Dear Passengers:

We regret to inform you that the owners of the River Symphony sailing the Southern Danube have advised us that they are cancelling the 2023 sailing season in order to charter their vessels to the European Union to be used to house Ukrainian refugees. Therefore we have no choice but to suspend all our sailing from April through August 2023. We are and will find alternatives for September/October so please stay tuned.


Value World Tours, Inc.

Danube Discovery 2023

Austria (Vienna), Slovakia (Bratislava), Hungary (Budapest), Croatia (Vukovar),
Serbia (Novi Sad, Belgrade), Bulgaria (Vidin) and Romania (Bucharest)


  • 1 night first class hotel stay in Bucharest
  • Lectures on Balkan History & Modern Balkans today
  • On board concert of Gypsy Music while sailing through Budapest
  • Wine tasting accompanied with local delicacies and live music
  • Authentic Serbian lunch with free flowing drinks and entertainment
  • Folklore performance & fashion show on board
  • Sailing through the highest gorge on the Danube, “The Iron Gates”
  • Welcome & Captain’s Farewell dinner with live entertainment and drinks

8 Sightseeing Tours Included:

  • VIENNA, AUSTRIA: Tour includes Hofburg & Belvedere Palace Park
  • BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA: Tour of Old Town & St Martin’s Cathedral
  • BUDAPEST, HUNGARY: Panoramic city tour includes Fisherman’s Bastion and Gellert Hill
  • VUKOVAR, CROATIA: Walking tour and wine tasting
  • NOVI SAD, SERBIA: Guided tour through Novi Sad’s town center
  • BELGRADE, SERBIA: Panoramic city tour followed by authentic Serbian lunch
  • VIDIN , BULGARIA: Walking tour of city center & visit fortress “Baba Vida”
  • BUCHAREST, ROMANIA: City tour including stops at the Parliament (ext.)

Included Features:

  • 10n/11d cruise onboard MS River Sapphire in river-view cabin category of your choice 
  • 1 night first class hotel with buffet breakfast in Bucharest*
    *Novotel, Capital, Minerva or similar
  • Total of 30 meals: 11 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 10 dinners including special lunch in Belgrade
  • Welcome drink on arrival and info meeting
  • 1 small bottle of water per person, replenished in cabins nightly
  • 2 free drinks per person (wine/beer/soft drink) for lunch and dinner daily while on the cruise portion
  • Free 24/7 Coffee stations, afternoon cakes and tea, and late night snacks
  • Daily sightseeing programs, onboard lectures and folklore performances/music concerts and other surprises as outlined in the itinerary 
  • Live music playing each evening
  • Audiovox devices for all shore excursions
  • Free WI-FI onboard the ship (subject to signal and sailing conditions)
  • Professional English-speaking Cruise Manager and local guides throughout
  • Audio units included on all tours and excursions
  • New and enhanced safety protocols applied to all sailings 

Not Included:

  • International airfare (can be priced separately)
  • Port fees and cruise fuel surcharges (listed separately in Pricing & Departures)
  • Transfers if purchasing Cruise Only (must be arranged and paid for in advance)
  • Any travel and document fees including Visa requirements
  • Optional tours as outlined in itinerary (minimum number of people required to operate)
  • 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
  • Travel Insurance (strongly recommended)

Click here to see our full terms and conditions.


Day 1 – Depart via overnight flights to Vienna, Austria

Meals and services per airline policy.

Day 2 – Vienna, AUSTRIA Embarkation after 3 pm   (WD)

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 mini-train ride to the hilltop Citadel for magnificent views 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. Be sure to stop at one of the many local sweet shops to taste a wonderful handmade chocolate latte!

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, 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 – Vukovar, CROATIA   (B, L, D)

Welcome to Croatia! View the passing vistas from the sun deck, as you sail into Croatia. On arrival, depart for a walking tour of this riverside city, Croatia’s largest river port, including a tour of the Franciscan Monastery and Museum. Return to the ship for dinner and sail on to Serbia!

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. 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. The evening is free to visit one of the local cafes and enjoy Novi Sad’s friendly ambience.

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 an authentic Serbian ethno restaurant where you will enjoy an authentic Serbian lunch, including wonderful Serbian homemade food, local “shlivovitz” (plumb brandy), live music and unique Serbian hospitality. Tonight, your Serbian experience will end on a high note with a private on-board folk show! As you set sail, be sure to go to the sun deck to view the gorgeous city lights framing the Sava bridges and the magnificent Kalemegdan Fortress perched on a hill right above the port.

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 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 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!

Optional Excursions

Vienna, Austria: Classical Concert (Evening) - TBA

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 - TBA

Enjoy a rousing performance of the 30-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 around the Hungarian capital for a breathtaking by-night tour, when you will be able to see the gorgeously illuminated buildings and bridges!

Budapest, Hungary: Walking Tour of Downtown Pest (2.5 hrs) - TBA

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 - TBA

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!

Historical Landmarks in the Iron Gates - TBA

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.

From 2014 to 2019, the fortress was beautifully restored and is now ready to welcome you with its legends, stories and views. Your ship will be docked in the compounds of the Golubac Fortress Museum! Your guided visit will start from the ship, leading you through the palace, the courtyard and some of the towers. The guide’s comprehensive explanations, as well as a film projection, will help you understand more about this fascinating place!

Vidin, Bulgaria: Belogradchik Rock Formations - TBA

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!

The tour is recommended to active walkers: although the first level of the fortress is easily accessible, it requires going up steps and uneven terrain for a full experience.


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.


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. *Farewell dinner may be held in Brasov the previous evening.

Day 4 (15) BUCHAREST – HOME (B)

After a final breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flights home. BON VOYAGE!


M/S River Sapphire

Built in 2006 and refurbished in 2020, this premium vessel holds a maximum of 164 passengers serviced by a fine international crew of 40+. The cabins are spread over 3 decks with the Low deck featuring windows that cannot open while the Middle and Upper decks all have floor to ceiling French Balconies that slide open allowing for cool breezes and fabulous views of the passing scenery. The on board ambiance is casual and friendly, the food is superb, the program is delightful and sure to satisfy even the most seasoned cruiser! Non-smoking interiors, on board currency is the EURO and Visa/MasterCard also accepted.

Public Areas


Category A: Upper  Deck with French Balcony 15.2 m2 (162 sq ft) 

Stateroom features floor to ceiling glass sliding doors, which open halfway and have a railing across the bottom half. The French balcony staterooms are 15 m2 and include a desk and chair. Each stateroom includes the finest amenities. Be spoiled for choice with an array of world class facilities.


Category A: Junior Suite with French Balcony 22 m2 (236 sq ft) 

Each suite has a French balcony, another floor to ceiling window and a larger, modern bathroom. A table and two chairs form a small sitting area. The king bed is angled diagonally to face the view, and a mirror further creates the illusion of more space. Suites are situated mid ship on the Upper deck.


Category B: Main Deck with French Balcony, 15.2 m2 (162 sq ft) 


Stateroom features floor to ceiling glass sliding doors, which open halfway and have a railing across the bottom half. The French balcony staterooms are 15 m2 and include a desk and chair. Each stateroom includes the finest amenities. Be spoiled for choice with an array of world class facilities.

Category C: Main Deck with French Balcony, 15.2 m2 (162 sq ft) 

Stateroom features floor to ceiling glass sliding doors, which open halfway and have a railing across the bottom half. The French balcony staterooms are 15 m2 and include a desk and chair. Each stateroom includes the finest amenities. Be spoiled for choice with an array of world class facilities.

Category D: Low  Deck Twin with windows (don’t open) 15.2 m2 (162 sq ft) 

Located on the lower deck and feature two small viewing windows. The queen bed can be separated into twins. The staterooms are 15 m2 and include a desk and chair .


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

No. Visas are not required for US citizens traveling on this program.

Are transfers included?

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.

Which ship will be chartered for the 2023 Danube Discovery Cruise?

M/S River Sapphire

Built in 2006 and refurbished in 2020, this premium vessel holds a maximum of 164 passengers serviced by a fine international crew of 40+. The cabins are spread over 3 decks with the Low deck featuring windows that cannot open while the Middle and Upper decks all have floor to ceiling French Balconies that slide open allowing for cool breezes and fabulous views of the passing scenery. The on board ambiance is casual and friendly, the food is superb, the program is delightful and sure to satisfy even the most seasoned cruiser! Non-smoking interiors, on board currency is the EURO and Visa/MasterCard also accepted.

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

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.

What is the currency should I be prepared to use?

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.

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

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!)

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

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.

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

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.)

Are optional tours offered in this program?

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 .

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

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.

What if I have special dietary needs or food allergies?

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.

Anything else I should make sure to pack?

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.