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Enchanting Rivers of Europe: Amsterdam to Budapest

Program Number: 14317RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/9/2013 - 10/24/2013; 9/29/2015 - 10/14/2015; 5/22/2016 - 6/6/2016; 9/11/2016 - 9/26/2016;
Duration: 15 nights
Location: Netherlands/Germany/Austria/Slovakia/Hungary
Price starting at: $6,772.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats
Meals: 41; 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 14 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Sail in unmatched elegance and comfort from Amsterdam along the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers to learn about the cultural, geological and human history along their banks, from the Netherlands, Germany and Austria, all the way through the heartland of Central Europe in Slovakia and Hungary.

Activity Particulars

Walking for up to two hours / two miles at a time, occasionally twice per day; cobblestones and unavoidable stairs.

Please note that the May 2016 departure operates on the AmaPrima.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Aboard MS Amasonata, 14 nights.

Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.

Days 2-3: Arrival Amsterdam (Netherlands) / embark vessel:

After an introduction to the canals of Amsterdam, attend the captain’s gala dinner as you set sail for Germany.

Day 4: Cologne (Germany)

See the Dom (Cathedral), one of Europe’s most renowned.

Day 5: Rüdesheim:

Pass the famed Lorelei and visit lively and historic port centers.

Day 6: Miltenberg:

Meander along narrow cobblestone streets to admire the gabled, half-timber houses of this medieval town.

Day 7: Wurzburg:

Admire the paintings on the ceilings of the Residenz, one of the most important Baroque palaces in Europe.

Day 8: Bamberg:

Explore this medieval gem of a town, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993.

Day 9: Nuremberg:

Experts lead excursions to see the Schone Brunnen, Frauenkirche and more.

Day 10: Regensburg:

See the architectural highlights of Regensburg, then enjoy an evening musical performance onboard.

Day 11: Passau:

Sail into Austria after visiting the marvelous St. Stephen’s cathedral.

Day 12: Melk (Austria):

Visit the Baroque Melk Abbey, then sail along the Wachau.

Day 13: Vienna:

Admire magnificent sites along the Ringstrasse and continue on foot past the Hofburg Palace to St. Stephen's Cathedral.

Day 14: Bratislava (Slovakia):

A local scholar presents an overview of Slovakia and Hungary.

Days 15-16: Budapest (Hungary) / departure:

See Hero's Square, then celebrate with new friends at a gala farewell dinner complete with gypsy music.

ms AmaDolce

The ms Amadolce is a deluxe vessel that debuted in 2009. 360 feet long, it carries 148 passengers. Public areas include a restaurant with complimentary dinner wines, wellness area, sun deck with whirlpool, bicycles to be used to explore the towns visited. An onboard Infotainment system offers Internet access, TV and a satellite telephone.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Frans Buijze

Born a Dutchman, Frans Buijze started his career in trading although he favored history and art. In the mid-1990s, he decided to follow his heart. He started his business, “Travel & Training,” and began developing and leading programs for Road Scholar. Since Road Scholar participants travel the world, Frans sees them as ambassadors who can bring people together by learning about cultures and traditions. He very much enjoys sharing the liberal and social way of living in the Netherlands by giving lectures on the Dutch opinion on drugs, euthanasia, politics and water management. In 2009, Frans made a big step and moved from the Netherlands to Hungary. He now lives in Budapest, a city he has started to love.
Hedi Varkonyi

Hédi Varkonyi has been working with Road Scholar since 1990, and utilizes her wealth of experience as a valuable source of information for creating and developing programs. A native of Budapest, Hungary, Hédi is a graduate of the College for Foreign Trade in Budapest where she earned an editorial degree. She serves as a professional translator, lectures on Central European history and leads programs in several countries. Hédi says, “Over the years, my enthusiasm has only been growing thanks to the wonderful people I have the pleasure to meet on my programs!”
Anne Hayner Hefner

Anne Hayner Hefner grew up in Saginaw, Michigan in a family that was steeped in German traditions. It was these traditions that inspired her to study European history, specifically the Renaissance and Reformation. She eventually used the skills she learned in her studies – analysis and writing – to work as an editor in the trade press. Her traditions also gave her the courage to say “yes” when her German husband proposed. She now lives in Nuremberg, Germany. Her move has allowed her to return to her roots: not only is she learning to love the (to quote Mark Twain) “awful” German language, but she uses her background in history to work as a guide. In Nuremberg, her focus has broadened to include the history of the Third Reich and, naturally, the Nuremberg Trials. Living permanently in another culture is challenging and fascinating for Anne. She has learned to value things which she only now recognizes as “American,” but realizes that she has grown “German” in the last 15 years. Being able to share this experience is one of the reasons she enjoys working with Road Scholar groups.
Meals and Lodgings
   MS Amadolce
  MS Amadolce-At Sea, At Sea 14 nights
 MS Amadolce
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: AMAWATERWAYS has redefined the concept of luxury travel. From gorgeous contemporary artwork in the lobbies, to the inviting hallways, you will feel at home the moment you step onboard the MS Amadolce. The professional ship staff does their best to ensure that each day is filled with memorable experiences.
  Ship Information: Built in Holland in 2009. Decks: 4 - Bottom to top; Piano Deck, Cello Deck, Violin Deck, Sun Deck Crew: 41 Passengers: 148 Registry: Switzerland Home port: Basel Length: 360 ft; Width: 38 ft Cabins: 71 Staterooms, 4 Jr. Suites, and 2 single staterooms.
  Contact info: AMAWATERWAYS
21625 Prairie St.
Chatsworth, CA 91311 USA
phone: 800-626-0126
  Room amenities: Deluxe down bedding, marble bathrooms w/multi-jet shower (bathtubs in Jr. suites), premium toiletries, plush terry bathrobes, hair dryer, safe, telephone, flat screen TV, individually controlled air-conditioning, an Infotainment System and ample closet space.
  Facility amenities: As one of Europe's newest and most deluxe river cruise ships, the MS Amadolce has much to offer its passengers: an enhanced shore excursion program will give you an in-depth and authentic view of the cultures and histories of the cities you visit; a panoramic forward lounge with bar, piano and dance floor provide an elegant atmosphere in which to relax with friends and family; an aft lounge with complimentary Wi-Fi access; gratuitous specialty coffee station; open seating gourmet dining in our restaurant with complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks; elevator connecting Cello and Violin Decks; fitness center, featuring exercise equipment, sauna and shower; beauty salon and Masseuse; walking track, whirlpool and bicycles for exploring on one's own. Laundry services are available onboard for a fee. Price lists will be available in your stateroom. Please note that clothes cannot be dry cleaned onboard.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Check in time: 2:00 PM
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Amsterdam, Netherlands. Program begins at 4:00 PM in the lobby of the MS Amadolce, docked in Amsterdam Harbor. You will be staying at MS Amadolce that night.
  End of Program:
Budapest, Hungary. Program ends on the last day after breakfast, disembarking by 9:00 AM. You will be staying at MS Amadolce the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Take a train to Amsterdam central station, the harbor is behind the station.
To Start of Program
  Location:  In flight
  Transportation to site: Buy a train ticket in the airport arrival hall (8 Euro) and go down one level to the train tracks. The trip to Amsterdam central station takes approximately 10 minutes. The harbor is behind central station, depending where ship is docked, and you can walk or take a taxi in front of the station.
  From End of Program
  Location:  MS Amadolce-At Sea
  Transportation from site: Participants may take advantage of the airport shuttle bus service provided at Budapest Liszt Ferenc airport. The cost is approximately USD $14 per person. Taxis are also available.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: In Transit
(Wednesday, October 9)
 Depart From: Depart US/Canada on international flights.

Day 2: Welcome Reception / Program Introduction
(Thursday, October 10)
 Morning: Arrival at Schiphol Airport. Transfer to Amsterdam, where you will have free time to stroll around. (Luggage will be stored.)
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch on your own in Amsterdam.
 Afternoon: At 3:30 PM you are welcome to embark the ship. The program starts at 4:00 PM with an introduction in the Aft Lounge, followed by a Welcome Reception.
 Dinner: Welcome Dinner on board.
 Evening: Enjoy a free evening to relax.
Accommodations: MS Amadolce
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Amsterdam "Grachten"
(Friday, October 11)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Canal cruise through the famous Amsterdam "grachten" (canals). Afterward you will have some free time to explore the city on your own.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: We will enjoy a lecture on Dutch History as we sail through the Netherlands toward Germany.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Musical performance onboard.
Accommodations: MS Amadolce
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Cologne, Germany
(Saturday, October 12)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Our ship docks in Cologne, where we will have a guided city excursion with a visit to the famous Dom of Cologne, one of the world's greatest cathedrals.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: As we sail along the Rhine, hear a lecture on "Architecture in Europe." We will learn about the many architectural styles that we will pass along the way.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Enjoy free time for an evening walk in Koblenz.
Accommodations: MS Amadolce
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Rhine Gorge / Rudesheim, Germany
(Sunday, October 13)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Today we sail through the fascinating Rhine Gorge, passing castle after castle and the infamous Lorelei Rock.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: We arrive in Rudesheim and visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum followed by free time to explore the Drosselgasse, a charming street with wine taverns and restaurants. Late afternoon ship departs from Rudesheim.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: MS Amadolce
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Miltenberg / Wertheim, Germany
(Monday, October 14)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning the ship will offer an optional excursion to an amusing glass blowing performance (additional cost, bookable on board). Arrive in Miltenberg and disembark for a morning walking excursion of this old Franconian town with its narrow cobblestone streets and gabled half-timbered houses.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we sail to Wertheim. Free afternoon to browse leisurely in the market square. Later, attend Open University onboard. Themes like school system, taxes, healthcare, and politics in Europe will be discussed on request in sessions of about one hour.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: MS Amadolce
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Wurzburg, Germany
(Tuesday, October 15)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Guided walking excursion in Wurzburg, including the Residenz Palace, one of the most important Baroque palaces in Europe. It has beautiful painted ceilings and is included on UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage list.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Enjoy sailing along the Main river. You may take advantage of the bicycles offered on board ship. The ship will offer an optional excursion to medieval Rothenburg (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: We will sail in the direction of Bamberg along the Main river.
Accommodations: MS Amadolce
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Bamberg, Germany
(Wednesday, October 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning we enter the Main-Danube canal. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: A guided excursion in the medieval gem of Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993. Enjoy some free time later in the afternoon.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Enjoy an onboard performance featuring songs from all over Europe.
Accommodations: MS Amadolce
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Nuremberg, Germany / Continental Divide
(Thursday, October 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning we visit Nuremberg, with its 900-year-old ramparts that surround the historic city center. Nuremberg is also the location of the Nazi Party Rally grounds.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we sail along the Main-Danube canal with its impressive locks. We will pass the Continental Divide, our highest point of this program (1332 feet above sea level). Take in a shipboard lecture about water management.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Enjoy a musical performance onboard.
Accommodations: MS Amadolce
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Regensburg, Germany
(Friday, October 18)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: A guided morning excursion will show us the architectural highlights of Regensburg, including the old Town Hall, St. Peter‘s Cathedral and a beautiful Baroque chapel.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore the city on your own and perhaps taste the Regensburg sausages at the old bridge.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: MS Amadolce
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Passau, Germany
(Saturday, October 19)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning we will have a guided city walk of the picturesque Passau, followed by some free time.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we sail along the Danube into Austria. Relax and take in the view from a comfortable chaise lounge on the sundeck, play a game of giant chess, enjoy your favorite drink at the bar, or treat yourself to a massage. Attend Open University.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a musical performance onboard.
Accommodations: MS Amadolce
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Melk / Wachau Valley / Durnstein, Germany
(Sunday, October 20)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: In the early morning we make a stop at Melk where we will visit the magnificent Benedictine Abbey, one of Europe’s largest Baroque monasteries.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: We sail through the Wachau Valley, one of the most beautiful stretches of the Danube. The area is dotted with castles. We dock in Durnstein for a walking excursion through cobblestone streets lined with quaint 16th century houses and taverns.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: MS Amadolce
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Vienna, Austria
(Monday, October 21)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: We will spend the day in Vienna. We begin with a guided bus excursion along the Ringstrasse to see the Opera, Town Hall, and Belvedere. Next we continue on foot to pass the Hofburg Palace, National Library, and St. Stephen's Cathedral.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon to explore on your own. Visit museums, stroll around in Kartnerstrasse, or sample Vienna's famous pastries.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Free evening to enjoy Vienna by night. Explore the nightlife with friends or savor the music of a local concert. The ship will offer information about an optional concert (additional cost, bookable on board).
Accommodations: MS Amadolce
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Bratislava, Slovakia
(Tuesday, October 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning we sail along the scenic Danube towards Bratislava. Attend a shipboard lecture about the Carpathian Basin.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Guided walking excursion in Bratislava, passing the major sights such as the Old Town Hall, Mirbach Palace, and St. Martin’s Cathedral. Later in the afternoon there will be free time to explore the city on your own.
 Dinner: Captain's farewell cocktail party and dinner on board.
Accommodations: MS Amadolce
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Budapest, Hungary / Farewell Dinner
(Wednesday, October 23)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Arrival in Budapest. We embark on a guided bus excursion in Budapest passing Grand Boulevard, Hero's square, Andrassy street, the Parliament building, and the Synagogue.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore the city on your own.
 Dinner: Gala Farewell Dinner with Gypsy music.
Accommodations: MS Amadolce
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Departures
(Thursday, October 24)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: All beautiful things come to an end, so we disembark and transfer to the airport.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  MS Amadolce-At Sea Bicycles
The ship has plenty of bicycles with helmets and locks onboard which can be used by passengers, free of charge, to explore the small towns. Most regions offer well-maintained bicycle paths along the river.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Nervous Splendor, Vienna 1888-1889

Author: Frederic Morton

Description: A portrait of Vienna at the end of the 19th century, this book focuses on Crown Prince Rudolph, his devastating suicide and the rich texture of gossip and daily life at the Habsburg Court. It captures the political ferment, intellectual creativity, gaiety and despair of fin-de-siecle Austria.

A Time of Gifts

Author: Patrick Leigh Fermor

Description: Fermor effortlessly interweaves anecdote, history and culture in this exuberant account of a walk from Holland, up the Rhine and down the Danube, through Germany, Prague and Austria in 1933. Written not in the moment, but 40 years later, the accumulation of time and experience give the book particular poignancy.

A Worldly Art

Author: Mariet Westermann

Description: This appreciative analysis of Dutch art in its Golden Age (1585-1718) features 100 exemplary illustrations by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Pieter de Hooch, Frans Hals and other masters.

All Along the Rhine: Recipes, Wine and Lore from Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and Holland

Author: Kay Shaw Nelson

Description: A tribute to the Rhine Valley, its history, culture and especially its food in 130 authentic recipes.

Amsterdam, A Traveler's Literary Companion

Author: Manfred Wolf (Editor)

Description: Organized by district, these 17 contemporary short stories by modern Dutch writers, including Cees Nooteboom and Geert Mak, are set among the canals, cafes and neighborhoods of Amsterdam.

Between the Woods and the Water

Author: Patrick Leigh Fermor

Description: Fermor continues with youthful adventures in Hungary and Romania, culminating with his arrival at the Iron Gates on the Danube.

Birds of Europe

Author: Lars Svensson

Description: Featuring 3,500 glorious paintings by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterstrom, the second revised edition of this exquisite guide has been brought up to date with revised text and maps.

Budapest 1900

Author: John Lukacs

Description: Written by a distinguished historian and native son, this richly detailed portrait of the city at its zenith includes hundreds of illustrations.

Central Europe Map

Author: Freytag & Berndt

Description: This colorful regional European map, like the sister map Europe Grand Tour (EUR185), covers from Paris and Amsterdam to Vienna, Prague, Warsaw, Budapest, Rome and Dubrovnik.

Fodor's Amsterdam's 25 Best

Author: Fodor's

Description: This slim guide to essential highlights includes an excellent map of the city center and can easily be slipped in your pocket.

Lonely Planet Central Europe

Author: Lonely Planet

Description: With dozens of maps, color photographs and sections on history and culture, this practical guide introduces Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and their neighbors.


Author: Peter Gay

Description: This concise, entertaining portrait delves into Mozart's complex relationship with his father, his daunting role as a child prodigy and his exploration of new musical territory.

Prost! The Story of German Beer

Author: Horst D. Dornbusch

Description: The Munich-based aficionado weaves history and culture with the marvels and mysteries of German beer in this brief, authoritative guide.

The Danube, A Cultural History

Author: Andrew Beattie

Description: Beattie gives a comprehensive overview of the Danube’s role as a vital shipping artery and a uniting thread through the region’s turbulent history.

The German Way

Author: Hyde Flippo

Description: This clever A-to-Z guide to quirks, attitudes, behavior and customs is a terrific resource for travelers seeking insight into why the Germans, Austrians and Swiss do what they do.

The Germans

Author: Gordon A. Craig

Description: A gifted historian, Craig explores the complex paradoxes of German identity in this masterly portrait of German life, past and present, with chapters on religion, money, Jews, women, literature and society, Berlin and language.

The Habsburgs, Embodying Empire

Author: Andrew Wheatcroft

Description: The Habsburgs ruled over more diverse peoples and cultures than any other European dynasty since the Roman period. With skillful scholarship and engaging style, Wheatcroft reveals the history of this family of eccentric monarchs.

The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Medieval World

Author: Andrew Jotischky

Description: Richly illustrated with photographs, illustrations and full-color maps, this compact atlas explores the empires, people, cultures and religions of the Middle Ages, providing an excellent introduction to European history.

The Radetzky March

Author: Joseph Roth, Joachim Neugroschel (Translator)

Description: Magnificently set against the backdrop of the twilight of the Habsburg empire, Roth's family saga takes in the sweep of history and empire in Central Europe. The richly textured novel opens at the battle of Solferino, when young Lieutenant Trotta saves the life of the Emperor.

The Undutchables

Author: Colin White

Description: A laugh-out-loud, irreverent guide to Dutch character and habits, including how to drink coffee and why you shouldn't even think about haggling over prices.

Vienna, A Traveler's Literary Companion

Author: Donald Daviau

Description: Organized by neighborhood, these 15 alluring tales introduce both the city and its writers, including Arthur Schnitzler, Robert Musil, Stefan Zweig and even Franz Kafka, who had a long and complicated association with the city.

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