8 Sightseeing Tours and Shore Excursions:
- VIENNA, AUSTRIA: City tour including Belvedere Palace
- BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA: City tour including Old Town
- BUDAPEST, HUNGARY: City tour including Fisherman’s Bastion
- OSIJEK, CROATIA: City tour with wine tasting & live entertainment
- NOVI SAD, SERBIA: Walking tour including the town center
- 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: On board concert of Gypsy Music (Budapest)
- Serbian Folklore performance and fashion show on board (Belgrade)
- Farewell cocktails and Captain’s Gala Dinner
- Audiovox devices for all shore excursions and free Wi-Fi (wherever available)
- Arrival and departure transfers* (if airfare purchased through us)*
- Accommodations for 10 nights/11 days in all outside cabins in category of your choice
- Total of 30 meals: 11 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 10 dinners
- 1 small bottle of water per person, replenished in cabins nightly
- FREE 2 glasses of wine/beer/soft drink/water for both Lunch and Dinner daily while on the cruise portion
- FREE Water/coffee/hot chocolate station 24 hrs + early riser breakfast, afternoon cake and late night snacks
- Shore excursions, daily sightseeing programs, onboard lectures and folklore performances/music concerts and other surprises as outlined in the itinerary (excludes optionals)
- Live 2 piece band playing each evening
- Professional English speaking Cruise Directors and local, English speaking guides throughout.
- Personal 24/7 Cruise Director/Concierge for all departures with 30 or more passengers
- 1 night first class hotel with buffet breakfast in Bucharest. (Novotel, Capital or similar)
- *Not included in cruise only rates.
- 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)
- Any increases in costs due to unforeseen circumstances such as; additional fuel surcharges, exchange rates or Government imposed taxes and fees not known at this time.
Day 1 – Depart the USA via overnight flights to Vienna, Austria
Meals and services per airline policy.
Day 2 – Vienna, AUSTRIA Embarkation after 3 pm (D)
On arrival, check-in to your floating hotel. In the evening enjoy a welcome cocktail and information meeting followed by your first dinner on board.
Day 3 – Vienna, AUSTRIA (B, L, D)
Morning city sightseeing of Austria’s Imperial includes Hunderwasser, the Ringstrasse, the Parliament, the State Opera, Hofburg (Imperial Palace) and Belvedere Palace. The last stop will be in the old center of Vienna to take a walk through the pedestrian zone from Graben and Kohlmarkt to Michaela Square ending at the entrance of the St. Stephan’s Cathedral. The balance of the day is at leisure. You may choose to explore Vienna on your own or purchase an optional tour.
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 followed by a walk through the Old Town. Enjoy free time for shopping and strolling and return to the ship for lunch. The balance of the day is free to explore on your own.
Day 5 – Budapest, HUNGARY (B, L, D)
Welcome to Hungary! Morning at sail. In the afternoon, your motor coach tour of this lovely city will include the most popular sights: The Parliament Building, St. Stefan Cathedral, the Opera, the Heroes Square, and the town park with the Vajdahunyad Castle. There will be stops at the 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 walking tour! Evening surprise! Prior to dinner enjoy a 45 minute concert performed by a local Gypsy duo in the lounge
Day 7 – OSIJEK, CROATIA (B, L, D)
Welcome to Croatia! View the passing vista’s from the sun deck, as you sail into the Drava River toward Osijek, Croatia’s 4th 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 “newly” minted Balkan country will be in Novi Sad, Serbia’s third largest city after Belgrade and Nis. Join your local guide for a walking tour through the town center. After the tour you will have free time to explore this lovely town on your own or partake in the optional Monastery Wine & Honey Tasting Tour. Dinner is on board.
Day 9 – Belgrade, SERBIA (B, L, D)
Morning motor coach tour of this lively and vibrant capital will include all of the major attractions: Kalemegdan Fortress, St. Sava’s Orthodox Cathedral, and many other attractions ending with a stroll through Knez Mihajlova Pedestrian Street. This afternoon we recommend the highly popular optional excursion to an authentic local Serbian “salash” (farm), where you will meet an authentic Serbian multi-generation family and enjoy a wonderful taste of Serbian home made food, live music and hospitality! After dinner, enjoy a private folklore show on board.
Day 10 – Full day at sail & passage through “The Iron Gate” Gorge,
(Arrive Vidin midnight) (B, L, D)
This morning ship will make a quick stop for passengers taking 4 hrs optional tour to see the impressive Lepenski Vir and Golubac Fortress. Those remaining onboard will continue sailing to Donji Milanovac our last port of call in Serbia. Passengers participating in the optional tour will re-embark the ship around 1:00pm for lunch. As you sail on, the highlight of the day will be the passage through the “The Iron Gates”, 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 with very wild, yet attractive nature. This danger was finally overcome in 1972, with the building of the “Djerdap” lock. Tonight prepare for your Captain’s Farewell Dinner!
Day 11 – Vidin – BULGARIA (B, L, D)
Welcome to Bulgaria! After breakfast, embark on a walking tour of this delightful Bulgarian river port highlighted by a visit to the 13th century fortress named “Baba Vida” (“Grandma Vida”). Then enjoy some free time for strolling and shopping or take the optional Belogradchik Rock excursion.
Day 12 – Turnu Magurele – Bucharest – ROMANIA END CRUISE (B)
Disembark after breakfast. Dock at the Romanian port of Turnu Magurele and transfer to the “Paris of the East” – Bucharest, Romania’s lovely capital! (2.5 hrs). Your city tour will highlight the major attractions including Arch D’ Triumph, the National Theatre and a photo stop at the Parliament the second largest 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 lovely 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, ROMANIA – FLY HOME (B)
One final breakfast before transferring to the airport for flights home. BON VOYAGE!
Day 1 – Depart the USA via overnight flights to Bucharest, Romania
Meals and services per airline policy.
Day 2 – Bucharest, ROMANIA (O)
Upon arrival in Bucharest, transfer to your first class hotel (Novotel/Capitol or similar). Due to various arrival times, there are no activities planned for this day. Dinner is on your own.
Day 3 – Bucharest-Turnu Magurele (D)
After breakfast it’s time to check-out of the hotel and take a panoramic tour of Bucharest including Revolution Square, Arch de Triumph, the National Theatre, and the second largest building in the world, the “People’s House.”(outside). Then, continue through the Romanian countryside (2.5 hrs) to the port of Turnu Maguerele to embark your “floating hotel.” A welcome drink and info meeting will precede dinner.
Day 4 – Vidin, BULGARIA (B, L, D)
During the morning at sail, a presentation from the Captain and his crew will precede lunch. Upon arrival in Vidin, depart on a walking tour of this delightful 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 strolling and shopping before returning to the ship or take the optional Belogradchik Rocks excursion.
Day 5 – Sail through “Iron Gates” (B, L, D)
In the morning the ship passes through the highest natural gorge on the Danube; aptly name “The Iron Gates.” Over 100 km long, this gorge was a gigantic obstacle to navigation because of its pointed rocks and cliffs. This danger was overcome in 1972, with completion of the Hydroelectric and Navigation System, the largest of its kind in Europe. The Romanian/Yugoslav builders carried out this gigantic construction project by building a huge concrete dam which raised the level of the water by 30 to 80 meters. On both sides of the dam, two locks were built which enable safe passage for passenger and cargo ships all the way to the Black Sea. The fantastic views will be complemented with on board lectures and activities.
Early afternoon, the ship will dock at Donji Milanovac, the first port of call in Serbia, for border procedures. Enjoy the afternoon either sailing another stretch of this beautiful area or take part in our new optional tour of the fantastic recently re-opened Golubac Fortress and Lepenski Vir.
Day 6 – Belgrade, SERBIA (B, L, D)
Your morning bus and walking tour of this lively and vibrant city 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; Princess Ljubica’s Manor; Knez Mihajlova Pedestrian Street and more. The balance of the day is at leisure to explore on your own or to partake in the highly recommended optional excursion to a Serbian “salash” (farm), where you will meet an authentic Serbian multi-generation family and enjoy a wonderful taste of Serbian home-made food, unlimited booze, live music, and hospitality! To end a fun-filled day, do not miss the Serbian Folk performance on board.
Day 7 – Novi Sad, SERBIA (B, L, D)
Early this morning, arrive in Novi Sad, the third largest Serbian city after Belgrade and Nis. You will be delighted by this pedestrian friendly town as you join your local guide for a walking tour through the town center. After the tour you will have free time to explore the town on your own or or partake in the optional Wine & Honey Tasting tour featuring visits to the Orthodox Monastery and the wine and honey producing Zhivanovic family. Dinner is back on board.
Day 8 Osijek, CROATIA (B, L, D)
Welcome to Croatia! View the passing vista’s from the sun deck, as you sail into the Drava River toward Osijek, Croatia’s 4th largest city. On arrival, depart on 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 wine tasting 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 the ship for lunch as you set sail for Hungary.
Day 9 – Budapest, HUNGARY (B, L, D)
On board lectures and other activities will fill the morning. After lunch, disembark for a panoramic tour of Budapest’s most popular sights: the Parliament Building, St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Opera House, and the town park with Vajdahundyad Castle. There will be stops at the Fisherman’s Bastion and Gellert Hill. The evening is free to explore on your own or purchase the optional Hungarian National Folk Show which will be followed by a bus transfer to the Buda Hills to view the magnificent filigree bridges of Budapest as they are lighted for the night.
Day 10 – Budapest, HUNGARY (B, L, D)
A full free day to explore this vibrant city on your own or partake in one of the optional tours such as a walking tour through the fabulous Budapest Market and Vaci Utca, the famous pedestrian street. This evening, another treat is in store; a delightful concert performed by a local Gypsy duo in the lounge. After dinner, be sure to go to the sun deck to observe the magnificent views of Budapest at night as you depart Hungary on the way to Slovakia.
Day 11 – Bratislava, SLOVAKIA (B, L, D)
Welcome to Slovakia! In the morning, pass through Gabcikovo lock, the only lock on the Danube River located between Vienna and Budapest. This lock is the country’s largest hydroelectric power plant in terms of generating electricity. Next, put on your walking shoes for an afternoon walking tour of this lovely city with its famous St. Martin’s Cathedral followed by a walk through the Old Town. Tonight prepare for our festive Captains Gala Dinner!
Day 12 – Vienna, AUSTRIA (B, L, D)
Morning city sightseeing of Austria’s Imperial capital will include the Hunderwasser, the Ringstrasse, the Parliament, the State Opera, Hofburg (Imperial Palace) and Belvedere Palace. The last stop will be in the old center of Vienna to take a walk through the pedestrian zone from Graben and Kohlmarkt to Michaela Square ending at the entrance of the St. Stephan’s Cathedral. The balance of the day is at leisure. You may choose to explore Vienna on your own or purchase one of the optional tours such as an evening Classical Concert featuring music of Strauss and Mozart.
Day 13 – Vienna, AUSTRIA – END CRUISE. FLY HOME (B)
As all good things must come to an end, after breakfast, bid your crew goodbye and disembark with a suitcase full of memories! (Services end with breakfast) BON VOYAGE!
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 towards Brasov, Romania’s second largest city and renowned summer & winter resort. Along the way, stop at Sinaia and tour the impressive Peles Castle*, the residence of the last Romanian King. Arrive to Brasov and check in to your first class hotel in time for dinner and overnight. *If closed, Peles Castle will be visited on the return to Bucharest.
Day 2 (13) BRASOV: ROMANIA (B)
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 world 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 and enjoy dinner on your own at one of the many local restaurants.
Day 3 (14) BRASOV – BUCHAREST – (B, SD)
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. In the evening, enjoy a special farewell dinner* at one of the popular local restaurants featuring national specialties and live entertainment.
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 River 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
**Junior Suite Amenities: Bottle of champagne in an ice bucket and 2 glasses upon arrival, Fresh flower (Orchid), Senseo Coffee Maker, all necessary condiments for coffee and tea, Continental breakfast in bed with door hanger, Pillow menu, and Mini bar.
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!
See all of our ship videos on Youtube.
Download the detailed list of Travel Tips For Danube Discovery Cruise.
No. Visas are not required for US citizens traveling on this program.
If you have purchased your air tickets through us, your transfers will be included. However, transfers are still available for those who would like to arrange their own airfare, for a fee. For more information about transfer rates for this program, please call our office at (714) 556-8258 or toll free (800) 795-1633.
THE MS River Discovery II. Our 5* deluxe River 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 standard windows, while cabins on the Middle and Upper decks feature full floor to ceiling French Balconies which allow you to open your room to fresh river breezes without compromising the valuable interior space. 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 terrain). This smoke-free, eco-friendly vessel is serviced by a young and vibrant crew of 40+ who will ensure you have a memory of a lifetime.
There are no telephone lines for outgoing calls on our vessels. Communication from ship to shore can only be done through the Captain’s radio. However, you may bring your US cell phone to use – just please make sure it is “unlocked” by your US provider in order to use it. Free internet and Wi-Fi are available ship-wide and computers are provided near the bar. The service is free, but the level of signal may vary depending on sailing itinerary and location of ports.
While most of Western Europe has adopted the EURO, some of the Eastern European countries still use their own (Hungary-Forint, Serbia – Dinar, Bulgaria-Lev, Romania-Lei). For the rate of exchange to the US dollar, please check online a few days prior to your departure as some of these currencies fluctuate daily. Due to varying foreign currency laws, our ships do NOT have exchange offices on board. Therefore, we highly recommend that you BRING A SUFFICIENT QUANTITY OF EUROS OR DOLLARS in CASH prior to your departure. You will then have ample opportunity to change either Euro/dollar to local currencies.
While on board the ship, all costs are quoted in Euros. Direct payments are accepted in cash (Euros) or signed to your cabin and paid at the end of the navigation by cash or credit card (Visa or MasterCard only). However, a service may be applied to credit card transactions. Please check in advance and remember – cash is still “king” in most Eastern European countries. Personal and Traveler Checks are not accepted.
Due to strict foreign currency laws, here are important notes regarding on shore expenses:
Cash: is accepted and preferred. (Euros & USD)
Credit Cards: are accepted, VISA OR MASTERCARD ONLY! (Limited use outside of urban areas.)
*Credit Card Note: As of May 2014, European credit card processors require credit cards with chips and a 4-digit PIN code. Your USA magnetic strip cards may NOT work at local ATM’s requiring a PIN. Ask your bank for a chip card and/or bring along a debit card with your PIN (or enough cash to cover your expenses!)
Although everyone is different, we suggest that you set aside at least 700 Euros/$1000 USD per person – to cover your optional tours and shopping expenses. If you are planning on purchasing more expensive items you may want to bring more.
Most definitely! We do our best to ensure that each of our programs offer a healthy balance of cultural immersion through our included tours and free time for our passengers. You will have plenty of free time to shop for souvenirs, explore on your own, or take one of the optional tours (when provided.)
Yes, a number of optional excursions will be offered for sale during your cruise. These optional services are priced in Euros. Due to the last minute nature of booking optional tours which require on the spot payments to our land suppliers in local currencies – All Optional Tours require a minimum of 20 passengers in order to operate .
Tipping today has become commonplace in all former Eastern Bloc countries. Due to the volatile nature of these new economies, salaries for regular folk are pitiful compared to the rising costs and inflation – let alone if we compare them to western standards. For the majority of the people working in the service industries (hotels, ships, restaurants, travel), tips and gratuities have become large sources of their income. Therefore, your gracious generosity will be appreciated throughout your trip. However, tips in the “East” are still left to your discretion. Therefore, no service – no tip! We generally recommend that each person set aside $250 to cover all tipping needs for the total duration of the program – but this is merely a suggested amount. You may leave as little or as much as you feel comfortable with. If you endear yourself to any particular crew member and wish to award them directly – please feel free to do so!
For more information about tipping, including Individual vs. Pooled Tipping, please take a look at our detailed Travel Tips For Danube Discovery Cruise.
Special meal requests are possible. If you have any food allergies or special dietary needs, please be sure to notify our office at least 90 days prior to your departure. We and the restaurant staff will make every effort to arrange for special meals, however, if you have strict dietary restrictions, you may want to bring some non-perishable snacks, crackers, dried fruits, dietary sweeteners, or other items that will compliment the limited variety of special meals.
For a complete list of suggested items to bring, please read our detailed Travel Tips For Danube Discovery Cruise. But here are a few important items that often get overlooked!
Electrical current in hotels and on the ship is 220 volts/50MHZ. In order to use appliances, including shavers, hair-dryers, chargers for movie cameras, etc., you will need to bring:
1) Universal Transformer: to convert from US 110 Volts to 220. (Note: recent electronic equipment such as laptops and cameras MAY automatically convert. Please check your individual item.)
2) Universal Adapter Plugs: Round pins for sockets that are different than at home. Since there are no supplies of converters/ adapters, we recommend you purchase a transformer/ adapter plug set at any electronics or appliance store before you leave.
PLEASE DO NOT FORGET: Medications which are vital to your health. A letter should accompany these from your doctor (signed and dated), certifying that such medications are vital to your health. Dosage should be indicated. Always pack any personal medications in your carry-on luggage, not in your checked baggage. Additionally, those passengers with lighter physical disabilities must report them to us at the time of booking.
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.