Cruise West (, the world’s leading provider of small-ship explorations to the most fascinating destinations on earth, returns to Europe in 2010 in grand fashion. The line is offering three majestic 11-night cruises along the Danube, Rhine, Main and Mosel Rivers that touch some of the earliest Old World cultures in eight countries between the Black Sea and the Mosel River, traveling west to Germany and south to Switzerland.

Building on last year’s successful series down the Danube from Bucharest to Vienna, guests in 2010 can choose from the original itinerary or from two newly added itineraries that meander farther west. No matter the route, guests will discover first hand well-preserved medieval towns, regal cities, inspiring monuments and picturesque landscapes along this historic trade route used since the Middle Ages, including visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg – all brought to life through stimulating lectures from experts intimately familiar with the region. A pre-cruise hotel night is included on all three itineraries.

And Cruise West offers early booking rate savings that make these cruises an even greater value. Guests who book and pay in full by Dec.18, 2009 can save up to $800 per cabin.

Cruises offer Old World enchantment and New World sights

The original 11-night Danube River itinerary, Bucharest to Vienna, departs September 23, 2010. Guests will be greeted at the Bucharest airport before transferring to the 5-star Marriott Hotel. The next 10 nights are spent on board the 148-guest MS Amadeus Diamond cruising down the Danube River through six vibrant countries that reflect old world charm – Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Croatia.

Excursion highlights include wine tasting at a well-known vineyard near Vukovar, Croatia; a visit to Viminacium, a former Roman settlement that is a working archeological site; a classical music performance in Vienna; and a tour of the historic city of Constanta with lunch in Mamaia. Guests can add-on a two-night stay in Prague or three-night tour through Transylvania. Rates start at $4,999 per person, (before discount).

New to 2010 is a cruise down the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers on October 3 traveling for 11-nights from Vienna to Cologne. Guests will sail into Regensburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site resplendent with over 1,200 historic buildings; through the beautiful Altmühl Valley to Nuremberg, the capital of Franconia and historically the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire; and along the River Rhine to Rüdesheim, a charming old wine town nestled in the upper middle Rhine Valley area.

Among the excursion highlights are a visit to a 900-year-old Benedictine Melk abbey; a full day in Salzburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; a wine sampling at Dürnstein, the most famous wine-growing town in Austria’s Wachau Valley; a full day in the historic city of Nuremberg; and an exquisite meal at the Michelin-starred Stromburg gourmet restaurant. Guests can add-on three-night Munich and Oberammergau or three-night tour of Cologne, Potsdam & Berlin. Rates start at $4,999 per person, double occupancy (before discount).

The Rhine, Main and Mosel Rivers offer an 11-night cruise from Cologne to Basel (with Cruise West Chairman Dick West as host) departing on October 13. Among the cruise highlights are a Welcome Dinner hosted by Dick and Leslie West with a midnight sailing from Cologne to view the lights of its Gothic towers; a cruise through the exceptional Rhine Gorge passing a multitude of castles and the legendary Lorelei Rock; and an upfront view of villages, vineyards and forest along the beautiful Mosel River to Cochem, home to the world’s finest Riesling wines.

Memorable excursions include a piano concert at a 14th century castle in Koblenz; an afternoon tour in Luxembourg’s old city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; a visit to a traditional Alsatian village for fine wine tasting; a visit to the magnificent Reichsburg castle for spectacular views of the Mosel Valley; and a tour of Luxembourg the last Grand Duchy in the world, both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the European Union’s financial centers. Guests can add on a three-night pre tour in Berlin/Potsdam and Cologne or a three-night post tour of the Swiss Alps. Rates start at $5,299 per person (before discount).

The MS Amadeus Diamond

All three river cruises take place on board the elegant new 148-guest MS Amadeus Diamond that features generously proportioned cabins with river-view windows, most with large French balconies. Guests cruise in casual elegance, complete with amenities like a fitness center, hairdresser and masseuse.

As with all Cruise West voyages, the Spirit of Distinction program offers an included excursion at every port, engaging topical lectures designed to entertain and educate, and an enhanced array of delicious food and wine choices.