The National WWII Museum Unveils East Meets West Cruise

The Elbe River // Photo courtesy of the National WWII Museum

The travel division of the National World War II Museum has unveiled its newest river cruise itinerary, titled East Meets West: The Link-up on The Elbe. Guests on the eight-night East Meets West river cruise will voyage down the Elbe River aboard the newly launched MS Elbe Princess, visiting historic WWII sites with numerous expert-guided tours and in-depth excursions. The cruise takes place from May 14 to 22, 2018.

The voyage is inspired by the historic moment in 1945 when American and Soviet soldiers met for the first time in the war and shook hands over a destroyed bridge which crossed the Elbe River. After which, Americans halted their forces and the Soviet Union seized Berlin, ending the European theater of war.

Along their voyage down the Elbe from Berlin, Germany to Prague, Czech Republic travelers will have their historical experiences supplemented by three best-selling historians who will be onboard: James Holland, Alexandra Richie and Sir Anthony Beevor. A number of WWII artifacts will also be available for viewing on the ship.

James Holland is a best-selling historian and writer; three of his historical works such as Fortress Malta have been bestsellers, and he has also written nine works of historical fiction. Holland also is a regular on television and radio.

Dr. Alexandra Richie is an award-winning, bestselling historian who specializes in the history of Germany and Central and Eastern Europe. She has contributed to many articles, documentaries, radio and television programs and she is also the Convener of the Presidential Counselors at the National WWII Museum.

Sir Anthony Beevor, author of the recent and successful Ardennes 1944 – Hitler’s Last Gamble, has written five award-winning histories of World War II. He is an international bestseller whose books have been translated into more than thirty languages and sold over seven million copies. He received a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours List in 2017.

Guests aboard the cruise will also have the opportunity to listen to and interact with the featured guest: T. Moffat Burriss, an American physics teacher-turned-paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. Burris fought in Italy and in the Netherlands and notably is one of the few brave soldiers who crossed the Elbe prior to the German surrender. It was after that he then liberated the Wobbelin Concentration Camp.

The nine-day tour takes guests to nine different cities of immense historical importance. Guests will first board the MS Elbe Princess in Berlin to a welcome reception and dinner. The second day ports in Potsdam, where guests can visit the House of the Wannsee Conference—where the “Final Solution,” the extermination of Europe’s Jewish population was first detailed.

The voyage’s third day brings travelers to the twice-destroyed city of Magdeburg.  Day four continues south to Wittenberg, known for Martin Luther’s 95 Theses. Here, guests can learn about the historical reverberations of the Protestant Reformation and visit Luther House, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A tour through the scenic city of Torgau on day five explores both sides of the Elbe River and the events leading up to the momentous link-up of the American and Soviet armies. The sixth day brings guests to Dresden—once a center of German modern art and science which suffered a famously brutal firebombing from the Allies in 1945, from which Kurt Vonnegut drew inspiration for Slaughterhouse Five.

Guests arrive at the Czech Republic border on day seven, in Bad Schandau, the site of the Königstein Fortress, where Saxon Kings, Polish prisoners and French soldiers alike have resided throughout history. The eighth day allows guests to visit the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp, just outside the town of Litoměřice. The camp was used as a transfer point to death camps in Poland. Afterwards, a farewell reception dinner and a special Q&A session with the onboard historians heralds the end of the voyage. Guests disembark in Prague on the final day or continue on the optional, post-cruise extension Prague: Repression and Revolt.
The MS Elbe Princess // Photo courtesy
of the National WWII Museum.

On board the ship, between the comprehensive shore excursions, guests are accommodated with eight breakfasts, seven lunches and eight dinners, as well as free flowing beer, wine, spirits, coffee, water, tea and soft drinks. Personal listening devices are provided on all included excursions; entry fees to all sights, museums and attractions are also included. Expert local battlefield guides, Video Oral History presentations and an informative map book will also be available to enhance the guests’ educational experiences. Round Trip Airport Transfers, complimentary bottled water and a personal journal and pen to document one’s journey are also included.

The 313-foot-long MS Elbe Princess has two passenger decks with 40 outside staterooms accommodating 80 guests. Cabin amenities include Wi-Fi, central air conditioning and heating, flat screen television and hair dryers.

Pricing ranges from $5,495 to $6,495; if booked by November 15, 2017, guests can save $1,000 per couple. The National WWII Museum tours, developed by the museum itself, are also commissionable, with agents receiving a 10% commission.

Visit nationalww2museum.org for more information.

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