October 15 – 29, 2018 (15 days)
Classical Music Concert series by Artistic Director George Zukerman, O.C., O.B.C.
Allow yourself to be transported by the music, culture, and history that lies at the heart of Europe in the company of musical host Kai Gleusteen.
Places: Vilshofen - Durnstein - Passau - Linz - Vienna - Bratislava - Budapest - Bayern
We board our overnight flight to Prague.
We arrive in Prague, transfer to our hotel and are checked in. Later we’ll gather for a Welcome Drink and dinner.
During our Welcome reception our host will provide an introduction to our Danube Concert Series, arranged by our Artistic Director, George Zukerman. (D)
This morning we can look forward to an exclusive private Tour of Strahov monastery and its extraordinary Library. Dating back to the 12th century, the Strahov Monastery is the second oldest Monastery in Prague. The famous Library (Strahovsky kláster) contains approximately 260,000 works, with over 1,500 incunabula (first editions), 3,000 sheaves of manuscripts, and a wealth of old prints dating from the 16th to 19th centuries.
Next, we visit the Municipal House, the jewel in Prague’s Art Nouveau crown and a particular tribute to its famous son, Alfons Mucha. We will visit the ceremonial halls including Smetana Hall, a famous 1200-seat concert hall featuring an original organ from the high Art Nouveau period, and the Mayor’s Hall, exquisitely decorated by Alfons Mucha and preserved intact. We have included a special lunch today, integrated into our sightseeing program.
Then we have an opportunity to tour the Theatre of the Estates, one of the most beautiful historic theaters in Europe. Officially opened in 1783, the theatre is forever associated with Mozart, as two of his best-known works were premiered here. The first of these, “Don Giovanni” was conducted by Mozart himself on the 29th of October 1787. The second opera which saw its world premiere on this stage in 1791 was “La Clemenza di Tito,” to mark the coronation of Leopold II. The theatre’s conductor will guide our unique backstage tour of this landmark.
We have the singular pleasure of a Private Concert at the Theatre of theEstatess this afternoon (please refer to your Musical Itinerary booklet for full details). Following this there are a couple of hours to relax before dinner. (B,L,D)
During our tour of the Theatre of the Estates we will be treated to a private concert of Chamber Music by the Bennewitz Quartet.
Our city Tour will start at the 1000-year-old Prague Castle, residence of the head of state, where we’ll visit the Old Royal Palace, the Basilica of St. George and St. Vitus Cathedral, in all its Gothic glory. From the castle’s hilltop situation you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city’s domes, spires and red roofs. Both Kafka and Neruda lived in the picturesque lanes which lead down to the town below. We’ll see the lively pedestrian-only Charles Bridge, a delight for the views on and off the span, as it draws clusters of musicians and artists. Our tour concludes in the old market Square which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site instantly recognizable for its famous Astronomical Clock and distinctive spiky towers. The artisan traditions of Bohemia are evident in Prague’s colourful architecture, beautifully crafted crystal and hand-pulled prints, puppet theatre and celebrated beer. After a break for lunch on your own and a little time in the Old Town, we’ll have a period to rest before dinner and tonight’s Music event. A Musical Itinerary booklet will be provided to participants once the full performance schedule is finalized. (B,D)
An evening at the Opera or Symphony at the Rudolfinum in Prague.
After breakfast, we depart for Regensburg, have lunch in an historic restaurant and then set off on a guided walking Tour of this exquisitely-preserved Medieval city. Here we can marvel at the beautiful churches, the homes of wealthy families, and one of Germany’s oldest bridges across the Danube.
A special Organ Concert at the Cathedral (please refer to your Musical Itinerary booklet for full details) will round off our Regensburg adventure, and we will then proceed to the charming 1200year old town of Vilshofen, on the confluence of the rivers Vils and Danube. Vilshofen’s beautiful old town, located directly on the banks of the Danube and the Vils, when seen from the river resembles a floating peninsula. Above the town, the imposing double towers of the Benedictine Abbey Schweiklberg dominate the landscape.
Docked in the center of town for the night, our luxurious ship awaits. After embarkation, there is time to get settled in and then we will have our first dinner aboard the AmaSerena. (B,L,D)
Enjoy the scenic cruise toward Passau over breakfast. Late morning we’ll arrive in picturesque Passau, a fairytale city founded more than 2,000 years ago. On a Walking Tour you can see the city fortifications and St. Stephan’s Cathedral, home to Europe’s largest pipe organ. Mid-afternoon we’ll cruise to Linz, where we’ll arrive late and overnight. (B,L,D)
As we sail from Passau to Linz, the Gleusteen Duo and guests will conduct a performance in the Main Lounge.
Today we journey to Salzburg, the town of Mozart. We’ll enjoy a tour of the lovely historic city and a brief performance. If you prefer, you can opt for an excursion to Bad Ischl, the summer residence of the Habsburgs, and the exquisite lakeside town of Hallstatt, where we will enjoy the views during a scenic boat trip. Both tours will rejoin the ship in Linz for dinner, and our ship will proceed to Melk around midnight. (B,L*,D) *Lunch is not included for the full day excursions to Salzburg/Hallstatt
After dinner, we will have a splendid Chamber Music concert in Linz.
We arrive in Melk this morning, heading off after breakfast on a guided walking Tour to the magnificent 900-year-old Benedictine Abbey, one of Europe’s largest Baroque monasteries. Dramatically resting on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river and town, it is renowned for its beautiful chapel and library, the latter housing a rich manuscript collection which inspired novelist Umberto Eco to write The Name of the Rose. During lunch the ship cruises through the romantic Wachau Valley en route to Duernstein. The cobblestone streets of this quaint 16th-century town are overlooked by ruins of a castle where, according to legend, Richard I “The Lionheart” was imprisoned and held for ransom on his return from the Crusades. Our ship departs in the early hours to carry us to our next destination. (B,L,D)
The Gleusteen Duo and guests will conduct a performance in the Main Lounge.
This morning enjoy a scenic cruise to Bratislava followed by a walking Tour of the city’s historic sights, including the Old Town Hall, Mirbach Palace and the Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral. The rest of the afternoon is free to shop or explore on your own. The ship departs around midnight for Hungary. (B,L,D)
We will experience an Opera or Orchestral performance in Bratislava.
This morning we cruise past the beautiful towns nestled along the Danube Bend en route to a midday rendezvous with Budapest. Watch Budapest glide into view from your balcony as we pass the lovely neo-Gothic Houses of Parliament and pass under some of its famous bridges to come to rest in the heart of the city. The balance of the day is at leisure to enjoy this spectacular city, perhaps taking in the famous Baths or enjoying a little shopping in the historic Central Market Hall. Dinner aboard will be followed by a special evening illuminations cruise to better admire the glittering cityscape The ship will remain moored overnight in Budapest. (B,L,D)
The Gleusteen Duo and guests will conduct a performance in the Main Lounge as we sail toward Budapest.
We’ll enjoy a Panoramic Tour of Budapest’s primary sites including Heroes Square, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and the Great Synagogue, which is Europe’s largest. After lunch, our sightseeing tour to the Buda Castle District takes in the Royal Palace; the Fisherman’s Bastion, which enjoys a splendid view of the twin cities of Buda and Pest spread over both banks of the River; and the richly painted interior of Mathias Church. We’ll enjoy dinner and a concert this evening*. *Note: When finalized it’s possible that tonight’s events will be transposed with those of October 24, pending performance scheduling. The ship will remain moored overnight in Budapest. (B,L,D)
An evening at either the Symphony or Opera in one of Budapest’s major concert venues.
This morning we disembark and travel via bus the short distance back to neighbouring Vienna. After a Traditional Austrian Lunch in the surroundings of Vienna, we check into our hotel this afternoon, enjoy some time at leisure and dinner at the hotel before this evening’s event. (B,L,D)
This evening we will enjoy a Chamber Music performance in Vienna with the Artis Quartet and our host Kai Gleusteen.
During a half-day guided sightseeing tour we’ll see the Ringstrasse, Hofburg Palace, Vienna Opera House, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. This afternoon enjoy a visit to the stately Schoenbrunn Palace, then we return to the hotel for an early dinner before our evening music event. (B,D)
An evening with the Vienna Philharmonic at the fabled Musikverein.
Today is at leisure for you to visit the town on your own. Consider visiting one of the great museums, explore the historic city centre - the guide will be able to give you some great suggestions.
This evening we will have a bittersweet farewell dinner and final Music Event, as we reflect on a memorable tour with our many new friends. (B,D)
A grand farewell with an evening at the Vienna State Opera or Volksoper (TBA).
We transfer to the airport for our flight home. (B)