SOLO TRAVELLER OFFER – Cruise the Heart of Europe 4th Aug 2019 – Charles Dickens

Cruise Line
Riviera Travel
Ship
Charles Dickens
Package Departs
04 Aug 2019
Package Duration
14 Nights
Embark Ship
Cologne, Germany
Disembark Ship
Budapest, Hungary
N-3653 - Oceanview
AU $5,789
per person

This fifteen-day river cruise takes you on an amazing journey from Budapest on the banks of the Danube to Cologne in the heart of the Rhine valley.
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ADD ON A DRINKS PACKAGE – An onboard Drinks Package:
Available for all new 2019 departures is an onboard drinks package (valued at $389 per person). This includes draught beer, non-alcoholic beer, soft drinks, juices, red/white/rose house wines, and wine recommendations from the menu – served with lunch and dinner onboard your ship. If you would like to add on this package please advise prior to departure from Australia.
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SOLO SPACE NOW AVAILABLE!

Prices per person in AUD from:
Single Lower Deck (window) from $5,789*pp – no single supplement offer.
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CRUISE THE HEART OF EUROPE Cruise-Only package includes:
– 14 night river cruise from Cologne to Budapest aboard ms Charles Dickens
– All meals from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your day of departure including Welcome Cocktails & Dinner plus Captain`s Dinner
– Complimentary onboard tea & coffee
– Five star service from an English-speaking crew and knowledgeable local guides
– Complimentary onboard Wi-Fi
– The services of a Riviera Travel River Cruises cruise director and tour manager
– Included visits and shore tours: Admire the stunning scenery of the Rhine Gorge, Main and Danube | Guided tour of 2,000 year-old Koblenz | Stop in picturesque Boppard, Rudesheim, Mainz and Passau | See Miltenberg, Wertheim, Melk Abbey and Regensburg | Guided tours of baroque Wurzburg, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest | Walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bamberg | Tour of Nuremberg – steeped in ancient and modern history – Including visit of the site of the infamous Nuremberg Trials and Nazi rally grounds | Live classical quartet recital on board
– Port charges
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Cruise Day to Day itinerary
(subject to change by the cruise line without notice)

DAY 1 – Cologne, Germany
Arrive in Cologne, where your five-star floating hotel is moored in the picturesque historic center. On arrival, transfer by coach to your cruise ship moored in Cologne’s picturesque centre. The dedicated English-speaking crew will welcome you aboard your first-class floating hotel, ensuring you settle in to your luxurious and well-equipped cabin and familiarise yourself with the ship.

DAY 2 – Koblenz & Boppard, Germany
The first morning on a river cruise is always a thrill as you awake to the gentle lapping of the water and the colourful valley sides slipping effortlessly past your cabin window – there really is no other holiday experience quite like it. We call at historic Koblenz, situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers and dominated by the immense Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. This morning we take a guided walk around the Old Town, exploring its twisting streets and charming squares. During a relaxed lunch we cruise to Boppard, known as the `Pearl of the Rhine`. Wonderfully situated on a sweeping meander, it is one of the Rhineland`s most attractive villages. Its stone quayside is lined with boats of all descriptions set against a backdrop of archetypal half-timbered buildings and cobbled streets. There are also some superb Roman walls, reputed to be the finest in Germany.

DAY 3 – Rhine Gorge & Rudesheim, Germany
Today you experience one of the real highlights of your cruise – the passage through the Rhine Gorge. Here the river narrows, the current is swifter and the towering valley sides soar 600 feet, while the ruins of castles, which once held sway over passing mariners, crown every tortuous turn. We pass rocky outcrops and cruise around endless twisting bends to the famous Lorelei or `murmuring rock`, where according to legend, enchanting maidens lured unsuspecting sailors to watery graves. Next we call at Rudesheim, a true Rhine wine town surrounded by vineyards whose fruits you can sample in the many wine taverns you’ll find in its cobbled streets.

DAY 4 – Mainz, Germany
This morning we take the short cruise to the town of Mainz, situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Main Rivers. An important Roman city for over 450 years with the largest amphitheatre north of the Alps, Mainz is also home to the magnificent Romanesque Saint Martin`s Cathedral and the fine Saint Stephen`s Church, whose interior is filled with beautiful blue light flooding through stained-glass windows featuring intricate biblical figures – a masterpiece by the great artist Marc Chagall. Mainz`s most famous son is Johannes Gutenberg, father of modern printing, and there’s an excellent museum housing a reconstruction of his workshop and two original 1455 Gutenberg Bibles, among the earliest books ever printed. This afternoon our ship cruises up the Main River. Please note: when cruising from Mainz to Passau the main part of the Sun Deck is closed because we pass under low bridges.

DAY 5 – Miltenberg & Wertheim, Germany
The views this morning are of dense emerald-green forests as we cruise to Miltenberg, one of Germany`s best-preserved medieval villages. It became prosperous during the Middle Ages under the protection of its castle and today its colourful half-timbered houses and market square with its octagonal Renaissance fountain are an atmospheric reminder of times past. During lunch we cruise around the first of the many meandering bends that characterise the Main River, pausing at Wertheim, one of those towns that’s a joy to stumble across because it`s completely unknown on the mainstream tourist trail. A russet-walled 12th-century castle overlooks the Old Town, with views of the church spires, turrets and patchwork of multicoloured buildings below.

DAY 6 – Wurzburg, Germany
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning as we glide towards Wurzburg, situated at the head of Germany`s Romantic Road, so called because of its spellbinding procession of captivating scenery, medieval towns, lofty castles and grand palaces. Wurzburg is best explored on foot and we have a walking tour through neat streets dotted with fine pastel-coloured Baroque and Rococo buildings. Its crowning jewel is the truly magnificent Residenz, the former seat of the prince-bishops and one of Europe`s finest Baroque palaces, constructed to compete with the greatest courts of the day such as Vienna and Versailles.

DAY 7 – Bamberg, Germany
Today we visit Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that`s quite simply one of the most outstandingly preserved and beautiful small towns in Europe, easily on a par with Prague. The masterpiece you see today began its artistic journey during the 11th century when Emperor Heinrich II chose Bamberg as the location for a capital city he planned to be as grand as Rome. Although it never became as large as Italy`s capital, Bamberg nevertheless has a wealth of fine buildings including a stupendous cathedral, a town hall built in the middle of the Regnitz River, a network of canals and former fishermen’s houses called `Little Venice` and hundreds of medieval buildings in the tangled lanes of its Old Town.

DAY 8 – Nuremberg, Germany
Today we call at Nuremberg, the Bavarian city which will always be associated with the Nazi period – Hitler`s pre-war rallies and the international war crimes trials that brought down the final curtain on that notorious regime. What is less well known is that Nuremberg is regarded as the unofficial capital of Germany`s First Reich, better known as the Holy Roman Empire, which was founded with the coronation of Charlemagne in 800 AD and lasted for over a thousand years. This morning we have a fascinating guided tour taking in the city`s great ramparts and many fine historic buildings, including the enormous Kaiserburg castle, Craftsmen`s Court, the Church of Saint Lawrence and the Market Square, with its exquisite fountain that resembles a Gothic church tower.

DAY 9 – Regensburg, Germany
This morning we cruise along the Main–Danube Canal to Kelheim, where we join the enchanting Danube River. Our next port of call is Regensburg, formerly an important garrison guarding the most northwesterly point of the Roman Empire whose camp gate, the Porta Praetoria, can still be seen. Regensburg was spared war damage and today its historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that`s a delight to explore. This afternoon take a stroll along the iconic stone bridge; see the Altes Rathaus – the seat of the Diet, or parliament, of the Holy Roman Empire from 1663 to 1806 – and gaze in wonder at the Gothic cathedral, the most exceptional in Bavaria. Regensburg calls itself `Germany`s medieval miracle`, and it’s hard to argue as you wander along the glorious winding streets and elegant squares of the Old Town.

DAY 10 – Passau, Germany
Another day dawns as our journey brings us to Passau, the last town we stop at in Germany, nestling where the Inn and Ilz Rivers join the Danube. After a leisurely breakfast take the opportunity to explore the `Three Rivers City`, overlooked by the Veste Oberhaus, a 13th-century hilltop fortress. The Old Town below is known for its Baroque architecture including Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, where the world’s largest cathedral organ sounds. Back on board this afternoon, make sure to keep an eye on the superb riverside views slipping silently by as we cross into Austria. It’s a country synonymous with superb scenery, but this beautiful section of the Danube Valley is something of a secret.

DAY 11 – Melk,
On a striking rocky bluff above the town of Melk is the enormous Benedictine Abbey, which we visit this morning. This extraordinary building was originally a castle that was subsequently bequeathed to the Benedictine order during the 11th century and has been a monastery ever since. Reconstructed in full Baroque style during the 18th century, the Abbey has many fine rooms and a stupendous library with 100,000 priceless volumes, including some intricate illuminated manuscripts. As lunch is served we cruise downstream through the delightfully picturesque Wachau Valley before approaching our next destination: Vienna, the city of Strauss. To celebrate Vienna`s wonderful legacy we have arranged a recital on board by a quartet of talented classical musicians. Listening to this exquisite music while in the city of its creation makes a wonderful finale to the day.

DAY 12 – Vienna, Austria
Imagine Vienna and you think of an elegant imperial city that`s one of the gems of Central Europe, and perhaps the world`s most musical city. Its name conjures up an image of culture, ornate architecture, resplendent cafés, aristocratic palaces and imposing cathedrals, with the romantic music of the great composers filling the air. In fact, the reality is little different and there`s an absolute wealth of things to see in this former capital of the Habsburg Empire, which held sway over much of Central and Eastern Europe for centuries until its demise at the end of the First World War. For such a grand city Vienna is quite compact and this morning we enjoy an enlightening guided tour. This most civilised of cities first rose to prominence in the 17th century, and over the next 200 years a magnificent array of galleries, churches and palaces was built. At its heart we have the lovely Saint Stephen`s Cathedral with its dazzling patterned roof of glazed tiles, then the awe-inspiring Hofburg Palace, the former royal court that’s now a collection of museums, home to the Crown Jewels and relics of the Holy Roman Empire as well as the famous Spanish Riding School, and where the Vienna Boys` Choir performs. The rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy this wonderful city at your leisure.

DAY 13 – Bratislava, Slovakia
This morning we explore Slovakia`s capital, Bratislava, which has shrugged off the greyness of the communist era and rekindled the splendour of its imperial past in its painstakingly restored Baroque Old Town. Wander the winding streets to the main square where you`ll find the former Old Town Hall, now housing a museum dedicated to the history of the city and where you may climb the tower for some lovely views. Equally impressive is the great 9th-century castle that dominates the city, with its expansive views across the Danube. Or head to the neoclassical Primatial Palace with its fabulous Hall of Mirrors and rare collection of 17th-century English tapestries. For something more relaxing, perhaps enjoy a refreshing homemade lemonade – a speciality of the city – in one of the many cafes. Our cruise reaches another highlight this afternoon as we navigate the dramatic Danube Bend, one of the most spectacular stretches of this mighty river. Winding our way through a narrow twisting valley flanked by high mountains and verdant hillsides, we pass a kaleidoscope of exceptional river views, ancient castle ruins and historic towns. We reach our journey`s end cruising into Budapest and enjoying spectacular views of this breathtaking city on our stately final approach.

DAY 14 – Budapest, Hungary
You rise refreshed in this breathtakingly beautiful imperial capital that straddles the great Danube River, and we have a whole day to enjoy it. Dominated by its castle, Budapest has been called `Little Paris of Middle Europe` and, with its truly magnificent skyline of soaring spires and grand domes, it’s not hard to see why. It’s renowned for the bewitching blend of monuments reflecting Hungary`s national culture and those of the foreign powers that have dominated most of the city’s history. Today Budapest is a collage of Roman ruins, Turkish baths from the Ottoman Empire, palatial buildings, Baroque churches and sensational Art Nouveau architecture and design – all wrapped up in a wonderful atmosphere enhanced by the unique sound of Hungary`s music and language. You`ll really get to know this beguiling city on our guided tour of the main sights, such as the iconic Parliament Building, a huge neo-Gothic building that dominates the river bank with its striking central dome and multitude of soaring spires. You have the rest of the day free to explore at your leisure, and culturally you’re spoilt for choice with the city’s array of fine museums and art galleries. Alternatively you might want to wander the ancient streets of the Castle District while you enjoy panoramic views of the city, stroll down elegant Andrassy Avenue or visit the spectacular Central Market Hall, where you can find everything from traditional foods to handicrafts. The main event this evening is the `Captain`s Dinner`, the chef’s delicious selection of specialities from the countries and regions we’ve visited during our cruise. Afterwards, perhaps retire for a digestif in the bar to reflect on all the wonderful sights you`ve seen and the people you`ve met on this unforgettable river cruise through the heart of Europe.

DAY 15 – Budapest, Hungary
Disembark ship early morning

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*Conditions Apply: All prices shown here are per person share twin (unless stated as single) in AUD, based on best available cruise fare at time of publication (07Nov18). All prices based on cash payment – credit card fees may apply. Cruise deposit, amendment and cancellation conditions apply. The following are NOT included in this package – 1. Ships gratuities 2. Drinks aboard river cruise other than those as listed as included in a Drinks Package (if you choose to pay the additional fee) 3. Any meals other than those as stated 4. Transfer to port to join cruise 5. Transfer from port to depart cruise 6. Travel insurance – proof of which is mandatory prior to documentation release 7. International or domestic airfares. Travel agent service fees may apply. Special conditions apply – please ask for full details at time of enquiry. All passports, vaccinations and visas are the responsibility of the travelling guest to secure prior to departure from Australia. Offer valid until sold out/withdrawn from sale and is subject to availability at time of booking. We reserve the right to correct errors without penalty.

Special Conditions

*Conditions Apply: All prices shown here are per person single sole use occupancy of a twin lower deck stateroom in AUD, based on best available cruise fare at time of publication (11Apr19). All prices based on cash payment - credit card fees may apply. Cruise deposit, amendment and cancellation conditions apply. The following are NOT included in this package - 1. Ships gratuities 2. Drinks aboard river cruise other than those as listed as included in a Drinks Package (if you choose to pay the additional fee) 3. Any meals other than those as stated 4. Transfer to port to join cruise 5. Transfer from port to depart cruise 6. Travel insurance - proof of which is mandatory prior to documentation release 7. International or domestic airfares. Travel agent service fees may apply. Special conditions apply - please ask for full details at time of enquiry. All passports, vaccinations and visas are the responsibility of the travelling guest to secure prior to departure from Australia. Offer valid until sold out/withdrawn from sale and is subject to availability at time of booking. We reserve the right to correct errors without penalty. Not valid on any other category.

Special Validity Dates

Special is valid from 11 Apr 2019 to 04 Jul 2019 or until sold out/withdrawn.

Cruise Itinerary

DateActivityArriveDepart
04 Aug 2019
Cologne, Germany
05 Aug 2019
Koblenz, Germany
05 Aug 2019
Boppard, Germany
06 Aug 2019
Rudesheim, Germany
07 Aug 2019
Mainz, Germany
08 Aug 2019
Miltenberg, Germany
08 Aug 2019
Wertheim, Germany
09 Aug 2019
Wurzburg, Germany
10 Aug 2019
Bamberg, Germany
11 Aug 2019
Nuremberg, Germany
12 Aug 2019
Regensburg, Germany
13 Aug 2019
Passau, Germany
14 Aug 2019
Melk , Austria
14 Aug 2019
Vienna, Austria
15 Aug 2019
Vienna, Austria
16 Aug 2019
Bratislava, Slovakia
17 Aug 2019
Budapest, Hungary
18 Aug 2019
Budapest, Hungary

All itineraries and ports of call at the discretion of the cruise line subject to local weather conditions and may change without notice.

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14 Night River Cruise sailing from Cologne to Budapest aboard MS Charles Dickens.

DAY 1 – ARRIVAL IN COLOGNE
Moored in Cologne’s picturesque historic centre, the dedicated crew will welcome you aboard your first-class floating hotel, ensuring you settle into your comfortable and extremely well equipped cabin and familiarise yourself with the ship.

DAY 2 – KOBLENZ & BOPPARD
The first morning on a river cruise is always a thrill as you awake to the gentle lapping of the water and the colourful valley sides slipping effortlessly past your cabin window – there really is no other holiday experience quite like it. We call at historic Koblenz, situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers and dominated by the immense Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. This morning we take a guided walk around the Old Town, exploring its twisting streets and charming squares.

During a relaxed lunch we cruise to Boppard, known as the ‘Pearl of the Rhine’. Wonderfully situated on a sweeping meander, it is one of the Rhineland’s most attractive villages. Its stone quayside is lined with boats of all descriptions set against a backdrop of archetypal half-timbered buildings and cobbled streets. There are also some superb Roman walls, reputed to be the finest in Germany.

DAY 3 – RHINE GORGE & RÜDESHEIM
Today you experience one of the real highlights of your cruise – the passage through the Rhine Gorge. Here the river narrows, the current is swifter and the towering valley sides soar 600 feet, while the ruins of castles, which once held sway over passing mariners, crown every tortuous turn. We pass rocky outcrops and cruise around endless twisting bends to the famous Lorelei or ‘murmuring rock’, where according to legend, enchanting maidens lured unsuspecting sailors to watery graves. Next we call at Rüdesheim, a true Rhine wine town surrounded by vineyards whose fruits you can sample in the many wine taverns you’ll find in its cobbled streets.

DAY 4 – MAINZ
This morning we take the short cruise to the town of Mainz, situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Main Rivers. An important Roman city for over 450 years with the largest amphitheatre north of the Alps, Mainz is also home to the magnificent Romanesque Saint Martin’s Cathedral and the fine Saint Stephen’s Church, whose interior is filled with beautiful blue light flooding through stained-glass windows featuring intricate biblical figures – a masterpiece by the great artist Marc Chagall. Mainz’s most famous son is Johannes Gutenberg, father of modern printing, and there’s an excellent museum housing a reconstruction of his workshop and two original 1455 Gutenberg Bibles, among the earliest books ever printed. This afternoon our ship cruises up the Main River.

Please note: when cruising from Mainz to Passau the main part of the Sun Deck is closed because we pass under low bridges.

DAY 5 – MILTENBERG & WERTHEIM
The views this morning are of dense emerald-green forests as we cruise to Miltenberg, one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval villages. It became prosperous during the Middle Ages under the protection of its castle and today its colourful half-timbered houses and market square with its octagonal Renaissance fountain are an atmospheric reminder of times past.

During lunch we cruise around the first of the many meandering bends that characterise the Main River, pausing at Wertheim, one of those towns that’s a joy to stumble across because it’s completely unknown on the mainstream tourist trail. A russet-walled 12th-century castle overlooks the Old Town, with views of the church spires, turrets and patchwork of multicoloured buildings below.

DAY 6 – WÜRZBURG
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning as we glide towards Würzburg, situated at the head of Germany’s Romantic Road, so called because of its spellbinding procession of captivating scenery, medieval towns, lofty castles and grand palaces. Würzburg is best explored on foot and we have a walking tour through neat streets dotted with fine pastel-coloured Baroque and Rococo buildings. Its crowning jewel is the truly magnificent Residenz, the former seat of the prince-bishops and one of Europe’s finest Baroque palaces, constructed to compete with the greatest courts of the day such as Vienna and Versailles.

DAY 7 – BAMBERG
Today we visit Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s quite simply one of the most outstandingly preserved and beautiful small towns in Europe, easily on a par with Prague. The masterpiece you see today began its artistic journey during the 11th century when Emperor Heinrich II chose Bamberg as the location for a capital city he planned to be as grand as Rome. Although it never became as large as Italy’s capital, Bamberg nevertheless has a wealth of fine buildings including a stupendous cathedral, a town hall built in the middle of the Regnitz River, a network of canals and former fishermen’s houses called ‘Little Venice’ and hundreds of medieval buildings in the tangled lanes of its Old Town.

DAY 8 – NUREMBERG
Today we call at Nuremberg, the Bavarian city which will always be associated with the Nazi period – Hitler’s pre-war rallies and the international war crimes trials that brought down the final curtain on that notorious regime. What is less well known is that Nuremberg is regarded as the unofficial capital of Germany’s First Reich, better known as the Holy Roman Empire, which was founded with the coronation of Charlemagne in 800 AD and lasted for over a thousand years.

This morning we have a fascinating guided tour taking in the city’s great ramparts and many fine historic buildings, including the enormous Kaiserburg castle, Craftsmen’s Court, the Church of Saint Lawrence and the Market Square, with its exquisite fountain that resembles a Gothic church tower.

DAY 9 – REGENSBURG
This morning we cruise along the Main–Danube Canal to Kelheim, where we join the enchanting Danube River. Our next port of call is Regensburg, formerly an important garrison guarding the most northwesterly point of the Roman Empire whose camp gate, the Porta Praetoria, can still be seen.

Regensburg was spared war damage and today its historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s a delight to explore. This afternoon take a stroll along the iconic stone bridge; see the Altes Rathaus – the seat of the Diet, or parliament, of the Holy Roman Empire from 1663 to 1806 – and gaze in wonder at the Gothic cathedral, the most exceptional in Bavaria. Regensburg calls itself ‘Germany’s medieval miracle’, and it’s hard to argue as you wander along the glorious winding streets and elegant squares of the Old Town.

DAY 10 – PASSAU
Another day dawns as our journey brings us to Passau, the last town we stop at in Germany, nestling where the Inn and Ilz Rivers join the Danube. After a leisurely breakfast take the opportunity to explore the ‘Three Rivers City’, overlooked by the Veste Oberhaus, a 13th-century hilltop fortress. The Old Town below is known for its Baroque architecture including Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, where the world’s largest cathedral organ sounds.

Back on board this afternoon, make sure to keep an eye on the superb riverside views slipping silently by as we cross into Austria. It’s a country synonymous with superb scenery, but this beautiful section of the Danube Valley is something of a secret.

DAY 11 ­– ­MELK
On a striking rocky bluff above the town of Melk is the enormous Benedictine Abbey, which we visit this morning. This extraordinary building was originally a castle that was subsequently bequeathed to the Benedictine order during the 11th century and has been a monastery ever since. Reconstructed in full Baroque style during the 18th century, the Abbey has many fine rooms and a stupendous library with 100,000 priceless volumes, including some intricate illuminated manuscripts.

As lunch is served we cruise downstream through the delightfully picturesque Wachau Valley before approaching our next destination: Vienna, the city of Strauss. To celebrate Vienna’s wonderful legacy we have arranged a recital on board by a quartet of talented classical musicians. Listening to this exquisite music while in the city of its creation makes a wonderful finale to the day.

DAY 12 ­– VIENNA
Imagine Vienna and you think of an elegant imperial city that’s one of the gems of Central Europe, and perhaps the world’s most musical city. Its name conjures up an image of culture, ornate architecture, resplendent cafés, aristocratic palaces and imposing cathedrals, with the romantic music of the great composers filling the air. In fact, the reality is little different and there’s an absolute wealth of things to see in this former capital of the Habsburg Empire, which held sway over much of Central and Eastern Europe for centuries until its demise at the end of the First World War. For such a grand city Vienna is quite compact and this morning we enjoy an enlightening guided tour. This most civilised of cities first rose to prominence in the 17th century, and over the next 200 years a magnificent array of galleries, churches and palaces was built. At its heart we have the lovely Saint Stephen’s Cathedral with its dazzling patterned roof of glazed tiles, then the awe-inspiring Hofburg Palace, the former royal court that’s now a collection of museums, home to the Crown Jewels and relics of the Holy Roman Empire as well as the famous Spanish Riding School, and where the Vienna Boys’ Choir performs. The rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy this wonderful city at your leisure.

DAY 13 – BRATISLAVA
This morning we explore Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, which has shrugged off the greyness of the communist era and rekindled the splendour of its imperial past in its painstakingly restored Baroque Old Town. Wander the winding streets to the main square where you’ll find the former Old Town Hall, now housing a museum dedicated to the history of the city and where you may climb the tower for some lovely views. Equally impressive is the great 9th-century castle that dominates the city, with its expansive views across the Danube. Or head to the neoclassical Primatial Palace with its fabulous Hall of Mirrors and rare collection of 17th-century English tapestries. For something more relaxing, perhaps enjoy a refreshing homemade lemonade – a speciality of the city – in one of the many cafés.

Our cruise reaches another highlight this afternoon as we navigate the dramatic Danube Bend, one of the most spectacular stretches of this mighty river. Winding our way through a narrow twisting valley flanked by high mountains and verdant hillsides, we pass a kaleidoscope of exceptional river views, ancient castle ruins and historic towns. We reach our journey’s end cruising into Budapest and enjoying spectacular views of this breathtaking city on our stately final approach.

DAY 14 – BUDAPEST
You rise refreshed in this breathtakingly beautiful imperial capital that straddles the great Danube River, and we have a whole day to enjoy it. Dominated by its castle, Budapest has been called ‘Little Paris of Middle Europe’ and, with its truly magnificent skyline of soaring spires and grand domes, it’s not hard to see why. It’s renowned for the bewitching blend of monuments reflecting Hungary’s national culture and those of the foreign powers that have dominated most of the city’s history. Today Budapest is a collage of Roman ruins, Turkish baths from the Ottoman Empire, palatial buildings, Baroque churches and sensational Art Nouveau architecture and design – all wrapped up in a wonderful atmosphere enhanced by the unique sound of Hungary’s music and language.

You’ll really get to know this beguiling city on our guided tour of the main sights, such as the iconic Parliament Building, a huge neo-Gothic building that dominates the river bank with its striking central dome and multitude of soaring spires. You have the rest of the day free to explore at your leisure, and culturally you’re spoilt for choice with the city’s array of fine museums and art galleries. Alternatively you might want to wander the ancient streets of the Castle District while you enjoy panoramic views of the city, stroll down elegant Andrassy Avenue or visit the spectacular Central Market Hall, where you can find everything from traditional foods to handicrafts.

The main event this evening is the ‘Captain’s Dinner’, the chef’s delicious selection of specialities from the countries and regions we’ve visited during our cruise. Afterwards, perhaps retire for a digestif in the bar to reflect on all the wonderful sights you’ve seen and the people you’ve met on this unforgettable river cruise through the heart of Europe.

DAY 15 – RETURN HOME
After breakfast it’s time to say goodbye to your crew.

Specially commissioned and designed to our exacting specifications, MS Charles Dickens is, without doubt, one of the world’s finest river cruise ships. We have worked tirelessly with one of Europe’s most experienced and respected luxury shipbuilders, Veka Group, to create the perfect ship, featuring many unique, ground breaking innovations. The finest of materials have been used in construction with virtually no expense spared; its sustainably sourced tropical hardwoods, highly polished brass and wrought iron fittings, thick pile high-quality carpets, luxuriously comfortable deep armchairs and settees will absolutely delight you. In addition the ship’s spacious layout, subtle and tasteful lighting, elegant décor, luxurious cabins and excellent facilities are undoubtedly the very best on cruise ships today.

Superb attention to detail continues outside the vessel, where the extensive use of glass and polished stainless steel complements her sleek modern profile perfectly. As the ship glides, serenely through the water, she truly is a wonderful sight to behold! As you would expect, the ship also incorporates the very latest in modern construction techniques and safety systems, ensuring your cruise is as comfortable and secure as possible. Finally the ship carries just 140 passengers and with 35 crew, a 4:1 ratio ensures excellent service levels. With many similar size vessels carrying 180 passengers or more, you will find the extra space, especially in the restaurant, very noticeable indeed.

The four-deck design helps to enhance the ships’ spaciousness and is typified by the delightful lobby on the Upper deck. As you are greeted on board, you will appreciate the five-star quality of the warm-coloured wood and marble that has been extensively utilised, whilst above, the innovative atrium tastefully bathes the whole welcoming scene in natural light. There is also a lift and small boutique stocking those essentials which always run out whilst one is away!

Moving towards the front of the ship you will find the classically appointed lounge and bar, with a wide selection of comfortable and elegant seating. Here you can relax and enjoy the delights of the passing scenery through the superb observation windows on both sides of the vessel, whilst the forward facing panoramic bay window ensures the most extensive and uninterrupted viewing of any river cruise ship! The welcoming bar offers a full range of drinks sourced from all over the world, including the finest wines and spirits. When the sun sinks slowly below the riverside hills this is the perfect place to relax and reflect on another day’s experiences. Then, as the evening progresses into darkness, subtle lighting evolves through colour and intensity accompanied by gentle piano background music, creating a very special ambience. However should you prefer a good book to read you can always visit the library, which, with its leather-effect wall linings, offers a gentile environment reminiscent of the golden age of cruising.

To the rear of the ship is the stern bar, with large panoramic windows and outside seating, where again you can enjoy and relax, watching the passing scenery. Here, in the evenings the chef presents his personal signature dishes for just 24 diners – this intimate dining experience can be reserved on board at no extra charge. Stairs and a lift lead down to the middle deck, where the culinary delights of a superbly elegant restaurant are enhanced by sparkling crystal and crisp, high-quality table linen. Here the ship’s outstanding chefs will amaze you with superb fine dining of the highest order, using freshly prepared seasonal produce to create very best of European cuisine. The sumptuous breakfast buffet, with omelettes and fresh eggs prepared to order, ensures a great start to the day and a lunchtime buffet ensures you can eat a full meal or something as simple as a fresh crunchy salad – just as you desire. The evening dinner features excellently executed dishes with silver service, plus a relaxed atmosphere and our ‘open seating’ policy that ensures your dining experience is one you will always look forward to. Wonderfully illustrating the extraordinary attention to detail focussed on the Charles Dicken’s design is the use of special ‘sound absorbent’ paint on the restaurant ceiling to reduce noise levels whilst dining – remarkable! Another outstanding restaurant feature are the large tinted panoramic windows, so as you enjoy your epicurean adventure you will also be able to enjoy the scenery as it glides past – you miss nothing!

A further staircase descends to the lower deck, where a small but well equipped fitness suite is available for the energetic, whilst others may choose to plump for an invigorating sauna! There is also a hairdressing salon so you can always look your best (small additional fee).

Crowning the ship is the magnificent Sun deck, where you are very welcome to visit the Bridge whenever you wish except when berthing or navigating locks. You can discuss life on the river and view the fascinating technologically advanced array of ‘state of the art’ navigation and control equipment, whilst highly skilled officers guide all 110 metres of the Charles Dickens carefully along the river. Of course the view from the sun deck is just wonderful, whilst the informal café style seating is an ideal place to relax with like-minded travellers.

Just absorb the magical sights, sounds and unique river atmosphere whilst perhaps availing yourself of the attentive bar service. Or just relax on a sun bed and read a book, solve the crossword from a deck chair, take a dip in the whirlpool, play chess, try your hand on the putting green or just relax and admire the ever-changing kaleidoscope of stunning views passing by.

Ship Profile & Stats

  • Maiden Voyage: 2015
  • Passenger Capacity (dbl): 140

Ship Amenities

  • Spacious marble bathroom
  • Safe
  • Telephone
  • Hairdryer
  • Tea & coffee making facilities
  • Individually controlled air-conditioning
  • Flat screen TV
  • Seating area with two chairs and a small table
  • Bathrobes & slippers

Ship Facilities

  • Laundry service
  • Hairdressing salon
  • Wellness area with sauna and fitness equipment
  • Reception
  • Small boutique
  • Giant chess
  • Putting green
  • Small splash pool
  • Sun deck with comfortable outdoor chairs and sun loungers
  • 24hr self service station for tea & coffee
  • Lift between middle and upper deck
  • Air conditioned public areas & cabins
  • Stern bar and restaurant on the Upper Deck
  • Lounge with bar and panoramic views on the upper deck
  • Main restaurant on middle deck serving buffet breakfast, buffet lunch and dinner

There’s so much more to experience on a Riviera Travel River Cruise:

What’s the best way to travel through the heart of Europe and discover its greatest delights? You’ll find it hard to beat a European river cruise along some of our continent’s most timeless, appealing waterways. After all, people have travelled Europe’s mighty rivers for centuries to trade, explore and sometimes conquer. Steeped in history and culture and flowing through stunning scenery, they form natural highways that connect great cities and beautiful towns, each with its own unique and rewarding character.

While you sit back and relax on your river cruise of Europe, the views change constantly as amazing destinations come to you. The pace is slower, with plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere and contemplate the world as it passes serenely by. If you’re feeling energetic, there are new opportunities every day to explore riverside ports with knowledgeable guides or at your own speed. If not – you can just take it easy.

Your European river cruise might take you down the majestic Rhine or Danube, to atmospheric cities like Coblenz and Vienna. You’ll pass astonishing ‘fairytale’ castles and learn their mystical stories. There’s the meandering Moselle with its impossibly steep riverside vineyards, the lesser known River Main twisting through Germany’s rural heart. In France, the Rhone flows majestically almost from the Burgundy vineyards to the heart of sun-kissed Provence, while the iconic Seine will transport you from Paris through the countryside of impressionist painters to medieval Rouen and historic Bayeux. Then there’s the picturesque and largely undiscovered Douro with its dramatic cliffs, lush hillsides, medieval walled villages and terraced vineyards.

You experience all this in the most relaxing manner possible on your river cruise through Europe, on board some of the most spacious ships gracing Europe’s waterways. No sea-sickness or rough water – just comfort and luxury with superb service and dining on an unforgettable journey through time and culture.

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