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 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, who 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, and 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.


Saturday and Sunday, September 5 - 6 –Depart U.S. / Arrive in Budapest, Hungary

Depart the U.S. on your transatlantic flight to Budapest. Upon arrival on September 6, transfer to the elegant Four Seasons Gresham Palace. Gather with fellow travelers this evening for a welcome orientation, reception, and dinner at the hotel. Smithsonian Journeys will be sharing this program with like-minded participants from Princeton, Yale, MIT, the Commonwealth Club of Philadelphia, and the World Affairs Council, which will add to the excitement and energy of this unique land and cruise program.(R,D)

Monday, September 7 – Budapest, Hungary

A morning lecture program at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences is followed by your choice of afternoon excursion in Budapest, each beginning with lunch at a local restaurant:

  • Exclusive visits to the icons of Budapest, including the magnificent neo-gothic Hungarian Parliament Building and the Great Market Hall, the city’s oldest and largest indoor market
  • Specially curated Jewish heritage tour including the second-largest synagogue in the world
  • Culinary tasting tour to sample the best Hungarian foods and wine, with a local chef as guide
  • Private tour showcasing Budapest's history, from Socialism to “the future Silicon Valley of Europe”

This evening, enjoy a special dinner and musical performance at the Museum of Fine Arts, a landmark venue in the city. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, September 8 – Budapest, Hungary

Gather with fellow travelers from our program along with participants from other leading university travel programs (including Harvard, Smith, and Stanford), for a fascinating day including a keynote address from David Cameron, additional talks from featured speakers, and roundtable discussions that will illuminate the significance of the historic and powerful alliance between Europe and the United States. This afternoon, embark the luxurious, exclusively-chartered Crystal Mahler. Settle into your cabin and enjoy our first dinner on board as the Crystal Mahler departs Budapest. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, September 9 – Bratislava, Slovakia

The educational program continues during a full morning of cruising along the scenic Danube, with lunch on board. Arrive this afternoon in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, and depart on your choice of excursion:

  • Architectural walking tour of Bratislava’s Old Town, with several special interior visits, plus a beer tasting at a classic venue
  • Culinary walking tour of Bratislava’s Old Town, stopping to taste local specialties

All excursion groups reunite for a private concert. Return to the Crystal Mahler for dinner as we cruise overnight for Austria’s Wachau Valley. (B,L,D)

Thursday, September 10 – Wachau Valley, Austria

Cruise this morning through the picturesque 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. Enjoy the continuation of the lecture program during cruising this morning, with an early lunch on board. In the afternoon, a choice of excursions is offered:

  • Personalized tour of Artstetten Castle, once a summer residence for the Hapsburgs, including Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose death in 1914 sparked World War I. Led by a member of the Hohenberg family, tour the magnificent structure and historic museum.
  • Exploration of the magnificent baroque, Melk Abbey (a World Heritage Site) overlooking the Danube, and Melk’s picturesque Old Town with its many original historic buildings
  • Active options by eBike and guided hike through the scenic Wachau Valley

Return to the Crystal Mahler for dinner on board. (B,L,D)

Friday, September 11 – Linz

Following a morning lecture, set out from Linz on your choice of excursion:

  • Morning Linzer torte baking workshop and city walk with a local expert, followed by lunch on board (can be combined with the afternoon option below, or guests are welcome to enjoy free time in Linz in the afternoon)
  • Afternoon visit to the site of the massive Mauthausen Concentration Camp
  • Full-day excursion to the medieval Czech town of Český Krumlov, a World Heritage Site considered one of Europe’s most picturesque towns with its charming walkable streets and enchanting architecture; lunch is included off the ship at a local restaurant

Dinner is served aboard as the Crystal Mahler cruises for Vienna.(B,L,D)

Saturday, September 12 – Vienna

The morning lecture series continues on board, followed by your choice of excursion options; guests are welcome to choose two of the following options for Saturday, and one additional option for Sunday morning:

  • Exploration of Vienna’s Jugendstil/Art Nouveau heritage and the baroque Belvedere Palace
  • A behind-the-scenes look into "Sustainable Vienna," including the Spittelau Power Plant designed by eco-architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser
  • Exclusive wine tasting in medieval cellars housing some of the world’s rarest vintages
  • Visit to the opulent Imperial Schonbrunn Palace & Royal Carriage Museum
  • An eBike adventure among lakes and waterways of idyllic “Old Danube Island”
  • Jewish heritage tour of Vienna, retracing eight centuries of fascinating history

Lunch is included at local restaurants in Vienna with each afternoon excursion option today. Following dinner on board, depart for a private concert by a string quartet from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the impressive Liechtenstein Palace. The ship remains docked in Vienna overnight. (B,L,D)

Sunday, September 13 – Vienna to Berlin

Disembark the Crystal Mahler for a morning excursion in Vienna, choosing one excursion from the list shown above for September 12.

Following lunch at a local restaurant, transfer to Vienna International Airport for a privately-chartered flight to Berlin. Upon arrival, transfer to the stately Hotel Adlon Kempinski and check in to rooms. Gather with fellow travelers for a private dinner at the hotel this evening. (B,L,D)

Monday, September 14 – Berlin

After breakfast and a morning lecture program, depart on your choice of afternoon excursion, each beginning with lunch at a local restaurant. Guests are welcome to choose one of the following options for Monday, and one additional option for Tuesday afternoon:

  • Private gallery visits focusing on Berlin’s trendsetting and thought-provoking contemporary art scene
  • Expert-led architectural tour, including the Jewish Museum, which presents the social, political and cultural history of German Jews
  • An insider’s look at Cold War Berlin—with the chance to drive a vintage two-stroke East German Trabant (a sedan manufactured only in East Germany between 1957 and 1990)
  • Specially arranged guided tour in the iconic Reichstag (seat of the German parliament) with a visit to the glass dome
  • A meeting with top chefs to taste local specialties and neue deutsche küche, or new German cuisine River cruise through the World Heritage-designated region between Potsdam and Berlin, with views of the magnificent Sanssouci and Cecilienhof palaces

The evening is free to dine independently at one of Berlin’s outstanding restaurants. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, September 15 – Berlin

The final morning lecture program is held at the hotel. Continue your exploration of Berlin this afternoon, choosing one excursion from the list shown above for September 14. Lunch is included at a local restaurant.

This evening, gather for a festive farewell reception & dinner at the Michelin-starred GOLVET Restaurant. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, September 16 – Return to the U.S.

Following breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Berlin’s Tegel Airport for your return flight to the U.S. (B)

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