September 17-24, 2019
Soon after boarding our luxurious river ship the Avalon Impression late afternoon our Captain will depart the dock for a sunset cruise through the heart of Budapest. With Buda to our left and Pest to our right you can enjoy up-close views of the Chain Bridge, Gresham Palace, and the Hungarian Parliament. The following day you may take in the sights from the open-air Sky Deck for a serene sail through Slovakia (and maybe a little BHTM?) before we arrive late afternoon in the beautiful city of Vienna. Our custom itinerary allows us to spend two full nights and a full day in one of the great European capitals. Visit the gardens of Schönbrunn Palace, the Albertina museum with it's da Vinci's and Monet's, or hop on streetcar No. 1 and travel full circle along Vienna's best-known avenue. After a late night departure we cruise towards the wonderful views and villages of Austria's Wachau Valley. Plenty of time to explore the abbeys, castles, vineyards, and people of this scenic region. Onward towards the Free State of Bavaria (not Germany as any Bavarian will gladly tell you) we explore the river and culture of the “City of Three Rivers”- Passau which lies at the confluence of the Danube, Inn, and Ilz rivers. We then make our way to Deggendorf on September 24 for disembarkation. At this point you may choose to make your way back to the USA, head south towards Munich where Oktoberfest will be in full swing, or join us for a few days to experience the Old World charm of one of Europe's best-preserved cities- Prague. Regardless, we feel our first foray into the interior of Europe will be one that no one will forget and we look forward to sharing this great adventure with you.
Below is a Tentative Itinerary. Embarkation and Disembarkation location, dates, and times listed are accurate. Some destinations, specific day and/or order of visit is subject to change. A final itinerary will be developed towards the end of 2018 after we work with Avalon Waterways and local providers to develop a unique, custom itinerary which we feel BHTM fans will appreciate most.
Day 1: Budapest/Embarkation
Passengers will be allowed to board the Avalon Impression beginning at 2:00pm on Tuesday, September 17, 2019. Staterooms will not be available at this time but passengers will have access to the Main Lounge. You may also drop your luggage at the ship beginning at 10:00am. The ship will be docked alongside a specific location in Budapest which will not determined until a few days out from embarkation. Staterooms will be available at approximately 4:00pm. All passengers must be onboard no later than 5:00pm. Shortly thereafter we gather on the Sky Deck to enjoy a sunset cruise through the heart of Budapest. Have camera ready!
Day 2: Cruising Slovakia/Vienna
Enjoy the day on the Sky Deck viewing the beautiful countryside of Slovakia including a sail past the capital of Bratislava. We approach the "City of Music"- Vienna late afternoon. Our arrival time will allow passengers to venture the short distance into the Innere Stadt (Old Town) and a city that is absolutely amazing at night. Stroll through the Kärntnerstrasse where the architecture of landmarks such as the medieval St. Stephen's Cathedral slightly outweigh the fantastic people watching. Visit a local cafe and sample the wiener schnitzel and apfelstrudel the region is known for. No hurry as we spend the night alongside.
Day 3: Vienna
A full day and evening to experience what Vienna is all about. For those who wish you can plan and set out on your own. Others may choose to take advantage of the complimentary excursion offered by the ship. This begins after breakfast with a 30 minute motorcaoch tour around the Ringstraße (Ring Road), the circular grand boulevard which circles the historic Innere Stadt (Old Town) district of the city. Because of its architectural beauty and history, the Vienna Ring Road has been called the "Lord of the Ring Roads" and is designated by UNESCO as part of Vienna's World heritage Site. The excursion continues on foot for another 90 minutes or so as guides lead small groups on an informative walk through some of the highlights of the inner city. Passengers are then free to venture out on their own from this inner city location or return to the ship by motorcoach. (Additional excursion opportunities will be offered by the ship for additional costs- further details coming closer to the sailing dates). After a full day in and around Vienna you may choose to catch a breather and freshen-up a bit onboard before the evening activities. Opportunities in the evening to experience the music of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss or maybe an opera will be available through the ship's excursions or can be discovered on your own. We do not depart until late evening in order for you to fully enjoy.
Day 4: Durnstein/Melk
Situated in the heart of the Wachau wine region and best known for the magnificent baroque Stiftskirche (collegiate church) with its blue facade, Durstein is our first port of the day. A complimentary excursion is lead by a local guides who will take small groups on an a walking tour through the village and tell you the tale of England’s King Richard the Lionheart, who was imprisoned in the castle whose ruins still stand above the town. We then return to the ship for a sail along the picturesque Wachau Valley arriving in Melk early afternoon. Here we can enjoy a complimentary guided visit of the magnificent 11th-century Benedictine Abbey, one of Europe’s largest monasteries. You’ll be captivated by the splendor of the church with its fresco ceilings, stunning high altar, marble statues, and 210-foot-high cupola. The view from the terrace over the Danube and surrounding countryside is breathtaking. Enjoy dinner onboard as we cruise the Danube through the evening.
Day 5: Passau
This morning we arrive in Passau, located at the confluence of the Rivers Inn, Ilz, and Danube. This is a city of graceful arcades and cobblestone streets dominated by St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture. Join a local guide for a complimentary walking tour through this charming town, and find out much more about the “City of Three Rivers.”
Day 6: TBA
To be announced...
Day 7: Deggendorf
Known as the gate to the Bavarian Forest, Deggendorf is located on the Danube at the mouth of the river Isar. An extensive network of hiking trails lead through peaceful, sunny woodland, nature reserves and forest study paths. Bike trails Isarradweg and Donauradweg cross pastures and meander along scenic rivers. If you have a little unwinding in mind, spending some time at a local biergarten may be just the ticket. A number of impressive historical buildings are worth a visit such as the gothic town hall. Climb up the majestic tower which was build in the 14th century and see the clock works which operates the big clock. (You may want to climb the tower prior to "unwinding" in a local biergarten). We spend the evening alongside.
Day 8: Deggendorf/Disembarkation
Enjoy one last delicious breakfast before disembarkation. All passengers must depart the ship by 10:00am.
Post Cruise- Prague, Czech Republic
We will be offering an additional ground transfer package which includes comfortable, air conditioned motorcoach transportation from the ship to Prague. This approximately 3.5-4 hour ride through the Czech countryside will arrive in a central location in within the inner city of Prague. Hotel suggestions coming closer to the cruise dates. This is an ideal way to complete a wonderful European adventure. Prague is a 1,200-year-old city preserved in time, and, unlike other Central European capitals, it was not bombed during the 20th-century wars. We recommend 2-3 nights to fully experience this highlight of former Iron Curtain countries.
River Cruising Note
As is standard practice in river cruising- in the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program. Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change is necessary, a substitute will be offered. While this is not a common occurrence it is not unheard of. We mention only so you are aware of the possibility.
Complimentary Land Excursions- Thanks to Avalon's relationship with Globus, an award-winning tour company with more than 90 years of experience and 300 support staff on the ground in 65 countries around the world, we will be privy to the best, all-inclusive land programs available. Included with your cruise fare will be one select complimentary land excursion on most days depending on our custom itinerary and entertainment schedule (additional excursion options available for additional costs). This allows you to truly experience each destination with guided sightseeing (complete with headsets), daily port lectures, VIP access into key destinations, no waiting in lines and great cultural immersion and storytelling thanks to highly skilled Cruise and Tour Directors.
Certified Local Guides- Professionals who are certified locally in each destination and selected by the Globus family of brands. These Certified Local Guides are recognized for their expertise, enthusiasm, and knowledge of the area. They will lead you on engaging sightseeing tours delivering genuine, behind-the-scenes destination experiences. You'll even benefit from the use of personal headsets for sightseeing which gives you the freedom to roam through some of Europe's most famous attractions without missing a moment of fascinating commentary.
Note- Our personal experience with the complimentary land excursions provided onboard was excellent. The local guides were very pleasant and knowledgeable, the pace of the tours were appropriate, and the topics were interesting and relevant. Group size was very manageable as passengers are broken down into 3-4 separate groups. You are not stuffed into overcrowded motor coaches and walking portions are comfortable to move around with.
Bicycle Excursions- We will have the good fortune to cruise along a large portion of what many consider the most beautiful bicycle route in Europe- The Danube Cycle Path. The stretch runs almost entirely on peddling paths directly by the scenic river approximately 226 miles in length from the Bavarian city of Passau to the Slovakian capital Bratislava. Local Knowledge will be working with Avalon specialists to organize optional day-long bicycling tours in one or two select destinations along the way. What better way to cycle in Europe than to rendezvous with your local guide and bikes in the morning for a day of riding along the Danube? Stop at historical highlights and enjoy a riverside lunch before meeting-up with the ship in the afternoon which has re-positioned itself up river. More info coming closer to sailing dates. Visit the official Austria Travel Guide for more Danube Cycle Path info: https://www.austria.info/au/activities/lakes-nature/danube/the-danube-cycle-path
While daily high and low temperatures will vary as we sail up the Danube into the higher elevations of Austria and Bavaria, on average one can expect daily highs in the mid 60‘s °F and lows around 50 °F this time of year. Throughout the week Sunrise will vary between 6:30am and 7:00am and Sunrise will occur slightly before 7:00pm depending on day and location. River water temperature will be evaluated in a confidential, up-close and personal process by Local Knowledge representative George on a daily basis and posted for passengers onboard.