Passage to Eastern Europe featuring Transylvania - 2019

9-night river cruise with Budapest, Kalocsa, Mohacs, Vukovar, Belgrade, Donji Milanovac, Ruse, Veliko Tarnovo • Bucharest
  • Passage to Eastern Europe featuring Transylvania
  • $366
  • 12
  • 21
13 DAYS FROM $4,599
Extend Your journey (2 available)
Warsaw & Krakow

6 DAYS FROM $999

Transylvania, Romania

4 DAYS FROM $699

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Any company can take you to the world’s most iconic cultural capitals. But with Vantage, you’ll admire all of those and more, with the untarnished and undiscovered gems of Eastern Europe beckoning. Traveling in the deluxe comfort of an award-winning river ship, you’ll explore five countries — Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, and Serbia — nestled in the heart of what was once the Austro-Hungarian Empire. From folk dancing to mist-covered mountains, medieval towns, legend-worthy castles and a bounty of baroque marvels, you’ll truly discover the true heart and soul of these places with our exclusive Cultural Connections. Compliment your two UNESCO Site visits on your base tour with opportunities to visit five more on our trip extensions to Poland and Romania, enhanced for 2019. Besides the most enriching features, you’ll also enjoy the best value in the deluxe travel industry— including dedicated cabins built just for solo travelers, with free Single Supplements.

Budapest to Bucharest

Pre-Trip Extension

Warsaw & Krakow

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DAY 1:

Depart home for Budapest, Hungary

Today you’ll take an overnight flight to Europe.

DAY 2:

Enjoy a drink and Welcome Briefing aboard your deluxe river ship

Upon your arrival in Budapest, you’ll transfer to your Deluxe European river cruise ship, courtesy of Vantage (if you purchased your airfare through us). Or, if you like, begin your trip earlier with an optional extension. Attend a Welcome Briefing and enjoy a drink in the lounge before dinner on board.

Included Meals:


DAY 3:

Budapest’s best: panoramic city tour, Fisherman’s Bastion, exploration at your own pace

Begin the day with a panoramic city tour of regal Budapest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unforgettable Moment: You’ll take in the spectacular panoramic views of the city from Fisherman’s Bastion, a magnificent terrace overlooking the Danube. The rest of the day you’re free to explore Budapest at your own pace.

Biking Opportunity: Enjoy the most magnificent sites of Budapest, including Freedom Bridge, Chain Bridge and the Hungarian Parliament Building during an easy 5-mile route. Click here for details.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 4:

Get folksy with craft and cooking lessons in Kalocsa, or elect an optional tour to Puszta

Today, you’ll visit the town of Kalocsa, where you’ll enjoy a city tour that includes workshops on folk painting, folk embroidery, and the making of traditional Hungarian paprika bread, as well as an organ concert. Sample Hungarian specialties during lunch on board. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure or join an optional excursion into the vast Hungarian puszta, or “great plain,” where Hungary’s grand equestrian tradition is preserved, to visit a working horse ranch and watch a daring equestrian show by Hungarian csikós (cowboys). Cultural Connection: Take part in an insightful Folklore Workshop. Cultural Connection: After dinner, enjoy onboard entertainment from a folkloric dance troupe.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Puszta Tour

Puszta Tour

  • Approximate Cost: $69 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 Hours
  • Location: Kalocsa, Hungary
  • When: Afternoon tour
Get a glimpse of Hungarian country life with a visit to a working horse ranch that maintains a herd of up to 120 horses. Upon arrival, you’ll be welcomed with wine, bread, and onion slices. Watch authentic Hungarian csikós (cowboys) display their prowess on horseback. Next, take a carriage ride into the puszta, Hungary’s scenic great plain. As a special treat, a shepherd’s wife will provide homemade scones (pogacsa) and brandy (palinka). Before leaving, you’ll be able to visit the animals, including the Hungarian grey cattle, the long-haired “mangalica” pig herd, and the cheeky, clamorous donkey foals.

DAY 5:

Exploring historic Pécs and its Roman-era UNESCO highlights

From Mohacs, you’ll set out on an excursion to Pécs, where a city tour will feature the magnificent Basilica of St. Peter and the Roman Necropolis — together recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Those who enjoy additional walking can also visit the Museum Quarter. Savor lunch in Pécs at a local restaurant.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 6:

Home-hosted lunch in vibrant Osijek before an evening party onboard ship

Unforgettable Moment: This morning, disembark to discover Vukovar and the vibrant university city of Osijek, where you’ll meet a Croatian family while enjoying lunch in their home. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn about Croatia’s independence firsthand. If you’re around Osijek when school is in session, you’ll visit an elementary school classroom and meet the children, or you’ll attend a guitar concert in a church courtyard. Cultural Connection: Enjoy more onboard entertainment after dinner. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 7:

Discover Belgrade and Kalemegdan Fortress — then embark on a pub crawl

Cultural Connection: Following an informative lecture on modern Serbia, discover the country’s 2,500-year-old capital, Belgrade, on a half-day tour. Belgrade’s recent history has left the city somewhat disheveled — yet you’ll be impressed by bold redevelopment and the positive outlook of the residents. You’ll also visit Kalemegdan Fortress. This afternoon, you may want to take advantage of the optional tour to Tito’s Memorial and Royal Palace. If you're up for something a bit more adventurous, speak to your Concierge about where you can rent a canoe or kayak on the river. Ready to raise your glass? Then, prepare to set off on a festive pub crawl later this afternoon. Cultural Connection: Tonight, enjoy the Captain's Gala dinner, followed by more onboard entertainment. 

Water Sport opportunity: Rent a boat or kayak during your free time.

Scenic sailing: Leaving Belgrade, enjoy views of the Golubac Fortress as you sail to Donji Milanovac.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Tito's Memorial and Royal Palace

Tito's Memorial and Royal Palace

  • Approximate Cost: $69 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3.5 hours
  • Location: Belgrade, Serbia
  • When: Afternoon Tour
Start your tour at the Royal Compound in Dedinje, a fashionable district of Belgrade. King Alexander I Karađorđević built it for his family in the 1920’s, before his assassination in 1934 changed the course of Yugoslavian history. Today, the Crown Prince Alexander Karađorđević and his family live in the Royal Palace. You’ll enjoy a guided walking tour of the grounds, the Royal Palace, and the Church of Saint Andrej the First-Called, along with a welcome drink. Your next stop is the memorial to former President of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito and the museum showcasing tributes he received during his rule.

DAY 8:

Uncover the charms of a Serbian village 

Begin your day with a walking tour of charming Donji Milanovac, where you will visit the Church of St. Nikolas and an elementary school. Then relax on deck and enjoy the views as your river cruise passes through one of the most dramatic and beautiful stretches of the Danube river, the series of gorges known as the Iron Gates of the Danube.

Scenic Sailing: As your ship passes through two sets of locks, you’ll hear commentary from the bridge describing the process.

Cultural Connection: Visit a local elementary school and hear a fascinating introduction to the Cyrillic alphabet, the script invented by a Byzantine monk in the 9th century that is now widely used throughout the Slavic world.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 9:

Cruise into Ruse with a dance performance and onboard painting demos

Cultural Connection: As you cruise, take in a morning presentation on the “Bulgaria, Romania, and the Expansion of the European Union.” Enjoy a Balkan BBQ on the deck (weather permitting) before arriving in the historic Bulgarian river port of Ruse. Cultural Connections: Enjoy a charming dance performance by Bulgarian children. Later, witness a fascinating icon painting demonstration on board, and then hear a concert by the Contemporary Bulgarian Trio. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

Spend a day in captivating Veliko Tarnovo, including lunch with students and a heavenly Eastern Orthodox choir performance

Today is a real high point of your journey, as you step ashore for a full-day tour to Veliko Tarnovo, a 12th-century Bulgarian capital where colorful houses perch above the winding Yantra River. Cultural Connection: While in Veliko Tarnovo, you’ll have lunch with university students. You’ll continue to the 16th-century village of Arbanassi, where you’ll be treated to a heavenly Eastern Orthodox choir performance at the Church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. This evening, enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail Receptions.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 11:

Panoramic tour of Bucharest and exploring its historic buildings

This morning we’ll disembark ship and transfer to Bucharest, Romania’s largest city and capital, where we’ll embark on a panoramic tour and have lunch. Afterwards, explore Bucharest’s grand monuments and leafy, old-world boulevards on a city tour that includes a choice of entrances. Unforgettable Moment: You can visit the infamous People’s Palace, the grandiose, sprawling, and never-completed administrative building initiated by dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Alternatively, take a fascinating walking tour of Manuc’s Inn, Bucharest’s oldest hotel building, which was built as a way station for caravans and surrounds a large open courtyard. Tonight, we’ll savor a delicious dinner at the hotel.

* Please note: Travelers taking the Transylvania post-trip extension will transfer to Brasov and follow Day 12 of the itinerary. Travelers will complete Day 11 of the base itinerary on Day 15 of the extension.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 12:

Traveling through Transylvanian history

Today we’ll venture into Transylvania, the mountainous, legend-haunted region in central Romania. On the way, we’ll visit fairy-tale Peles Castle and stop for lunch in Sinaia, a former royal summer retreat. As we enter Transylvania proper, you’ll see why it’s known as the last medieval landscape in Europe. You’ll return to Bucharest in the afternoon. Dinner is included at your hotel.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 13:

Return home, or begin your extension to Transylvania

Transfer to the airport today for your flight home.

Included Meals:


Post-Trip Extension

Transylvania, Romania


Important Notice:The above day-by-day itinerary is preliminary and subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert. In addition, should there be an extreme change in water levels, Vantage will do everything possible to provide either the included excursion or an alternate excursion at Vantage’s discretion.

Please Note: Port Times & Itineraries are subject to change. Fluctuating water levels may affect itinerary.

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Passage to Eastern Europe featuring Transylvania - 2019

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