Passage to Eastern Europe featuring Transylvania - 2020

9-night river cruise with Budapest, Kalocsa, Mohacs, Vukovar, Belgrade, Donji Milanovac, Ruse, Veliko Tarnovo • Bucharest
  • $341
  • 12
  • 27
13 DAYS FROM $4,898
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Warsaw & Krakow

6 DAYS FROM $1,199

Transylvania, Romania

4 DAYS FROM $799

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Ancient ruins, rich folkloric convention, storybook scenery, and contemporary flourishes unfold into a fascinating cultural landscape on this enchanting river cruise through five countries and the heart of legend-haunted Transylvania. On this newly enhanced Passage to Eastern Europe featuring Transylvania, you’ll uncover misty mountains and Gothic castles, spend three nights devouring Budapest’s bounty — including a Vantage-exclusive visit to the city’s Parliament — while reveling in Serbian tradition and music, hobnobbing with artisans and an Orthodox priest in Ruse, and exploring Bucharest and Peleș Castle. You’ll also discover everyday life in eastern Europe’s bucolic villages, including Donji Milanovac, where a walking tour brings you to a local school, and in Kalocsa, where a folklore workshop introduces paprika bread making, folk painting, embroidery, and other timeworn traditions that still endure. Fourteen included tours and an enriching roster of Cultural Connections ensures authentic and immersive experiences, including enlightening lectures, an organ concert, a Balkan BBQ, and lunch with local students in Bulgaria — new for 2020!

Our award-winning river ships will round out your journey in deluxe style, and don’t forget: Vantage is the only European cruise company to offer cabins built especially for our solo travelers and we offer free Single Supplements, too! Maximize your time overseas with optional pre- and post-trip extensions to Poland, where you’ll tour the city's cultural highlights as well as the somber sites of Auschwitz and Birkenau, and Romania, where you’ll experience even more of eastern Europe’s inimitable history, cuisine, and cultural delights.

Budapest to Bucharest

Pre-Trip Extension

Warsaw & Krakow

FROM: $1199 PER PERSON | 6 DAYS | $200 PER DAY
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DAY 1:

Budapest bound

Today you’ll board an overnight flight to Budapest, Hungary.

DAY 2:

Arrive in Budapest, and settle into your river ship with a Welcome Briefing

Arrive in Budapest today. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, our representative will meet you outside the arrivals area and assist with your transfer to your deluxe river ship. Or, if you embarked on our optional pre-trip extension to Poland, you’ll arrive on Day 2 to join the program. Tonight, attend a Welcome Briefing and enjoy a drink in the lounge before dinner on board.

Included Meals:


DAY 3:

Exploring the Pest side of Budapest, and a Jewish Heritage optional tour

Divided by the Danube, Budapest is actually two cities — Buda and Pest. Today we’ll explore Pest, beginning with an inside visit to St. Stephen’s Basilica, as well as a tour of City Park, Heroes’ Square, and neighboring Andrássy Avenue — a UNESCO World heritage Site lined with neo-Renaissance palaces and homes — and a glimpse of the Parliament building, which you’ll explore in-depth tomorrow. This afternoon, take an optional Jewish Heritage tour that reveals the historic Jewish Quarter and local landmarks, or simply enjoy some leisure time to explore Budapest on your own. Cultural Connection: Back on the ship this evening, a folk music and dance show rings in your eastern European journey in style.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Jewish Heritage Tour

Jewish Heritage Tour

  • Approximate Cost: $39 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 hours
  • Location: Budapest, Hungary
  • When: Afternoon Tour

Discover the largest Jewish community in eastern Europe during your stay in Budapest. This tour offers an illuminating look into the rich cultural, historical, and religious heritage of Hungary, with visits to Budapest’s Jewish Quarter, Dohány Synagogue — Europe’s largest — and more.

Please note: This tour is not available on Saturdays.

DAY 4:

Take a walk on the Buda side and go inside Parliament

Arguably Budapest’s most historic building, the Parliament towers over the Danube with its intriguing blend of architectural styles and 365 spires — one for every day of the year. Unforgettable Moment: Tour the inside of the Parliament building in this Vantage-exclusive experience that allows us fast-track entrance. We’ll also explore Castle Hill, Fisherman’s Bastion, and the Citadel before we cast off towards Kalocsa this afternoon.

Please note: The Parliament can cancel any confirmed visit at any time. In the event of a cancellation, travelers will instead visit the Opera House.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 5:

Get folksy with craft and cooking lessons in Kalocsa

Cultural Connection: Visit the town of Kalocsa today and embark on a city tour that includes workshops on folk painting, folk embroidery, and the making of traditional Hungarian paprika bread, followed by an organ concert in the local cathedral. We’ll then transfer by coach to charming Pécs in the foothills of the Mecsek Mountains. After lunch here, we’ll set off on a walking tour that includes a visit to the city’s UNESCO-listed Necropolis, which hearkens back to the 4th century. Alternatively, you might also embark on an hour-long city tour by mini-train. Afterwards, we'll transfer by coach to Mohacs, board our river ship once more, and set sail for our next destination: Croatia.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 6:

Explore Croatia, and savor a home-hosted lunch in Vukovar

Cultural Connection: Learn about Croatia today during a morning lecture that prepares you for what's next: A visit with a local family to learn more about local life! Unforgettable Moment: As we make landfall in Croatia today, we’ll join a local family in their home for a riveting lunch. Learn about day-to-day life, regional food, and more as we break bread with welcoming hosts. Cultural Connection: Then, if school is in session, we’ll meet some local students, or otherwise attend a guitar concert in a local courtyard. After, we’ll make our way to Eltz Manor, a baroque castle housing the Vukovar City Museum. Cultural Connection: More music awaits us back on the ship when a local band comes on board to play some modern-day classics that have been rejiggered into new arrangements.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 7:

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

Cultural Connection: An illuminating lecture on modern Serbia sets the stage for our discovery of the country’s 2,500-year-old capital, Belgrade, on a half-day tour. Belgrade’s recent history can be felt in the city’s grittiness, but bold redevelopment and the positive outlook of residents will undoubtedly impress you. As a counterpoint to Belgrade’s comeback, we’ll visit the Kalemegdan Fortress. Dating back to a staggering 279 BC, the fortress was since destroyed more than 40 times in approximately 115 battles.

This afternoon, take advantage an optional tour to Tito’s Memorial and Royal Palace. Or, if you're up for something a bit more adventurous, speak to your Concierge about where you can rent a canoe or kayak. Ready to raise your glass? Set off on a fun pub crawl later this afternoon. Cultural Connection: Tonight’s sure to be festive, too, as we’re initiated into the Captain’s Gala Dinner with a traditional salt and bread welcome performed by two local women in traditional garb. We’ll enjoy another folk music and dance troupe as the evening’s entertainment.

Included Meals:

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

Tito's Memorial and Royal Palace

  • Approximate Cost: $79 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 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 1920s, 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’ll visit the Church of St. Nikolas and an elementary school. Cultural Connection: Here, you’ll enjoy a fascinating introduction to the Cyrillic alphabet, the script invented by a Byzantine monk in the 9th century but now widely used throughout the Slavic world.

Relax on deck this afternoon 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. As your ship passes through two sets of locks, you’ll hear commentary from the bridge describing the process.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 9:

Cruise into Ruse with a dance performance, icon painting, a Balkan BBQ, and more

Today promises to be an eye-opening day of rich cultural heritage — and fun, too. Cultural Connection: As you cruise this morning, a lecture on “Bulgaria, Romania, and the Expansion of the European Union” offers some contemporary context to our journey as we sail toward the Bulgarian port town, Ruse. Just before lunch, we'll fire up the BBQ on the sun deck for a festive Balkan-style cooking demo, weather permitting. Our dish? Cevapcici, or traditional Balkan sausages. Cultural Connection: This afternoon, some local children come on board for a delightful dance performance and, later, we’ll learn about the Bulgarian tradition of icon painting from a local artist, and then meet a local Orthodox priest. We’ll enjoy dinner on board before the Contemporary Bulgarian Trio puts a twist on traditional music for us.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

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

Today offers another high point of your journey when you spend a full day in Veliko Tarnovo, a 12th-century Bulgarian capital where colorful houses perch above the winding Yantra River. Cultural Connection: Have lunch with local university students in Veliko Tarnovo before heading to the 16th-century village of Arbanassi for a lovely Eastern Orthodox choir performance at the Church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. This evening, celebrate the joys of your river cruise at the Captain’s Farewell Dinner & Cocktail Reception.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 11:

Panoramic Bucharest tour, then explore its historic sites

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 a Bucharest institution.

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

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 12:

Travel through Transylvanian history

Venture into Transylvania, the mountainous, legend-haunted region in central Romania. On the way, stop for lunch in Sinaia, a former royal summer retreat, and visit fairytale-worthy Peles Castle. As you 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

Transfer to the Bucharest airport today for your return 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 - 2020

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VantageTauckVantage Advantage
JourneyPassage to Eastern Europe featuring Transylvania – 2020Budapest to the Black Sea – 2019 2-for-1 Cruise Prices & 2-for-1 Airfare! The BEST Value in River Cruising.
Cruise-Only Price*12 Days from $4,09912 Days from $6,920The BEST pacing & Greatest value compared to our competitors. 
Triple-Occupancy AvailabilityTravel together with friends & family – add a third guest to your Owner's Suite for $1,099, or a third occupant to your Deluxe Suite for $999!No triple accommodations Save thousands with Vantage Triple-Occupancy Accommodations!
Per Diem$341 per day$576 per daySave up to $470 per couple per day 
Single TravelersFREE and low-cost Single Supplements – save up to $4,799! 
A limited number of singles are available for an additional supplement 

The ONLY deluxe tour operator in Europe with specially built single cabins
Included Tours27 Sightseeing Tours and Cultural Connections 14 included toursThe Most Included Tours!The most complimentary bikes, culinary demos, and included features—exclusive to Vantage travelers!
Meals32 meals: 11 breakfasts, 10 lunches, and 11 dinners, including Captain's Welcome and Farewell Receptiosn28 meals: 11 breakfasts, 8 lunches, and 9 dinners Best value - most included meals
Discover MoreTransylvania, Romania 
FROM $799 per person | 4 DAYS

Warsaw & Krakow 
FROM $1,799 per person | 6 DAYS
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