Friday, October 22, 2010

See and experience Europe from a whole new perspective and taste local cuisine, wines and beer

Two York County, SC based small businesses are joining forces for a wonderful epicurean adverture: Grapevine and Incantato Tours are offering an exciting European tour - on the water! Explore Europe by ship on the Danube River from Budapest to Vilshofen with AMA Waterways. See the very best of Europe’s highlights and experience centuries of art, history, and culture, plus last but not least amazing food, wine, and beer. From Budapest, a famous haven for wine-makers, musicians, writers and artists, cruise through the cultural cities of Vienna, Bratislava and Passau. Along the way, visit artisan food and wineproducers, learn about the art of European wine- and beer-making and have a great time with friends. Your hosts will be David and Melanie Sills and together with Ted and Sandra from Incantato, we look forward to welcoming you aboard.

Grapevine River Cruise Overview

Budapest (Hungary)

Bratislava (Slovak Republic)

Wien (Austria)
Dürnstein (Austria)

Melk (Austria)



Vilshofen (Germany)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Grapevine Wine Cruise itinerary

DAY 1 Saturday, April 2, 2011
Overnight Flight to Budapest

DAY 2 Sunday, April 3
Welcome to Central Europe
Your Incantato Tour Manager welcomes you at Budapest airport and brings you to the cruise ship for a champagne reception and check-in at the MS Amalyra river cruise ship. The afternoon is at leisure to rest and explore the Hungarian capital city before you gather for a welcome dinner aboard with traditional Hungarian fare and Gypsy music. Don’t forget that typical local wines are served complimentary aboard during dinner every night.

DAY 3 Monday, April 4
Budapest Sightseeing – Sunset Sail
Enjoy a panoramic sightseeing tour with a local guide ending in the Castle District. Lunch will be served on the ship and the afternoon is at leisure for additional sightseeing and shopping. After another gourmet dinner, and once the sun sets over the Danube, your floating hotel will start the journey to Slovakia, and seeing Budapest by night from the water is a very special treat. Some of you may even want to experience the sunset sail-away from the rooftop hot-tub where a local brandy will be served as you bid farewell to Hungary.

DAY 4 Tursday, April 5
Bratislava - City Tour & Beer Tasting, Vienna by Night
Good morning in Slovakia and welcome to Bratislava. After an orientation tour of the
historical city center, a special Slovakian beer tasting awaits the Grapevine Group. Learn
about and taste the two traditional styles from various local breweries. After some free time, the ship continues on to Vienna and docks in the Austrian capital for two nights.

DAY 5 Wednesday, April 6
Vienna Sightseeing & Heurigen Evening
“Willkommen in Wien˝: Your guided tour includes the city‘s highlights followed by a Vienna brew pub visit and talk with an Austrian brew master. The afternoon is at leisure to visit museums, shop or just people watch. Upon return to the ship, a traditional Heurigen evening with Austrian specialties and live music awaits you.

DAY 6 Thursday, April 7
Beautiful Danube Valley: Dürnstein & Melk -Abbeys and Apricot Delicacies
Visit the picturesque town of Dürnstein and taste some of the local products like Marmelade or Schnaps made from the indigenous Marille, an Austrian apricot, then take a guided bicycle tour or visit the stunning Benedictine Abbey of Melk. Today will feature not only one, but two wine-tastings, first off the ship at Weinresidenz Sonnleitner, then aboard your floating hotel as the journey continues towards Linz.

DAY 7 Friday, April 8
Visit Linz and Optional Excursion to Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov
Prior to saying “Auf Wiedersehen Austria”, visit Linz- home to Bruckner, Mozart, and some really good beers. Those of you who don’t mind a few hours bus ride, can choose between an optional excursion to Salzburg or crossing the border to the Czech Republic and South Bohemia to experience Cesky Krumlov‘s historic city centre and a medieval-style luncheon in a cellar restaurant that was a former prison. Tonight, continue on to Germany.

DAY 8 Saturday, April 9
Hallo Deutschland: Ancient Passau & Vilshofen “Oktoberfest”
Upon arrival in Germany and Bavaria, visit the historical fairy-tale town of Passau, founded by the Romans over 2000 years ago. See how the locals eat, drink and dress. If there is still space in your suitcase, you may want to add some Lederhosen or a Dirndl for special occasions like tonight’s “Oktoberfest” in charming Vilshofen. Eat, drink and be merry in the rustic atmosphere of a local beergarden, accompanied by folk music, song and dance. Upon return to the ship, the party continues as this is your last night on the cruise.

DAY 9 Sunday, April 10
Scenic Drive to Prague
Embark from the ship after breakfast and head to the heart of the Czech Republic by bus to visit its capital city Prague with a local guide. Your tour includes the Royal Castle District, Charles’ Bridge and historical city center. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure for some last minute shopping, a final beer tasting and is followed by a fun farewell dinner.

DAY 10 Monday, April 11
Departure home to Charlotte or Prague Extension.
As the official Grapevine Incantato Tour comes to an end, the flight group returns home today via Munich airport which features its own brewery. However those of you making your own travel arrangements may well decide to stay a few days longer in or around Prague.

Your floating Hotel for the Grapevine River Cruise: MS Amalyra, a four star boutique vessel

Built in 2009, 360 feet long and 38 feet wide - that could be your home on the Danube river during your performance tour 2011 from Budapest to Vilshofen. The MS Amalyra was designed and built in Holland by Europe's best ship builders and under the watchful eyes of Europe's top Caterers. There are 2 lounges located on the Upper Deck from which you can enjoy panoramic river views, the Panorama Lounge which accommodates up to 150 passengers, and the smaller Adagio Lounge in the Aft of the ship, which can also be reserved for group meetings. A wellness area is located in the aft area of the Violin Deck. This generously designed space includes a glassed-in fitness room, massage and beauty salon. Each ship has an elevator, which very few river cruise ships feature. The onboard culinary staff offers menus comprised of soups, fresh produce, high quality choice cut meats, and fresh fish and seafood. Start your day with a breakfast buffet and choose from a rich assortment of breads, croissants and pastries, a variety of fresh fruit, yogurt, cereals, and smoked salmon. In the evening, be the guest for an elegant dinner or a traditional theme night with a feast of regional specialties.

Your Vineyards of the Danube travel route through Central Europe

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Home away from home: Hotel Maximilian, Prague

After spending the nights on the ship, the travelers of the 2011 Grapevine Dolce Vita Tour will stay at Hotel Maximilian (4 stars) in Prague on April 10. The hotel was designed by Eva Jiricna - one of the world's finest architects. The two buildings ("Black House" and "Red House") contain six floors with 70 rooms and 1 suite. Chairs, sofas tables and lightning follow the designs of Pierre Chareaou, Guiseppe Terrani, Eileen Grey, Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd, as well as Eva Jiricna. Graphics by Czech artists of the era are exhibited throughout the hotel. All rooms are equipped with 7" rainfall shower heads, telephone and analogue data port with high-speed internet connection free of charge, plasma-TV, DVD and CD Player, fully stocked mini-bar, bathrobe and slippers, hairdryer, toiletries, air-conditioning with individual temperature control and a safe.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Travel Insurance

Incantato Tours strongly recommend getting travel insurance for your upcoming journey.
Not only are you covered medically should anything happen when traveling, but with TravelGuard's policies, you also protect your investment should you have to cancel or interrupt the trip. Last not least, there is also coverage for delayed and lost luggage etc.
Here is a direct line to purchase travel insurance online and can you do so with your credit cards and also select the option that is best for you.

In the meantime, have a look at the most comprehensive coverage option The Protect Assist Gold below.

Protect Assist (Gold) -
Comprehensive Travel Protection for the World Traveler
  • Trip Cancellation
  • JUST ADDED! - Trip Cancellation due to employment loss or layoff
    if employed with the same employer 1 year or longer
  • Trip Interruption and Travel Delay
  • Emergency Medical and Emergency Medical Transportation
  • Baggage and Travel Document Protection
  • Baggage Delay and Lost Baggage Tracking
  • NEW - Cancel For Any Reason option now available
  • NEW - Cancel For Work Reasons option now available
  • NEW - Children age 17 and under covered at no additional cost
  • IMPROVED -Trip Cancellation limit increased to $100,000 (from $15,000),
  • IMPROVED - Trip Interruption coverage increased to 150% of Trip Cost
  • IMPROVED - Travel Delay required hours reduced to 5 hours (from 12)

ProtectAssist special features:
  • Best coverage for Weather Related Cancellations
  • Pre-existing Condition Exclusion Waiver*
  • Default/Bankruptcy Protection*
  • $50,000 Flight Accident Insurance*
  • 24-Hour "LiveTravel" Travel Agency
  • Emergency Cash Transfers
  • Identity Theft Restoration

* These additional benefits apply If you are purchasing within 15 days of making your initial trip deposit or payment, however, coverage may still be purchased at any time up to 24 hours prior to departure.
Increase your coverage with these valuable additions to your Protect Assist Plan:

Cancel For Any Reason – 50%
reimbursement of nonrefundable expenses if you cancel your trip for any reason, up to 48 hours prior to your departure. Only available when this plan is purchased within 15 days of initial trip payment.

Cancel For Work Reasons –
Offers additional work-related reasons for cancellation or interruption. Also includes our exclusive “Business Assistant” services if you have work obligations during your travels. Only available when this plan is purchased within 15 days of initial trip payment.

Umbrella Package – Medical Expense limits are doubled and coverage is upgraded to primary. Emergency Medical Transportation limits are doubled and benefits upgraded to take you home or to the hospital of your choice. $25,000 Accidental Death & Dismemberment coverage will be added.

Car Rental Collision Coverage – $35,000 in primary coverage. Covers cost of repairs for covered collision damage to a rental car for which the car rental contract holds you responsible. Subject to $250 deductible.

Optional coverages cannot be purchased separately. Must be purchased with base ProtectAssist plan.

Comprehensive non-insurance travel services* automatically included with plan!
With the ProtectAssist plan, every customer also has access to these valuable travel services when they travel:
· Arrangements for last-minute flight changes
· Hotel finder and reservations
· Rental car reservations
· Emergency medical assistance
· BagTrak® -- lost baggage tracking
· Pre-trip health and safety advisories
· Live e-mail and phone messaging to family and friends
· Cash transfers
· Airport transportation
· Golf course reservations
· Event ticketing
· Floral services
· Identity Theft restoration

Business Assistant* (available when Optional Cancel for Work Reasons coverage is purchased)

*Non-Insurance services are provided by AIG Travel Assist.

Citizenship: All Nationalities
Residency: United States
New York, Oregon, and Washington residence please call to purchase
Some rider options are not available and other restrictions may apply

Destination: Worldwide
Ages: All Ages
Max Trip Length: 365 Days

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Grapevine flight schedule on Lufthansa German Airlines

Those of you who chose the air-land package will be flying the friendly skies on the long-hauls with one of the world's premier airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines, on the 2011 Grapevine Wine Cruise on the Danube. For more information on your on-board experience, please visit the Lufthansa website. The Incantato Tours team wishes you a safe and relaxing flight.

Departure to Europe:

Saturday, April 2, 2011
LUFTHANSA flight 429, leave CHARLOTTE at 5:35PM
Arrive in MUNICH at 8:10AM on Sunday, April 3, 2011
LUFTHANSA flight 1676, leave MUNICH at 11:05AM
Arrive in BUDAPEST at 12:20PM

Return to USA:

Monday, April 11, 2011
LUFTHANSA flight 1697, leave PRAGUE at 7:10AM
Arrive in MUNICH at 7:55AM
LUFTHANSA flight 428, leave MUNICH at 11:40AM
Arrive in CHARLOTTE at 3:35PM on Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Grapevine River Cruise - personal impressions

In 2009, Sandra, co-owner of Incantato Tours, test-cruised the Blue Danube with AMA Waterways and here are some personal impressions she took.

Welcome to Budapest!

As the largest city of Hungary, Budapest serves as the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation center and is considered an important hub in Central Europe. In 2009, Budapest had 1,712,210 inhabitants, down from a mid-1980s peak of 2.1 million. The Budapest Commuter Area (or Greater Budapest) is home to 3,271,110 people. The city covers an area of 525 square kilometres (202.7 sq mi) within the city limits. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with a unification on 17 November 1873 of right (west)-bank Buda and Óbuda with left (east)-bank Pest. Aquincum, originally a Celtic settlement, was the direct ancestor of Budapest, becoming the Roman capital of Lower Pannonia. Magyars arrived in the territory in the 9th century. Their first settlement was pillaged by the Mongols in 1241-42. The re-established town became one of the centers of Renaissance humanist culture in the 15th century. Following the Battle of Mohács and nearly 150 years of Ottoman rule, development of the region entered a new age of prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries, and Budapest became a global city after the 1873 unification. It also became the second capital of Austria-Hungary, a great power that dissolved in 1918. Budapest was the focal point of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, the Hungarian Soviet Republic of 1919, Operation Panzerfaust in 1944, the Battle of Budapest of 1945, and the Revolution of 1956.
Regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, its extensive World Heritage Site includes the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes' Square and the Millennium Underground Railway, the second oldest in the world. Other highlights include a total of 80 geothermal springs, the world's largest thermal water cave system, second largest synagogue, and third largest Parliament building. The collections of the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts are also significant. The city attracts over 20 million visitors a year.
Since 1991, Budapest has been home to the wonderful Neszmely Vineyards. Hungary's most successful wine producing estate with 560 hectares of grapevines, Neszmely's 'borhotel and etterem' (wine hotel and restaurant) still maintains its delightfully cozy family flair. The hilltop vineyards, overlooking the Danube, produce some of the country's best white wines, including the classically crisp and fruity Neszmely Irsai Oliver with finishes of straw, spice, and summer. The Irsai Oliver grape is a relatively new hybrid and relative of the Muscat grape, making an eminently quaffable summer beverage.