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Enchanting Rivers of Europe: Amsterdam to Budapest

Program Number: 14317RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/5/2014 - 10/20/2014; 5/10/2015 - 5/25/2015; 9/29/2015 - 10/14/2015;
Duration: 15 nights
Location: Netherlands/Germany/Austria/Slovakia/Hungary
Price starting at: $7,715.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats
Meals: 40; 13 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 at a time, sometimes 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.



AmaSonata

This 164-passenger vessel boasts spacious staterooms with our exclusive Twin Balconies, a choice of dining venues, a heated pool with swim-up bar, in-room Internet access and more. Passengers will enjoy gourmet dining with free-flowing fine wines at multiple onboard dining venues; a heated sun deck swimming pool with a ‘swim-up’ bar; fitness center and spa; complimentary ship-wide Wi-Fi and in-room Internet and Infotainment; and a fleet of bicycles carried onboard for passengers to enjoy on their own or on guided bike tours.


Meals and Lodgings
   MS Amasonata
  MS Amasonata - At Sea, At Sea 14 nights
 MS Amasonata
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 Amasonata. The professional ship staff does their best to ensure that each day is filled with memorable experiences.
  Ship Information: Built in 2014. 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
web: www.AmaWaterways.com
  Room amenities: Each room features 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: The Amasonata features the most advanced design of any river cruise vessel currently in operation. Passengers will enjoy gourmet dining with free-flowing fine wines at multiple onboard dining venues; a heated sun deck swimming pool with a ‘swim-up’ bar; fitness center and spa; complimentary ship-wide Wi-Fi and in-room Internet and Infotainment; and a fleet of bicycles carried onboard for passengers to enjoy on their own or on guided bike tours. 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 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 Amasonata 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 Amasonata the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
N/A
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 Amasonata - At Sea
  Transportation from site: Participants may take advantage of the airport shuttle bus service provided at Budapest Liszt Ferenc airport. www.airportshuttle.hu/en_szallitasi_dijak.php 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
(Tuesday, September 29)
   
 Depart From: Depart US/Canada on international flights.

Day 2: Welcome Reception / Program Introduction
(Wednesday, September 30)
   
 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.
   
Accommodations: MS Amasonata
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Amsterdam "Grachten"
(Thursday, October 1)
   
 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 Amasonata
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Cologne, Germany
(Friday, October 2)
   
 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 Rüdesheim.
   
Accommodations: MS Amasonata
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Rhine Gorge / Rüdesheim, Germany
(Saturday, October 3)
   
 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 Rüdesheim 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 Rüdesheim.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MS Amasonata
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Miltenberg / Wertheim, Germany
(Sunday, October 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Attend an onboard glass blowing performance in the Lounge. 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. Enjoy sailing and attend the onboard Open University. Themes like school system, taxes, healthcare, and politics in Europe will be discussed on request in sessions of about one hour. The ship will offer an optional excursion to visit the glass blower's workshop in Wertheim (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MS Amasonata
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Würzburg, Germany
(Monday, October 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Guided walking excursion in Würzburg, 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 Amasonata
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Bamberg, Germany
(Tuesday, October 6)
   
 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.
   
Accommodations: MS Amasonata
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Nuremberg, Germany / Continental Divide
(Wednesday, October 7)
   
 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: Attend a lecture about water management in Europe, specifically in the Netherlands and Germany. 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.
   
Accommodations: MS Amasonata
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Regensburg, Germany
(Thursday, October 8)
   
 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 Amasonata
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Passau, Germany
(Friday, October 9)
   
 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: Open University. 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. Ship arrives in Linz.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Musical performance onboard.
   
Accommodations: MS Amasonata
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Melk / Wachau Valley / Dürnstein, Germany
(Saturday, October 10)
   
 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 Dürnstein for a walking excursion through cobblestone streets lined with quaint 16th century houses and taverns.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MS Amasonata
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Vienna, Austria
(Sunday, October 11)
   
 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 Kärtnerstrasse, 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 Amasonata
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Bratislava, Slovakia
(Monday, October 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning we sail along the scenic Danube towards Bratislava. Lecture: "20th Century History of Central Europe."
 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.
   
Accommodations: MS Amasonata
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Budapest, Hungary / Farewell Dinner
(Tuesday, October 13)
   
 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 Amasonata
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Free Time Opportunities
 
  MS Amasonata - At Sea Bicycles
Each 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.



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 gives 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 Old 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 History of the World's Most Liberal City


Author: Russell Shorto


Description: Russell Shorto opens this delightful ode to an adopted city with his daily journey, by bike of course, through his neighborhood to drop off his toddler son. He spins a tale of a diverse city (178 nationalities, more than New York), wrestled collectively from the sea, its coffee shops, canals, personalities and politics with panache.



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 amid 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 edition of this exquisite guide has been updated with revised text and maps.



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.



Danube


Author: Claudio Magris


Description: Mixing history, personalities and literature, Magris traces the course of the Danube from its source in the heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire through the Balkans to the Black Sea in this anything but conventional travelogue, first published in 1986.



Danubia, A Personal History of Habsburg Europe


Author: Simon Winder


Description: Winder, author of Germania (GER270), considers the legacy of the Habsburg Europe in this charmingly digressive history and travelogue.



Eyewitness Top Ten Vienna


Author: Michael Leidig


Description: A compact, illustrated guide in the popular series, featuring favorite attractions. With handy pullout map.



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.



Mozart, A Life


Author: Paul Johnson


Description: Challenging myths surrounding Mozart’s health, religion and relationships, biographer Paul Johnson shows the great composer’s lasting impact on the musical world with insight.



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 Diary of a Young Girl, The Definitive Edition


Author: Anne Frank


Description: The classic story of an adolescent Jewish girl's life and thoughts while in hiding with her family in Nazi-occupied Holland. A new edition with added material.



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: With skillful scholarship and engaging style, Wheatcroft reveals the history of this family of eccentric monarchs.



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 Rhine, Culture and Landscape at the Heart of Europe


Author: Roland Recht


Description: This beautifully illustrated, oversized survey of the history, geography and culture of the Rhine shows cities, villages and sights along the river from its source in the Alps to the North Sea.



The Third Man and the Fallen Idol


Author: Graham Greene


Description: A haunting tale and penetrating portrait of Vienna after World War II, "The Third Man" is the result of Greene's collaboration with Carol Reed on the classic movie. "The Fallen Idol" is a separate tale of intrigue set in Britain.



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.





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