Symphony on the Blue Danube: A Classical Music Cruise
Enjoy a cruise along the scenic Danube River aboard the Amadeus Diamond, with stays in Prague and Krakow, and private concerts during our custom-designed journey showcasing the musical heritage of the European masters.
WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY
The tour provided an excellent balance of history, art and architecture, and music with a relaxing river cruise past beautiful scenery. The lecturer was an expert in the field while the tour manager combined efficiency with a real desire to help people.”
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Experience some of Europe’s most beloved cultural centers that are tied to the inspiration and musical genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin. Custom-designed to showcase the musical heritage of the European Masters, our program features a rich selection of classical music-themed performances and tours. Music expert Carol Reynolds will enhance your journey as you visit six countries and seven World Heritage sites. Spend a day in the fascinating city of Budapest, then cruise the legendary Blue Danube for six nights aboard our exclusively chartered deluxe riverboat. Tour the medieval Old Town of Bratislava and explore imperial Vienna, the cultural capital of classical music. Cruise along the stunning Wachau Valley, and enjoy specially designed excursions of the storybook village of Dürnstein and Melk Abbey. After visiting Linz, Salzburg, and Passau, spend three nights in fascinating Prague followed by three nights in the heart of medieval Kraków. Optional extensions to Budapest and Warsaw are also offered.
Days 1 & 2 — U.S., Budapest, Hungary
Depart the U.S. for Budapest, “Pearl of the Danube.” On arrival, embark the deluxe M.S. Amadeus Diamond. Attend the welcome reception followed by a specially arranged local folklore performance on board. The ship overnights in Budapest. (R,D)
Day 3 — Budapest
Austrian-born Habsburg Archduke Joseph, the “most Hungarian Habsburg,” is credited with creating a Budapest that rivaled Vienna as an imperial capital. The twin cities of Buda and Pest have faced each other across the Danube River for centuries, and today the Danube embankments and the Buda Castle Quarter are designated a World Heritage site. Begin your tour in Pest, where the elegant neo‑Gothic limestone Parliament Building, built between 1884 and 1904, towers over the river. Pass through Heroes’ Square and admire the monuments honoring the Magyar chiefs who conquered Hungary in A.D. 896. Visit the 19th‑century, neo‑Renaissance Hungarian State Opera House, one of the most beautiful in the world with the interiors decorated with frescoes by eminent painters, including Mór Than and Károly Lotz. By special arrangement, an opera singer will perform an aria for our group. Cross the imposing Chain Bridge linking river‑level Pest to the hillier Buda side of the Danube. On Castle Hill, visit the stately, late-19th‑century neo‑Romanesque Fisherman’s Bastion whose seven turrets symbolize the seven Magyar tribes that settled in the Carpathian Basin, and enjoy panoramic views of the city. Depart Budapest this afternoon. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Bratislava, Slovakia
Dock in Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, located in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains overlooking the banks of the Danube River. Beautifully restored since the end of the Cold War, the city showcases 21st-century life amid its 1000-year-old history. Enjoy a morning walking tour of Bratislava’s Old Town; its medieval, Renaissance and 19th-century architecture is among the finest in central Europe. See the Romanesque 14th-century Cathedral of St. Martin, and visit the elaborate Primatial Palace. The 14th-century St. Michael’s Gate is the only remaining portion of the city’s medieval fortifications.
This afternoon, the ship cruises from Bratislava to Vienna, through the Donau-Auen National Park, which preserves the last remaining major wetlands environment in central Europe. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Vienna, Austria
The former seat of the Habsburg Empire, Vienna’s historic center is an open-air museum of Baroque architecture, designated a World Heritage site. Tour this remarkable city, which owes its present appearance to the Austro‑Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef, who created the famous Ringstrasse to showcase the city’s finest landmarks—the impressive Vienna Opera House and the lavish Hofburg Palace. Conclude your tour with a visit to Gothic Stephansdom (St. Stephan’s Cathedral) followed by a performance of Mozart’s music in a premier venue.
This afternoon and evening is at leisure to further explore the treasures of Vienna at your own pace. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Vienna
This morning enjoy a visit to Schonbrunn Palace, a World Heritage Site and the Habsburgs' summer residence.
This afternoon and evening is at leisure to enjoy the cultural treasures of Vienna or attend, on your own, an opera or classical musical performance. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Dürnstein, Melk
The charming medieval village of Dürnstein is situated below the hilltop ruins of Castle Kuenringer, where Richard the Lionheart was held prisoner after the Third Crusade. Walk through the tiny, picturesque village to visit the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Abbey Church. Then, cruise the Danube’s spectacular and fabled Wachau Valley, a World Heritage site, where terraced vineyards blanket hillsides dotted with the haunting ruins of medieval castles.
This afternoon, visit Melk’s magnificent Benedictine Abbey where you will enjoy a brief organ recital in the abbey’s beautiful Stiftskirche (church), which features the striking 16th-century altarpiece by “Danube School” master Jörg Breu the Elder. This abbey is a showcase of impressive Austrian Baroque architecture, priceless relics and stunning 18th-century ceiling frescoes by Paul Troger. It was a prestigious center of scholarship throughout the Middle Ages and its library today is a repository of 100,000 medieval manuscripts. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Linz for Salzburg, Passau, Germany
This morning, transfer from Linz to Salzburg for an excursion to this delightful UNESCO‑designated city. Enjoy a walking tour of , to admire its splendid Baroque architecture, the charming pedestrian‑only Getreidegasse thoroughfare, Mozart’s birthplace and the lovely Mirabell Gardens. Visit the majestic 17th‑century Cathedral and the Fortress of Hohensalzburg (1077), the largest fully preserved fortress in central Europe. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. Drive through the breathtaking Austrian countryside featured in the movie, The Sound of Music, en route to the ship.
Enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Reception this evening and a private, specially arranged onboard concert of Haydn’s and Schumann’s works after dinner. (B,L,R,D)
Day 9 — Passau/Prague, Czech Republic
Disembark in Passau to see and hear the largest cathedral organ in the world, with nearly 18,000 pipes, during a specially arranged recital in the magnificent Baroque Cathedral of St. Stephan. Have lunch in a historic, typical German restaurant before traveling across the rolling hills and through the wooded German and Czech countryside to Prague. On arrival, check into the deluxe HOTEL INTERCONTINENTAL PRAHA, located near the historic Old Town. (B,L)
Days 10 - 11 — Prague
A guided tour showcases the diverse cultural legacy of Prague, a World Heritage site and the “City of a Thousand Spires” of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Walk down the narrow, picturesque lanes of the Staré Mesto (Old Town) to the Orloj, the ornate, 15th-century astronomical clock of the Old Town Hall. Enjoy a brief performance of Mozart’s music and a specially arranged private tour of the Estates Theater where the prodigy’s opera, Don Giovanni, premiered in 1787. Continue to Josefov, the Jewish Quarter, and see Europe’s oldest Jewish house of worship, the Gothic Old-New Synagogue and the moss-covered, 15th-century headstones of the Jewish Cemetery; and conclude at the famous Charles Bridge, adorned with 17th- and 18th-century statues of saints.
Tour the fascinating Hradčany complex of castles, churches and museums, the former residence of Bohemian royalty that dominates the city skyline. By special arrangement, view original Beethoven manuscripts in the family‑owned 16th‑century Lobkowicz Palace in the Prague Castle complex and enjoy a private string quartet concert of the composer’s works; visit St. Vitus Cathedral; then, walk through the “Golden Lane,” a street lined with former goldsmith workshops built in the 16th century in Mannerist style. (2B)
Day 12 — Prague, Brno, Kraków, Poland
The scenic transfer to Kraków stops en route for lunch in Brno, a crossroads of ancient trade routes that has joined North and South European civilizations for centuries. Upon arrival in Kraków, check into the centrally located, deluxe RADISSON BLU KRAKÓW HOTEL. (B,L,D)
Days 13-14 — Kraków
For more than one thousand years, Kraków has been considered the academic, artistic and spiritual capital of Poland, serving as the country’s seat of government from 1038 to 1596. Kraków is the only major Polish city to have emerged from World War II relatively undamaged, and its Old Town is a World Heritage site whose treasures have been well-preserved through the centuries.
Enjoy a walking tour of the grounds of Wawel Hill. See the Royal Castle, the seat of the monarchy for 500 years, which blends 16th-century Florentine architecture with Polish motifs and houses the state art collection, and the 14th-century Cathedral of Sts. Stanisław and Wacław, where all of Poland’s kings were crowned and buried. Stroll through the Old Town and experience the lively Rynek Główny (Main Market Square). Visit the 14th-century twin-spired Mariacki (St. Mary’s) Church, one of the finest Gothic structures in Poland, to see the famous medieval altar by Wit Stwosz. From the church’s tower, a lone trumpeter sounds a haunting call every hour on the hour, in commemoration of a warning of an impending attack by the Tatars in medieval times. Pass by the former residence of Pope John Paul II, where he lived while Archbishop of Kraków.
Attend a presentation on Frédéric Chopin, then enjoy the Master’s works during a specially arranged, private performance in Florianka Hall. Also, visit the historic Kazimierz district, the home of the Jewish community dating back to the 14th century, and the Oskar Schindler Factory, now a museum.
Attend the farewell reception in the hotel.
During your stay in Kraków, you can choose to join an optional excursion to Auschwitz-Birkenau, a World Heritage site. (2B,1R)
Day 15 — Kraków, U.S.
Continue on the Warsaw Post-Program Option, or transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S. (B)