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Length:  14 days from Vienna to Bucharest

Overview

A visit to the Danube Delta is the highlight on this fascinating getaway through Eastern Europe. Start with two nights in Vienna, the “City of Music,” then transfer to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, for included sightseeing before you embark your river cruise ship. Sail to Budapest for included sightseeing, Croatia’s Vukovar and Osijek, and Serbia’s Belgrade. Cruise through the dramatic Iron Gates gorge, and visit the Lepenski Vir archaeological site, Veliko Târnovo (Bulgaria’s ancient capital), and Arbanassi. Explore the Danube Delta with its unique birdlife, and celebrate the end of the Danube’s journey as it flows into the Black Sea. End your Danube River cruise in Oltenita, then travel to Romania’s lively capital of Bucharest for guided sightseeing and an overnight.

Duration:  14 Days



Ships Serving this Tour:      

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Start Date End Date





Day 1   Arrive in Vienna, Austria. Welcome to Vienna, Austria’s capital, known as the “City of Music” and which inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. The rest of the day is yours to start exploring this elegant city.

Day 2   Vienna. Once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s magical capital on the blue Danube is a showcase of gilded architecture. This is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boys’ Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral—to name just a few of the sights your Local Guide will show you on your INCLUDED TOUR. The afternoon is all yours. Shop in the delightful pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse, and be sure to enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic Viennese coffee houses, historic institutions that helped shape Viennese culture! An optional concert is available during your stay. (B)

Day 3   Vienna–Bratislava, Slovakia (Embarkation). Enjoy a free morning to relax or explore on your own. Then, a motorcoach transfer after lunch takes you to Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, situated at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. Join your Local Guide for a tour of the city, including a GUIDED WALK of its fascinating Old Town, where winding cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways twist and turn to reveal the Town Hall, one of the oldest stone buildings in the city. Also visit gothic ST. MARTIN’S CATHEDRAL, coronation church for the Kingdom of Hungary from the 16th to 19th centuries. Your river cruise vessel is docked here on the Danube, and after the tour of Bratislava, meet the crew at a welcome reception. (B,D)

Day 4   Budapest, Hungary. Spanning the banks of the Danube, Budapest is one of Eastern Europe’s liveliest cities. Whether you’re seeing the sights, shopping for handcrafted embroidery or Herend porcelain, or basking in the coffee house culture over a rich cream cake in the renowned Gerbeaud Café, Budapest’s unique energy is positively palatable. On an INCLUDED TOUR with your Local Guide, see Heroes Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church, the coronation spot of several Hungarian monarchs. Be sure to take note of the city’s eight bridges—many famous sights in and of themselves—which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. You may even want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. (B,L,D)


Day 5   Mohács-Villány Wine District. This morning, cruise past the peaceful riverscapes of southern Hungary before arriving in Mohács. From here, an excursion takes you to the Villány district, where some of Hungary’s best red wines are produced. Enjoy WINE TASTING, and learn which varietals are grown and why the climate and soil here are ideal for producing excellent wines. (B,L,D)

Day 6   Osijek & Vukovar, Croatia. Today, learn about the complex history of Croatia and the events that led to the Croatian War of Independence during GUIDED SIGHTSEEING. Led by Local Guides, explore Osijek, an important economic and cultural center, as well as Vukovar, Croatia’s largest river port, at the confluence of the Danube and Vuka Rivers. Vukovar was scene to an 87-day siege in 1991, known as The Battle of Vukovar, and is today considered a symbol of Croatian resistance. The siege and other dramatic events have shaped both the present and future of the region. (B,L,D)

Day 7   Belgrade, Serbia. Early this morning, arrive in Belgrade. One of the oldest cities in Europe, the capital of Serbia is situated at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers. A LOCAL GUIDE will be proud to show you its main sights, including St. Sava, the world’s largest orthodox church. Also visit the city’s principal landmark, KALEMEGDAN FORTRESS, which showcases the history of Belgrade. Built in stages between the 1st and 18th centuries, the fortress witnessed many battles and observed the courage of those trying to defend the city from conquerors. The surrounding park is the most beautiful and largest park in Belgrade. In your free time, be sure to check out the city’s lively pedestrian area and charming outdoor cafés. Perhaps visit one of the many art galleries or museums, relax in the park, or walk along the city streets and browse the local shops. (B,L,D)

Day 8   Excursion to Lepenski Vir–Iron Gates. This morning, dock at Donji Milanovac, from where a short drive takes you to the impressive LEPENSKI VIR EXHIBITION CENTER, which houses area archaeological artifacts and from where you have unique views of the Danube Gorge. Return to your ship before lunch, then cruise what must surely be the most spectacular scenery of the dramatic IRON GATES gorge, a narrow and formerly very dangerous passage dividing Europe’s Alps in the northwest from the Carpathians in the southeast and forming a natural border between Serbia and Romania. (B,L,D)

Day 9   Nikopol–Excursion to Veliko Târnovo, Bulgaria & Arbanassi–Rousse. The ancient Bulgarian capital of Veliko Târnovo is a comfortable ride from the Danube. Situated on three hills surrounding the Yantra River, the city was a natural fortress with ancient stone houses clinging to the steep slopes. One of the oldest towns in Bulgaria (dating back to 4300 BC), the oldest part is Tsarevets Hill, home of the ROYAL FORTRESS and Patriarch’s Church. With your LOCAL GUIDE, discover this town that played an important role in Bulgaria’s history. Then, journey to Arbanassi. Founded in the 15th century, historic Arbanassi is best known for its examples of Bulgarian Revival architecture and its ETHNOGRAPHICAL MUSEUM, a 400-year-old house preserved as a museum. Visit the CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, one of the oldest churches in Arbanassi, and see its outstanding collection of frescoes. Rejoin your ship in Rousse, Bulgaria’s largest inland port. If you do not wish to participate in the full-day excursion, remain on board and relax, then join a GUIDED TOUR of Rousse in the afternoon. (B,L,D)

Day 10   Cruising. Today is a peaceful day to relax on board. Join your Cruise Director to learn about the fascinating Danube Delta at an ONBOARD LECTURE. (B,L,D)


Day 11   St. Gheorghe, Romania. Danube Delta. From St. Gheorghe this morning, an excursion in small boats takes you into the DELTA, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the best preserved of Europe’s deltas, hosting over 300 species of birds as well as 45 species of freshwater fish. From its source in the Black Forest to its delta at the Black Sea, the Danube measures 2,845 kilometers in length. The Km markings can be clearly seen on the river banks the length of the river. Enjoy a small celebration to mark Km “0”—the end of the Danube’s journey. This afternoon, relax on board as you sail to Cernavodă. (B,L,D)

Day 12   Cernavodă. Excursion to Constanta. This morning, dock in Cernavodă, a city at the western end of the 40-mile-long Black Sea Canal, the pride and joy of communist achievement. From here, a full-day excursion takes you to Constanta on the Black Sea, the most important commercial center in Romania. A Local Guide shows you the city highlights, with a visit of the NATURAL HISTORY & ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM. Visit a WINERY at Murfatlar before returning to Cernavodă in the late afternoon. Alternatively, you may want to relax on board in the morning and visit Constanta in the afternoon only. Sail overnight to Oltenita. (B,L,D)

Day 13   Oltenita, Romania (Disembarkation)–Bucharest. After breakfast this morning, say goodbye to your crew. Bucharest, Romania’s lively capital, is only a short drive from Oltenita. Its wide, tree-lined boulevards and Arc de Triomphe—built in 1922 to honor the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in WWI—have gained it the name “Paris of the East.” Much recent history has taken place in the city. During the INCLUDED TOUR this afternoon, see the main sights including Royal Palace Square, the scene of riots in 1989, which led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. In your free time, explore this interesting city even further. Stroll down Calea Victoriei (Victory Avenue), Bucharest’s most historic and alluring street. Initially built in 1692, today it is lined with shops, museums, churches, restaurants, cafés, and fine houses. (B)

Day 14   Bucharest. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)






Meals:  
  • Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapés
  • Welcome dinner
  • Daily Afternoon Tea
  • Daily Night Fare
  • Farewell dinner
  • Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; soft drinks with lunch; and wine, beer, or soft drinks with dinner are included daily on board your vessel
Note: Flights are NOT included with the Tour and unless otherwise stated above transfers are also NOT included.