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The Music of the Blue Danube - MS William Wordsworth

8days from
£1,999*per person

Overview

8 Days - River Cruises

Follow in the footsteps of some of history's greatest composers on a musical journey along the Danube. The beautiful landscapes and cities along the shores of this legendary river have inspired many famous melodies. And our majestic cruise will take you to the fascinating cities of Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna and Salzburg - home to the world's most well-known musical maestros. You can learn more about their incredible lives in the company of our knowledgeable guides, experience the joy of live music in atmospheric locations and visit the home of the greatest composers - all while enjoying the beauty and splendour of the Danube. This holiday is based on our popular Blue Danube river cruise, delving deeper into the river’s significant influence on classic music ideal for any music lover.

Itinerary

  • Arriving in Budapest, we’ll transfer by coach to our cruise ship. Our dedicated crew will be there waiting to welcome you on board, and ensure you settle in. There’ll be time to familiarise yourself with this first-class floating hotel before dinner in our stylish restaurant. On the first night, there’s always an exciting sense of expectancy and conversation with your fellow adventurers is sure to revolve around the delights ahead.
  • We’ll wake up in Esztergom, one of Hungary’s oldest towns, as the crew navigate the Danube as we sleep. The city was a royal capital during medieval times and today the seat of the country’s archbishop. We’ll take a guided tour of the famous neoclassical basilica, standing sentinel over the Danube on the border with Slovakia, and boasting one of the world’s largest altarpieces and a wealth of priceless religious artefacts.  The castle is also worth exploring; it was the seat of government until the Ottomans invaded in the 16th century.  Nestling below are myriad atmospheric churches resonating with the enchanting sounds of choir; this is the best of provincial Hungary and is little changed since Habsburg times. As you enjoy your first lunch on board, we gently leave Esztergom in our wake, affording a fascinating opportunity to compare the different landscapes, towns and villages of Hungary on one riverbank and of Slovakia on the other. + Included experience – Visit to Esztergom Basilica
  • Until recently Bratislava was swathed in the drab uniformity of Communism, the city has rekindled the splendour of its imperial past in its beautifully restored Old Town. Here, you can follow in the footsteps of famous composers - Hummel, Bartók, Rubinstein, Liszt, Hayden, Beethoven and Mozart all performed at concerts here. Mozart was said to be just 6 at the time. Our expert local guide will regale you with stories of their lives and achievements as we meander our way through the town. And we’ll end our tour with a visit to one of the most beautiful classicist buildings in Slovakia – The Primate’s Palace – where we’ll enjoy an enchanting classical music performance in a majestic setting, the Mirror Hall. This afternoon, we'll cruise into Lower Austria, a peaceful, bucolic region and home to some of the country’s best wines. By now the stresses of everyday life will (hopefully) seem like a distant memory as you absorb the ever-changing scenes. You can watch as we pass children playing on the riverbanks, young couples strolling arm in arm like generations before them, vignerons carefully pruning their vines, and cobbled quaysides lined by half-timbered buildings glide by. You’ll marvel as the captain skilfully navigates the ship along the serene river and through locks whose mechanisms never cease to fascinate as we continue to cruise towards Dürnstein during dinner.  Please note: The Primate’s Palace is still an official building. While we plan to visit the Primate’s Palace, our musical concert won’t take precedence over important matters of state. In the event of an emergency meeting, our concert will be held in the beautifully Art Nouveau Moyzes Hall – trust us, it’s equally impressive! + Included experience – Guided tour of Bratislava & a classic music performance.
  • Dürnstein Durnstein is known principally for the ice-blue tower of its abbey, which dominates the view, and the castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192 after being shipwrecked on his return from the crusades.  This morning we’ll take a guided walking tour to explore this memorable city further. Set on a rocky outcrop high above the river, the castle is now ruined, but it’s easy to imagine England’s legendary monarch seething with frustration far from home, while waiting for his family to raise funds to pay his ransom.  Melk After lunch, we’ll visit the remarkable Melk Abbey. Nothing quite prepares you for your first sight of this enormous honey-coloured building, standing resplendent above the surrounding countryside. Originally a castle, it was gifted to the Benedictine Order in the 11th-century and, although reconstructed in Baroque style during the 18th century, it has remained a monastic school and monastery ever since.  The Abbey is renowned for its 214-yard-long Emperor’s Gallery lined with portraits, many fine rooms and an ornate library. Back on board, you can enjoy views of Nibelungengau as we pass the Maria Taferl Basilica, a pilgrimage site in lower Austria. We wouldn't blame you for being struck by the region's beauty, even Wagner drew inspiration from the region, including the epic operatic series Der Ring des Nibelungen which was inspired from the 12th century German poem, the Nibelungenlied, and used this region as its backdrop. + Included experience – Guided tours of Dürnstein & Melk Abbey. 
  • Today we'll moor in Linz and drive through the Austrian countryside to Salzburg, the birthplace of Austria's most famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Its picturesque Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a distinctly Baroque feel. This morning, discover some of the city’s main sights in the company of an expert local guide before time to  explore at leisure. It's the perfect opportunity to go in search of more information on the city's favourite residence, Mozart. How do we know he's their favourite? You cannot turn a new corner without seeing something paying homage to him. From statues and plaques to the more 'out there' tributes including ice cream, chocolate and even rubber ducks! But don't get distracted by the souvenirs - to find out more about his life and music, we recommend Mozart's Birthplace. The house where he was born is now one of the most visited museums in the world. In the three-story exhibition, you can learn more about his life, and many achievements - he played the harpsichord at age three and composed rudimentary music while most of his peers were learning to tie their shoes! From there, you could head to the Mozart Residence, where you can see the pianoforte he learned to play on and original documents and portraits. Towards the end of our visit, we'll reconvene for a classical piano concert. You’ll hear the typical music of the Baroque times - focussing on Mozart's most famous works - in the grand setting of the Fischbrunnensaal of the Alte Residenz - the Salzburg Palace court of the prince-archbishops. We return to the ship for another splendid dinner as we sail overnight to Vienna. + Included experience – Guided tour of Mozart’s Salzburg & piano recital.
  • The city’s very name provokes images of elegance, fine music, wide boulevards, Baroque architecture and a rich tapestry of people who were drawn here from all corners of Europe. We'll begin our day with a tour of the city. Our local guide will offer insights into why Vienna is one of Europe’s great capitals – the seat of the Habsburg emperors and home to some of the world’s finest classical composers, including Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and, of course, a whole family of Strausses. We’ll also see the city’s most iconic monument, including the breathtaking Saint Stephen’s Cathedral - whose striking multi-coloured roof and huge Gothic South Tower dominate the skyline - and the Hofburg - the former royal court that is now home to a collection of museums, the Crown Jewels and the Spanish Riding School. Later, we’ll visit to the world-famous Vienna Boys Choir to see the next generation of young artists in action. As they open their home to you, you'll get behind-the-scenes access to the official and unofficial premises and look in on their rehearsal. This afternoon, you can enjoy time at leisure to explore as you wish. Art lovers may choose to explore the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which contains the world’s fourth-largest collection of paintings or visit one of the city's many galleries.  Those interested in history (or spy-thrillers) may want to take a stroll in the Prater, whose huge Ferris wheel features in several Cold War spy thrillers. Or, for something quite different, visit the Schönbrunn Palace, a former royal residence now housing a range of world-class museums and galleries. Perhaps, though, just take a stroll through Vienna’s atmospheric side streets, or enjoy a coffee in one of the lovely coffee houses - we hear a delicious slice of Sachertorte (a rich chocolate cake of Austrian origin) goes perfectly with an afternoon cuppa. This evening, with the skyline of Vienna in the distance, we’ve arranged what is truly the ‘icing on the cake’. After our Captain’s dinner on board, we’ll enjoy a classical recital in the comfort of our luxury ship. No visit to Vienna - City of Music - is complete without a live performance, and to hear this exquisite set list played on a quartet of string instruments by local professionals in the city of its creation makes a wonderful finale to the day. + Included experience – Guided tour of Vienna, visit to Vienna Boys Choir & live classical recital. 
  • You can enjoy a leisurely morning as we cruise through Hungary’s peaceful pastoral landscape towards Budapest. After lunch, we'll enjoy a sightseeing tour of this captivating city, which truly lives up to its reputation as the ‘Pearl of the Danube’. The twin cities of Buda - built around the hilltop fortress - and Pest were fought over through the centuries. The Ottomans ruled here for 150 years before being ousted in the late 17th century, but their legacy lives on in the many thermal baths fed by hot springs, giving rise to Budapest’s other sobriquet – the ‘City of Spas’. Here we'll enjoy a city tour and have a chance to visit the House of Music, the country’s first comprehensive exhibition exploring the history of music - they are famous for it, after all. The building, although new, is already an icon of Budapest heralded by CNN and the architecture community as one of the ten most anticipated buildings of 2021 - and it didn't disappoint - its undulating canopy punctured with holes can be seen peeking out from behind the surrounding trees (it's like a spaceship straight out of sci-fi). Inside is a palace of musical miracles with special musical installations and exhibits on everything from the development of the human voice to modern trends - with a special emphasis on Hungarian music and its diverse history. Once you're done exploring the history of music, you can enjoy a gentle stroll around Városliget Lake - with a spectacular aquatic installation - and the park surrounding Vajdahunyad Castle before heading back to the ship. This evening’s dinner closes with a lively Hungarian folklore show. Witness a rich repertoire of authentic Hungarian folk dances in colourful, traditional costumes, accompanied by a local musician playing the traditional instruments - like the unusually named Hurdy-Gurdy or Cimbalom - that have been passed down through the generations. Tonight is the last night on board, so now is the time to say farewell to your brilliant travel companions and reflect on all the inspirational places, sights and sounds you have experienced on a truly ‘imperial’ cruise. + Included experience – Guided tour of Budapest with visit to the House of Music & traditional Hungarian music performance.
  • We’ll transfer to the airport for your return flight to home. 

What's Included

Holiday Highlights

  • Enjoy magnificent performances on board - a string quartet and a traditional Hungarian folklore show as well as a classical music performances in Bratislava and Salzburg.
  • Follow in the footsteps of famous composers and listen to them come to life with expert guided tours of the most historic towns and cities along the Danube, including Vienna, Dürnstein, Bratislava and Salzburg - the birthplace of Mozart.
  • Cruise through the pretty Nibelungengau immortalised in the music of Wagner.
  • Take a ‘behind the scenes’ tour with the renowned Vienna Boys Choir.
  • Visit the House of Music in Budapest Esztergom Basilica and Melk Abbey.

Our Price Includes

  • Prices are per person, based on two people sharing a twin cabin with a limited number of sole occupancy cabins available on all decks, at the relevant supplement. The price includes: 
  • Full board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day; if you choose to travel with us on any of the full day excursions by coach, a packed lunch will be provided. Anyone choosing to stay on the ship may of course have lunch in the restaurant.
  • Complimentary on-board tea and coffee 
  • All visits and excursions as mentioned 
  • Airport transfers 
  • Coach travel as mentioned 
  • Travel to and from port of embarkation 
  • The services of a Riviera Travel cruise director and concierge
  • Complimentary on-board Wi-Fi
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Other Information

Holiday code

R602

Holiday provided by Riviera Travel

BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE: change your booking for free, Covid-19 cancellation protection included as standard and 100% protection with ABTA & ATOL. This holiday is sold and operated by Riviera Travel (ABTA V4744, ATOL 3430). These ABTA and ATOL bonds mean that, when you book a Riviera Travel holiday, you can be 100% sure that your money is safe.

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