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Istanbul & Enchantment of Eastern Europe

4.5/5 Based on 2 Reviews No Booking FeesDedicated Travel Advisor

Istanbul & Enchantment of Eastern Europe

4.5/5 Based on 2 Reviews No Booking FeesDedicated Travel Advisor
River View
$7,088
Balcony
$8,108
Suite
$9,247
* Port charges, taxes and fees included
 Cruise Length
12 Days
 Cruise Starts
Istanbul
 Cruise Finishes
Budapest
12 Day Istanbul & Enchantment of Eastern Europe Itinerary (Emerald Cruises)
Countries Explored: Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary
 Cruise Length
12 Days
 Cruise Starts
Istanbul
 Cruise Finishes
Budapest
12 Day Istanbul & Enchantment of Eastern Europe Itinerary (Emerald Cruises)
Countries Explored: Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary
Ship
Departures
Passengers
180
Crew
51
Launched
2014
Cruise Code
EWBI-2
Ship
Departures
Passengers
180
Crew
51
Launched
2014
Cruise Code
EWBI-2

Overview

Enjoy a three-night stay in the colourful Turkish city of Istanbul before journeying to Bucharest in Romanian. Your cruise begins in Arbanasi where you will attend a choir concert. Embark on a guided city tour of Belgrade, returning to your Star-Ship for a traditional Serbian folklore evening show. In Osijek, visit a local Croatian family for home-hosted lunch and then spend your day in rural Hungary for a Puszta Horse Show in Kalocsa.
Enjoy a three-night stay in the colourful Turkish city of Istanbul before journeying to Bucharest in Romanian. Your cruise begins in Arbanasi where you will attend a choir concert. Embark on a guided city tour of Belgrade, returning to your Star-Ship for a traditional Serbian folklore evening show. In Osijek, visit a local Croatian family for home-hosted lunch and then spend your day in rural Hungary for a Puszta Horse Show in Kalocsa.

Itinerary

Welcome to Istanbul, one of the most important and inspiringly beautiful cities of the world history. You will be met at the airport in Istanbul and taken to your centrally-located hotel, with a three-night stay included in your itinerary.

Today, you will explore some of the Istanbul’s highlights – such as the famed Hippodrome Square which was once the sporting and social center of Constantinople that hosted the chariot races until the Middle Ages. You will get to see the Blue Mosque, probably one of the most famed masterpieces of Ottoman religious architecture. Standing in great prestige with its six minarets and perfect proportioned dome, it is named after its Turquoise colored tiles made of quartz minerals. Ottoman Sultans preferred to pray in this timeless shrine due to its incomparable beauty until when the empire collapsed after the World War I. Afterwards, you will carry on to the Basilica of Saint Sophia, one of the largest Christian shrines ever built in history.

  • DiscoverMORE Topkapi & Harem section AND/OR Whirling Dervishes Ceremony (extra expense)
  • Included Excursion City tour of Istanbul (B)

We start the day with a tour of the Underground Cistern known by the locals as the Sunken Cistern. From there you will continue your exploration with the bustling atmosphere of the Spice Market, dating back to the 17th century, but still the most popular bazaar visited by locals to shop for fresh ingredients to spice up the dishes prepared in the kitchens of Istanbul. Afterwards, you will experience a very unique aspect of the city by boarding private boat for an unforgettable cruise on the waters of the Bosphorus. During your cruise on the famed strait running between the two continents, your guide will share with you all the legends and myths about the Bosphorus and its impressive mansions and palaces. As well as the scenery of the historical edifices, you will be overwhelmed by the skyline of Istanbul ornamented with domes and minarets of Byzantine and Ottoman cultures.

  • DiscoverMORE Turkish Bath at Roxelana AND/OR Street Food tour (extra expense)
  • Included Excursion Bosphorus cruise & Spice market tour (B)

After breakfast, fly to Bucharest where you will be transferred to your centrally-located hotel for a 1-night stay before your exciting cruise on the Danube. (B)

After enjoying the plush surrounds of your hotel this morning, you'll have the opportunity to learn about some of Bucharest’s most iconic attractions during a guided drive around the city, including a visit to the Spring Palace. Then, you’ll have time to explore the leafy boulevards at your leisure. After your insightful tour, you’ll be transferred from Bucharest to Giurgiu, on the banks of the Danube, where a warm welcome from your captain and crew awaits on board your Emerald Cruises Star-Ship.

  • Included Excursion Guided drive through Bucharest with a visit to the Spring Palace (B/D)

Today, you'll have the opportunity to learn about Bulgarian history, as you explore the former capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire with your local guide. On your included tour, you’ll have the chance to traverse its cobbled streets and observe its impressive medieval fortifications.

Afterwards, you’ll be taken to neighbouring Arbanasi, situated overlooking the Yantra River, a tributary of the Danube that is known for its many scenic gorges. Explore the past with your local guide, as your tour visits a number of traditional houses and ancient churches. If you would prefer to do something more active, then instead, you could choose to embark on a guided hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, known for their famous 14th-century frescoes. Tonight, you’ll have the chance to mingle with your fellow guests while enjoying the welcome reception and dinner.

  • EmeraldPLUS Choir concert in Arbanasi
  • EmeraldACTIVE Guided hike to Ivanovo Church
  • Included Excursion Tour of Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi
  • DiscoverMORE Wine tasting at Leventa Complex (extra expense) (B/L/D)

Viticulture forms the heart of life in the most western town in Bulgaria, where sun-kissed vineyards pepper the banks of the Danube and winemaking has prospered for generations. Your included tour of Vidin will introduce you to a peaceful side of life that revolves around wine, as you weave through a local vineyard and learn about their produce, before enjoying a tasting session. Afterwards, your local guide will take you to Baba Vida, a fortress that was originally constructed at the turn of the 10th century and is known for being one of only a handful of beautifully preserved castles in the country. If you’re feeling more active, you can instead choose to embark on a guided hike to Belogradchik Fortress, located on the northern slopes of the Balkan Mountains.

  • EmeraldACTIVE Guided hike to Belogradchik Fortress
  • Included Excursion Visit to a local vineyard with wine tasting & a visit to Baba Vida Fortress
  • DiscoverMORE Traditional Bulgarian pastry making (extra expense) (B/L/D)

This morning, relax on board and admire your surroundings as we sail along the mighty Danube to Donji Milanovac, where a visit to the Lepenski Vir archaeological site, one of Europe’s best-hidden gems, awaits. Located right on the riverbanks, the Palaeolithic site is one of the most important of its kind on the continent, effortlessly capturing more than eight millennia of history. Archaeologists from around the world have used this site to learn about a number of different Stone Age settlements and the way that prehistoric cultures moved across Europe.

  • Included Excursion Visit to Lepenski Vir archaeological site and museum
  • DiscoverMORE Golubac Castle Visit (extra expense) (B/L/D)

Serbia’s vibrant capital is yours to explore today. Your local guide will take you on a coach tour through the heart of the city, highlighting its many landmarks and the iconic Belgrade Fortress. The coach will pass through the centre, where you’ll notice reminders of the country’s turbulent history, set amongst the quiet and peaceful streets. Witness the ornate beauty of the Church of Saint Sava, one of the largest religious buildings in Europe, before stopping for a tour of the Museum of Yugoslavia. If you’re feeling more active, then you may instead choose to learn about Belgrade’s history during a guided bike tour. This evening, you will be invited to the Horizon Lounge where a traditional Serbian folklore show will provide spectacular entertainment.

  • EmeraldPLUS Serbian folklore evening show on board
  • EmeraldACTIVE Guided bike tour in Belgrade
  • Included Excursion Guided tour of Belgrade
  • DiscoverMORE National Opera Theatre tour (extra expense)
  • DiscoverMORE Routes of Nikola Tesla (extra expense) (B/L/D)

Today, you will have the opportunity to explore one of Croatia’s postcard-worthy historic university towns, full of delightful waterfront promenades and quaint cobbled streets.

Embark on a guided walk around Osijek Fortress, a true icon in the romantic Old Town, before a truly unforgettable EmeraldPLUS experience, as you’re invited into the home of a local family for a traditional Croatian lunch. Enjoy an evening of sailing further up the Danube towards Hungary, before joining your fellow passengers for a farewell dinner.

  • EmeraldPLUS Home-hosted lunch with a Croatian family
  • Included Excursion Guided walking tour of Osijek Fortress
  • DiscoverMORE Vucedol Culture Museum (extra expense) (B/L/D)

In the morning, we will sail to Kalocsa, a place known for its paprika production and colourful festivals. Discovering Hungary’s culture is an easy task in Kalocsa, where traditional folk art can be found around every corner and old traditions pave the way for daily life.

Later, you will venture to the Puszta, or Great Hungarian Plain, to visit a traditional Puszta horse farm. Your guide will teach you about the traditional performances of the Magyar cowboys, and you’ll have the opportunity to witness some of their exceptional equestrian skills first-hand as they showcase some of their exercise drills.

This evening, enjoy an authentic Hungarian folklore show on board, followed by a traditional dinner.

  • EmeraldPLUS Puszta horse show
  • EmeraldPLUS Traditional Hungarian folklore show on board (B/L/D)

After breakfast, it is time to say farewell to your fellow guests and transfer to the airport, taking memories of a traditional Puszta equestrian performance and viticulture on the banks of the Danube with you.

This itinerary is a guide only and may be amended for operational reasons such as high and low water. As such, the cruise may operate altered from that stated above. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information. (B)

Welcome to Istanbul, one of the most important and inspiringly beautiful cities of the world history. You will be met at the airport in Istanbul and taken to your centrally-located hotel, with a three-night stay included in your itinerary.

Today, you will explore some of the Istanbul’s highlights – such as the famed Hippodrome Square which was once the sporting and social center of Constantinople that hosted the chariot races until the Middle Ages. You will get to see the Blue Mosque, probably one of the most famed masterpieces of Ottoman religious architecture. Standing in great prestige with its six minarets and perfect proportioned dome, it is named after its Turquoise colored tiles made of quartz minerals. Ottoman Sultans preferred to pray in this timeless shrine due to its incomparable beauty until when the empire collapsed after the World War I. Afterwards, you will carry on to the Basilica of Saint Sophia, one of the largest Christian shrines ever built in history.

  • DiscoverMORE Topkapi & Harem section AND/OR Whirling Dervishes Ceremony (extra expense)
  • Included Excursion City tour of Istanbul (B)

We start the day with a tour of the Underground Cistern known by the locals as the Sunken Cistern. From there you will continue your exploration with the bustling atmosphere of the Spice Market, dating back to the 17th century, but still the most popular bazaar visited by locals to shop for fresh ingredients to spice up the dishes prepared in the kitchens of Istanbul. Afterwards, you will experience a very unique aspect of the city by boarding private boat for an unforgettable cruise on the waters of the Bosphorus. During your cruise on the famed strait running between the two continents, your guide will share with you all the legends and myths about the Bosphorus and its impressive mansions and palaces. As well as the scenery of the historical edifices, you will be overwhelmed by the skyline of Istanbul ornamented with domes and minarets of Byzantine and Ottoman cultures.

  • DiscoverMORE Turkish Bath at Roxelana AND/OR Street Food tour (extra expense)
  • Included Excursion Bosphorus cruise & Spice market tour (B)

After breakfast, fly to Bucharest where you will be transferred to your centrally-located hotel for a 1-night stay before your exciting cruise on the Danube. (B)

After enjoying the plush surrounds of your hotel this morning, you'll have the opportunity to learn about some of Bucharest’s most iconic attractions during a guided drive around the city, including a visit to the Spring Palace. Then, you’ll have time to explore the leafy boulevards at your leisure. After your insightful tour, you’ll be transferred from Bucharest to Giurgiu, on the banks of the Danube, where a warm welcome from your captain and crew awaits on board your Emerald Cruises Star-Ship.

  • Included Excursion Guided drive through Bucharest with a visit to the Spring Palace (B/D)

Today, you'll have the opportunity to learn about Bulgarian history, as you explore the former capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire with your local guide. On your included tour, you’ll have the chance to traverse its cobbled streets and observe its impressive medieval fortifications.

Afterwards, you’ll be taken to neighbouring Arbanasi, situated overlooking the Yantra River, a tributary of the Danube that is known for its many scenic gorges. Explore the past with your local guide, as your tour visits a number of traditional houses and ancient churches. If you would prefer to do something more active, then instead, you could choose to embark on a guided hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, known for their famous 14th-century frescoes. Tonight, you’ll have the chance to mingle with your fellow guests while enjoying the welcome reception and dinner.

  • EmeraldPLUS Choir concert in Arbanasi
  • EmeraldACTIVE Guided hike to Ivanovo Church
  • Included Excursion Tour of Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi
  • DiscoverMORE Wine tasting at Leventa Complex (extra expense) (B/L/D)

Viticulture forms the heart of life in the most western town in Bulgaria, where sun-kissed vineyards pepper the banks of the Danube and winemaking has prospered for generations. Your included tour of Vidin will introduce you to a peaceful side of life that revolves around wine, as you weave through a local vineyard and learn about their produce, before enjoying a tasting session. Afterwards, your local guide will take you to Baba Vida, a fortress that was originally constructed at the turn of the 10th century and is known for being one of only a handful of beautifully preserved castles in the country. If you’re feeling more active, you can instead choose to embark on a guided hike to Belogradchik Fortress, located on the northern slopes of the Balkan Mountains.

  • EmeraldACTIVE Guided hike to Belogradchik Fortress
  • Included Excursion Visit to a local vineyard with wine tasting & a visit to Baba Vida Fortress
  • DiscoverMORE Traditional Bulgarian pastry making (extra expense) (B/L/D)

This morning, relax on board and admire your surroundings as we sail along the mighty Danube to Donji Milanovac, where a visit to the Lepenski Vir archaeological site, one of Europe’s best-hidden gems, awaits. Located right on the riverbanks, the Palaeolithic site is one of the most important of its kind on the continent, effortlessly capturing more than eight millennia of history. Archaeologists from around the world have used this site to learn about a number of different Stone Age settlements and the way that prehistoric cultures moved across Europe.

  • Included Excursion Visit to Lepenski Vir archaeological site and museum
  • DiscoverMORE Golubac Castle Visit (extra expense) (B/L/D)

Serbia’s vibrant capital is yours to explore today. Your local guide will take you on a coach tour through the heart of the city, highlighting its many landmarks and the iconic Belgrade Fortress. The coach will pass through the centre, where you’ll notice reminders of the country’s turbulent history, set amongst the quiet and peaceful streets. Witness the ornate beauty of the Church of Saint Sava, one of the largest religious buildings in Europe, before stopping for a tour of the Museum of Yugoslavia. If you’re feeling more active, then you may instead choose to learn about Belgrade’s history during a guided bike tour. This evening, you will be invited to the Horizon Lounge where a traditional Serbian folklore show will provide spectacular entertainment.

  • EmeraldPLUS Serbian folklore evening show on board
  • EmeraldACTIVE Guided bike tour in Belgrade
  • Included Excursion Guided tour of Belgrade
  • DiscoverMORE National Opera Theatre tour (extra expense)
  • DiscoverMORE Routes of Nikola Tesla (extra expense) (B/L/D)

Today, you will have the opportunity to explore one of Croatia’s postcard-worthy historic university towns, full of delightful waterfront promenades and quaint cobbled streets.

Embark on a guided walk around Osijek Fortress, a true icon in the romantic Old Town, before a truly unforgettable EmeraldPLUS experience, as you’re invited into the home of a local family for a traditional Croatian lunch. Enjoy an evening of sailing further up the Danube towards Hungary, before joining your fellow passengers for a farewell dinner.

  • EmeraldPLUS Home-hosted lunch with a Croatian family
  • Included Excursion Guided walking tour of Osijek Fortress
  • DiscoverMORE Vucedol Culture Museum (extra expense) (B/L/D)

In the morning, we will sail to Kalocsa, a place known for its paprika production and colourful festivals. Discovering Hungary’s culture is an easy task in Kalocsa, where traditional folk art can be found around every corner and old traditions pave the way for daily life.

Later, you will venture to the Puszta, or Great Hungarian Plain, to visit a traditional Puszta horse farm. Your guide will teach you about the traditional performances of the Magyar cowboys, and you’ll have the opportunity to witness some of their exceptional equestrian skills first-hand as they showcase some of their exercise drills.

This evening, enjoy an authentic Hungarian folklore show on board, followed by a traditional dinner.

  • EmeraldPLUS Puszta horse show
  • EmeraldPLUS Traditional Hungarian folklore show on board (B/L/D)

After breakfast, it is time to say farewell to your fellow guests and transfer to the airport, taking memories of a traditional Puszta equestrian performance and viticulture on the banks of the Danube with you.

This itinerary is a guide only and may be amended for operational reasons such as high and low water. As such, the cruise may operate altered from that stated above. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information. (B)

Life Onboard Emerald Sky

Emerald Sky
Emerald Sky

Fairytale castles and breathtaking landscapes await on the rivers of Europe when you cruise on Emerald Sky. Read more

You're Invited & EmeraldPLUS
You're Invited & EmeraldPLUS

Authentic included adventures that take you into the cultural heart of each destination. Read more

EmeraldACTIVE
EmeraldACTIVE

Ignite your sense of adventure and explore a little further on foot or by bike. Read more

Five Star Dining On Board
Five Star Dining On Board

Enjoy the finest flavours of Europe prepared by the expert culinary team aboard your river cruise. Read more

Swimming Pool and Cinema
Swimming Pool and Cinema

Watch the river flow by from the pool that becomes your cinema in the evening. Read more

Horizon Bar and Lounge
Horizon Bar and Lounge

All suites offer relaxing comfort and amenities to create a home away from home as you cruise. Read more

4.5
AVG. RATING 4.5 / 5
2 Reviews
5 Star
50%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Relaxing and interesting cruise through heart of Europe 0 , TAS, Australia, Nov 2023
We booked this cruise mid year, our first ever river cruise, to see parts of Europe we hadn't previously been to. Also for the xmas markets. The first part of our expectations was absolutely met, but for the first few days, Xmas markets were few and far between. It was a little too early it seems. I'm not sure how much information the cruise company ...read more gets about the markets, but I know there were a lot of disappointed people.

The crew were fantastic, I couldn't fault them, they gave 110% but there was still a feeling that we should have had more information before leaving and maybe a couple of the locations for tours might have been better, particularly the Cathedral at Krems. This tour was a bit of a non event as much of the building was closed. The Vienna concert evening was expensive for what it was and not particularly well organised, there was a lot of standing around before people were shown to their seats, not good for over passengers. The concert was also very short. We did another one in Vienna a week later, half the cost and lasted another 40 minutes.

All the tour guides were great though. Very informative and often funny. Great history lessons to be had. The food was excellent, varied and plentiful for a first time cruiser, there were some old hands who had done multiple cruises that didn't agree, so maybe that needs looking at. The entertainment was fun and well done, Dressen was always on the go making sure everyone was happy.

Janina worked really hard to ensure everyone was informed and catered for. Her port talks were excellent. I would have liked to have seen more scenery as we sailed along , most of our movements were done at night, possibly partly because of the shorter days too. All in all it was great , we both enjoyed it very much.
Sensational Emerald River Cruise! 1 , ACT, Australia, Jul 2023
Fabulous river cruise down the Danube organised through Global Journeys. We weren't sure what to expect for our first river cruise but it was sensational! We travelled with teenagers and they loved it also. Emerald organises lots of active tours for those that prefer that, as well as having the traditional activities as well. This cruise catered for ...read more everybody and we loved every part. The food, the suites, the onboard facilities and the wonderful wonderful staff. Thank you to Global Journeys for making the booking process so easy and for their great portal which was able to be accessed when we were overseas. Provided peace of mind and ease of access to all necessary information and documents.

Brochure

Europe River Cruises

Emerald Europe River Cruises (2024)

As small ship experts, we know that our minimal guest numbers, relaxed ambience, and high level of personal service, provide the perfect setting from which to enjoy Europe’s network of iconic rivers. The small ship lifestyle brings you to the heart of each destination for an intimate look at the local life along the riverbanks. Revolutionary in design,...more life on board our deluxe Emerald Cruises Star-Ships, promises contemporary comfort and unique innovations, while our suite of generous inclusions delivers exquisite dining experiences, exceptional service, and handpicked immersive itineraries.

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Note
Tour & cruises prices are per person. Prices shown have savings applied, are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Prices and trip information are correct at the time at this point in time, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking and are subject to change by Emerald Cruises. For cruise itineraries, cabin images are sourced from Emerald Cruises. These should be treated as indicative only. Cabin inclusions, upholsteries and room layout may differ to the image(s) shown depending on the ship selected and your sailing dates.

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