Global Symposium Series: Europe & the United States: Postponed

Featuring Budapest, Berlin and a five-night Danube Cruise aboard the Crystal Mozart, this symposium will reflect on the evolution of Europe over the past century. Guest speakers include David Cameron, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, 2010 – 2016, and Doris Kearns Goodwin, Presidential Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning Author.

Sep 9 - Sep 16, 2020  (8 Days)

from $14,990 per person, double occupancy

For more Information

(415) 597-6720

Saturday, September 5
Depart U.S.

Depart the U.S. on your transatlantic flight to Budapest.

Sunday, September 6
Arrive Budapest, Hungary

Upon arrival in Budapest, transfer to the elegant Four Seasons Gresham Palace. Gather with fellow travelers this evening for a welcome orientation, reception and dinner at the hotel. Four Seasons Gresham Palace (R,D)

Monday, September 7

A morning lecture program at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences is followed by your choice of afternoon excursion in Budapest, each beginning with lunch at a local restaurant:

  • Exclusive visits to the icons of Budapest, including the magnificent neo-gothic Hungarian Parliament Building and the Great Market Hall, the city’s oldest and largest indoor market
  • Specially curated Jewish heritage tour including the second-largest synagogue in the world
  • Culinary tasting tour to sample the best Hungarian foods and wine, with a local chef as guide
  • Private tour showcasing Budapest's history, from Socialism to “the future Silicon Valley of Europe”

This evening, enjoy a special dinner and musical performance at the Museum of Fine Arts, a landmark venue in the city. Four Seasons Gresham Palace (B,L,D)

Tuesday, September 8
Embark the Crystal Mahler in Budapest

Gather with fellow travelers from our program (along with additional travelers from Harvard, Smith, and Stanford), for a fascinating day including a keynote address from David Cameron, additional talks from featured speakers, and roundtable discussions that will illuminate the significance of the historic and powerful alliance between Europe and the United States. This afternoon, embark the luxurious, exclusively-chartered Crystal Mahler. Settle into your cabin and enjoy our first dinner on board as the Crystal Mahler departs Budapest.  Crystal Mahler (B,L,D)

Wednesday, September 9
Bratislava, Slovakia

The educational program continues during a full morning of cruising along the scenic Danube, with lunch on board.  Arrive in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, this afternoon and depart on your choice of excursion:

  • Architectural walking tour of Bratislava’s Old Town, with several special interior visits, plus a beer tasting at a classic venue
  • Culinary walking tour of Bratislava’s Old Town, stopping to taste local specialties

All excursion groups reunite for a private concert. Return to the Crystal Mahler for dinner as we cruise overnight for Austria’s Wachau Valley.  Crystal Mahler (B,L,D)

Thursday, September 10
Wachau Valley, Austria

Cruise this morning through the picturesque Wachau Valley, a 25-mile valley defined by the Danube River. It is thought the valley was home to prehistoric people, and today you’ll find remarkable vineyards, villages, churches, and vintage castles. Enjoy the continuation of the lecture program during cruising this morning, with an early lunch on board. In the afternoon, a choice of excursions is offered:

  • Personalized tour of Artstetten Castle, once a summer residence for the Hapsburgs, including Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose death in 1914 sparked World War I.
  • Led by a member of the Hohenberg family, tour the magnificent structure and historic museum.
  • Exploration of the magnificent baroque, UNESCO-listed Melk Abbey overlooking the Danube, and Melk’s picturesque Old Town with its many original historic buildings
  • Active options by eBike and guided hike through the scenic Wachau Valley

Return to the Crystal Mahler for dinner on board.  Crystal Mahler (B,L,D)

Friday, September 11
Linz, Austria

Following a morning lecture, set out from Linz on your choice of excursion:

  • Morning Linzer torte baking workshop and city walk with a local expert, followed by lunch on board (can be combined with the afternoon option below, or guests are welcome to enjoy free time in Linz in the afternoon)
  • Afternoon visit to the site of the massive Mauthausen Concentration Camp
  • Full-day excursion to the UNESCO-listed medieval Czech town of Český Krumlov, considered one of Europe’s most picturesque towns with its charming walkable streets and enchanting architecture; lunch is included off the ship at a local restaurant

Dinner is served aboard as the Crystal Mahler cruises for Vienna.  Crystal Mahler (B,L,D)

Saturday, September 12
Vienna, Austria

The morning lecture series continues on board, followed by your choice of excursion options; guests are welcome to choose two of the following options for Saturday, and one additional option for Sunday morning:

  • Exploration of Vienna’s Jugendstil/Art Nouveau heritage and the baroque Belvedere Palace
  • Behind-the-scenes look into "Sustainable Vienna," including the Spittelau Power Plant designed by eco-architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser
  • Exclusive wine tasting in medieval cellars housing some of the world’s rarest vintages
  • Visit to the opulent Imperial Schonbrunn Palace & Royal Carriage Museum
  • An eBike adventure among lakes and waterways of idyllic “Old Danube Island”
  • Jewish heritage tour of Vienna, retracing eight centuries of fascinating history

Lunch is included at local restaurants in Vienna with each afternoon excursion option today. Following dinner on board, gather for a private concert by a string quartet from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the impressive Liechtenstein Palace. The ship remains docked in Vienna overnight. Crystal Mahler (B,L,D)

Sunday, September 13
Vienna / Berlin, Germany

Following lunch at a local restaurant, transfer to Vienna International Airport for a privately-chartered flight to Berlin. Upon arrival, transfer to the stately Hotel Adlon Kempinski and check in to rooms. Gather with fellow travelers for a private dinner at the hotel this evening.  Hotel Adlon Kempinski (B,L,D)

Monday, September 14

After breakfast and a morning lecture program, depart on your choice of afternoon excursion, each beginning with lunch at a local restaurant. Guests are welcome to choose one of the following options for Monday, and one additional option for Tuesday afternoon:

  • Private gallery visits focusing on Berlin’s trendsetting and thought-provoking contemporary art scene
  • Expert-led architectural tour, including the Jewish Museum, which presents the social, political and cultural history of German Jews
  • An insider’s look at Cold War Berlin—with the chance to drive a vintage two-stroke East German Trabant (a sedan manufactured only in East Germany between 1957 and 1990)
  • Specially arranged guided tour in the iconic Reichstag (seat of the German parliament) with a visit to the glass dome
  • A meeting with top chefs to taste local specialties and neue deutsche küche, or new German cuisine
  • River cruise through the UNESCO World Heritage region between Potsdam and Berlin, with views of the magnificent Sanssouci and Cecilienhof palaces

The evening is free to dine independently at one of Berlin’s outstanding restaurants.  Hotel Adlon Kempinski (B,L)

Tuesday, September 15

The final morning lecture program is held at the hotel. Continue your exploration of Berlin this afternoon, choosing one excursion from the list shown above for September 14. Lunch is included at a local restaurant.

This evening, gather for a festive farewell reception & dinner at the Michelin-starred GOLVET Restaurant.  Hotel Adlon Kempinski (B,L,R,D)

Wednesday, September 16
Return to the U.S.

Following breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Berlin’s Tegel Airport for your return flight to the U.S. (B)


Program rates, per person based on double occupancy
Category A, Petite Suite (aft), Deck 2, 188 square feet; Panoramic Balcony-Window              $14,990
Category B, Petite Suite (aft), Deck 3, 188 square feet; Panoramic Balcony-Window              $15,990
Category C, Deluxe Suite (forward), Deck 2, 237 square feet; Panoramic Balcony-Window   $18,990
Category D, Deluxe Suite, Deck 2, 253 square feet; Panoramic Balcony-Window                    $20,990
Category E, Deluxe Suite, Deck 3, 253 square feet; Panoramic Balcony-Window                    $29,990
Category F, Crystal Penthouse, Deck 3, 506 square feet; one bedroom with separate living/dining area; suite-wide Panoramic Balcony-Window $42,990

Single Occupancy
Category A, Petite Suite (aft), Deck 2     $22,490
Category B, Petite Suite (aft), Deck 3     $23,990
Category D, Deluxe Suite, Deck 2          $31,490

Fees and services are based on exchange rates as of October, 2019, and are subject to change.

All accommodations and excursions as specified in the itinerary including five nights deluxe hotel accommodations and five nights aboard the 5-star Crystal Mahler; All meals and receptions except one dinner in Berlin; On-tour charter flight Vienna/Berlin; Full program of briefings, lectures and presentations; Transfers for all participants on group arrival and departure dates; Baggage handling; Gratuities to porters, waitstaff, guides and drivers; Gratuities to shipboard personnel; Port charges; Entrance fees; House wine, beer, and soft drinks with all lunches and dinners; Bottled water on motorcoaches; Criterion Tour Manager team

Not included
U.S. domestic and international airfare; Passport/visa expenses; Medical expenses and immunizations; Private transfers or airport transfers outside of group arrival and departure days; Travel insurance; Optional excursions or deviations from the scheduled tour; Airline baggage charges; Meals not specified in the itinerary; dishes and beverages not part of the included meals; liquor or soft drinks except as noted; Laundry or dry cleaning; Telephone, fax, internet and email charges; Room service; Other items of a personal nature

What to Expect

This is a moderately active program. Participants should be physically fit, and in reasonably good health, and able to keep up with the group without assistance from tour staff. Shore excursions from the Crystal Mahler will be active, ranging from a half-day to all day. On most days, travelers will be offered a choice of excursions, allowing travelers to match their desired activity level. Travel on land will be by modern air-conditioned motorcoach, with most drives generally lasting under an hour at a time (depending on your choice of excursions). Excursions can involve standing for extended periods and up to two miles of walking, often over uneven terrain or cobblestone streets. Elevators may not be available at some locations, and you may encounter stairs without handrails. Travelers should feel comfortable going up and down stairs unassisted. The Crystal Mahler has an elevator that connects passenger decks 2 and 3; one flight of stairs must be taken to reach the open-air Vista Deck (deck 4), as well as the Harmony Deck (deck 1).

Trip Educators
David Cameron
David Cameron served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 2010 to 2016, leading Britain’s first Coalition Government in nearly 70 years and forming the first majority Conservative Government in the UK for over two decades. Cameron came to power at a moment of economic crisis and with an unprecedented fiscal challenge. Under his leadership, the UK’s economy was transformed. The deficit was reduced by over two-thirds; one million businesses were set up; and a record number of jobs were created. That created the stability Cameron needed to cut taxes, introduce a National Living Wage, transform education, reform welfare, protect the National Health Service, and increase pensions. Cameron promoted social justice, advanced the green agenda, decreased carbon emissions, and set protecting the NHS as a top priority. Internationally, Cameron developed a foreign policy in the post-Iraq era that addressed the new challenges of the Arab Spring, as well as a more aggressive Russia, while ensuring that Britain played a full role in the global fight against ISIS. He championed sustainable development and ensured that the UK played a leading role in the successful Paris Agreement on climate change. Cameron argued that Britain was stronger, safer and better off inside the European Union, but after the British people voted to leave the EU in 2016, Cameron resigned as Prime Minister and later stood down from Parliament. Since leaving No10, he has continued focusing on issues he advanced while in office: supporting life chances for young people and building a bigger, stronger society; championing Britain’s cutting-edge medical research; and promoting international development. He chairs the LSE-Oxford Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development; sits on the Global Board of Advisors at the Council on Foreign Relations; and advises international businesses—all concentrating on innovative technology-driven sectors: Fin-Tech, Medi-Tech and AI.
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Doris Kearns Goodwin is a world-renowned presidential historian, public speaker, and Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times #1 best-selling author. Her seventh book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, was published in September 2018 to critical acclaim and became an instant New York Times bestseller. A culmination of Goodwin’s five-decade career studying the American presidents, the book provides a road map for aspiring and established leaders in every field, and for all of us in our everyday lives. Goodwin was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and is well known for her appearances and commentary on television—in programming ranging from Ken Burns documentaries and Meet The Press to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Simpsons.
Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall
Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall is a Distinguished Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She was the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) from 2014 to 2017, serving as chief operating officer for DOE’s missions in nuclear deterrence and global proliferation prevention, science and energy, environmental management, and emergency response and power grid security.

Throughout President Obama’s first term, Dr. Sherwood-Randall served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs on the White House National Security Council, advising the President and leading the interagency policy development and implementation process on 49 countries in Europe, NATO, the EU, and the OSCE. Subsequently, from 2013 to 2014, she served as Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Arms Control.

In the Clinton Administration, Dr. Sherwood-Randall served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia. She led the effort to denuclearize three former Soviet states for which she was awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service and Nunn-Lugar Trailblazer Award. Earlier in her career, she was Senator Joseph R. Biden’s chief advisor on foreign and defense policy.

Dr. Sherwood-Randall attended college at Harvard University and received her D.Phil. in International Relations as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. She is the author of Allies in Crisis: Meeting Global Challenges to Western Security.

Complete terms and conditions, including a Statement of Responsibility, will be made available to you at time of registration, or in advance upon request. A signed release is required from each applicant prior to participation on the tour. Reservations, Deposits, and Final Payment An initial deposit of $2,500 per person is required to reserve a space on this tour. A second deposit of $2,500 per person is due by February 5, 2020 (210 days prior to departure). These deposits are applied to final payment of the tour price. Final payment is due by May 7, 2020 (120 days prior to departure). If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Following enrollment, a traveler’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy. Cancellation fees are based on the date written notice is received by the Commonwealth Club. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:

  • Cancellations within 14 days of booking: Full Refund (unless it is after the final payment date of May 7, 2020).
  • Cancellations 14 days or more after booking but before February 5, 2020 (the second deposit due date): $500 per person retained.
  • Cancellations between February 5, 2020, and May 6, 2020: Entire deposit of $5,000 per person retained. 
  • Cancellations on or after the final payment date (May 7, 2020): All deposits and final payments are 100% non-refundable.
  • Cancellation by the Commonwealth Club: Full refund.

No refunds will be made for any part of this program on which you choose not to participate. Neither Criterion Travel nor The Commonwealth Club of California accept liability for any airline cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable ticket in conjunction with this tour.

We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a national membership. To learn about membership types and purchase a membership, call 415-597-6720 or visit

Tour costs are based upon current airfares, taxes, tariffs, and currency values. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change. Due to fluctuations in oil prices and/or tax rates, a surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, VAT, etc.). If there are significant changes, details and costs will be advised prior to departure. INSURANCE Travel insurance for trip cancellation and interruption, medical problems, baggage loss and delay, etc., is highly recommended. Trip cancellation policies that apply to this expedition are included in this brochure. Information about travel insurance will be sent to confirmed participants. Please be sure to carry the details of your travel insurance coverage with you on the program.

Please call (415) 597-6720 or email

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