Iconic Christmas Markets River Cruise
Pilgrimage to Austria, Germany & Hungary
Spiritual Director: Fr. Kevin McCracken, C.M.
December 5 - 13, 2019
*Optional Post Tour to Prague - December 13 - 16, 2019
Your Trip Includes:
- Round-trip airfare
- Airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- AMA Waterways River Cruise
- ~ Dec 6 - 13, AmaLea Budapest to Nuremberg (see cruise inclusions)
- Prague Post Optional Pilgrimage
- ~ Dec 13 - 16, Prague, Century Old Town Prague MGallery by Sofitel
- Tour Escort & Assistance during airport transfers and during Prague optional
- English Speaking Cruise Director during Cruise (see cruise inclusions)
- Transportation by modern motor coach
- Sightseeing, admission fees per itinerary/Headsets
- Mass daily
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
- Cruise: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner daily, Wine and Beer with Lunch and Dinner on cruise (see cruise inclusions)
- Land Portion Prague: Breakfast & Dinner daily, Wine with dinners - two dinners at local restaurants including wine
- Accomodation during the cruise - AmaLea Ship
- Port charges
- All gourmet meals onboard (Early Riser Coffee and Croissants, a Rich Buffet Breakfast, a Festive Lunch Buffet, Afternoon Tea & Coffee with Cake, Cookies & Sandwiches and a Multi-Course Dinner
- Free Flowing Red and White Wine from the local regions, Beer or Soft Drinks for lunch and dinner
- Complimentary Happy Hour each night before dinner
- Choice of dining options at no additional cost including the main dining salon and an intimate Chef's Table Restaurant where the Chef prepares the meal in person
- Free Coffee, Tea, Ice Water and Ice Tea are included all day. Cappuccino, Latte and Espresso can be requested free of charge during all meals! Complimentary coffee & tea station available 24 hours a day.
- Captain's Welcome Champagne Reception and Gala Dinner and Captains Farewell Champagne Reception and Gala Dinner plus several Theme Dinners
- Bottled water, fluffy bathrobes and slippers are provided free of charge in each cabin
- Use of the Heated Swimming Pool (as equipped) on the Sun Deck and the Wellness Center inside including Fitness equipment (free of charge)
- Use of the Bicycles and helmets onboard free of charge
- Complimentary use of the internet onboard (via flat-screen TV & keyboard in each stateroom and wireless in our two lounges)
- Complimentary In Cabin Movies
- Elevator on board operating between 4 different levels: Restaurant (Level 1), Staterooms (Level 2), Lobby and Panorama Lounge (Level 3) and Staterooms (Level 4); (elevator does not go to the lowest deck or Sun deck)
- Nightly Piano Music and also during tea and coffee
- Services of our professional English Speaking Cruise Director
- Lunches while in Prague, beverages unless mentioned, tips to your guide & driver, items of a personal nature.
Thursday, December 5 | Departure from USA
Depart for your overnight flights to Budapest!
Friday, December 6 | Embarkation - Budapest, Hungary
Arrive in Budapest and embark on your luxurious river cruise ship. During the evening, cruise along Budapest's famed illuminated riverfront.
Saturday, December 7 | Budapest
Savor the beauty of Buda and Pest on opposite sides of the Danube with a city tour that showcases many highlights, including Heroes' Square and Castle Hill, home to Fisherman's Bastion and Matthias Church. In the center of it all is the Christmas Market, where you can shop for traditional Hungarian wares and delightful holiday treats.
Sunday, December 8 | Vienna, Austria
The "City of Waltzes" offers a treasure trove of gems just waiting to be discovered. Join a tour showcasing its regal splendors, such as the majestic Opera House and the former Imperial Palace of the Habsburgs before concluding in Vienna's historic city center. Afterwards, you'll visit the Rathaus (Town Hall) Christmas Market. If you prefer a more active adventure, then join a guided bike ride along the Danube. During the afternoon, visit the Karlsplatz (Artisans) Christmas Market, a local favorite, and the market at Schonbrunn Palace with a giant sparkling Christmas tree. Cap the day off with "Vienna by Night" Christmas Markets at the beautifully decorated Maria Theresaplatz Christmas Market, set amongst the world-renowned sights of Vienna's majestic Ringstrasse, and at the illuminated Rathaus, Vienna's largest Christmas Market.
Monday, December 9 | Melk
High on a rocky outcrop lies the Melk Abbey, one of Europe's most revered Baroque monasteries. Visit this magnificent Benedictine Abbey, which now houses a museum chronicling its history and a famous library with countless medieval manuscripts. Alternatively, go on a guided bike ride along the Danube and through the scenic Strudengau Valley.
Tuesday, December 10 | Passau, Germany
Join a walking tour of this 2,000 year old city, noted for its Gothic and Italian Baroque architecture and St. Stephen's Cathedral. Go in search of Bavarian-style crafts at the Christmas Market. Alternatively, you can travel through the serene Austrian Alps to Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart. Your full-day excursion in Salzburg includes a walking tour of the UNESCO designated Old Town, its magnificent cathedral and Christmas Market, which is a feast for the senses. For the active adventurer, join a guided bike tour along the Danube.
Wednesday, December 11 | Regensburg
Regensburg is one of Germany's best preserved medieval cities, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Join a guided walking tour showcasing the city's architectural highlights, including the Old Town Hall and the Porta Praetoria before visiting the Old Town Christmas Market. As an alternate option, sample some of Bavaria's specialties - beer, sausage and pretzels. Or bike to Walhalla where you will see the Neoclassical white marble temple inspired by the Parthenon in Athens. Later in the day, you'll be treated to one of Bavaria's most beautiful and romantic Christmas Markets at Thurn and Taxis Castle, where you can watch artisans make their unique arts and crafts.
Thursday, December 12 | Nuremberg
Enjoy a scenic morning cruise as the ship crosses the Continental Divide via the Main Danube Canal to Nuremberg. Join a city tour of WWII highlights and then walk through Nuremberg's cobblestone streets to the Imperial Castle and 900 year old city ramparts. Alternatively, you can taste your way through the city with a Franconian specialties tour, which introduces you to Bratwurst, Rotbier (red beer) and Lebkuchen (gingerbread). Later, you can visit Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt (Christmas Market), one of the world's largest and most famous Christmas Markets. Stroll along as the aroma of mulled wine and gingerbread fill the air and browse through over 100 red and white canvas-topped booths offering an assortment of unique treasures, toys and seasonal goodies.
Friday, December 13 | Disembarkation - Return to the U.S. OR POST TOUR TO PRAGUE
Disembark the ship and bid farewell to Nuremberg as you prepare for your flight home.
OPTIONAL POST TOUR TO PRAGUE
Friday, December 13 | Disembark at Nuremberg & Transfer to Prague
Arrive and hotel check in. Celebrate Mass before dinner. Overnight at your hotel in Prague.
Saturday, December 14 | Prague
This morning after breakfast, meet a local guide who will help you get acquainted with the magnificent city of Prague. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Your tour of Prague includes the castle district, Hradcany (entrance fee included) with St. Vitus′ Cathedral which was used for the inauguration of Presidents and where you can find the tomb of St. Wenceslas and former rulers of the Czech Kingdom. Continue on to the Basilica of St. George and visit the Prague Castle. You will also see the Golden Lane, a row of tiny artisan shops built outside the castle walls in medieval times. Stroll through Mala Strana with its beautiful architectural buildings. Celebrate Mass at the Carmelite Church of Our Lady of Victory, where the famous statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague is preserved and venerated (subject to confirmation). After lunch on your own, we cross the statue-lined Charles Bridge and walk to the Old Town, considered one of the best preserved old cities in Europe. Experience over a thousand years of history as you enjoy the architecture and visit the Old Town Square. See the famous Astronomical Clock that comes alive when the hour strikes and the twelve disciples appear to bless the crowd. You will also have the chance to visit the church of Our Lady before Tyn, and walk along the Prague alleys through the Powder Tower to St. Wenceslas Square (exterior views only). Dinner at a local restaurant including a glass of wine or beer and mineral water. Overnight in Prague.
Sunday, December 15 | Prague, Svata Hora, Plzen - Prague
After breakfast at your hotel, depart for a day trip. First drive to sanctuary of Svata Hora (entrance fee included), one of the most important places of pilgrimage in Central Europe. Thousands of pilgrims travel here every year to venerate the statue of Mary, the Mother of God - the most precious local gem, which, according to legend, was carved from pear wood by Archbishop Arnost of Pardubice himself – one of the foremost councilors in the court of Emperor Charles IV. Celebrate Mass at a Shrine (subject to confirmation). Continue on to Plzen. Upon arrival have lunch on your own. Venture to the Pilsner Urquell brewery (entrance fee & tour included), one of the most famous breweries in the world. It′s a massive beer producing complex that is spread out over 128 acres of land. During the two hour tour you will learn about the history of the pale lager variety of beer known as pilsner, which was named after the city itself. You will get a first-hand look at how the beer is brewed, what ingredients go into making it, and the technique for producing it that hasn′t changed since the company was founded. Return to Prague for dinner at a local restaurant with a folklore show. Overnight in your hotel in Prague.
Monday, December 16 | Return to the US
After breakfast, prepare for your departure and transfer to the airport for your return flights home.