Fly to Vienna where you will be met and transferred to your cruise ship. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception.
Included today: Guided sightseeing. Once the centre of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria's romantic capital shimmers with Baroque elegance and is renowned as the 'City of Music' for its association with many of the great composers including Beethoven, Mozart and Strauss. Explore Vienna on an included city tour and marvel at the lavish Hofburg Palace, the impressive Vienna Opera House, the majestic Ring Boulevard, and awe-inspiring St Stephen's Cathedral. Later, absorb the wonderful festive atmosphere of the Adventszeit (Advent season) in the city's idyllic 'Christkindlmarkte' Christmas markets. Browse colourful wooden stalls crammed with authentic Austrian handicrafts, savour the delcious scent of spiced mulled wine, and marvel at the magnificent Christmas trees laden with exquisite glass baubles and traditional decorations - a distinctive feature of the Viennese Christmas markets.
Included today: Guided sightseeing. Cruise through the stunning Wachau Valley, where so many excellent Austrian wines are grown and produced, and admire the lush, vineyard-cloaked river banks, picturesque castles and rustic villages en route to Dürnstein, known for its distinctive baroque Stiftskirche with its blue and white façade. Above the town are the ruins of the castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192. This afternoon enjoy an included visit to Melk and admire magnificent views over the Danube valley and picturesque Melk town from the glorious Benedictine Abbey. One of Europe's largest monasteries, the Abbey is over 900 years old and dominates the town from its towering hilltop perch overlooking the river. Later sample some of the region's best-known wines at an included wine tasting.
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