Arrive Vienna and embark your riverboat
Cruise begins: 2:00 PM, Vienna, Austria. A transfer is included from Vienna International Airport or Vienna's Main Train Station to your riverboat, ms Savor, all decked out for the holidays! Guests who enjoy a pre-cruise stay in Vienna will receive a transfer from Tauck's hotel to the riverboat. Join us for a sightseeing tour, 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. 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, too. This evening onboard ship, enjoy your captain's fun welcome reception followed by dinner. Then you're off to one of Vienna's most enchanting holiday markets, glittering with lights and sparkling with treats!
Emperors and empresses in palaces in Vienna
You'll have a firsthand look at the home life of the Habsburg emperors this morning 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! Sail for Budapest tonight.
Budapest, pearl of the Danube
Disembark your riverboat for a tour of one of Europe's most architecturally stunning cities. Budapest was once two separate cities divided by the Danube, Buda and Pest, now linked by the majestic Chain Bridge. 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. It's Christmas Eve, and everything closes early in Europe for family time. When you reboard your riverboat, your Tauck Directors and Cruise Director have fun activities planned for your family to share! Set sail for Bratislava.
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 in this car-free historic center with a scavenger hunt. Your afternoon is free. This evening onboard your riverboat, Slovak performers entertain your family with a taste of local culture.
The Wachau Valley - Dürnstein & Melk or Krems
Your riverboat sails through scenic Wachau Valley wine country before docking in Krems. Disembark for your choice of 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 is a walking tour in the charming riverside Old Town of Krems, set against a striking backdrop of terraced vineyards. Late afternoon, enjoy some local wines at a tasting and learn about wine-making in the Wachau Valley. This evening warm up for your visit to Salzburg tomorrow with The Sound of Music karaoke! Can you yodel?
Oberndorf, Silent Night, and Salzburg
Wake up early 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. Sail for Passau tonight.
Old Town Passau
Dock in Passau, a picturesque city of narrow lanes, archways, and squares set on three rivers. 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, and weather permitting, walk with your Tauck Director up to the city fortress for some great views. Back onboard your riverboat, join your captain for his farewell reception followed by dinner. Sail for Vilshofen.
Your journey home
Your family holiday river cruise ends in Vilshofen. A transfer is included from your riverboat to Munich International Airport. Fly home anytime. Travel time to Munich is two hours, so flights should be booked with that in mind. Families enjoying a post-cruise stay at Tauck's hotel in Munich, Bayerischer Hof, will receive transfers from the riverboat to the hotel and from the hotel to the airport after their post-cruise stay. Please allow a minimum of three hours for flight check-in at the airport.