The Power and Potential of the U.S.–European Relationship Featuring Budapest, Berlin, and a Danube River Cruise Aboard the Crystal Mahler.

Starting at: $14,990 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Parliament Building, Budapest, along the Danube  Lovely Durnstein on the Danube at night  The Wachau Valley of the Danube, a World Heritage site, Austria  The beautiful Strauss memorial in Vienna  The Reichstag, Parliament Building, Berlin  The striking contemporary glass dome of Berlin's Reichstag

Global Symposium

The Power and Potential of the U.S.–European Relationship

12 days from $14,990

The Power and Potential of the U.S.–European Relationship Featuring Budapest, Berlin, and a Danube River Cruise Aboard the Crystal Mahler.

or Call 855-330-1542


For decades, the bond between Europe and the U.S. has created the foundation for the world’s economic, political, and security order. This special program celebrates their shared history and accomplishments and also looks at the future of this vital relationship. Join us for a major symposium in Budapest, then continue the discussions during a deluxe cruise of the Danube and a three-night stay in Berlin.

Highlights Include

  • Budapest: Gather for a special day featuring renowned political figures, authors, and thought leaders who will lecture and participate in roundtable discussions. An additional day showcases the history of Budapest through a choice of insider excursions, concluding with a gala welcome dinner and performance at a historic site.
  • Speakers: David Cameron, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, 2010-2016, will serve as the Symposium’s keynote along with Doris Kearns Goodwin, world-renowned presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times best-selling author. In addition, presenters joining the full program include Smithsonian Journeys Expert Tim Blanning, Professor Emeritus of Modern European History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of the British Academy, has published extensively on the political and cultural history of Europe in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Distinguished Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy and served as Special Assistant to the President in the Clinton and Obama administrations and Craig Snyder, president and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, former Chief of Staff to Senator Arlen Specter, while the senator chaired the Intelligence Committee.
  • Danube River: A five-night cruise aboard the Crystal Mahler provides the ultimate experience in European river cruising. From Budapest, ply the Danube through the Wachau Valley to Vienna and select from a variety of fascinating thematic excursions certain to appeal to your interests, topped off by a private concert by a string quartet from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the lovely Liechtenstein Palace.
  • Berlin: Take a charter flight to Berlin for a two-day stay. Following morning lectures, choose from in-depth excursions focused on modern history, art and architecture, or cuisine.


Days 1 & 2 – Depart the U.S. / Arrive in Budapest, Hungary

Depart the U.S. on your transatlantic flight to Budapest, Hungary. After arrival at Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt International Airport transfer to your hotel. Your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will be available to assist with information and planning independent activities.

Gather this evening for a welcome reception and dinner. (R,D)

Day 3 – Budapest

The morning lecture program is followed by your choice of afternoon excursion in Budapest. This evening enjoy a special dinner and musical performance at a landmark venue in the city. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Budapest / Embark on the Crystal Mahler

Gather for a fascinating day featuring keynote speakers as well as roundtable discussions. This afternoon, embark aboard the Crystal Mahler and set sail from Budapest.

After settling in, enjoy dinner on board. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Bratislava

This morning cruise the Danube, gather for a lecture program.

Later will be your choice of excursion options in Bratislava, Slovakia, including a choice of insider visits in the historic center or a foray into the countryside for interactive cultural experiences. This evening enjoy a private concert. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Wachau Valley

The ship will cruise this morning through the magnificent Wachau Valley, a 25-mile valley defined by the Danube River. It is thought the valley was home to prehistoric people and today, you’ll find remarkable vineyards, villages, churches and vintage castles.

This afternoon you’ll have a choice of included excursions ashore at Melk. Choose to explore Melk Abbey, a World Heritage site and Austria’s most beautiful and impressive Benedictine Abbey, with remarkable views of the Danube from the abbey terrace, or set out for a guided hike or scenic ride aboard an eBike. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Linz

After a morning lecture, choose between a full-day excursion to the enchanting medieval Czech town of Český Krumlov, or stay in and around Linz for a city walk and visit the Mauthausen Concentration Camp Complex, as well as other options. (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Vienna

Your morning lecture series continues on board followed by your choice of morning and afternoon excursion options, including a visit to Imperial Schonbrunn Palace & Royal Carriage Museum, an eBike adventure among lakes and waterways of “Old Danube Island,” or an exclusive wine tasting at a medieval wine cellar housing rare and special vintages.”

This evening gather for a private concert by a string quartet from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the impressive Liechtenstein Palace. (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Vienna to Berlin

Disembark Crystal Mahler and enjoy morning excursion options in Vienna, learning about Jugendstil art at the turn of the century, the Jewish heritage of Vienna, or inspiring local environmental projects.

Following a local lunch, transfer to Vienna International Airport for a privately chartered flight to Berlin with a late day check-in to your hotel. Gather for dinner this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 10 – Berlin

Gather for a morning lecture program followed by your choice of optional excursions, including a meeting with local chefs for a tasting of local specialties, private gallery visits to learn more about Berlin’s vibrant contemporary art scene, or a river cruise private boat to Potsdam, a royal seat of Prussia during the 17th century. Tour the Rococo palace of Sanssouci, the summer residence of Frederick the Great, and Schloss Cecilienhof, site of the decisive Potsdam Conference at the end of World War II.

The evening is free to enjoy one of Berlin’s outstanding restaurants. (B,L)

Day 11 – Berlin

The final morning lecture program is held at the hotel.

Choose your afternoon adventure to best fit your interests. Options include an expert-led architecture tour of Berlin, including the Jewish Museum, designed by Daniel Libeskind, the history of East Berlin, including the chance to drive a Trabant (a sedan manufactured only in East Germany between 1957 and 1990), or tour and lunch in the city’s iconic Reichstag Parliament building, including the glass dome. You are also welcome to explore the city independently.
This evening gather for final remarks and a festive farewell reception & dinner. (B,L,R,D)

Day 12 – Return to the U.S.

After breakfast, transfer to one of Berlin’s international airports for your return flight to the U.S. Group departure transfers to either airport is included. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)