Friday, June 01, 2012

Elbe River Cruise

August 11-21
Viking River Cruises

Discover the natural beauty of former East Germany’s dramatic landscape on an 10-day Elbe River cruise. Tour the opulent palaces of Saxon monarchs and stroll through beautifully landscaped gardens; sail between the dramatic sandstone cliffs of Germany’s “Saxon Switzerland.” Marvel at the baroque splendor of Dresden and see how Meissenware porcelain is produced. Walk in the footsteps of Martin Luther in historic Wittenberg and learn about the Protestant Reformation. Your journey is bookended by one night in multicultural Berlin and one night in graceful Prague. An elegant experience indeed.

Day 1 -- Berlin

Arrive at the Berlin airport, then transfer to your hotel.* After check-in, enjoy free time and get acquainted with the city—or join our “welcome walk” to stretch your legs and start getting oriented.

Day 2 -- Potsdam & Magdeburg

After breakfast, travel to Potsdam. Tour either Sanssouci Palace, a perfect example of German rococo architecture, or the nearby New Chambers—both built by Prussian King Frederick the Great in the 18th century. After lunch on your own, transfer to Magdeburg to embark your ship. Dinner served aboard; ship departs late tonight. (B, D)

Day 3 -- Dessau

Arrive this morning in Dessau. Take a journey to Wörlitz Park, Germany’s first landscaped park with English-style gardens. Tour inside Wörlitz Castle, fashioned after an English country home, and walk the grounds. Return to the ship for lunchtime departure and scenic afternoon cruising; enjoy the tastes of traditional German cuisine for dinner as we sail into Wittenberg. (B, L, D)

Day 4 -- Wittenberg & Torgau

After breakfast, follow in Martin Luther’s footsteps to view many of Wittenberg’s historic landmarks. Tour inside Luther’s House and St. Marien’s Church, where he preached. See the Castle Church where Luther posted his 95 Theses; then enjoy free time. Return to your ship and depart during lunch; cruise along a very pretty stretch of the Elbe.

After dinner aboard, arrive in Torgau with its wonderful Renaissance houses. Join your Program Director for an evening stroll to see fortified Hartenfels Castle, Market Square and the riverside monument commemorating the historic 1945 meeting between Russian and American troops. Ship sails at midnight. (B, L, D)

Day 5 -- Meissen

Today, cruise the Elbe, arriving in Meissen after lunch. Visit the Meissenware factory, which has produced fine porcelain since the early 1700s. See firsthand how this trademarked porcelain is created by hand and tour the museum. Proceed to Castle Hill for a walking tour through the Old Town. Return aboard for dinner and a short cruise to a glorious evening arrival in Dresden. (B, L, D)

Day 6 -- Dresden

Embark on a tour of Dresden, nicknamed “Florence on the Elbe.” Drive through the 19th-century residential area to the Dresden Castle complex; enter the Green Vault to see a comprehensive collection of the Saxon monarchs’ crown jewels. Continue on foot to see Zwinger Palace, Semper Opera House and the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) with its distinctive bell-shaped dome, which survived the World War II bombings but collapsed the following day and was later rebuilt.

Enjoy some free time to explore more of Dresden, or join one of our master chefs on a shopping trip to the local farmer’s market. You also have the opportunity to see some local arts and crafts this afternoon. Dinner is served aboard, but feel free to enjoy Dresden’s many charms and attractions this evening; we remain docked until early morning. (B, L, D)

Day 7 -- Saxon Switzerland

This morning, cruise through the magnificent, soaring rock formations of the Saxon Switzerland region, then dock at the spa town of Bad Schandau. From here we make our way to the famous rock tower known as the Bastei (bastion), formed by water a million years ago, to enjoy stunning panoramic views of the Elbe. Return aboard for dinner and evening cruising. (B, L, D)

Day 8 -- Litomerice

Arrive after lunch in Litomerice, one of the prettiest towns in the Czech Republic. See St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Jesuit Church, historic Market Square and many residential buildings from the baroque, Renaissance and Gothic periods. The tour ends with a tasting of beers from this Bohemian region. This evening, join your ship’s Captain for a festive dinner on board. (B, L, D)

Day 9 -- Melnik & Prague

Awaken in Melnik; after breakfast, disembark for transfer to Prague. Upon arrival, you tour Prague, “City of a Hundred Spires.” After a guided walk through Old Town, take some free time to explore on your own. Then ride to Hradcany Castle for a tour through the castle’s interior. Return to the hotel for check-in and dinner on your own. (B)

Day 10 -- Prague

After breakfast, check out and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your time abroad with 2 additional nights in Prague, giving you time to see even more of this vibrant city. (B)

The following meals are included:
B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner

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