Enjoy a relaxing cruise on the Danube, Europe’s most popular river. We travel onboard our modern ship, exploring the wonderful Christmas Markets of Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Germany with ports of call in the enchanting cities of Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Dürnstein, Passau and Regensburg – decorated for the holidays.
Day 1 Depart the USA
Today we depart the USA for your overnight flight to Budapest, Hungary.
Day 2 Budapest, Hungary
Welcome to Budapest! You will be met and transferred from the airport to your Emerald Waterways luxury river cruise ship. After boarding, enjoy some time at your leisure to explore Budapest. This evening, join your fellow travelers with a traditional Hungarian welcome dinner. Later, enjoy a Hungarian folk dancing and music performance on board. Meal: D EmeraldPLUS: Traditional Hungarian Folklore Show & Budapest Evening Cruise
Day 3 Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is Eastern Europe’s liveliest and most cosmopolitan city. Enjoy a guided tour of the city sights including the Hungarian Parliament Building, the Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge linking Buda and Pest or an exciting hike on the Buda Hill. During your free time, stroll through the Christmas market on Budapest’s main square near Váci Utca Street. This afternoon, depart for Bratislava. Meals: B, L, D EmeraldACTIVE: A guided active walk to Buda Hill
Day 4 Bratislava, Slovakia
This morning, arrive in the city of Bratislava, capital of the Republic of Slovakia. Enjoy a sightseeing tour including the enchanting Old City with its Town Hall, Mirbach Palace and the Gothic Cathedral of St Martin. Bratislava is also home to charming Christmas markets throughout the city, where you can shop for handmade ornaments and holiday craft items. Meals: B, L, D EmeraldACTIVE: A guided hike to Bratislava Castle EmeraldPLUS: Home Hosted Coffee and Cake with Slovakians
Day 5 Vienna, Austria
Explore Austria’s capital beginning with a drive along the Ringstrasse, seeing the sights of Vienna’s world–famous attractions such as the Opera House, Burgtheater, Town Hall, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Hofburg Imperial Palace. After the tour, enjoy free time to visit the wonderful Christmas markets of Vienna which are set up in 15 different squares in the city. Meals: B, L, D DiscoverMORE: Taste of Vienna Tour (additional cost) AND / OR DiscoverMORE: Exclusive Viennese concert with music from Mozart and Strauss (additional cost)
Day 6 Dürnstein – Melk, Austria
In the morning, arrive in Dürnstein, one of the most enchanting villages of the Wachau wine region. This is the site of the castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned after returning from the crusades in the 12th century. Enjoy free time to stroll through this picturesque town. Sail through the scenic Wachau Valley to Melk, famous for its 900-year-old Benedictine Abbey, featuring Austria’s finest Italian baroque architecture. Meals: B, L, D EmeraldACTIVE: Guided hike to Dürnstein Castle EmeraldACTIVE: Guided bike tour along the Danube River from Dürnstein to Melk
Day 7 Passau OR Salzburg, Austria
Cruise along the Danube this morning, reaching Passau this afternoon. Cobblestone streets and graceful arcades welcome you in this beautiful city. On this afternoon’s walking tour, stroll through the old town’s narrow alleys and see the hilltop Oberhaus Fortress from the town below. Visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a wonderful example of Baroque architecture and home to Europe’s largest church organ with more than 17,000 pipes. During your leisure time, visit the traditional Christmas market in front of the Cathedral. Meals: B, L, D DiscoverMORE: Tour to Salzburg (extra expense)* * Please note, you can only choose either included tour of Passau or the DiscoverMORE option, as both tours run at the same time.
Day 8 Regensburg, Germany
After breakfast arrive in magnificent Regensburg. On your guided walking tour, see one of the oldest bridges crossing the Danube and see the city’s architectural highlights including the Old Town Hall. Visit the famous Christmas Market at the Thurn & Taxis Palace grounds, try a mug of Glühwein and treat yourself to homemade gingerbread! Meals: B, L, D EmeraldPLUS: Traditional Bavarian Band onboard EmeraldPLUS: Visit to Thurn & Taxis Christmas Market
Day 9 Nuremberg Disembarkation – Munich, Germany
After breakfast, bid farewell to your fellow travelers and disembark the ship for your transfer to Munich Airport. Meal: B