Grand Danube Cruise with Transylvania – Eastbound 2019

20 Day River Cruise from Prague to Bucharest

2019 Information. Switch to 2018 »

The name of this river cruise says it all—this multi-stop, multicultural journey through several countries in Central and Eastern Europe is grand indeed! With stops in the most intriguing cities along the Danube River and exciting excursions farther inland, you’ll be immersed in historical sights, cultural events, splendid scenery, and sumptuous cuisine—a little to a lot of something for everyone!

Begin this adventure in beautiful Prague, Czech Republic. Prague is a 1,200-year-old city preserved in time with many historical treasures, such as Old Town’s Astronomical Clock, built in 1410, and once the envy of all Europe. Board your river cruise vessel in Nuremberg, Germany, and visit this thousand-year-old city, full of history, with a Local Guide. On to Regensburg, one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities, where guided sightseeing shows you the splendid architecture of the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), Porta Pretoria, and much more. In Melk, visit Austria’s majestic 11th-century Benedictine Abbey, one of Europe’s largest monasteries, and take in the picturesque scenery as you sail through the Wachau Valley before you are drawn to the romantic sounds of Vienna, the “City of Music.” St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the impressive Hofburg Palace, and the Vienna Opera are all sights you’ll see on your guided tour. Sail to Budapest and explore Hungary’s lively capital before going on an excursion to Pécs. Established by the Romans in the 2nd century, you’ll visit underground burial chambers with fascinating murals, now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Bulgaria, visit Belogradchik’s eclectic rock formations, the ancient capital Veliko Tarnovo, and Arbanassi with its Church of the Nativity housing an outstanding collection of frescoes.

To round out this timeless European River Cruise, a stay in Romania’s vibrant capital of Bucharest is a must. Known as the “Paris of the East,” a local expert will show you many of its historical treasures. From Bucharest, take an overnight trip to Transylvania to visit Bran Castle, of Dracula Fame, and the city of Brasov. Also visit Peles Castle, located in the Carpathian Mountains, and considered to be the most breathtaking castle in Europe.


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Cruise at-a-Glance

Days 1-3 Prague:Welcome to the Czech Republic; guided sightseeing on Day 2, see the Astronomical Clock and visit Hradčany Castle grounds; free time on Day 3
Day 4 Prague–Nuremberg (Embarkation):Onboard welcome reception
Day 5 Nuremberg:Choice of guided sightseeing or Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour
Day 6 Regensburg:Guided walk; enjoy a snack at the Historische Wurstküche; beer tasting
Day 7 Passau:Guided walk
Day 8 Melk–Vienna:Guided visit of the Benedictine Abbey in Melk
Day 9 Vienna:Guided sightseeing
Day 10 Budapest:Guided sightseeing, see Fishermen’s Bastion and Heroes’ Square
Day 11 Budapest:Day at leisure
Day 12 Mohács. Excursion to Pécs:Guided sightseeing in Pécs, visit the underground tombs; organ concert
Day 13 Belgrade:Guided sightseeing
Day 14 Iron Gates:Visit Lepenski Vir archaeological site; cruise through the dramatic Iron Gates gorge
Day 15 Cetate–Vidin–Belogradchik:Visit the cultural port of Cetate, special tasting; excursion to Belogradchik to see the rock formations
Day 16 Nikopol. Excursion to Veliko Târnovo & Arbanassi–Rousse: Guided sightseeing, visit Tsarevets Fortress in Veliko Târnovo, and the Ethnographical Museum and Church of the Nativity in Arbanassi; or guided sightseeing of Rousse
Day 17 Oltenita (Disembarkation)–Bucharest:Guided sightseeing in Bucharest
Day 18 Bucharest. Excursion to Transylvania–Brasov:Guided visit of Dracula’s Bran Castle
Day 19 Brasov–Bucharest: Guided sightseeing in Brasov and Peles Castle
Day 20 Bucharest:Your vacation ends this morning

Day-By-Day Itinerary

(B) = Breakfast   (L) = Lunch   (D) = Dinner

Day 1

Arrive in Prague, Czech Republic

Welcome to Prague, capital of the Czech Republic. This fascinating city straddles the Vltava River with domes, cupolas, spires, and pinnacles highlighting its skyline. The remainder of the day is free to start exploring.

Day 2

(B)

Prague

Prague is a 1,200-year-old city preserved in time, and, unlike other Central European capitals, it was not bombed during the 20th-century wars. A Local Guide shows you its treasures, such as the Old Town’s Astronomical Clock, built in 1410 and once the envy of all of Europe; HRADČANY CASTLE GROUNDS; St. Vitus Cathedral; and the Charles Bridge, the oldest bridge in Prague. Browse the shops for hand-cut crystal or art books. Mix with the locals in Wenceslas Square, where people demonstrated against the communist regime; or watch performers on Charles Bridge.

Day 3

(B)

Prague

Enjoy a free day to explore the city at your own pace. Perhaps visit the Communist Museum; sample the local plum dumplings and Pilsner; or stroll along the Vltava River. Your Cruise Director will have other suggestions for things to do.

Day 4

(B, D)

Prague–Nuremberg, Germany (Embarkation)

After lunch, drive to Nuremberg, where your ship is docked. Before dinner, meet your crew for a welcome reception.

Day 5

(B, L, D)

Nuremberg

Although 90% of Nuremberg’s Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. This morning, choose a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR and marvel at this thousand-year-old city’s medieval fortifications, extraordinary gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a more specialized NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS tour.

Day 6

(B, L, D)

Regensburg

Arrive in Regensburg today. Dating back to the time of the Celts around 500 BC, Regensburg is one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. Established during the Holy Roman Empire and the only German city not bombed during WWII, Regensburg has at least 1,300 listed buildings of historic interest. Architectural highlights of your GUIDED WALK include the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), built in the 13th century, and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Wander through the city’s lanes and alleys to discover the many mansions with high towers. Wealthy families built these towers to emphasize their status and wealth during the Middle Ages, and many still remain today. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany. Grab a beer and enjoy an included SNACK at the Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants. Here—where the locals congregate—feel the vibrant atmosphere and take in the remarkable views along the river. Before dinner, we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s FAMOUS BEERS!

Day 7

(B, L, D)

Passau

This morning, dock in Passau. Uniquely located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge, Passau is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses and dominated by St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK. Alternatively, choose from several full-day optional excursions while your ship continues to sail into Austria. Rejoin your vessel in the late afternoon.

Day 8

(B, L, D)

Melk, Austria–Vienna

Enjoy a GUIDED VISIT of Melk’s magnificent 11th-century BENEDICTINE ABBEY, one of Europe’s largest monasteries. The abbey houses an ornate library with over 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts. Words cannot describe the splendor of the church with its frescoed ceilings, stunning high altar, marble statues, and 210-foot-high cupola. The view from the terrace of the abbey over the Danube and surrounding countryside is breathtaking! Then, cruise through the picturesque Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pass the magnificent baroque Stiftskirche with its blue façade, the landmark of Dürnstein, before arriving in Vienna this evening. Known as the “City of Music,” it inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. An optional concert is available tonight.

Day 9

(B, L, D)

Vienna

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—plus, countless other sights shown to you by your Local Guide during your included CITY TOUR. Shop in the delightful pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse, and be sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic Viennese coffee houses, historic institutions that helped shape Viennese culture! In the late afternoon, leave Vienna for Budapest.

Day 10

(B, L, D)

Budapest, 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 palpable. On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, 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—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. Perhaps visit St. Stephen’s Basilica; shop at the Great Market Hall and purchase paprika at one of its 180 vendor stalls; wander around the Royal Palace grounds; or stroll along Váci utca, the main shopping street.

Day 11

(B, L, D)

Budapest

A full day to explore on your own and do as you please. If you need suggestions for things to do, your Cruise Director can help.

Day 12

(B, L, D)

Mohács. Excursion to Pécs

This morning arrive in Mohács, the last stop in Hungary, from where an included excursion takes you to Pécs. Established by the Romans in the 2nd century, this was a flourishing and important town for Christianity by the 4th century. These early Christians left behind many underground burial chambers with memorial chapels above ground. With your Local Guide, visit the UNDERGROUND TOMBS—now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site—many of which have splendidly decorated murals with Christian themes. Later, enjoy an ORGAN CONCERT. Pécs is also a rich showcase of Turkish architecture and home to Turkish mosques, striking churches, and an enjoyable atmosphere around its restaurants and cafés.

Day 13

(B, L, D)

Belgrade, Serbia

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. 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, or browse the local shops. Stroll through Belgrade’s largest and most beautiful park which surrounds the city’s principal landmark, Kalemegdan Fortress, and gaze down at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers.

Day 14

(B, L, D)

Excursion to Lepenski Vir–Iron Gates

This morning, dock at Donji Milanovac, 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 for lunch and then cruise what must surely be the most spectacular scenery of the dramatic gorge of the IRON GATES, 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.

Day 15

(B, L, D)

Cetate, Romania–Vidin, Bulgaria. Excursion to Belogradchik

This morning, stop in Cetate, an old Danubian grain-shipping port that is now a cultural center. The owner will explain the concept of this fascinating venture before you have a chance to see for yourself and to TASTE some of the locally made products. Then, on to Vidin, an important Danube port in northwestern Bulgaria, from where, after lunch, an included excursion takes you to nearby Belogradchik to view the eclectic group of ROCK FORMATIONS on the western slopes of the Balkan Mountains. Sculpted by natural elements for more than 200 million years and with a variety of sizes and shapes, the Belogradchik Rocks are spectacular!

Day 16

(B, L, D)

Nikopol. Excursion to Veliko Târnovo & Arbanassi–Rousse

This morning, stop in Nikopol from where an excursion takes you to the ancient Bulgarian capital of Veliko Târnovo. 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 the 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, the historic village of 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. Return to 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.

Day 17

(B)

Oltenita, Romania (Disembarkation)–Bucharest

After breakfast, 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 morning, 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, discover 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.

Day 18

(B, L, D)

Bucharest. Excursion to Transylvania–Brasov

Head out of the city to your first stop, a visit to BRAN CASTLE, of Dracula fame. Built in 1377, it was assumed to be the home of Romanian vampires. Then, continue to Brasov for the night, with a free afternoon to explore on your own.

Day 19

(B, L)

Brasov–Bucharest

This morning, join a local expert for GUIDED SIGHTSEEING of Brasov. In the afternoon, drive into the Carpathians to Sinaia to visit PELES CASTLE, considered one of the most beautiful in Europe, before returning to Bucharest.

Day 20

(B)

Bucharest

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

Notes

  • 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.

Ship Details

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Hotels

No hotels exist for WNOE in 2019

 Optional Excursions

The following optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These may or may not be offered, and availability is subject to days of operation and seasonality. Please select a departure date to view optional excursions and pricing for a specific date (due to currency fluctuation, pricing shown is subject to change until purchased).

Price Ranges

$ ($50 USD and under)
$$ ($51 - $100 USD)
$$$ ($101 - $150 USD)
$$$$ (Over $150)


Prague
Packages
Regensburg
Passau
Vienna
Budapest
Belgrade
Bucharest

Prague

Czech Dinner

Czech Dinner

A typical Czech meal in a famous wine restaurant to experience the real Prague atmosphere.

Price Range: $$

Terezin Concentration Camp Visit

Terezin Concentration Camp Visit

Prepare for a moving encounter with Terezin, a magnificent 18th-century Austrian fortress with a terrible past. This guided excursion reveals the tragic suffering that took place under the brutal Nazi regime at what became the Terezín Concentration Camp.

Price Range: $$

Prague Food and Cultural Tour

Prague Food and Cultural Tour

Join us as we experience the rich cuisine, the fascinating culture, and the ancient history of Prague, one of Europe's more picturesque and storied cities. Walk through Prague's back streets with an expert local food & historical guide to uncover the best local food spots and meet the people behind the food. You will learn about Czech culture and understand what it is like to live in this fascinating and ancient European city. As we walk from one food tasting stop to the next we will be discovering some of Prague's most fascinating off-the-beaten-path sites like Beethoven's former home, local sculptor David Cerny's most fascinating works, and architectural-wonders that you shouldn't miss.

Price Range: $$

Discover Prague's Hidden Treasures

Discover Prague's Hidden Treasures

Walk with an expert guide around Prague¿s Charles Bridge and ancient Malá Strana district on the Left Bank of the Vltava River to discover the city¿s tucked-away treasures.

Price Range: $

Wonders & Wines of Castle Melník

Wonders & Wines of Castle Melník

Travel into the Bohemian wine country for an engaging guided visit of medieval Castle M¿lník and a tasting of the locally produced wines!

Price Range: $$

Packages

Celebration Packages

Celebration Packages

Celebrating a birthday or anniversary while you're cruising? Add an Avalon Celebration Package to your vacation. You can make your special day even more memorable with special touches ranging from flowers to a private cocktail reception.

Price Range: $$$$

Regensburg

Weltenburg Abbey Visit

Weltenburg Abbey Visit

Visit Bavarian's oldest monastery, 7th-century Weltenburg Abbey, with its stunning setting in the Danube Gorge, splendid interior, and the oldest monastic brewery in the world!

Price Range: $$

Passau

Sound of Music Tour

Sound of Music Tour

Follow in the footsteps of Maria von Trapp and ¿The Sound of Music¿ film locations on this unforgettable half-day excursion through Salzburg and its majestic alpine surroundings.

Price Range: $$$

Southern Bohemia

Southern Bohemia

You¿ll feel like you¿ve stepped right into the Middle Ages on this full-day excursion to Ceský Krumlov, the ¿Pearl of the Bohemian Forest¿.

Price Range: $$$

Vienna

Classical Concert

Classical Concert

Enjoy a spellbinding evening of classical works by Mozart and Johann Strauss, performed brilliantly by professional Salon Orchestra Alt-Wien musicians in one of Europe¿s prettiest venues.

Price Range: $$

Schönbrunn Palace, Crown Jewel of Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace, Crown Jewel of Vienna

Visit magnificent Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and former summer residence of the Habsburg imperial family.

Price Range: $$

Budapest

Illuminated Budapest

Illuminated Budapest

The nighttime magic of Budapest comes to life on this enchanting guided coach tour of the most famous landmarks illuminated in a most unforgettable way!

Price Range: $

Etyek Wine Discovery

Etyek Wine Discovery

Travel into the beautiful Hungarian countryside for an enriching half-day discovery of the Etyek wine region, including a visit to a family winery with wine tasting.

Price Range: $$

Discover Budapest's Art & Architecture

Discover Budapest's Art & Architecture

Travel back to the Golden Age of Budapest¿s Belle Époque on this captivating guided excursion featuring Andrássy Avenue, glass-painter Miksa Róth¿s Memorial House, and crown jewel of Budapest: the incomparable Hungarian State Opera House!

Price Range: $$

Bites & Highlights of Budapest

Bites & Highlights of Budapest

Experience some of Budapest's most famous sights and most delectable foods on this unique guided foodie sightseeing tour.

Price Range: $$

Discover the Hungarian Puszta

Discover the Hungarian Puszta

Travel into the heart of the Puszta to an authentic horse ranch, where a breathtaking equestrian show, carriage ride, and hearty Hungarian lunch with Gypsy music await!

Price Range: $$

Belgrade

Bohemian Dinner in Skadarlija

Bohemian Dinner in Skadarlija

Enjoy a feast of hearty local dishes and live music during this dinner excursion in Belgrade¿s historic, Bohemian Skadarlija district.

Price Range: $$

Bucharest

Romanian Parliament

Romanian Parliament

Visit Bucharest¿s colossal Palace of the Parliament, the second-largest and most expensive administrative building and heaviest building in the world, on this mesmerizing guided excursion.

Price Range: $$

Ceausescu's Spring Palace Visit

Ceausescu's Spring Palace Visit

From solid gold toilet paper holders to an indoor pool and cinema, get a rare peek into the home and private life of a former Communist dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, on this enthralling guided tour of his Palatul Primaverii (Spring Palace).

Price Range: $$

Foodie Walk in Bucharest

Foodie Walk in Bucharest

Discover the joie de vivre of Romanian cuisine¿a tasty hodge-podge of Balkan, Ottoman, French, and Russian influences¿on this special 3-hour foodie walking tour.

Price Range: $$

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