Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel sheer across Europe on its greatest rivers? Here’s a chance to enjoy a Rhine river cruise, a Main river cruise, and a Danube cruise — all on a single, seamless journey. On Vantage’s 2015 Grand European River Cruise, you’ll explore seven different countries (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania) on a single voyage, as a glorious landscape of grand capitals, medieval towns and Old-World villages pass before you, revealing Europe past, present, and future.
A Cultural Experience
You’ll glide past stunning castles and forested slopes reminiscent of fairytales during the Rhine river cruise portion of your trip. The magic continues as you enter the Danube and Main rivers and enjoy expert lectures, onboard performances, home visits, and other cultural encounters. One way to appreciate the culture is through its cuisine, and you will sample traditional delicacies from each of the countries you visit, as well as local wine and beer. There will also be lectures on the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, Bavarian beer, Vienna’s Musical Heritage, and more.
A bevy of fascinating ports large and small await you as you disembark in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria. Watch from the side of your boat as you pass by charming towns and beautiful cities that are an echo of the past. Learn about the history and tales attached to these picturesque sights, including the ancient legend of Lorelei Rock (a highlight of your Rhine river cruise.) According to legend, Lorelei jumped to her death over a faithless lover and now lures sailors into the Rhine with her hypnotic singing.
During your Rhine river cruise you can ride a cable car to the Niederwald Monument for exquisite views of the Rhine Valley. Or, pay a visit to fascinating Heidelberg, home to Germany’s oldest university and the 15th-century Heidelberg Castle. This is just one of 13 UNESCO World Heritage Sites you’ll come across while on your cruise.
On a visit to Marktheidenfeld, experience traditional German village life with local artisans, a barbecue lunch, and live music. If you’re a history buff, sit in on a lecture about Germany for an interesting perspective of the country’s role in world history.
Walk through Bamberg in Bavaria, another stunnig UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visit one of the city’s many museums. Stop in a couple of breweries and sample their fine German beer. On the Danube, you’l sail through the stunning Wachau Valley before making a grand entrance in Vienna, Austria. This elegant capital is recognized throughout the world for its excellent classical music performances. As part of your river cruise itinerary, feast your eyes and ears at a private classical music concert at the Kursalon.
There’s nothing like a local to give you unique insights about the significant events that occurred along these rivers. At each port, you’ll be guided by knowledgeable regional experts whose commentaries will give you a historic and human perspective of the events that took place here. For example, in Nuremberg, Germany, you’ll have a chance to learn about the city’s role in World War II. As you cruise along the Danube, learn more about contemporary Bulgaria, Romania, and the European Union. In Vienna, take a tour of the magnificent 16th-century Schonbrunn Palace and its sprawling gardens.
Explore on Your Own
During your free time, town squares and historic markers will guide you. Wherever you go, Baroque architecture, majestic castles, and fascinating museums are often found nearby. Lovely boutiques line cobbled streets and narrow alleyways. Inside these stores, you will find many authentic treasures that you can take home with you, including music boxes, ceramics, jewelry, glassware, and chocolates.
After shopping, rest your feet and take in an organ and choir performance, or enjoy a relaxing ride in a funicular. It’s these serene, reflective moments that will stay etched in your mind, whether you are gazing at a stunning vista from your Rhine river cruise ship, or joining a lively pub crawl in Ruse, Bulgaria. So, are you ready to make your plans and start packing?