Read: Know Before You Go – River & Small Ship Cruising

8 Sightseeing Tours and Shore Excursions:

  • VIENNA, AUSTRIA: City tour including Belvedere Palace Park
  • 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
  • BELGRADE, SERBIA: City by bus & walking tour
  • VIDIN , BULGARIA: City tour including Baba Vida’s Fortress
  • BUCHAREST, ROMANIA: City tour including Parliament House (exterior)

Highlights:

  • Welcome drink on arrival and info meeting
  • Lectures on Balkan History and Modern Balkans today
  • On board concert of Gypsy Music (Budapest)
  • Off ship authentic Serbian lunch with free flowing drinks and entertainment
  • Serbian Folklore performance and fashion show on board (Belgrade)
  • Farewell cocktails and Captains Gala Dinner
  • Free WI-FI throughout the interior of the ship (subject to signal and sailing conditions)
  • AUDIVOX devices for all shore excursions and FREE WI-FI (wherever available)

Features:

  • Arrival and departure transfers* (transfers included only 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 including special lunch in Belgrade
  • 1 small bottle of water per person, replenished in cabins nightly
  • FREE wine/beer/soft drink/water for Dinner daily while on the cruise portion
  • FREE 24/7 Coffee stations, early riser breakfast, afternoon cakes and tea, 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 optional tours)
  • Live music playing each evening
  • Professional English speaking Cruise Manager and local, English speaking guides throughout.
  • 1 night first class hotel with buffet breakfast in Bucharest. (Novotel, Capital, Minerva or similar)

    *Not included in cruise only rates.

Not Included:

  • 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
    (Suggested Tipping amounts will be advised)
  • 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 available on board.

Day 4 – Bratislava, SLOVAKIA (B, L, D)

Welcome to Slovakia! Depart on a morning walking 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 our optional walking tour! Evening surprise! Prior to dinner enjoy a private 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 depart on a short 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, taste 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.

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 highlights ending with a stroll through Knez Mihajlova Pedestrian Street. But the fun has just begun! Instead of lunch on board, continue on to Ada Safari, an authentic Serbian ethno-museum and restaurant located on the shore of Ada Ciganlia where you will enjoy an authentic Serbian lunch, including wonderful Serbian home-made food, local “shlivovitz” (plum brandy), live music and unique Serbian hospitality! Tonight, your Serbian experience will end on a high note with a private on-board folk show!

Day 10 – Full day at sail & passage through “The Iron Gate” Gorge,
(Arrive Vidin midnight) (B, L, D)

This morning, the ship will make a quick stop to disembark passengers taking the 4 hr optional tour to see the impressive Lepenski Vir and Golubac Fortress. Those remaining onboard will continue sailing. Passengers participating in the optional tour will re-embark the ship in Donji Milanovac our last port of call in Serbia 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 “Djerdaplock. Tonight prepare for fun and festivities at 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!

Brasov Danube

Day 1 (12): Ship Disembark (Turnu Magurele) – Brasov, ROMANIA (D)

After saying goodbye to your fellow cruise passengers, board a separate bus 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, delight in 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!

Optional Excursions

Vienna, Austria: Classical Concert (Evening) - 70 Euro pp
Whether you’re a classical music enthusiast or not, make this part of your Vienna experience! Enjoy this spectacular classical concert at the Kursalon Wien, an exclusive and splendid building of the 19th century, built in Italian Renaissance style. In the very place where Johann Strauss himself used to direct his orchestra from the position of first violin and enjoyed the essence of Vienna’s classical music. The Salonorchester Alt Wien, one of the best‐known interpreters of classical Viennese music, presents an evening full of Viennese charm with waltzes, polkas, arias and duets, as well as operetta and piano concerto melodies. Accompanied by excellent opera vocalists and our enchanting ballet soloists.
Budapest, Hungary: Evening Cultural Performance - 63 Euro pp
Enjoy a rousing performance of the 40-member Hungarian National Folklore Ensemble. The concert will feature music, costumes and dances from various parts of Hungary and will be highlighted with numbers performed by the exquisite Gypsy Musicians! After the performance, a short bus tour will take you across the Chain Bridge and up to Fisherman’s Bastion where you will be able to witness the gorgeous bridges over the Danube under the night’s illumination! Truly breathtaking!
Budapest, Hungary: Walking tour of Downtown Pest (2.5 hrs) - 15 Euro pp - CASH ONLY
We highly recommend this casual yet delightful walking tour led by our Cruise Director! From the dock you will first visit the largest open air market in Budapest where you can purchase anything from superb Hungarian salami to a nightgown. Then you will proceed down Vaci Utca, the city’s main pedestrian promenade full of shops, cafes and beautiful people! Your tour will end at the historic 140 year-old Gerbeaud Coffee House where you can savor a delicious cup of brew or homemade ice cream and return to the dock via local tram!”
Novi Sad, Serbia: Krusedol Monastery, wine and honey tasting - 36 Euro pp
We highly recommend this delightful bus excursion to the small town of Sremski Karlovci, the center of wine production of the region. Here you will visit the Zivanovic family, whose members have been producing their private label “Bermet” wine for over a century, and whose products have been enjoyed by members of the Hapsburg Monarchy as well as the Russian Tsars! Your hosts will welcome you to their home, where you will tour their wine cellars and “Museum of Honey,” which they also produce. In the lovely ambiance of their large garden, they will offer you several varieties of “Bermet” accompanied by honey and snacks – a great way to experience Serbian hospitality firsthand. On the way back, stop at a high school dating from the 18th century with its full library of around 18,000 books. Before returning to your motor coach, don’t be surprised if you meet a few ladies in German folk costumes who have not forgotten their ancestry and who still make the famous German Gugelhupf (kuglof) cake, which you will have a chance to taste for yourselves!
Belgrade, Serbia: Traditional Lunch with Locals - 48 Euro pp
Instead of lunch on board, this tour will take you from downtown Belgrade to the little village of Jarak, where 3 generations of the Serbian Tosic family will welcome you to their farm! Here you will tour their home, their barns with various farm animals, and their fruit orchards from which they brew their own “slivovitz’, or plum brandy, Serbia’s national drink (also known as “rocket fuel”). Then its time for some homemade “grub” and festivities! In a rustic environment, the family and their neighbors will serve you a buffet lunch consisting of a vast array of Serbian delicacies – from “pita” (cheese pie) to homemade “kulen” (special salami) to numerous fresh salads and the house specialty – chicken paprikash. And while Grandpa Tosa enlivens you with his toasts and their two daughters serve you delicious treats, their sons in law and grandkids will pick up the harmonica and other instruments and entertain you with classic folk songs and dances! You may arrive as a tourist – but we guarantee you will leave as a friend!. All your food, wine, slivovitz, soft drinks and hospitality are included!
Historical Landmarks in the Iron Gates - 45 Euro pp
Disembark the ship right by the impressive fortress of Golubac. Start your tour with a visit of this important witness of the local history. Established in the 13th century by the Serbs, the fortress played an important role at this strategic point of the river, being held at times by Hungarians, Ottomans, again Serbs. Today the impressive fort with 9 towers will take you to Lord of the Rings World.  Afterwards, the drive along the first section of the Danube gorge will offer you great panoramas from above, a complimentary experience to what you will admire in the afternoon, from the water level. Then, at the eco-ethno complex “Kapetan Mišin breg”, while enjoying a great view of the gorge complemented by culinary specialties and the sounds of wooden flutes, you can listen about the tradition and culture of the Djerdap cuisine and the way of preparing this traditional fare. Within the compound you will find an open-air gallery called “Man, wood, water” which is a collection of sculptures made of wood and stone. The gallery occupies approximately 700m2 of land, and its unique works of art are an enduring fixture at the complex. At the same location there is a wine museum that opened in 2013. Inside you will find an impressive collection of top domestic and international wines. Afterwards, reach the archaeological site of Lepenski Vir, home to the oldest stable human settlement in Europe, dating back to 6000 BC! An impressive glass & steel structure right in the middle of the nature offers shelter to the Museum, comprising the site itself with the foundations of the houses, artefacts of that period, and a media centre where you will watch a movie related to the discovery.
Vidin, Bulgaria: Belogradchik Rock Formations - 37 Euro pp
Don’t hesitate to take the tour to the most famous natural phenomena in the region, Belogradchik Rocks. Appeared as a result of wind and water erosion, this rocky fairy‐tale is spread from west to east and it is 30 km long and 3 km wide. The most attractive rocks are around the town and named as The Madonna, The Monks, The Rider, The Dervish, The Bear, Adam and Eve, The Castle, The Little Shepherd, The Mushrooms, The Lion ‐ and many others. The Belogradchik fortress incorporates the rocks as part of its natural defense. Settled by the Roman Empire, it was later used and developed by Bulgarian Tsars, then by the Ottomans. Experience the memorable view from the top of the fortress!

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 Vivienne or M/S Aurora

These identical sister ships, renovated from the hull up in 2020 and 2021 respectively, are the epitome of affordable luxury on water! Both hold a maximum of only 142 passengers plus an attentive English speaking crew of 38. The cabins are spread out over 3 decks in 4 categories, with full floor to ceiling French balconies in categories “B” through “JS”. With a unique low draft of 150 cm, they can sail most major European rivers even during low or high waters. The ambiance on board is fantastic!

From high level international cuisine, including free drinks for dinner, 24 hour coffee station to on board activities, lectures and games, combined with a truly fascinating itinerary exploring 7 southern European countries, this unique sailing experience is sure to satisfy even the most discriminating cruise aficionado! Non-smoking interiors. On board currency – EURO (€)

Public Areas

Cabins

Owners Suite Upper Deck, 30 m2 (323 sq ft) with French Balcony

  • Floor to ceiling windows with French Balconies
  • Private bathroom with glass-enclosed shower
  • Choice of bath amenities from L’Occitane
  • Bathrobes and slippers
  • Hotel-style beds, set as double as default
  • Sitting area with table
  • Vanity desk and chair, plus a hair dryer
  • Individually controlled air conditioning and heating system
  • Flat-screen TV offering several European & International channels
  • Mini-fridge
  • Internal telephone
  • PIN-coded safe

Suites Upper Deck, 22 m2 (237 sq ft) with French Balcony

  • Floor-to-ceiling windows with French Balcony
  • Private bathroom with glass-enclosed shower
  • Choice of bath amenities from L’Occitane
  • Bathrobes and slippers
  • Hotel-style beds, set as double as default
  • Sitting area with table
  • Vanity desk and chair, plus a hair dryer
  • Individually controlled air conditioning and heating system
  • Flat-screen TV offering several European channels
  • Mini-fridge
  • Internal telephone
  • PIN-coded safe

Double cabins Upper Deck: 15 m2 , (161 sq ft) with French Balcony

  • Floor-to-ceiling windows with French Balcony
  • Private bathroom with glass-enclosed shower
  • Choice of bath amenities from L’Occitane
  • Hotel-style beds, set as double as default
  • Vanity desk and chair, plus a hair dryer
  • Individually controlled air conditioning and heating system
  • Flat-screen TV offering several European & International channels
  • Internal telephone
  • PIN-coded safe

Middle Superior Deck Cabin, 15 m2 , (161 sq ft) with French Balcony

  • Floor-to-ceiling windows with French Balcony
  • Private bathroom with glass-enclosed shower
  • Choice of bath amenities from L’Occitane
  • Hotel-style beds, set as double as default
  • Vanity desk and chair, plus a hair dryer
  • Individually controlled air conditioning and heating system
  • Flat-screen TV offering several European & International channels
  • Internal telephone
  • PIN-coded safe

Middle Standard Deck Cabin, 15 m2 with Panorama windows (not able to open)

  • Panoramic river view windows
  • Private bathroom with glass-enclosed shower
  • Choice of bath amenities from L’Occitane
  • Hotel-style beds, set as double as default
  • Vanity desk and chair, plus a hair dryer
  • Individually controlled air conditioning and heating system
  • Flat-screen TV offering several European channels
  • Internal telephone
  • PIN-coded safe

Main Deck Cabin, 15 m2 with 2 smaller Upper windows (not able to open)

  • Comfortable, with twin smaller river view windows
  • Private bathroom with glass-enclosed shower
  • Choice of bath amenities from L’Occitane
  • Hotel-style beds, set as double as default
  • Vanity desk and chair, plus a hair dryer
  • Individually controlled air conditioning and heating system
  • Flat-screen TV offering several European channels
  • Internal telephone
  • PIN-coded safe

See all of our ship videos on Youtube.

Download the detailed list of Travel Tips For Danube Discovery Cruise.

Will I need to obtain a visa for the Danube Discovery Cruise

Are transfers included?

Which ship will be chartered for the 2021 Danube Discovery Cruise?

Will I be able to make phone calls and check emails while aboard the ship?

What is the currency should I be prepared to use?

What methods of payment are accepted on board and on shore?

If cash is still “king,” any recommendation of how much I should bring?

I’m super excited for all the tours! But will I have any free time during the program?

Are optional tours offered in this program?

How does tipping work in Eastern Europe? Is it accepted and/or required?

What if I have special dietary needs or food allergies?

Anything else I should make sure to pack?

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.