ST. LOUIS, MO, June 25, 2006 â€“ INTRAVâ€™s 14-night cruise exploring the Danube, Main, Rhine and Mosel rivers is, above all, a voyage of great cultural and scenic diversity. From bustling Budapest and grand Vienna to medieval Passau and Regensburg, majestic Bratislava and romantic Koblenz, beautiful landscapes and historic towns appear around every bend on â€œEuropeâ€™s Four Romantic Riversâ€ September 21 and October 6 Sound of Music sailings.
Guests on this unique itinerary, sailing through the picturesque countrysides of Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, and Germany, will also reap extraordinary savings with a choice of free economy air (up to a $1,200 value) or $1,000 off business class air when booked by INTRAV.
Upon arrival in Budapest (or Trier for the reverse itinerary on October 6), guests will embark the new, ultra-deluxe 98-guest Sound of Music, the most luxurious vessel sailing Europeâ€™s waterways complete with spacious all-outside cabins, single-seating dining, and a spa for beauty and wellness treatments.
After an onboard overnight and a â€œTreasuresâ€ tour of traditional â€œBudaâ€ and modern â€œPest,â€ visiting the 500-year-old Matthias Church, St. Stephenâ€™s Basilica, turreted Fishermanâ€™s Bastion, and the enchanting Royal Palace, the Sound of Music sets sail on the â€œRiver of Emperorsâ€ â€“ the Danube.
The first port of call is Slovakiaâ€™s multicultural capital, Bratislava, renowned for Devin Castle, a fortress at the confluence of the Morava and Danube rivers, and 14th-century St. Michaelâ€™s Gate. Next is Vienna for an onboard overnight. Here, in the culturally rich â€œCity of Waltzes,â€ music and art lovers will enjoy the cityâ€™s gothic St. Stephenâ€™s Cathedral and Hofburg Palace, home to the imperial Hapsburg family until 1918.
The rolling hills of Austriaâ€™s Wachau Valley unfold as the Sound of Music plies the Danube to Melk, home of the Melk Abbey, a former palace, and one of the most impressive architectural masterpieces north of the Alps.
Located on the border of Germany at the confluence of the Ilz, Inn and Danube rivers, 2,000-year-old Passau is known, logically enough, as â€œThe City of Three Rivers.â€ A highlight here will be a concert at St. Stephenâ€™s Cathedral featuring Europeâ€™s largest pipe organ with more than 17,000 pipes. The following day guests explore 2,000-year-old Regensburg and visit Donaudurchbruch Gorge where they can climb up to the classical Hall of Liberation for breathtaking views of the Altmuehl Valley.
After a relaxing day cruising the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, the riverboat reaches NÃ¼rnberg for visits to the Hauptmarkt, St. Sebaldâ€™s Church, and the German National Museum, where master painter Albrecht DÃ¼rer lived. In Bamberg, architectural treasures abound with the 17th-century Neue Residenz and Domplatz, one of Germanyâ€™s most beautiful squares.
Guests will take in gorgeous landscapes of the Main River before discovering WÃ¼rzburg, â€œThe Pearl of the Romantic Road.â€ In the heart of the Franconian wine district, this city presents enchanting baroque and rococo architecture, such as the grand Prince-Bishopâ€™s Residenz, which is one of the largest baroque palaces in Germany and an UNESCO World Monument.
After visiting the preserved medieval walled city of Rothenburg, seemingly untouched by time, itâ€™s on to the neighboring Bavarian town of Miltenberg, which consists of a single street lined with the half-timbered buildings that are so characteristic of central Germany.
At the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel rivers stands the 2,000-year-old city of Koblenz. Though World War II took its toll on the city, many of the historic buildings have been painstakingly restored, including the Church of Our Lady and a 13th century Gothic basilica built on a Romanesque foundation. The next visit ashore is to charming Cochem in one of the best wine regions of the Mosel Valley. Here, the impressive 1,000 year-old Reichsburg Castle rises majestically behind the medieval town. Also toured is Marksburg Fortress, the only undamaged mountainside castle along the Rhine.
After a morning walking tour of Bernkastel, one of Germanyâ€™s most colorful wine towns, the Sound of Music reaches Trier, Germanyâ€™s oldest city dating back to the Roman Empire. Touring here includes the preserved Porta Nigro (Black Gate) and amphitheaters where the Romans once watched gladiator battles. Following a captainâ€™s farewell gala dinner and onboard overnight, guests disembark and fly home via Luxembourg.
Per person prices for the 14-night September 21 and October 5 voyages are from $4,495 and include, all meals during cruises, gratuities, shore excursions and port charges. In addition, guests may choose either free economy air (up to a $1,200 value) or $1,000 savings on business class air when booked by INTRAV.
Since its founding in 1959, St. Louis-based INTRAV has built a formidable reputation as an innovative designer and operator of worldwide river cruises, land and safari journeys and small-ship expeditions. With operational experience in more than 90 countries, INTRAV offers more itinerary choices to more destinations around the world. For additional information about INTRAV call (800) 456-8100 or visit www.intrav.com.