Join us for our second grand lady the MS Johann Strauss for a European adventure like no other! After embarking in Amsterdam we sail upstream to Dusseldorf, our first exciting & thriving port on the magnificent Rhine. The Rhine takes us to Koblenz at the confluence of the Rhine & Mosel where you can take a cable car across the Rhine to the stunning Ehrenbreitstein fortress. After sailing through the Rhine Gorge with its many castles we arrive in romantic Rudesheim which is littered with vintners and the place to try the famous Rudesheimer coffee.
We then sail onto the smaller, gentler Main river visiting medieval towns & villages such as Miltenberg & Wertheim before docking in the beautiful cities of Wurzburg with its magnificent Residenz Palace, Bamberg, home of smoked beer, Nuremberg with its fascinating WWII past & Regensburg with its ancient sausage kitchen and medieval stone bridge. Next stop Austria and the bustling metropolis of Linz after which we reach the UNESCO World Heritage Wachau Gorge, famous for its wine industry and gorgeous, historical towns such as Melk & Durnstein. Experience one of the most enchanting cities – Vienna before sailing downstream on the Danube to Bratislava and magnificent Budapest where you will disembark.
Welcome to Amsterdam! Your Royal European Cruise begins here in the Netherlands’ capital. This modern city with old world charm and historic significance provides the perfect starting place for your Encore European Tour. After settling in your cabin, which will be your floating hotel room for the duration of the cruise, please join us to raise a glass to toast our voyage at the Captain’s Welcome Reception.
Like countless tourist before you, pose by or even climb on the iconic I Amsterdam sign. Explore the 700-year-old city of Amsterdam with its maze of canals and teetering, gable-topped buildings dating back to the city’s 17th century “Golden Age”. The centuries-old Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam is not only iconic of this bustling city but also a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. At your leisure, stroll the cobbled streets, soak up some culture at one of the world-class museums (such as the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum or the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art), visit the Anne Frank House, take a canal cruise, experience a lively outdoor market or shop along the Nine Streets with their charming boutiques. Enjoy the remainder of your day cruising the Rhine River on route to Cologne.
Dusseldorf is an engaging mix of ancient and modern, with medieval history and urban trendiness. As you take in the sites of this one-time small fishing village, you will understand why it is rapidly becoming one of Europe’s top vacation destinations. Begin your exploration on the waterfront street Rheinuferpromenade (“Rhine promenade”), which connects the historic Old Town with the MedianHafen (i.e. the modern harbor). Visit landmarks like the Rathaus (City Hall), Burgplatz, St. Lambertus Basilica and Rheinpark. Stroll the luxurious shops along the renowned Konigsallee, Germany’s most elegant avenue. With its beautifully restored houses, bridges, and fountains; the promenade is more than just a shoppers’ paradise but also an attraction itself. At the end of Konigsallee, you will find yourself in the tranquil Hofgarten, Dusseldorf’s version of New York’s Central Park. The park is home to the spectacular Schloss Jagerhof palace, a stunning reproduction of 18th century Rococo architecture. Complete the day in Old Town, locally nicknamed “the longest bar in the world”, with a glass of the local specialty Altbier.
Koblenz truly is a feast for the eyes with its backdrop of vineyards, forests, and mountains. Snap a photo as you lean on the giant bronze thumb sculpture at Koblenz’s famous German Corner (Deutsches Eck), where the Rhine meets the Moselle River. After leaning on the “thumb”, lean into history as you wind your way through the Old Town. Explore the French influence and ancient remnants of Roman walls. Stroll along the river promenade and roam the town’s romantic narrow streets, where you might encounter flower-filled parks, sidewalk cafes or possibly a weinstube (wine tavern). Sample a Moselle Riesling while drinking in the amazing atmosphere of the oldest wine regions in Germany.
Today you will experience the town of Rudesheim, located in the Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis district in the Regierungsbezirk of Darmstadt in Hesse, Germany. The east bank is on the southern approach to the Lorelei. Rudesheim is a wine-making town, especially known for Riesling wines. While at this UNESCO World Heritage site, tour the Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet dating back three centuries. View the architecture of the aristocratic residences on Oberstrasse. The most famous dwelling dates back to 1542 to the Brömser family.
Miltenberg – Wertheim, Germany
Spend your morning discovering the historic town of Miltenberg. This Bavarian village consists almost entirely of half-timbered houses which amazingly escaped both fire and war damage. As you meander along the cobble-stoned streets you feel as if you have entered your own storybook complete with a hilltop castle. Admire the enchanting Market Square with its Renaissance fountain. Visit one of if not the oldest inn in Europe, Giant’s Inn (Gasthaus zum Riesen). Enjoy a leisurely afternoon of scenic cruising while traveling to Wertheim.
Experience the charming fairy-tale town of Wertheim, where the Main meets the Tauber river. Admire the imposing ruins of the Wertheim Castle, perched on a hill overlooking the town. If you’re looking for something more active, consider hiking uphill to the castle, approximately a 15-minute walk from the village. The views from the castle ruins are spectacular and there’s even a restaurant and beer garden. For those desiring a more leisurely pace, shop in quaint boutiques and enjoy an enticing fresh baked pretzel at Fritz Frischmuth bakery (offering arguably the best pretzels in Wertheim). Search out the leaning Pointed Tower of Wertheim. Strike a pose beside this 13th-century tower, formerly a prison for drunkards and “quarrelsome wenches” and one of the most photographed landmarks of the city.
Taste Würzburg’s charm and discover first-hand why it is known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road”. Although much of the city was destroyed by World War II (nearly 80%), a considerable amount has been restored to its former glory. This Franconian city is not only surrounded by lush hillside vineyards but also adorned with Baroque & Rococo architecture and steeped in history. Take in the wonder of the UNESCO-listed Residenz, an 18th-century Versailles-like palace built for Wurzburg’s prince-bishops. With one of the city’s enduring traditions being winemaking, consider enjoying a glass of Franconian wine (known for its dry, fruity flavor and distinctive rounded bottle).
Expanding over seven hills, each crowned by a church, Bamberg is often called “Franconian Rome”. Locals like to reverse the phrase, humorously claiming that Rome is the “Italian Bamberg” (It’s all a matter of perspective, right?) One thing is for certain, you will love your viewpoint as you spend your day sauntering along the cobbled lanes bordered by half-timbered buildings, blooming flowers, and waterways. Arched bridges add to the fairy-tale image of this medieval town. In fact, the entire Old Town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While there you might also like to try Bamberg’s distinctive smoke-flavored beer first brewed in 1536 before returning to the ship.
Immerse yourself in history as you tour the Bavarian city of Nuremberg, which dates back to the 11th century. Explore its more recent history centered on the pre-war Nazi rallies and the Nuremberg Trials, visiting haunting sites related to the war. Although most of the city was destroyed by World War II bombing, many of the buildings, including the medieval Nuremberg Castle, have been restored to their former splendor using the original stones. Visit Hauptmarkt, Nuremberg’s large market square in the heart of the city, showcasing The Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche), the ornate Schoner Brunnen monument and Lebkuchen Schmidt (a gingerbread shop dating back to 1610). After feasting your eyes on historical landmarks, delight in some regional specialties such as its famous bratwurst, gingerbread, and dark beer.
Step into Regensburg and back in time. The history-drenched Bavarian city of Regensburg is often described as “Germany’s medieval miracle” and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. With more than 1,400 original historic buildings still standing, it is easy to envision what life would have been like centuries ago as you wind through the narrow streets lined with 13th and 14th-century patrician houses and cross old town squares. There is a myriad of treasures to uncover from Germany’s oldest surviving stone bridge, the imposing St. Peter’s Cathedral, the stunning interior of Old Chapel (Alte Kapelle), the enchanting Old Town clock tower, and Porta Pretoria (arched gate to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD) ~ just to name a few. If you worked up an appetite with all your exploring, treat yourself to a sausage at the Old Sausage Kitchen (Alte Würstküche), Germany’s oldest restaurant. You might also enjoy sampling some regional dishes and a cold mug of beer at a traditional Bavarian Beer Garden (such as Alte Linde or Bischofshof am Dom).
Docking right in the heart of town will allow you to easily explore Linz, Austria’s third largest city. First founded by the Romans, it is steeped in both history and culture. The Old Town is perfect for leisurely strolls past centuries-old architecture, or you explore the riverside Lentos Kunstmuseum renowned for its modern art. The picturesque Hauptplatz (The Main Square) of Linz is one of the largest enclosed squares in Austria and ideal for meandering.
Melk – Dürnstein, Austria
Experience the wonder of the imposing Melk Abbey perched high above the small Austrian village. This illustrious Benedictine monastery dates back 900 years and is considered one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in all of Europe. View the library which includes around 80,000 volumes of priceless works, the library’s spiral staircase, the Abbey Church, the Abbot’s chambers and the Emperor’s Gallery (Kaisergang). After touring the Abbey, enjoy lacing your way down through the small town which boasts a 16th-century Town Hall (Rathaus) and House at the Rock (Haus am Stein), Melk’s oldest building built in the 15th century. Cruise the picturesque Danube through the UNESCO-designated Wachau Valley on your way to Vienna.
Sail on from Melk via the captivating Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to the delightful village of Durnstein. Sometimes referred to as the ‘Pearl of the Wachau,” Dürnstein was first mentioned in 1192 when Richard the Lionheart was held captive in the town’s famous Keunringer castle. Although there only ruins remaining now, it was obviously once impressive enough to hold one of Europe’s most legendary rulers. Hike up to the castle and back into history. Use your imagination and you might also hear the enchanting secret song Richard’s servant used to locate the king. Among the oldest settlements in Austria, surrounded by stunning vineyards and a fairytale-like setting, this city is likely to hold you captive too. Wind down your day at an old stone wine cellar sipping on some of the region’s superb wine as you soak in the whimsical charm of Durnstein.
In the early evening, arrive in Vienna, capital of Austria, known as both the “City of Dreams” (thanks to Sigmund Freud’s influence) and the “City of Music” (inspiring creative geniuses such as Strauss, Mozart, and Beethoven). The evening is yours to begin your exploration of this enchanting imperial city. Soar to new heights in Vienna’s famous giant Ferris Wheel (Wiener Riesenrad), which has been turning high above the city and the Danube for over a century. The night is yours; the choice is yours.
Today you will have ample opportunity to explore the captivating capital of Austria, which was once the center of the opulent Habsburg Empire and remains the center of European culture. Acquaint yourself with this truly inspirational city, strolling along the Ringstrasse, reputedly the “World’s Most Beautiful Boulevard”. This exquisite ring-shaped street showcases fascinating museums, the stately Imperial Palace Complex home to the renowned Vienna Boys’ Choir & Spanish Riding School, the resplendent St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the world-famous Vienna Opera House and the Austrian Parliament Building. Promenade along the intriguing pedestrian shopping street, Kärntner Strasse, shopping for treasures to take home. With a full day in Vienna, there’s plenty of time to stop in a traditional Viennese coffee house and enjoy a “Melange” (similar to a cappuccino in Italy) and a slice of Sachertorte (a chocolate cake with apricot jam filling) or apple strudel.
Discover Bratislava’s unique blend of modern and medieval. While one of the youngest European capitals, this historic gem boasts over a 2,000-year history and is the ideal finale to your encompassing tour. Wind through the labyrinth of cobblestone lanes lined with colorful 18th-century buildings and sidewalk cafes in the traffic-free Old Town, the historic heart of Bratislava. Take in seventeen centuries of Slovak history while exploring its 13th-century Old Town Hall, St. Martin’s Cathedral (coronation site of many of the Kings of Hungary), the Art Nouveau Little Blue Church and the Neoclassical Primatial Palace. The landmark Bratislava Castle majestically overlooking the city is truly postcard perfect. As our Encore Royal European Tour winds down, join the crew for good-byes and a final farewell toast at the Captain’s Farewell Reception, then dine like royalty at the Farewell Dinner.
Your cruise comes to an end in the picturesque city of Budapest, one of Europe’s oldest and most alluring cities. As we complete our tour in the “City of Healing Waters” (alluding to its legendary thermal baths), our hope is your journey on the waters of the Rhine, Main, and the Danube has likewise proven refreshing, therapeutic and even healing.
Depart after breakfast, with the freedom to explore this world-class city on your own. If you’re staying on in Budapest, today would be a perfect day to round out your European tour in the amazing capital of Hungary, studded with UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Banks of Danube, Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue).
While this is the end of your cruise, your memories will live on from your Encore Royal European Tour. Thank you for cruising with us, where vacations come first and memories last.
- Luxury Ship – MS Johann Strauss
- 15-Day Cruise visiting 16 Cities & 5 Countries
- Captain’s Welcome & Farewell Receptions with Sparkling wine & hors-d’oeuvres
- Welcome Aboard Dinner & Farewell Dinner
- All Meals Included Daily (onboard your ship)
- Locally inspired cuisine
- Early Riser Breakfast in addition to Buffet Breakfast
- Daily Afternoon Tea
- Daily Midnight Snack
- Complimentary Coffee & Tea
- Drink Packages will be available for house wine, beer, and sodas
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Complimentary App City Walking Tour in most ports
- Tech Talks
- Nightly Port Talks
- Musician for Live Music Onboard
- Room Steward and Daily Housekeeping Service
- Evening Turndown Service
- Onboard Fitness Center
- Non-Smoking Ship Interior
- Port Taxes & Fees