Cruise Itinerary


Week One: September 17 - 24, 2019 (sold out)

(Revised 7/25/2019) Soon after boarding our luxurious river ship the Avalon Impression we depart for what will be an incredible evening 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 all under the evening lights. The following day you may take in the sights from the open-air Sky Deck for a serene sail to Bratislava, the charming capital of Slovakia. The following morning we set off through the landscape of Austria before a mid-afternoon arrival 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 including Dürnstein, Spitz, and Melk. A few days in this area will allow us plenty of time to explore the abbeys, castles, vineyards, and people of this scenic region. We spend a day in the wonderful village of Schlögen on the Danube Loop with numerous options for hiking, biking, and fantastic sightseeing along the banks of the Danube. Big Head Todd and the Monsters will cap the day with a live show the Schlögener Schlinge. The next morning takes us onward towards the Free State of Bavaria (not Germany as any Bavarian will gladly tell you) where 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. This is where we will also make our disembarkation on September 24. 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. Optional motor coach transfers from Passau to Prague will be offered post-cruise for those wishing to explore this historic city.


Week Two: September 24 - October 1, 2019. Second Cruise Added! (limited availability)

(Revised 7/25/2019) The adventure will be non-stop as the band will remain onboard the Avalon Impression and welcome fans for an awesome second week of intimate live performances and incredible river cruising. Passengers will embark in Passau, Germany on September 24. After a night in Passau we are off for a beautiful morning cruise through the valley to Schlögen and the Danube Loop. A great day of outdoor activities and sightseeing winds down with a full show with Big Head Todd and the Monsters live at the Schlögener Schlinge. The next few days take us into the famous Wachau Valley with time in the castles, cathedrals, and vineyards around Melk, Dürnstein, and Spitz. We are then off to the “City of Music”- Vienna. Our mid-afternoon arrival allows passengers two full nights and more than a day to fully explore highlights such as the Schönbrunn Palace and experience a little opera should you wish. As we depart the Austrian countryside the following day we stop for the afternoon at the magnificent Basilica of Esztergom in Hungary. While here passengers may wish to take the quick stroll over the bridge to the charming town of Štúrovo for a taste of Slovakia. We then treat ourselves to a wonderful nighttime sail into the city of Budapest with historical landmarks such as the Royal Palace, the Buda Castle district, and the Parliament Building under the lights. Our week down the Danube promises to be a special experience with plenty of sights, activities, and music from Todd and the Monsters throughout the week. Optional motor coach transfers from Prague to the ship in Passau on the day of embarkation will be offered pre-cruise for those wishing to explore this historic city.



Week One Itinerary Details-

Below is a Tentative Itinerary (updated 7/25/19). Embarkation and Disembarkation location, dates, and times listed are accurate. Some destinations, specific day and/or order of visit is subject to change as we are continually working 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 3:00pm on Tuesday, September 17, 2019. Staterooms will not be available at this time but passengers will have access to the Main Lounge and Sky Deck. 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. The embarkation process will begin at approximately 4:00pm with staterooms available soon thereafter. All passengers must be onboard no later than 4:00pm. After a safety meeting and Welcome Reception we dine onboard before our cruise through the heart of Budapest under the evening lights. Have camera ready!

Day 2: Cruising Hungary and Slovakia

Enjoy the day on the Sky Deck viewing the beautiful countryside of Hungary and into Slovakia before we dock in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava. Explore the charming capital of Slovakia before settling in for a live show on the Avalon Impression from Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

Day 3: Slovakia to Vienna

After a relaxing sail into Austria we approach the "City of Music"- Vienna around midday. Our arrival time will allow passengers to enjoy a full afternoon and evening in the the "City of Music”. 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 lunch 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. 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. No hurry as we spend the night alongside.

Day 4: Vienna

Regardless of whether you choose to plan and explore on your own or join one of the offered excursions, passengers will have the full day and evening to experience what Vienna is all about. The Albertina Museum (a staff favorite), the Schönbrunn Palace, and the Belvedere Palace are a few of the numerous world famous museums and palaces which we suggest looking into. Don’t forget make it to 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. We do not depart until late evening in order for you to fully enjoy.

Day 5: Dürnstein/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. For those wishing to experience something a little more active- join a local guide for a bike tour along the river from Dürnstein to Melk through local villages, vineyards, and a stop for a picnic. We all enjoy dinner onboard as we cruise the Danube through the evening.

Day 6: Melk

Enjoy a lazy morning on the Sky Deck as we sail through the Wachau Valley past vineyards, castles, and charming villages on our way to Melk. Here you 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. Later, relax on the Sky Deck as we continue our sail through the Wachau Valley. The perfect place to enjoy a nice drink, the sunset, and friends before a delicious dinner onboard.

Day 7: Schlögen

Schlögen is a charming little village nestled along the mountainsides just east of the small town of Engelhartszel and right in the heart of the famous Danube Loop. Also known as the Schlögen Oxbow, or Schlögener Schlinge (schlinge is German for loop)- they all refer to the point in the river between Passau and Linz which has the river doubling back around a bend to flow in the direction from which it came. Not only is this the largest forced meander of any river in Europe, it is also an absolutely beautiful area with some great opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts (or for simply relaxing on the river bank enjoying some local bier). This is also a favorite of the Local Knowledge staff who are anxiously awaiting a return. Regardless of how you spend your day, you must return to the ship around 5:00pm to enjoy Big Head Todd and the Monsters Live at the Schlögener Schlinge. Set outdoors along the riverbank with a fabulous view of the river and surrounding mountains, the band will play us into sunset at the loop.

Schlögen Activities Note- The immediate area has some fantastic options for hiking, biking, leisurely walks, and local sightseeing. While a few Optional organized excursions will be offered, we encourage you to do some research and seek out specific activities on your own that may be of particular interest to you.

Day 8: Passau

Early 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. we will be providing some morning and afternoon ground transfer options for those traveling to the wonderful city of Prague. For those staying the morning, join a local guide for a complimentary walking tour through this charming town, and find out much more about the “City of Three Rivers”. 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 motor coach 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. 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 believe 2 nights will give you enough time to experience this highlight of former Iron Curtain countries.

Initially we will be offering a morning departure- 9:00am and an afternoon departure- 1:00pm from Passau to Prague. See cruise correspondence for full details and registration.


Week Two Itinerary Details-

Below is a Tentative Itinerary (updated 7/25/19). Embarkation and Disembarkation location, dates, and times listed are accurate. Some destinations, specific day and/or order of visit is subject to change as we are continually working to develop a unique, custom itinerary which we feel BHTM fans will appreciate most.

Day 1: Passau/Embarkation

Passengers will be allowed to board the Avalon Impression at 1:30pm on Tuesday, September 24, 2019. During this time you will have access only to the Lounge and Sky Deck areas. You may drop your luggage at the ship beginning at 10:00am. The ship is scheduled to be docked alongside a dock in Passau - Lindau at this time. Should this change, you will be notified by email as soon as the docking location is determined and no later than 24 hours prior to embarkation. At 4:00pm the embarkation process will begin and you will be allowed to access your accommodations. All passengers must be onboard no later than 4:00pm. A mandatory Welcome and Safety Meeting will begin at 6:00pm. Dinner will begin at approximately 7:00pm. At 8:00pm the ship will re-position to a dock on the old city side at the Alstadt Nr. 13 Dock. Feel free to go ashore for an after-dinner stroll or a drink as we spend the night here in Passau.

For those arriving prior to embarkation at 4:00pm you will have time to explore the charming village of Passau. Located at the confluence of the Rivers Inn, Ilz, and Danube, Passau is known as the “City of Three Rivers”. This is a city of graceful arcades and cobblestone streets dominated by St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture. Suggestions for visits include the Veste Oberhaus across the river- a fortress that was founded in 1219 and, for most of its time, served as the stronghold of the Bishop of Passau. The fortress has a museum, outdoor restaurant, and amazing views. Also, the Bräustüberl Hacklberg- a local brewery with a very nice and relaxing biergarten is worth a visit of thirsty. Enjoy as we spend the night alongside.

Day 2: Schlögen

Schlögen is a charming little village nestled along the mountainsides just east of the small town of Engelhartszel and right in the heart of the famous Danube Loop. Also known as the Schlögen Oxbow, or Schlögener Schlinge (schlinge is German for loop)- they all refer to the point in the river between Passau and Linz which has the river doubling back around a bend to flow in the direction from which it came. Not only is this the largest forced meander of any river in Europe, it is also an absolutely beautiful area with some great opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts (or for simply relaxing on the river bank enjoying some local bier). This is also a favorite of the Local Knowledge staff who are anxiously awaiting a return. Regardless of how you spend your day, you must return to the ship around 5:00pm to enjoy Big Head Todd and the Monsters Live at the Schlögener Schlinge. Set outdoors along the riverbank with a fabulous view of the river and surrounding mountains, the band will play us into sunset at the loop.

Schlögen Activities Note- The immediate area has some fantastic options for hiking, biking, leisurely walks, and local sightseeing. While a few Optional organized excursions will be offered, we encourage you to do some research and seek out specific activities on your own that may be of particular interest to you.

Day 3: Melk and Spitz

Enjoy our early morning sail into the magnificent Wachau Valley and the village of Melk. If there is one morning which you should rise early and experience a sunrise on the Sky Deck this is it (and I recommend you see at least one sunrise on deck during the week). Grab an espresso, cappuccino, or a Bloody Mary, whatever it takes, so you can enjoy the peace and nature on our morning cruise into the valley. Melk is well known as the home of the 11th-century Melk Abbey, one of Europe’s largest Benedictine monasteries. Our Complimentary guided visit of the magnificent the splendor of the church with its fresco ceilings, stunning high altar, marble statues, and 210-foot-high cupola is great way to spend the morning.

After a brief but enjoyable sail we reach the town of Spitz. A picturesque old town centre surrounded by some good hiking in the nearby forests and vineyards. With as many as 18 wineries in the region, this is an excellent opportunity for wine lovers to venture out and sample some of the Wachau Valley juice. Just make sure you are back no later than 4:30pm as we have some special entertainment arranged. We spend the night alongside.

Day 4: Dürnstein

Situated in the heart of the Wachau wine region and best known for the magnificent baroque Stiftskirche (collegiate church) with its blue facade, Durnstein is an ideal location for us to spend an entire day and explore all the area has to offer. In the morning a Complimentary excursion lead by local guides will be offered to passengers. On this walking tour through the village you will hear the tale of England’s King Richard the Lionheart, who was imprisoned in the castle whose ruins still stand above the town. The area is ideal for passengers interested in hiking, biking, and winery exploration. We spend the night alongside so you may fully explore the area.

Day 5: Cruising to Vienna

Enjoy the day on the Sky Deck viewing the beautiful countryside as we make our way from the Wachau Valley to Vienna. We approach the "City of Music"- Vienna, mid-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. Dinner will be served onboard or you may visit a local cafe and sample the wiener schnitzel and apfelstrudel the region is known for. Afterwards stroll through the pedestrian only Kärntnerstrasse where the architecture of landmarks such as the medieval St. Stephen's Cathedral slightly outweigh the fantastic people watching. This evening you will also have the opportunity to experience the music of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss through the ship's optional excursion Classical Music Concert. No hurry as we spend the night alongside.

Day 6: Vienna

Regardless of whether you choose to plan and explore on your own or join one of the offered excursions, passengers will have the full day and evening to experience what Vienna is all about. We do recommend everyone take advantage of the Complimentary excursion offered by the ship in the morning- Wonders of Vienna. It provides an excellent overview of the city and gives you some good bearings on how to spend your day. The Albertina Museum (a staff favorite), the Schönbrunn Palace, and the Belvedere Palace are a few of the numerous world famous museums and palaces in the city which we suggest looking into. We do not depart until late evening in order for you to fully enjoy.

Day 7: Esztergom and Budapest

Enjoy the morning on the Sky Deck viewing the beautiful countryside of Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary including a sail past the Slovakian capital of Bratislava. Around noon, as we round a bend in the river, the magnificent Basilica of Esztergom will come into view. Here we will dock for the afternoon so passengers may explore the basilica, the Royal Castle, and the small village of Esztergom. Passengers may wish to take the short stroll across the bridge from Esztergom to Slovakia and the little town of Štúrovo. As Slovakia and Hungary are part of the Schengen Area, there are no border controls here, no passports needed. All aboard the ship by 5:30pm to continue our journey to Budapest.

We could not think of a much better way to end a wonderful week than with an evening cruise through the center of Budapest. The city’s major landmarks under the lights- the Royal Palace, the Buda Castle district, the Parliament Building, the Chain Bridge, and Margaret Island and more will all make for some outstanding images. Join fellow passengers, the band, and crew on the Sky Deck for a toast to a great week and our entrance into a special European city. We spend the night alongside the dock.

Day 8: Budapest

Enjoy one last delicious breakfast before disembarkation and your opportunity to explore the fascinating city of Budapest. The Local Knowledge staff highly recommends at least a night or two here and will be more than willing to provide suggestions on attractions, restaurants, and nightlife. All passengers must depart the ship by 10:00am.


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.


Land Excursions

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


Weather Note

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.