Day 1 - Monday, October 09:
Evening departure from Toronto on Air Canada service to Prague via Frankfurt. Full inflight services including dinner, entertainment and a hot snack onboard.
Day 2 - Tuesday, October 10:
Arrival in Prague and transfer to the centrally located Hotel Rott. Time to settle in before being met by your private guide for a walking orientation tour of the area around the hotel including the Municipal House, the Old Town Square and, of course, the Charles Bridge. Welcome cocktail followed by a group dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 3 - Wednesday, October 11:
This morning transfer by public transit (fare included) to the Castle district of Prague for a guided walking tour including a visit to the Strahov Monastery, the Loretto and Saint Vitus Cathedral. Following the tour you are free to stay and enjoy a leisurely lunch or take in more of the sites such as the Lubkowitz Palace with its amazing collection of art, furniture and china, St. George’s Basilica or the Golden Lane. Dinner tonight will be typical Czech specialties at a local beer hall complete with oom-pah-pah music.
Day 4 - Thursday, October 12:
Today after breakfast you are joined by your guide for a walk through the Jewish Quarter of Prague. Balance of the day free for individual activities. No group dinner tonight.
Day 5 - Friday, October 13:
Transfer from our hotel to our ship, Viking Var, in Nuremburg, the second largest city in Bavaria. After boarding, free time to explore the ship or join our “welcome walk” to stretch your legs and start getting oriented. Dinner on board.
Day 6 - Saturday, October 14:
Your morning tour of Nuremberg includes the ruins of Zeppelin Field, the Nazi parade grounds of the 1930s, and the Palace of Justice, the venerable vestige of the Nuremberg Trials. You have a brief stop at the main courthouse before walking from the imperial palace grounds, past the Albrecht Dürer House and on to the Main Market Square of Old Town, enclosed within ancient city walls.
After lunch aboard your ship, join a lively and entertaining discussion of the European Union as you sail through the locks that comprise the Main–Danube Canal. An engineering marvel, the canal stretches 106 miles from Bamberg on the Main River to Kelheim on the Danube, enabling river travel from the North Sea to the Black Sea. Dinner is served aboard while we cruise through the night.
Day 7 - Sunday, October 15:
This morning, meet your guide dockside for a walking tour through the scenic town of Regensburg, considered one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval cities. See one of the largest groupings of 13th- and 14th-century church spires, towers and patrician houses north of the Alps. You also encounter the 12th-century Old Stone Bridge, St. Peter’s Cathedral and a number of idyllic courtyards. Take time to stroll the streets or to shop. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time.
This afternoon, spend more time in Regensburg, perhaps visiting Germany’s oldest restaurant, the Alte Würstküche. Or, choose an optional excursion to Kelheim at the southernmost point of the Main–Danube Canal. Travel by road to Kelheim, and then cast off on a ferryboat ride to explore the 400-foot chalk cliffs and dramatic scenery of the Danube Narrows. You also visit the renowned Weltenburg Abbey*, famous for its dark ale, brewed here by monks since 1050. Rejoin your ship for dinner and cruise through the night.
Day 8 - Monday, October 16:
Arrive this morning in Passau, at the confluence of the Inn, Ilz and Danube Rivers. Your guided walk along the town’s narrow streets takes you through Old Town and past traditional patrician houses. You’ll see the New Bishop’s Residence and visit the impressive baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral with its ornate interior. Inside, you are treated to a special concert played on the 17,000-pipe organ, considered Europe’s largest church organ. Enjoy lunch aboard your ship, and return to the city for further exploration on your own before departing. We cruise through the night.
Day 9 - Tuesday, October 17:
This morning, cruise leisurely through the captivating Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Taste some local Austrian specialties as you spot attractive riverside towns and castle ruins along the way. After lunch, explore the time-honored town of Krems and see the Steiner Tor, the last remaining city gate. Visit Göttweig, a working Benedictine abbey that owns many of the vineyards along the Danube. The splendid ceiling fresco in the imperial stairwell is one of the largest in the world. Visit the church, a masterpiece of baroque architecture. Rejoin your ship and continue cruising through the splendid Wachau Valley. Arrive in Vienna after dinner and enjoy a relaxing evening, or you may choose to attend an optional concert in the “City of Waltzes.”
Day 10 - Wednesday, October 18:
Today we tour the Austrian capital of Vienna. Ride along the Ringstrasse, which replaced the city walls in the mid-19th century. See some of the city’s baroque architecture, including the world-famous Opera House, St. Stephan’s Cathedral and Hofburg Palace. Return to your ship for lunch. The rest of the day is yours to further explore. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Or you may take an optional tour to Schönbrunn Palace, the “Versailles of Vienna,” erected in 1778 and graced by a number of formal gardens, Grecian statuary, the world’s oldest zoo and Roman ruins. Dinner is served aboard.
Day 11 - Thursday, October 19:
Arrive in Budapest, Hungary’s vibrant capital divided by the Danube River. Take a panoramic city tour through the more modern Pest side of the city. Journey along Andrássy Avenue and see the 19th- and 20th-century mansions, National Opera House, Parliament Building and Chain Bridge. Stop in Heroes’ Square to learn more about Hungarian history, then cross the Danube to Buda’s Castle District. Walk up the hill to Fishermen’s Bastion and Matthias Church; enjoy brilliant views of the city below. Return to your ship for lunch and the rest of the day is yours to explore both sides of the city.
Day 12 - Friday, October 20:
After breakfast, we leave the ship and board our coach and transfer to the Parliament Buildings for a guided tour of the interior. Following our visit you continue to the Square of Heroes for a photo opportunity before transferring to the hotel. Tonight we have arranged for a dinner of local specialties at a restaurant not far from the hotel.
Day 13 - Saturday, October 21:
Early morning breakfast followed by transfer to the airport for our return flight to Toronto via Frankfurt.