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Day One - Depart UK
We travel to Hull, where we board our overnight ferry crossing to Rotterdam, enjoying an evening meal on-board. (D)
Day Two - Rotterdam to Rhineland Area
Enjoy breakfast on-board the ferry, before we disembark in Rotterdam and journey onwards to our overnight hotel in the Rhineland area. (B,D)
Day Three - Liege to Linz
After breakfast this morning, we continue our journey into Austria, where we embark the MS Serenade 2 in Linz. Enjoy a welcome cocktail and sit down to dinner on-board this evening, sailing overnight to Vienna. (B,D)
Day Four - Linz - Vienna - Budapest
Awake to magnificent scenery as we sail into Vienna, arriving before midday. Explore this marvellous city at leisure, with its UNESCO World Heritage Site city centre and famous sights, such as St Stephen’s Cathedral and Schonbrunn Palace or join our optional guided city tour. Enjoy an included coffee and sample the famous Sachetorte at a typical Viennese cafe. This evening you can take an optional evening fiaker carriage ride. We depart for Budapest late this evening. (B,L,D)
Day Five - Budapest
Enjoy a morning of sailing, passing by the Danube bend, before arriving into Budapest mid-afternoon The two sides of the city are known as Buda and Pest, situated on both sides of the river Danube. Discover this mesmerising capital city at leisure and why not uncover the city at night with our optional illuminated Budapest tour? We moor here overnight. (B,L,D)
Day Six - Budapest
Our day begins with breakfast, before we join an included guided city tour to look forward to. Admire the extraordinary Hungarian Parliament building, St Stephen’s Basilica, the Fisherman's Bastion, Heroes’ Square and many other sights, with stops along the way to sample some of the city’s culinary specialities. We will then return to the MS Serenade 2 in Budapest for our evening meal, setting sail for Esztergom in the very early morning. (B,L,D)
Day Seven - Esztergom - Bratislava
We arrive in Esztergom over breakfast this morning and have time to explore this ancient city at leisure. Esztergom is one of the oldest cities in Hungary, and was once the country’s capital. It’s filled with fantastic sights, from the Basilica to the Maria Valeria Bridge, which connects the city with Slovakia. To further explore Esztergom, consider our optional tour, before we sail onwards to Bratislava early this afternoon. (B,L,D)
Day Eight - Bratislava to Durnstein
Wake in Bratislava today and enjoy breakfast before we discover this city’s many historical sights. Perhaps its most well-known is Bratislava Castle, which overlooks the city. We can learn more about Bratislava’s fascinating heritage, with our optional tour. It will then be time to return to the MS Serenade 2, as we continue our river cruise to Durnstein and enjoy a day of sailing. Sit back, relax and watch the world float by. (B,L,D)
Day Nine - Durnstein - Melk - Linz
Arriving in Durnstein early this morning, we will be able to admire this beautiful town’s setting in the Wachau Valley, perhaps enjoying our optional transfer into the town, before it’s time to sail on to Melk. Located in Lower Austria, Melk is known for its Baroque Benedictine abbey, which presides over the city from its position above the Danube on a rocky outcrop. Explore the city at leisure, or join our optional excursion to visit Melk Abbey this afternoon. This evening, we make the most of our final night on-board with a Captain’s gala dinner, as we sail overnight to Linz. (B,L,D)
Day Ten - Linz to Rhineland area
Arriving this morning, we enjoy breakfast and then disembark the MS Serenade 2 and transfer to our overnight hotel in the Rhineland area. (B,D)
Day Eleven - Rhineland area to Rotterdam
We make our way from the Rhineland area to Rotterdam today, where we embark our overnight ferry back to the UK. (B,D)
Day Twelve - Arrive in UK
After breakfast, we disembark the ferry and continue home. (B)
MS Serenade 2
The stunning MS Serenade 2 offers a truly unique cruising experience. This beautiful and sleek ship has been designed to create a luxurious, modern and spacious atmosphere on board. A real highlight of the Serenade 2 is the superbly designed Forward Observation Lounge where you can sit back and relax enjoying stunning views along the river. We’re sure that once you have experienced the magic of the Serenade 2 you will be back next year!
Allow us to welcome you on board our newest addition to the Shearings river cruise family, the MS Serenade 2. Inaugurated in 2007, this beautiful ship really is at the cutting edge of design, guaranteeing the most comfortable possible surroundings for her passengers. The cabins on board the Serenade 2 are amongst the very best and the largest of any river cruise vessel. They feature hotel style beds (not berths or bunks) and a well-appointed bathroom, with WC, bath and separate shower. All cabins feature a flat screen TV, phone, mini-fridge, tea/coffee making facilities, safe and hairdryer, plus floor-to-ceiling sliding French windows on the upper two decks.
Relax on-board, where our highly professional crew and cruise manager, will be happy to help. Why not enjoy the spacious Sun Deck which incorporates covered shaded areas, and space to relax in one of the plentiful deck chairs or sun loungers. Perhaps partake in a game of giant chess or visit the on-board fitness suite which incorporates a small gym and sauna.
Enjoy contemporary cuisine in the chic Mendelssohn Restaurant on-board located on the Mozart Deck, where each day begins with a sumptuous breakfast buffet, with English and Continental delicacies available.
At lunchtime, sit down to a mouth watering buffet, helping yourself to a fantastic selection of foods, from cold meats and cheeses to a choice of hot dishes.
Come dinnertime, there will be a four-course evening meal to enjoy with your fellow cruise passengers, sampling gourmet dishes from our superb on-board chefs. Not only this, you will also be treated to an impressive Captain’s gala dinner during your cruise, which is sure to be a wonderfully memorable experience.
And what better way to the end of the day, than a visit to the superb Captain’s Club for a post dinner drink.
COFFEE AND SACHERTORTE
Sachertorte is considered to be the most famous chocolate cake of all-time, invented by Austrian pastry chef, Franz Sacher, in 1832 for Prince Wenzel von Metternich in Vienna. The light Genoise cake horizontally crossed by a thin layer of apricot jam and covered in dark chocolate frosting is now renowned worldwide and has become a culinary piece of Vienna’s history. Enjoy a piece of this famous cake with a coffee in the delightful surroundings of a typical Viennese cafe.
Join us on our guided tour of this historical city, which is actually two cities astride the Danube. Our excursion takes us by coach on a visit to both.
On the Pest side, we see St Stephen’s Basilica, Vajdahunyad Castle and Heroes’ Square, which is dominated by the impressive Millenary Monument, home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
We then cross to Buda and the Castle District, where we find the seven-hundred year-old Matthias Church, one of the jewels of Budapest. We also see the famous Fisherman’s Bastion, which offers great views over the city.
The city is home to the largest medicinal bath in Europe (Szechenyi Medicinal Bath) and the third-largest Parliament building in the world, once the largest in the world. The city also contains the third-largest church in Europe (Esztergom Basilica) and the second largest Baroque castle in the world (Godollo).
Join us for an amazing tour of Vienna, allowing us to discover this splendid city for ourselves. Our coach tour will begin as we travel past Vienna’s large park, the Prater, admiring views of the famous Ferris wheel and then on to the State Opera House, also seeing the Fine Arts and History Museum.
We will also see the stunning Hofburg Palace during our city tour, along with the Parliament building, the Town Hall and the Burg Theatre. Making our way to St. Stephen's Cathedral in the city centre, we will disembark our coach and enjoy a walking tour of Vienna. We will stroll along the Graben, one of Vienna’s most famous streets.
After our walking tour, we return to our coach and begin our return journey, taking in the famous buildings by painter and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, stopping to admire the unique Hundertwasserhaus.
This charming town on the Danube River in Austria is a wonderful example of the traditional Austrian way of life. With its beautiful surrounding scenery and slow pace, we’ll enjoy excellent time at leisure to discover the sights here. The major attraction is the castle, perched high above the town it was the place in 1192 that Richard the Lionheart was captured by the Duke of Austria during the Third Crusade.
Evening Horse-drawn Fiaker Ride
We’ll enjoy an enchanting ride in a traditional Viennese Fiaker. These horse drawn carriages have featured in many artistic pieces related to Vienna such as musical pieces and operas by Richard and Johan Strauss. We'll see the sights of this amazing city in a way you'll remember forever - admire the beautiful architecture, soak up the wonderful atmosphere and make the most of this charming experience.
Explore Esztergom And Wine
Esztergom is one of the oldest cities in Hungary founded around 972 AD and was the capital of Hungary from the 10th till the mid-13th century. The most famous landmark of Esztergom is the Basilica situated on Castle Hill overlooking the city.
Join us as we take the electric train 50 metres up to the impressive Basilica with its 72m-high central dome which can be seen for many miles around.
Inside the grandiose 19th century church we see where Franz Liszt used to play the organ and admire the renaissance chapel from the 15th century. We enjoy a glass of wine in the cellars of Basilica.
The city has a wonderful historical and architectural heritage that includes many Baroque buildings, the Primate's Palace, the Franciscan monastery and several chapels and churches. One the newest additions to Esztergom is the Mária Valéria Bridge, which connects the city with Slovakia. Esztergom is truly a beautiful city hence it is often referred to as the 'Hungarian Rome'.
Join us as we discover one of the smallest and most picturesque capitals of Central Europe. Our tour commences by local tourist train, we pass the Slovak Philharmonic Hall, the Slovak National Theatre around the Old Historical Town to the Archbishops Summer Residence. We also see Blumental Church, the bustling commercial street of Obchodna with its many shops, the buildings of the Technical University, Slovak Radio, and the Slovak National Bank.
We then head to Bratislava’s imposing Castle and through the garden suburb and onto Vienna Gate and Castle Hill, where we enjoy majestic views of the city before heading to the Old Town. Our tour continues on foot where we see Archbishop Place, St. Martin Cathedral – the previous Coronation Church of the Hungarian Kings – Academia Istropolitana – the oldest University dated from the 15th century, Main Square with its Old Town Hall and the Opera House and the famous manhole - Ganymedes.
Budapest is a beautiful city, even more so at night. Marvel at the beautiful illuminated buildings and bridges as we drive past Parliament and Heroes' Square on the Pest side of the city to a local chapel, here we enjoy a short organ concert along with a glass of champagne. We then head across Chain Bridge up to Castle Hill on the Buda side of the city, here you will enjoy spectacular views of Budapest and beyond, before heading back to the ship.
Majestic Melk Abbey
Stift Melk (Melk Abbey) is a Baroque-era masterpiece, located above the town of Melk on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river Danube. Part palace, part monastery and part opera set, Melk is a magnificent vision thanks greatly to its upward-reaching twin towers. Capped with baroque helmets and cradling a 208-foot-high dome, this abbey is a true Baroque masterpiece.
Our tour of the abbey includes the Imperial rooms, Marble Hall, and the balcony, which offers fine views of the river. It’s likely that Napoleon probably used this room as a lookout when his headquarters were based in Melk for his campaign against Austria.
We also see the magnificent library, with more than 100,000 books, nearly 2,000 manuscripts, and a superb ceiling fresco by the master Paul Troger; the Marmorsaal, whose windows on both sides enhance the ceiling frescoes; and the glorious Stiftskirche (abbey church) of Saints Peter and Paul, an exquisite example of the Baroque style.
Following the tour you can enjoy some free time to wander around the abbey’s park with its impressive Baroque garden, the recently restored northern bastion. Or you may just wish to sit and relax in the abbey’s restaurant with a coffee and admire the beautiful views.