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Cruise & Rail: Venice & the Swiss Alps

Cruise & Rail: Venice & the Swiss Alps

12 Days | Zurich to Venice

Choose when you want to travel

Note: The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise.

Day 1: Zurich

Arrive at the Zurich Airport. If your cruise/tour package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to your hotel.

Note: For Arrival, Departure and Transfer details, please visit Uniworld.com/transfers. For Port Location details, please visit Uniworld.com/ports.

Day 2: Zurich (Embark), Vaduz and St. Anton

Board the Golden Eagle Danube Express and settle into your cabin as the train departs Zurich Hbf (Main Station) and runs along the Lake of Zurich and Walensee en route to Sargans, where you’ll detrain for a visit to Liechtenstein and its capital city of Vaduz. During this visit, you make a photo stop outside Gutenberg Castle, where you can take in views of the castle and surrounding scenery.

Back onboard the train for lunch, you’ll pass into Austria and the Vorarlberg as you head to St. Anton for an afternoon in the year-round Alpine resort.

For October departures: Arrive in Bludenz instead of St. Anton and head up the mountains to the Mattersburg alpine resort for a traditional Austrian food tasting of Brettljause. You then head back to Bludenz via a scenic gondola ride (time permitting).

Day 3: Innsbruck, Brenner Pass and Villach

After breakfast, explore the Tyrolean city of Innsbruck before enjoying a scenic lunchtime train ride through the Austrian Tyrol, passing through the alpine ski resort of Kitzbühel.

The train then continues to Villach, where you will experience an exclusive cruise with access to the sun deck and a perfect vantage point of the passing picturesque scenery of this delightful Austrian town.

Day 4: Lake Bled, Ljubljana and Postojna, Slovenia

Today you’ll visit the picturesque town of Bled, including a morning cruise on a traditional Pletna boat across Lake Bled for a closer view of the exterior of the Church of Mary the Queen situated on an island in the middle of the lake.*

After lunch, your train will continue to the delightful Slovenian capital of Ljubljana, arriving in time for an afternoon city tour will include a boat cruise along the Ljubljanica River.

Dinner will be served early on the train tonight as you travel to Postojna for a real highlight of this tour: an exclusive private concert in the Postojna Cave, one of the largest show caves of the classic karst formations in Europe.

*For October departures: boat ride is subject to weather conditions.

Day 5: Venice (Disembark), Transfer to ship (Embark)

Following breakfast onboard, the Danube Express arrives in Venice, where you will be transferred to the ship to unpack, relax and enjoy your first evening on the Venetian Lagoon.

Day 6: Venice

With your early morning arrival at Doge’s Palace, you’ll be able to marvel at the estate in total peace. Wander through a Venetian neighborhood and experience daily life in an authentic Venetian residential quarter. Later in the evening, cap the day off with a private once-in-a-lifetime experience at an after-hours lighting ceremony inside St. Mark’s Basilica without the crowds.

A Morning Walk in Venice with Doge’s Palace Visit

Please note that the amount of walking during this excursion is extensive.

Venice has no need to designate a pedestrians-only historic district because no cars are permitted within the island city - all transportation is by foot or water.

You first arrive at the Doge’s Palace and most famous plaza in Italy - St. Mark’s Square. Venetians elected their first doge, or duke, in AD 697 and began building the palace around AD 800.

The palace complex, as it exists now, mostly dates to the 14th and 15th centuries, and it brims with jaw-dropping artistic gems, including Tintoretto’s wall-sized Paradise and works by Veronese, Tiepolo and Titian. Throughout its history, Venice has been a supremely political city. Those convicted of crimes were led across the Bridge of Sighs to prison. Follow their footsteps to the prison and gaze into the cells. Casanova escaped from one of these cells. Other less-fortunate prisoners whiled away their time by inscribing graffiti on the walls, which you can still read.

You will continue this exploration by strolling through the historic Castello district. It’s the largest of Venice’s six districts. Back in the 13th century the Castello district was home to the Arsenal, where Venice’s ships were built. (Venetians boasted that they could build a complete ship in a single day.) This is also where the famous Biennale art exhibition now takes place. As you pass 800-year-old homes, you’ll hear the murmur of the soft local dialect through the open windows. Clothes flap from lines strung over tiny canals and kids kick soccer balls along cobbled alleys. It’s a real, living, breathing neighborhood, not just a historic site.

In addition to its well-known museums, Venice is also home to some highly specialized ones: Displays at the Correr are devoted to the history of Venice; the Museo della Musica contains 17th and 18th-century musical instruments and exhibits about composer Antonio Vivaldi. Known as the Red Priest for his hair color, Vivaldi taught music to the daughters of Venetian noblemen. The Museo Ebraico examines the history of the Jewish community that was confined to an island known as Ghetto Nuovo. The latter was one of Europe’s wealthiest and most cultured Jewish communities, made up in part with refugees from the Spanish Inquisition.

Night Out: Private After-Hours Visit to Saint Mark's Basilica

Welcome to Saint Mark’s Basilica. The doors of this icon are specially opened for you tonight. You will see the glorious church in the evening light and without the crowds. You’ll find it almost impossible not to gaze heavenward as you enter St. Mark’s. High overhead, magnificent domes are sheathed in mosaics telling the story of the New Testament, but don’t miss the intricate pattern of marble and mosaic tile under your feet. Ahead of you is the famous altarpiece made by 10th-century Byzantine artisans who gilded it and decorated it with precious gems, some of which were subsequently stolen by Napoleon. The building, which exemplifies the city’s historic connection to Byzantium and the Eastern Mediterranean, was finished in the 11th century and incorporates the remnants of earlier churches. Golden glass-tiled mosaics line the interior walls and cupolas, giving the church its nickname, Church of Gold. It houses treasures collected by Venetians over the centuries. The relics of St. Mark, patron saint of the city, were stolen from Alexandria, and the Tetrarch, a group of four crowned figures, was looted from Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. Every successful Venetian voyager returned with something to decorate the basilica—a frieze, a statue—and the result is one of the most stunning works of art and architecture in this amazing city.

Note: It is not always possible to arrange an after-hours visit to St. Mark’s Basilica if religious functions or festivities are taking place in the evening. We will try to organize an earlier tour, but if cancelled, an alternative option, like a visit to San Rocco, will be organized.

Day 7: Venice, Chioggia

Begin your morning with a walk through Venice to meet a local gondola artisan, then head back onboard for a lunchtime sailing across the lagoon. Upon arrival in the fishing town of Chioggia, you'll be able to choose between a ride in a traditional bragozzo with a visit to a countryside estate, some Italian villa wine tasting or a walking tour through Padua.

Venice Morning Walk with Gondola Artisans Visit

Get an early morning start to see a side of Venice most of the tourists miss—The Dorsoduro. One of Venice’s six main sestieri, or districts, The Dorsoduro is quieter than some of the more popular districts and thus has an authentic, easygoing atmosphere. Enjoy a walking tour around this picturesque side of town before moving on to visit a gondola artisan. See the craftwork that goes into Venice’s iconic sailing vessels and meet some local masters at work.

Padua Walking Tour

Join your local guide on a walking tour of medieval Padua. Discover the city’s great squares, churches and palaces.

Padua flourished as a hub of learning and discovery in the 13th and 14th centuries. The second-oldest university in Italy was founded here in 1222, hosting such students as Copernicus and faculty as Galileo. Immediately outside the Palazzo del Bo, the university’s first home, you’ll see a cafe where revolutionaries met to plot an uprising against Austrian invaders in 1848.

Stroll past the largest public square in Italy, Prato della Valle, originally laid out by the Romans and transformed in the 18th century into a graceful, elliptical open space with a serene canal and statues of local nobles. Gaze upon the Byzantine-influenced domes and towers of the vast Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua, where you’ll often find a crowd waiting to offer thanks or prayers.

Noble Country Villas and Their Wines

With a sommelier as your guide today, you'll learn all about Italian wines from the Veneto region. We start off with a visit of the Villa Foscari di Malcontenta. This remarkably elegant property was built by two brothers from Venice’s influential Foscari dynasty, which boasted multiple Doges. The story that captures the hearts of visitors the most, however, is that of La Malcontenta, the beautiful socialite wife of the Foscari brothers, who was exiled to the estate.

Next, enjoy a wine tasting at the Dominio di Bagnoli, one of the oldest wine producing properties in Europe.

Bragozzo Ride with Tastings at Ca’ Zen

Head to one of the most enticing islands of the Venice lagoon, Chioggia. A small fishing port often referred to as a Venice in miniature, with a well-preserved tradition due to its relative lack of crowds, Chioggia is a wonderfully authentic and picturesque island. Board a genuine Adriatic wooden sailing boat, a bragozzo, to take in the island from the clear blue waters of the lagoon.

After your sailing, return to shore for a visit to Tenuta Ca’ Zen, a beautiful Venetian villa with a fascinating story. Here, you can explore the expansive grounds, antique stable, family chapel and more before rejoining the group for a tasting of local products, which include organic olive oil, wines, honey and cheeses.

A special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening. IMPORTANT: We are obliged to comply with Italian Maritime Authorities who require that only crew may be on the ship during the Adriatic Sea passage. Therefore, our guests must disembark the ship and partake in the featured excursions.

Day 8: Polesella (Bologna or Ferrara)

Explore Italy’s culinary capital Bologna on a full-day tour packed with an exclusive pasta-making workshop and lunch or explore Ferrara on a half-day tour.

Private Pasta-Making and Italian Lunch in Bologna

There are those who believe that the best tortellini in the world is made in Bologna. Taste and decide for yourself today. Of course, there’s Bolognese sauce, but that’s just one possible topping for the exceptional pasta available here. Locals also claim to have invented the first chocolate bars, and even if others dispute that claim, there’s no denying that the chocolate shops offer some very special treats. Bologna’s green market brims with local produce, and its specialty food stores and food halls are unmatched; locally made mortadella, luscious balsamic vinegar from nearby Modena, ham from Parma and, of course, great rounds of Parmesan cheese all contribute to the lavish displays. Stroll with your guide under the famous arcades to see some of the lovely, historic buildings in the city center. The huge basilica dates to the 14th century, and the two leaning towers that loom above Piazza di Porta Ravegnana were built in the 12th century, as were the structures that housed Europe’s first university. Participate in a workshop on making pasta and enjoy an exquisite Bolognese lunch at a celebrated restaurant. Sated with food and culture, it will then be time to head back to the ship.

Ferrara: Renaissance, Elegance and Italian Lifestyle Town Walk

Square towers rise sternly above the moat that still surrounds Castle Estense, the huge fortress the Este family built in the center of Ferrara in the 14th century. It was a demonstration of both power and caution, since the Estes had just put down an uprising, but it is just one of the family palaces to grace the city they developed. They turned Ferrara into a center for the arts and artists—particularly for musicians and composers—that rivaled Medici Florence. Here the Renaissance concept of the ideal city took shape—it was the first planned city in Italy that did not follow a Roman model—and as you take a brief walking tour through the historic center, you will see the Estes’ vision throughout it, from the street layout that parallels the river to the many family palaces. But not all of Ferrara is Renaissance: The medieval walls still surround the old city (providing a popular walking and biking route for locals and visitors alike), the Gothic cathedral dates to the 12th century, and tiny cobbled lanes might make you think you were visiting the Middle Ages—were it not for the bicycles that Ferrara’s citizens ride everywhere. Your local expert will introduce you to the highlights of Ferrara, and you’ll have some time to explore on your own before returning to the ship for lunch.

Day 9: Porto Viro, Chioggia, Burano

Today, you’ll admire the greatest sites of charming and coastal Chioggia, including a stop at the local and lively market. Your ship will move to dock overnight in Burano, where you’ll enjoy a lovely evening stroll through this multicolored island.

Chioggia Market Visit

Chioggia is the quintessential Venetian Lagoon fishing village. Founded in the fifth century, it was known as the pantry of Venice because of its many small truck farms, which supplied Venetian households with produce until just a few decades ago. It is still a thriving fishing port; its wholesale fish market is one of the largest in Italy. On Thursdays, Chioggia also hosts Corso del Popolo—a dynamic outdoor market along its main thoroughfare where stands sell everything from clothes, shoes, purses, gadgets and “every-day” domestic items. Locals usually do their shopping here as prices are more affordable than retail shopping.

Castello del Catajo Visit

Set off for the Euganean hills to discover one of Europe’s most majestic castles. Enjoy a guided tour of a palace so beautiful that it became a resort for the Habsburg Dynasty before being returned to Italy following the first world war. After marveling at its frescoed walls, continue on for a guided walk around its beautiful gardens or take some free time for yourself to explore as you please before returning to the ship.

"Let's Go" Biking Chioggia

Set off on a light bicycle ride along the beaches of Chioggia, an island often described as a second Venice in miniature. Head to Lusenzo Lagoon, break to see the fishing boats, and then continue on to Isola dell’Unione.

IMPORTANT: We are obliged to comply with Italian Maritime Authorities who require that only crew may be on the ship during the Adriatic Sea passage. Therefore, our guests must disembark the ship and partake in the featured excursions. We thank you for your cooperation.

Day 10: Burano (Torcello, Mazzorbo, and Burano), Venice

Spend the day exploring the northern lagoon of Venice and its captivating islands. Start with a visit to Torcello's famous basilica with an art historian, then stroll through the agricultural island of Mazzorbo and the rainbow-hued island of Burano during your free time after lunch. Alternatively, you can take the afternoon to see the renowned glassblowing artisans of Murano at work.

Torcello: Hidden Treasure of the Lagoon

Settled before Venice was founded, Torcello was once the greatest, most populous city in the lagoon. Now, however, only a handful of people live there. Its centerpiece is the basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, the oldest church in the lagoon and a monument to Torcello's lost might. The doors open early for you, so you can see the stunning 11th-century mosaic of the Last Judgment without the crowds—and with expert commentary from your art historian guide.

Before we head back to the ship, relax with a cup of coffee at a serene little Osteria on the island.

Murano Glass Blowing Demonstration

Murano’s glassblowers are renowned for being amongst the best in the world—and how could they not be, with a tradition of craftsmanship dating back eight centuries? Watch a glass-master shape beautiful works of art in their Murano workshop. Before you leave, take some time to roam around the factory’s gallery to view works in a wide variety of styles—from tableware to sculptural, traditional to modern. You can even purchase some for yourself to bring a piece of Murano to your home.

Day 11: Venice

As your water taxi glides past narrow side canals and the Canal Grande, you’ll arrive in style at the Rialto Bridge. The iconic stone arch bridge sits at the narrowest point of the Canal Grande and holds numerous shops and restaurants.

“Do as the Locals Do” Venice Walking Tour

Back when Venice was at the height of its power, only the Rialto Bridge spanned the Grand Canal—and the city’s famous Rialto markets for fish and produce have sprawled at its feet as long as the bridge has arched over the water. Here you’ll find violet artichokes from the nearby island of Sant’Erasmo, honey from the salt marshes, white asparagus from Giare—and Venetians shopping for their dinners in the historic heart of the city. Join them as you explore the colorful, noisy and fun arcades with your guide (the ship’s chef often accompanies this expedition), who knows Venice’s culinary arts intimately. Freshly caught local fish is sold to knowledgeable customers under the Gothic arches of the covered fish market, which was probably originally built in the 11th century. At the end of the tour (and after some free time where you should have plenty of time to enjoy a gondola ride), join your guide at a bacaro (a casual wine bar) for the Venetian version of happy hour, called ombra e cicchetti—a drink (often a glass of prosecco) with a bite of something delicious—perhaps crostini with salt cod spread or another Venetian fish specialty.

Rialto Walking Tour with Casanova

Giacomo Casanova, born in 1725, is one of the most notorious names to ever come out of Venice. Though a Renaissance man on all counts as a philosopher, Freemason, alchemist, spy and adventurer, his many romantic affairs are what he is best known for. Your tour of the city will take you through various spots in town that were significant to his life as you learn about his singular history.

You’ll begin in the San Samuele district, where Casanova was born to two actors playing at a theater near the Palazzo Malipiero. You will then reach Campo San Maurizio, with its leaning bell tower. Giorgio Baffo, Casanova’s mentor and Venetian judge known for his erotic poetry, lived here in the palace on the right side. Baffo introduced Casanova to the seduction rites.

A few steps further and you will be in San Moisè Square, the former site of a casino where Casanova used to meet his lovers. The next stop will be the Ridotto in Calle Vallaresso. Now a hotel, it was once a place where Giacomo Casanova and his contemporaries used to gamble—it is said that Casanova lost a fortune here.

Crossing into St. Mark’s Square, you will pass by the prisons of the Doge’s Palace, in which Casanova was imprisoned until 1756 when he escaped to France. He was permitted to return in 1774, but was exiled again within a decade for publishing a novel considered outrageously offensive by the Venetian authorities. Our last stop for the day will be the Palazzo Grimani of Santa Maria Formosa, where Casanova was hosted until this novel was published.

Ca' Macana Mask Atelier

An integral feature of the Carnival of Venice, masks are known for their intricate beauty and wide variety of styles. See for yourself how these masks are created at one of the top handmade mask ateliers in town.

A special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.

Day 12: Venice (Disembark)

Disembark the ship. If your cruise/tour package includes a group departure transfer or if you purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Venice Marco Polo International Airport for your flight home.

Note: The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise.

Day 1: Venice (Embark)

Arrive at Venice Marco Polo International Airport, where you will be transferred to the ship. Unpack, relax and enjoy your first evening on the Venetian Lagoon.

Note: For Arrival, Departure and Transfer details, please visit Uniworld.com/transfers. For Port Location details, please visit Uniworld.com/ports.

Day 2: Venice

With your early morning arrival at Doge’s Palace, you’ll be able to marvel at the estate in total peace. Wander through a Venetian neighborhood and experience daily life in an authentic Venetian residential quarter. Later in the evening, cap the day off with a private once-in-a-lifetime experience at an after-hours lighting ceremony inside St. Mark’s Basilica without the crowds.

A Morning Walk in Venice with Doge’s Palace Visit

Please note that the amount of walking during this excursion is extensive.

Venice has no need to designate a pedestrians-only historic district because no cars are permitted within the island city - all transportation is by foot or water.

You first arrive at the Doge’s Palace and most famous plaza in Italy - St. Mark’s Square. Venetians elected their first doge, or duke, in AD 697 and began building the palace around AD 800.

The palace complex, as it exists now, mostly dates to the 14th and 15th centuries, and it brims with jaw-dropping artistic gems, including Tintoretto’s wall-sized Paradise and works by Veronese, Tiepolo and Titian. Throughout its history, Venice has been a supremely political city. Those convicted of crimes were led across the Bridge of Sighs to prison. Follow their footsteps to the prison and gaze into the cells. Casanova escaped from one of these cells. Other less-fortunate prisoners whiled away their time by inscribing graffiti on the walls, which you can still read.

You will continue this exploration by strolling through the historic Castello district. It’s the largest of Venice’s six districts. Back in the 13th century the Castello district was home to the Arsenal, where Venice’s ships were built. (Venetians boasted that they could build a complete ship in a single day.) This is also where the famous Biennale art exhibition now takes place. As you pass 800-year-old homes, you’ll hear the murmur of the soft local dialect through the open windows. Clothes flap from lines strung over tiny canals and kids kick soccer balls along cobbled alleys. It’s a real, living, breathing neighborhood, not just a historic site.

In addition to its well-known museums, Venice is also home to some highly specialized ones: Displays at the Correr are devoted to the history of Venice; the Museo della Musica contains 17th and 18th-century musical instruments and exhibits about composer Antonio Vivaldi. Known as the Red Priest for his hair color, Vivaldi taught music to the daughters of Venetian noblemen. The Museo Ebraico examines the history of the Jewish community that was confined to an island known as Ghetto Nuovo. The latter was one of Europe’s wealthiest and most cultured Jewish communities, made up in part with refugees from the Spanish Inquisition.

Night Out: Private After-Hours Visit to Saint Mark's Basilica

Welcome to Saint Mark’s Basilica. The doors of this icon are specially opened for you tonight. You will see the glorious church in the evening light and without the crowds. You’ll find it almost impossible not to gaze heavenward as you enter St. Mark’s. High overhead, magnificent domes are sheathed in mosaics telling the story of the New Testament, but don’t miss the intricate pattern of marble and mosaic tile under your feet. Ahead of you is the famous altarpiece made by 10th-century Byzantine artisans who gilded it and decorated it with precious gems, some of which were subsequently stolen by Napoleon. The building, which exemplifies the city’s historic connection to Byzantium and the Eastern Mediterranean, was finished in the 11th century and incorporates the remnants of earlier churches. Golden glass-tiled mosaics line the interior walls and cupolas, giving the church its nickname, Church of Gold. It houses treasures collected by Venetians over the centuries. The relics of St. Mark, patron saint of the city, were stolen from Alexandria, and the Tetrarch, a group of four crowned figures, was looted from Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. Every successful Venetian voyager returned with something to decorate the basilica—a frieze, a statue—and the result is one of the most stunning works of art and architecture in this amazing city.

Note: It is not always possible to arrange an after-hours visit to St. Mark’s Basilica if religious functions or festivities are taking place in the evening. We will try to organize an earlier tour, but if cancelled, an alternative option, like a visit to San Rocco, will be organized.

Day 3: Venice, Chioggia

Begin your morning with a walk through Venice to meet a local gondola artisan, then head back onboard for a lunchtime sailing across the lagoon. Upon arrival in the fishing town of Chioggia, you'll be able to choose between a ride in a traditional bragozzo with a visit to a countryside estate, some Italian villa wine tasting or a walking tour through Padua.

Venice Morning Walk with Gondola Artisans Visit

Get an early morning start to see a side of Venice most of the tourists miss—The Dorsoduro. One of Venice’s six main sestieri, or districts, The Dorsoduro is quieter than some of the more popular districts and thus has an authentic, easygoing atmosphere. Enjoy a walking tour around this picturesque side of town before moving on to visit a gondola artisan. See the craftwork that goes into Venice’s iconic sailing vessels and meet some local masters at work.

Padua Walking Tour

Join your local guide on a walking tour of medieval Padua. Discover the city’s great squares, churches and palaces.

Padua flourished as a hub of learning and discovery in the 13th and 14th centuries. The second-oldest university in Italy was founded here in 1222, hosting such students as Copernicus and faculty as Galileo. Immediately outside the Palazzo del Bo, the university’s first home, you’ll see a cafe where revolutionaries met to plot an uprising against Austrian invaders in 1848.

Stroll past the largest public square in Italy, Prato della Valle, originally laid out by the Romans and transformed in the 18th century into a graceful, elliptical open space with a serene canal and statues of local nobles. Gaze upon the Byzantine-influenced domes and towers of the vast Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua, where you’ll often find a crowd waiting to offer thanks or prayers.

Noble Country Villas and Their Wines

With a sommelier as your guide today, you'll learn all about Italian wines from the Veneto region. We start off with a visit of the Villa Foscari di Malcontenta. This remarkably elegant property was built by two brothers from Venice’s influential Foscari dynasty, which boasted multiple Doges. The story that captures the hearts of visitors the most, however, is that of La Malcontenta, the beautiful socialite wife of the Foscari brothers, who was exiled to the estate.

Next, enjoy a wine tasting at the Dominio di Bagnoli, one of the oldest wine producing properties in Europe.

Bragozzo Ride with Tastings at Ca’ Zen

Head to one of the most enticing islands of the Venice lagoon, Chioggia. A small fishing port often referred to as a Venice in miniature, with a well-preserved tradition due to its relative lack of crowds, Chioggia is a wonderfully authentic and picturesque island. Board a genuine Adriatic wooden sailing boat, a bragozzo, to take in the island from the clear blue waters of the lagoon.

After your sailing, return to shore for a visit to Tenuta Ca’ Zen, a beautiful Venetian villa with a fascinating story. Here, you can explore the expansive grounds, antique stable, family chapel and more before rejoining the group for a tasting of local products, which include organic olive oil, wines, honey and cheeses.

A special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening. IMPORTANT: We are obliged to comply with Italian Maritime Authorities who require that only crew may be on the ship during the Adriatic Sea passage. Therefore, our guests must disembark the ship and partake in the featured excursions.

Day 4: Polesella (Bologna or Ferrara)

Explore Italy’s culinary capital Bologna on a full-day tour packed with an exclusive pasta-making workshop and lunch or explore Ferrara on a half-day tour.

Private Pasta-Making and Italian Lunch in Bologna

There are those who believe that the best tortellini in the world is made in Bologna. Taste and decide for yourself today. Of course, there’s Bolognese sauce, but that’s just one possible topping for the exceptional pasta available here. Locals also claim to have invented the first chocolate bars, and even if others dispute that claim, there’s no denying that the chocolate shops offer some very special treats. Bologna’s green market brims with local produce, and its specialty food stores and food halls are unmatched; locally made mortadella, luscious balsamic vinegar from nearby Modena, ham from Parma and, of course, great rounds of Parmesan cheese all contribute to the lavish displays. Stroll with your guide under the famous arcades to see some of the lovely, historic buildings in the city center. The huge basilica dates to the 14th century, and the two leaning towers that loom above Piazza di Porta Ravegnana were built in the 12th century, as were the structures that housed Europe’s first university. Participate in a workshop on making pasta and enjoy an exquisite Bolognese lunch at a celebrated restaurant. Sated with food and culture, it will then be time to head back to the ship.

Ferrara: Renaissance, Elegance and Italian Lifestyle Town Walk

Square towers rise sternly above the moat that still surrounds Castle Estense, the huge fortress the Este family built in the center of Ferrara in the 14th century. It was a demonstration of both power and caution, since the Estes had just put down an uprising, but it is just one of the family palaces to grace the city they developed. They turned Ferrara into a center for the arts and artists—particularly for musicians and composers—that rivaled Medici Florence. Here the Renaissance concept of the ideal city took shape—it was the first planned city in Italy that did not follow a Roman model—and as you take a brief walking tour through the historic center, you will see the Estes’ vision throughout it, from the street layout that parallels the river to the many family palaces. But not all of Ferrara is Renaissance: The medieval walls still surround the old city (providing a popular walking and biking route for locals and visitors alike), the Gothic cathedral dates to the 12th century, and tiny cobbled lanes might make you think you were visiting the Middle Ages—were it not for the bicycles that Ferrara’s citizens ride everywhere. Your local expert will introduce you to the highlights of Ferrara, and you’ll have some time to explore on your own before returning to the ship for lunch.

Day 5: Porto Viro, Chioggia, Burano

Today, you’ll admire the greatest sites of charming and coastal Chioggia, including a stop at the local and lively market. Your ship will move to dock overnight in Burano, where you’ll enjoy a lovely evening stroll through this multicolored island.

Chioggia Market Visit

Chioggia is the quintessential Venetian Lagoon fishing village. Founded in the fifth century, it was known as the pantry of Venice because of its many small truck farms, which supplied Venetian households with produce until just a few decades ago. It is still a thriving fishing port; its wholesale fish market is one of the largest in Italy. On Thursdays, Chioggia also hosts Corso del Popolo—a dynamic outdoor market along its main thoroughfare where stands sell everything from clothes, shoes, purses, gadgets and “every-day” domestic items. Locals usually do their shopping here as prices are more affordable than retail shopping.

Castello del Catajo Visit

Set off for the Euganean hills to discover one of Europe’s most majestic castles. Enjoy a guided tour of a palace so beautiful that it became a resort for the Habsburg Dynasty before being returned to Italy following the first world war. After marveling at its frescoed walls, continue on for a guided walk around its beautiful gardens or take some free time for yourself to explore as you please before returning to the ship.

"Let's Go" Biking Chioggia

Set off on a light bicycle ride along the beaches of Chioggia, an island often described as a second Venice in miniature. Head to Lusenzo Lagoon, break to see the fishing boats, and then continue on to Isola dell’Unione.

IMPORTANT: We are obliged to comply with Italian Maritime Authorities who require that only crew may be on the ship during the Adriatic Sea passage. Therefore, our guests must disembark the ship and partake in the featured excursions. We thank you for your cooperation.

Day 6: Burano (Torcello, Mazzorbo, and Burano), Venice

Spend the day exploring the northern lagoon of Venice and its captivating islands. Start with a visit to Torcello's famous basilica with an art historian, then stroll through the agricultural island of Mazzorbo and the rainbow-hued island of Burano during your free time after lunch. Alternatively, you can take the afternoon to see the renowned glassblowing artisans of Murano at work.

Torcello: Hidden Treasure of the Lagoon

Settled before Venice was founded, Torcello was once the greatest, most populous city in the lagoon. Now, however, only a handful of people live there. Its centerpiece is the basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, the oldest church in the lagoon and a monument to Torcello's lost might. The doors open early for you, so you can see the stunning 11th-century mosaic of the Last Judgment without the crowds—and with expert commentary from your art historian guide.

Before we head back to the ship, relax with a cup of coffee at a serene little Osteria on the island.

Murano Glass Blowing Demonstration

Murano’s glassblowers are renowned for being amongst the best in the world—and how could they not be, with a tradition of craftsmanship dating back eight centuries? Watch a glass-master shape beautiful works of art in their Murano workshop. Before you leave, take some time to roam around the factory’s gallery to view works in a wide variety of styles—from tableware to sculptural, traditional to modern. You can even purchase some for yourself to bring a piece of Murano to your home.

Day 7: Venice

As your water taxi glides past narrow side canals and the Canal Grande, you’ll arrive in style at the Rialto Bridge. The iconic stone arch bridge sits at the narrowest point of the Canal Grande and holds numerous shops and restaurants.

“Do as the Locals Do” Venice Walking Tour

Back when Venice was at the height of its power, only the Rialto Bridge spanned the Grand Canal—and the city’s famous Rialto markets for fish and produce have sprawled at its feet as long as the bridge has arched over the water. Here you’ll find violet artichokes from the nearby island of Sant’Erasmo, honey from the salt marshes, white asparagus from Giare—and Venetians shopping for their dinners in the historic heart of the city. Join them as you explore the colorful, noisy and fun arcades with your guide (the ship’s chef often accompanies this expedition), who knows Venice’s culinary arts intimately. Freshly caught local fish is sold to knowledgeable customers under the Gothic arches of the covered fish market, which was probably originally built in the 11th century. At the end of the tour (and after some free time where you should have plenty of time to enjoy a gondola ride), join your guide at a bacaro (a casual wine bar) for the Venetian version of happy hour, called ombra e cicchetti—a drink (often a glass of prosecco) with a bite of something delicious—perhaps crostini with salt cod spread or another Venetian fish specialty.

Rialto Walking Tour with Casanova

Giacomo Casanova, born in 1725, is one of the most notorious names to ever come out of Venice. Though a Renaissance man on all counts as a philosopher, Freemason, alchemist, spy and adventurer, his many romantic affairs are what he is best known for. Your tour of the city will take you through various spots in town that were significant to his life as you learn about his singular history.

You’ll begin in the San Samuele district, where Casanova was born to two actors playing at a theater near the Palazzo Malipiero. You will then reach Campo San Maurizio, with its leaning bell tower. Giorgio Baffo, Casanova’s mentor and Venetian judge known for his erotic poetry, lived here in the palace on the right side. Baffo introduced Casanova to the seduction rites.

A few steps further and you will be in San Moisè Square, the former site of a casino where Casanova used to meet his lovers. The next stop will be the Ridotto in Calle Vallaresso. Now a hotel, it was once a place where Giacomo Casanova and his contemporaries used to gamble—it is said that Casanova lost a fortune here.

Crossing into St. Mark’s Square, you will pass by the prisons of the Doge’s Palace, in which Casanova was imprisoned until 1756 when he escaped to France. He was permitted to return in 1774, but was exiled again within a decade for publishing a novel considered outrageously offensive by the Venetian authorities. Our last stop for the day will be the Palazzo Grimani of Santa Maria Formosa, where Casanova was hosted until this novel was published.

Ca' Macana Mask Atelier

An integral feature of the Carnival of Venice, masks are known for their intricate beauty and wide variety of styles. See for yourself how these masks are created at one of the top handmade mask ateliers in town.

A special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.

Day 8: Venice, Italy (Disembark), Transfer to Train (Embark), Postojna, Slovenia

Disembark the ship. You will be transferred to the Venice Santa Lucia Station, where you will board the Golden Eagle Danube Express. You’ll have time to settle into your new cabins as the train slowly threads its way out of Venice towards Postojna, Slovenia.

During our stay in Postojna, you’ll be treated to a real highlight of this tour: an exclusive private concert in the Postojna Cave, one of the largest show caves of the classic karst formations in Europe.

Day 9: Ljubljana and Bled, Slovenia

After breakfast, arrive in the Slovenian Capital Ljubljana, where your morning tour of this lovely city includes a boat cruise on the Ljubljanica River.

Our next stop is Bled, picturesquely situated in the Julian Alps, where you will enjoy lunch at a restaurant in the heart of the city. After lunch, take a traditional pletna boat across Lake Bled for a closer view of the exterior of the Church of Mary the Queen situated on an island in the middle of the lake.*

*For October departures: boat ride is subject to weather conditions.

Day 10: Innsbruck and St. Anton, Austria

In the early morning, our private train travels on a scenic line passing through the alpine ski resort of Kitzbühel before arriving after breakfast into Innsbruck, Austria.

Tour this charming Tyrolean town before lunch back on the train, during which you will travel through the scenic Arlberg region to St. Anton for an afternoon in the year-round Alpine resort.

Day 11: Vaduz, Liechtenstein and Zurich, Switzerland (Disembark)

Your train leaves St. Anton at breakfast time to travel through the Vorarlberg to Buchs, where you will visit Liechtenstein and its capital, Vaduz. During this visit, you make a photo stop outside Gutenberg Castle, where you can take in views of the castle and surrounding scenery.

Re-join the train for a scenic lunch time ride along Walensee and the Lake of Zurich on the way to your final stop. Disembark at Zurich Hbf (Main Station), where you will be taken to your hotel to enjoy a leisurely evening.

Day 12: Zurich

Check out of your hotel and head to Zurich Airport for your flight home.

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