RIVER CRUISES / BLACK SEA TO BLUE DANUBE
DAY 1 | LINZ
Boarding around 4.00pm in Linz and time to settle comfortably in your cabins before meeting the crew during a welcome cocktail reception. Dinner will then be served on board. The ship cruises on overnight to Melk .
DAY 2 | MELK - VIENNA (Austria)
Breakfast on board. Join the excursion (optional) to the Benedictine abbey of Melk which is perched up high on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube. It is the symbol of Austrian baroque at its finest. Return to the ship at the end of the morning and sail on to Vienna, arriving there late afternoon.. Dinner on board and a free evening or the opportunity to enjoy a Viennese music concert (optional & subjected to availability).
DAY 3 | VIENNA - BRATISLAVA (Slovakia)
After breakfast, take part in the guided visit (optional) to the palace of Schœnbrunn and Vienna with its magnificent park. It used to be the summer residence of the Emperor of Austria and his family. Lunch on board before sailing on at 1.00pm towards Bratislava. Arrival during the afternoon. Guided tour of the city (optional) dominated to the north by the slopes of the southern tip of the Little Carpathians and bathed by the Danube. The Slovakian capital enjoys a privileged position overlooking the Danube. Its charms come from its old town with its splendid baroque palaces, churches and pleasant squares. Return on board ship for dinner before sailing on to Budapest over night (departure 8.00pm ).
DAY 4 | BUDAPEST (Hungary)
Breakfast on board before arriving in Budapest around 9.00am. The morning will be spent on a sightseeing tour (optional) of this fascinating city which is cut in two by the Danube. Buda on one bank with its rolling hills and valleys, and Pest, on the other, with its flatter landscape that offers a panoramic view over the banks of the Danube. Both have been awarded world heritage status by Unesco. Lunch on board and afternoon at leisure. Return to the ship for dinner then have a free evening or attend a traditional folk evening (optional) in Budapest. The ship cruises on overnight.
DAY 5 | BUDAPEST - KALOCSA (Hungary) - MOHACS (Hungary) - BEZDAN (Serbia)
Breakfast aboard, before arriving in Kalocsa , and departure for the optional tour of Puszta (great Hungarian plain). You will enjoy an equestrian show. Return on board for lunch and continuation to Mohacs . Arrival around 5.00pm . Custom control, than on to Bezdan on the Serbian border, for a new custom control, than cruise on to Novi Sad. Dinner on board followed by an entertaining evening. The ship cruises on overnight.
DAY 6 | NOVI SAD (Serbia) - BELGRAD (Serbia)
We reach Novi Sad around 7.00am . Breakfast on board before enjoying a free morning, or, leave on the excursion (optional) to the city and catch a glimpse of Petrovaradin fortress. Novi Sad, set in the southern part of the Great Plain, in the region of Baga , is the capital of the Vojvodine , formerly known as “the Athens of Serbia”, due to its cultural splendour during the Turkish occupation. Return to the ship for lunch before sailing on to Belgrad . Afternoon spent cruising, before arriving in the Serbian capital in the evening. Dinner on board followed by an optional traditional evening in Belgrad .
DAY 7 | BELGRAD - DONJI MILANOVAC (Serbia)
Breakfast on board and morning spent on a guided tour (optional) of Belgrad. In Serbian language, Beograd means “white castle” or “white city”. Belgrad lies at the confluence of the Save and the Danube, near the Morava corridor which links the lower regions of the Danube to the Aegean Sea. It combines a fortress perched on a promontory, a busy town and a port. Belgrad is an airy modern city of which the Terazije and Republike squares form the lively center. Do not miss the historic “Montmartre” quarter! Return on board late morning and enjoy lunch before spending the afternoon sailing on to reach Donji Milanovac around 9.00pm. Overnight stop.
DAY 8 | DONJI MILANOVA - THROUGH THE IRON GATES
Early morning start and breakfast while cruising. The entire day will be spent sailing on the Danube before crossing the custom’s post and into Bulgaria. On through the Iron gates, formed by the gorges on the Danube between the Little Carpathians and the Balkans, a truly amazing stretch of the river. The most striking section of the gorge was named “the boilers” by sailors owing to the fact the water of the Danube is so tightly squeezed between the steep walls of the mountains that it literally seems to bubble! A clearer landmark on the Serbian bank of the river is without doubt the “Tabula Traina” , a huge marble plaque which reminds all those who pass by of the Roman road that once linked Rome and the province of Dacia . Past this point, we are in the very heart of the “little boilers” as the passage narrows then suddenly opens out giving the impression of being in a mountain lake. This marks the point where the Mrcacona flows into the Danube. An elegant viaduct spans the river mouth high above and if you look carefully, you will see the portrait of Decebal carved out of the rock. Lunch and dinner will be served on board and dinner will be followed by a gala evening.
DAY 9 RUSE (Bulgaria)
We reach Ruse, one of the great Bulgarian ports, around 8.00am . The town is a perfect blend of Bulgarian and Romanian culture. With its wide avenues, large squares and majestic buildings which bear witness to the Bulgarian National Renaissance. Enjoy some free time or leave on a sightseeing tour (optional) of the Roussenki-Lom valley, near the village of Ivanovo , to admire the churches and monastery chapels which were all dug out of the rock by the first hermits to settle in the area in the 12th century. The wall paintings which date back to the 14th century bear witness to the exceptional artistic talent of the Tarnova school of painting. The visit will go on with the mediaeval fortress of Tcherven , where you will enjoy a wonderful panoramic view. Return to the boat for lunch, and time at leisure, or optional tour of the city followed by a folk evening. Overnight stop.
DAY 10 | RUSE - GIURGIU (Romania) - OLTENITA (Romania)
Early morning start and breakfast while cruising to reach Giurgiu , from where an excursion (optional) is organised to Bucharest. Enjoy a guided tour (optional) of the Romanian capital (lunch included). This cultural and economic hub of national importance was founded 500 years ago. In the 30’s, Bucharest was named “Little Paris” due to its long boulevards lined with trees. There is even an ‘Arc de Triomphe’ on the stunning Kisseleff . Bucharest offers a striking combination of architectural styles, between Curtea Veche , the ruins of the 15th century palace built by Vlad , who founded the city, orthodox churches, Empire style manor houses, Stalin inspired architecture from the Communist period and the Parliament (outside only – entrance fees not included), a huge building with six thousand rooms. You will have the opportunity to visit an open air museum covering the architecture and arts from the various regions of Romania. Return to the ship around 5.00pm in Oltenita before sailing on. Dinner and evening with dance on board.
DAY 11 | TULCEA (Romania)
Breakfast while cruising before reaching Tulcea late morning. Tulcea lies at the entrance to the Danube delta, an important nature reserve which was awarded world biosphere status by Unesco . Lunch onboard, and optional excursion on the Danube delta. Cruise along passing traditional fisherman’s cottages on thee arteries of the delta, whose animal population and tropical vegetation is the most northerly of its kind in Europe. Return to the ship late afternoon in Tulcea . Dinner on board followed by a folk evening. Overnight stop.
DAY 12 TULCEA (Romania)
Breakfast on board before disembarking around 9.00am . End of our journey.
For navigational reasons and passenger safety, the company and the captain reserve the right to modify the cruise itinerary if necessary.