Itinerary may operate in the opposite direction
Day 1 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands
If you haven’t joined us from our independent Amsterdam Prelude, we will pick you up at the airport on your included transfer to your ship. Your cruise begins in Amsterdam, with time to settle into your cabin and unpack before joining your fellow passengers and crew for a welcome reception and festive dinner. We’ll be docked overnight here in Amsterdam, so if you’re up for it, feel free to head out and sample some of the city’s famous nightlife.
Day 2 - Amsterdam / Utrecht
This morning’s city tour of Amsterdam includes a canal boat tour — the ideal way to explore this charming, colourful capital. Full of canals and cafés, houseboats and bicycles, with masterpieces of art and architecture at every corner, Amsterdam is truly a city like no other. From its roots as a small fishing village, it rose to become a world power during the Dutch Golden Age, the leading center for finance and diamonds. Today it remains one of the world’s most vibrant cities, home to more than 170 different nationalities.
Leaving Amsterdam, we’ll cruise toward the border of Holland and Germany with a brief stop in Utrecht. On-board this evening, enjoy a traditional Dutch folklore show as we cruise into Germany.
Day 3 - Cologne, Germany
Enjoy the passing scenery today as we cruise toward Cologne, Germany’s fourth-largest city and an important trading center since Roman times. Keep an eye open as Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Germany’s most visited landmark, looms to greet us. The largest Gothic church in Northern Europe, the cathedral’s treasures draw more visitors than any other historic site in Germany — its celebrated Shrine of the Three Kings is said to contain the remains of the Three Wise Men.
We’ll explore the Cathedral and see the city’s other highlights on a guided walking tour, As an exclusive Amras highlight you will visit a local brewery and learn about the famous Kolsch beer which is a symbol of Cologne and sample the different varieties. The afternoon is free to explore further on your own.
Day 4 - The Rhine Gorge: Koblenz to Rüdesheim, Germany
Next you are in for what is undoubtedly the highlight of every Rhine cruise: a journey through the fabled Rhine Gorge, one of the most picture-perfect stretches of river in all of Europe, with hilltop castles, terraced vineyards, and wonderfully preserved medieval villages. In fact, the entire Upper Middle Rhine Valley has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site — an ideal blend of man made marvels and dramatic physical beauty that has been a major tourist attraction since the Romantics made it all the rage in the 19th century, Works like Heinrich Heine’s famous poem, Lorelei, and Richard Wagner’s opera, Gotterdammerung, were inspired here — as you are sure to be as you cruise past the Lorelei Rock. You’ll learn about the legend of the Lorelei and her siren song that lured unwary sailors and feel the power of the looming Rock as we glide safely on our way.
After we arrive in Rüdesheim, a guided tour includes a visit to Siegfried’s Mechanical Musikkabinett, a fascinating collection of self-playing musical instruments. If you prefer, set off and explore Rüdesheim on your own, perhaps strolling along the Drosselgasse, the lively 15th-century street of restaurants and wine taverns running through the heart of the Old Town, or setting off on one of the ship’s complimentary bicycles to see a little of the countryside like one of the locals.
Day 5 - Miltenberg / Wertheim
Today we leave the Rhine to cruise the Main River, delving deeper into the heart of the region called Franconia. Known to the Romans as “Moenus” and called “Meune” in the epic poem Song of the Nibelungs, the Main (pronounced “Mine”) carries travelers through a breathtakingly beautiful landscape and literally back in time, from modern Mainz to traditional, medieval towns where wine and leather goods are still the primary trades and castles, churches, and picturesque ruins dot the hillsides.
Here we’ll explore two picturesque Bavarian villages that have thrived on income from river traffic: Miltenberg and Wertheim. On a guided walk through Miltenberg you’ll see ample evidence of its affluence through the ages, from its lovely medieval and Renaissance homes to the Gothic splendor of its Merchant Hall. Later we’ll walk through neighboring Wertheim, with its overlapping, half-timbered houses, winding streets, and shops filled with art made by the town’s glassblowers, famed around the world for their beautiful Christmas decorations and distinctive round, flattened glass bottles in which the local Franconian wines are sold.
Day 6 - Würzburg / Rothenburg
All the pomp and pageantry of medieval Europe come alive today in beautiful Würzburg, the Pearl of Germany’s Romantic Road. Surrounded by sloping hills covered with vineyards, crowned by the ancient stones of Marienberg Fortress, Wurzburg is where the powerful prince-bishops of the 18th century built their “Franconian Rome,” a city of wealth and beauty. The highlight of our guided tour here is a visit to the magnificent Residenz, a UNESCO World Heritage treasure considered one of the most important baroque palaces in Europe. A synthesis of German, Imperial, and French architectural styles, the result is an utterly unique masterpiece. The palace’s sweeping staircase and breathtaking ceiling frescoes by Tiepolo miraculously survived the bombs which leveled much of Würzburg at the end of World War II — the meticulous reconstruction of this beautiful and historic city is literally a story you must see to believe!
From Wurzburg we set off on an excursion along Germany’s famous Romantic Road to Rothenburg, known as Europe’s “most fairy-tale town,” with its Gothic cathedral, towered walls, and gabled houses, for a walking tour followed by some time at leisure. Back on board ship this evening, gather to celebrate your Rhine adventures at the Captain’s Gala Dinner.
Day 7 - Bamberg
It’s possible you might recognise our destination today, even if you have never been here before — picture-perfect Bamberg is the epitome of a prosperous medieval town, its entire Old Town a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On our guided tour we’ll explore the town’s historic sites, including the 17th-century Neue Residenz, former home of Bamberg’s powerful bishops, and the stunning 11th-century cathedral that holds the tomb of Pope Clement II. If you wish, feel free to explore Bamberg’s charms further on your own: a stroll through the romantically lit streets offers a rare chance to step back in time, and beer lovers won’t want to miss their chance to sample the local specialty, the unique smoky brew called Rauchbier.
Day 8 - Nuremberg
Today we find ourselves in Nuremberg. Founded more than 1000 years ago, the city was the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire for centuries and the preferred residence of the German kings, attracting scholars and artists alike. Martin Luther claimed that “Nuremberg shines throughout Germany like a sun among the moon and stars,” and by the 19th century the city had become an industrial powerhouse. Infamous during WWII as the site of Hitler’s vast party rallies, the city was reduced to rubble by an Allied bombing campaign. Following the Nuremberg Trials, painstaking reconstruction began, using the original stone, and today many of the city’s main buildings, including the castle and old churches in the Alstadt, have been rebuilt. Just as importantly, over the years, Nuremberg has regained its lively Bavarian cheer. Todays’s morning walking excursion will explore the rich history of Nuremberg up close. After lunch on-board, the day’s touring will continue exploring the important history of the area with a visit to the Documenation Centre and Nazi Party Rally grounds.
Day 9 - Kelheim & Regenburg, Germany
This morning we arrive in Kelheim. Boasting more than 1,000 years of brewing tradition, this is a beer-lover’s paradise — in fact, the world’s oldest operating brewery/monastery is located here. We’ll end our guided tour of Kelheim with a visit to Weltenberg Monastery, where you can judge their brewing expertise.
Next we cruise on to another charming Danube port of call, Regensburg. The first capital of Bavaria, home of dukes, kings, and bishops, Regensburg has been a busy trading center since Roman times — as attested to by the numerous Roman, Romanesque, and Gothic sites that complement the town’s essentially medieval character. On a guided walking tour, your guide will point out many of the highlights, including the remains of the emperor’s old Roman Wall and Porta Praetoria, the 12th-century Old Bridge, the Dom St. Peter, one of Bavaria’s grandest Gothic cathedrals, and stroll through medieval Old Town, with its narrow lanes, elegant patrician houses, charming churches, and stone towers.
With some time to explore on your own, you’ll find the city and its environs a delightfully easy — and rewarding — place to explore on your own.
Day 10 - Passau, Germany & Linz, Austria
Located at the confluence of three rivers—the Danube, Inn, and Ilz—Passau has been an important center of European trade for more than 2,500 years. From here, we will set off on our full day excursion to Mozart’s lovely alpine city of Salzburg. Explore this beautiful city and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant prior to rejoining the ship which has positioned itself in the Austrian city of Linz.
Day 11 - Melk, Wachau Valley, Durnstein & Vienna
In the early morning we arrive in the town of Emmersdorf for a visit to Melk. If you were a fan of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, you are in for a very special treat today — a visit to the 900-year-old Benedictine abbey that inspired the novel. On our guided tour we’ll see the Marble Hall, with its allegorical painted ceiling, the Imperial Rooms, and the famous library, housing more than 80,000 priceless volumes.
Back on-board you will cruise through the picturesque Wachau Valley, a UNESCO-designated landscape of rolling vineyards, fairy-tale castles, and ancient hilltop ruins and monasteries. This afternoon we will arrive in the picturesque village of Dürnstein, where Richard the Lionheart was held captive in a castle above the village, by Leopold V, Duke of Austria during the Third Crusade. After exploring this town on foot, an exclusive Amras experience is dinner at a local restaurant with beautiful views of the Wachau Valley accompanied by the local regional wines.
Day 12 - Vienna, Austria
This morning you awake in Vienna. After breakfast on-board, start off on a guided city tour featuring all the highlights. We’ll travel the Ringstrasse, past one baroque masterpiece after another, take a walk through the gardens of royalty in the Hofburg, and stroll along Austria’s “5th Avenue,” the Kaernterstrasse, to see St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Afterwards, you may return to the ship for lunch or stay in town to sample Austria’s Imperial capital for yourself.
This afternoon, join a guided tour of Schonbrunn Palace, the stunning former summer palace and gardens of the Habsburg’s, former Habsburg’s 1,441-room Rococo “summer home” that which has been preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Top off your visit to this imperial city with a ‘Sound of Vienna’ evening concert with the sounds of Mozart echoing the concert hall.
Day 13 - Bratislava, Slovakia
Welcome to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, an Eastern European gem of a city set between the Danube and the legendary Carpathian Mountains. On our city tour we’ll take in centuries of wonderfully-preserved architecture, from the 13th-century Old Town Hall to Habsburg-era palaces and the city’s famous modern art spaces. Following lunch, we’ll set off on a trip to the outskirts of town to visit Schloss Hof, the far-from-humble country estate of Prince Eugene of Savoy, Austria’s great general and patron of the arts, who later in life hosted hunting parties here.
If perhaps, you’ve had your fill of palatial treasures, you might want to wander the old town center of Bratislava on your own, or take out one of the ship’s bicycles to set off on one of the city’s numerous cycle paths. Tonight, we gather for the Captain’s gala dinner.
Day 14 - Budapest, Hungary
From Slovakia we travel next into Hungary, Europe’s hidden jewel. With its exotic culture and cuisine, abundance of thermal hot springs and spas, and wealth of architectural marvels, Hungary is a traveller’s idyll. We arrive in Budapest this morning, our final destination and Hungary's capital city. Of all the gracious cities that line the Danube, it is Budapest that truly has the river at her heart, separating the two halves of Buda and Pest, which you’ll see on our city tour that takes in the highlights. This morning we visit the Buda side of the city stopping at St. Matthias Church in the famous UNESCO-designated Castle Hill District.
After we lunch on-board, we continue our tour of Hungary’s capital city of Budapest. We will visit St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Dohány Street Synagogue, the Opera House and more. After dinner tonight, enjoy an evening cruise along Budapest, illuminated in all her glory, followed by a traditional Hungarian folklore show.
Day 15 - Budapest, Hungary
After breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport for your return flight home, with so much to see and do in Budapest, you might consider our three-day independent Finale featuring a centrally-located hotel with a transfer to the Budapest airport at the end of your stay.