8 Sightseeing Tours and Shore Excursions:
- VIENNA, AUSTRIA: City tour including Belvedere Palace
- BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA: City tour with mini-train ride and Primate Palace
- BUDAPEST, HUNGARY: City tour including Fisherman’s Bastion
- OSIJEK, CROATIA: City tour with wine tasting & live entertainment
- NOVI SAD, SERBIA: Walking tour including Petrovaradin Fortress
- BELGRADE, SERBIA: City by bus & walking tour
- VIDIN , BULGARIA: City tour including Baba Vida’s Fortress
- BUCHAREST, ROMANIA: City tour including Parliament House (exterior)
- Welcome drink on arrival and info meeting
- Lectures on Balkan History and Modern Balkans Today
- NEW: Concert of cultural Gypsy Music (Budapest)
- Serbian Folklore performance and fashion show on board (Belgrade)
- Farewell cocktails and Captain’s Gala Dinner
- Audiovox aids for all shore excursions and free Wi-Fi (wherever available)
- Arrival and departure transfers (if airfare purchased through us)*
- Cruise accommodations for in the river-view cabin category of your choice
- Total of 30 meals: 11 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 10 dinners
- Free wine/beer/soda for lunch and dinner daily while on the cruise portion
- 24-hour coffee and chocolate station
- Early-riser breakfast, afternoon cakes, and late night snacks
- Live 2-piece band playing each evening
- Professional English-speaking Cruise Directors and local guides
- 1 night first class hotel + buffet breakfast in Bucharest**
- **First class hotel: Novotel, Capital or similar
- Shore excursions, daily sightseeing programs, onboard lectures and folklore performances/music concerts as outlined in the itinerary (excludes optionals)
- Port fees and cruise fuel surcharges (listed separately)
- *Transfers if purchasing Cruise-Only (must be arranged and paid for in advance)
- Any travel and document fees including Visa requirements (none currently required)
- Costs of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone, liquor, souvenirs, etc.
- Tips to Crew, Cruise Directors, local guides and other staff along the route (10 eu pp/pd)
- Increases in costs due to unforeseen circumstances such as: additional fuel surcharges, exchange rates or Government imposed taxes & fees not known at this time.
DAY 1: DEPART TO THE USA TO EUROPE
DAY 2: VIENNA, AUSTRIA – EMBARKATION AFTER 3PM (D)
Welcome to Austria! Upon arrival to Vienna airport, our guides will greet you outside of the customs area. Board your buses for a short spin through the city, before arriving to the ship for check-in. Prior to dinner, meet your fellow passengers and Cruise Staff for a cocktail and crew introduction followed by an information meeting. Then enjoy your first dinner on board, followed by a well-deserved rest.
DAY 3: VIENNA, AUSTRIA (B, L, D)
Your morning city sightseeing tour will introduce you to the most attractive sights of this “Imperial” capital. Starting with Hundertwasserhaus, you will continue on to Belvedere Palace for a tour of the grounds and gardens. Then it’s on to the city center via the Vienna Ringstrasse to view famous architectural gems such as the State Opera, the Parliament, the Burgtheatre, the Votiv Church and others.
The next stop will be in the old center of Vienna to view St. Stephen’s Cathedral and take a walk through the pedestrian zone from Graben and Kohlmarkt to St. Michael’s Square ending at the entrance of the Hofburg (Imperial Palace). From this point, continue past the Spanish Riding School to Albertina Square, where you will see the State Opera and the famous Hotel Sacher.
Then it’s back on board the bus for a drive past the famous “Prater” with its giant ferry wheel. Return to the ship in time for lunch. Spend the balance of the day at leisure exploring Vienna on your own or experiencing an optional tour. Set sail for Bratislava, Slovakia before midnight.
DAY 4: BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA (B, L, D)
Welcome to Slovakia! Enjoy a morning walking & mini-train tour of this lovely city with its famous St. Martin’s Cathedral and the Primate’s Palace. The sightseeing will end with a walk through the Old Town – Michael’s Gate, Michael’s Tower, Main Square, Old Town Hall and Slovak National Theatre. Enjoy free time for shopping and strolling and return to the ship for lunch. Back on board, enjoy Dinner and an evening free to waltz the night away!
DAY 5: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (B, L, D)
Welcome to Hungary! Morning at sail. In the afternoon, your motor coach tour of this grand city will include the most popular sights: The Parliament Building, St. Stephen’s Basilica, the State Opera House, Heroes’ Square (the Millennium Monument), and City Park with Vajdahunyad Castle. There will be stops at Heroes’ Square, Fisherman’s Bastion and Gellert Hill. Return to the ship for dinner. In the evening we recommend the optional Hungarian Folk Show.
DAY 6: BUDAPEST, HUNGARY (B, L, D)
Full free day to explore and enjoy pedestrian-friendly Budapest on your own, or partake in one of our optional excursions! Evening surprise! Prior to dinner enjoy a 45 minute concert performed by a wonderful local Gypsy duo in the lounge.
DAY 7: NEW! OSIJEK, CROATIA (B, L, D)
Welcome to Croatia! View the passing vistas from the sun deck, as you sail into the Drava River toward Osijek, Croatia’s fourth-largest city. In the afternoon, enjoy a bus and walking tour of the Old Town including the Tvrdja (Citadel), the best-preserved and largest ensemble of baroque buildings in Croatia. At the end of the tour, enjoy a refreshment drink with snacks accompanied by live entertainment featuring Croatian folk music and “tamburica”, the Croatian version of a banjo. Then enjoy some free time in the town before returning to your ship for dinner. Sail on!
DAY 8: NOVI SAD, SERBIA (B, L, D)
Welcome to Serbia! Your first stop in this Balkan country will be in Novi Sad, Serbia’s third-largest city after Belgrade and Nis. You will be charmed by this pedestrian-friendly town as you join your local guide for a walking tour through the town center followed by a tour of the imposing Petrovaradin Fortress, referred to as the “Gibraltar on the Danube.” Built in the 18th century over 116 hectares, the fortress has 4 levels, more than 16 km of underground tunnels. After the tour you will have free time to explore the many nooks and crannies of the town or enjoy a cappuccino and some people watching from the terrace of one of the many open air cafés. Or partake in the optional Serbian Country tour. Dinner is on board as you set sail for “White City” – Serbia’s capital of Belgrade!
DAY 9: BELGRADE, SERBIA (B, L, D)
Prep for a big day ahead as your morning motor coach tour of this lively and vibrant capital will include all of the major attractions: Kalemegdan Fortress, looming over the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers; St. Sava’s Orthodox Cathedral, perched on a hill which can be seen from every part of the city; the Parliament Building; Princess Ljubica’s Manor; Mark’s Church; and other sites. The tour will end with a stroll through Knez Mihajlova Street, the main pedestrian area full of boutiques, open air cafés and galleries. This afternoon, we recommend our most popular optional excursion to the local Serbian village of Jarak, where you will meet a multi-generational Serbian family and enjoy a wonderful taste of homemade food, live music and hospitality!
The day is not over yet! After dinner, enjoy a private folklore show on board performed by members of Belgrade’s renowned “Talia” ensemble. In between the dances, a special fashion show will introduce you to the wonderful handmade sweaters of “Sirogojno” – made with special wool and local motifs. These sweaters are sold in some of the most fashionable boutiques worldwide for hundreds of dollars as each one is an individual work of art. If you live in cold climates, one of these sweaters would be a wonderful gift for a family member – or yourself! Late night, set sail for Romania & Bulgaria.
DAY 10: VIDIN – Full day at sail & passage through “The Iron Gate” Gorge (B, L, D)
Enjoy a wonderful and relaxing day at sail as you marvel at the passing vistas, participate in interesting talks on Balkan History presented by your Cruise Director along with other activities. The highlight of the day will be the passage through the “The Iron Gates,” a magnificent natural attraction and the highest gorge on the Danube. Over 100 km long, this canyon was a gigantic obstacle to navigation because of its pointed rocks, cliffs, and changing water levels, surrounded by very wild yet attractive nature. This danger was finally overcome in 1972, with the building of the “Djerdap” Hydroelectric and Navigation System, the largest of its kind in Europe. The Romanian and Yugoslav builders carried out this gigantic construction project by building a huge concrete dam which raised the level of the water from 30 to 90 meters. On both sides of the dam, two locks and two hydroelectric stations were built which today produce an average annual output of 10 billion kWh and enable safe passage for passenger and cargo ships all the way to the Black Sea. Arrive Vidin, Bulgaria in the evening where you will overnight.
DAY 11: VIDIN, BULGARIA (B, L, D)
Welcome to Bulgaria! After breakfast, embark on a walking tour of this quaint Bulgarian river port highlighted by a visit to the 13th century fortress named “Baba Vida” (“Grandma Vida”), the best preserved medieval fortress in the country. Then enjoy some free time for meandering and shopping or take the optional Belogradchik Rock excursion. Tonight prepare for your Captain’s Farewell Dinner!
Day 12: TURNU MAGURELE – Bucharest – ROMANIA Disembarkation (B)
As all good things must come to an end, so does your wonderful cruise adventure. Dock at the Romanian port of Turnu Magurele and disembark after breakfast, where you will be transferred to the “Paris of the East” – Bucharest, Romania’s lovely capital (2 hrs). Upon reaching the city, a panorama tour will highlight the major attractions including: Revolution Square, Arch de Triumph, the National Theatre, the Romanian Athenaeum and others. Stop for photographs at President Ceausescu’s humongous “People’s House” (today’s Parliament) the second-largest government building in the world after the Pentagon.
Then it’s on to your first class hotel where, after check-in, you will have free time to explore this bewitching city at your leisure and enjoy dinner at one of the local restaurants on your own. (NOTE: If taking the optional Dracula Extension you will enjoy your last night in Bucharest AFTER returning from Brasov).
Day 13: BUCHAREST – HOME (B)
One final breakfast before transferring to the airport for flights home. BON VOYAGE!
Optional 2 Night/3 Day “Dracula” Extension
Day 1 (12): Ship Disembark (Magurele) – BRASOV, ROMANIA (D)
After saying goodbye to your fellow cruise passengers, board separate buses and head north through the beautiful Romanian countryside toward Brasov, Romania’s second- largest city and renowned summer & winter resort. On the way, stop at Sinaia and tour the impressive Peles Castle*, the residence of the last Romanian King. Arrive and check-in to your first class hotel in time for dinner and overnight. *If Peles is closed on this particular day of the week you will visit and tour the palace on your way back to Bucharest.
Day 2 (13) BRASOV: ROMANIA (B, SD)
After a buffet breakfast, begin your half-day sightseeing tour with a short bus ride to the infamous Bran Castle, the “historic” home of Count Vlad the Impaler – popularized worlds over in Bram Stoker’s novels, featuring the blood-thirsty “Count Dracula.” This imposing castle and the surrounding museum site will both entertain and educate you about the true life figure of Count Vlad, the Romanian national hero who fought the bloody Turkish occupation with equal ferociousness. The afternoon is free to explore this lively city on your own. In the evening, enjoy a special farewell dinner* at one of the popular local restaurants featuring national specialties and live entertainment.
*May be held in Bucharest the next night.
Day 3 (14) BRASOV-BUCHAREST (B)
After breakfast, it’s time to check-out of your hotel and board your bus for the leisurely 2 hour ride back towards Bucharest. On arrival, enjoy a half-day city tour of the “Paris of the East” before checking in to your first class hotel. The balance of the day is free for exploring this friendly city on your own, shopping for souvenirs or relishing a farewell dinner of your own at one of the many local restaurants or café’s.
Day 4 (15) BUCHAREST-HOME (B)
After a final breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flights home. BON VOYAGE!
DISCLAIMER: All optional excursions are shown for information and planning purposes. They are subject to change do to holidays, attraction black-out dates or other reasons. Some, if not all optional excursions may require a minimum number of participants to operate. Prices are quoted in Euros. Final list of availability and costs will be confirmed upon arrival to your vessels at the initial information meeting.
M/S River Discovery II
Our 5* deluxe Danube Discovery II, built in 2012, represents a new generation of river cruise vessels sailing the rivers of Europe! The 71 deluxe cabins are all 16 sqm (165 sq feet) in size, outward facing and furnished with modern furniture, hotel style twin beds that can be converted into a double, bathrooms with glass-enclosed showers and hair dryers, flat screen TV’s with international channels, iPhone/iPod docking stations, mini-safes, US plugs and plenty of storage space. They are distributed over 3 decks with the Lower Odyssey Deck featuring half-windows, while cabins on the Middle and Upper decks all feature full floor to ceiling French Balconies which allow you to open your room to fresh river breezes without compromising the valuable interior space the way a traditional balcony would! Our 13 deluxe suites, all located on the Upper Navigator deck are 23 sqm (250 sq feet) and in addition to all regular amenities feature mini-bars and a bathtub. As an added convenience, an elevator connects all 3 decks and free wi-fi is available throughout.*
*Subject to signal availability while sailing
The public areas are equally impressive featuring a one seat Panorama restaurant serving world class meals along with free flowing wine and beer for lunch and for dinner! The back end of the ship features a Bar and a separate Captains Club with a retractable sliding roof which can be opened or closed within 5 minutes thus offering plenty of outside space! A Panorama Lounge, a beautiful covered sun deck, a fitness room, a Library/Reading room and a 2 story Lobby complete the amenities! With novel, eco-friendly features including LED lighting throughout, a minimum draft of only 1.6m and an efficient propulsion system the DDII is one of the rare vessels classified as a ‘green ship’. Maximum capacity is 168 passengers serviced by a young and vivacious crew of 42 + Cruise managers and entertainers; sure to make your cruise experience a memory of a lifetime! Welcome Aboard!
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Download the detailed list of Travel Tips For Danube Discovery Cruise.
Dan from ITN Discovers the Danube with Us!
Gain an “insider’s perspective” from past passenger and ITN press member, Dan Barr, in Following the Danube – a 7-country river cruise through Europe’s history, an article written about his time aboard our Southern Danube Discovery river cruise.
Read full article Know Before You Go – River & Small Ship Cruising to learn more.