Wine is one of my passions - understanding and appreciating why a wine tastes as it does. Geography, weather, culture, and a winemaker’s unique winemaking style are all present in that glass of wine.
Come along on a wine-themed cruise where renowned wine makers host deluxe and luxury cruises both on the high seas and on European rivers. Maybe you prefer enjoying a glass of chianti on your balcony as you cruise the Mediterranean with Crystal, Celebrity, or Oceania. Or perhaps the enchanting European villages beckon –imagine an afternoon sipping an Alsatian Riesling on deck as you cruise by the castles of the Rhine on a riverboat with AMAWaterways, Avalon, or Uniworld. These are just a few of the choices in wine-themed cruises.
If you want a true wine-themed cruise experience and do not want to find yourself on a cruise that is simply sailing in wine country and not providing the wine experience you had expected, you need a wine cruise specialist like me to make sure your wine cruise exceeds your expectations.
This is a sample of the type of wine experience you will enjoy on an AMAWaterways Wine-Themed Cruise. This itinerary offers an optional three nights in Prague available prior to boarding in Vilshofen.
DAY 1 VILSHOFEN
You will board your ship in the quaint 1200-year old Bavarian town of Vilshofen, on the confluence of the Vils and Danube rivers. Meet your fellow passengers at an evening Welcome Aboard Wine Toast. The evening has a special treat in store: an “Oktoberfest” presented by the town of Vilshofen. Bavarian folk music, songs and dances set a lively scene as you gather at long tables to sample Vilshofen’s distinctive local beer and traditional pretzels. The Mayor and Beer Queen will be on hand to greet you and wish you a successful journey along the Danube.
DAY 2 VILSHOFEN - PASSAU
This morning, feel free to explore Vilshofen’s beautiful Old Town on your own, and take in the view of the imposing double-towers of the Benedictine Abbey Schweiklberg. During lunch you will cruise to Passau, known as “The Town of the Three Rivers,” where you will have your choice of two afternoon excursions. The first option is a walking tour through this 2,000-year-old fairy tale city, where you will see Gothic and Italian Baroque architecture, cobblestone streets, the city fortifications and St. Stephan’s Cathedral (home to the largest pipe organ in the world). As an alternative, experience the city on a guided bike tour (capacity controlled). Prior to dinner, there will be an onboard wine tasting.
DAY 3 PASSAU - LINZ, AUSTRIA
This morning, enjoy a wine lecture and tasting as the ship cruises to Linz, the second largest city in Austria. Upon arrival, you will have your choice of an excursion to the Czech town of Cesky Krumlov, a wonderfully preserved medieval town nestled in the hills just over the Austrian-Czech border, and home to Bohemia’s second largest castle. After your tour, enjoy some free time on your own exploring the historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As an alternative, take an excursion to Salzburg, where you will take a walking tour of the historic center, famous as the setting for the “Sound of Music” and as the birthplace of Mozart. The tour includes a visit to the Mirabell Gardens, Salzburg Cathedral, Mozart’s Square, and much more. Enjoy free time on your own, before returning to the ship with a scenic drive through the majestic countryside of Austria’s Lake District and Salzkammergut. Onboard this evening, enjoy a sumptuous Chaîne Des Rôtisseries Dinner paired with specially-selected wines.
DAY 4 LINZ - MELK
Enjoy a morning wine tasting and lecture about the Wachau Valley, Austria’s most important wine region, as your ship cruises to Melk and its famous Benedictine Abbey. Located atop a granite cliff overlooking the Danube, the 900-year-old Abbey is one of the largest Baroque monasteries in Europe. You will tour the Abbey this afternoon, followed by a visit to a local vineyard for an introduction to the famous wines of the Wachau. This evening, specially-selected wines will accompany a delectable menu at the Captain’s Gala Dinner.
DAY 5 MELK - DÜRNSTEIN - KREMS
Today you will cruise the renowned Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of incomparable beauty, historic and agricultural significance. You will arrive in Dürnstein in mid-morning and take a walking tour along cobblestone streets lined with quaint 16th-century town houses and wine taverns. One of Austria’s smallest towns, with only 1,000 inhabitants, Dürnstein is regarded as the most romantic place in the Wachau. Marvel at the magnificent blue facade of the Baroque Stiftskirche and the ancient terraced vineyards that surround the town. Looming overhead are the ruins of the castle where Richard the Lionheart, King of England, was imprisoned in 1192. As an alternative, take a guided bike tour from Krems to Dürnstein and back (capacity controlled). The ship will cruise to Krems after lunch, arriving in the early afternoon. Krems offers a rich array of wine-related history, culture and tasting opportunities. Learn about the town’s thriving wine culture during an afternoon visit to a wine museum. After a light buffet dinner on board, head to a Wachau winery for drinks and hors d’oeuvres.
DAY 6 VIENNA
Arrive this morning in vibrant Vienna. Your guided city tour includes the opulent Vienna Opera House, the Ringstrasse, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. An optional excursion to Schönbrunn Palace is available in the afternoon or enjoy free time to stroll along the Kärtnerstrasse or sample Vienna’s famous pastries in the historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An early dinner will be served on board before this evening’s exciting options: an optional Mozart and Strauss concert or an excursion to a charming Viennese wine village to listen to folk music and sample newly pressed local wine.
DAY 7 BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
This morning, enjoy an onboard wine lecture and tasting as you cruise the scenic Danube Bend en route to Budapest. After lunch, enjoy a wine tasting on board. Arriving mid-afternoon in Budapest, you will have a guided sightseeing tour that includes the historic Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, the Royal Palace and St. Stephen’s Basilica. This evening, enjoy a farewell wine dinner with Hungarian folk music. The ship will also sail a special “Illuminations Cruise” along Budapest’s river front.
DAY 8 BUDAPEST
Your magnificent Wine Cruise comes to an end as you prepare for your homeward flight.