Europe & Baltic
The Danube, Europe’s second longest river, connects a fascinating range of cultures and ten different countries. On this journey, you'll travel to historical and modern capital cities, a multitude of villages, and virtually undiscovered landscapes. Discover the history of the Danube River Delta by cruise, starting in Bucharest and ending in Budapest, as you voyage your way through Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary. Sail the undeniably romantic channel, the Iron Gate, a narrow cliff-lined gorge where the Danube has forged a pathway through the South Carpathian and Balkans mountains, on the border of Romania and Serbia. This voyage shows you the beauty of the unknown part of the Danube River.
A selection of informative group shore excursions coinciding with your voyage is available, and can be added to your itinerary pricing upon request.
Cruise Departure Date (2014):
Airport transfer with private vehicle and driver.
Explore Bucharest from the glorious Athenee Palace Hilton Bucharest Hotel (5*), one of the city’s most sophisticated and prestigious landmarks. Built in 1914 and situated within the heart of the city and near Henri Coanda International Airport, this Bucharest hotel provides spectacular views of Revolution Square. Choose from a range of spacious guest rooms, suites, and executive rooms. Rooms have stunning views overlooking the city or the hotel courtyard and offer wireless internet access.
Enjoy a full day tour of Bucharest, also known as "Little Paris". Start with The Palace of the Parliament – admire the luxurious display of crystal chandeliers, mosaics, oak paneling, marble, gold leaf, and stained-glass windows. Visit Cotroceni Palace and Museum. Continue to the Village Museum with 50 buildings representing the history and design of Romania’s rural architecture. See Bucharest’s Arc de Triomphe, built in honour of the Romanian soldiers who fought in the First World War. Entrance fees are included
Start the tour driving north towards Transylvania. Before reaching Bran, there is an optional stop in Azuga for a snack and wine-tasting (not included). While crossing the Southern Carpathians, stop in Sinaia to visit one of the most beautiful castles in Europe - the famous Peles Castle, a masterpiece of German New-Renaissance architecture, commissioned by King Carol in 1873 and completed in 1883. Drive through the village of Bran to Brasov, the largest city in Transylvania. Once arrived in Bran, visit Dracula’s Castle, the place where Dracula was imprisoned before he was taken to Budapest. Bran Castle is home to a rich collection of Romanian and foreign furniture and art items from the XIVth-XIXth centuries. It sits up atop a 200 ft. tall rock, overlooking the picturesque village of Bran. On the grounds bellow there is an open-air ethnographic museum of old village buildings with exhibits of furniture, household objects, and costumes. Continue to Brasov with a visit to Prejmer Fortress. Entrance fees are included.
Enjoy a private transfer from Bucharest to Oltenita.
Welcome aboard!Take some time to get settled in to your stateroom and to explore the length of your ship. You'll set sail shortly.
The River Cloud II – a floating five-star hotel that takes you on the Rhine, Main, Danube and the Black Sea to Europe’s most beautiful destinations. To its many admirers, this cruising Bella Donna appears as a Mediterranean vision in white. Below deck, light woods and quality materials provide the Mediterranean ease that blends perfectly with the flair of 1930s travel. Your convenience is very important in the 44 outside cabins of the River Cloud II: Light woods, fine fabrics in contrasting tones and carefully selected accessories provide the Mediterranean, livable ambiance.
Sfântu Gheorghe is the capital city of Covasna County, Romania. Located in the central part of the country and in the historical region of Transylvania, it lies on the Olt River in a valley between the Baraolt Mountains and Bodoc Mountains. Sfântu Gheorghe is one of the oldest cities in Transylvania, the settlement first having been documented in 1332. The city takes it name from Saint George, the patron of the local church.
Enjoy a morning of exploration, and depart from port mid-afternoon.
Optional Shared Shore Excursion:(speak with your travel consultant to add optional excursions to your itinerary pricing)
A shared excursion will depart today to Constanta and Mamaia on the Black Sea. Constanta is the oldest city in Romania, founded around 600 BC. With archaeological treasures, ancient ruins and a beautiful old town center, Constanta has much to offer. Constanta's resort district of Mamaia is considered to be Romania's most popular resort, buzzing in the summer.
Ruse is the fifth-largest city in Bulgaria located on the northeastern part of the country, on the right bank of the Danube, opposite the Romanian city of Giurgiu, 300 km from the capital Sofia and 200 km from the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is the most significant Bulgarian river port, serving an important part of the international trade of the country. Known for its 19th- and 20th-century Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture, which attracts many tourists, Ruse is often called the Little Vienna. The Ruse-Giurgiu Friendship Bridge, the only one in the shared Bulgarian-Romanian section of the Danube, crosses the river here.
Optional Shared Shore Excursion: (speak with your travel consultant to add optional excursions to your itinerary pricing)
A shared excursion departs by coach to Veliko Tarnovo, the medieval capital of Bulgaria. The 13th century St. Forty Martyrs Church, the remains of the Royal Palace, and the city walls with famous Baldwin Tower are all city highlights. The small nearby town of Arbanasi will also be visited, known for rich history and many historical monuments.
An optional tour today departs to Pleven, a city with more than a thousand years of history. Rich in architecture from various periods, you'll tour the city, and visit the Svetlin Rusev Donative Exhibition, which displays over 400 works of Bulgarian and foreign art, donated by renowned artist and collector Svetlin Rusev.
Oryahovo is a port city in northwestern Bulgaria, part of Vratsa Province. It is located in a hilly area on the right bank of the Danube, just east of the mouth of the river Ogosta, a few more kilometres downstream from where the Jiu flows into the Danube on Romanian territory. The area around Oryahovo has been inhabited since ancient times, as archaeological research has proven with findings from the early Neolithic to the Late Middle Ages. A fortress called Kamaka is located 1 km east from Oryahovo, which existed from the 9th to the 14th century.
Today you transition Romania's Iron Gate.
The Iron Gates is a gorge on the Danube River. It forms part of the boundary between Romania and Serbia. At this point, the river separates the southern Carpathian Mountains from the northwestern foothills of the Balkan Mountains. The Romanian side of the gorge constitutes the Iron Gates Natural Park.
A coach will take passengers on a city tour of Belgrade, showing you some of the city's main attractions, including: St Sava Cathedral, the third largest Orthodox Church in Europe, Terazije Street, the National Museum and The National Theatre in Republic Square. A visit will also be made to the Royal Palace, built in the 1930's, which has many valueable artworks on display, in addition to its finely landscaped grounds.
Belgrade, meaning 'White City' – is the capital of the Republic of Serbia. Various styles of architecture dominate the city, while its recent resurgence as the leading hub in south-eastern Europe make it a must see destination. It lies on the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. The city has a long history, dating back to the 4th century BC, when the area was settled by Celtic tribes. Later on, it became the Roman city of Singidunum, and relics of that era can still be seen in the city, particularly at Kalemegdan Fortress. After the First World War, Belgrade became the seat of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes later known as Yugoslavia, until its collapse, and it saw violence again in 1999 with NATO's bombing campaign in response to Serbia's actions in the province of Kosovo. This often violent history and outside influence has colored much of Belgrade's evolution, which is evident in its culture and architecture. Often caught between the hammer and anvil of clashing empires, the city has taken on a unique character, reminiscent of both Austrian and Turkish influences, with a unique set of Communist elements thrown in as Yugoslavia was expelled from the Eastern Bloc in 1948. Yet, the city has its own spirit, and in it can be found some not only very unique features, but also a healthy joie de vivre in its café culture, nightlife and often Mediterranean flavor in its view of life. Among the most visited sights are the well known St Sava Church - the biggest Eastern Orthodox Church in the world, Knez Mihajlova - one of the most popular pedestrian-only streets in Belgrade.
Mohács is a town in Baranya county, Hungary on the right bank of the Danube. Two famous battles took place in 1526 and 1687 and represented the beginning and the end of the Ottoman domination in Hungary. In the medieval Kingdom of Hungary, Mohács was part of the historical Baranya county, and during Ottoman rule it was the administrative seat of the Sanjak of Mohács, an Ottoman administrative unit. After the Habsburgs took the area from the Ottomans, Mohács was included in the restored Baranya county.
Depart via coach to Pecs, Hungary's fifth largest city. Founded by the Romans, the early Christian necropolis from the 2nd-4th century is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An old mosque on Szechenyi Square hints back at a former 150 year long Ottoman occupation.
Kalocsa is one of the oldest towns in Hungary. It lies 88 miles south of Budapest. It is situated in a marshy but highly productive district, near the left bank of the Danube River. Historically it had greater political and economic importance than at present. Kalocsa is the official seat of one of the four Catholic archbishops of Hungary. Amongst its buildings are a fine cathedral, the archiepiscopal palace, an astronomical observatory, a seminary for priests, and colleges for training teachers.
This morning, you'll disembark your cruise ship and bid farewell to your fellow cruisemates.
Enjoy a full city tour of Budapest with your own guide and car. On the Pest side, visit the impressive Heroes’ Square, City Park, Széchenyi Spa, Grand Circus, and view the Vajdahunyad castle. The tour continues along Andrássy Avenue with its stately mansions. Take the opportunity and visit the impressive House of Parliament. After a walk around the largest building of Hungary, see the magnificent neo-gothic Parliament inside with a guide and walk along the splendid boardrooms and impressive staircases. Entrance fees to Matthias Church, Fisherman's Bastion and Parliament are included in the tour price).
Buda Castle Hotel (4*) is located in the heart of the castle district, one of Budapest's more elegant quarters on the Buda side of the city. The local area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the historical streets, which were once the commercial and governmental centre of the city, provide a fascinating view of the city’s glorious past. The Holy Trinity Square, Mathias Church and the Fishermen’s Bastion are all just a few steps from the hotel. The 25 rooms of the Hotel Buda Castle are all generously sized and elegantly furnished in a modern style. Breakfast is served in the Orangerie lounge. There is also a café and snack bar that stays open daily until midnight.
Visit the former summer-residence of Queen Elisabeth (Sissi) and Francis Joseph in Godollo, one of the largest baroque palaces in the world. You will have a glimpse of the times under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Take a break to enjoy coffee and cake at the Palace Cafe.
A transfer between the airport and the city or your hotel with a private vehicle and driver is provided.
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