The Queen of Rivers

Budapest by night. Photo by SuperCar-RoadTripfr

Budapest by night. Photo by SuperCar-RoadTripfr

National Geographic Traveler recently named the Danube River one of its must-see places for 2016. “The Danube River has been the main thoroughfare across central and eastern Europe for millennia,” writes Bill Fink. “Herodotus called it the ‘greatest of all rivers’ 2,500 years ago, and it still may be.” Experience what Napoleon dubbed the “Queen of Europe’s rivers” aboard Royal Crown next June.

The Lower Danube: Medieval to Modern
Vienna to Bucharest Aboard Royal Crown
June 10 to 21, 2016
With Jayson Kerr Dobney, Associate Curator in the Department of Musical Instruments at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Please click to view brochure

8 Reasons to Sign Up for Academic Arrangements Abroad’s Christmas Markets Cruise

Regensburg marketsIn cold December days of yore, Europeans gathered in town squares to buy and sell spices, sweets, and other special items for the holidays. Fresh gingerbread and mulled wine kept them warm, while music and games gladdened their hearts. These were the first Christmas Markets, and centuries later they continue to bring the magic of the season alive.

During a special holiday cruise aboard M.S. AmaBella, travelers will sail from Budapest to Nuremberg. Along the way, they’ll discover some of Europe’s best Christmas Markets. Here are 8 reasons we love this voyage.

1.)    A special “illuminations cruise” in Budapest

Budapest Danube banksAfter boarding M.S. AmaBella, passengers will enjoy a welcome dinner. Then the ship will sail a special cruise along Budapest’s waterfront. Many of the city’s UNESCO World heritage monuments are brilliantly illuminated at night, making the Hungarian capital appear even more spectacular than it does during the day.

2.)    A seven-night cruise of Europe’s waterways aboard M.S. AmaBella

Amabella - Exterior - DurnsteinThis 161-passenger river vessel features a combination of amenities and design details never before seen on Europe’s great waterways. Most staterooms have distinctive “twin balconies.”  Onboard amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the ship, an elevator, a heated pool and whirlpool, and a fitness room and sauna. Bicycles are available for use ashore.

3.)    Watching a training session at the legendary Spanish Riding School

Leaping lipizzaner

Leaping Lipizzaner. Image courtesy of Spanish Riding School, Vienna.

In Vienna, travelers will start the day with a walking tour of Vienna that includes St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the historic city center.  Then they’ll continue to the famed Spanish Riding School, the oldest riding academy in the world, to watch a training session from a separate VIP area.

4.)    Lecturer John Meffert

Architectural historian John Meffert—who helped preserve historic Charleston, SC—will be joining travelers on the program. A much-loved travel companion, Mr. Meffert has delighted many study tour groups over the years with his lively lectures and insights on preservation.

5.)    Melk’s Benedictine Abbey

Melk Benedictine AbbeyA guided tour will take the group to Melk’s magnificent Benedictine Abbey, situated on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube. One of Europe’s largest baroque monasteries, the abbey has a medieval library that inspired Umberto Eco’s novel The Name of the Rose.

6.)    An optional excursion to Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg and the DanubeTravelers may either stay aboard and enjoy a scenic cruise to Passau or join an excursion to Salzburg, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, it is also the setting for the classic film The Sound of Music. Join in the merriment at the lively Christmas Markets, renowned for local handicrafts and one-of-a-kind Old World gifts. Those who prefer to stay aboard will arrive in Passau in the late afternoon.

7.)    A walking tour of medieval Regensburg

Visitors will step ashore in Regensburg to see the city’s highlights, including the Old Town Hall and the Porta Pretoria — gates to a Roman fort built in 179 C.E.  In addition, travelers will have an opportunity to walk in the Old Kornmarkt Christmas Market and browse the festive stalls, or visit the “royal” Christmas Market at the Thurn and Taxis Palace to see craftsmen at work.

8.)    Visit the world’s largest Christmas market

Christmas Market in Nuremburg

Image of Christmas market courtesy Nuremburg Tourism office, Steffen Oliver Riese

Throughout the journey, travelers will spend time at holiday markets including the world’s largest Christmas Market in Nuremberg. The market has over 100 red and white canvas-topped booths offering an assortment of unique toys, tinsel angels, dolls, gingerbread and other treats, and an endless variety of other seasonal goodies.

About Us:

Academic Arrangements Abroad, a leader in cultural travel since 1977, designs and operates travel programs for sponsoring institutions that include the nation’s top museums and alumni associations.

For more information on the Christmas Markets cruise, please contact Academic Arrangements Abroad at (212) 514-8921 or


Featured Trip: Vienna: A New Year’s Celebration, December 27, 2013 to January 3, 2014

view over viennaRing in the New Year in Austria’s enchanting capital on the Danube. Stay at the landmark Hotel Sacher, see impressive museum collections, and enjoy music and a reception in the home of one of Vienna’s leading pianists. Here are a few highlights of this wonderful winter trip.

At the Spanish Riding School, view a special performance by the famed Lipizzaner Stallions.

Horses courtesty of Spanish Riding SchoolA unique experience awaits at the Spanish Riding School, where you will view a special performance of the renowned Lipizzaner stallions. Since 1970, the Lipizzaner stallions have entertained more than 23 million people with their spectacular leaps and maneuvers.

Take a waltz lesson at one of the city’s historic dance schools before welcoming the New Year at the Grand Bal.

New Year's Ball Dancing by Kate KlorerPractice your steps for the Grand Bal, held in the splendor of the Hofburg Palace. As you enter Ceremony Hall, orchestras play Strauss waltzes.  This special night begins with a gala dinner, followed by music and dancing. At midnight, welcome the New Year with a champagne toast.

Enjoy a lavish New Year’s Day brunch at the hotel before viewing the collections at both the Upper and Lower Belvedere.

BelvedereAt the Upper Belvedere, the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy, see works by Schiele, Munch, and Klimt.  The Lower Belvedere, which was the royal residence for a brief period, was later adapted to house the Museum of Austrian Baroque Art.

Find out more about this extraordinary New Year’s program on our website or call 800-221-1944 for further trip details.