Jewish Heritage Cruise

Trip Highlights

Enjoy two nights accommodations at Hotel Sofitel in Budapest before embarkation. Experience privately guided historic sightseeing in Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Melk, Passau, and Prague. Learn from a special on-board speaker, Dr. Inge Auerbacher, who was imprisoned in the WWII concentration camp Terezin from 1942 to 1945. Relax and enjoy the services of a dedicated Orbridge Travel Director throughout as well as expert local guides.

Dates

August 12 to August 25, 2017

Region

Europe

Tour Operator

Orbridge

Physical Activity Level

Mildly Active

Duration

13 Days

Price

$ 4,495.00

Type

River Cruise

Make a Reservation

Call Alumni Travel at 855.764.0064

Itinerary

Day 1: En route from U.S.

Day 2: Arrive in Budapest, Hungary
Welcome to historic Budapest! The remainder of the day is yours to explore this lively capital city. Budapest is home to a number of historically significant Jewish sites, including a number of synagogues built in various architectural styles. The Great Synagogue on Dohány Street, built in 1855 in the Moorish Revival style, is the largest active synagogue in Europe (and second largest in the world behind Temple Emanu-El in New York City). The Rumbach Synagogue is painted and patterned in the Islamic Style and the Kazinczy Street Synagogue, an Orthodox synagogue, is built in the Art Nouveau style. At Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park, view the Tree of Life—a weeping willow tree made from metal, which was created as a tribute to the the 600,000 Jews who perished in the Holocaust.
Overnight: InterContinental Budapest

Day 3: Budapest
During a guided tour, see Heroes’ Square, the impressive Buda Castle and its Fisherman’s Bastion, and the 11th-century Matthias Church. Eight bridges, including the famous Chain and Elisabeth Bridges, connect the two ancient cities of Buda and Pest. This afternoon, walk through the Jewish Quarter—one of the largest Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. After sightseeing, stroll local shops to seek out Budapest’s renowned Herend porcelain, paprika, and folk embroidery.
Overnight: InterContinental Budapest (B)

Day 4: Budapest – Embarkation
Spend the morning exploring: perhaps walk to Goldmark Hall, which houses the Hungarian Jewish Archives, featuring many historically significant exhibits and displays. The most emotional display may be the “Shoe Memorial” on the banks of the Pest side of the river, marking the spot where victims of the fascist regime lost their lives.

In the afternoon, settle in aboard the Avalon Expression, meet the crew and captain during a special welcome reception, and enjoy your first night on board.
Overnight: Avalon Expression (B,R,D)

Day 5: Budapest / Vienna, Austria
Enjoy a leisurely day on board as you sail through the scenery-filled banks of the Danube. Take advantage of the ship’s amenities, or simply relax on the sun deck to watch the sights pass by.

This evening arrive in Vienna—the “City of Music”—and the inspiration for Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. As a fitting welcome, step out for an optional musical performance.
Overnight: Avalon Expression (B,L,D)

Day 6: Vienna
Spend a full day in Vienna—once the center of the Habsburg Empire—to soak in all the awe-inspiring sites, including Hofburg Imperial Palace, the Vienna Opera House, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral, among others. During a guided panoramic tour, see Vienna’s synagogue, the Stadttempel, and the bustling pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse. During free time, make sure to visit one of the many classic Viennese coffee houses to indulge in a decadent apfelstrudel.

You may also choose to visit the Jewish Museum of Vienna—Museum Judenplatz, which has many permanent and special collections, and includes the remains of a medieval synagogue—a museum of medieval Jewry and the Shoah Memorial. Vienna also has a Holocaust Museum, a large Jewish section in the central cemetery, and the controversial Monument Against War and Fascism, dedicated in 1988.
Overnight: Avalon Expression (B,L,D)

Day 7: Dürnstein / Melk
Dürnstein, known for the magnificent baroque Stiftskirche with its blue facade, lies in the heart of the Wachau wine region. Above the town are ruins of the castle where England’s King Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192. Your local guide will tell the tale during an included guided walk.

Back on board, continue cruising through the Wachau Valley during lunch, arriving at Melk for an afternoon guided visit to one of Europe’s largest monasteries—Melk’s Benedictine Abbey. The view from the abbey’s terrace is breathtaking, rivaled only by the frescoes, tapestries, 210-foot-high cupola, and gilded treasures inside. Melk Abbey is also one of the world’s most famous monastic sites, its ornate library holding over 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts.

Tonight, sample some of the Wachau Valley’s famous wines during an onboard tasting.
Overnight: Avalon Expression (B,L,D)

Day 8: Passau, Germany
Today you may choose to join one of the following optional full-day excursions.

Venture to Salzburg to take in the popular sites from the setting of The Sound of Music. Located at the foothills of the Alps, this picturesque town is also known as the birthplace of Mozart. A wealthy city with history based on the salt trade, Salzburg is full of beautiful baroque buildings and is perched between the mountains and green waters of the Salzach River. In your free time, you can stroll through its small but busy lanes with their wrought iron signs, or take a cable car to the castle on the hill for views, or relax on one of the many terraces that help make you feel a part of the scenery. Admire the beauty of the region while on the tour’s scenic motor coach ride; learn from dedicated, local experts; and visit places from The Sound of Music, including Mondsee Abbey, the church where the wedding scene was filmed.

You may also choose to take a scenic route across the rolling hills of Upper Austria and Bohemia to one of the most charming and romantic little towns found in Europe—Český Krumlov. For centuries, this small town has enjoyed the reputation of being the “Pearl of the Bohemian Forest”, an extraordinary fortified town built by princes and bishops on a strikingly beautiful bend of the Vltava River. This hidden gem of European history remains as it was centuries ago—a colorful place with over 300 historic buildings, small lanes, art galleries, charming shops and medieval inns. After World War II when the Iron Curtain fell, Český Krumlov found itself even more off the beaten track, with hardly a visitor. Your local expert will guide you back in time. Pass by the Vltava (Moldau) River, which has been made immortal by Bedřich Smetana’s composition of the same name, before you return to the ship with happy memories from this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Or, stay on board to relax as you continue to cruise to Passau. The city is known as the “Three Rivers City,” as it is located at the confluence of the Danube, Inn, and Ilz rivers. With more than 17,000 pipes, one of the largest church organs in the world can be found in St. Stephen’s Cathedral. A local guide will show you the town’s noteworthy sights.
Overnight: Avalon Expression (B,L,D)

Day 9: Regensburg
Regensburg was home to both Oskar Schindler and Pope Benedict XVI. Its many Roman, Romanesque, and Gothic structures were mostly spared during WWII, making it one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval cities. During a guided walk, take in architectural highlights including the Old Town Hall and Porta Praetoria—gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Afterward, join a guided tour of Jewish Regensburg and visit the Document Neupfarrplatz Museum—an exceptional museum with many exhibits, which also houses archaeological sites of a medieval Jewish synagogue, Roman officers’ lodgings, and a WWII air raid shelter used by the Nazis.

Alternatively, meander through the historic neighborhoods and walk across the 12th-century Stone Bridge—the oldest of its kind in Germany. Then stop at the Old Sausage Kitchen to sample the local fare and beverages.

Later this evening, sample some of Germany’s famous beers.
Overnight: Avalon Expression (B,L,D)

Day 10: Roth / Nuremberg
Today offers two intriguing included excursions from which to choose.

Join a local guide for a tour of Nuremberg—once known as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire, as well as an early center of humanism, science, printing, and mechanical invention. The site of Hitler’s Nuremberg Rallies during WWII, the city was a major target of Allied air raids, resulting in almost complete destruction. Since 1945, the churches, historic buildings, and medieval fortifications have been rebuilt exactly as before. View Kaiserburg Imperial Castle and the town’s quaint town center.

Or, visit the Bavarian town and industrial center of Roth for guided sightseeing.

For those wishing to explore on their own, perhaps visit the never-finished Nazi Congress Hall, or see Courtroom 600 in the Palace of Justice, where the Nuremberg Trials were held.
Overnight: Avalon Expression (B,L,D)

Day 11: Nuremberg – Disembarkation / Transfer to Prague, Czech Republic
After breakfast, bid the Avalon Expression captain and crew a fond farewell, then board a motor coach destined for Prague for the remainder of your trip.
Overnight: InterContinental Prague (B)

Day 12: Prague
Prague is the largest city in the Czech Republic and listed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Register. This morning, your local guide takes you to the city’s treasures including the Old Town’s Astronomical Clock, Hradčany Castle Grounds, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Charles Bridge.

This afternoon, join the included excursion to Terezin and visit its former concentration camp.
Overnight: InterContinental Prague (B)

Day 13: Prague
This morning is yours to explore Prague at your leisure. Perhaps walk through the Communist Museum, visit one of the six synagogues, or stroll along the Vltava River. You may also choose to tour the Jewish Museum, which was established in 1906 and features a collection of items from synagogues that were demolished as a result of the clearance of Prague’s Jewish Ghetto. Then stop at the Old Jewish Cemetery, one of the oldest surviving Jewish burial grounds in the world. Founded in the first half of the 15th century, the oldest tombstone dates back to 1439 and the last burial occurred 348 years later. Over the centuries, the size of the cemetery grew, however the expansion was not enough to facilitate what was needed by the town. Therefore, graves are layered up to 10 deep and there are upwards of 12,000 tombstones in the cemetery.

This afternoon, join your local guide to walk through the Jewish Quarter.
Overnight: InterContinental Prague (B)

Day 14: Prague / Depart for U.S.
After breakfast, guests departing during the suggested times will take a complimentary transfer to the airport for flights home. (B)

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