Embark on a magical winter European cruise and discover Germany, Hungary, Austria, and Slovakia while enjoying all the delights of the off-season, such as fewer crowds and easier access to iconic sites. Sailing from Budapest to Regensburg, you’ll appreciate a fantastic balance of cultural capitals and the charming small towns that embody old-world Europe.
When you’re not relaxing aboard your ship, you’ll follow The Sound of Music to Salzburg, discover Bavaria’s unending charms, and enjoy spirited recitals, including a private classical music performance at Vienna’s esteemed Kursalon and an organ concert at a Franciscan church in Bratislava. Onboard lectures and performances will bring culture and the arts right to you, while cooking demonstrations will teach you how to make delicious regional specialties.
Treat yourself to more time in Budapest with an optional extension that includes extra exposure to local cuisine and a Jewish history tour; or venture to Prague, the city of grand castles, unbeatable beer, and cobblestoned treasures. Traveling solo? We’ve added more supplement-free solo cabins to the m/s River Splendor, as well as adjoining cabin options and third-guest accommodations that make cruising Europe with the family even easier.
Next stop: Budapest!
Your cruise begins with an overnight flight to Budapest, Hungary. You can also begin your journey earlier — and spend more time in Budapest — with an optional pre-trip extension.
Enjoy a Welcome Drink in Budapest and board your Deluxe ship
Prepare to experience the joys of a Deluxe river cruise when you arrive to grand Budapest, steeped in old-world splendor. Upon your arrival, a Vantage representative will transfer you to the m/s River Splendor. This evening, you’ll gather with the Captain and your fellow travelers for a Welcome Drink & Briefing before your first dinner on board.
Vantage Onboard Enrichment:
Explore Budapest on a city tour
Wake up in Budapest, which you’ll see this morning on a city tour.
Almost the entirety of Budapest’s historic center has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you’ll see the best of it as you visit City Park; Heroes' Square with its statues of Magyar chieftains; elegant Andrassy Avenue; the iconic Parliament building; and Castle Hill, where you’ll have free time and entrance to Fisherman's Bastion.
Your afternoon is free for you to explore. Perhaps you’ll head to visit a famous confectioner like Gerbeaud, or Hauer Confectionery and Café. Maybe you’ll do some window shopping on Váci Utca, the pedestrian shopping zone. Or ask your Concierge to help arrange a visit to one of Budapest’s famous thermal baths, such as Széchenyi or Gellért.
Apple strudel cooking demo; plus, the Captain’s Gala Dinner and evening entertainment
Warm apple strudel . . . it’s a European staple, and you’ll learn how to make it today during a cooking demonstration.
Attend a classical organ recital at a local Franciscan church, before getting to know Bratislava on a walking tour of the city’s historical sites including the Main Square, National Theater, and an inside visit to the Bishop’s Palace.
This afternoon, enjoy free time to explore the streets of Bratislava. Tonight, enjoy the Captain’s Gala Dinner, followed by evening entertainment.
Explore the Liechtenstein Palace in Vienna
Start the day by attending an informative onboard lecture, hosted by a local speaker. Then, venture into Vienna and enjoy a panoramic city drive along the UNESCO-listed Ringstrasse that will give you a better view of this imperial and artsy capital.
Enjoy lunch onboard the ship before heading out to feel the grandeur of Palais Liechtenstein on a special tour of this dazzling estate. Later, spend some time exploring Vienna on your own via a convenient shuttle to and from the ship. Tonight, join us for a lively onboard performance featuring local entertainers.
The best of Vienna: Lipizzaner horses and a private Kursalon concert
A lecture on the Habsburg monarchy kicks off your second day of discoveries in Vienna. Afterward, attend a rehearsal of the famed Lipizzaner horses at the Spanish Riding School. After lunch on the ship, catch the Vantage shuttle back to the center of Vienna for more independent discoveries.
This evening, attend an exclusive private classical music concert at the Kursalon music hall — a frequent haunt of Vienna’s own Johann Strauss.
Follow "The Sound of Music" to Salzburg, or explore the cultural capital of Linz
You'll have a choice of tours in Austria today. Set off today for storybook Salzburg, nestled in the Austrian Alps. This city — Mozart’s hometown, in fact — also boasts a few locales featured in the beloved classic, "The Sound of Music." Or, choose to explore lovely Linz, a cutting-edge city at the forefront of the arts and technology that UNESCO dubbed a City of Media Arts, with an active walking and hiking tour to Ars Electronica. No matter which tour you choose, you’ll have time to soak up the charm of these Austrian cultural gems. After dinner, enjoy more local entertainment in the ship’s lounge.
Set off on a tour of Passau and enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Reception
More baroque splendor awaits you in picturesque Passau, located at the confluence of the Inn, Ilz, and Danube rivers. On a walking tour, we’ll admire the UNESCO-listed Old Town and pass by St. Stephan's Cathedral. Don’t forget to try the gingerbread here in Passau — it’s spiced, warm, delectable, and you’ll even learn how to make it later this afternoon. If you're seeking a more active tour experience instead, the Cruise Director can help arrange a hiking tour of Passau, which includes entrance to Veste Oberhaus.
This afternoon, a local painter comes on board for a colorful painting lesson. Then, learn the secrets of making Germany’s treasured lebkuchen — also known as gingerbread — in the ship’s lounge. This evening, enjoy a lively send-off with your fellow travelers at the Captain’s Farewell Reception.
Wander Regensburg’s historic streets by foot or bike
Delve into Bavarian custom and culture with a day in medieval Regensburg. Largely spared from World War II bombing, Regensburg is remarkably well-preserved, with an Old Town doubling as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander the city on a walking tour of its medieval highlights. You’ll also meet Martin, Regensburg’s city guard, who will regale you with a special presentation. Later, you'll have leisure time to explore on your own or continue shopping the Christmas market for handmade items including marionettes, dolls, pottery, candles, and more.
Fly home from Munich, or head to Prague on an extension
Disembark your river cruise ship in Regensburg and transfer to the Munich airport to return home, or head to Prague for a post-trip extension.
Important Notice:The above day-by-day itinerary is preliminary and subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert. In addition, should there be an extreme change in water levels, Vantage will do everything possible to provide either the included excursion or an alternate excursion at Vantage’s discretion.
Please Note: Port times & itineraries are subject to change. Fluctuating water levels and winter weather may affect itinerary.