Symphony on the Blue Danube

Travel with alumni and friends from June 22 – July 1, 2017, on a journey to the resplendent cultural centers that inspired classical music’s Great Masters.

Vienna

Framed by rolling hillsides, lush vineyards, and medieval castles, the legendary Danube River Valley has resonated with musicians, artists, poets and travelers throughout the centuries and you’re invited to experience the charm and allure of this captivating region for yourself. 

Our custom-designed itinerary showcases five countries in the heartland of central Europe. It has been carefully orchestrated to feature private performances encompassing the musical heritage of Europe’s most accomplished composers, including Mozart and Beethoven, and provides opportunities to explore six UNESCO World Heritage sites. Enjoy three nights in the historic, world-class city of Prague, the “City of a Thousand Spires,” in a deluxe, centrally located hotel before traversing the fabled Blue Danube from Passau, Germany, to Budapest, Hungary. Cruise aboard the exclusively chartered m.s. Amadeus Brilliant—a traditional river ship plying the waterways of Europe with the ability to dock often right in the heart of the cities we visit.

High notes of your experience will include a distinctive schedule of exclusive and specially arranged expert lectures, private classical music performances, guided excursions in Prague and in each port of call along the Danube River, and an enchanting overnight stay in the fin-de-siècle grandeur of Vienna, Austria’s extraordinary capital city.

Traveling through the heartland of Europe has never been more historically rich and culturally dynamic, especially when enhanced by live musical performances inspired by the great cities, landscapes and waterways that surround you. This journey of a lifetime is an excellent value and is sure to strike a chord with both new and repeat travelers as it taps into the heart and soul of this extraordinary region, its most renowned virtuosos and its rich history, art and architectural masterpieces. Early booking savings are only available through November 29, 2016. Please contact the Alumni Travel Study Program for more details and to reserve your place today.

Dates & Prices:

Tour Dates:     June 22 - July 1, 2017

Tour Cost:     from $3,695  - $7,795 per person based upon double occupancy

At this time we ask that you please contact us to check availability prior to sending in any new reservations.

Itinerary:


U.S./Prague, Czech Republic -  Thursday and Friday, June 22 and 23, 2017
Depart the U.S. on independently arranged overnight flights for Prague, Upon arrival, check inro the deluxe INTERCONTINENTAL PRAHA HOTEL. Attend the private Welcome Reception Friday evening in the hotel.

Prague - Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25
On the guided walking tour. explore the diverse cultural legacy of Prague, celebrated for its splendid combination of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Walk along the narrow, picturesque lanes of the Stare Mesla (Old Town) to the Orloj. the ornate, 15th·Century astronomical dock of the Old Town Hall. See the world-famous Charles Bridge, adorned with 17th and 18th-century Baroque statues. Enjoy a brief private performance of Mozart's music and a specially arranged private tour of the Estates Theatre, where the prodigy's opera Don Giovanni premiered in 1787. In Josefov, the Jewish Quarter of Prague, visit Europe's oldest extant Jewish house of worship-the Gothic-style Old·New Synagogue-and walk amongst the moss·covered, 15th-century headstones of the Old Jewish Cemetery.

On Sunday, tour the fascinating former residence of Bohemian royalty, the Hradcany complex of castles, churches and museums, whose spires dominate the cIty skyline. By special arrangement, view original Beethoven manuscripts and enjoy a private string quartet concert III the magnificent, family-owned 16th-Century Lobkowicz Palace. Visit the neo-Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, the largest and most significant cathedral in Prague, and see the Royal Mausoleum and spectacular St. Wenceslas Chapel. Walk through the "Golden Lane," a quaint byway lined with small, Mannerist-style houses and workshops once occupied by castle goldsmiths, alchemists, artisans and guards. Author Franz Kafka was said to have lived here between 1916 and 1917.

On the former site of the Bohemian Kingdom's Royal Court, enjoy a private tour of the spectacular Municipall House, an early 20th-century Art Nouveau masterpiece. Visit the Stunning Smetana Hall, where an independent Czechoslovakia was declared in 1918 and where the post-World War II communist government first met with political reformers led by future Czech Republic president Vaclav Havel in 1989.

Prague/Passau, Germany - Monday, June 26
Travel across rolling hills and through the bucolic wooded Czech and German countryside to Passau, where three legendary rivers-the Danube, Ilz and Inn—converge. Enjoy lunch in a historic;, traditional German restaurant before the walking tour along the cobblestone streets of Altstadt, Passau's Old Town. Visit the Baroque-style  St. Stephan's Cathedral,  consecrated in the12th-century, where the largest pipe organ in Europe is housed.

Embark M.S. AMADEUS BRIlLIANT, attend the Captain's Welcome Reception and, following dinner, enjoy a short concert of classical music on board.

Melk, Austria/Diirnstein - Tuesday, June 27
In the riverside town of Melk, visit the incredible Benedictine Abbey, a showcase of impressive Austrian Baroque architecture, priceless relics and stunning 18th·century ceiling frescoes by Paul Trager. In Melk Abbey's beautiful kirche (church), admire the perfectly intact multi·panel 16th-century altarpiece by Danube School master Jorg Breu I the Elder. A prestigious center of scholarship throughomt the Middle Ages, the abbey's library is today a repository of 100,000 medieval manuscnpts.

This afternoon, dock in the charming medieval village of Dumstein, situated below the hilltop ruins ofI Castle Kuenringer, where Richard the Lionheart was held prisoner after  the Third Crusade. Stroll through the quaint, picturesque village to visit the 15th-century Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Abbey Church and enjoy a short, private organ concert inside the cathedral. Be on deck this evening as you cruise the Danuhe's spectacular and fabled Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site. where terraced vineyards blanket hillsides darted with the haunting ruins of medieval castles.

Vienna - Wednesday, June 28
Former seat of the Habsburg Empire, Vienna's historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage open-air museum of  splendid Baroque Architecture. Tour this remarkable city,, which owes its present appearance to Austro-Hungarian Emporer Franz Josef, who created the famous Ringstrasse that display its finest landmarks-the impressive Vienna Stare Opera house and the lavish Hofburg Palace. Visit the iconic Gothic-style Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral). Enjoy a private, specially arranged performance of Mozart and other composers' music in the extraordinary Sala Terrena, Vienna's oldest concert hall and where Mozart resided, worked and performed. The afternoon and evening are at leisure to peruse the cultural treasures of Vienna on your own.

Vienna/Bratislava, Slovakia - Thursday, June 29
Enjoy a free morning in Vienna or join the optional excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens, the spectacular summer estate of the imperial Habsburgs. It was here, in one of the grand salons decorated in a priceless collection of art and antiques, that a six-year-old Mozart first performed for Empress aria Theresa and her daughter, the future Queen of France, Marie Antoinette.

This afternoon, en route to Bratislava, cruise through Austria's scenic Donau- Auen National Park, which preserves the last remaining major wetlands in central Europe. The charming capital of Slovakia, Bratislava is nestled in the foothills of the impressive Carpathian Mountain range overlooking the banks of the Danube River. Beautifully restored since the end of the Cold War, the city depicts 21st-century life amidst its 1000-year-old history. Enjoy a walking tour of the Old Town; its medieval, Renaissance and 19th-century architecture is among the finest in central Europe. Visit the Romanesque, 14th-century Cathedral of St. Martin and the elaborate Primatial Palace and see St. Michael's Gate, Bratislava's oldest preserved medieval fortification, originally built in 1300. This evening, enjoy a delightful performance of classical music on board the ship.

Budapest, Hungary - Friday, June 30
Austrian-born, nevertheless the "most Hungarian Habsburg," Archduke Joseph is credited with creating in Budapest an imperial capital that rivaled Vienna. Buda and Pest-the centuries-old twin cities that face each other across the Danube River-the embankments along this storied river and the Buda Castle Quarter together as one are a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Begin your tour in Pest to see the iconic and imposing neo-Gothic limestone Parliament Building, built between 1884 and 1904 situated on the river's banks. Pass through Heroes' Square and admire the monuments honoring the Magyar chiefs who conquered Hungary in A.D. 896. The guided visit through the 19th-century, neo-Renaissance Hungarian State Opera House, one of the most beautiful performing arts venues in the world, highlights its interior, which is decor ted with frescoes by eminent painters, including M6r Than and Karoly Lotz. Here, enjoy a private, specially arranged aria performance.

The imposing Chain Bridge links river-level Pest to the hills of Buda on the opposite side of the Danube. On Castle Hill, visit the stately, late-19th-century, neo-Romanesque Fisherman's Bastion, where seven turrets symbolize the seven Magyar tribes that settled in the Carpathian Basin, offering exceptional panoramic views of the city, and explore the Gothic-style St. Matthias Church, where Charles I, the last Habsburgian ruler, was coronated in 1916.

On board the ship this evening, attend the Captain's Farewell Reception and Dinner followed by a traditional Hungarian folklore performance.

Budapest/U.S. - Saturday, July 1
Continue on the Hungarian Tradition in Budapest Post-Program Option or transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S.


What's Included:
In Prague, Czech Republic

  • Three nights in the centrally located, deluxe INTERCONTINENTAl. PRAHA HOTEL with breakfast each morning.
  • Welcome Reception in the hotel.
  • Walking tour of Prague's historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, through the Stare Mesto (Old Town) and Josefov, the old Jewish Quarter.
  • Private tour of the Estates Theatre with a short, exclusive performance of Mozart compositions.
  • Visit to the magnificent Hradcany Castle complex, including its Gothic-style St. Vitus Cathedral.
  • Specially arranged guided tour of Lobkowicz Palace with private concert of classical music.
  • Private tour of the An Nouveau-style Municipal House.
  • Scenic transfer from Prague 10 Passau. Germany, and a walking tour of Passau featuring its charming Altstadt (Old Town) and a visit to the 12th-century St. Stephan's Cathedral, with lunch.


On board the specially chartered M.S. AMADEUS BRlLLIAlNT

  • Five-night cruise on the legendary Danube River from Passau, Germany, to Budapest, Hungary, with port calls at Melk, Dumstein and Vienna, Austria; and Bratislava, Slovakia.
  • River-view, air-conditioned Suite or Stateroom, each with a private bathroom.
  • All meals served at single, unassigned seatings early- risers' coffee, buffet breakfast and lunch, afternoon tea, four-course dinner and late-evening snack-featuring fine continental cuisine.
  • Complimentary house wine and beer are served with lunch and dinner.
  • Captain's Welcome and Farewell Receptions.
  • Two specially arranged classical performances on board the ship.
  • Tour of the magnificent Bencditine Abbey of Melk, a Baroque masterpiece.
  • Walking tour of picturesque Durnstein, featuring a brief, private organ recital inside Durnstein Abbey.
  • Cruise through the scenic Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Panoramic tour of the world-class city of Vienna, a UNESCO World Heritage site, featuring a private performance of Mozart and other composers' music.
  • Guided tour of Bratislava's medieval Old Town.
  • Tour of Budapest, a UNESCO World Heritage site, highlighted by a visit to the Hungarian State Opera House and a private, specially arranged, brief aria performance.
  • Specially arranged, exclusive Hungarian folklore performance on board.

Additional inclusions:

  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad for participants whose arrival(s)/departure(s) coincide with the scheduled group transfer(s).
  • All excursions and visits, as outlined in the brochure, led by experienced English-speaking local guides.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers on included excursions and transfers.
  • Complimentary bottled water in your Suite or Stateroom and on excursions.
  • Optional excursion to Vienna's UNESCO World Heritage-designated Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens available at additional cost.
  • Hospitality desk aboard the ship and in the hotel.
  • The services of experienced Professional Travel Directors throughout the program.
  • Complimentary use of a state-of-the-an audio headset for each participant during guided excursions.
  • Travel document wallet, name badge and pre-departure materials.

Not Included:

Taxes; passport, visas and associated fees; personal expenses such as laundry and telephone calls; accident/sickness, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance; gratuities to ship and hotel personnel; optional sightseeing excursions; excess baggage charges on aircraft; local departure air/airport tax(es); airfare and associated local taxes, airport facility and security taxes and federal inspection fees not listed in the “Included Features” section of the brochure; transfers and baggage handling to/from hotel on day(s) of arrival and/or departure if you are arriving earlier or later than and/or departing earlier or later than the scheduled group transfer(s); any overnight on land due to flight schedule(s); meals, alcoholic or other beverages and all other services not specifically mentioned in the “Included Features” section.

 Please call us toll-free at (866) 325-8664 or email us at travelstudy@columbia.edu for more details.