The Magnificent Danube Cruise over them all is the journey between Bucharest in Romania and Vienna in Austria. Here we serve seven countries and five capitals, while we enjoy our MS River Discovery II cruise.
We start our journey deep in the Balkans and experience the great cultural and economic differences that affect Europe in our north-eastern flight through Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Austria. Along the way, we dive into five exciting capital cities as we explore Bucharest, Belgrade, Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna.
What is included in the tour
8 Sightseeing Tours and Shore Excursions:
- VIENNA, AUSTRIA: City tour including Belvedere Palace
- BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA: City tour with mini-train ride and Primate Palace
- BUDAPEST, HUNGARY: City tour including Fisherman’s Bastion
- OSIJEK, CROATIA: City tour with wine tasting & live entertainment
- NOVI SAD, SERBIA: Walking tour including Petrovaradin Fortress
- BELGRADE, SERBIA: City by bus & walking tour
- VIDIN , BULGARIA: City tour including Baba Vida’s Fortress
- BUCHAREST, ROMANIA: City tour including Parliament House (exterior)
- Arrival and departure transfers (if airfare purchased through us)*
- Cruise accommodations for in the river-view cabin category of your choice
- Total of 30 meals: 11 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 10 dinners
- Free wine/beer/soda for lunch and dinner daily while on the cruise portion
- 24-hour coffee and hot chocolate station
- Early-riser breakfast, afternoon cakes, and late night snacks
- Live 2-piece band playing each evening
- Professional English-speaking Cruise Directors and local guides
- 1 night first class hotel + buffet breakfast in Bucharest**
- **First class hotel: Novotel, Capital or similar
- Shore excursions, daily sightseeing programs, onboard lectures and folklore performances/music concerts as outlined in the itinerary (excludes optionals)
What is NOT included in the tour
- *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)
- Increases in costs due to unforeseen circumstances such as: additional fuel surcharges, exchange rates or Government imposed taxes & fees not known at this time.
- Welcome drink on arrival and info meeting
- Lectures on Balkan History and Modern Balkans Today
- NEW: Concert of cultural 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)
Day 1: Bucharest, Romania
Upon arriving we will drive a brief orientation tour in Bucharest, where we will see Ceausescus grotesque prestigious people's house, and not least Revolution Square and National Theater. We continue to Turnu Magerele on the Danube, where our ship MS River Discovery II awaits. While the ship's crew makes sure our luggage comes on board, we go to bed to have a late dinner.
Day 2: Vidin , Bulgaria
With Romania on starboard and Bulgaria on the backboard we start our sailing on the Danube. After lunch we will go to the Bulgarian port city Vidin. Although we are far from the sea, Vidin is known for its yard industry, which provides extra life around the river. Here we see the fortress Baba Vida from the 13th century, which is Bulgaria's best-preserved medieval fortress. After a small city tour, there is time to enjoy the city on its own. You can also choose to participate in an extra trip. After dinner we enjoy the welcome drink, which we did not reach the day before. Here we also get a small introduction to the friendly crew of the ship.
Otional Tour: Belogradchik
Take an excursion to Belogradchik, located 50 kilometers south of Vidin. Here is a fascinating landscape of rock formations. The chisel into the rocks thrives Belogradchik fortress, whose history dates back to Christ's birth. If you want to take full advantage of the trip, it is important that you go well as we have to walk a few hundred yards uphill. On the other hand, the reward for the walk is great as we get an amazing view of the Belogradchik cliffs that rise 200 meters above the surrounding beautiful landscape. The many rock formations of sandstone resemble everything from schoolgirls to gorillas, and there are many exciting legends associated with the filthy formations.
Day 3: Iron Gate Gorge
Today, one of the very highlights of the trip is waiting for us, when we sail for a total of 100 kilometers through the famous Iron Gate - a long dramatic gap designated as a botanical natural park. Here the river is more than 80 meters deep in several places. In 1972, a hydropower plant was opened and an extensive system of locks has tampered with the previously so feared piece of the Danube. It is a pleasure to sit on the sun deck and enjoy the Djerdap's natural masterpiece.
Day 4: Belgrade , Serbia
The day begins with a bus tour in Belgrade, where we see, among other things, the famous Kalemegdan fortress and the city's impressive Saint Sava Cathedral, which is still being built. We also experience the atmosphere on the city's cozy pedestrian street Knez Mihajlova. Here you will find many cafes and shops within walking distance of our ship. Breakfast is served in a private home in the small village of Jarak. In Serbia you eat well - especially in the countryside. We taste the local dishes and of course the glorious flower-brewed Slivovitsa, while the village's musicians entertain. In the evening awaits dinner aboard, followed by a show with Serbian folklore. Between the numbers there are fashion shows with the famous handmade Sirogojno wool sweaters and jackets with embroidered landscape motifs.
Day 5: Novi Sad, Serbia
The ship adds to Serbia's third-largest city, Novi Sad. On a small city tour we enjoy the cozy city on foot. Novi Sad is Serbia's third largest city and its main city in the Vojvodina region. In Novi Sad, Albert Einstein lived with his family in the last century, and the Serbs gladly tells that Einstein's Serbian wife had a finger in the game in his groundbreaking relativity theory. The city is today a charming and lively city. For long periods, Novi Sad was a part of the Habsburg Empire and has a very European expression. Here are nice pedestrian streets with cafes and parks not far from the Danube, which is the city's livelihood. In 1999 the bridges in the city were bombed and the ruins hampered for several years of sailing through the city.
Together with the tour guide we go for a walk through the small streets of the central part of the city. We visit the fishermen's market where we experience the local life before we experience a little more of the city on a small bus tour. While the tour guide tells us, we pass the synagogue, parliament and university. By bus, we drive across the Frihedsbroen and continue to the Petrovaradin fortress that thrones on the other side of the Danube. The fortress marked the border between the Austrian and Turkish empire, and from the fort we have breathtaking views of Novi Sad, Danube and Fruska Gora Mountains. We are driving back to the ship to enjoy the breakfast. The rest of the afternoon can be used to discover the cozy city or to relax on the ship's sun deck. You can also choose to attend an additional event.
Optional Tour: Wine and Krušedol Monastery
By bus we take a trip to the country. We first visit the Krušedol Monastery, known for its 15th-century frescoes. Then we continue to Sremski Karlovci, one of Serbia's great wine regions. Here we are going to visit the Zivanovic family, who for several generations has produced their own wine. We will have a tour and in our beautiful garden we will have a taste of their products
Day 6: Osijek, Croatia
Welcome to Croatia and Osijek, which is the country's fourth largest city. Osijek is located on the banks of the Drava River, which is a tributary to the magnificent Danube River. Among other things, the city is known for its many well-preserved Baroque buildings and the Habsburg Fortress. Together we go for a walk through the pleasant streets, where we pass one of the old city ports, the central square with the pest colony, the music school and not least the Habsburg fortress. The rest of the afternoon you can use as you wish before we meet for dinner on board the ship.
Day 7: Budapest , Hungary
On a bus tour, we feel Budapest's elegance, history and melancholy. We get past Saint Stefan Cathedral, the Hungarian State Opera and the city's landmarks, the Parliament, an architectural masterpiece from 1904. The English Parliament was a great example, and the architect has inspired both the Renaissance and the Gothic architecture. We will of course enjoy the view of the city from Gellért mountain as well as experience the Castle with the famous Fisherman's Bastion and the castle quarter with the pleasant streets. We eat lunch on the ship before you have the opportunity to experience Budapest on your own. The ship is centrally located, just a few tram stops from the pedestrian zone and Budapest's absolute center. Not far from the ship you will find cozy cafes and Budapest's famous market hall.
Day 8: Budapest, Hungary
Enjoy the day on your own in Budapest. Do you have a courage in a little adventure, we recommend one of Budapest's many spas. The Gellert bath is the most famous and popular among tourists. Szechenyi is hard to pronounce, but extremely popular among the locals. The tour guide is helpful with the logistics, and then just jump in one of the countless pools. There is also the opportunity to attend two exciting extra events.
In the morning, we will visit one of the most fascinating and unique historical monuments in Hungary. Under the Buda Castle in the heart of Budapest there is an emergency hospital, which was built into the raw rock in the 1930s. The hospital was in operation until 1960 and still stands, as it did at that time. In the old underground spaces, we get a unique insight into how the hospital worked especially during World War II. More than 200 wax figures are set in the bunker, and they make the visit extremely lively.
In the afternoon, go to Laza Lovas, one of Hungary's largest horse studios. Here we welcome you with wine, Hungarian snacks and a glass of Palinka, which is the local brandy. There is a possibility to visit the stable where the many horses are housed before we attend a nice ride show with the Hungarian cowboys.
Day 9: Bratislava, Slovakia
We enjoy the morning sailing on the Danube before we arrive in Bratislava. The day begins with a city tour, where we visit the Bratislava castle complex with a small tourist train. The castle rises 89 meters above the city, and its characteristic four towers can be seen from most of the city. Earlier Hungary was ruled out of Bratislava's castle complex, but today the area is museum. We continue on foot in the old town with little alleyways, elegant squares and well-kept houses in white, yellow and green shades. The most famous of the buildings is the Primat Palace, which is painted in a characteristic pink color. There is plenty of time on your own in the cozy city. The ship puts you right into the center so it's easy to discover shops and enjoy life at the many pavement cafes and cellar bars. Prices are extremely reasonable in comparison to Australia. Tonight we are all invited to the captain's gala dinner. We enjoy a delicious 5-course menu, and after dinner there is the possibility of exercising the legs when the ship's musicians take center stage.
Day 10: Vienna, Austria
Today we are going to experience the classic and very beautiful, ancient imperial city. We see the pompous buildings Hofburg and the Spanish riding school around Ringstrasse, witnessing the greatness of ancient times, where Vienna was the capital of the empire of Austria-Hungary. As we pass Vienna Concert Hall and Parliament, our city tour also takes us to the old town with nice streets and impressive Art Nouveau buildings. St. Stephen's Cathedral is central and we look into the impressive cathedral. Then we have time on our own before we return to the ship where breakfast is served. In the afternoon there is the opportunity to enjoy Vienna on your own. There are metro links about 500 meters from the boat, so there are not far to great sights and a cup of coffee with a tasty piece of 'Sachertorte'. You can also choose to attend two great extra events.
Optional Tour: Schönbrunn
Embark on a nice afternoon getaway to Schönbrunn, the emperor Maria Theresia's wonderful summer residence. We see the park and the great imperial gems where Emperor Franz Josef spent most of his life.
Optional Tour: Vienna Concert
What's more Austrian than seeing a true Viennese concert, now that we are in Vienna? The program varies and offers different classical music by composers like Strauss, Mozart, Lehár or Kalman.
Day 11: Vienna, Austria
We thank you for travelling with us and hope - as we have you carry with you lasting memories of your expereince. Today we bid you farewell as you make your way to Vienna Airport for your journey home.