Arrive at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.
FEATURED EXCURSION: Cologne walking tour with Cologne Cathedral visit Cologne is the largest and oldest city of the Rhineland and a cultural mecca, with more than 30 museums and hundreds of art galleries. A congenial atmosphere and a mix of ancient, modern, and reconstructed buildings characterize the heart of the city. As you walk through the narrow lanes of the Old Town, you’ll find it hard to believe that more than 70 percent of the city was destroyed by bombs during WWII. The famous 12 Romanesque churches were reconstructed from the rubble, and the cathedral, Cologne’s iconic landmark, rises magnificently in the city center. Though it was damaged, the great UNESCO-designated cathedral retains many of its original treasures—the relics of the Magi and other sacred figures, which inspired its building in the 12th century, the 14th-century stained-glass windows that were stored safely throughout the war, and the beautifully painted choir stalls—though other treasures are displayed separately. Enter the aweinspiring nave and learn about the history of the cathedral and its art collections, especially the pieces surrounding the Shrine of the Magi. After touring the cathedral, you’ll have free time to explore the area around it: three medieval gates remain standing, as does the old city hall with its Renaissance façade. Fascinating museums devoted to an astonishing range of subjects— everything from ancient Rome, to the Nazi regime, to chocolate—invite examination. The beautiful riverside promenade and parks are worth visiting, too, and make for wonderful bicycling. Note: The number of visitors allowed in Cologne Cathedral is regulated by a very strict scheme of time slots. Sightseeing will be arranged around the time slots obtained. On Sundays and Catholic holidays, guided tours inside the cathedral will not be possible. A special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.
Cruising the romantic Rhine River, Rüdesheim
FEATURED EXCURSION: Gondola ride to the Niederwald Monument Byron described it as “a work divine, a blending of all beauties.” Turner painted it. Wagner used it as inspiration for his opera Götterdämmerung. Today you’ll see it: the sublime beauty of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this scenic 40-mile (65-kilometer) stretch of the Rhine features a stunning, castle-dotted landscape that 19th-century composers, painters, and poets considered the embodiment of an ideal romantic spirit, which was later dubbed “Rhine Romanticism.” Legend plays its part here too, with shipwrecks and lost lovers attributed to the Lorelei who, so the tale goes, lured all to their doom in the Rhine. Each bend and twist of the river affords new delights: steep riverbanks are graced with sloping vineyards and picturesque towns, and hilltops are crowned by fairytale castles. Each one of those castles tells a tale: of great families raising fortresses, of warfare and ruin, and of rebuilding through the centuries. Some castles have been entirely reconstructed; others tower above the water in majestic ruin, still an inspiration for romantics. Like many cities along the Rhine, Rüdesheim has a lengthy history that stretches back to Roman times. These days, the town is best known for its avenue of shops and wine bars called the Drosselgasse and its impressive Niederwalddenkmal (Niederwald Monument). The huge statue of Germania atop the hill above Rüdesheim is visible for miles. Erected by Wilhelm I to commemorate the unification of Germany following the Franco-Prussian War in 1877, the monument may perfectly embody 19thcentury imperial grandiosity—but the ride to and from it is the real point of your expedition. Hop aboard a cable car and begin your ascent to Niederwald Heights. You’ll get a great view of the town and the entire Rheingau wine-growing region as you climb high into the air, with the precipitous vineyards falling away below you and spectacular views of the Rhine valley spreading into the distance. Don’t worry if you find there are far too many glorious things to see as you ascend; anything you miss while going up, you’ll have a chance to catch coming back down. Explore the historic Niederwald Monument, then head back down into Rüdesheim, where you can enjoy some free time. Note: The gondola to Niederwald Heights is covered but not heated. Cars are open on the sides, and it is recommended that you dress warmly.
Frankfurt (Heidelberg or Frankfurt)
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of full-day Heidelberg visit* or exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Frankfurt walking tour A major European transportation hub and financial center, Frankfurt-on-Main is nicknamed “Mainhattan” for a reason: it’s home to the European Central Bank, the world’s third-largest trading center for stocks, major international trade fairs, and one of the world’s busiest airports. Choice Is Yours Excursion Options: A. Full-day Heidelberg visit Note: Lunch is not included with the full-day Heidelberg tour B. Exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Frankfurt walking tour
Miltenberg, cruising the Main River
FEATURED EXCURSION: Miltenberg walking tour with exclusive “Village Day” Picturesque and charming, Miltenberg’s Old Town grew along a narrow strip of riverbank that determined its narrow medieval layout, which exists to this day. Ramble with your guide along Main Street past 14th and 15th-century half-timbered houses to the central marketplace, where you’ll meet a local host and embark on one—and only one—of the following intriguing encounters. 1. Tour a boutique brewery with the brewmaster and sample his handiwork. 2. Visit a nearby farm and learn about local farming methods. 3. Hike up an ancient Roman footpath to the ruins of Miltenberg Castle for a fabulous view of the Main River valley. 4. Bike along the Main with a guide to the village of Kleinheubach and back. 5. Explore a family-owned vineyard with a family member in nearby Buergstadt. 6. Visit a local artist at her atelier and, if you wish, paint your own souvenir to take home.
FEATURED EXCURSION: Würzburg Residenz visit Your ship will dock in the charming Franconian town of Würzburg where you will visit the extraordinary Würzburg Residenz—one of the most opulent baroque palaces in Europe. This incredibly lavish 18th-century palace was created under the auspices of two Schönborn prince-bishops, Lothar Franz and Friedrich Carl, who brought enormous knowledge and passion, as well as a budget for the best, to the project. Over the course of 60 years, they fostered the creation of a 300-room palace that contains jawdropping baroque art. The magnificent grand staircase boasts the world’s largest ceiling fresco, painted by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Portions of the building were damaged by Allied bombing in 1945, but, fortunately, most of the historic furnishings had been stored off-site and key rooms were unharmed, so you can see the original— and matchless—artwork, gilding, and statuary. Check out both the spectacular Hall of Mirrors and the imposing Imperial Hall, which boasts a large oval dome and 20 half-columns. Even the gardens have been restored, right down to the topiary fruit trees in the kitchen garden, which are re-creations of the trees grown there in the 18th century. Return to the ship for a delicious lunch, and then spend the afternoon exploring Würzburg on your own. Head off to the central market square and pop into the local shops. Admire Würzburg Cathedral, a Romanesque structure built in 1040 and dedicated to Saint Kilian, the apostle of Franconia. Or check out Old City Hall and the 15th-century Old Main Bridge, which is adorned with statues of saints. Note: Visitors may not take photos or videos or carry backpacks inside the Würzburg Residenz.
Cruising the Main River
Cruising the Main River Spend a relaxing day onboard as your ship wends its way along the Main River between Würzburg and Bamberg. It’s something of a truism to say that this route takes you from wine to beer, and you’ll see the transition as you sail past the vineyard-covered slopes around Würzburg toward Bavaria’s famous beer-brewing center, Bamberg. Along the way, you’ll pass delightful little villages and romantic castle ruins, drift under lovely old bridges, and have plenty of time to observe the fascinating variety of vessels plying the river, from heavily loaded barges to jaunty little pleasure craft. Alternatively, you might choose to leave the ship and jaunt off on an optional excursion to historic Rothenburg for fantastic sightseeing and even a bit of early Christmas shopping.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Bamberg walking tour or exclusive Franconian “Village Day” farm and village visit Today, your ship will dock in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bamberg, which has one of the largest intact medieval town centers in Europe. Like Rome, the city is built on seven hills—but in Bamberg, a church tops each one. During the Middle Ages, Bamberg was split in two, divided by the Regnitz River, one side controlled by the prince-bishop and the other by the burghers (a formally defined class in medieval Germany). As a result of this division, the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) was built on a tiny island in the middle of the Regnitz to serve both sides of town. Klein Venedig (Little Venice), a fishermen’s colony that dates back centuries, lies along the banks of the island and adds to the area’s charm. Marvel at this medieval city’s striking architecture and stirring history on a walking tour through Bamberg’s Old Town. Or, leave the city behind for an experience of Franconian rural life with a visit to a charming village in the verdant hills just outside of town. Choice Is Yours Excursion Options: A. Bamberg walking tour B. Exclusive Franconian “Village Day” farm and village visit
Nuremberg, cruising the Main-Danube Canal
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Nuremberg city tour or Nuremberg WWII historical tour with Documentation Center visit Your ship docks in Nuremberg very early in the day. One of Germany’s leading cities for many centuries, Nuremberg’s glowing heritage as a center of German arts, culture, and economy was, sadly, also responsible for its disastrous experience in the 1930s and 1940s. Which aspect do you wish to explore? You must choose between two very different but equally fascinating excursions. Choice Is Yours Excursion Options: A. Nuremberg city tour B. Nuremberg WWII historical tour with Documentation Center visit
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of “2,000 Years in One Hour” Regensburg walking tour or Jewish Regensburg or BMW factory visit Regensburg is a friendly town with quaint cobblestone streets, historic Roman ruins, and a UNESCO World Heritage-designated medieval city center. This unspoiled gem was the capital of Bavaria for about 700 years, from the 6th to the 13th centuries. The remnants of Regensburg’s golden age are still on display, particularly in the Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge), the first bridge to span the Danube, built in the 12th century. This bridge, which is 1,014 feet (309 meters) long, was an architectural wonder in its day. But don’t let Regensburg’s illustrious history fool you into thinking the town’s best days are in all in the past. Modern Regensburg is a popular center of higher learning, with more than 30,000 students attending its various colleges and universities. In fact, Pope Benedict XVI was a professor of theology at the University of Regensburg until 1977. Regensburg also frequently appears on lists ranking the world’s best places to live, thanks to its outdoor spaces, historic city center, lively cultural and nightlife scenes, and great shopping. Choice Is Yours Excursion Options: A. “2,000 Years in One Hour” Regensburg walking tour B. Jewish Regensburg C. BMW factory visit Note: If the tour lands on a day when the BMW factory is closed, we will visit the Audi factory instead. The Audi production line is closed on weekends, so if your visit is scheduled for a weekend, you will see the Audi museum instead.
Passau, cruising the Danube River
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Passau walking tour with St. Stephan’s organ concert or exclusive guided “Go Active” bike ride along the Danube river Located at the confluence of three rivers—the Danube, Inn, and Ilz—Passau is well known for its ornate baroque cathedral. Long ago, it was a Roman colony in the province of Noricum, called Batavis after an ancient Germanic tribe. Today, the city is unusually well preserved, having been spared the brunt of Allied bombing during WWII, as you’ll see on your walking tour of Passau. While the medieval city will amaze, the organ concert at St. Stephan’s will truly astound. If you’d like some active touring, join us for a guided bike ride along the Danube or Inn river—no matter which river you choose, the views will delight. Choice Is Yours Excursion Options: A. Passau walking tour with St. Stephan’s organ concert B. Exclusive guided “Go Active” bike ride along the Danube river
Cruising the Wachau Valley, Weissenkirchen (Weissenkirchen or Melk)
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Weissenkirchen “Village Day” with exclusive fruit brandy distillery visit or exclusive guided “Go Active” vineyard hike with wine tasting or Melk Abbey with library visit Awaken to the spectacular scenery of the Wachau Valley— one of the most beautiful stretches of river landscape in all of Europe. The 19-mile-long (30-kilometer-long) valley was formed over many centuries by the Danube River, which slowly wore away a rocky gorge in the foothills of the Bohemian Forest between Krems and Melk. This enchanting region—which boasts steep-sided, densely wooded southern slopes and northern slopes composed of a picturesque mixture of crags and vineyards—is a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape. Dotted along the banks are boutique winemaking communities and historic small towns, like the pleasant village of Weissenkirchen, which you will have the opportunity to explore on a delightfully savory excursion. Or, if you are feeling active, consider a vineyard hike that will lead you high above the village. Some of Austria’s finest white wines are produced from grapes ripened on the terraces that cling to these rocky slopes, including Grüner Veltliner, which is grown almost exclusively in Austria. If you have a taste for history rather than wine, consider a visit to medieval Melk Abbey, where you’ll explore its massive library and admire its magnificent architecture. Choice Is Yours Excursion Options: A. Weissenkirchen “Village Day” with exclusive fruitbrandy distillery visit B. Exclusive guided “Go Active” vineyard hike with wine tasting C. Melk Abbey with library visit
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Vienna city tour with Winter Palace of Prince Eugene visit or exclusive “Vienna, City of Arts” tour The grand dame of the Danube, Vienna was the heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and remains, to this day, the political and cultural center of Austria. Klimt painted here; Beethoven and Mozart composed here; Freud developed his theories here. It’s a treasure trove of splendid architecture, astonishing art collections, and inviting cafés—and it’s yours to enjoy. To begin your exploration of this delightful and historic city you may choose between two different guided tours: a panoramic city tour that includes a stop at Vienna’s exquisite Winter Palace of Prince Eugene, or our exclusive “Vienna, City of Arts” tour, which will take you to the Kunstkammer wing of the famed Art History Museum to see one of the finest art collections in the world. Later in the day, you can discover the endless charms of Vienna at your leisure, or join us on a trip to stunning Schönbrunn Palace, whose ornate architecture, extravagant gardens, and glorious 18thand 19th-century interiors rival those of Versailles. Choice Is Yours Excursion Options: A. Vienna city tour with Winter Palace of Prince Eugene visit B. Exclusive “Vienna, City of Arts” tour
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Budapest city tour or exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Budapest walking tour Called the “Queen of the Danube,” in part because of the way the city hugs the banks of the river, Budapest is an enchanting city that vibrantly mixes East and West, medieval and modern. Made up of two parts—Buda (the hills) and Pest (the flatlands)—and divided by the Danube, Hungary’s capital presents an array of architectural styles that reveal its long and varied history. You’ll have the choice of taking either a panoramic guided tour of the city aboard a motorcoach or discover the Budapest that locals love on a walking tour. Later in the day you can enjoy leisure time in Budapest or join us on an optional excursion. Choice Is Yours Excursion Options: A. Budapest city tour B. Exclusive “Do as the Locals Do” Budapest walking tour
Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Budapest Ferenc Liszt Airport for your flight home. Or you can extend your stay in beautiful Budapest with our exciting optional post-cruise extension. Note: Order of sightseeing may change throughout the itinerary. Substitute visits to other sites may occur during your trip due to water levels, closures because of public holidays, or other uncontrollable factors. Note: All extras, such as optional excursions, telephone calls, laundry, and items of a personal nature, are not included in the cost of the trip.