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The Heartland of Europe: Cruising the Rhine, Main & Danube (2017)
Limited to 24 guests
Days: 17 | From: $9,945 (was $10,195)
Day 1: ARRIVE AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND
Arrive in Amsterdam, where you are met and transferred to your hotel. Tonight, join your Resident Tour Director for a welcome dinner, exclusive to Connections guests.
Park Hotel | Meals: D
Day 2: VOLENDAM & EDAM / Dutch Charms
Join your small group, driving by private vehicle to the fishing town of Volendam to experience its folk culture. Continue to nearby Edam for a specially arranged cheese tasting. Return to Amsterdam and take a city tour and scenic canal cruise. Board your beautiful ship with priority embarkation. Take some time to settle into your premium cabin or suite, opening to a French or walk-out balcony. Later, relax over a welcome cocktail, served before dinner.
Day 3: AMSTERDAM / Getting to Know Van Gogh
Meet your small group for an exclusive guided tour of the Van Gogh Museum. Tonight, enjoy a private pre-dinner cocktail party in the ship’s Amadeus Club, hosted by your Resident Tour Director, just for Connections guests.
Day 4: COLOGNE, GERMANY / Gothic Cathedral
Join your small group for a Connections-exclusive walking tour of Cologne. See the cathedral and Roman-German Museum. Enjoy local fare during lunch ashore, unique to Connections guests. Then, drive to Bonn, former capital of West Germany. Pay a Connections-only visit to the Beethoven House and explore the city. Return to your ship.
Day 5: OBERWESEL / The Enchanting Rhine
Cruise the Rhine Gorge, passing hilltop castles, terraced vineyards and charming villages. This afternoon, dock in Oberwesel and stroll its scenic streets.
Day 6: SCHLOSS MESPELBRUNN / Medieval Moated Castle
Arrive midday in Miltenberg. Take a walking tour of the historic old town. Then, pay a Connections-exclusive visit to Schloss Mespelbrunn in the thick of the Spessart Forest. It is home to the modern-day Counts of Ingelheim-Echter.
Day 7: WÜRZBURG / Baroque Palace
In Würzburg, join your small group for a Connections-exclusive tour of the 18th-century Residenz. Then, quench your thirst with a brewery tour and beer tasting, just for Connections guests, before cruising again this afternoon.
Day 8: BAMBERG / On the Main-Danube Canal
Arrive in Bamberg. Join your Resident Tour Director for a walking tour of the old quarter, with its ornate Gothic cathedral and curious Altes Rathaus (town hall). Take a tour and attend a private, Connections-exclusive concert at Wernsdorf Palace. Later, hear an onboard lecture on the Main-Danube Canal, which you begin cruising this evening.
Day 9: NUREMBERG / An Exclusive Art Bunker Tour
Disembark for a day in Nuremberg, walking through the altstadt (old town). View the Palace of Justice and castle with its 900-year-old ramparts. Privately tour a World War II art bunker, a Connections exclusive, and see the Documentation Center Museum. Back on board tonight, sit down to a private dinner featuring a special Chef’s Highlights menu.
Day 10: REGENSBURG / Folk Entertainment
Visit the Palace of St. Emmeram for a private tour with your intimate Connections group. After time at leisure in Regensburg, explore the city and cathedral on foot. Tonight, enjoy Bavarian music on board.
Day 11: PASSAU / City of Three Rivers
Step ashore for a small-group city walk in Passau. Only with Connections, visit Veste Oberhaus.
Day 12: MELK & DÜRNSTEIN, AUSTRIA / Historic Abbey
Pay an intimate visit to 900-year-old Melk Abbey. See Schloss Artstetten, Franz Ferdinand’s final resting place and the home of his great-granddaughter, exclusive to Connections guests, followed by an off-ship lunch in Maria Taferl. Drive to Dürnstein, with time to taste local wines and stroll the streets with your Resident Tour Director.
Day 13: VIENNA / City of Mozart and Strauss
Visit Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace to see how apple strudel is made. Drive to the Ringstrasse and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Have lunch on your own (or included aboard ship). After tonight's Connections-exclusive dinner ashore, attend a Sound of Vienna concert in the Kursalon, with upgraded Category A seating.
Day 14: BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA / St. Martin’s Cathedral
Arrive in Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava. Join your private guide and fellow Connections guests as you explore its old quarter, including St. Martin’s Cathedral and Grassalkovich Palace. After lunch, visit the Imperial Festival Palace Hof and privately tour its secret passages and cellar vaults. Tonight, join the captain on board for a gala dinner.
Day 15: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY / Evening Danube Cruise
Tour Buda and Pest with insight from your expert Connections guide. See Heroes Square, climb the Fisherman's Bastion and hear a Connections-exclusive mini-concert at Hungarian State Opera House. Visit the Great Synagogue and its Holocaust Memorial. Then, meet a Buda resident for lunch in the gardens of her villa, planned specially for Connections guests. Later, cruise the Danube through Budapest beneath the Chain Bridge, and enjoy a Hungarian folklore program on board.
Day 16: SZENTENDRE / Enclave of Hungarian Art
Set out on a Connections-exclusive morning excursion to Szentendre, a lively artists’ town. This afternoon, explore Budapest at your leisure. This evening, gather with fellow guests for a farewell dinner.
Continental Hotel Budapest | Meals: B D
Day 17: DEPART BUDAPEST
Transfer to Budapest airport for your flight.
NOTE: Jun 12 and Aug 11 departures run in reverse, Budapest to Amsterdam, and timing and sightseeing vary. For the Jun 12 departure, the concert in Budapest will be at the Hungarian State Opera House (as per Day 15 above); for the Aug 11 departure, the concert in Budapest will be at Vigadó Palace, Buda's first concert hall. Contact A&K for details. High or low water levels may impact sailing and require changes to the itinerary.