Balkan Discovery River Cruise with Transylvania Option

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Trip Overview

Included Features Highlights & Places You’ll Visit
  • Local Transfers
  • Roundtrip Airfare from/to Minneapolis, MN
  • Superior First Class Hotels;
  • (2) Budapest
  • (2) Bucharest
  • (1) Brasov
  • Deluxe Motor Coach Transportation
  • 7-Day River Cruise; Avalon Suite Ship
  • Professional Tour Director & Local Guides
  • All Meals as Listed
  • Complimentary Sparkling Wine with Breakfast and Regional Beer, Wine and Soft Drinks with Lunch and Dinner
  • Personalized Headset System
  • Complimentary Bicycles Onshore
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi Onboard
  • Budapest: Guided Tour, Fishermen’s Bastion, Heroes’ Square
  • Mohacs & Pecs: Guided Tour, The Underground Tombs, Organ Concert
  • Belgrade: City Tour, St. Sava
  • Iron Gates Gorge Cruise
  • Lepenski Vir Archaeological Site
  • Cetate: Cultural Center & Tasting
  • Vidin-Belogradchik: Beolgradchik Rocks
  • Veliko-Tarnovo: Royal fortress, Tsarevets Hill
  • Arbanassi: Ethnographical Museum, Church of the Nativity
  • Rousse: Guided Tour
  • Bucharest: Guided Sightseeing
  • Transylvania: Visit Dracula’s Bran Castle
  • Brasov-Bucharest: Guided Sightseeing & Peles Castle


Day 1-2


Depart on your overnight flight to Budapest, arriving in Hungary’s lively capital spanning the banks of the Danube. The remainder of the day is free to start exploring Eastern Europe’s most cosmopolitan metropolis.

Day 3


Budapest’s unique energy is positively palatable. On your included GUIDED TOUR of the city, see Heroes’ Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church, the coronation spot of several Hungarian monarchs. You may even want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. The afternoon and evening are free. Perhaps visit St. Stephen’s Basilica for marvelous city views from its viewing platform, or stroll along Váci utca, the main shopping street. (B)

Day 4


This morning you can explore this vibrant city at your own pace. Shop at the Great Market Hall and purchase paprika or embroidery at one of its 180 vendor stalls, or wander around the Royal Palace grounds. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at a welcome reception. (B, D)

Day 5


This morning, arrive in Mohács, the last stop in Hungary, from where an included excursion takes you to Pécs. Established by the Romans in the 2nd century, this was a flourishing and important town for Christianity by the 4th century. These early Christians left behind many underground burial chambers with memorial chapels above ground. With a Local Guide, visit the UNDERGROUND TOMBS—now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site—many of which have splendidly decorated murals with Christian themes. Later, enjoy an ORGAN CONCERT. After lunch, enjoy some leisurely cruising toward Belgrade. (B, L, D)

Day 6


One of the oldest cities in Europe, the capital of Serbia is situated at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers. A LOCAL GUIDE will be proud to show you its main sights, including St. Sava, the world’s largest Orthodox Church. In your free time, be sure to check out the city’s lively pedestrian area and charming outdoor cafés. Stroll through Belgrade’s largest and most beautiful park which surrounds the city’s principal landmark, Kalemegdan Fortress, and gaze down at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers. (B, L, D)

Day 7


This morning, dock at Donji Milanovac, where a short drive takes you to the impressive LEPENSKI VIR EXHIBITION CENTER, which houses area archaeological artifacts and from where you have unique views of the Danube Gorge. Return to your ship before lunch, then cruise what must surely be the most spectacular scenery of the dramatic IRON GATES GORGE, a narrow and formerly very dangerous passage dividing Europe’s Alps in the northwest from the Carpathians in the southeast and forming a natural border between Serbia and Romania. (B, L, D)

Day 8


This morning stop in Cetate, an old Danubian grain shipping port, now turned into a cultural center. The owner will explain the concept of this fascinating venture before you have a chance to see for yourself and to TASTE some of the locally made products. Then on to Vidin, an important Danube port in northwestern Bulgaria, where a short ride takes you to Belogradchik, to view the eclectic group of ROCK FORMATIONS on the western slopes of the Balkan Mountains. (B, L, D)

Day 9


This morning stop in Nikopol from where an excursion takes you to the ancient Bulgarian capital of Veliko Târnovo. Situated on three hills surrounding the Yantra River, the city was a natural fortress with ancient stone houses clinging to the steep slopes. One of the oldest towns in Bulgaria (dating back to 4300 BC), the oldest part is Tsarevets Hill, home of the ROYAL FORTRESS, and the Patriarch’s Church. With your LOCAL GUIDE, discover this town that played an important role in Bulgaria’s history. Next, journey to Arbanassi, founded in the 15th century, and best known for its Bulgarian Revival architecture and ETHNOGRAPHICAL MUSEUM, a 400-year-old house preserved as a museum. Visit the CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, one of the town’s oldest churches, and see its outstanding collection of frescoes. Return to your ship in Rousse, Bulgaria’s largest inland port. If you don’t wish to participate in the full-day excursion, stay on board and relax or join a GUIDED TOUR of Rousse. (B, L, D)

Day 10


After breakfast say goodbye to your crew. Bucharest, Romania’s lively capital, is only a short drive from Oltenita. It’s wide, tree-lined boulevards and Arc de Triomphe—built in 1922 to honor the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in WWI—have gained it the name “Paris of the East.” Much recent history has taken place in the city. During the INCLUDED TOUR this morning, see the main sights including Royal Palace Square, the scene of riots in 1989, which led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. In your free time, discover this interesting city even further. Stroll down Calea Victoriei, “Victory Avenue,” Bucharest’s most historic and alluring street. Initially built in 1692, today it is lined with shops, museums, churches, restaurants, cafés, and fine houses. (B)

Day 11


After breakfast this morning you’ll transfer to the airport and our return flight home.


Head out of the city to your first stop, a visit of BRAN CASTLE, of Dracula fame, built in 1377 and assumed to be the home of Romanian vampires. Then continue to Brasov for the night, with a free afternoon to explore on your own. (B, L, D)

Day 12


This morning join a local expert for GUIDED SIGHTSEEING of Brasov. In the afternoon drive into the Carpathians to Sinaia to visit PELES CASTLE, considered to be one of the most beautiful in Europe, before returning to Bucharest. (B, L)

Day 13


Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

(B)= Breakfast

(L)= Lunch

(D)= Dinner


Avalon Passion Staterooms & Suites
  • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows
  • Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs, whirlpool, shade awnings, & outdoor deck game area
  • State-of-the-art fitness center
  • Non-smoking staterooms & ship interior
  • Convenient Elevator Service
  • Elegant, contemporary design
  • Outside viewing deck
  • Headsets for guided shore excursions in Europe
  • English-speaking friendly crew, staff & professional Cruise Director
  • Sightseeing with Expert Local Guides
  • Onboard lectures, activities & entertainment
  • Room service for Continental breakfast & beverages (service fee applies)
  • Sky Deck whirlpool
  • Complimentary computer use in public areas
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
  • Onboard Adventure Center with active gear, bikes, Nordic walking sticks, watercraft & maps
  • Light lunch & casual dinner in the Panorama Bistro
  • Behind-the-scenes galley tour
  • Choice of Leisurely, Traditional or Independent sightseeing pace options
  • Nordic walking sticks available onboard for complimentary check-out
  • Onshore & Onboard experiences with regional customs, cultures & tastings with local artisans, experts & entertainers
  • Flatscreen satellite TV with English-speaking channels & over 100 free movie options
  • Onboard assistance is available to recommend, reserve and further personalize your cruise
  • Linger over several selections from the Panorama Bistro’s tasting menu for a less formal “sit-down” atmosphere
  • Sky Deck game area
  • Self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees, including decaf options
  • Well-stocked library with books, cards, and board games
  • Complimentary bottled water, fresh fruit, and cookies available throughout the day
  • Full-size closet mirror
Avalon Deluxe Stateroom (Cat. E) – 172 sq. ft.
Panorama Suite (Cat. A, B, P) – 200 sq. ft.

Royal Suite – 300 sq. ft. – Sold Out


Interested in booking? Get in contact with us here or at 1-800-709-0734.

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