Danube River Cruise and Optional Extentions

Monday, June 04 – Day 1: DEPART USA Depart on an overnight flight from New York to Budapest. Dinner and breakfast are served on the plane.

Tuesday, June 05 – Day 2: ARRIVAL BUDAPEST- CRUISE EMBARKATION Upon arrival to Budapest, we are greeted by our English speaking Tour Managers, board our buses and are taken on a panoramic tour of Budapest, driving past the City Park, Europe’s largest thermal spa and the Budapest Zoo. Next we stop at the Heroes’ Square (with statues of the most famous Hungarian kings and dukes). We then take the Andrássy Avenue to downtown Pest passing by the Opera House and St. Stephen’s Basilica, where we celebrate Mass. Following Mass we embark on the beautiful Emerald Destiny cruise ship (built in 2017) which will be our home for the next seven nights week. We settle into our comfortable cabins, unpack and join a welcome cocktail reception in the lounge area, orientation, and a wonderful dinner accompanied by local wines. Following dinner, we head out to the deck to enjoy a Blue Danube Cocktail as the ship takes us on a panoramic Budapest by Night Cruise. Overnight on the cruise. (Welcome cocktail and dinner on the ship)

Wednesday, June 06 – Day 3: BUDAPEST: 1000 Years of History After breakfast we head out to explore Budapest, starting at the Chain Bridge, driving over to the Buda side of the city. We stop in the Castle District where, during a short walk, we see the main attractions of the area. We walk to Matthias Church and Fishermen’s Bastion (from where we can enjoy the beautiful panorama). Next, we drive to the Gellért Hill (Citadel) and you see the most spectacular view of Budapest. We cross the Elisabeth Bridge to the Pest side and we stop at the Central Market Hall to choose our lunch. During the tour we listen to a brief overview of the last 1000 years of Hungarian history. We celebrate Mass at the 13th century St. Mark’s Church (TBC) before returning to the ship at 3:30P.M. Enjoy the magnificent views from your cabin or the deck as we sail upstream on the Danube River. Overnight on the ship. (B, D)

Thursday, June 07 – Day 4: BRATISLAVA: A Country Castle Visit We arrive in Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak Republic at 8:00AM. Following breakfast, we have a morning retreat on the ship with Gus Lloyd and Fr. Leo. Following lunch on the ship we visit Sastin-Straz, one of the most important basilicas in Slovakia for Mass. We drive about an hour outside the city, passing through villages and farms, to Cerveny Kamen Castle (Red Rock Caslte) for a guided tour, a falconry demonstration and a tasting of the local wine. We return to Bratislava for a walking tour of the city highlights including St. Martin’s Cathedral, the coronation site of Hungarian Kings. Time to explore the city where we find relaxed pedestrian plazas and stylish street cafes. The ship sails at 10:00P.M. Overnight on the ship. (B, Lunch on the ship, D)

Friday, June 08 – Day 5: VIENNA: The Royal Life and Classical Music Concert We wake up in the beautiful city of Vienna. Following breakfast, we explore Austria’s most vibrant city as we enjoy a panoramic drive through Vienna taking in the world famous Opera House, Town Hall, Hapsburg Imperial Palace and more. We walk to St. Stephen’s Cathedral which is in the Main Square to explore the Catacombs beneath the Cathedral, and see where the Vienna Boys Choir practices and performs. We celebrate Mass and have time to explore the city on our own. Be sure to stop by the world famous hotel Sacher to try Sacher torte, a not to be missed Viennese treat. You may choose to stay in town for lunch on your own, visit one of the many museums or return to the ship for lunch. In the afternoon explore the city or take the optional tour to Schonbrunn Castle. Following dinner tonight we are transferred back to Vienna for a classical music concert. We sail at 11:00P.M. Overnight on the ship. (B, Lunch on the ship, D)

Saturday, June 09 – Day 6: WACHAU VALLEY -DURENSTEIN – MELK: A Day of Wine and Abbeys This morning, at 6:00 AM we dock in Durenstein a lovely wine village in the magnificent Wachau Valley. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where we sail past lush vineyards, fairy tale castles and ancient monasteries. The perfect little village of Durenstein is in the center of Austria’s wine country. We take a closer look walking up to the village to see the Baroque houses and the Rathouse. We visit the Augustinian Monastery and the Blue Monastery Church and Abbey. Legend tells us that St. James’s skeleton is housed in the Abbey. Our journey continues by bus today as we drive a short distance to Gottweig Abbey, a mountaintop retreat with furniture as amazing as the stunning views. We stop at a local winery to learn about Austrian wine production and enjoy lunch before arriving in Melk for a visit of the beautifull Melk Benedictine Abbey. Our guided tour includes a tour of the Library, the Abbey and the Church where we celebrate Mass. We depart Melk at 7:00 P.M and we enjoy a relaxing dinner on the ship followed by drinks and music in the lounge. Overnight on the ship. (B, Lunch on the ship,D)

Sunday, June 10 – Day 7: PASSAU- SALZBURG: Sound of Music Upon rising, we have breakfast and board our private motorcoach which takes us to Salzburg, the city known for the beloved movie, the Sound of Music, and Mozart’s birthplace. Salzburg is enticing with its ornate church towers and grand palaces. We celebrate Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Maria Plain. The 17th-century hilltop shrine overlooking Salzburg has a painting of the Virgin Mary that miraculously survived a bakery fire. The shrine became a Minor Basilica in 1952 and was visited by Pope John Paul II in 1983. We enjoy a walking tour of the charming city of music and Mozart. See the Basilica and stroll along the Getreidegasse to see the house where Mozart was born and take in many familiar sights from the Sound of Music film. Our exploration of the religious heritage of this town includes Nonnberg, believed to be the oldest nunnery in existence. It was founded by St. Rupert in the 8th century, as well as the Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter. Wear your most comfortable walking shoes as most of the streets are cobblestone – many closed to vehicles – and enjoy views of 17th century churches and quaint houses. Return to Passau to visit the Danube City Hall building dating to the 1200s which showcases murals of Passau’s history and houses what might be the biggest church organ on the planet. Enjoy dinner and music in the lounge. Lunch is on your own today. Mass will be celebrated. Overnight on the ship. (B, L, D) Monday,

June 11 – Day 8: REGENSBURG: The City of Pope Benedict – BAMBERG – Bavarian Beer Country After breakfast we head out to explore this wonderful city. Regensburg is one of Germanys best preserved medieval city famous for sausage making and the place where Pope Benedict grew up, studied and became a priest. We embark on our city tour of Regensburg, highlighting places visited by the Holy Father in his youth. We see the Stone Bridge, St. Peter’s Cathedral, the University area, the Castle and more. Our afternoon takes us on the Castle Road to Bamberg, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bamberg is a unique work of art, with the largest intact old town. Our tour includes a visit to the Imperial Cathedral, the breathtaking Rose Garden , the mediaeval Old Court and the Old Town Hall. Bamberg boasts a total of nine breweries with over fifty varieties of different beer. After we see St. Michael’s Monastery, we have time to try the original smoked beer of Bamberg. We return to the ship for the Captain’s gala farewell dinner. (B, L, Captains Gala Dinner)

Tuesday, June 12 – Day 9: NUREMBERG – DISEMBARKATION – PRAGUE: Infant Jesus of Prague This morning we enjoy our final breakfast on board the ship. With our bags packed we disembark from our home of eight days. We enjoy a city tour of Nuremberg which takes us through the historic city, famous as the epicenter of the Nazi propaganda campaign. We see attractions like Congress Hall, Luitpold Arena, Great Street and historic old town, as we learn about the birth of the Third Reich empire. Following lunch on your own we depart for Prague. Mass is celebrated at Our Lady of Victorious Church where we see the famous statues of Santa Nino or Infant Jesus of Prague. Famous for its beer, Prague is where we have our farewell dinner in a local pub with a choice of wine or beer. Overnight Prague. (B, Special Farewell Dinner)

Wednesday, June 13 – Day 10: PRAGUE – USA We have breakfast and head to the airport for our flight home to the USA. (B)


Thursday, June 13 – Day 11: PRAGUE CITY TOUR Enjoy the day in this unique Bohemian city. We tour the Castle district including a visit to the Loreto Sanctuary, a lavish Baroque pilgrimage site, home of the Santa Casa, a replica of Mary’s house. Our visit includes the cloister and the treasury. Our next stop is St. Vitus Cathedral and the Basilica of St. George, The oldest church in Prague. Following lunch, we visit Old Town Prague including the Church of St. Nicholas and the Manes Bridge. Mass will be celebrated. You have time to explore Prague on your own later in the afternoon. Dinner is at leisure. Overnight Prague. (B, L)

Friday, June 14 – Day 12: PRAGUE- USA We have breakfast and head to the airport for our flight home to the USA. (B)


Thursday, June 13 – Day 11: PRAGUE- MARKLT AM IN – ALTOTTING After breakfast, we drive back into Germany to Marklt Am In to see the birthplace of Pope Benedict. We also visit the church where the Holy Father was baptized. We continue to Altotting, Germany’s main Marian Shrine. We visit the Basilica of St. Anna, the Holy Chapel, Collegiate Church, and the Treasury, housing the gifts donated to the Basilica. We celebrate Mass at St. Konrad Monastery followed by a coffee break at the refectory of the monastery. We continue to Munich for an overnight. (B, L, D)

Friday, June 14- Day 12: MUNICH – BAVARIAN HIGHLIGHTS: ETTAL, OBERAMMERGAU, NEUSCHWANSTEIN Our first stop on this beautiful day is the Benedictine Monastery of Ettal to visit the monastery and taste the brew made by the monks. The monks from the Ettal Abbey mix and experiment with indigenous herbs and plants within the thick monastery walls. The result: fine liquors stored in huge 5,000 liters (1321 gallon) wooden kegs where they mature. We stop in nearby Oberammergau for our lunch break (lunch on our own) in one of the many little restaurants. Oberammergau is well known for its Passion Play. In the middle of the Thirty Years War, after months of suffering and death from the plague, the Obermmergauers swore an oath that they would perform the” Play of the Suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ every ten years. At Pentecost 1634, they fulfilled their pledge for the first time on a stage they put up in the cemetery above the fresh graves of the plague victims. In the year 2020, it will be the 47th time that the Community of Oberammergau performs the Passion Play they have preserved throughout the centuries. When you think of Germany, you can’t help but think of the Neuschwanstein Castle, the most photographed location in the world and the inspiration for Cinderella’s Castle in Disney World. We travel in the afternoon to tour the castle and to see the architectural fairytale for ourselves. On our way back to Munich, we stop at Weiss Kirche, the Church in the Meadow to celebrate Mass (TBC). Overnight Munich. (B, D)

Saturday, June 15 – Day 13: MUNICH We begin our day with Mass at the beautiful baroque Church of Asamkirche (TBC). We continue to the Nymphenburg Palace, the summer home of the Bavarian monarchs, complete with its magnificent gardens. After our visit here, we return for a city tour of Bavaria’s capital, including the historic glockenspiel on the Marienplatz (Mary’s Plaza), the revered twin-towered Frauenkirche (Our Lady’s Church), the most familiar landmark of old Munich, and more. In the afternoon, enjoy time at leisure to explore Munich on your own. Dinner tonight is in one of the famous beer gardens in Munich. Beer is included as well as a live and authentic oompah band, of course. (B, Special dinner with music) Sunday, June 16 – Day 14: DEPART FOR USA After breakfast, we are transferred to the airport for our flight home. (B)

EXTENSION 3: OPTIONAL 3 nights in KRAKOW, Poland

Thursday, June 13 – Day 11: PRAGUE- KRAKOW We depart for Krakow this morning, crossing from the Czech Republic into Poland. Upon arrival check into your hotel and enjoy time at leisure in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Dinner at leisure. Overnight in Krakow. (B)

Friday, June 14- Day 12: KRAKOW SITES – DIVINE MERCYSALT MINES Our sightseeing tour of Krakow includes visiting sites in the Medieval Old Town and on the Wawel Hill where we see the Cathedral with the St. Stanislaus Shrine which contains the relics of Poland’s patron saint. We see the Pope’s room and the famous Pope’s Window, honoring St. John Paul II. We travel a short distance to visit the Divine Mercy Shrine, where St. Faustina, the Apostle of Divine Mercy lived and died. We celebrate Mass at Divine Mercy Shrine (TBC) and visit the new center “Have No Fear” dedicated to St. John Paul II, to venerate his relics. Continue to Wieliczka, the oldest salt mine in Europe where we explore underground chambers and salt lakes. We see richly decorated chapels including the famous Blessed Kings’ Chapel. Dinner and overnight in Krakow. (B, D)

Saturday, June 15- Day 13: CZESTOCHOWA We visit Jasna Gora Monastery to see the miraculous icon of the Black Madonna. We have time to explore the monastery and celebrate Mass. Time for prayer and reflection is scheduled. Return to Krakow for a farewell evening tonight in a local restaurant with a folklore show. Overnight in Krakow. (B, L, Farewell dinner with folklore show)

Sunday, June 16- Day 14: DEPART FOR USA After breakfast, we are transferred to the airport for our flight home. (B)

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