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Symphony on the Blue Danube

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Departure Dates

  • Sep 05, 2018 - Sep 14, 2018


Reserve today for 2018! Both 2017 departures SOLD OUT!

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Symphony on the Blue Danube

Visit five countries and up to five UNESCO World Heritage sites on this exclusive journey to the cultural centers that inspired classical music’s Great Masters. This unique combination of river and land travel includes three nights in Prague and a five-night cruise on the legendary Blue Danube from Passau, Germany, to Budapest, Hungary, aboard the deluxe m.s Amadeus Queen. The custom-designed itinerary has been carefully orchestrated to include private classical music performances and a comprehensive schedule of guided excursions featuring magnificent Melk Abbey, the storybook village of Dürnstein, imperial Vienna and medieval Bratislava.
Berlin Pre-Program and Budapest Post-Program Options are offered.

Tour Map

Study Leader

Tom Moriarity
is a nationally recognized preservationist and urban development specialist. Trained as an architect, Tom was one of the founders of the National Trust’s pioneering Main Street Program. A partner in Economics Research Associates, a global real estate consulting firm, Tom has been involved in many major restoration and rehabilitation projects across the world. He will bring his expertise on architecture, architectural history, historic preservation and adaptive use that will help each traveler better understand the beauty and significance of the places we will visit.  Tom holds two degrees in Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Ship Information


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U.S./Prague, Czech Republic
Wednesday and Thursday, September 5 and 6
Depart the U.S. for Prague, the “City of a Thousand Spires,” a UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing 600 years of virtually untouched architecture. Upon arrival, check into the deluxe InterContinental Praha Hotel. Attend the private Welcome Reception Thursday evening in the hotel.

Friday and Saturday, September 7 and 8
On the guided walking tour, explore the diverse cultural legacy of Prague, celebrated for its splendid combination of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Walk the winding lanes of the Staré Město (Old Town) to the Orloj, the ornate, 15th‑century astronomical clock of the Old Town Hall, and see the iconic Charles Bridge lined with 17th- and 18th‑century Baroque statues. Enjoy a brief private performance of Mozart’s music and a specially arranged private tour in the Estates Theatre, where the prodigy’s opera Don Giovanni premiered in 1787. In Josefov, the Jewish Quarter of Prague, visit Europe’s oldest extant Jewish house of worship—the Gothic‑style Old‑New Synagogue—and walk amongst the moss‑covered, 15th‑century headstones of the Old Jewish Cemetery.  On Saturday, tour the former residence of Bohemian royalty, the Hradčany
complex of castles, churches and museums, whose spires dominate the city skyline. Visit the neo‑Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, the largest and most significant cathedral in Prague, and see the Royal Mausoleum and spectacular St. Wenceslas Chapel. By special arrangement, view original
Beethoven manuscripts and enjoy a private string quartet concert in the magnificent, family‑owned 16th‑century Lobkowicz Palace.  Walk through the “Golden Lane,” a quaint byway lined with small, Mannerist‑style houses and workshops once occupied by castle goldsmiths, alchemists, artisans and guards. Author Franz Kafka was said to have lived here between 1916 and 1917. Discover more of Prague’s time-honored
treasures during the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

Prague/Passau, Germany
Sunday, September 9
Travel through the bucolic wooded Czech and German countryside to Passau, where three legendary rivers—the Danube, Ilz and Inn—converge.
Enjoy lunch in a historic, traditional German restaurant before the walking tour along the cobblestone streets of Altstadt, Passau’s Old Town. Visit the Baroque‑style St. Stephan’s Cathedral, consecrated in the 12th century, where the largest pipe organ in Europe is housed. Embark the Amadeus Queen, attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception and, following dinner, enjoy a short concert of classical music on board.

Melk, Austria/Dürnstein
Monday, September 10
Visit the prestigious 900-year-old Benedictine Abbey of Melk. The impressive cloister is an Austrian Baroque masterpiece by Paul Troger, showcasing stunning 18th‑century ceiling frescoes and priceless relics. The beautiful kirche (church), houses the perfectly intact, multi-panel,
16th‑century altarpiece by Danube School master Jörg Breu the Elder. A prestigious center of scholarship throughout the Middle Ages, the abbey’s library is today a repository of 100,000 medieval manuscripts. Later, dock in the charming medieval village of Dürnstein, situated below the hilltop ruins of Castle Kuenringer, where Richard the Lionheart was held prisoner after the Third Crusade. Stroll through the storybook village, stopping in the 15th‑century Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Abbey Church for a short, private organ concert. This evening, cruise the Danube’s fabled Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where terraced vineyards blanket hillsides dotted with haunting medieval
castle ruins.

Tuesday, September 11
Former seat of the Habsburg Empire, Vienna’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage open‑air museum of splendid Baroque architecture. Its famous Ringstrasse, commissioned by Austro‑Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef, showcases the impressive Vienna State Opera house and
Hofburg Palace. Visit the iconic, Gothic-style Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral). Enjoy a private, specially arranged performance of Mozart and other composers’ music in the extraordinary, intricately painted Sala Terrena, Vienna’s oldest concert hall and where Mozart worked,
performed and resided. Further peruse the cultural treasures of Vienna this afternoon and evening at your leisure.

Vienna/Bratislava, Slovakia
Wednesday, September 12
Enjoy a free morning in Vienna or join the optional excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens, the lavish summer estate of the imperial Habsburgs. It was here, in one of the pricelessly adorned grand salons, that a six‑year-old Mozart first
performed for Empress Maria Theresa and her daughter, the future Queen of France, Marie Antoinette.This afternoon, en route to Bratislava,
cruise through Austria’s fertile Donau‑Auen National Park, which preserves the last remaining major wetlands in central Europe. Bratislava is nestled in the foothills of the impressive Carpathian Mountain range, overlooking the broad banks of the Danube; beautifully restored since the end of the Cold War, Slovakia’s charming capital city depicts 21st‑century life amidst its 1,000‑year‑old history. On a guided tour of the Old Town, walk among a sampling of central Europe’s finest medieval, Renaissance and 19th‑century architecture. Visit the Romanesque, 14th‑century Cathedral of St. Martin and the elaborate Primatial Palace, and see St. Michael’s Gate, Bratislava’s oldest preserved medieval
fortification, originally built in 1300. This evening, enjoy a delightful performance of classical music on board the ship.

Budapest, Hungary
Thursday, September 13
Austrian-born, nevertheless the “most Hungarian Habsburg,” Archduke Joseph is credited with creating in Budapest an imperial capital that rivaled Vienna. The embankments of the centuries-old twin cities of Buda and Pest facing each other across the Danube and the famous
Buda Castle Quarter are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begin your tour in Pest to see the iconic neo‑Gothic limestone
Parliament Building, built between 1884 and 1904 on the river’s banks. Pass through Heroes’ Square and admire the monuments honoring the Magyar chiefs who conquered Hungary in A.D. 896. The 19th‑century, neo‑Renaissance Hungarian State Opera House is one of the most beautiful performing arts venues in the world; the guided visit highlights its interior, which is decorated with frescoes by Mór Than and Károly Lotz. Here, enjoy a private, specially arranged aria performance. Cross the imposing Chain Bridge, linking river‑level Pest to the hills of
Buda on the opposite side of the Danube. Visit the late-19th‑century, neo‑Romanesque Fishermen’s Bastion on Castle Hill. Here, the terrace’s turrets symbolize the seven Magyar tribes that settled in the Carpathian Basin, and the views are exceptional. Nearby is the Gothic‑style
St. Matthias Church, where Charles I, the last Habsburgian ruler, was coronated in 1916. On board the ship this evening, attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner followed by a Hungarian folklore performance.


Friday, September 14
Continue on the Hungarian Tradition in Budapest Post‑Program Option or transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S.