Travel to legendary destinations on a 14-night cruise, on which you will savor Wachau Valley wines, experience the beauty and history of Vienna and Budapest, and traverse the narrow Iron Gates. You will also visit culturally rich countries like Bulgaria and Romania. Add on an optional pre-cruise extension to Prague and post-cruise extension to Bucharest.
Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.
Vilshofen to Rousse Itinerary
Vilshofen, Germany / Embarkation
Embark your cruise in Vilshofen. Tonight gather on board for a Welcome Dinner.
Vilshofen / Passau
This morning you are free to explore Vilshofen’s beautiful old town before cruising to Passau. This afternoon you will have a walking tour of this 2,000-year-old city, noted for its Gothic and Italian Baroque architecture, cobblestone streets, Rathaus, Domplatz and Residenzplatz squares, as well as St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
Linz, Austria / Optional Afternoon Tours
The ship arrives this morning in Linz. Enjoy a walking tour of the second largest city in Austria or choose a guided bike tour that will show you around the Old City Center, along the Danube River, and past the ultra-modern Ars Electronica Center. Later, you will have a choice of three different excursions. The first option is an excursion to Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace, where you will take a walking tour of the historic center made famous by "The Sound of Music.” The second option is an excursion to the Czech town of Cesky Krumlov, a wonderfully preserved medieval town nestled in the hills just over the Austrian-Czech border. The third option is a visit to the Austrian Lake District, the scenic Salzkammergut region. All three regions are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Cruise through the narrow Strudengau this morning en route to Weissenkirchen. You have three choices of how to explore Dürnstein today. The first is a walking tour along the town’s cobblestone streets followed by a visit to the magnificent Benedictine Abbey at Melk, one of Europe’s largest and most famous monastic sites, home to religious relics and a library filled with medieval manuscripts. Alternatively, you may join a hike up to the fortress where Richard the Lionheart was once held for ransom, or enjoy an Apricots and Sweets tasting instead. Tonight, after dinner on board, enjoy a wine tasting at a local winery.
This morning, you will have a chance to savor the Baroque elegance of romantic Vienna through your choice of one of three different excursions. The first option is a panoramic tour of Vienna that guides you past the majestic Opera House, the former Imperial Palace of the Habsburg Emperors, Parliament, Town Hall and Vienna University. Afterwards, you will visit Vienna’s historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and see St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Graben and the world famous Spanish Riding School. The second option is a walking tour of Vienna’s hidden treasures that takes you to secret places and sights like Ankeruhr, a whimsical Art Nouveau clock. Your third option is a guided bike tour along the Danube and through the Donaupark. This afternoon, you can join a guided bike ride to Klosterneuburg Monastery, or explore at your leisure. Be sure to sample some Viennese coffee and pastries.
Enjoy a scenic morning cruise to Bratislava, where you will have three choices of excursions. The first is a walking tour that includes the Old Town Hall, Mirbach Palace and St. Martin’s Cathedral. The second is a Slovakian Specialties tasting where you will enjoy a welcome glass of sparkling wine, sample a creamy soup made from sheep's cheese and learn how to prepare stuffed potato ravioli. Finally, you can also join a hike up to Bratislava Castle, which includes visits to the Castle Upper Terrace and Court of Honor. The remainder of the day is free to explore on your own.
Your morning excursion includes sightseeing in the cities of Buda and Pest spread over both banks of the river. You will see famed Heroes’ Square and Castle Hill, home to Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church and spectacular views of the Danube. Alternatively, you may also opt to join a hike up to Castle Hill on which you will see Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion and Parliament Square. After dinner, the ship will sail a special Illuminations Cruise past the glittering riverfront of Budapest.
After breakfast this morning, you will have an excursion to Puszta, the great Hungarian plain that stretches to the eastern border of the country. This area is home to Hungarian cowboys who still wear traditional dress and practice the skills of their Magyar ancestors. After touring a typical csarda (farm), you will see an amazing performance of Hungarian horsemanship. You’ll also enjoy warm Hungarian hospitality and a traditional lunch of goulash before returning to the ship in Budapest.
Mohacs / Pécs, Hungary
Arrive in Mohács around breakfast time and depart for your excursion to Pécs. Founded more than 2,000 years ago by the Romans, the city was an important cultural base during many centuries of Ottoman rule. You will see St. Peter’s Basilica, the city’s main Catholic cathedral, as well as either a mosque that has been converted to a church or the restored synagogue, before returning to the ship in Mohács.
Vukovar, Croatia / Novi Sad
This morning, enjoy a Yugoslav Civil War tour of Vukovar that will show you the Ovcara Memorial and Cemetery, the monumental cross that serves as a memorial to those who lost their lives during Croatia’s struggle for independence. Enjoy lunch on board as you cruise to Novi Sad, Serbia, one of Europe’s greatest historical treasures. After a walking tour of the city, you will later in the evening see the Petrovaradin fortress, a mighty stronghold no enemy has ever breached and that is now home to a hotel, museum and artists’ studios.
Wake up in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, and enjoy a panoramic tour of the city, that includes visits to Kalemegdan Fortress and the Serbian Orthodox Temple of St. Sava. This afternoon you will have your choice of one of three excursions. Your first option is a visit to the mausoleum of Marshal Josip Broz Tito, a beloved figure who was the leader of the Yugoslav Partisans during the Second World War and became the first President of Yugoslavia. Your second option is a tasting of Serbian plum brandy and local snacks at the Quburich Distillery. Your third option is a guided bike tour through Belgrade around Ada Ciganlija Island.
Cruising / Iron Gates
Today, enjoy a full day of cruising through one of Europe’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders, the Iron Gates. Here the Danube narrows as it winds through a series of magnificent gorges between Serbia and Romania. The banks of the river along this natural border are lined with sheer-faced rocks that stretch high overhead, a sight that will be an unforgettable highlight of your cruise.
Your time in Vidin begins with a visit to Belogradchik, a beautifully restored castle located in a stunning landscape of unusual rock formations, as well as Vidin Castle. Afterwards, you will visit Baba Vida Fortress, the only entirely preserved medieval castle in the country, where you will be treated to a fascinating historical re-enactment. You may also opt instead for a Banitsa pastry and yogurt tasting, or a guided bike tour on which you will see sights like the Ottoman post office and visit the synagogue. The ship departs early in the afternoon.
Giurgiu / Veliko Turnavo
Today, enjoy a visit to the ancient capital of Bulgaria, Veliko Turnavo. Here you will tour Tsarevets Hill, the old citadel of the city. You will see the old fortress walls, the Royal Palaces and the Patriarchal church and the Baldwin’s Tower. Or you may choose to hike to the Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, a group of monolithic churches, chapels and monasteries built into the side of a mountain. Return to the ship afterward and enjoy a free evening.
Rousse / Disembarkation
Disembark the ship in Rousse, with the option to add the post-cruise Land Program.
REVERSE CRUISE PROGRAM
Rousse to Vilshofen Itinerary
Day 1 Rousse, Bulgaria
Day 2 Giurgiu / Veliko Turnavo
Day 3 Vidin, Bulgaria
Day 4 Cruising / Iron Gates
Day 5 Belgrade, Serbia
Day 6 Novi Sad / Vukovar, Croatia
Day 7 Mohacs / Pecs, Hungary
Day 8 Budapest
Day 9 Budapest
Day 10 Bratislava, Slovakia / Vienna, Austria
Day 11 Vienna
Day 12 Weissenkirchen / Emmersdorf / Grein
Day 13 Linz
Day 14 Passau, Germany / Vilshofen
Day 15 Vilshofen / Disembarkation
ADD ON A PRE-CRUISE AND POST-CRUISE LAND PROGRAM
Additional 3-night Prague pre-cruise, 2-night Bucharest post-cruise from $1680
Arrive in Prague, Czech Republic
Arrive in Prague, Czech Republic, and transfer to your hotel. The balance of the day is free to start exploring this beautiful city...B
This morning, choose between a standard city tour and a hike. Both will reveal why Prague is considered one of Europe’s most attractive cities, with a historic city center that’s recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will see Rudolfinum, the National Museum, Wenceslas Square and the Hundertwasser Dancing House. Next, visit the 1,000 year-old Prague Castle and St. Vitus before walking over the romantic Charles Bridge to the Old Market Square, where you will find the capital’s famous Astronomical Clock, Tyn Church and the statue of Jan Husek. The rest of the day is at your leisure, perhaps to enjoy yourself in one of the city’s many charming cafés...B
Spend a day at your leisure, perhaps to stroll through a museum or gallery, wander along the banks of the Vltava River, relax at an outdoor café, or shop for local handicrafts. Overnight at hotel...B
Prague / Regensburg / Vilshofen / Embarkation
Depart Prague this morning and stop in Regensburg for a guided walking tour of one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After lunch on your own, continue on to the charming 1,200-year-old Bavarian town of Vilshofen and board your luxurious ship...BD
The Cruise-Only Program begins with embarkation on Day 4 in Vilshofen and disembarks in Rousse on Day 18.
Rousse / Disembarkation / Bucharest, Romania
Disembark the ship in Rousse and continue your tour by motor coach. Today we explore Bucharest, the “Paris of the East.” Begin with a city tour that features a visit to the Open Air Museum, dedicated to preserving the traditional architecture of rural Romania. After lunch, guests will enjoy a guided tour of the Palace of the Parliament. Later this afternoon check in to your hotel. The evening is free for you to explore the city on your own if you wish...B
Bucharest / Transylvania
After breakfast, enjoy a full day excursion today to the legendary region of Transylvania, a place deeply rooted in myth and history and comfortably nestled between the Carpathian Mountains. Take a scenic country drive to Sinaia, where you’ll have an opportunity to see the exquisite Peles Castle, a former summer palace for Romanian royalty. Continue on to Bran for where you will have lunch before visiting the infamous Bran Castle, otherwise known as Dracula’s Castle...B
Bucharest / Depart
Bid farewell to Bucharest as you prepare for your homeward flight...B
Please call for details on the pre- and post-cruise Land Program for the reverse itinerary