Travel

AACI’s 8 Day Danube River Cruise   

08 June 2022 - 15 June 2022

Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Prague & more

AACI invites you to join us on the luxurious sailing on the picturesque Danube River. The Danube River region abounds in Jewish history and is a special destination for the Jewish tourist. From Budapest, the rich capital of Hungary, to Bratislava an up and coming capital, to the old-world sophistication, music and coffeehouse culture of Vienna, as well as the small towns such as Dürnstein, Melk, and Linz you will feel elevated by the delights in every destination. Jewish Heritage is strong here, woven like a golden thread throughout this part of the world.

Our home for 7 wonderful nights is the 5 star MS Voyager Riverboat. Built in 2016 with only 168 passengers the entire ship is Glatt Kosher, Chalav Yisrael, with amazing culinary meals throughout and of course wine will be served daily at dinner. The ship boasts large staterooms and suites, many with balconies and of course full amenities.

With Cantor Yaakov Motzen
Scholars-in-Residence – Rabbi Hershel Billet & wife Rookie / Rabbi Yaacov Lerner & wife Abby

Day Destination Arrive Depart
Wednesday Budapest
Thursday Budapest 22:00
Friday Bratislava 14:00
Saturday Bratislava 22:30
Sunday Vienna 06:00 23:00
Monday Dürnstein 08:00 12:00
Monday Melk 15:00 21:00
Tuesday Linz 07:00 13:00
Tuesday Passau 21:00
Wednesday Passau

 Day 1: Budapest
Arrival in Budapest followed by a tour of Budapest and transfer to the boat, where there will be time to check in and settle into your cabins rest and get acquainted with the MS Voyager. There will be a welcome dinner with the captain and our onboard team. We will dock in Budapest.

Days 2: Budapest

09:30 – Morning guided tour includes Budapest Synagogue & Jewish museum
12:30 – Return to ship for lunch
15:00 – Guided afternoon tour of the city
19:00 – Dinner onboard the Voyager
21:00 – Live show
22:00 – Set sail towards Bratislava

After a delicious breakfast we will discover the magical city of Budapest with a guided bus & walking tour. As the capital of Hungary, Budapest is often called the “Paris of the East” and is a highlight for travelers from all around the world. The tour will not only give you a sense of Budapest’s colorful history, but also give insight into how the city’s division by the Danube river has played such an important role in society over the centuries – one side known as “Buda” and the other “Pest”.

Our first stop will be at the famous Neolog Synagogue, also known as the Dohanny Synagogue, Europe’s largest synagogue. Designed in oriental style, the synagogue can seat some 3,000 people.  It’s central location on a leafy boulevard serves as a complex for the synagogue, Heroes Temple, Memorial and Jewish Museum and graveyard. Built on the site of Herzl’s home, it is no surprise that the 13-year old Theodor celebrated his Bar Mitzvah here.

Our next stop is the Jewish Museum.  From there we will continue towards the famous monuments located on Andrássy Út street, including the exquisitely designed Opera House, Hero’s Square, the famous under-ground  market, St. Stephen’s church, and the Parliament, which strikingly resembles the British Parliament building with nearly 20 km of corridors!

Return to the ship for a proper lunch (No sandwiches)

This afternoon tour will start with crossing the famous chain bridge towards Buda Castle, where the coronation of Sisi and her husband as Hungarian Hapsburg rulers took place. You’ll have an opportunity for an unforgettable view of Budapest and take in the exotic Fisherman’s Bastion, where you can enjoy the city at your fingertips.

We will meet for dinner followed by a live band show while the ship set sail towards Bratislava.

As the Voyager glides out of the heart of the city via the picturesque Danube River you’ll pass under several stunning bridges and enjoy views of magnificent architecture lining the river banks on both the ‘Buda’ and ‘Pest’ sides of the city. The Banks of the Danube in Budapest are UNESCO-listed in recognition of their beautifully well-preserved historical landmarks, and when you see wonders such as the awe-inspiring Parliament Building from the deck of your ship, you’ll soon understand why they’re so highly regarded.

Days 3 & 4: Bratislava

Friday:
14:00 – Arrival Bratislava and visit Chatam Sofer’s burial site
18:00 – Kabalat Shabbat and Ma’ariv prayers
19:00 – Shabbat dinner following prayer services. 

Saturday:
09:00 – Morning walking tour include Synagogue
12:00 – Return to ship for Shabbat meal and rest of the Shabbat program
22:30 – Depart to Vienna

After a freshly cooked breakfast overlooking the Danube river and its beautiful sites We will reach Bratislava during lunch and later we will travel by coach to our first tour to Chatam Sofer’s burial site. Chatam Sofer, one of the most influential Poskim whose imprimatur is felt today as a result of his writings, position as head of the prestigious Pressburg Yeshiva and the hundreds of his students and extended family who were, and continue to be, influential in Jewish life throughout today. A visit to his burial place is an inspiring way to greet Shabbat in Bratislava.

We will return to the cruise ship to prepare for Shabbat. Kabalat Shabbat and Ma’ariv prayers will be led by the Chazzan Yoaakov Mazzon followed by a truly culinary Shabbat experience.

On Shabbat morning, after coffee/cake and refreshments we will join the local Jewish community in Bratislava’s Heydukova Street Synagogue, the only synagogue in Bratislava, and only one of four active synagogues in Slovakia. While three other synagogues did survive the Holocaust, they were demolished in the 1960’s. Bratislava’s Synagogue also houses the Bratislava Jewish Community Museum. The Museum is a Slovak National Cultural Monument. Following morning services, a community leader will give us a private tour of the Museum located on the upper level of the Synagogue, and share with us the fascinating history of Bratislava’s Jewish community, home to the prestigious Pressburg Yeshiva and whose pre-World War II Jewish population accounted for 12% of the city’s residents. This museum’s fascinating collection of Judaica and religious objects, many of them formerly hidden, were collected and preserved by the Jewish community.

We will return to the ship for a rich Seudat Shabbat meal.

After the Shabbat meal we will have some time to rest and, in the afternoon, we will hear a lecture and enjoy tea and cake.

In the later afternoon we will have frielacha Seudah Shlishit with the cantor who will lead the singing.
Immediately after Havdallah the ship will start cruising towards Vienna.

Day 5: Vienna

08:45 – 12:45 Morning guided tour in Vienna’s Ring and the Jewish museum
12:45 – 14:45 Lunch onboard
15:00 – Schönbrunn Palace & Gardens
18:00 – Early dinner for guest going to the concert
19:00 – Dinner for all guests
19:45 – Depart for the concert
22:30 – Return to ship
23:30 – Depart to Durenstein

After breakfast we will start with a visit to Vienna First District, and a bus tour of the Ringstrasse, circular boulevard which boasts some of the city’s most spectacular sights—the Parliament Building, City Hall, the Opera House, palaces, museums, and parks. After the bus tour, we’ll continue on foot to the elegant Kärntner Strasse and Graben pedestrian areas and visit the majestic St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

Our tour continues to the rich Jewish sites of Vienna. In the Middle Ages, Vienna was home to a thriving Jewish community, one of the largest and most important in Europe. Famous Rabbis taught and worked here, making Vienna into an influential center of Jewish knowledge. This lively and creative environment was forced to an abrupt and violent end in 1420-21, with the expulsion and murder of the Viennese Jews. The ruins of the then-destroyed synagogue, excavated under the Judenplatz in 1995, bear witness to the life and destruction of that medieval community.

In 2000, the Museum at Judenplatz was opened as a branch of the Jewish Museum Vienna. On the square itself, the city unveiled the solemn Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial: a reinforced concrete cube resembling a library with its volumes turned inside out, designed by British artist Rachel Whiteread. To this day, new sources and scientific and architectural findings are shedding a more detailed light on medieval Jewish Vienna. Our tour in the museum will include an animated virtual tour or the Jewish life allows us to walk through a reconstruction of the city and showcases the Jewish festivals and customs of the time, making for a lively depiction of life in this medieval Jewish community.

Return to ship for lunch.

This afternoon we will visit the Schönbrunn Palace. The Palace is the summer residence of the Habsburg family and notably Empress Elisabeth, who is better known as Sisi. Schönbrunn Palace is made up of 1441 rooms and is one of the most important architectural, cultural and historical monuments in the country. The history of the palace and its vast gardens spans over 300 years, displaying the changing tastes, interests and aspirations of the Habsburg monarchs. Today it is largely in its original condition and is quite a site to see!

This evening you are welcome to join us for an optional tour to Vienna’s Concert (our only option as not everyone enjoys classical music) or rest or site see Vienna on your own.

As the German name still suggests, the “Kursalon Palace” was originally intended as a spa resort, however over time, this magnificent building has quickly grown into a vibrant hotspot in the heart of Vienna, promoting the very essence of what Vienna is famous for, classical music. In the very place where Johann Strauss himself used to direct his orchestra from the position of first violin, Vienna’s classical music scene can once again be experienced in modern times. Enjoy an evening full of Viennese charm with the swinging sound of waltzes, polkas, arias and duets, as well as operetta and piano concerto melodies. Accompanied by excellent opera vocalists and enchanting ballet soloists, this classical concert is an experience you don’t want to miss!

Day 6: Dürnstein & Melk

09:00 – Walking tour in Durnstein
12:00 – Lunch onboard
14:00 – Cruising the Wachau Valley
15:00 – Visit Melk and Abbey
19:00 – Dinner
21:00 – Live Band show

This morning we will dock in Durnstein located on the bank of Danube River in the Wachau Valley.  Known as the Pearl of the Wachau Valley, it is surrounded by luscious vineyards.  We will visit the ancient 12th century castle, famous for the imprisonment of the Kind of England, Richard the Lion Hearted, in which is also connected to the city of Akko. This guided walking tour takes you through the charming center from where you will have a wonderful view of the surrounding valley and castle ruins.

Return to ship for lunch while your ship sails to Melk

Scenic cruising by the along The Wachau Valley
The Wachau is a picturesque valley between Krems and Melk, and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its agricultural and architectural landscape. A landscape that shows a remarkably-preserved medieval landscape that has evolved organically over time. The architecture in the towns and villages shows the development of the region and its society over many centuries. The Wachau has inspired romantic legends for centuries and the castles are full of tales of love and heartbreak, particularly from the medieval days. The Valley is also one of Austria’s most important wine regions. Along this part of the Danube terraced vineyards produce fruity Rieslings and Grüne Veltliners, two of Austria’s most popular white wines.

Afternoon arrival in Melk.  Located at the Northwestern tip of Austria, at the confluence of the Danube and Melk rivers in the luscious UNESCO World Heritage Wachau Valley. The city is dominated by the Baroque-style Benedictine Monastery, known as the Melk Abbey, one of Austria’s great cultural highlights and Europe’s largest abbey. Its sheer physical dominance attests to the spiritual and cultural importance that it has held throughout the ages. At the end of WWII one of the sub camps of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp was located in Other important historic sites we will visit include the Old Post Office building, the Coloman fountain, “the House on the Rock” (built in the 15th century it is the oldest building in the city, the municipal square and others.  Located in the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage ‘Wachau Valley’, the town of Melk has been a spiritual and cultural center of Austria for more than a millennium. It is best known for its impressive Baroque style, and home to the Benedictine Monastery known as Melk Abbey, one of Austria’s great cultural highlights and Europe’s largest abbey. Since the 12th century, a school has been connected with the monastery, home to valuable manuscripts, which have ultimately helped to create an absolutely breathtaking library that you will have an opportunity to visit within the Abbey chambers.

We will return to ship for dinner. After dinner you are invited to a live show with local band. Tonight our ship will sail to Linz

Day 7: Linz

09:00 – Mini Train & Walking tour in Linz
12:00 – lunch onboard
13:00 – cruising towards Passau
16:00 – Lecture onboard
18:00 – Cocktail at the Bar
19:00 – Farewell Dinner

Linz is the second-most populous city in Austria and was first settled by Romans in the first century.  It is now one of the cultural centers of Austria and a center for trade in antiques. Enjoy a guided walking tour through Linz including a fun min-train and discover the great sites this city has to offer. The Main square is one of the loveliest squares in Europe, lined with Rococo and Baroque architecture. Tonight, we will gather for a Farwell dinner with the Captain and crew.

Day 8: Passau – disembarkation
After a farewell breakfast we will have a leisurely departure from the the MS Voyager and drive to Prague for touring and flight home to Israel.

Cabin Categories IN SHEKEL (NIS) Prices for AACI members: (Note: Prices are subject airline fluctuations.)

Cabin Category Per person in Double Cabin Single Cabin
(D) – Outside Cabins with porthole 14,570 21,420
(C) – French Balcony on rear middle deck 15,770 23,390
(B) – French Balcony on forward middle deck 16,140 24,050
(C) – French Balcony on rear upper deck 16,500 24,710
(A) – French Balcony on upper deck 16,870 25,360
(Ds) Large Deluxe Suite on upper deck 17,960 27,340
(Os) Large Owner Suite on upper deck 19,930 30,880

*Add NIS 240 per person for non-AACI members

Price includes:

  • Flights from Israel RT
  • 7 nights’ cruise accommodation
  • 3 Glatt kosher meals daily
  • Wine & non-alcoholic drinks at dinner
  • English guided tours with a Jewish flavor
  • Pre tour in Budapest, Post tour Prague
  • All tips/land tour guides/drivers/porterage
  • All transfers
  • Chazzan + Lectures
  • AACI staff led

Not included:

  • Additional Land Tours
  • Personal items, Medical insurance
  • Non group transfers

Flight details:

Wednesday, June 8, 2022. LY2367 at 20:00 Ben Gurion to Budapest
Wednesday, June 15, 2022. LY2524 at 22:15 from Vaclav Havel Airport Prague to Israel

Payment

50% on registration
Balance due by March 26, 2022

There is a non-refundable fee of NIS850 per person if the cruise is cancelled due to COVID or any “Acts of Nature”

Cancellation Policy:
Cancellation fee is based on the full price of the trip:
From registration to February 23 – 20%
From February 24 to March 26 – 40%
From March 27 to April 10 – 55%
From April 11 to May 2, – 75%
From May 3, 2022 – 100%

  • The program and itinerary is subject to change without notice and minimum participation is required.
  • Please note some tours may include strenuous walking.
  • Prices are subject to change due to fuel increases or price fluctuation.
  • COVID regulations will be updated closer to date departure.

River-Cruise-Registration-2022.doc

For further details please call Carole at AACI 02-5661181 ext. 310 email: info@aaci.org.il