Road Scholar : Home
Berlin, Bavaria and Great Cities of the Danube

Program Number: 20816RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/30/2013 - 9/13/2013; 10/23/2016 - 11/6/2016;
Duration: 14 nights
Location: Germany/Austria/Hungary/Slovakia
Price starting at: $5,673.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats
Meals: 35; 13 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Experience Gemütlichkeit — cheerfulness and peace of mind — on a voyage through the lands of Hohenzollerns and Habsburgs. Experience the capitals of Germany, Hungary, Austria and Slovakia. Absorb the beauty of the Danube River, the Wachau Valley and alpine Bavaria. Savor delightful music, stunning buildings and pure German beer.

Activity Particulars

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

The Oct 10, 2015 departure runs on the MS Amasonata.
The Oct 10, 2016 departure runs on the MS AmaViola and the May 11, 2016 departure runs on MS Amaserena.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Berlin (Germany), 3 nights; aboard MS Amaviola, 7 nights; Munich, 3 nights.

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

Days 2-4: Arrival Berlin (Germany):

Discover Germany’s capital city on expert-led walks and a boat excursion on the Spree River. Enjoy an evening at the Komische Oper Berlin opera. Lodging: Centrally located hotel.

Days 5-6: Flight to Budapest (Hungary) / embark vessel:

Experience Budapest including Heroes’ Square and the Buda Castle Quarter.

Day 7: Bratislava (Slovakia):

An expert-led walk brings you to the 14th-century Town Hall and St. Martin’s Cathedral, where eleven Hungarian monarchs were crowned.

Day 8: Vienna (Austria):

Ride around the Ringstrasse and step inside Hofburg Palace, seat of the Habsburg Dynasty.

Day 9: Dürnstein & Melk:

Ride through a vineyard inthe picturesque Wachau Valley to medieval Dürnstein. Continue to Melk Abbey, a beautiful Baroque monastery.

Day 10: Linz:

Explore the riverside city of Linz, where highlights include the towering New Cathedral and the Pestsäule or “plague column.”

Day 11: Passau (Germany):

Discover the “City of Three Rivers” and see the St. Stephan’s Cathedral organ, the largest in Europe with 17,774 pipes.

Days 12-15: Vilshofen / disembark / coach to Munich / departure:

Journey through the Bavarian Forest to the medieval city of Regensburg, then on to Munich. Enjoy two days to experience this cosmopolitan city and venture to a fairytale alpine castle. Lodging: Centrally located hotel.

ms AmaLyra

The ms Amalyra 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.
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.
Balázs Füzesi

Balázs Füzesi was born and raised in the city of Pécs, in southwestern Hungary. He has earned bachelor’s degrees in communications and in business administration and has also completed a license for leading educational excursions in his native country. He has pursued study and work with members of other nationalities whenever possible, spending a high school year in Denmark and working abroad in Greenland, London and the U.S. He credits his grandmother for his love of travel and exploration; she was an avid traveler throughout her entire life.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hotel BelAhr
  Berlin, Germany 3 nights
   MS Amalyra
  MS Amalyra-At Sea, At Sea 7 nights
   Carat Hotel Munich
  Munich, Germany 3 nights
 Hotel BelAhr
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Located in the heart of the Berlin, the Hotel BelAhr is only a 5-minute walk from the Potsdamer Platz subway station, which allows easy access to Berlin Mitte and major landmarks such as the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Holocaust Memorial, and Gemäldegallerie.
  Contact info: Stresemannstraße 97
Berlin,  10963 Germany
phone: +49 30-200049-0
  Room amenities: Each room has a telephone, satellite TV, radio, mini bar, free wireless Internet, soundproof windows, and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, 24-hour reception, safe box at the front desk, laundry services and facilities (washing machines and dryers), and free wireless Internet.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404.
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 MS Amalyra
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 on board the MS Amalyra. The professional ship staff does their best to ensure that each day is filled with memorable experiences. Spend your time on board in a luxuriously relaxed atmosphere in quiet conversation or pampering yourself with a massage or in the salon. The style and substance of our onboard amenities are comparable to any 5-star hotel. On land, your all-inclusive shore excursions are conducted by knowledgeable English-speaking tour guides equipped with audio devices that allow you to explore at your leisure and without missing any of the commentary. The staff's passion for travel allows them to help you discover the history, the culture and the people abroad.
  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 (170 sq.ft.), there are two single staterooms at 140sq.ft. 4 Jr. Suites (225 sq.ft.) located on the Violin Deck. 82% of the ship's cabins feature large French balconies. The 13 staterooms on the Piano Deck have fixed windows.
  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 robe & slippers, hair dryer, safe, telephone, flat screen TV, air-conditioning, bottled water replenished daily, balconies in 82% of rooms.
  Facility amenities: As one of Europe's newest and most deluxe river cruise ships, the MS Amalyra 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

 Carat Hotel Munich
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Carat Hotel Munich is located in the city center, close to Marienplatz and the main railway station. The pedestrian zone and many places of interest can all be accessed easily on foot. The Sendlinger Tor underground station is only 200 meters from the hotel, with connections to the following locations; Main railway station: 2 minutes, Marienplatz: 2 minutes, Olympic center: 13 minutes, New Exhibition Center/ICM: 18 minutes, airport: 45 minutes.
  Contact info: Lindwurmstrasse 13
Munich,  D-80337 Germany
phone: +49 89 230 380
  Room amenities: Each room has a television, telephone, mini bar, wireless LAN (for a fee) and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a bar, 24-hour front desk, newspapers, terrace, safety deposit box, room service, laundry and dry cleaning services, wireless Internet hotspot in public areas (free of charge) and Internet access with printing facility in the lobby.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance in making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. 800-241-1404
  Check out time: 10:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Berlin, Germany. Program starts at 4:00 PM with an introductory excursion to the city followed by an orientation to the program at the hotel. You will be staying at Hotel BelAhr that night.
  End of Program:
Munich, Germany. After breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Carat Hotel Munich the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Berlin
  Transportation to site: Take a taxi from the airport to the hotel. It costs approx. 30 Euro, and takes about 30 minutes. Alternatively, take express bus S-Bhf Sudkreuz in the direction of SXF1, and get off at the S-Bhf Sudkreuz stop (20 minutes). Take the S-Bahn in the direction of S2, to Bernau (4 minutes). Get off at the Anhalter Bahnhof stop, and turn right into Schonebergerstrasse. Turn left into the next street, Stresemannstrasse. Your hotel is a 5-minute walk down this street. This costs about 5 Euros.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Munich
  Nearest highway: A8 Motorway, A9 Motorway.
  Nearest airport:  Franz Josef Strauss Airport Munich.
  Transportation from site: Take a taxi from Munich center to the airport (45 minutes and costs 45 Euro). Or, take the subway U-Bahn line 3 or 6 to Marienplatz, change to S-Bahn to the airport (about 1 hour, costs E. 10).
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
(Friday, August 30)
 In Transit: Depart US/Canada on international flights.

Day 2: Berlin, Germany
(Saturday, August 31)
 Morning: Arrival at Berlin's Tegel Airport (TXL). Transfer to hotel, close to Potsdamer Platz.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Start your stay in Berlin with a guided bus excursion of the city followed by a Road Scholar orientation to the program at the hotel.
 Dinner: Welcome Dinner in the hotel dining room.
Accommodations: Hotel BelAhr
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Berlin, Germany
(Sunday, September 1)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Enjoy a guided boat excursion on the Spree River. Pass Museum Island; the Berlin Cathedral, once part of the destroyed Prussian Imperial Castle on the Schlossplatz, the topographical center of the capital; the government quarter with the German Parliament, the Reichstag; and Schloss Bellevue, the Berlin home of the Federal President.
 Lunch: Lunch in a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Attend a lecture about the history of Germany and its capital - spanning the creation of one German state from a loose league of sovereign duchies and kingdoms to the late 19th century reunification. In the late afternoon, attend a concert in the Berlin Konzerthaus on the Gendarmenmarkt, in the very heart of Berlin.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Enjoy an evening at the Komischen Oper at the famous Boulevard unter den Linden.
Accommodations: Hotel BelAhr
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Berlin, Germany
(Monday, September 2)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: This morning you will be introduced by an expert to the Berlinische Galerie, with it's collection of modern and contemporary art. Since its founding, the Berlinische Galerie has considered one of its foremost tasks to collect works of those artists who were persecuted or severely limited in their freedom to work after the Nazis rose to power.
 Lunch: Lunch in a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: A free afternoon to explore Berlin.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
Accommodations: Hotel BelAhr
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Budapest, Hungary / Embark
(Tuesday, September 3)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: After checking out of the hotel, transfer to the Berlin airport for an 8:40 AM flight to Budapest. Estimated arrival in Budapest 10:05 AM. Upon arrival, transfer to the MS Amalyra to drop off your luggage.
 Lunch: Enjoy a light snack onboard.
 Afternoon: Following your snack, enjoy a small walk into town to stroll through Vaci utca and explore the Old Great Market. Enjoy some free time to stroll around on your own, before heading back to the ship for orientation to the ship and crew, followed by a welcome cocktail. Cabins will be available at 3:30 PM. The Orientation will be at 5:00 PM in the Aft Lounge.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: MS Amalyra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Budapest, Hungary
(Wednesday, September 4)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Enjoy a guided bus excursion through Budapest, passing Hero's Square, St. Stephan's Dom, the Parliament Buildings, and the Synagogue. Later, a walk through the Buda Castle District will pass by the Fisherman's Bastion and St. Michael's church.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore Budapest.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: MS Amalyra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Bratislava, Slovakia
(Thursday, September 5)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning enjoy a walking excursion through the old city center of Bratislava. Pass by the Opera, the Old Town Hall, the Gothic St. Martin's Cathedral, and the stunning Mirbach Palace.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: At sea. Sail towards Vienna while enjoying the beautiful scenery and attending a lecture on the History of the Carpathian Basin.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Enjoy an shipboard musical performance of music by Mozart and Strauss.
Accommodations: MS Amalyra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Vienna, Austria
(Friday, September 6)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Enjoy the Baroque elegance of Vienna during a guided bus excursion which passes the Ringstrasse, Hofburg, the Museum District, Parliament buildings, Town Hall, and the Old Stock Exchange. Stroll through the Belvedere gardens. End the excursion with a walk beginning at the Albertine museum, walking through the Hofburg, and ending at St. Stephen's Cathedral.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Take the shuttle bus to the Musikverein and enjoy a free afternoon in the city center.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard lecture on Austria.
Accommodations: MS Amalyra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Durnstein / Melk, Austria
(Saturday, September 7)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Enjoy a train ride through the vineyards of Durnstein, the town known for its story of Richard the Lionheart and Durnstein castle. The morning concludes with a guided stroll through this charming town with its cobblestone streets and galleries.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Sail along one of the beautiful stretches of the Danube, the Wachau valley, and end at Melk, a small town known for its breathtaking Baroque monastery, The Abbey of Melk. You will have the opportunity to bike along the Danube from Durnstein to Melk.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: MS Amalyra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Linz, Austria
(Sunday, September 8)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Dock in Linz and enjoy a guided walking excursion through the city center taking in St. Mary's Cathedral, Marian Column, Landestheatre, and the old church in St. Martin, Austria.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Choose from three optional excursions offered by the ship. You may take a bus excursion to the scenic Salzkammergut region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and stop in the historic town of Gmunden. Or you may choose to take an excursion to the Czech town of Cesky Krumlov, a lovely medieval town on the Austria-Czech border. Or you can discover Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart and the city of "The Sound of Music."
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Enjoy a musical performance highlighting the sounds of Austria, on board in the lounge.
Accommodations: MS Amalyra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Passau / Vilshofen an der Donau, Germany
(Monday, September 9)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Upon arrival in Passau, take a guided walking excursion through this town that sits at the confluence of three rivers (the Danube, Inn, and Ilz). Highlights include St. Stephan's Cathedral, home of the largest cathedral organ in the world, and the Bishop's residence.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: The last stretch of sailing will bring us to Vilshofen an der Donau. Here you will have free time to stroll around this charming 1200 year old Bavarian town.
 Dinner: Captain's dinner on board.
Accommodations: MS Amalyra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Disembark / Munich, Germany
(Tuesday, September 10)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Disembark in Vilshofen and transfer to Munich. En route, stop in Regensburg for a guided walking excursion of this well preserved medieval town with a history that extends to the times of the Romans.
 Lunch: Explore local fare on your own.
 Afternoon: Continue to Munich and check in at the hotel upon arrival. Discover the historical city center of Munich during a walking field trip. Explore this city's historic sites, great museums, architectural treasures, and world-class shops. Munich's most famous landmark is the Gothic Church of Our Lady - the Frauenkirche with its two onion-domed towers. A few steps further is the Marienplatz with its Gothic New City Hall (Rathaus).
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Free time to relax or stroll through Marienplatz.
Accommodations: Carat Hotel Munich
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13: Munich, Germany
(Wednesday, September 11)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Enjoy a guided bus excursion along the important landmarks outside of the old town and then attend a lecture about the history of 20th century Germany, Bavaria, Munich, and the famous Bavarian "Gemutlichkeit" - a special sense of informality and coziness, which is said to characterize Munich.
 Lunch: Lunch in a local beer hall.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore of the famous picture galleries (Pinakothek) or the Residenz Palance. Enjoy a drink in the English Garden or in a beer garden in the old town.
 Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.
Accommodations: Carat Hotel Munich
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14: Munich, Germany / Bavarian Alps
(Thursday, September 12)

Note: There is a steep, 15 minute downhill walk to the entrance of the Neuschwanstein Castle.

 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: This morning we begin an all-day excursion to the Bavarian Alps and Neuschwanstein Castle. En route you will have an introduction to Murnau, a charming little town that was the cradles of the early Expressionist group, "Der Blaue Reiter" (the Blue Rider), which includes painters such as Wassily Kandinsky, Gabriele Munter, Alex ej Jawlensky, and Franz Marc. Discover the picturesque landscapes that inspired these painters and enjoy a guided field trip of the town.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Continue the full day excursion to Schwangau and Neuschwanstein Castle. This palace was built in the 19th century by the eccentric King Ludwig II of Bavaria as an homage to the grandiose operas of composer Richard Wagner. Many of the castle's rooms were inspired by Wagner's characters. In the afternoon, transfer back to Munich.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Carat Hotel Munich
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Departures.
(Friday, September 13)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to the Munich Airport (MUC) for departures.
Meals Included: Breakfast
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

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