DAY 1: Passau (Embark)
Arrive at Munich Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer, or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship docked in Passau.
DAY 2: Passau
Passau is a crossroads in more ways than one—three rivers meet here and three nations nearly do, making for a fascinating cultural mosaic. Get acquainted with the town’s baroque and rococo architecture. Old-town Passau is built on a spit of land that looks almost like a ship with its narrow prow jutting into the water, a fitting shape for a city that has been an important center of river trade since it was founded by the ancient Romans. Today a local expert shows you the highlights of this delightful and accessible town located at the confluence of three rivers—the Danube, Inn and Ilz.
Passau walking discovery tour
DAY 3: Linz (Salzburg and Oberndorf)
Mozart’s birthplace, Salzburg, is nestled in a glorious alpine setting that sparkles like a winter wonderland. Fans of The Sound of Music may recognize locations from the Oscar-winning film in the city’s Old Town, the site of a grand cathedral and a wonderful Christmas market. You’ll also visit the nearby town of Oberndorf, where the world’s most beloved Christmas carol was composed and performed for the first time. Your ship docks in Linz today. From there, you’ll travel to the alpine cities of Salzburg and Oberndorf for a delightful full-day excursion.
Full-day Salzburg and Oberndorf
DAY 4: Grein
Your diary entry for today might say “Cocktails with the princess at the castle.” Raise a glass with a bona fide member of Austrian royalty at her 13th-century home, Artstetten Castle, and hear some intriguing tales about her Habsburg ancestors. Or, you can choose to join a fascinating stroll through charming Grein and a peek inside Austria’s oldest theater.
Choice of Exclusive cocktail reception at Artstetten Castle with Princess Anita von Hohenberg or Grein walking tour and oldest Austrian theater
DAY 5: Melk, Cruising the Wachau Valley, Dürnstein
Your river adventure today takes you through one of the most beautiful regions in Austria, bookended by two picturesque and historic towns, Melk and Dürnstein. Melk Abbey has an unexpectedly opulent library filled not only with rare and precious books but also secret doors and optical illusions. After your visit, cruise the Wachau Valley to the tiny village of Dürnstein, where you can browse the shops selling apricot schnapps, hike up to the ruins of a castle, taste various mulled wines and attend an organ concert at a local church.
Choice of Dürnstein village stroll with exclusive spiced wine tasting and organ concert in a monastery church or Melk Abbey with library visit
DAY 6: Vienna
Renowned for its art and architecture, its classical music, its decadent pastries and its lengthy list of famous former residents, the refined city of Vienna is a cultural treasure trove. Experience the city with your choice of tours, followed by an evening concert of Mozart and Strauss, performed at a 12th-century monastery. The grand dame of the Danube, Vienna was the heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and remains, to this day, the political and cultural center of Austria. Klimt painted here; Beethoven and Mozart composed here; Freud developed his theories here. It’s a treasure trove of splendid architecture, astonishing art collections and inviting cafés—and it’s yours to enjoy.
Exclusive Mozart and Strauss concert at Klosterneuburg
Choice of “Taste of Christmas” Vienna walking tour or Vienna panoramic city tour
DAY 7: Vienna
An extremely rare treat awaits you today—early morning, VIP access to an extraordinary collection of art at one of the top fine arts museums on the planet. These artistic treasures were collected by the Habsburgs over many centuries, and to see them in complete privacy is a perk reserved solely for Uniworld guests. Vienna’s art treasures are astonishing, and today you have a rare, pre-opening hours highlights tour of the Vienna Art History Museum’s collection of acclaimed masterworks.
Exclusive “Morning with the Masters” at the Vienna Art History Museum
DAY 8: Bratislava
Once hidden from the world behind the “Iron Curtain,” Slovakia retains an air of mystery and intrigue, and its small capital city has an unexpectedly colorful history. You’ll learn more about Bratislava’s past from a local expert, then have free time to check out the whimsical street art and sample delicious delicacies found only in Slovakia. Spend the morning relaxing onboard as your ship cruises along the Danube to Bratislava. The capital of Slovakia combines a historic downtown with a lively and bohemian art scene.
Bratislava small but precious walking tour
DAY 9: Budapest
Located on opposite sides of the Danube, Buda and Pest each has a distinctive character and allure all its own. Get a taste of this dynamic capital city with your choice of tours, then visit Budapest’s celebrated Christmas market—one of the largest in Europe. The highlight of the day comes after darkness falls, with a glorious New Year’s Eve gala dinner with dancing at a historic ballroom. Budapest began as a Roman encampment in the second century, was overrun by Magyar horsemen in the 9th-century, and has been controlled by Ottomans, Austrians, Germans and Communists over the centuries, all of whom have left their mark. You may choose to get an overview of the city or delve into a single exceptional cultural institution.
Exclusive New Year’s gala dinner and dance
Choice of Budapest panoramic highlights with Parliament visit or Budapest Opera House tour
DAY 10: Budapest
Start off the New Year on a high note with an excursion to a village of talented artisans and craftspeople who live and create beautiful things together. The village is also home to two museums you’re welcome to visit—one devoted to lovely ceramics and the other to the art of…marzipan. (Yes, really.)
Szentendre Artists’ village
A special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.
DAY 11: Budapest (Disembark)
Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer, or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to the Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport for your flight home.