Grand European Cruise - Eastbound 2020

Grand European Cruise - Eastbound 2020

Operator: Tauck
Ship: MS Esprit
Starts: Amsterdam, Netherlands on Sat, Jul 25, 2020
Ends: Bucharest, Romania on Tue, Aug 18, 2020

Overview

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Itinerary

Rivers Visited

Danube, Main, Rhine

River Cruise Itinerary

Travel like the royals of old on our grand eastern European river cruises combining Amsterdam to Budapest by Riverboat with Budapest to the Black Sea to create an unforgettable 25-day experience through the heart of Europe.This remarkable voyage virtually links the North Sea to the Black Sea via the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers, taking you through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. Glide past grand cathedrals, medieval monasteries, and historic citadels – as well as through the Main-Danube Canal and the Iron Gate of the Danube. Tauck’s private, inclusive shore excursions take in many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and in-depth exploration of cities including Amsterdam, Köln, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Belgrade and Bucharest. It's the ultimate European river cruise... with the Tauck Difference!

Day 1 (Sat, Jul 25, 2020): Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tour begins: 6:00 PM, Amsterdam, Netherlands.A transfer is included from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport or Central Station directly to your Tauck riverboat, aboard which you'll cruise as far as Budapest. Enjoy a welcome briefing and a leisurely dinner as you settle into your floating hotel for a memorable two-week cruise on the Main, Rhine and Danube rivers.


Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2 (Sun, Jul 26, 2020): Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam... the name itself conjures up images of the Dutch capital’s myriad cultural treasures, from gabled houses, markets and cafés to awe-inspiring museums housing a treasure trove of world-famous art – and it’s all yours to enjoy today. Your guided tour of the famed Rijksmuseum is really inspiring – a firsthand look at Rembrandt’s masterpiece The Night Watch is like meeting the artist himself, and you’ll love seeing acclaimed works by other well-known “Old Dutch Masters.” Once an exclusive royal privilege, a private sightseeing cruise by canal boat on the city’s network of concentric, tree-lined 17th-century canals provides a unique view of Amsterdam’s blend of architectural styles – they date all the way back to medieval times – and a unique taste of daily life in this easygoing city. Enjoy an evening at leisure aboard your riverboat as we chart a course to Germany.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3 (Mon, Jul 27, 2020): Köln, Germany

After a morning of cruising and lunch aboard the riverboat, your explorations continue in Köln (Cologne), the oldest city in Germany. A guided walking tour of city sights includes a visit to twin-spired Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral), boasting one of the world’s largest church façades; it is one of Europe’s most beloved Gothic cathedrals. You’ll have some free time to wander through Cathedral Square and the Hohe Strasse pedestrian area in the afternoon, or enjoy an optional visit to Köln's Roman-Germanic Museum, built around the mosaic floor of a 3rd-century villa and showcasing a large collection of Roman artifacts (closed on Mondays). Dinner aboard ship tonight is followed by an onboard performance by local musicians.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4 (Tue, Jul 28, 2020): Rüdesheim, Germany

The perfect Rhine cruise... glide along the river until early afternoon, and relax as your Tauck Director shares a tale or two during the cruise through the scenic – and literally legendary – Lorelei Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arrive in Rüdesheim, where an entertaining lunch in a local German restaurant with an old-world ambiance precedes a visit to Siegfrieds Mechanisches Musikkabinett, an eclectic collection of mechanical musical instruments housed in a 15th-century castle in Rüdesheim, followed by free time; walk back to the ship or ride the mini train. Alternatively, you can choose to join us on a bicycling excursion along the Rhine today. Back aboard the riverboat this evening, enjoy dinner while cruising the Rhine.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5 (Wed, Jul 29, 2020):

Enjoy the views as your Rhine cruise continues into the Main River, for a full day of cruising through scenic valleys studded with castles, cathedrals, and fortified towns. Join us for a Bavarian-themed dinner aboard the riverboat tonight followed by a crew show or an evening of music and dancing.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 6 (Thu, Jul 30, 2020): Wurzburg, Germany, Rothenburg, Germany

Spend the morning cruising and have lunch aboard the riverboat before arriving in Würzburg. Upon arrival, visit the town's 18th-century Residenz – a lavish Baroque palace where the town's prince bishops once lived, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and sample some excellent Franconian wines in the wine cellar (Hoffskeller). Then you'll have two choices of sightseeing. On one, explore Würzburg's Old Town with a local guide; tour more of the Residenz (it was built and decorated by an international team of architects, painters, and sculptors); see the ornate Alte Mainbrücke (a bridge over the River Main); and spend some time on your own. Alternatively, depart on an excursion to the nearby town of Rothenburg; nestled on Germany's "Romantic Road," it lives up to its reputation as Europe's "most perfect fairy-tale town." View its Gothic cathedral, towered walls and gabled houses on a walking tour, and enjoy some time at leisure. Both groups will return to the riverboat for dinner aboard ship followed by entertainment.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 7 (Fri, Jul 31, 2020): Bamberg, Germany

Your riverboat cruises along the Main to the Bavarian town of Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated atop seven hills. Discover the town’s lovely gardens, medieval architecture and 13th-century Gothic cathedral with its four imposing towers on a guided walking tour of Old Town, or choose a bicycling excursion around Bamberg, suitable for fit and experience cyclists. Enjoy dinner back aboard the riverboat this evening.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8 (Sat, Aug 01, 2020): Nürnberg, Germany

Your cruise arrives this morning in historic Nürnberg, where you'll have a choice of a walking tour through Nürnberg’s medieval ramparts to the Imperial Castle and the old city, or view the Courthouse, Zeppelinfeld rally grounds, and other sites associated with World War II and its aftermath, and visit the Documentation Center. Your riverboat negotiates the Main-Danube Canal today, which ultimately links the North Sea with the Black Sea – and which you'll learn all about from a local expert during your transit. The idea goes back as far as Charlemagne, but wasn't realized until this canal was completed in the 1990s; pass through 16 locks as the waterway traverses the mountains. Dinner is aboard the riverboat this evening, with music and dancing to follow in the lounge.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 9 (Sun, Aug 02, 2020): Regensburg, Germany

With its roots as a Roman encampment on the Danube, the quintessential Bavarian town of Regensburg is home to more than 1,400 original historic buildings. Walking here is a delight and is the only way to view the sights up-close. A local guide will lead the way as you see the town’s 12th-century Steinerne Brücke (Germany’s oldest surviving stone bridge), the 15th-century Altes Rathaus (Town Hall), the towering Dom St. Peter, and the remains of the Roman wall. Visit the princely house of Thurn und Taxis on a guided tour, followed by free time. Enjoy an onboard musical performance by a local quartet before your ship sets off for Passau.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 10 (Mon, Aug 03, 2020): Passau, Germany

The riverboat docks in the port city of Passau, dating way back to Roman times. Today, you have the choice of a walking tour revealing the Baroque treasures of this lovely riverside town, known for its stained glass and its many churches – including St. Stephan's Cathedral, home to the largest pipe organ outside of the U.S., and the biggest cathedral organ in the world (inside cathedral visit may not be available on all departures); a cycling excursion around Passau, suitable for more experienced riders; or a full-day excursion to the lovely Austrian city of Salzburg, birthplace of W.A. Mozart (and setting of The Sound of Music). Back aboard the riverboat this afternoon and evening, listen to commentary from your Tauck Director as you continue your cruise, bound for Melk, Austria. Tonight, enjoy a musical performance by a classical trio.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 11 (Tue, Aug 04, 2020):

Your next destination is the town of Melk, Austria, where you'll step back in time on a guided tour of its 900-year-old Benedictine Abbey, perched on a rocky outcrop above the river. Inside this Baroque masterpiece are fine frescoes, early manuscripts, and a high altar. Back aboard the riverboat, enjoy views of castles, vineyards, small towns, monasteries and medieval ruins while cruising through the Wachau Valley toward the magnificent Austrian capital city of Vienna. Tonight, a Tauck Exclusive – a private, gala evening in a Baroque palace in the heart of the city, featuring a sumptuous dinner and live entertainment – just might sweep you off your feet!


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 12 (Wed, Aug 05, 2020): Vienna, Austria

Get an overview of Vienna, Austria's capital and one of Europe's greatest cities, with a morning sightseeing tour of this historic former capital of the Habsburg Empire. Take your choice of a tour of Schönbrunn Palace, built to rival Versailles, or a guided visit to the Sisi Museum and the amazing Imperial Apartments inside the Hofburg, the Habsburgs' former Imperial palace that today is the official residence of Austria's president. Explore the city as you wish this afternoon, or return to the riverboat; dinner is aboard ship tonight.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 13 (Thu, Aug 06, 2020): Bratislava, Slovakia

Depart Vienna after breakfast, and spend the morning cruising to Slovakia. Arrive early afternoon in Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, where 17 centuries of history are chronicled on a walking tour led by a local guide. Highlights include Baroque palaces from the Habsburg era, along with St. Martin's Cathedral, the Opera House, Slovak Philharmonic Hall, and a visit to Old Town Hall. This evening, enjoy a taste of Slovakia with a Slovak dinner followed by entertainment aboard the riverboat; set off for Budapest tonight.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 14 (Fri, Aug 07, 2020): Budapest, Hungary

Your remarkable riverboat voyage from the North Sea to the Black Sea cruises into Budapest, Hungary's capital, today – themid-point of your grand European river cruise. Standing on opposite banks of the Danube, Budapest’s two distinct sections – Buda and Pest – were once independent cities. Explore the Pest section on a day of sightseeing that includes views of patriotic Heroes’ Square, dominated by statues of great leaders from Hungarian history; City Park; and Central Market Hall. The afternoon is free to explore.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 15 (Sat, Aug 08, 2020): Budapest, Hungary

Sightseeing in the city's Buda section today includes the Hungarian Parliament building, a 19th-century neo-Gothic masterpiece on the Danube (when open); and Fisherman’s Bastion, standing watch like a sentinel over the river. After spending some time exploring as you please, board your Tauck riverboat to continue your cruise along the lower Danube River. 


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 16 (Sun, Aug 09, 2020):

Arrive in Mohacs this morning and travel to Pécs for a walking tour. Here you’ll also explore the fascinating Christian Necropolis, a complex dating back to the 4th century that includes underground burial chambers and chapels adorned with early Christian art and frescoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the 19th century, Pécs was famous worldwide for the exquisite Zsolnay porcelain manufactured here, and your visit includes a stop at the Zsolnay Museum for a look at its stunning examples of Art Nouveau stoneware, tiles and pottery. Visit a winery in Villány for lunch (this region is renowned for its red wines) then return to Mohacs for dinner aboard ship.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 17 (Mon, Aug 10, 2020):

Your riverboat exploration of the lower Danube cruises into Croatia; an onboard lecture by a local expert provides insights into the country's culture and history. Dock in the Baroque city of Vukovar, once showcasing opulent 18th-century mansions, but now poignantly symbolizing the effects of the 1990s war as it rebuilds; visit the home of a Vukovar family who have recently returned to resume their lives in the city after the conflict, who will share homemade refreshments with you. Reboard your riverboat for lunch and cruise to Novi Sad, Serbia, enhanced by commentary by your Tauck Directors. You'll have a little free time this evening to explore Novi Sad before your cruise continues to Belgrade.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 18 (Tue, Aug 11, 2020): Belgrade, Serbia

Dock in Belgrade, Serbia’s eclectic, cosmopolitan capital at the juncture of the Danube and Sava rivers. You can choose to spend the morning touring the "New Belgrade" section of the city by bicycle with a local guide (you'll need to be comfortable riding a bicycle in a city environment); or join our local guides for a city tour that includes visits to Tito’s Memorial and the formidable Kalemegdan Fortress, and views of busy Slavija Square (now one of the city’s major squares, but once a large pool where residents hunted wild ducks!), Parliament, Republic Square and City Hall. After lunch onboard, you have the afternoon free to spend as you please. Following onboard entertainment by Serbian performers during cocktail hour, you'll return to shore for this evening's sparkling Tauck Exclusive – dinner at the Royal White Palace of the Serbian Royal Family in Belgrade, built in the 1930s for members of the Yugoslavian royal family and set within the same complex as the Royal Palace of Dedinje, today home to HRH Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia and his family.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 19 (Wed, Aug 12, 2020):

Relax on a day's cruise past the fields and vineyards of Eastern Europe; shipboard activities which may be offered throughout your cruise range from cooking demonstrations to folkloric, music and dance performances. Pass into Romania and through the Kazan Narrows and the Iron Gate of the Danube, a two-mile-long series of narrow gorges between the Carpathian and Balkan mountain ranges. As you glide along the Bulgarian / Serbian border, look for the massive monument to the 2nd-century Dacian King Decebalus – Europe's tallest rock sculpture, completed in 2004, carved into the riverbank on the Romanian side – as well as spectacular views of the Transylvanian Alps.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 20 (Thu, Aug 13, 2020):

Your journey along the lower Danube cruises to Bulgaria; largely off limits during four centuries of Ottoman rule and decades behind the Iron Curtain, the country's rich natural beauty and history is yours to discover today. Disembark after lunch in Ruse – often referred to as “Little Vienna” for its Art Nouveau homes, Austro-Hungarian architecture and lively cafés – for a choice of afternoon sightseeing. You may join us for a guided walking tour of Ruse, or a beautiful (but challenging) hike to the celebrated Rock Churches in the village of Ivanovo, whose stony chambers carved into steep, cliffside caves reveal stunning medieval frescoes inside; a visit is richly rewarding.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 21 (Fri, Aug 14, 2020):

Depart the riverboat in the key Black Sea port city of Constanta, Romania, for a tour of what originally was the ancient Greek colony of Tomis and home to numerous Greek and Roman antiquities; sights include an Art-Nouveau casino, and a monument to the Roman poet Ovid, who was exiled here by the Emperor Augustus. Then it’s on to Mamaia, the largest seaside resort on the Black Sea, for lunch and time at leisure to enjoy the beach before returning to the riverboat for the last night of your cruise. Join us for the ship’s farewell reception and dinner this evening as the riverboat spends the night in Constanta.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 22 (Sat, Aug 15, 2020): Bucharest, Romania

Disembark your riverboat in Constanta and travel to Bucharest, capital of Romania and once regarded as the "Paris of the Balkans." A sightseeing tour of city landmarks includes Revolution Square and the Triumphal Arch; erected to commemorate Romania’s reunification and those who fell in World War I, it is a smaller but otherwise exact copy of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Lunch in the Old Town, the city’s charming historic center; a former enclave of artisans and merchants in the 16th century, it’s now a trendy district of old inns, antique shops, galleries, and cafes, riddled with winding networks of vaulted cellars, cobblestone streets and passageways. Settle in for the next two nights at the JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel in the heart of the city; if you wish, have dinner at the hotel tonight, or choose to enjoy a lunch or dinner at the hotel at another time during your stay.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 23 (Sun, Aug 16, 2020): Bucharest, Romania

A choice of sightseeing today echoes the legacy of 15th-century Romanian prince Vlad Tepes (a.k.a. "Vlad the Impaler"), thought to be the historical model for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. You may choose to take a full-day excursion to Transylvania’s 14th-century Bran Castle, which Tepes once used as a fortress during his military campaigns; the excursion includes a brief walk and lunch in Brasov. Or you can opt for a trip to Targoviste to see the ruins of Tepes' palace, including its imposing watchtower, restored in the 19th century; you'll also visit the army barracks (now a museum) where Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was tried and executed in 1989. Your third option today is an excursion into the Carpathian Mountains and Transylvania for a visit to Peles Castle and Sinaia, with lunch at a local restaurant and a return to Bucharest for free time and dinner as you please.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 24 (Mon, Aug 17, 2020): Bucharest, Romania

Discover more of Romania's capital on a morning sightseeing tour, ending in Bucharest's Old Town. Following an afternoon spent pursuing what interests you most in the city, join us this evening as we travel to a Tauck Exclusive at the massive Palace of Parliament (a.k.a. the People’s Palace), built by dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu to be the center of political power in the capital; the Soviet-style white marble complex, 12 stories high, with over a thousand rooms and four underground levels, is the world’s largest building after the Pentagon, and some parts of it are still unfinished! An introductory tour concludes with a special farewell reception and dinner at the ubiquitous Palace, complete with musical entertainment.


Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 25 (Tue, Aug 18, 2020): Bucharest, Romania

Tour ends: Bucharest, Romania. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from the JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel to Bucharest Henri Coanda International Airport and Bucuresti Gara de Nord; please allow 3 hours for flight check-in at the airport.


Meals Included: Breakfast

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-342-0019

Inclusions

Travel like the royals of old on our grand eastern European river cruises combining Amsterdam to Budapest by Riverboat with Budapest to the Black Sea to create an unforgettable 25-day experience through the heart of Europe.This remarkable voyage virtually links the North Sea to the Black Sea via the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers, taking you through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. Glide past grand cathedrals, medieval monasteries, and historic citadels – as well as through the Main-Danube Canal and the Iron Gate of the Danube. Tauck’s private, inclusive shore excursions take in many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and in-depth exploration of cities including Amsterdam, Köln, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Belgrade and Bucharest. It's the ultimate European river cruise... with the Tauck Difference!

  • TAUCK EXCLUSIVE - A private Imperial Evening at a traditional palace in Vienna featuring dinner and Viennese performers
  • All gratuities to ship staff, drivers, local guides, Tauck Directors and Tauck Cruise Director
  • Tauck's private shore excursions and distinctive inclusions valued at $4,360
  • In Amsterdam, a guided tour of the famed Rijksmuseum, home to many masterpieces
  • Day exploring Nürnberg, the walled medieval town whose history is forever intertwined with World War II

OR Call Us For a Free Quote 1-800-342-0019

Ship Information

MS Esprit


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Cabins

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Life on Board

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Questions & Answers

Question: Will the day-by-day itinerary change?

Yes, the river cruise itineraries may change due to reasons such as inclement weather or unforeseen events. Your safety is the number one concern aboard and all precautions necessary will be taken in order to ensure passenger safety, including changing itineraries. Please note that when itineraries do change, the ship staff will do their best to substitute any missed port with an alternative destination.

Question: In what language is the river cruise conducted?

The river cruise will be conducted in English only.


AffordableTours.com is a travel agent for Tauck. Brochure Price is based on the itinerary's highest brochure price. Our price reflects our base price for the same departure as Brochure Price. All prices, itineraries, accommodations and dates are subject to change without notice and at any time. All prices are USD per person and based on double occupancy. Availability is limited and must be reconfirmed at time of booking. All prices change frequently and our website prices are not guaranteed until a deposit has been received by us. The prices on our website are intended to serve as a guide only and may not accurately reflect current prices. We are not responsible for errors, omissions, or changes in these prices until a booking has been confirmed by one of our agents. Please call us toll free at 1-800-342-0019 to confirm current prices and availability. Prices listed are per person, cruise only, and based on double occupancy.

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