Road Scholar : Home
Enchanting Rivers of Europe: Amsterdam to Budapest

Program Number: 14317RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/15/2014 - 6/30/2014; 5/10/2015 - 5/25/2015; 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: $7,173.00 - 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.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Aboard MS AmaCerto, 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 AmaCerto

This brand new 162-passenger river vessel debuted in 2012. Its state-of-the-art design includes a signature glass elevator. Public areas include a lounge, sun decks, swimming pool, walking track and fitness center. Fine regional cuisine is prepared under the direction of gold medal-winning chefs from Chaine des Rotisseurs.

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 Amacerto
  MS Amacerto - At Sea, At Sea 14 nights
 MS Amacerto
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 Amacerto. The professional ship staff does their best to ensure that each day is filled with memorable experiences.
  Ship Information: Built in 2012. Decks: 4 - Bottom to top; Piano Deck, Cello Deck, Violin Deck, Sun Deck Crew: 49 Passengers: 164 Registry: Switzerland Length: 443 ft; Width: 38 ft
  Contact info: 21625 Prairie Street
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: With a design inspired by classic ocean yachts, the new 164-passenger MS Amacerto (2012) offers a distinctive river cruise experience on the Danube, Rhine, Main and Mosel. A member of the prestigious Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, guests on the MS Amacerto enjoy fine dining in the main dining room, an intimate Chef’s Table restaurant, two wine bars plus a casual al fresco bistro. The MS Amacerto also features a heated Sun Deck swimming pool with a “swim-up” bar; fitness center, Massage, Hair and Beauty salon; complimentary in-stateroom Internet access and first-run Hollywood movies; ship-wide Wi-Fi plus a fleet of bicycles.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  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 Amacerto, docked in Amsterdam Harbor. You will be staying at MS Amacerto 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 Amacerto the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety 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: In flight
  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.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
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
(Sunday, June 15)
 Depart From: Depart US/Canada on international flights.

Day 2: Welcome Reception / Program Introduction
(Monday, June 16)
 Morning: Arrival at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam (AMS). Please refer to the Arrival Instructions and map included in this packet and meet your group at the airport "Meeting Point." 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: 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.
Accommodations: MS Amacerto
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Amsterdam "Grachten"
(Tuesday, June 17)
 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.
Accommodations: MS Amacerto
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Cologne, Germany
(Wednesday, June 18)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: 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.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: 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.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Musical performance on board. Late evening ship sets sail to Rudesheim.
Accommodations: MS Amacerto
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Rhine Gorge / Rudesheim, Germany
(Thursday, June 19)
 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 Amacerto
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Miltenberg / Wertheim, Germany
(Friday, June 20)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: 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. The ship will offer an optional excursion to an amusing glass blowing performance (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Open University: Themes like school system, taxes, healthcare, and politics in Europe will be discussed on request in sessions of about one hour.
Accommodations: MS Amacerto
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Wurzburg, Germany
(Saturday, June 21)
 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 Amacerto
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Bamberg, Germany
(Sunday, June 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Open University. This morning we enter the Main-Danube canal.
 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: Lecture: "Water management in the Netherlands (Delta Project) and Germany (Main – Danube canal)."
Accommodations: MS Amacerto
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Continental Divide / Nuremberg, Germany
(Monday, June 23)
 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).
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Open University.
Accommodations: MS Amacerto
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Regensburg, Germany
(Tuesday, June 24)
 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.
 Evening: Music performance on board.
Accommodations: MS Amacerto
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Passau, Germany
(Wednesday, June 25)
 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.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Open University.
Accommodations: MS Amacerto
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Melk / Wachau Valley / Durnstein / Weissenkirchen, Austria
(Thursday, June 26)
 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.
 Evening: This evening we dock in Weissenkirchen. Here, you may simply enjoy an evening walk. The ship will offer an optional wine tasting (additional cost, bookable on board).
Accommodations: MS Amacerto
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Vienna, Austria
(Friday, June 27)
 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 Amacerto
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Bratislava, Slovakia
(Saturday, June 28)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning we sail along the scenic Danube towards Bratislava. Lecture: "Slovakia and Hungary."
 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: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Music performance on board.
Accommodations: MS Amacerto
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Budapest, Hungary / Farewell Dinner
(Sunday, June 29)
 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 Amacerto
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Departures
(Monday, June 30)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: All beautiful things come to an end, so we transfer to the airport.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  MS Amacerto - 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.

You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

© Road Scholar 2015 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768