You will be met at the airport by an Emerald Cruises representative and transferred to your contemporary Emerald Cruises Star-Ship in Regensburg, where your friendly captain and crew will be waiting for you. (D)
This morning, sail through the picturesque surrounds of the Main-Danube Canal, passing over a series of impressive aqueducts. The medieval centre of Regensburg is yours to discover, exploring the UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town as your local guide leads you down cobblestone streets and past historic patrician houses.
This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner & reception followed by traditional Bavarian band on board. EmeraldPLUS A traditional Bavarian band on board Included Excursion A guided tour of Regensburg (B/L/D)
Today's cruising will take you to the heart of Passau, where three of Europe's main rivers converge in the shadows of the castle. Your guided tour of this illustrious city will unveil how it was rebuilt following fires in the 17th century. Italian architects left their mark with a scattering of Baroque architecture, including St. Stephen's Cathedral. Enjoy exploring the city before returning to your Star-Ship for lunch and an afternoon of sailing along the Danube River. Included Excursion A guided tour of Passau EmeraldACTIVE Hike to Veste Oberhaus DiscoverMORE Excursion to the Bavarian Forest (extra expense) (B/L/D)
History is brought to life in the quaint village of Melk. This morning, enjoy a guided tour of Melk's UNESCO World Heritage-listed Benedictine abbey, stopping to admire beautiful relics in the museum and an extensive collection of ancient manuscripts in the library. Afterwards, your Star-Ship will sail through the fascinating Wachau Valley, part of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Wachau Cultural Landscape, and on to Dürnstein.
If you are feeling active, join a guided hike to Dürnstein Castle, a medieval castle where Richard the Lionheart was held prisoner. Alternatively, embark on a guided bike tour from Melk to Dürnstein, passing terraced vineyards, castles and ruins along the way, before arriving where your Star-Ship is docked in Dürnstein. EmeraldACTIVE A guided bike tour along the Danube River from Melk to Dürnstein EmeraldACTIVE A guided hike to Dürnstein Castle Included Excursion A tour of Melk Abbey (B/L/D)
Welcome to Vienna. The “City of Dreams” was home to the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. Today, you can explore the capital with a drive along the magnificent Ringstrasse and a walking tour of the city. Soak in the opulent façades of the Vienna State Opera and City Hall before admiring the multi-coloured tiled roof of St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
Alternatively, embark on a guided cycling tour from where your Star-Ship is docked to the idyllic Danube Island. EmeraldACTIVE A guided bike tour Included Excursion A guided tour of Vienna DiscoverMORE An exclusive Viennese concert with music from Mozart and Strauss (extra expense) DiscoverMORE Tastes of Vienna (extra expense) (B/L/D)
A delightful scattering of Baroque palaces, Gothic architecture and blocks that tell tales of a communist past are yours to uncover as we sail towards Bratislava. Enjoy a guided tour of the city’s enchanting past, taking in the neo-Renaissance glory of the Slovak National Theatre and the Episcopal Summer Palace.
Alternatively, embark on a guided hike to Bratislava Castle and its idyllic Baroque gardens, offering the perfect backdrop to the Shakespeare festival that takes place during the summer months. This afternoon, enjoy a home-hosted coffee and cake with a Slovakian family before being welcomed to your Farewell Dinner. EmeraldPLUS Home-hosted coffee and cake with a Slovakian family EmeraldACTIVE A hike to Bratislava Castle Included Excursion A walking tour of Bratislava (B/L/D)
Welcome to Budapest, a city generously steeped in history and culture, where ancient architecture exists alongside contemporary buildings. Enjoy a guided tour, starting at the Liberty Statue and touching on many of Budapest’s highlights, including Heroes’ Square and the Buda Castle district, before a walking tour showcases Matthias Church and panoramic views best admired from the Fisherman’s Bastion.
Alternatively, enjoy a hike to Buda Hill and gaze over the Danube. EmeraldPLUS A traditional Hungarian folklore show EmeraldACTIVE A hike to Buda Hill Included Excursion A guided coach tour of Budapest DiscoverMORE Jewish Heritage tour (extra expense) DiscoverMORE Tour to Szentendre (extra expense) (B/L/D)
In the morning, we’ll sail out of Budapest towards Kalocsa, best known for its vibrant paprika festivals. Traditional folk art and culture are yours to discover here, as you sail through one of the oldest towns in Hungary. This afternoon, you’ll venture to the Puszta, or Great Hungarian Plain, for a traditional performance showcasing the exceptional equestrian skills of the Magyar cowboys.
Relax as you watch their spectacular horse parade and witness their exercise drills, most of which were readily practiced for wartime. Tonight, your crew will welcome you for a Welcome Dinner & Reception. EmeraldPLUS A traditional Hungarian horse show (B/L/D)
Cruise into the border region of Croatia and into Osijek, a historic university town full of leafy boulevards and promenades. Damage from the Homeland War is still visible across the city, but it is easily forgotten when you immerse yourself in the peaceful surrounds that can be found here. Today, you will be able to meet students from a local village who will be delighted to perform for you during your EmeraldPLUS excursion, before embarking on a walk around Osijek Fortress, nestled in the centre of the romantic old town.
This ensemble of well-preserved Baroque buildings is laid out like a traditional star fort, with bastions, armouries, a guardhouse and a military hospital all protected within its walls. Later, sail further down the Danube and into Serbia, where remnants of recent conflicts can be seen on the riverbanks. EmeraldPLUS Visit the home of a local Croatian family EmeraldPLUS Meet the local village students Included Excursion A guided tour of Osijek Fortress (B/L/D)
The capital of Serbia awaits you today, as a city tour introduces you to the highlights of one of Europe’s oldest cities, including Belgrade Fortress. Relax as your coach takes you through the centre of the city, where remnants of a chaotic past look out of place among peaceful surrounds. Witness the symmetrical façade of the Church of Saint Sava, one of the world’s largest church buildings, and stop for a tour of the Museum of Yugoslavia.
Enjoy learning about the life of the leader of the Partisans, Josip Broz Tito, and the way that they became one of the most effective resistance movements in occupied Europe. Alternatively, learn about the history of Belgrade during a guided bike tour of the city. This evening, relax in the Horizon Lounge and watch a traditional Serbian folklore show. EmeraldPLUS A Serbian folklore evening show EmeraldACTIVE A guided bike tour Included Excursion A guided tour of Belgrade DiscoverMORE A tour of the National Opera Theatre (extra expense) (B/L/D)
In eastern Serbia, within the Majdanpek municipality, the town of Donji Milanovac sits on the right bank of the Danube. Today, you will have the opportunity to visit the Palaeolithic site of Lepenski Vir on an included excursion. Enjoy learning about the importance of this archaeological site and its illustrious history, spanning more than 8 millennia.
Archaeologists have used this site to track the development of prehistoric culture in Europe, and numerous Stone Age settlements have been found in the area. The day ends as we sail through the Iron Gates, a scenic narrow gorge that meanders between the Carpathian Mountains and the European Alps. Included Excursion A visit to Lepenski Vir archaeological site and museum (B/L/D)
This morning, we’ll arrive in Vidin, a beautiful town in north-west Bulgaria. Situated on the right bank of the Danube, it is one of the oldest along the Bulgarian Danube bank, prospering from the surrounding countryside, renowned for producing wines. Your included tour will introduce you to the best of Vidin’s viticulture, as you stroll through a local vineyard and enjoy a tasting of their produce.
Later, venture to Baba Vida, a medieval fortress whose name can be translated to mean “Granny Vida”. Construction began on the fortress in the 10th century, and it has been steeped in legend ever since. Alternatively, hike to Belogradchik Fortress, a well-preserved stronghold that sits against a series of impressive rock formations. EmeraldACTIVE A hike to Belogradchik Fortress Included Excursion Visit a local vineyard for a tasting & Baba Vida Fortress (B/L/D)
Today, your Star-Ship will cruise into Rousse. You will have the opportunity to visit Veliko Tarnovo, stopping to learn about its rich history as the former capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. This medieval city was built atop three hills, and its fortifications and cobbled streets are certain to delight history lovers. Nearby, Arbanasi sits on a high plateau overlooking the Yantra River. Each street in the area is lined with traditional houses, and old churches offer centuries of exploration during your guided tour of Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi.
Alternatively, embark on a guided hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, a complex of churches, chapels and monasteries. Witness the incredible nature of the 14th-century painted frescoes and learn about their composition and the emotional atmosphere that they convey, something that was far ahead of its time. Tonight, your crew will welcome you on board for a Farewell dinner. EmeraldPLUS A choir concert in Arbanasi EmeraldACTIVE Hike to the Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo Included Excursion A tour of Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi (B/L/D)
This morning, relax and enjoy the passing scenery as we drive towards Bucharest, including the Romanian city of Giurgiu, set amongst the mud flats and marshes of the Danube. Visit the Spring Palace to see the elegant exterior of a well-kept secret and the plush interior of the private residence of Nicolae Ceausescu, before enjoying free time to explore the city at leisure.
Learn about Bucharest’s vibrant history on a guided coach tour, passing by the Palace of Parliament. This evening, settle into the comfortable surrounds of your hotel, perhaps going for a stroll down one of the wide avenues or leafy boulevards that give Bucharest a distinctly French feel. Included Excursion A guided drive through Bucharest (B)
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