Join Minnesota Public Radio and Members of The Minnesota Orchestra

Classical Danube

Join friends and fans of Minnesota Public Radio and the Minnesota Orchestra for a historic cruise down the Blue Danube with host Melissa Ousley. Discover world class museums, grand opera houses and celebrated symphony halls of Budapest, Bratislava, Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague! Your journey begins with three included pre-cruise nights in historic Prague. Walk in the footsteps of Dvorak, Smetana and Mozart while in the Czech capital. In Vienna, we’ll celebrate Beethoven, savor Sachertorte in a local café, spend time in one of the many marvelous museums and dine with the locals in a charming wine cellar frequented by the great composers. Enjoy backstage tours and insider experiences. Visit the homes of Liszt, Mozart and Beethoven. Musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra will join us for intimate recitals aboard our privately chartered ship, the luxurious Scenic Ruby.

Trip Hosts

Melissa Ousley, Host & Producer, Classical Minnesota Public Radio

In the fall of 2019, Melissa Ousley became the regular host of Minnesota Public Radio's live broadcasts with the Minnesota Orchestra. Those Friday nights quickly became a highlight of her week. As she puts it, "The exhilaration that comes from playing a small part in bringing such outstanding concerts to our listeners is hard to describe." Melissa's passion for music began as a kid growing up just outside of New York City. Her parents encouraged her to go to concerts and visit art museums, and that's exactly what she did. While she earned a bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music, she's quick to point out that her decades of work in radio is what has taught her the most. When she's away from the airwaves, Melissa loves to run, read, and spend time with friends and family.

Natsuki Kumagai, Violin, Minnesota Orchestra

Natsuki Kumagai joined the Minnesota Orchestra second violin section in the 2017-18 season and won a position in
the first violin section in 2019. Born and raised in Chicago, she has served in numerous concertmaster positions at orchestras including the New World Symphony, New York String Orchestra Seminar, and the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra. She is an active chamber musician, winning prizes at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, Saint Paul Chamber Music Competition and Society of American Musicians Competition. She was a member of the New Fromm Players, the quartet-in-residence for contemporary music at the Tanglewood Institute, performing world and
U.S. premieres of works by world-renowned composers
Marc Neikrug and Joseph Phibbs.

Michael Sutton, Violin, Minnesota Orchestra

A native of Minneapolis, Michael Sutton joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 1997. He performed Martinu's Three Madrigals with violinist Kenneth Freed at a 2007 chamber music concert, and he has appeared on Sommerfest programs playing chamber music with pianist William Wolfram and violinist Pekka Kuusisto. In addition to performing in Minnesota Orchestra programs, he is concertmaster of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, a post he accepted in fall of 2014. He also is a faculty member at the MacPhail Center for music and a violin coach for the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies. For four years Sutton was a concertmaster of the New World Symphony in Miami Beach; he was also a leader at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the Pacific Music Festival in Japan.


Day 0: October 16 - Depart USA

Overnight flight to Prague, Czech Republic

Day 1: October 17 - Historic Prague

Considered by many to be the most beautiful European capital, Prague is the city of Smetan, Dvorak, Kafka and the town Mozart loved best. The city is also home to three historic opera houses, the Czech Philharmoinic and several chamber orchestras. Enjoy a welcome orientation dinner before settling in for the night at your hotel. Sleep in Prague. (D)

Day 2: October 18 - Prague's Old Town & Jewish Quarter

Our historic walking tour of Prague will start at its center, Wenceslas Square. En-route to the Old Town Square, we’ll see the illustrious Estate Opera House where Mozart conducted Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro. Our journey continues to Prague’s stirring medieval Jewish quarter. After enjoying a traditional Czech lunch, the afternoon is yours before meeting your hosts for your first classical music concert. Sleep in Prague (B,L).

Day 3: October 19 - Charles Bridge and Prague Castle

After breakfast, we make our way past Charles University to Charles Bridge. We’ll cross the very river that lends its name to Smetana’s symphonic Czech masterpiece, the Vltava. Then we’ll ascend the hill to one of Europe’s most impressive castles: Prague Castle. A UNESCO World heritage site, it consists of palaces and ecclesiastical buildings of various architectural styles, from Roman- style buildings from the 10th century through Gothic modifications in the 14th century. A second classical concert is included this evening! Sleep in Prague. (B)

Day 4: October 20 - Depart Prague/Board Scenic Ruby

Welcome to Hungary! We depart this morning for Budapest and embark the Scenic Ruby in the afternoon to begin our custom classic cruise on the Danube. A welcome cocktail party and dinner will be served on board. (B,D)

Day 5: October 21 - Discover Budapest

Today we’ll enjoy a special tour and a private piano recital at the Franz Liszt Memorial Museum. After, enjoy a special tour of the stunning Budapest State Opera house. Our day in Budapest culminates with an evening dinner cruise on the Danube. (B,L,D)

Day 6: October 22 - A Relaxing Day in Budapest

Enjoy a leisurely day in Budapest! You may wish to browse the markets for local delicacies, tour the large synagogue, have a relaxing soak in one of the famous baths or take a stroll along the river bank. (B,L,D)

Day 7: October 23 - A Day in Brataslava

In the morning the ship reaches the historic capital city of Bratislava, which was founded over 2,000 years ago. Now the capital of Slovakia, it was the capital of Hungary for a while during the Renaissance. Accompanied by a private guide, we’ll set off to see the city’s major sights today. (B,L,D)

Day 8: October 24 - Vienna: In the footsteps of the great composers

This morning we’ll set off to spend the day in the legendary home of Beethoven, Schubert, Mahler, Brahms, Strauss, Mozart, the Habsburgs and the Waltz! Accompanied by local experts, learn why Vienna in the 18th century was the musical capital of Europe. Visit Mozart’s house where he composed The Marriage of Figaro and enjoy a private concert in the very chamber where Mozart himself first performed in Vienna as a young man. (B,L,D)

Day 9: October 25 - Classical Vienna

In celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, we’ll devote this day to the great composer. Though born in Bonn, Beethoven called Vienna home. We’ll visit some of his favorite haunts and inspiring sights. Also enjoy a private tour of the Vienna Fine Arts Museum and Wiener Musikverein (home to the Vienna Philharmonic). You’ll have a free evening in Vienna. (B,L,D)

Day 10: October 26 - Salzburg: A day with Mozart

Journey past the town of Linz through the wine producing Wachau Valley en-route to Salzburg. Enjoy an included walking tour in Salzburg with local historians and relive the life of Mozart. See the very house where Mozart was born on January 27, 1756 and stroll through the charming alleyways of this Baroque jewel. Our gala farewell dinner is this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 11: October 27 - Passau/Journey Concludes

We arrive this morning in Passau, Germany for disembarkation. Complimentary transport will be offered to the Munich airport for those travelers on the group flight. Bon Voyage! (B)


  • Hosted by Melissa Ousley of Minnesota Public Radio
  • On-board musical performances by Minnesota Orchestra musicians: Natsuki Kumagai and Michael Sutton
  • Complimentary tickets to pre and post trip Minnesota Orchestra concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Three pre-cruise nights in glorious Prague
  • A top opera/classical performance in Prague
  • Concerts in Prague, Budapest and Vienna
  • Exclusive tours of celebrated opera houses
  • Special visits to the homes of the great
  • Seven nights first-class cruising on the Danube
  • Unique dining experiences featuring regional dishes
  • Complimentary wine served at dinner while on board the ship
  • Airport transfers for those arriving/departing with the group
  • Travel with like-minded classical music lovers
  • Minnesota Orchestra Beethoven symphonies five disc box set

Pricing and Terms

Call for Early Bird Pricing and Discount Information!
Dvorak Standard Suite - $4,999 per person before discount ($995 for single supplement)Mozart Suites $5,599 - $5,799 per person before discount (single supplement varies)Beethoven Suites $6,399 - $6,999 per person before discount (single supplement varies)

Note: Valid US passport required. Port taxes, charges & fees currently $199 and are additional. Schedule subject to change.

Not included: Gratuities for ship staff, travel insurance and any items not mentioned in your itinerary.

Savings: Discounts apply for all MPR and Earthbound travel alumni. If your deposit is made by May 1, 2021 and/or you make your final payment by check, you will receive the additional discounts.

Advanced, cancelled or delayed sailing for cruises: Please note that cruise schedules and tour activities can be subject to change due to changes in water levels, port accessibility, weather, labor disputes or for any other reason whatsoever. The Owner or Operator of the cruise vessel may, at any time, cancel, advance or postpone any scheduled tour and may, but is not obliged to, substitute another vessel or itinerary, and it shall not be liable for any loss whatsoever to passengers by reason of any such cancellation, advancement or postponement.

Exclusive air rate is in economy class and allows for no deviations or upgrades. Seat assignments are subject to the discretion of the airline. Specific requests cannot be guaranteed.


Health Matters: It is the responsibility of each guest to be aware of their physical abilities or limitations, and to be in sufficient good health to undertake the trip. To make the most of your journey and participate in the various planned group activities, you should be able to be on your feet and walk unassisted for two to three hours (often over uneven cobblestones or pathways) with frequent standing. If you have questions about the physical requirements for your journey, please email or call our travel office. Any preexisting physical, mental, or emotional disability that may require attention must be reported in writing prior to the be- ginning of the journey. Although it is not mandatory to participate in every planned and included group activity, not doing so isn’t cause for a refund. For those desiring additional exercise, our trips allow free time to explore at your own pace. On boats, planes, ships and ferries, guests will need to be able to maneuver unassisted up and down gangways, stairs and in between decks. Smokers may smoke outside and downwind of the group.

Group Size: Our cruise programs have a capacity of 120-130 passengers. We pride ourselves on providing a small, shared group experience and Earthbound Expeditions will make every effort to limit the group size on shore excursions. However, to ensure the departure of an expedition at the lowest price, Earthbound Expeditions has at times found it necessary to overbook a trip in order to anticipate the possibility of numerous last minute individual cancellations and/or a declining US dollar. Private and hosted journeys may be larger than other trips. By doing this we are able to eliminate surcharges.

Tipping: Savvy travelers know that tipping is expected in most parts of the world, though never knowing when and how much can become a source of stress. To spare our guests hassle and anxiety, Earthbound Expeditions has included all gratuities for guides, drivers, dining room servers and local specialists on nearly all of our journeys. Some travelers like to reward outstanding service with an additional tip, gift or card. Gratuities for hotel staff, boat crew and those serving you while not with the group are not included. Note: Gratuities may not be included on private or hosted trips. Please refer to your specific itinerary for details.

Travel Insurance: Earthbound Expeditions strongly encourages the purchase of Travel Insurance Coverage. We include information on trip insurance in your deposit information. It is important to check with your medical insurance provider to understand your medical benefits and coverage while traveling abroad. Please read our cancellation policy carefully in order to avoid incurring a costly penalty.

Air Travel: Taxes and fuel surcharges are subject to change until ticketed and are included in the air price quote. Please note that Earthbound Expeditions acts only as an agent for airlines and is restricted by their respective policies. A minimum of ten passengers must travel together on group flights. The industry standard deadline for securing group space is 90 days prior to departure. In some cases, when the bare minimum of ten passengers does not materialize by this deadline, Earthbound will offer a competitive alternative and will assist passengers in booking their flights. A deviation fee may apply if you have booked the group flight, but are returning on a different date. Earthbound Expeditions is not responsible for route changes and flight delays. Airline group contract rates may require payment by check and/or an additional deposit. Please read the airline deposit schedule carefully, as in most cases they are not refundable. NOTE: Earthbound Expeditions does not accept liability incurred by the purchase of individual non-refundable airline tickets. It is for this reason we strongly recommend purchasing refundable airline tickets or including the cost of the ticket in your travel insurance coverage. Earthbound staff is unable to assist travelers with mileage award tickets.

Solo Travelers and Single Accommodations: Single accommodations may be requested by paying a single supplement comfort fee; these are limited and based on availability. For those willing to share, Earthbound Expeditions will assist in finding a same-gender room- mate, and if one is found, the Single Supplement is waived. If a roommate cannot be found, guests will be asked to pay the Single Supplement comfort fee.
Discounts: All Alumni of Earthbound Expeditions will receive $100 off the published jour- ney price (private trips may be excluded). If Earthbound Expeditions has other discounts available, participants may choose the greatest available discount. Most of our travel dis- counts may not be combined (see below for one exception) and are applied to the land portion only.

Traveling with Children: With the exception of our adventures to Costa Rica, Earthbound Expedition journeys have been designed for the active, mature adult. Most of our journeys include cooking classes, wine tastings, concerts and late evenings out which are not suit- able for children under 12. If you have questions about a specific journey, please telephone our travel office.

Refer a friend and Save! Refer a friend and save an additional $75 for each person new to Earthbound who travels with you on an Earthbound Expedition. “Refer a friend” discounts may be combined with alumni discounts.

Concerts and Events: If a planned concert or event is cancelled for any reason, another concert or event will be included in its place. This is not cause for refund.

Hosted Journeys: If a host or special guest is unable to attend as planned, Earthbound Expeditions will do its utmost to find another host who has similar interests, talents and expertise. The inability of a host to participate in a tour is not grounds for a full or partial refund.

Fine Print: Earthbound Expeditions Inc. acts only as an agent for the supplier with respect to transportation and hotels and exercises every care possible. However, we can assume no liability for injury, damage, delay, loss, accident or irregularity in connection with the services of any airplane, ship, motor-coach, train or other conveyance used in carrying out the arrangements of the journey. We cannot accept responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, quarantine, acts of God or other causes beyond our control. All such losses and expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as journey rates provide for arrangements only for the time stated. All published itineraries are subject to change, which would not be cause for a refund. We also reserve the right to amend typos and misprints in pricing and other trip information. The right is reserved to cancel the journey prior to departure, in which case the entire payment will be refunded without further obligation on our part. We also reserve the right to decline to accept or to retain any person as a member of the journey, or to require a participant to withdraw from the journey at their own expense when such an action is determined by journey staff to be in the best interest of the participant’s health and safety, and that of the group in general. No refund will be made for the unused portion of any journey. Earthbound Expeditions does not accept liability incurred by the purchase of a non refundable airline ticket.

Pricing: In the event that there are fewer than the minimum participants listed in your itinerary, you will be offered a small group comfort charge to ensure that the journey departs as scheduled. Former guests have greatly appreciated the benefits of traveling with a smaller group. Earthbound staff or hosts are not included in the number of tour participants. Please refer to your detailed itinerary for pricing information specific to your journey. Although no changes in the price of your trip are expected, Earthbound reserves the right to add a supplement or to lower the trip price due to unexpected currency fluctuations of plus or minus 5% and/or spikes in fuel prices.

Photos and comments: Please note that Earthbound Expeditions may use any film likenesses taken of a guest and any of their written comments made while on an EB tour for future marketing.

Reservations and Deposits: Early reservations are essential to guarantee space on the date you wish to travel. A per person deposit of $500 is needed to confirm your space on most journeys. We prefer payment to be made by check, but we also accept Visa, Master- Card or American Express. You can make your secure credit card deposit online, by phone or by mail. Deposits are refundable for 60 days from the date received or 90 days prior to departure, whichever comes first. A $75 dollar per person processing fee will be applied to all cancellations, regardless of when they are made. Once the deposit is processed, a deposit packet is sent with pertinent journey details. Trips which include barges, boats and/ or flights may require an additional deposit.

River Cruise Payment Policy: A per person deposit of $750 is needed to confirm your space on a river cruise. Following the deposit an additional payment of $1500 will be due approxi- mately 5 months in advance and final payment is due 90-days prior to departure. Payments are non-refundable and guests are strongly urged to purchase travel insurance.

Final Payment: You will be sent an invoice approximately 75 days prior to departure, which will include any currency price reductions or additions. A non-refundable final payment, payable by money order, check or credit card, is due 60 days before departure. It is the responsibility of each passenger to make a timely payment. A final packet of information will be sent approximately one month before departure. Pay online or Mail checks to: Earth- bound Expeditions PO Box 11305, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, USA.

Cancellations Land: All cancellations must be made in writing and are effective upon receipt in our office. Deposits are fully refundable for 60 days from the processing date or 90 days prior to departure, whichever comes first. Deposits made 90 days prior to a trip departing are not refundable. A $75 per person processing fee applies to all cancellations.

No refunds are made for cancellations after the non- refundable deposit date. It is for this reason we strongly encourage the purchase of Travel Insurance at the same time you reserve your journey with us. Please refer to your specific journey details, especially private and hosted journeys, as policies may differ.
Cancellations River Cruise: Cancellations received within 30-days of deposit incur a penalty of $300 per person. Deposits are non-refundable if cancelled outside of 30-days from date of deposit.

No refunds are made for cancellations after the non- refundable deposit date. It is for this reason we strongly encourage the purchase of Travel Insurance at the same time you reserve your journey with us. Please refer to your specific journey details, especially private and hosted journeys, as policies may differ.
Luggage: You should be able to comfortably manage your luggage over short distances. Porters are generally available to assist you. Some of the castles, hotels and country inns we utilize do not have porters, but most of our lodgings are equipped with elevators. The key is not to over-pack.

Consumer Disclosure Notice
Read the tour information & conditions carefully, as your deposit & any payments for a trip constitutes consent to all conditions & general information contained on your brochure & in this packet. This trip is operated by Earthbound Expeditions (EBE). It has made the travel arrangements as agent for the transportation carriers & other suppliers (SUPS) of services connected with the tour, all of which are independent contractors. EBE in no way owns or operates the vehicles or facilities to be used during the trip, & does not guarantee or assume responsibility for the acts &/or omissions of SUPS, their employees, agents, etc. All bookings are accepted subject to the conditions imposed by SUPS & EBE, including airline, cruise line, rail, coach, hotel, restaurants, insurance, & other companies, firms or persons concerned with the trip, & EBE will make no refund in the event of their delay, cancellations, overbooking, strike, force majeure or for elements of the package not used by customer. If there is a difference between EBE Conditions & those published by a SUP, the conditions of SUP shall apply. EBE reserves the right to cancel a trip, change the itinerary, airline, hotel or adjust rates whenever in its sole judgment conditions warrant, or if EBE deems it necessary for your comfort, convenience or safety. Currency, taxes, fees & fuel surcharges are subject to change. Trips outside the USA require a valid U.S. passport. You are responsible for, & release EBE from passport, visa, vaccination requirements, & safety conditions in travel destinations. EBE strongly recommends you purchase appropriate cancellation/medical/ baggage insurance for the trip, which is available from EBE. For medical information, call the U.S. Public Health Service at 301-443-2403, & for U.S. State Department travel adviso- ries, 202-647- 5225. EBE reserves the right to decline to accept any person as a member of the tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the trip at any time who presents a significant risk to the health & safety of themselves or others which can not be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level by EBE’s reasonable accommodation. EBE reserves the right to correct an error in advertised price prior to your departure. A contract is made when your reservation & payment are accepted by EBE at its offices & any dispute shall be governed by Washington law & subject to the jurisdiction of Kitsap County, WA. In calculating the cost of your trip, EBE has relied on your consent to these terms & in the absence of this release, the trip cost would have been higher. EBE also reserves the right to cancel a tour prior to departure, & in such cases all payments made to date will be refunded & shall constitute full settlement.

Need more information?

Call us: (1) 800-723-8454 Earthbound Expeditions is open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. Contact us! Complete our contact form and one of our travel consultants will contact you to answer your questions and help you complete your reservation.