Welcome to Budapest, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Eastern Europe. Here, youll be met at the airport and transferred to your luxurious Emerald Cruises Star-Ship, where your friendly captain and crew will be waiting to greet you.
This evening, relax on board as you enjoy an authentic Hungarian folklore show.
Traditional Hungarian folklore show
Budapest is a place of striking contrasts, with Buda on one side housing a generous scattering of the city’s elegant landmarks, and Pest on the other encapsulating its fascinating past. Separated by the mighty Danube, you can explore them both by crossing the Chain Bridge, one of the most symbolic structures in the capital.
Today, you will have the opportunity to discover the city’s history during a guided tour, including the Castle District, where sights of Buda Castle perched on top of a rocky outcrop overlooking the city are certain to delight. Enjoy, some free to continue exploring some of beautiful Christmas Market in Budapest.
Guided coach tour of Budapest
Excursion to Szentendre (extra expense)
Jewish heritage tour (extra expense)
Bordering Austria and Hungary, the Slovakian capital is yours to discover today. Wander down cobblestone streets and witness the sheer majesty of ornate Baroque palaces as you explore with a local guide, passing the Renaissance courtyard of the Old Town Hall and the picturesque gardens of the Episcopal Summer Palace. Afterwards, enjoy free time to explore at leisure, perhaps perusing some of the quaint boutiques that line the streets.
This afternoon, you will be welcomed into the home of a local family to learn about their culture over traditional sweet treats and coffee.
Home-hosted coffee and cake with a Slovakian family
Walking tour of Bratislava
Skoda tour of post-Communist Bratislava (extra expense)
A wave of culture paves the way for life in the Austrian capital, where some of history’s most prestigious composers once walked the streets and found their inspiration. Today, by coach and on foot, you will have the opportunity to pass the iconic imperial palaces and noteworthy buildings adorning the Ringstrasse, including the Vienna State Opera.
Guided tour of Vienna
Visit to Schönbrunn Palace (extra expense)
Viennese evening concert (extra expense)
Dürnstein - Melk
This morning, you will have the opportunity to hike to Dürnstein Castle, perhaps stopping to imagine how it would have looked when Richard the Lionheart was held captive following the Third Crusade.
After visiting Dürnstein Castle, relax on the Sun Deck as you sail through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Wachau Valley and on to Melk, nestled in the heart of the Wachau wine region. Your local guide will take you on a tour of the spectacular 900-year-old Benedictine abbey, including its ancient monastic library and medieval manuscripts saved from fires by the monks in the 13th century.
Tour of Melk Abbey
Sat on the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers, Passau is a postcard-worthy destination that has been shaped by the surrounding waterways. Maze-like romantic lanes weave through the city, opening up into large squares and magical promenades adorned with classical boutiques.
This afternoon, join your local guide for a tour of Passau and discover a peppering of delightful Baroque buildings, some of which date back to the 17th century. Stop to admire the silhouette of the hilltop Oberhaus Fortress and witness St. Stephen’s Cathedral, home of the largest church organ in Europe.
Later, return for an afternoon spent peacefully cruising through the heart of Europe.
Guided tour of Passau
Excursion to Salzburg (extra expense)
Excursion to Ceský Krumlov (extra expense)
Regensburg - Kelheim
After breakfast, set out on an exploration of one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Germany, where more than two millennia of history is yours to discover. Your local guide will lead you through the heart of Regensburg’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town, once home to the seat of parliament. Delightful historic patrician houses line the streets, a visible testament to the area’s importance as a trading centre hundreds of years ago. As part of one of your EmeraldPLUS features, you will also have a chance to visit the wonderful Christmas Market inside the Thurn & Taxis Palace grounds.
Later, return to your Star-Ship to sail through the picturesque surrounds of the Main-Danube Canal, passing Kelheim as you make your way to Nuremberg.
Bavarian band performance on board
Visit to the Christmas market in the Thurn und Taxis Palace grounds
Guided tour of Regensburg
Visit to a local brewery (extra expense)
Today, the historic city of Nuremberg is yours to explore during an included sightseeing tour, touching on the architectural wonders that have acted as an inspiration for famous artists from around the world for generations.
After your guided tour, enjoy time to explore the city at leisure, passing idyllic houses that were lovingly reconstructed following the destruction of the war years.
Guided tour of Nuremberg
Gingerbread Cooking Demonstration (extra expense)
This morning, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed town of Bamberg awaits. Thousands of listed buildings can be found in the medieval town centre, an area bursting with character, charm and one of the best-preserved old quarters in Europe.
Admire hundreds of ornamental façades as you explore the town with your local guide, passing the New Residence, a building that truly captures the opulence that was enjoyed by the prince bishops. Relax in the Rose Garden before witnessing the opulence of medieval Altenburg Castle overlooking the town.
Guided tour of Bamberg
Set alongside the Main River, Würzburg offers a perfect introduction to the Romantic Road, one of Bavaria’s most popular tourism routes that links stunning medieval locations throughout the country. Your own charming journey of discovery will touch on the sloping vineyard-laden hills of one of the biggest wine-producing areas in Germany.
Today, you will have the opportunity to visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Würzburg Residence, perhaps stopping to admire the Viennese Baroque architecture and secular features from Italy. Your local guide will teach you about how the architects behind the Würzburg Residence drew inspiration from a spectrum of different popular styles. After the tour, enjoy a guided walking tour of Würzburg, including the Gothic Marienkapelle and Town Hall.
Walking tour of Würzburg and a visit to the Bishops Residence
Excursion to Rothenburg (extra expense)
Wertheim - Miltenberg
This morning, as part of your EmeraldPLUS offering, you will have the opportunity to attend an exclusive glassblowing presentation at the Glass Art Museum. Then, travel by coach to the picturesque village of Miltenberg, a place that perfectly encapsulates traditional Bavarian life.
Enjoy a guided tour of the village, as your local guide leads you down an intricate network of cobblestone streets, each adorned with colourful houses. Centuries ago, this area benefited from trade that was brought by river traffic, and this past affluence can still be seen today.
Exclusive visit to the Glass Art Museum in Wertheim with presentation
Guided tour of Miltenberg
Vineyard visit & Franconian wine
Rüdesheim – Koblenz
Relax on your Star-Ship this morning until we reach Rüdesheim, a town with a rich history of viticulture. When you arrive, ride the Winzerexpress to Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum to see spectacular rare music boxes that have stood the test of time, showcased in a postcard-worthy building with a half-timbered façade.
After lunch, sail through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rhine Gorge, perhaps standing on the Sun Deck and watching for the castles and fortresses that pepper the surrounding hilltops.
Visit to Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum
Cruise along the Rhine from Koblenz to Cologne this morning, where an illustrious 2,000-year-long history awaits.
One of the oldest cities in the country, the Romans founded Cologne in 50AD and youll find a number of ancient ruins, monuments and medieval structures as reminders.
Enjoy a walking tour of the city today, as your local guide takes you through the Old Town, passing ancient bridges that survived the air raids of WWII, including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cologne Cathedral and its filigree twin towers, an iconic part of the city’s skyline.
This evening, your crew will be delighted to welcome you to your farewell dinner.
Guided walking tour of Cologne’s Old Town
This morning, board a glass top canal boat for a cruise down the UNESCO World Heritage-listed canal system that weaves across Amsterdam, passing elegant merchant’s residences that reflect the prosperity of the Dutch Golden Age, a time when Amsterdam was an important trading centre. Afterwards, enjoy free time to explore at leisure.
Haarlem Discovery Visit (extra expense)
After breakfast, it’s time to say farewell to your fellow guests and depart your Star-Ship for your transfer to the airport, taking memories of the postcard-worthy Rhine Gorge and idyllic Dutch countryside with you.
This itinerary is a guide only and may be amended for operational reasons such as high and low water. As such, the cruise may operate altered from that stated above. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information.