Splendours of Europe 2021 Emerald Cruises River Cruise
In just 15 days, you’ll have the chance to experience many of Europe’s highlights in one seamless journey along the continent’s wonderful waterways. As you sail along the epic Rhine and the fantastic Main and Danube rivers, you’ll weave through the most stunning landscapes sprinkled with charming churches, story-book castles and vine-covered slopes, creating the perfect backdrop for an amazing cruise. Along the way, we take you on a voyage of discovery to a variety of imperial cities including Cologne, Vienna and Budapest, giving you the opportunity to explore their vibrant culture - which is contrasted brilliantly with the rural districts of Miltenberg.
Welcome to Amsterdam, a postcard worthy destination of picturesque canals, cafes and innovative galleries that showcase contemporary art and the works of world-renowned artists, like Van Gogh and Rembrandt. You will be met and transferred fron the airport to your luxurious Emerald Cruises Star- Ship and, after boarding, will enjoy some time to explore the narrow cobbled streets and gabled houses of Amsterdam at leisure. This evening, join your fellow guests for a welcome dinner on board.
This morning, you can decide to explore the Dutch Golden Age as you board a glass top canal boat cruise to explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed canal system or enjoy a guided bike tour to Waterland.
Both excellent ways to experience the city in all its authenticity, take to its charming waterways, passing iconic buildings and elegant merchant’s residences that reflect a time when Amsterdam was one of the most lucrative ports in the world. If you are feeling more active, then explore on two wheels, cycling alongside a backdrop of historical villages and traditional windmills.
Upon returning to your ship, your first day of sailing will take you through the Dutch countryside to the Rhine River.
EmeraldACTIVE: A guided bike tour to Waterland
EmeraldEXCURSION: A canal cruise
Founded by the Romans in 50 AD, the cathedral city of Cologne is one of the oldest cities in Germany and the largest on the Rhine. The historic capital of the Rhineland, this illustrious city has been generously peppered with ancient architecture, from Roman ruins to medieval structures, despite much of the inner city being completely destroyed during WWII.
Join your local guide and explore the city, including the Old Town with its beautiful squares, historic monuments and contemporary architecture. Your tour will conclude at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cologne Cathedral, whose filigree twin towers form an iconic part of the skyline. During your free time, shop for trinkets or explore further before returning to your ship.
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided tour of Cologne’s Old Town
Today’s cruising will be a highlight of your trip, as we meander through the fairytale-like surrounds of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rhine Gorge. Hilltop castles and fortresses will be yours to admire as we sail.
We will pass the infamous Lorelai Rock, where sailors are said to have been lured onto treacherous rocks by an enchanting siren, and the impressive Pfalzgrafenstein Castle, a former stronghold.
This afternoon, arrive in Rüdesheim, a town with a vibrant wine-growing heritage. You will have a choice of either riding on the Winzerexpress and visiting Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum or, if you feel active, take a guided hike to a local vineyard to explore this section of the Rheingau wine region.
EmeraldACTIVE: An active walk through the vineyards
EmeraldEXCURSION: Visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum
Welcome to Miltenberg, a picturesque village on the Main River, which creates an inimitable feeling of Bavarian life in medieval times due to the 15th-century half-timbered buildings.
On your included walking tour, stroll down cobblestone streets that are lined with these colourful houses and view the Gothic Merchant Hall, an impressive symbol of past affluence created by trade from river traffic.
Alternatively, enjoy a guided hike through the forest to Mildenburg Castle. This iconic landmark was once lost to time and now houses a wonderful collection of contemporary art and old masters.
EmeraldACTIVE: A guided active hike to Miltenburg Castle
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided tour of Miltenberg
Known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road”, Würzburg, is a centre for grape-growing, the product of the sloping vineyard-laden hills which surround the former capital of Franconia.
The architects behind the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Würzburg Residence drew inspiration from a spectrum of different styles, including Viennese Baroque and secular features from Italy, but it was heavily damaged during WWII. Enjoy learning about how this impressive building was restored to its former glory with a guided tour.
EmeraldEXCURSION: A tour of the Würzburg Residence and Würzburg
DiscoverMORE: A tour to Rothenburg (extra expense)
This morning, relax on the Sun Deck with a drink in hand or witness the beauty of Europe’s waterways from the plush surrounds of your cabin as we cruise to Bamberg. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed town boasts one of the largest medieval centres in Europe, with around 2,400 listed buildings gracing its streets.
Feel the magic of the past as you explore the city with your local guide, marvelling at the opulence of the New Residence, once resided in by the prince bishops and now home to a plethora of old German and Baroque paintings from the Bavarian State collection. Enjoy a tranquil stroll around the Rose Garden before continuing on to the medieval Altenburg Castle.
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided tour of Bamberg
Enjoy a sightseeing coach tour of the historic city of Nuremberg. Your coach will pass by some of the historical parts of Nuremberg, such as St. John’s cemetery, Maxbrücke, before a guided walking tour and beer tasting. Enjoy time at leisure to explore Nuremberg before returning to the ship.
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided tour of Nuremberg.
DiscoverMORE: A World War II tour with Documentation Centre visit (extra expense)
This morning, you’ll sail the final stretch of the fascinating Main-Danube Canal to Regensburg. As you continue sailing down the Danube, one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval cities welcomes you with two millennia of history.
For almost 150 years, the Old Town Hall was the seat of parliament and, dating back to the 13th century, it consists of the Town Hall Tower, the Imperial Chamber building and the Town Hall. Wander the streets with your guide as the romantic narrow alleys of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town enable you to live through the city’s history, in the present.
The main highlight of your tour will be the 12th-century Stone Bridge, a medieval structure crossing the Danube. Enjoy time to explore Regensburg at leisure after your guided tour or return to your Star-Ship.
EmeraldPLUS: A Bavarian band performance
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided tour of Regensburg
Discover More: Excursion to Kuchlbauer brewery (extra expense)
Passau is a picturesque city that has been shaped by the surrounding rivers over the years, sitting right on the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz. This memorable destination is dominated by large squares, magical promenades and romantic lanes.
Cobblestone streets and graceful arcades welcome you in the beautiful city of Passau. On this morning’s walking tour, stroll through streets lined by Baroque buildings dating back to the 17th century and look at the Gothic Town Hall, Bishop’s Residence and St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a wonderful example of Baroque architecture and home to the largest church organ in Europe.
Return for lunch on board and an afternoon peacefully cruising along the Danube.
EmeraldEXCURSION: Guided Tour of Passau.
DiscoverMORE: Tour to Salzburg (extra expense) OR Tour to Cesky Krumlov (extra expense)
Situated within Austria’s wine-growing region, Melk is home to a 900-year-old Benedictine abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, which is yours to explore today during an included tour. Your guide will take you through a series of opulent rooms, each adorned with the finest Italian Baroque architecture and ornate gold leaf walls, including the ancient monastic library, renowned for its extensive collection of medieval manuscripts.
Later, the Star-Ship sails through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Wachau Valley and on to Dürnstein, one of the most enchanting villages in the Wachau wine region, where you can choose to hike to Dürnstein Castle, the site where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned after returning from the Crusades.
Alternatively, enjoy an EmeraldACTIVE guided bike ride along the Danube from Melk to Dürnstein, passing famous vineyards and quaint towns before settling down for lunch on the riverbanks.
Included excursion: Tour of Melk Abbey
EmeraldACTIVE: A guided biking tour along the Danube River from Melk to Durnstein OR A guided hike to Durnstein Castle
Austria’s breath-taking capital is recognised for its cultural legacy. As the former residence of Mozart and Beethoven, a multitude of imperial palaces represent a rich history, and the museum district boasts contemporary buildings, housing the work of some of the world’s most prolific artists.
Explore the famous sights of the Ringstrasse and Vienna’s city centre by coach and on foot, or join a guided bike tour. Marvel at the Renaissance-style arches that adorn the façades of the Opera House, the Baroque Burgtheater and the Flemish Gothic Parliament before enjoying time to explore Vienna at leisure.
EmeraldEXCURSION A guided tour of the Ringstrasse and a walking tour of Vienna
EmeraldACTIVE: Guided bike Tour.
DiscoverMORE: Exclusive Viennese concert with music from Mozart and Strauss (extra expense) AND / OR Schonbrunn Palace tour (extra expense)
Set at the crossroads of ancient trade routes in the heart of Europe, Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is a place where Baroque palaces, boutiques and cafés adorn cobblestone streets. In the morning, enjoy a sightseeing tour, including the enchanting Old City or hike to Bratislava Castle.
Your local guide will take you through the heart of the city. Pass by the botanical gardens of the Episcopal Summer Palace, the Old Town Hall and its delightful Renaissance courtyard and the Slovak National Theatre, where busts of famous composers adorn the façade. After your tour, enjoy free time to explore at leisure.
This afternoon, a local family will be happy to welcome you into their home for some great conversation over traditional sweet treats and coffee.
Included excursions: A tour of Bratislava.
EmeraldPLUS: Hosted Coffee and Cake with Slovakian Family
EmeraldACTIVE: Guided hike to Bratislava Castle.
Budapest is Eastern Europe’s liveliest and most cosmopolitan city. Divided by the iconic Danube River, Buda and Pest on either side can be reached via the Chain Bridge, one of the city’s most symbolic structures.
Enjoy a guided tour of the city, including Matthias Church in the heart of the Castle District. Alternatively, embark on a guided hike to Buda Hill, traversing winding cobblestone streets underneath the massive Baroque masterpiece that is Buda Castle.
This evening, you will enjoy a Hungarian folklore show before a traditional farewell dinner.
Included excursion: Guided Bus Tour of Budapest
EmeraldACTIVE: A guided hike to Buda Hill (active fitness level recommended)
EmeraldPLUS: Traditional Hungarian Folklore Show
DiscoverMORE: Tour to Szentendre (extra expense)
After breakfast, it is time to say farewell to your fellow guests and disembark the ship for your transfer to the airport for your onward or homebound flight, taking memories of the delightful Danube with you.
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- Free Premium Drinks Package & save up to £1,600 per couple
- Return economy flights from the UK. Call for details on regional departures.
- 14 nights in a Stateroom or Suite of your choice
- Shore excursions in every port of call, including visits to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- 3 EmeraldPLUS activities including a home-hosted afternoon tea with a local Slovakian family
- 41 on-board meals: 14 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 14 dinners including a Welcome Gala Dinner
- Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks to accompany lunch and dinner
- Complimentary tea and coffee on-board
- Complimentary bottled water in your Suite or Stateroom re-stocked daily
- A variety of on-board evening entertainment
- First-class service from English-speaking crew and knowledgeable local guides
- Complimentary Wi-Fi on-board
- All port charges, airport taxes & transfers within Europe
- All tips included, saving you up to £440 per couple