Blue Danube to the Black Sea with Istanbul – Eastbound

Blue Danube to the Black Sea with Istanbul – Eastbound 2017

17 Day River Cruise from Vienna to Istanbul

2017 Information

A deluxe Danube River cruise from Vienna to the Danube Delta is the highlight on this fascinating getaway through Eastern Europe. Sail through the dramatic Iron Gates gorge, visit the Lepenski Vir archaeological site, and see the sights with a Local Guide in each city, including Vienna, the “City of Music.” Along the way, visit Slovakia’s Bratislava, Croatia’s Vukovar and Osijek, and Romania's Constanta. Explore the Danube Delta with its unique birdlife, and celebrate the end of the Danube’s journey as it flows into the Black Sea. End your Danube River cruise in Oltenita, then travel to Romania’s lively capital of Bucharest for guided sightseeing and an overnight. Fly to Istanbul, one of the most exciting places in the world, and visit Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Seraglio, and the Grand Bazaar—an incredible conclusion to an amazing vacation.

Dates & Prices Request A Quote Book Online

Highlights & Sightseeing

Cruise: deluxe 10-night cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM

Days 1-2 Vienna: welcome to Austria; guided sightseeing on Day 2

Day 3 Vienna–Transfer to Bratislava (Embarkation): guided sightseeing of Bratislava, visit St. Martin’s Cathedral; onboard welcome reception

Day 4 Budapest: guided sightseeing, see Fishermen’s Bastion and Heroes' Square

Day 5 Mohács: wine tasting in Villány wine region

Day 6 Osijek & Vukovar: guided sightseeing in both cities

Day 7 Belgrade: guided sightseeing, visit Kalemegdan Fortress

Day 8 Iron Gates: visit Lepenski Vir archaeological site; cruise through the dramatic Iron Gates gorge

Day 9 Nikopol–Excursion to Veliko Târnovo & Arbanassi–Rousse: guided sightseeing, visit Tsarevet’s Fortress in Veliko Târnovo, and the Ethnographical Museum and Church of the Nativity in Arbanassi; or guided sightseeing of Rousse

Day 10 Cruising: onboard lecture

Day 11 St. Gheorghe, Romania: Danube Delta excursion; Km 0 celebration

Day 12 Cernavodă: choice of full- or half-day excursion to Constanta; guided sightseeing, visit the National History & Archaeological Museum

Day 13 Oltenita (Disembarkation)–Bucharest: guided sightseeing in Bucharest

Day 14 Bucharest-Istanbul: fly to Istanbul, free time to relax

Days 15-16 Istanbul: guided sightseeing, visit Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and Grand Bazaar; Host service during your stay.

Day 17 Istanbul: your vacation ends this morning

Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by local chefs, entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.

Learn about the Danube Delta at an onboard lecture.


  • Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapés
  • Welcome dinner
  • Daily Afternoon Tea
  • Daily Night Fare
  • Farewell dinner
  • Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; soft drinks with lunch; and wine, beer, or soft drinks with dinner are included daily on board your vessel


  • In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program.
  • Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change is necessary, a substitute will be offered.
  • Please check visa requirements with your local consulate(s); responsibility for obtaining visas rests with the traveler.

Day-By-Day Itinerary

Day 1Arrive in Vienna, Austria

Welcome to Vienna, Austria’s capital, known as the “City of Music” and which inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. The rest of the day is yours to start exploring this elegant city.

Day 2Vienna

Once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s magical capital on the blue Danube is a showcase of gilded architecture. This is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boys’ Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral—to name just a few of the sights your Local Guide will show you on your INCLUDED TOUR. The afternoon is all yours. Shop in the delightful pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse, and be sure to enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic Viennese coffee houses, historic institutions that helped shape Viennese culture! An optional concert is available during your stay. (Breakfast)

Day 3Vienna–Bratislava, Slovakia (Embarkation)

Enjoy a free morning to relax or explore on your own. Then, a motorcoach transfer after lunch takes you to Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, situated at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. Join your Local Guide for a tour of the city, including a GUIDED WALK of its fascinating Old Town, where winding cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways twist and turn to reveal the Town Hall, one of the oldest stone buildings in the city. Also visit gothic ST. MARTIN’S CATHEDRAL, coronation church for the Kingdom of Hungary from the 16th to 19th centuries. Your river cruise vessel is docked here on the Danube, and after the tour of Bratislava, meet the crew at a welcome reception. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 4Budapest, Hungary

Spanning the banks of the Danube, Budapest is one of Eastern Europe’s liveliest cities. Whether you’re seeing the sights, shopping for handcrafted embroidery or Herend porcelain, or basking in the coffee house culture over a rich cream cake in the renowned Gerbeaud Café, Budapest’s unique energy is positively palatable. On an INCLUDED TOUR with your Local Guide, see Heroes' Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church, the coronation spot of several Hungarian monarchs. Be sure to take note of the city’s eight bridges—many famous sights in and of themselves—which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. You may even want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 5Mohács-Villány Wine District

This morning, cruise past the peaceful riverscapes of southern Hungary before arriving in Mohács. From here, an excursion takes you to the Villány district, where some of Hungary’s best red wines are produced. Enjoy WINE TASTING, and learn which varietals are grown and why the climate and soil here are ideal for producing excellent wines. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6Osijek & Vukovar, Croatia

Today, learn about the complex history of Croatia and the events that led to the Croatian War of Independence during GUIDED SIGHTSEEING. Led by Local Guides, explore Osijek, an important economic and cultural center, as well as Vukovar, Croatia’s largest river port, at the confluence of the Danube and Vuka Rivers. Vukovar was scene to an 87-day siege in 1991, known as The Battle of Vukovar, and is today considered a symbol of Croatian resistance. The siege and other dramatic events have shaped both the present and future of the region. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 7Belgrade, Serbia

Early this morning, arrive in Belgrade. One of the oldest cities in Europe, the capital of Serbia is situated at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers. A LOCAL GUIDE will be proud to show you its main sights, including St. Sava, the world’s largest orthodox church. Also visit the city’s principal landmark, KALEMEGDAN FORTRESS, which showcases the history of Belgrade. Built in stages between the 1st and 18th centuries, the fortress witnessed many battles and observed the courage of those trying to defend the city from conquerors. The surrounding park is the most beautiful and largest park in Belgrade. In your free time, be sure to check out the city’s lively pedestrian area and charming outdoor cafés. Perhaps visit one of the many art galleries or museums, relax in the park, or walk along the city streets and browse the local shops. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8Excursion to Lepenski Vir–Iron Gates

This morning, dock at Donji Milanovac, from where a short drive takes you to the impressive LEPENSKI VIR EXHIBITION CENTER, which houses area archaeological artifacts and from where you have unique views of the Danube Gorge. Return to your ship before lunch, then cruise what must surely be the most spectacular scenery of the dramatic IRON GATES gorge, a narrow and formerly very dangerous passage dividing Europe’s Alps in the northwest from the Carpathians in the southeast and forming a natural border between Serbia and Romania. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 9Nikopol–Excursion to Veliko Târnovo, Bulgaria & Arbanassi–Rousse

The ancient Bulgarian capital of Veliko Târnovo is a comfortable ride from the Danube. Situated on three hills surrounding the Yantra River, the city was a natural fortress with ancient stone houses clinging to the steep slopes. One of the oldest towns in Bulgaria (dating back to 4300 BC), the oldest part is Tsarevets Hill, home of the ROYAL FORTRESS and Patriarch’s Church. With your LOCAL GUIDE, discover this town that played an important role in Bulgaria’s history. Then, journey to Arbanassi. Founded in the 15th century, historic Arbanassi is best known for its examples of Bulgarian Revival architecture and its ETHNOGRAPHICAL MUSEUM, a 400-year-old house preserved as a museum. Visit the CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, one of the oldest churches in Arbanassi, and see its outstanding collection of frescoes. Rejoin your ship in Rousse, Bulgaria’s largest inland port. If you do not wish to participate in the full-day excursion, remain on board and relax, then join a GUIDED TOUR of Rousse in the afternoon. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 10Cruising

Today is a peaceful day to relax on board. Join your Cruise Director to learn about the fascinating Danube Delta at an ONBOARD LECTURE. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 11St. Gheorghe, Romania. Danube Delta

From St. Gheorghe this morning, an excursion in small boats takes you into the DELTA, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the best preserved of Europe’s deltas, hosting over 300 species of birds as well as 45 species of freshwater fish. From its source in the Black Forest to its delta at the Black Sea, the Danube measures 2,845 kilometers in length. The Km markings can be clearly seen on the river banks the length of the river. Enjoy a small celebration to mark Km “0”—the end of the Danube’s journey. This afternoon, relax on board as you sail to Cernavodă. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 12Cernavodă. Excursion to Constanta

This morning, dock in Cernavodă, a city at the western end of the 40-mile-long Black Sea Canal, the pride and joy of communist achievement. From here, a full-day excursion takes you to Constanta on the Black Sea, the most important commercial center in Romania. A Local Guide shows you the city highlights, with a visit of the NATURAL HISTORY & ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM. Visit a WINERY at Murfatlar before returning to Cernavodă in the late afternoon. Alternatively, you may want to relax on board in the morning and visit Constanta in the afternoon only. Sail overnight to Oltenita. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 13Oltenita (Disembarkation)–Bucharest

After breakfast this morning, say goodbye to your crew. Bucharest, Romania’s lively capital, is only a short drive from Oltenita. Its wide, tree-lined boulevards and Arc de Triomphe—built in 1922 to honor the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in WWI—have gained it the name “Paris of the East.” Much recent history has taken place in the city. During the INCLUDED TOUR this afternoon, see the main sights including Royal Palace Square, the scene of riots in 1989, which led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. In your free time, explore this interesting city even further. Stroll down Calea Victoriei (Victory Avenue), Bucharest’s most historic and alluring street. Initially built in 1692, today it is lined with shops, museums, churches, restaurants, cafés, and fine houses. (Breakfast)

Day 14Bucharest-Istanbul, Turkey

Today, fly to Istanbul. Free time to relax and begin soaking up the unique atmosphere of this city built on two continents. (Breakfast)

Day 15Istanbul

Founded by the Greeks as Byzantium more than 2,500 years ago, renamed Constantinople in the year 330, and finally called Istanbul, the city on the Bosporus remains one of the most exciting places in the world. Its strategic location as gateway between the Orient and the Occident, the Islamic and the Christian worlds, and the Black Sea and the Mediterranean predestined it for a turbulent history. Guided sightseeing includes Emperor Justinian’s HAGIA SOPHIA and Sultan Ahmet’s BLUE MOSQUE, magnificent monuments to two competing world religions that stand peacefully side by side; TOPKAPI PALACE, residence of the Ottoman Sultans; and the GRAND BAZAAR. (Breakfast)

Day 16Istanbul

A free day in Istanbul to explore on your own. Or, why not join a full-day optional excursion to the fabulous archaeological site of Ephesus? Fly to Izmir, then travel to the city which later became the capital of Roman Asia Minor. When St. Paul arrived here he was so awestruck that he asked, “Is there a greater city?” Visit the Library of Celsus, the Amphitheater, and listen to exciting “inside stories” of life in ancient Ephesus as you walk down its “Champs Elysées.” Also visit the House of the Virgin Mary before returning to Istanbul for a final evening in Turkey. (Breakfast)

Day 17Istanbul

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

Ship Details

Please try again


No hotels exist for WVOE in 2017

Similar Cruises