Day 1 London - Budapest
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from your home, for your journey to London Heathrow Airport and a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to Budapest. On arrival, transfer to your hotel for the night, the Danubias Hotel Astoria (4T), Mamaison Hotel Andrassy (4T) or Mercure Budapest Korona (4T).
Day 2 - Budapest
An included tour takes in the stunning highlights of Budapest, with many relics and monuments from over a millennium of settlements to choose from. We then transfer to embark MS Serenade 1 (4T), where a buffet will be available before a welcome cocktail and Captain’s gala dinner this evening, followed by evening entertainment.
Day 3 - Esztergom
We wake in Esztergom for a morning of independent exploration. As the birthplace of Hungary’s first king, St Stephen, in AD 975, this small town was Hungary’s royal seat for two centuries and the centre of Roman Catholicism for a millennium. A visit to the immense neo-classical basilica is recommended - it is the largest in Hungary and contains the world’s largest alter-piece. We sail onwards this afternoon, crossing the border into Slovakia.
Day 4 - Bratislava - Melk
This morning, join an included city tour of charming Bratislava, aboard the tourist train that winds through the city. See the lovingly-restored, compact Old Town and Bratislava Castle (Hrad) - where eleven kings and eight queens were crowned - which overshadows the city. We sail this afternoon to Melk, where we dock overnight.
Day 5 - Melk
This morning we take an included tour of Melk’s imposing Benedictine abbey. Originally a palace, it was presented to Benedictine monks who turned it into a fortified abbey with an extensive library of priceless volumes and a richly embellished Abbey Church, its enormous dome decorated with elaborate frescoes by Johann Michael Rottmayr.
Day 6 - Passau
Enjoy a full day in Passau, a city best known for St Stephan’s Cathedral, home to the world’s largest cathedral organ. You may also like to take a path through the forest to Veste Oberhaus. Built for the prince-bishops in order to control commerce across the three rivers that converge here; the Danube, Inn and Ilz; the former castle enjoys fantastic views and the museum tells a history of repeated attacks and a stint as a military prison. We dock in Linz later tonight.
Day 7 - Linz - Wachau Valley cruising - Dürnstein
Spend this morning in the elegant, creative city of Linz, with the option to wander freely through the charming Old Town or to take an optional tour. The Old Town boasts many historic buildings with a mix of modern architecture, including Linzer Schloss. Or for a fresh look, the city has daring art installations and the Ars Electronica Centre, a museum of the future where you can interact with robots and take a virtual journey through space. This afternoon we cruise through Austria’s scenic UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley to Dürnstein, where we dock overnight.
Day 8 - Vienna
We have arranged a tour of Vienna for you this morning, to orientate and convey the stories of this imperial city, before you have an afternoon to explore your favourite spots further, or take the opportunity to join an optional excursion to Schönbrunn Castle. The vast, elaborately adorned palace of the Habsburgs is still largely in its original condition. See many of the residential and ceremonial rooms, plus the sympathetically grand, Baroque gardens. Tonight, enjoy the Captain’s farewell gala dinner on board.
Day 9 Vienna
Our cruise comes to an end in Vienna, where we disembark and transfer to our hotel, the Lindner Hotel am Belvedere (4T), where we stay for two nights. The rest of the day is free to explore this delightful city.
Day 10 Vienna
There is more time today to explore Vienna. A vast number of classical composers were born or lived in Vienna, and many of them worked with the angelic Vienna Boys’ Choir, a cultural institution which can be traced back to 1498. You will be reminded of the city’s musical heritage in numerous sites, whether you choose to spend your days at Mozarthaus, where Mozart composed works including ‘The Impesario’ and ‘The Marriage of Figaro’, the acclaimed Vienna Burgtheater where Beethoven made his first public appearance or St Stephen’s Cathedral where Haydn was a choirboy. You may also enjoy spending time at the Rococo style Belvedere Palace.