, a hidden gem dating back to AD 902 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bamberg dates to the year AD 902, and today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bamberg began to prosper in the twelfth century, and was the center of southern Germany's Enlightenment in the late 18th century. The great German philosopher George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel lived here, and Bamberg was the second city to introduce book printing.

    Today, Bamberg boasts 2,000 buildings listed as historical monuments, and its old city center is Europe's largest existing group of historic buildings. The city was awarded the title of “World Cultural and Natural Heritage of Mankind” by UNESCO in 1993.

    Bamberg's architecture reflects more than 1,000 years of building, with styles ranging from Romanesque to Gothic, Renaissance to Baroque, up to the eclecticism of the 19th century. There are narrow cobblestone streets, ornate mansions and palaces, and impressive churches. Bamberg has a beautiful medieval inner city that was renovated and restructured during the Baroque period (the late 17th century), so you experience a charming tension between the irregular Gothic and the more precise Baroque architecture.

    After your tour, you have some time on your own here to explore as you wish. Following a shipboard lunch, you can settle in for a leisurely afternoon aboard the ship. We enjoy dinner onboard this evening.

  • This morning, perhaps you'll join an optional tour of Rothenburg. This lovely old town sits on the Tauber River and boasts undamaged 14th-century city walls and beautifully preserved fortifications.

    During your walking tour, you’ll see stately towers and imposing burghers’ houses. After an included lunch, you have the afternoon free to make your own discoveries in this charming town before transferring to meet the ship.

    In the late afternoon, we’ll arrive in Wurzburg, a city on the Main River in Bavaria. Founded in the tenth century, Wurzburg was home to several powerful prince-bishops for many centuries. We’ll enjoy an informative walk here. Perhaps you'll view the Residenz, commissioned by prince-bishop brothers Johann Philipp Franz and Friedrich Karl von Schonborn. The complex was almost completely destroyed during World War II, but has since been rebuilt to its original grandeur prior to the war.

    We'll then convene back at the ship and set sail for our next port.

  • Disembark for a walking tour of Wertheim, a charming fairy-tale town located at the meeting of the Main and Tauber rivers. Admire the imposing ruins of its castle, set on a hill overlooking the town.

    Enjoy the rest of the morning exploring Wertheim on your own. You may want to climb the stairs to the castle and follow the trail around the castle walls. Or you could visit the renowned Glass Museum in Wertheim, where exhibitions display the town's long and proud tradition of glass production.

    Tonight, dinner is onboard.

  • After a few hours of very early cruising, the ship stops for a short time in Offenbach this morning, where we'll go ashore and embark on a full-day tour of Heidelberg. You begin by touring the impressive ruins of the city's 15th-century Gothic castle, where you'll have an impressive view of the surrounding area. We then ride into town and enjoy lunch in a traditional Gasthaus that has been part of Heidleberg's Old Town for centuries. Your tour continues with a guided walk in the city.

    After some free time to make discoveries on your own, you'll return to your ship, which has cruised to Rudesheim. After dinner, set out on an an informative stroll with your Program Director.

  • Explore the streets of Koblenz

    This morning you cruise along some of the most beautiful parts of the Rhine. Pass Lorelei, the large rock rising 440 feet above the river. Since ancient Greek mythology, there have been legends of sirens, women-creatures who lure sailors to their death with sweet songs. Ancient Germanic legend places one such siren (Lorelei) here, and it is said she enticed sailors to destruction below the rock.

    After lunch, step off the ship for an included walking tour of Koblenz, set at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel rivers, an important locale in the Rhenish wine industry. Originally established as an outpost of the Roman Empire and named Castellum apud Confluentes, Koblenz became a city in the 13th century and served as the home of French refugees during the French Revolution. During your tour, you’ll see the highlights of the Old Town.

  • Explore the many sights of Cologne

    This morning, disembark in Cologne for a walking tour of the city that will take you past the renowned Cologne Cathedral. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cologne Cathedral largely escaped the World War II damage that ravaged the city and the rest of Germany. There’s evidence that Allied forces had orders to avoid damaging this beautiful structure. It is the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe, boasting beautiful stained-glass windows, an ornate gold shrine on its elaborate altar, and the intricate detail common to 14th-century Gothic churches.

    Cologne was a Roman settlement called Colonia Agrippina after AD 50, and came under Frankish control in the fifth century. You can still see the ruins of Roman temples scattered through the city, and the Roman Gate near the cathedral was once part of the medieval town walls. During the 15th century, the city flourished as a member of the Hanseatic League. You have some free time in Cologne to do as you wish. You may want to explore the inside of the Cathedral, or perhaps visit the Roman-German museum where you can see a magnificent mosaic floor discovered in the ruins of a Roman villa. You resume river cruising in the late afternoon.

    Later in the evening, you cruise into Dutch waters on the Rhine River, heading toward Amsterdam. Bring your memories and join your traveling companions for a drink toasting
    the end of your cruising days with this group. Then, the crew bids you goodbye at the Captain’s Farewell Dinner.

  • You’ll have an early breakfast and then disembark in Amsterdam for a canal boat tour introducing you to the city’s famed canals, providing a matchless perspective on the city’s remarkable architecture and relaxed pace. Along the way, you’ll see the Mint Tower, which has retained its name even though gold and silver coins were minted here for only a few years.

    Following your tour, you'll have time to explore downtown Amsterdam on your own before returning to the ship for lunch, after which you can spend the afternoon onboard or explore Amsterdam on your own. This evening, settle in for your final night aboard.

    • Meals included:

    After breakfast, you disembark your ship and are transferred to the airport for your flight home. Or extend your journey with our optional extension to Bruges, Belgium.

  • POST-TRIP EXTENSION:
    Bruges, Belgium

    3 nights from only $695

    Experience the beauty of Bruges, nestled amongst the coastal plains of northern Belgium. This former capital is said to be one of the most well-preserved cities in Europe—and has undergone many restorations in order to keep its medieval architecture intact. Stroll through the bustling streets and discover the city’s colorful market squares, cozy homes, and circle of canals, and enjoy included tours of Ghent, Belgium and Delft, the Netherlands.

    View Extension Itinerary

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