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Holiday type River cruises
Country Germany
Czech Republic
Travel type Fly
Price range From £1519
Travel partner Riviera Travel
Duration 7 nights
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The Elbe, Berlin, Dresden and Prague - MS Swiss Ruby

The Elbe, once the border of the Holy Roman Empire, is one of Europe’s most undiscovered rivers and yet its hinterland has some fine cities and places of interest. This tour visits Berlin, Meissen, Dresden and Prague.

Prices are per person, based on two people sharing a twin cabin with a limited number of single cabins available on the all decks, at the relevant supplement. The price includes full board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day; if you choose to travel with us on any of the full day excursions by coach, a packed lunch will be provided. Anyone choosing to stay on the ship may of course have lunch in the restaurant; morning/afternoon tea and coffee; all visits and excursions as mentioned in the brochure, airport/station transfers, coach travel as mentioned, travel to and from port of embarkation and the services of a Riviera Travel tour manager.

  • Walking tour of Dresden
  • Tour of Prague
  • Visit to Potsdam and Sanssouci Palace
  • Visit and tour of the Meissen porcelain studio
  • Visit Wittenberg
  • Price includes full-board from dinner on your arrival day until breakfast on your final day
Day one

You fly to Berlin where a coach will take you to the ship. The dedicated crew will welcome you aboard ensuring you settle into yourcabin, and familiarise yourself with the ship.

Day two

Relax over your first breakfast then join our sightseeing tour of Berlin. Having attained capital status only in 1871, Berlin exudes contrasts - famed for its role as a cultural capital, its heady days at the decadent heart of 1920’s Europe then the wartime years and the turmoil of the Wall uniquely dividing the city. Berlin is thriving once more following its remarkable re-unification now amazingly over 20 years ago, with vast sums having been spent on its superb restoration. The tour takes in all the iconic locations; – the last remains of the Wall – ironically now a protected ‘historic’ monument!; Checkpoint Charlie where apprehended spies were ‘exchanged’ during the cold war; the restored Reichstag; the Brandenburg Gate standing over the avenue Unter Den Linden, striding the heart of the city.

This afternoon is free for you to explore as you wish. Berlin's museums display some of world’s finest collections from the ancient world especially Turkey and Greece, plus fine art by Monet, Degas, Van Gogh to name but a few. For something different visit the DDR museum, depicting the everyday life inside the former East Germany. Later the ship slips away from the quayside navigating the network of lakes along the river Spree. As the city’s lights fade, you’ll have your first dinner in the restaurant.

Day three

Overnight we have berthed in Potsdam, city of Prussian kings and German Kaisers, and this morning we visit Sanssouci Park and tour one of their 17th century residence, a frenzy of Rococo style, full of fine art and antiques. Its temples and sculptures throughout the surrounding park are redolent of Versailles, which was Sanssoucci’s inspiration, so its creator Frederick the Great could escape the duty of Berlin’s royal court, hence it’s name Sanssouci – “without troubles”. Returning to the ship we navigate a series of locks taking us onto the River Elbe. After dinner we cross the 918 metre Magdeburg water bridge, the world’s longest navigable aqueduct. We moor in Magdeburg this evening.

Day four

As you awake, the ship will be cruising along the River Elbe, once the eastern border of Charlemagne’s huge Holy Roman Empire. The Middle Elbe, has been declared a nature reserve, noted for its wildfowl thriving along its hilly, wooded banks. We pass numerous half-timbered villages and berth in Dessau visiting the Wörlitzer Park, perhaps the finest example of an English-style landscape garden in Germany. Next we have a short visit to Wittenberg, the town where Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in 1517 initiating the Reformation and changing Europe forever.

Day five

This morning we pass Torgau, where Soviet and US forces met in 1945, and partly due to the lack of development in the communist East, the Elbe here retains a superb biodiversity. The Floodplain forests are Germany’s most extensive with over 1000 different plants, 40 mammal species and a plethora of invertebrates – with 500 species of butterflies native to the region.

The countryside becomes ever more rolling with the occasional vineyard visible and this afternoon we visit Meissen, famous for its porcelain, the first to be made outside China. The rarity and cost of the factory’s products ensured it was the preserve of the rich and famous with Europe’s wealthy amassing vast collections – many of which now grace the world’s great museums. We have a tour discovering how highly skilled artisans create these works of art, many of which take weeks, sometimes months to finish. Quite often referred to as Dresden porcelain, this is the only factory in Europe in which all the processes are completed by hand and we see the complete cycle from clay to finished article, after which there is a museum displaying pieces from throughout the company’s existence. We berth in Meissen, so after dinner you can take a stroll through the old town.

Day six

This morning we arrive at Dresden. It has been restored, in probably the world’s most remarkable such project ever. Saxony’s capital, Dresden attracted many of Europe’s best musicians, architects and artists, becoming an epicentre of European culture. Canaletto captured much of it during his many visits and during our morning tour you will see the buildings at the city’s cultural core, including: the Frauenkirche with its domed roof; the 100m long Meissen tile mural depicting Saxony’s monarchs; the Semper Opera where many of Wagner’s works were first performed and the Royal Palace, with its museums and galleries.

To cap it all are the masterpieces in the Zwinger Palace, home to the world’s twelfth largest art collection including works by Rubens, Rembrandt, Van Dyke, El Greco, Canaletto and many more, plus a renowned collection of modern art and astonishing array of medieval armour and weapons. The river bisects Dresden’s heart so after lunch it’s easy to take a stroll exploring as you wish.

During afternoon tea the ship slips her moorings for an evening cruise no doubt encountering the original paddle steamers which have plied these waters for over 130 years. The scenery changes dramatically as we follow the river’s sinuous course through the forests, sandstone crags and deep valleys of “Saxon Switzerland”, berthing in the spa town of Bad Schandau on the Czech border.

Day seven

After breakfast a coach will take us to Prague. Centuries of royal patronage have created the masterpiece that you see today and our guided tour showcases the very best Prague can offer. Walk through long stone palaces, cross the Charles Bridge or explore the cathedral. You will see the principal monuments such as Tyn church, the Powder tower, Wenceslas Square, the Staromestske Namesti – the city’s showpiece 11th century square complete with its astronomical clock.

This afternoon you could visit Hradcany, the Prague castle and cathedral, the centre of political power for a thousand years and perched high on a cliff top with views over the River Vistula, a display of historic rooftops and the countless churches giving the city its sobriquet ‘City of a Hundred Spires’. Explore the preserved medieval Jewish Quarter together with its synagogue or the Gothic Tyn church with its irregular twin towers, dominating the central square and bristling with baubles. This has been the market place since Prague’s foundation, lined with tall, tastefully restored, pastel coloured houses, many of which are pavement cafés. We return to the ship for the Captains Dinner serving specialities of the regions we have discovered, whilst returning to Dresden.

Day eight

After a final breakfast, return to Berlin for your flight.
MS Swiss Ruby

Like its sister ship the Swiss Corona and the Lord Byron, the Swiss Ruby is Swiss owned and managed and is one of Europe’s few top-class vessels specifically designed to operate on the continent’s smaller, more intimate rivers like the Elbe. Maintained and managed to the most exacting standards as befits its flag, the highly trained crew do their utmost to ensure that your river cruise experience is as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.

With less than 4 guests to every crew member – a very high ratio for a river cruise vessel – care and personal attention is assured. Plus with a passenger complement of just 88, you never feel crowded.

5 results
Departure date Departing point Departure UK Arrive at Destination Nights Price  
03-Oct-2014 Bristol 13:20 16:20 7 1639.00 please call
03-Oct-2014 Stansted Airport 18:35 21:20 7 1619.00 please call
03-Oct-2014 Heathrow Airport 14:35 17:25 7 1619.00 please call
10-Oct-2014 Manchester 06:55 09:55 7 1519.00 please call
10-Oct-2014 Glasgow International 08:50 12:00 7 1539.00 please call
5 results