Welcome to Austria! Upon arrival to Vienna airport meet our guides 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, crew introduction followed by an information meeting. Then enjoy your first dinner on board, followed by a well deserved rest. (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. Stephan’s Cathedral and take a walk through the pedestrian zone from Graben and Kohlmarkt to Michaela 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. The balance of the day is at leisure. You may choose to explore Vienna on your own or purchase an optional tour. Set sail for Bratislava, Slovakia before midnight.
Optional: Schönbrunn Castle (Afternoon) After lunch – visit to Schönbrunn Castle, the home of Maria Theresa. The tour includes a stroll in the gardens and a visit to the imperial rooms of the former summer residence of the Hapsburg Royal Family.
Optional: Classical Vienna Concert (evening): 30 years ago musician and conductor Gert Hofbauer founded the “WIENER HOFBURG-ORCHESTER” which plays compositions by Johann Strauss and W.A. Mozart. Performing is an orchestra consisting of about 30 professional musicians and international soloists of the Vienna State Opera. A unique opportunity to enjoy a live classical concert within the historical ambience of one of Vienna’s famous palaces – the Hofburg, the Auersperg or similar (depending on the day of the week) (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.
OPTIONAL: Red Stone Castle with wine tasting
In the afternoon visit the 16th century Red Stone Castle housing a museum of furnishings from the nobility of the time. This will be followed by a wine tasting featuring a selection of high quality but lesser known wines from Slovakia.
Back on board enjoy Dinner and an evening free to waltz the night away!
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 Square of Heroes, (the Millennium monument) and the town park with the Vajdahunyad Castle, etc. There will be stops at the Square of Heroes, the Fisherman’s Bastion and Gellert Hill. Return to the ship for dinner. In the evening we recommend the optional Hungarian Folk Show.
Optional 2: Evening Cultural Performance (20:00 – 23:30)
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 numeras 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 beautiful!
Full free day to explore and enjoy pedestrian friendly Budapest on your own, or partake in one of our optional excursions as outlined below!.
Optional 1: Walking Tour of Downtown Pest (2.5 hrs)
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 Gerreboud Coffee House where you can savor a delicious cup of brew or home-made ice cream.
Optional 2 : Puzsta tour and Equestrian Performance Depart by motor coach for a visit to an authentic Puzsta, a horse farm with over 200 studs and other farm animals! The tour will include a drive in old fashioned horse drawn carriages, an unforgettable performance of Hungarian horsemanship, followed by a taste of local “palinka” brandy, wine and snacks.
Day 6 Osijek
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
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, after a short organ performance at the Cathedral, enjoy a refreshment drink with snacks in the garden of the Franciscan Monastery. Then enjoy some free time in the town before returning to your ship for dinner. Sail on!
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. You will be delighted with 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 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 side tour. Dinner is on board as you set sail for “White City” – Serbia’s capital of Belgrade!
Optional: Serbian Countryside & Wine tasting (Krushedol, Sremski Karlovci, Petrovaradin)
We highly recommend this delightful bus excursion which will include a visit to Krushedol Monastery, located on the nearby mountain of Fruska Gora. Renowned for its fresco paintings dating from the 15th century, the monastery is also a burial place for legendary personalities from Serbian history, including King Milan Obrenovic and Duchess Ljubica. After the monastery visit you will continue on 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 serve you several varieties of “Bermet” accompanied by honey and snacks. A great way to meet and experience Serbian hospitality. On the way back you will stop to tour 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, 12,000 loopholes and 13 gates. (B, L, D)
A big day is 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 others. The tour will end with a stroll through Knez Mihajlova Street, the main pedestrian zone full of boutiques, open air cafés and galleries. The afternoon is free to explore Belgrade on your own or partake in the highly recommended optional tour to a local Serbian village where you will meet an authentic Serbian multi-generation family and enjoy a wonderful taste of Serbian home made food, live music and hospitality! See details below! Authentic Serbian Village and Home Hosted Lunch (Substitutes lunch on board) 13:00-17:30
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 enviornment, 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 Serbian 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 galore are included!
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 hand made 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 9 At Sea
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Enjoy a wonderful and relaxing day at sail as you marvel at the passing vista’s, participate in interesting talks on Balkan History presented by your Cruise Director and other activities. The highlight of the day will be the passage through the “The Iron Gates”, a great 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 with 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.
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”) the best preserved medieval fortress in the country. Then enjoy some free time for strolling and shopping or take the optional Belogradchik Rock excursion. Tonight prepare for your Captain’s Farewell Dinner!
OPTIONAL: BELOGRADCHIK ROCKS – The most famous natural phenomena in Bulgaria, the Belogradchik Rocks, located in the nearby mountains around Belotintsi village boast of unique rock formations aptly named after The Madonna, the Monk, The Bear, Lion, Mushroom etc…This unique product of Mother Nature is complemented by the Belogradhick Fortress some of whose walls and ramparts are over 2000 years old!
As all good things must come to an end – so does your wonderful cruise adventure! 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 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 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.
After a final breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flights home. BON VOYAGE!
Port & Fuel surcharge: $182 per person. In case of fuel fluctuation we reserve the right to adjust the charges accordingly.
June 30, Oct 8- these departures from Bucharest ( cruise done in reverse)
Entrances Per Itinerary English Speaking Cruise Director and Guides Meals As Per Itinerary Accommodations in Select Cabin Category Conferences and Shipboard Entertainment Sightseeing and Entrances Per Itinerary First Class Hotel Inc Breakfast in Bucharest.
Price Does Not Include
Transatlantic Air Port & Cruise Fuel Charges Transfers Optional Excursions Tips