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Cruising the Legendary Rivers of Europe

15 Day
Between Budapest and Amsterdam
Rhine, Danube, Main
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$7,995
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Cruising the Legendary Rivers of Europe  - 15 day
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Experience the cultural treasures and enchanting landscapes of five European countries as we cruise along some of the continent’s most scenic rivers: the Danube, Main, and Rhine. On board the elegant Scenic Ruby, glide from stately cities to medieval towns, and explore castle-crowned river valleys blanketed in grapevines. Encounter relics of Europe’s greatest empires—from the Romans and Austro-Hungarians to the Dutch—and delve into World War II history in fascinating cities like Nuremberg, Salzburg, and Budapest. Along the way, savor the continent’s culinary delights and rich musical heritage.

These departures will be accompanied by a National Geographic expert who will give talks throughout the week and join guests on off-ship excursions. Additionally, on Europe departures, a National Geographic photographer will be on board to share techniques and help guests hone their photography skills. We’ve added extra choice excursions as well, from hikes and bike rides to in-depth learning experiences that focus on the natural world, culture, and history.

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* From price is for a 29 May 2019 departure. For a full list of pricing and availability, please see below. All prices are per person, twin share in USD, based on two guests sharing. Terms and conditions apply and we reserve the right to withdraw our offers at any time. Please note, the ship operating a particular cruise is subject to change.
View your 15 day itinerary
Day 1

Arrive in Budapest and embark the Scenic Ruby. Enjoy a welcome dinner on board, complete with views of the city’s grand buildings glittering under the night sky.

Meals included: Dinner
Day 2
Budapest

Freechoice: Discover the two distinct sides of this Hungarian capital—the cobbled hills of Buda and the grand boulevards of Pest, linked by eight stately bridges that span the Danube. Climb historic Castle Hill to see the Royal Palace and Matthias Church, the stunning setting for the coronations and weddings of the Habsburg royalty. Alternatively, choose to soak in one of the city’s traditional bathhouses, or descend into the Hospital in the Rock, a secret subterranean military hospital used during World War II.  If you wish, set out on a guided walk in the Buda hills, hiking up to Lions Rock.

Freechoice

Discover the two distinct sides of this Hungarian capital—the cobbled hills of Buda and the grand boulevards of Pest, linked by eight stately bridges that span the Danube. Climb historic Castle Hill to see the Royal Palace and Matthias Church, the stunning setting for the coronations and weddings of the Habsburg royalty. Alternatively, choose to soak in one of the city’s traditional bathhouses, or descend into the Hospital in the Rock, a secret subterranean military hospital used during World War II.  If you wish, set out on a guided walk in the Buda hills, hiking up to Lions Rock.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3
Vienna, Austria

Cruise the Danube toward Vienna, tracing the border of Hungary and Slovakia before crossing into Austria. Relax in the lounge in views of colorful waterfront towns and hilltop fortifications.

Enrich

This evening arrive in Vienna for a private concert in the gilded halls of the Palais Liechtenstein, featuring the timeless music of celebrated Austrian composers Strauss and Mozart.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4
Vienna or Bratislava, Slovakia

Freechoice: Choose from among several excursions today. Bike between Vienna’s magnificent palaces, parks, and cathedrals on a guided cycling tour; or tour the Schönbrunn Palace, the baroque summer residence of the imperial family and a World Heritage site. You may instead choose to take a guided tour of the Museum of Natural History for an inside look at its meteorite exhibit, curated by a National Geographic grantee. Alternatively, visit Bratislava for a guided tour through the cobbled streets of the old town.

Freechoice

Choose from among several excursions today. Bike between Vienna’s magnificent palaces, parks, and cathedrals on a guided cycling tour; or tour the Schönbrunn Palace, the baroque summer residence of the imperial family and a World Heritage site. You may instead choose to take a guided tour of the Museum of Natural History for an inside look at its meteorite exhibit, curated by a National Geographic grantee. Alternatively, visit Bratislava for a guided tour through the cobbled streets of the old town.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5
Melk, Austria

Freechoice: Glide into Austria’s lush Wachau Valley and dock at Melk for a tour of its Benedictine abbey, one of the world’s most magnificent baroque buildings. Or take a more active excursion, cycling along the Danube from Dürnstein to Melk or hiking to the hilltop ruins of a medieval castle. Or visit a local winery for a guided tour of the cellars and vines, followed by a tasting of the region’s celebrated Grüner Veltliners and Rieslings.

Sundowners
This evening, sip sundowners in a beautiful location in the Wachau Valley.

Freechoice

Glide into Austria’s lush Wachau Valley and dock at Melk for a tour of its Benedictine abbey, one of the world’s most magnificent baroque buildings. Or take a more active excursion, cycling along the Danube from Dürnstein to Melk or hiking to the hilltop ruins of a medieval castle. Or visit a local winery for a guided tour of the cellars and vines, followed by a tasting of the region’s celebrated Grüner Veltliners and Rieslings.

Sundowners

This evening, sip sundowners in a beautiful location in the Wachau Valley.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6
Salzburg

Enrich
Spend the day in Salzburg, a baroque beauty brimming with old-world European charm. Take in views of wildflower-dotted meadows and snow-capped Alpine peaks and stroll the storybook streets of the old town, lined with lively shops and cafés. Salzburg features prominently in the celebrated 1965 movie The Sound of Music, and we’ll see the film come to life during an exclusive music and dance show with fantastic sets performed in the rolling hills above Salzburg. Enjoy a traditional Austrian lunch as you hum along to the movie’s beloved classics.

Enrich

Spend the day in Salzburg, a baroque beauty brimming with old-world European charm. Take in views of wildflower-dotted meadows and snow-capped Alpine peaks and stroll the storybook streets of the old town, lined with lively shops and cafés. Salzburg features prominently in the celebrated 1965 movie The Sound of Music, and we’ll see the film come to life during an exclusive music and dance show with fantastic sets performed in the rolling hills above Salzburg. Enjoy a traditional Austrian lunch as you hum along to the movie’s beloved classics.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7
Regensburg, Germany

Freechoice: A World Heritage site set at the confluence of the Danube, Naab, and Regen rivers, Regensburg once served as a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire. On a guided visit, venture into the medieval center to see its splendid Gothic cathedral, 12th-century stone bridge, and the Porta Praetoria—the ancient Roman city gate. Alternatively, tour the historic Kuchlbauer Brewery and its whimsical tower—a tribute to modern art. Or take a local ferry across the Danube Gorge to Weltenburg Abbey, home to the world’s oldest monastic brewery. Explore the abbey, then head to the courtyard and sip on a pint of their popular Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel. If you wish, join a biking tour to Walhalla, a hall of fame of famous Germans honoring artists, politicians, scientists and more.

Freechoice

A World Heritage site set at the confluence of the Danube, Naab, and Regen rivers, Regensburg once served as a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire. On a guided visit, venture into the medieval center to see its splendid Gothic cathedral, 12th-century stone bridge, and the Porta Praetoria—the ancient Roman city gate. Alternatively, tour the historic Kuchlbauer Brewery and its whimsical tower—a tribute to modern art. Or take a local ferry across the Danube Gorge to Weltenburg Abbey, home to the world’s oldest monastic brewery. Explore the abbey, then head to the courtyard and sip on a pint of their popular Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel. If you wish, join a biking tour to Walhalla, a hall of fame of famous Germans honoring artists, politicians, scientists and more.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8
Nuremberg

Threaded by medieval walls, crammed with half-timbered houses, and overlooked by an imperial castle, Nuremburg enjoys an abundance of charms—thanks in part to the meticulous reconstruction of the historic center following wartime devastation. The city also played center stage for German propaganda in the years leading up to World War II, and was the site of the historic trials where Nazi war criminals were brought to justice.

Freechoice

Later, choose between touring the city’s World War II sites, bicycling along Ludwig Canal, or joining a cooking class.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9
Bamberg

Disembark in enchanting Bamberg, where the entire old town has been distinguished as a World Heritage site. This architectural treasure sits where rolling hills descend into the Regnitz River valley, and is intersected by the serene flow of the Main-Danube Canal. Take a guided walk along Bamberg’s medieval streets to discover its colorful frescoes, covered bridges, and elaborate baroque buildings.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10
Würzburg

Freechoice: Explore Würzburg, a city set at the junction of two ancient trade routes, and enjoy a guided tour of its 18th-century Residenz—one of Germany’s most magnificent baroque buildings and a World Heritage site. Or take a ride along the Romantic Road, winding through bucolic scenery and red-roofed towns en route to the postcard-perfect Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Walk the town’s medieval ramparts and snap photos of its sherbet-shaded houses before returning to Würzburg.

Freechoice

Explore Würzburg, a city set at the junction of two ancient trade routes, and enjoy a guided tour of its 18th-century Residenz—one of Germany’s most magnificent baroque buildings and a World Heritage site. Or take a ride along the Romantic Road, winding through bucolic scenery and red-roofed towns en route to the postcard-perfect Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Walk the town’s medieval ramparts and snap photos of its sherbet-shaded houses before returning to Würzburg.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11
On the Main

on board today as you take in the scenery along the Main River. From the comfort of the lounge, spy castles of all kinds, from medieval ruins intertwined with forest foliage to perfectly preserved Bavarian palaces. We’ll pass through the heart of Frankfurt before joining the Rhine in Mainz.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12
Rüdesheim am Rhein

Ride into Rüdesheim on the Winzerexpress mini-train set out to explore the city or the surrounding Rheingau wine region.

Freechoice

Enjoy a guided visit to Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet, home to elaborate self-playing musical instruments. Then get a bird’s-eye view of the Rhine on a cable car ride to the Niederwald Monument—built to commemorate the 1871 unification of Germany. Or set out on a hike amid the vineyards of the Middle Rhine Valley, another World Heritage-designated region.

Enrich

Soak up the enchanting ambience of Marksburg Castle during an unforgettable medieval feast featuring local wines.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13
Cologne

Cruise through the Middle Rhine Valley to Cologne, a hub for visual arts and an architectural mosaic of Romanesque churches, modernist museums, and Gothic spires.

Freechoice

Take a walking tour of the city and its World Heritage-listed cathedral, Or enjoy a guided visit to the Neanderthal Museum in nearby Mettmann, Alternatively, stay on board for a culinary experience.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 14
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

With its gabled roofs, squares cluttered with bicycles, and canal-lined streets, Amsterdam is bursting with unique character.

Freechoice

See this timeless city from the water during a canal cruise, and hear from your guide about its fascinating history as a center for art and seafaring trade. Or enjoy a guided visit to the Rijksmuseum, named by National Geographic as one of the world’s “Top Ten Museums and Galleries.” Alternatively, opt to ride bikes through the outskirts of the city or head to Zaanse Schans in the countryside, where we’ll see historic rural houses and a cluster of Dutch windmills.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 15
Amsterdam

After breakfast, transfer to the airport to catch your flight home.

Please note: Itinerary is subject to change.

Meals included: Breakfast
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All prices are per person, twin share in USD based on two guests sharing.
Optional pre and post land tours
Discover even more by adding an optional escorted land tour or city extension before or after your departure. We have curated a number of choices for you to choose from to tailor make your itinerary.

Cruising the Legendary Rivers of Europe

Cruise Departures
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Enjoy more time in Europe with a Pre-Cruise stay in Prague
3 nights
Prague
Rhine and Rhone

Your journey into wonder begins in Prague.  Enjoy three nights at one of our luxurious hotels located in the city center, the perfect location to explore Old Town, the Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle complex.

Departing 26 May 2019
From † $900
Call us free today on 855 430 4464
† From price is for a 26 May 2019 departure. For a full list of pricing and availability, please see below. All prices are per person, twin share in USD, based on two guests sharing. Terms and conditions apply and we reserve the right to withdraw our offers at any time. Please note, the ship operating a particular cruise is subject to change.


Enjoy more time in Europe with a Post-Cruise stay in Paris
3 nights
Paris
Seine

Your journey into wonder begins in Prague. Enjoy three nights at one of our luxurious hotels located in the city center, the perfect location to explore Old Town, the Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle complex

Departing 29 May 2019
From † $1,895
Call us free today on 855 430 4464
† From price is for a 29 May 2019 departure. For a full list of pricing and availability, please see below. All prices are per person, twin share in USD, based on two guests sharing. Terms and conditions apply and we reserve the right to withdraw our offers at any time. Please note, the ship operating a particular cruise is subject to change.
National Geographic Expert (May 29-June 12 departure)
Meet Mark Baker

Mark Baker is a freelance journalist and travel writer based in Prague. He has written articles on the Czech Republic and Austria for National Geographic Traveler magazine. Mark has also authored more than a dozen guidebooks on Eastern and Central Europe for publishers such as Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, and Fodor’s, and has written for BBC World News, the Wall Street Journal, and Wanderlust. Before embarking on a freelance career, Mark worked as a correspondent for The Economist Group, Bloomberg News, and Radio Free Europe. When he’s not traveling, Mark teaches courses in journalism and Central European history at Anglo-American University in Prague.

National Geographic Photographer (May 29-June 12 departure)
Meet Dave Yoder

Dave Yoder is photojournalist focusing on human interest projects. Yoder was born in Indiana, but grew up on the foot of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, where he kept pet monkeys and mongooses. Most recently, he has been living in Europe for over a decade. As a contributing photographer to National Geographic and National Geographic Travelermagazines, his assignments have included the August 2015 cover story on Pope Francis and the Vatican, photographing a lost city in the Mosquitia jungle of Honduras, the high-tech search for a lost Leonardo da Vinci painting, uncovering the architectural mystery of the Brunelleschi Cupola in Florence, and documenting the largest ground-based telescope (ALMA) in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Dave has photographed numerous travel stories in Europe, including a Budapest to Vienna project for the New York Times. National Geographic Traveler assignments have taken him to places such as Ireland, Rome, Sardinia, and Milan as well as to Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, and beyond. He also has taught workshops in Prague and Paris. Yoder’s photo essay on bounty hunters was exhibited at the famed Visa Pour l'Image in Perpignan, France, and his work has appeared in other worldwide publications, such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, and Forbes.

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