22559
Germany/Czech Republic
Timeless River: Germany & the Czech Republic on the Storied Elbe
A majestic castle. The call of a cuckoo bird. A man and a church door that altered religion. Voyage the Elbe river from Berlin to Prague, discovering its people and monumental history.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22559RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
3,845
Flights start at
850
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11 days
10 nights
25 meals
9 B 7 L 9 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Berlin, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Berlin
D
Swissotel Berlin

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After arriving at the hotel, check in and get your room, then take some time to unpack, freshen up, and relax. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. The ship offers a variety of shore excursions. We have made special arrangements for activities ashore that are included in the price of your Road Scholar program. These excursions will be fully described in the pre-departure information packets sent from Road Scholar as well as by staff aboard ship. All transportation will be provided via motorcoach unless specified otherwise. Shore excursions will be led by English-speaking local experts. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Each afternoon and evening, join your fellow participants in the ship’s restaurant for a plated, multi-course meal featuring fresh cuisine, plus coffee, tea, water, assorted juices, beer, wine, and water. The menu will be displayed ahead of time in the ship’s lobby, offering participant’s time to request an alternative course with your server. Breakfast features a plentiful buffet including breakfast meats, a variety of eggs, pastries and spreads, yogurt, cereal, and fruit, plus coffee, tea, assorted juices, and water.

Dinner: Enjoy a welcome plated meal with a glass of wine, plus coffee, tea, water.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Explore Berlin, Embark Ship, Welcome Drink
Berlin
B,D
MS Elbe Princesse

Activity note: Today's activities include significant periods of walking and standing, and some stairs. Wear comfortable shoes.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will have a breakfast featuring a variety of hot and cold items, plus coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel and will enjoy a walking exploration of nearby sites. A city with a long and storied history, we will see and learn about some of the important sites of the German capital. We will first visit the German Reichstag building. Afterwards, we will continue walking and taking the "S-Bahn" (Metro) to see the famous Oranienburger Strasse, the new Synagogue and the Jewish cementary, as well as the Haeckesche Höfe.

Lunch: On your own - the group leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: The afternoon is free for independent exploration. Feel free to explore the Haeckesche Hoefe some more or see one of the museums at the nearby Museum Island. In the late afternoon prepare for your transfer by coach to the Elbe Princesse at the Greenwichpromenade in Berlin-Tegel. Upon our arrival, crew members will be waiting to assist with luggage and bring it to your room. Check in at the front desk and settle into your cabin before the presentation of the crew and a joining in a celebratory welcome cocktail.

Dinner: Multi-course plated meal in the restaurant, plus coffee, tea, assorted juices, wine, beer, water.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Berlin Field Trip, Set Sail, Sanssouci Palace
Wüsterwitz
B,L,D
MS Elbe Princesse

Activity note: Today's activities include periods of walking and standing.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Depart the Elbe Princesse via motorcoach and set out for a field trip through the German capital led by a local expert. Separated for 38 years during the Cold War, Berlin was once the iconic representation of a world divided in two. You will be able to see sites like the Victory Column, the Bismarck Memorial, the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag building with its steel and glass cupola. You’ll learn about Checkpoint Charlie, the symbol of the Cold War and passage between the American and Soviet zones during this time. Return on board and start cruising towards Nedlitz and discover the idyllic charm of the lakes formed by the Havel River.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Our next field trip brings us to the royal palace of Sanssouci, which means “without a care,” exploring the extensive gardens. One of the most important Rococo works in Germany, Sanssouci was built above a terraced vineyard from 1745-47 following the ideas and sketches of King Frederick the Great. We will return to the Elbe Princesse at the end of our field trip and set sail.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Enjoy entertainment aboard our ship.

DAY
5
Sailing the Elbe, Magdeburg, Dance
Magdeburg
B,L,D
MS Elbe Princesse

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: This morning we are going to hear about Luther and the reformation in our on board lecture as an introduction to our upcoming exploration of Wittenberg the following day. Afterwards, enjoy some free time. Relax aboard, enjoy the ship’s amenities, or take in the scenery as we sail towards our first port of call.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Arrive in Magdeburg, one of Medieval Europe’s most important city’s founded by Charlemagne in 805. Situated in the middle portion of the Elbe River, Magdeburg was a member of the powerful Hanseatic League and was of significant importance to the Saxon dynasty of Holy Roman Emperors, also known as the Ottonian dynasty for Otto I. It was Otto I who gifted Magdeburg to his bride Edith, who fell in love with the town. Both Otto and Edit are buried in the Cathedral of St. Mauritius and St. Catherine, Germany’s first gothic cathedral and the highest church in the region.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Local entertainment aboard ship.

DAY
6
Wittenberg, Reformation Museum
Wittenberg
B,L,D
MS Elbe Princesse

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Depart the ship for an expert-led field trip to Lutherstadt Wittenberg – more commonly referred to as Wittenberg – where Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the All Saints’ Church, sparking the Protestant Reformation. We’ll discover the city center with its noble Renaissance-style houses and visit Luther’s house, a former Augustinian monastery that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site housing the Reformation Museum. We will return to the ship in Elster.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: This afternoon we are going to hear a lecture about German culture and language in our on board discussion. Afterwards, enjoy some free time. Enjoy a scenic sailing as we cruise upstream towards Meissen.

Dinner: On board.

Evening: Shipboard entertainment.

DAY
7
Meissen Porcelain, Dresden Field Trip
Dresden
B,L,D
MS Elbe Princesse

Activity note: Drive from Meissen to Dresden is approximately 16 miles. Today is a long day with long periods of walking over cobblestones and some downhill stretches.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We’ll leave from our ship for a guided tour of Meissen. The city is famous for its porcelain, based on extensive local deposits of both china and potter's clay. Meissen is sometimes known as the "cradle of Saxony". Its historical district is located mostly around the market at the foot of the castle hill and contains many Renaissance-style buildings, as well as two Late-Gothic buildings: the town hall and the Frauenkirche. The Frauenkirche tower hosts the world's first porcelain carillon, manufactured in 1929 on the occasion of the town's 1000-year jubilee. After touring the city, we’ll visit the porcelain factory. The intricacy of the figures and sculptures and the perfection of the hand-painted patterns are the things that underscore this magnificent form of art. In the museum, you’ll take an enticing journey through more than 300 years of porcelain history. After some free time on your own, we’ll return to the ship in Dresden. Our field trip ends with a ride upstream to Dresden, where we will board the ship for lunch.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Returning to Dresden, our time will be dedicated to exploring the city known as the “Florence of the Elbe.” This small fishing village became the capital of the Margrave of Meissen in the 13th century and it slowly developed. As families tussled for power and divided from within, Dresden became the seat of the Albertine court and gained electoral privileges 56 years later in 1547 following a regional war. As the city continued to develop, its breathtaking architecture and artistic heritage earned Dresden much praise, including from Wolfgang von Goethe, who visited the city no less than four times. Our visit will begin with a panoramic tour, where you'll get an overview of the most important must-see sights: the Altmarkt Square, German Hygiene Museum (exteriors only), Baroque Quarter, Transparent Factory (VW) and soccer stadium. We’ll then visit the historical old city on foot, passing in front of the Zwinger, Semper Opera House, cathedral, Royal Palace, Brühl Terrace, and Neumarkt Square. After some free time on your own, we’ll return to the ship.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: Dance aboard ship.

DAY
8
Königstein Fortress, Elbe Sandstone Mountains
Lovosice
B,L,D
MS Elbe Princesse

Activity note: Today's activities include significant walking. Please wear comfy shoes.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Set out towards the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, where we will discover the Königstein Fortress. First mentioned in the year 1233, the origin of the castle is largely unknown until the 16th century until it was drastically expanded and fortified to become one of the largest hilltop fortresses in Europe. Having never been conquered, the fortress was the refuge of the Saxon Dukes as well as their country retreat before becoming a state prison in 1922.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time aboard the ship as sail toward the border of the Czech Republic.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Litomerice Field Trip
Prague
B,L,D
MS Elbe Princesse

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Having crossed into the Czech Republic during the evening, we set out for a field trip of Litomerice. One of the oldest towns in the Czech Republic, it was established as a Slavic fort in the 10th century and named for the Litomerici tribe who settled the area. As a significant trading center in the Holy Roman Empire, the city center is home to multi-colored Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance buildings. Our visit will be followed by a beer tasting. We’ll return to the ship in the town of Horin.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Free time aboard ship sailing to Prague.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Prague’s Old Town, Prague Castle, Gala Dinner
Prague
B,L,D
MS Elbe Princesse

Activity note: Today includes significant walking. Please wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for downhill walking, standing, stairs, and cobblestones.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Having arrived in Prague, we will begin our field trip to the old town dating back more than 1,000 years. As we walk the streets of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, we will discover the Old Town Square and its Gothic- and Baroque-style architecture - including the Rococo Kinsky Palace, the Gothic Tyn Cathedral and the Baroque St. Nicholas Church, to name a few. We’ll also see the Municipal House, the city's foremost Art Nouveau building, and one of the finest in Europe, as well as the Powder Gate, one of the original 13 entrances to Prague's Old Town.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Our final field trip is perhaps the best of all, visiting Prague Castle and its collection of palaces, churches, and monasteries, built between the 10th and 14th centuries. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Prague Castle is also listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest castle complex in the world. We will visit the St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague’s most recognizable landmark; the many palace buildings, today housing various collections and museums; and the Golden Lane, a street within Prague Castle that has been recreated to show what life was like for the artisans who once lived here. The street received its name from the alchemists who tried to turn metal into gold.

Dinner: Aboard ship, enjoy the Captain’s Gala.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for disembarkation in the morning. Consult the Group Leader and pick up a ribbon from the front desk representing your departure time in the morning. Leave your luggage with the ribbon outside your cabin door for the ships crew to collect and bring to the main lobby.

DAY
11
Disembark, Program Concludes
Prague
B

Activity note: Disembarkation is by 9:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation from Last Location."

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Disembark the ship and transfer to the airport. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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