2018 : Grand Danube Cruise - Eastbound (WNO) - Illumination
18 Day River Cruise from Prague to Bucharest
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 with a Local Guide. In Regensburg, one of Germany's best preserved medieval cities, guided sightseeing shows you the splendid architecture of the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), Porta Pretoria, and much more. Here, enjoy some of Germany's famous beers and Bratwurst! In Melk, you will visit Austria's majestic 11th-century Benedictine Abbey, one of Europe's largest monasteries. 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. Stephens Cathedral, the impressive Hofburg Palace, and the Vienna Opera House are all sights you'll see on your guided tour. Sail to Budapest and explore Hungary's lively capital, before continuing your cultural journey on an excursion to Pecs. 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. Stop in Serbia's Belgrade and cruise through the dramatic Iron Gates Gorge. 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.
Bucharest, Romania's lively capital, will be your last stop on this fabulous Danube river cruise vacation. Known as the "Paris of the East," a local expert will show you many of its historical treasures. Explore the city known for its wide, tree-lined boulevards and showcase of architecture.
You've always forged your own path...with your own distinct perspective of looking at the world. Avalon Waterways presents a river cruise experience with your unique style in mind-offering expansive views and wider perspectives. That's why we've used our 89 years to design a cruise experience that's just a bit different. Here are just some of the features and amenities you'll experience on board our Avalon ships.Panoramic windows throughout the shipElegant, contemporary design & decorFriendly, English-speaking crew & Cruise DirectorComplimentary Wi-Fi throughout the shipAvalon FreshSM healthy cuisine optionsComplimentary wine, beer and soft drinks at lunch & dinnerAvalon Choice® cruising experienceIncluded sightseeing with headsets by Certified Local GuidesComplimentary Nordic walking sticksComplimentary bicycles available for time on shoreLocal FavoritesSM - onboard cultural & artisan experiencesSky Deck shade system & premium lounge chairsWell-stocked library with books, cards, and gamesComfort Collection BedsSMEgyptian super-combed cotton linensBathrobes & slippersPremium L'Occitane bath products & hairdryerLarge bathroom featuring shower with glass doorFlatscreen satellite TV with free movie channelsIndividual climate controlComplimentary bottled water dailyClub Lounge with 24-hour, self-serve beverage stationPremium coffees, cappuccinos, lattes, hot chocolate & teasCookies & fresh fruit available throughout the dayAnd, much more
Highlights & Sightseeing
Days 1-3 Prague: welcome to the Czech Republic; guided sightseeing on Day 2, see the Astronomical Clock and visit Hradcany 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 Wurstkuche; 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 Mohacs. Excursion to Pecs: guided sightseeing in Pecs, 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 Tarnovo & Arbanassi-Rousse: guided sightseeing, visit Tsarevets Fortress in Veliko Tarnovo, 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: your vacation ends this morning
MealsCaptain's welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapesWelcome dinnerFarewell dinnerDaily full buffet breakfast with made-to-order egg station, hot and cold menu itemsEarly and Late Riser breakfastDaily lunch buffet with pasta or carving stationsAlternative light lunch or (weather permitting) grill fare at the Sky Bistro on the Sky DeckDaily four-course a la carte dinner in the main dining roomAlternative dinner of petite portions or regional specialties with wines, in the Panorama BistroDaily Afternoon TeaDaily Night FareComplimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner are included daily on board your vessel
NotesIn 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.Cruise-Only Available: This vacation can also be taken as a Cruise-Only option starting at the embarkation city and ending at the disembarkation city, and does not include overnight land stays. If you are interested in this option, please contact a Travel Consultant for more information.
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.
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; HRADCANY 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. (Breakfast)
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. (Breakfast)
Prague-Nuremberg, Germany (Embarkation)
After lunch, drive to Nuremberg, where your ship is docked. Before dinner, meet your crew for a welcome reception. (Breakfast, Dinner)
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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
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 Brucke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany. Grab a beer and enjoy an included SNACK at the Historische Wurstkuche (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! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
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 facade, the landmark of Durnstein, 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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
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 Karntnerstrasse, 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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
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 Cafe, 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 Vaci utca, the main shopping street. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Mohacs. Excursion to Pecs
This morning arrive in Mohacs, the last stop in Hungary, from where an included excursion takes you to Pecs. 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. Pecs is also a rich showcase of Turkish architecture and home to Turkish mosques, striking churches, and an enjoyable atmosphere around its restaurants and cafes. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
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 cafes. 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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
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! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Nikopol. Excursion to Veliko Tarnovo & Arbanassi-Rousse
This morning, stop in Nikopol from where an excursion takes you to the ancient Bulgarian capital of Veliko Tarnovo. 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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
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, cafes, and fine houses. (Breakfast)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
|Call 800 MY CRUISE for more information or to book today! Mention code 13849421|
|Offer valid through 6/30/2018|
Gratuities to Local Guides & Excursion Drivers are included.
Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.
Extra nights per person in Prague:
in single room from $170 to $550, in twin room from $95 to $320
Extra nights per person in Bucharest:
in single room from $145 to $225, in twin room from $75 to $125
Cruise-Only Available: This vacation can also be taken as a Cruise-Only option starting at the embarkation city and ending at the disembarkation city, and does not include overnight land stays. If you are interested in this option, please contact a Travel Consultant for more information.
Prices shown above include cruise in Category E in a deluxe outside stateroom on Indigo Deck.
To upgrade to a higher category, add per person:
Category / Decks / Price
D / Indigo Deck / $370
B / Sapphire Deck / $2,134
A / Sapphire Deck / $2,227
P / Royal Deck / $2,412
Royal Suite / Royal Deck / $3,712
Prices shown are "starting at" prices and do not include airfare.
Travel Terms & Conditions
The purchase of any travel services offered by Avalon Waterways, constitutes a contractual arrangement between you (the Traveler) and Avalon Waterways, and represents your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions. Please ensure that you read carefully and understand the Terms & Conditions prior to booking. These Terms & Conditions cover Deposit & Final Payment information, Air-Inclusive Deposits & Final Payment, Revisions & Revision Fees, Air Arrangements, Participation, Travelers Who Need Special Assistance, Young Travelers, Smoking, Price Policy, Visas and Passports, Hotels & Accommodations, Baggage Allowance, Travel Documents, Not Included in the Land Price, Refunds, Service Inquires After the Vacation, Holidays, Safety, Photos & Pictures, Optional Excursions, and Responsibility.
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Important NotesVacation departures, itineraries and prices are subject to change.A non-refundable, non-transferable deposit is required for Avalon Waterways to reserve space for you. View Terms & Conditions for limited exceptions.The following charges are not included in the land/cruise vacation price unless otherwise noted: airfare to and from the start of your vacation; intra-vacation air, unless specified in the itinerary; airline baggage fees including checked and/or excess baggage fees; Federal inspection fees for the Federal U.S. Customs and Immigrations; International Air Transportation tax; agricultural tax; other per person taxes imposed by government entities; airport taxes and fees, including the September 11th Security fee up to $11.20 per person, passenger facility charges up to $18 per person, Federal domestic flight segment fees up to $4.10 per segment, and U.S. and international arrival and departure and other government-imposed added by the airline and applicable at time of booking; port taxes; passports; visas and vaccinations; tips to your Cruise Director, Local Host, driver, Local Guides, and/or ship's crew; gratuities on ferries, trains, and cruise ships; laundry; telephone; minibar; alcohol, beverages, and food outside of the contracted Avalon menu as presented at a hotel or restaurant or onboard your vessel (these extra items will be billed to you before leaving the hotel, ship, or restaurant); airport transfers on non-qualifying flights; optional excursions; additional activities and excursions purchased online; porterage at airports and train stations; Travel Protection; and all other items of a personal nature. Additional airline-imposed fees for seat assignments may apply and are not included in your total package cost. Please refer to carrier websites for seat assignment policies and applicable pricing.
Booking your Vacation with Air
Our volume buying power saves you money. We may be able to provide you with flight arrangements from your gateway city. Avalon Waterways offers 2 air options: Flex Air and Instant Purchase Air. Early Airfare Price Guarantee locks in a price that is guaranteed not to increase. Air pricing and schedules are available approximately 330 days prior to last travel date in the itinerary. At that time the best air price will be utilized and a new invoice with the air cost and confirmed schedule will be sent. The identity of the carrier, which may include the carrier's codeshare partner, will be assigned and disclosed at this time. If the guaranteed price is the lowest, the schedule with the lowest fare per contracted classes of service will be booked. Any voluntary change to the confirmed flights negates the guaranteed price and is subject to air pricing at the time of the change.
Guaranteed air-inclusive prices - air is only available to passengers traveling from the United States and only available when booked in conjunction with a land vacation. An additional non-refundable air deposit of $300 per person is required for Flex Air booked in conjunction with any land vacation (i.e. air-inclusive vacation). Air can only be booked by Avalon in conjunction with a vacation package. Instant Purchase Air requires air payment in full at time of booking (i.e. air-inclusive vacation) plus a non-refundable per person service fee of $30 (North/Central America), $50 (Europe/Middle East) or $80 (all other international destinations). Once booked, Instant Purchase Air is non-refundable, and non-changeable. Some vacations may only offer one Air type option. However, once your airfare is confirmed and Avalon has received your full air and land deposit, your air-inclusive vacation price is guaranteed.
Air-Inclusive Vacations - Applicable Taxes & Fees
Air-inclusive vacations include government-imposed taxes and fees applicable at the time of booking and will be shown as a Total Amount. Additional airline fees for baggage may apply. At the time of booking your air-inclusive vacation online, carrier Websites will be provided to check baggage fees, or you can visit www.iflybags.com for up-to-date baggage pricing/restrictions. For return travel from some countries, international travelers are required to pay entry and/or exit fees at the airport. These fees will be collected by the local government and are payable by the traveler at time of travel. Your confirmation booking information will contain information about these fees.