Enchanting Christmas & New Year's Cruise
Experience the enchantment of the holidays on the Danube and ring in the New Year in grand style.
Celebrate the holiday season in truly extraordinary fashion with a special Uniworld itinerary that gives you the best of four different countries at their most magical time of year. Cruise the mighty Danube, visiting classical capitals like Budapest and Vienna. Hear the largest organ in Europe on Christmas Eve in Passau, and then ring in the New Year in elegant style with a gala dinner and ballroom dance in Budapest. Festive celebrations are plentiful during this cruise—what better way to create perfect holiday memories?
Commemorate a splendid musical heritage as you lift your voice and sing “Silent Night” in Oberndorf, where the beloved Christmas carol was composed, and delight in the music of Strauss and Mozart in Vienna, where the composers lived. Sip a cocktail with a princess in the seven-towered Artstetten Castle, and waltz in a Viennese palace. Spend Christmas Day in Salzburg and enjoy a holiday lunch within the walls of St. Peter’s Abbey. Discover the seasonal delicacies of Slovakia in Bratislava’s picturesque downtown, and enjoy the merriment of traditional hospitality in an Austrian wine village. Sample the finest of the Wachau Valley’s famous white wines in an exquisite baroque village. Ring out the old year and ring in the new with art, wine, and song, as you cruise through four nations during this most magical season.
Who will enjoy this cruise
Those who wish to celebrate a European Christmas and New Year in festive elegance. All lovers of art, music, and merriment.
YOUR CRUISE PACKAGE INCLUDES:
10-night cruise in a riverview stateroom
on the stately NEW S.S. Maria Theresa
All transfers on arrival and departure days
All meals onboard, prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients
10 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 10 dinners
Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions
Welcome and Farewell Gala Dinners
Unlimited beverages onboard, including fine wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks, specialty coffee and tea, and mineral water
9 days of excursions, including “Choice Is Yours” options, all fully hosted by English-speaking local experts
Guided “Taste of Christmas” and “Gentle Walking” programs
4 UNESCO World Heritage sites
Services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise Manager
State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audio- headset system on all shore excursions
Use of Nordic walking sticks
Captivating onboard local entertainment
Cultural enrichment, including a Signature
Lecture: “The Sound of Christmas Music, from ‘Silent Night’ to Christmas Oratorio”
You will visit the following 8 places:
Vienna is the capital of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.7 million (2.4 million within the metropolitan area, more than 25% of Austria's population), and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 10th-largest city by population in the European Union. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, such as the United Nations and OPEC. The city is also known for its Imperial palaces, including Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ summer residence. Apart from being regarded as the City of Music because of its musical legacy, Vienna is also said to be "The City of Dreams" because it was home to the world's first psycho-analyst – Sigmund Freud.
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it serves as the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2010, Budapest had 1,721,556 inhabitants, down from its 1980 peak of 2.06 million. The Budapest Commuter Area is home to 3,271,110 people. The city covers an area of 525 square kilometres (202.7 sq mi) within the city limits. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with a unification on 17 November 1873 of right (west)-bank Buda and Óbuda with left (east)-bank Pest. Budapest is one of Europe's most delightful and enjoyable cities. Due to its scenic setting and its architecture it is nicknamed "Paris of the East".
Salzburg is the fourth-largest city in Austria and the city of the federal state of Salzburg. The city's ''Old Town'' has internationally renowned baroque architecture and one of the best-preserved city centres north of the Alps. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The city is noted for its Alpine setting. Salzburg was the birthplace of 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In the mid-20th century, the city was the setting for parts of the American musical and film The Sound of Music, which features famous landmarks in Austria. The musical was a partnership between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. The capital city of the State of Salzburg, the city has three universities.
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 431,000, also the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries. Bratislava and Vienna are two of the closest European national capitals to each other, at less than 37 miles apart. Bratislava is the political, cultural, and economic centre of Slovakia. It is the seat of the Slovak president, the parliament, and the executive branch of the government. It is home to several universities, museums, theatres, galleries and other important cultural and educational institutions.
Munich is the capital city of Bavaria (Bayern), Germany. It is located on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. It is the third largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg. There are about 1.35 million people living within city limits, while the Munich Metropolitan Area (including the urban areas of Augsburg, Ingolstadt, Rosenheim and Landshut) is home to over 5 million people.The city is a major centre of art, advanced technologies, finance, publishing, culture, innovation, education, business and tourism in Germany and Europe, and enjoys a very high standard and quality of living. Munich's cultural scene is second to none in Germany, with the museums even considered by some to outrank Berlin in quality. Many travelers to Munich are absolutely stunned by the quality of the architecture. Although it was heavily damaged by allied bombing during World War II, many of its historic buildings have been rebuilt and the city center appears mostly as it did in the late 1800s including its largest church, the Frauenkirche, and the famous city hall (Neues Rathaus).
Munich Airport, transfer to Passau (embark)
Arrive at Munich Airport, where you will be transferred to the ship docked in Passau.
FEATURED EXCURSION: Passau walking tour and floral decoration workshop
Situated at the confluence of three rivers, delightful Passau was an important center of trade during the Middle Ages. On your walking tour, you will see the architectural gems of Old Town, including the ornate cathedral built in the Italian baroque style, before discovering the secrets to decorating with floral arrangements. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Reception and festive Christmas Eve dinner onboard before walking through the quiet city to St. Stephan’s Cathedral for mass (where the thunder of the largest organ in Europe will usher in Christmas Day).
Linz (Salzburg and Oberndorf)
FEATURED EXCURSION: Full-day Salzburg and Oberndorf
Spend Christmas Day in two Austrian towns famous for music. Salzburg is not only the birthplace of Mozart, Austria’s most famous composer, it is also where favorite scenes from the beloved movie The Sound of Musicwere filmed. See the Mirabellgarten, where Maria and the children sang “Do-Re-Mi,” and have a festive holiday lunch within the ancient walls of St. Peter’s Abbey. Then head to Oberndorf, where the most beloved of all Christmas carols, “Silent Night,” was performed for the first time; the village priest and choir master of nearby Arnsdorf composed the much-loved tune for a Christmas Eve service in 1818. Visit the chapel and see the little museum dedicated to the history of the carol.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Grein city walk with visit to the oldest theater in Austria, and exclusive cocktail reception at Artstetten Castle with Princess Anita von Hohenberg
Explore charming Grein, with its 15th-century castle (now the home of the Austrian Shipping Museum) and delightful little jewel-box theater built in 1791, which retains all of its original features (including a box for Napoleon). Later in the day, you are invited to an exclusive cocktail reception at Artstetten Castle with Princess Anita von Hohenberg, a descendant of the royal Habsburgs.
Melk, cruising the Wachau Valley, Dürnstein
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Melk Abbey visit with organ concert, and Du¨rnstein village walk with exclusive spiced wine tasting
Melk Abbey has been a center of learning for a millennium. In the Middle Ages, its library was renowned throughout Europe. Today the library, with 80 thousand books printed before 1800 and innumerable medieval manuscripts, is housed in a gorgeous baroque structure. After you tour the abbey complex, you’ll be treated to an organ recital in the spectacular church. Then you’ll cruise through the magnificent UNESCO-designated Wachau Valley to Du¨rnstein, a tiny village nestled against towering cliffs, where you’ll stop for a warming cup of spiced wine.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Vienna city tour with exclusive waltz tuition or exclusive “Taste of Christmas” walking tour, and Mozart and Strauss concert at a Viennese palace
Vienna is a treasure trove of secular and sacred gems. A panoramic tour will introduce you to the city’s highlights, and then you can venture off on your own. After you’ve seen the city, immerse yourself in its culture by learning the Viennese Waltz; on this exclusive excursion to a Viennese palace, you’ll be given an introduction to ballroom etiquette and learn Austria’s favorite dance. Or, indulge in Vienna’s signature holiday treats on an exclusive “Taste of Christmas” tour. See the delightful confectionery decorations in Café Demel’s windows and visit the glitzy shops on Graben and Kohlmarkt streets. This evening, you’re in for another treat—enjoy the music of Mozart and Strauss in a private Viennese palace.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Belvedere Palace or Vienna city tour with Winter Palace of Prince Eugene visit
Today, choose between two extraordinary museums: see the largest collection of Gustav Klimt paintings in the world at the Belvedere Palace, or encounter the highlights of Vienna’s Habsburg heritage, including the principal staterooms of Prince Eugene’s magnificent Winter Palace, a stunning example of baroque architecture.
FEATURED EXCURSION: Bratislava walking tour
Your walking tour of Bratislava will reveal a city that is a melting pot of cultures and architectural styles, including Gothic, baroque, and art deco. The capital of Slovakia, it is a thriving commercial center with a village-like atmosphere. See such gems of history as the rebuilt castle where the Habsburgs ruled; Mirbach Palace, a rococo jewel built for a wealthy brewer that is now a museum; and the Primatial Palace, the 18th-century archbishop’s residence. Then explore the accessible, easy-going, and picturesque downtown area on your own.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Budapest city tour or Budapest Opera House tour and exclusive New Year’s gala dinner and dance
Your panoramic city tour features Budapest’s highlights, including the famous 19th-century Chain Bridge, the UNESCO-designated Castle Hill district, and St. Stephen’s Basilica. Or choose to get a closer look at the remarkable Hungarian State Opera House. In the evening, ring in the New Year with what is sure to be the highlight of your trip: a gala dinner and dance in a gorgeous ballroom.
FEATURED EXCURSION: Szentendre Artists’ Village
Open the New Year with an enchanting operetta brunch onboard. Then spend the day in the village of Szentendre, a haven for artists and artisans (who will open their shops on New Year’s Day for Uniworld guests). You will visit the Marzipan Museum and the Micro Museum, the latter of which houses astonishing, infinitesimal works of art. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner.
Budapest (disembark), transfer to the airport
Depart Budapest Disembark the ship and transfer to Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport for your flight home.