Arrive Nürnberg & embark your riverboat
Cruise begins: 5:30 PM, Munich, Germany. A transfer is included from Munich's Franz Josef Strauss International Airport or Munich Train Station to your riverboat, ms Joy, docked in Regensburg and all decked out for the holidays! Guests who enjoy a pre-cruise stay in Munich will receive a transfer from Tauck's hotel to the riverboat. Join your captain onboard your riverboat for a fun welcome reception followed by dinner this evening. Set sail for Passau.
Holiday time in Old Town Passau
Dock in Passau, a picturesque city set on three rivers. Explore the narrow lanes and squares of Old Town dressed up with holiday decorations - a yuletide wonderland that will delight your family. You have a choice of activities. One is a walking tour of Old Town and a visit to a local café for a traditional sweets workshop. The family that owns the café has been making treats for the residents of Passau for four generations - and today they'll share some tips with your family. Another choice is to discover Old Town as you play a geo-caching game with a local guide. Or go on a guided hike with a holiday theme and interactive storytelling. Enjoy some free time in Passau before returning to your riverboat. It's Christmas Eve, and everything closes early in Europe for family time. As you to sail on to Linz in Austria, your Tauck Directors and Cruise Director have lots of fun activities planned for your family to share onboard ship, including holiday karaoke!
Oberndorf, Silent Night, and Salzburg
Wake up early aboard your riverboat in Linz for your full-day excursion to Oberndorf and Salzburg. Your family will discover the story behind one of the world's most beloved Christmas carols in Oberndorf, the town where "Silent Night" was born in 1818, and hear some stirring music. Have lunch at a local restaurant, and then you're off to tour Salzburg, a beautiful city of cobblestone streets, palaces, and a hilltop fortress. Mozart was born in Salzburg, and his family home is still there. The Sound of Music was set in Salzburg, and you might recognize a few locations from the movie. Your family will have free time to explore. Then you're off to reboard your riverboat. Without revealing any secret details, we can say that your evening onboard ship will be... magical.
The Wachau Valley - Dürnstein and Melk or Krems
Early this morning your riverboat sails through Wachau Valley wine country before docking in Dürnstein. Disembark for your choice of shore excursions. One possibility is to visit Melk Abbey, a sprawling Baroque edifice high on a hill overlooking the Danube. Softly golden in the winter light, Melk Abbey is filled with centuries of treasures. It's been a beacon of learning for generations and is still home to a secondary school today. On a guided tour, your family will love imagining going to school in these magnificent surroundings. According to the abbey's Christmas legend, the Virgin Mary and the Christ child made a miraculous visit to the abbey, where a young novice juggled oranges and entertained the infant so much that he clapped for joy and Mary gave the baby to the priest-in-training to hold. Your family's other choice this morning is to go on a walking tour in the charming riverside Old Town of Krems, set against a striking backdrop of terraced vineyards. After lunch onboard your riverboat, enjoy some local wines at a tasting and learn about wine-making in the Wachau Valley. Your riverboat sails for Vienna this afternoon.
Emperors & empresses in palaces in Vienna
Disembark for a sightseeing tour of Vienna, taking in the elegant boulevards, palaces, museums, opera house, and other impressive buildings built during the days when Vienna was the home of emperors who ruled much of Europe. You'll have a firsthand look at the emperors' home life during your guided visit at Schönbrunn Palace, their summer residence, and its gardens. Your family can return to the riverboat for lunch or try a local restaurant or café. This afternoon is free for exploring Vienna as you please. Shuttles between your riverboat and downtown Vienna will run throughout the afternoon. Then it's time to dress up for a Tauck Exclusive evening at Palais Pallavicini, one of Vienna's few private palaces, where you'll enjoy a champagne (or juice) reception, dinner, a performance, and a waltzing lesson!
Vienna by day and night
Continue exploring Vienna today with fun family activities. The catacombs of St. Stephen's Cathedral have nothing to do with combing cats. They're the spooky underground cemetery that you'll visit today, followed by free time. Shuttles between your riverboat and downtown Vienna will run throughout the afternoon. This evening your family heads to the Prater, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world, famous for its enormous Ferris wheel, the Riesenrad; parents and grandparents might remember the hair-raising scene when Orson Welles climbed it in the classic film The Third Man!
Medieval games in Old Town Bratislava
Your riverboat arrives this morning in Slovakia's capital city, Bratislava. Head to Old Town to try your hand at some medieval games and enjoy an interactive walking tour with a scavenger hunt. Your afternoon is free. This evening onboard your riverboat, Slovak performers entertain your family followed by your captain's farewell cocktail hour and dinner.
Budapest and your journey home
Dock in Budapest this morning and disembark your riverboat for a tour of a city divided by the Danube River. Known for its stunning architecture as "the Pearl of the Danube," Budapest was once two separate cities, Buda and Pest. Your family will go on a walking tour through the castle district and take in the amazing views from Fisherman's Bastion. See elegant Andrássy Avenue, monumental Heroes Square, and City Park. Your family holiday river cruise ends in Budapest. A transfer is included from Kempinski Corvinus Hotel, Budapest to Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport. Guests should book an afternoon flight home to be able to participate in Budapest sightseeing. Families enjoying a post-cruise stay at Kempinksi Corvinus Hotel, Budapest will receive a transfer from Tauck's hotel to the airport. Please allow at least 3 hours for airport check-in.