Grand Cruise – Black Sea to the Danube (Fly & Cruise) GDZ21

Resort: Grand Cruise - Black Sea to the Danube (Fly & Cruise) GDZ21
Operator: Great Rail Journeys
Destination: Austria
Price From: £3095.00

Overview

Aboard the state of the art Amadeus Silver II which comes
replete cutting-edge facilities, follow the path of the Black Sea
as it makes its journey towards the coast and soak up the very best
of Eastern Europe; from the unusual nature of the Danube Delta and
the unique cities of Serbia and Bulgaria to the vast expanses and
traditions of the Great Hungarian Plains.

Then experience the magic of the blue Danube from the
twin-cities of Buda and Pest to the elegance of Imperial Vienna

Highlights

  • 14-night cruise on board the Amadeus Silver II
  • Melk & Salzburg & the Austrian Lake District
  • Bucharest
  • Danube Delta safari
  • Constanta, Veliko Tarnovo & the Iron Gate
  • Belgrade
  • Hungarian puszta tour
  • Budapest
  • Bratislava
  • Vienna

whats Included

  • Return Scheduled Flights
  • 1 nights’ hotel accommodation in Bucharest
  • Flights from London to Bucharest including airport transfers
  • 14-night cruise on board the Amadeus Silver II
  • On board live music every night
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board
  • Escorted throughout your tour by an on board Tour Manager and Cruise Director

Itinerary

Days 1-2 – Bucharest

After meeting your group in London, this evening you’ll take a
direct flight to Bucharest, the lively capital city of Romania. We
set out on a guided city tour on Day 2,
discovering the palaces, remains of medieval homes and 21st century
modernist skyscrapers that all mesh together to make for a
remarkable and surprising destination. We transfer to our ship this
afternoon, the Amadeus Silver II, where we’re welcomed with a
drink. There’s time to settle into your cabin before our first
five-course dinner.

Day 3 – Danube Delta safari

We hop aboard some smaller safari boats today for a nature
cruise through the UNESCO-listed Danube Delta. This specialist
biosphere reserve is jam-packed with wildlife, including many rare
and endangered species such as golden jackal, European hoopoe,
white-tailed eagle and lesser-spotted woodpecker. Back on board we
enjoy a relaxing afternoon sailing back to Fetesti.

Days 4-6 – Constanta, Veliko Tarnovo & the Iron Gate Gorge

After breakfast, we’re driven by coach to the nearby port town
of Constanta for a guided tour. Here we uncover Constanta’s ancient
history from its Greek origins to its Roman ancestry and Persian
influences. Afterwards we begin sailing towards Ruse, in Bulgaria,
docking on Day 5 for an excursion to Veliko
Tarnovo. Day 6 is spent at leisure on board as we
make our way towards Belgrade. During the afternoon we pass through
the ‘Iron Gate’ Gorge.

Days 7-8 – Serbia and Hungarian puszta tour

We moor in the Serbian capital of Belgrade this morning, heading
out on a guided walking tour to see the attractions of a city whose
varied history can be documented through its architecture.
Afterwards you are free to continue sightseeing, or do a little
shopping, independently. Following lunch on board we set sail for
Mohcs, close to the Hungarian border, embarking on puszta tour by
coach on Day 8.

The puszta itself is an area of Hungary defined by its grassland
ecosystem set amongst the Great Hungarian Plains, and which has a
certain ‘wild west’ feel to it. Our first visit during our time
here is to a paprika house. One of Hungary’s most famous and
important cooking ingredients, paprika was once known as ‘red gold’
in this region, and we get to taste it in a variety of dishes while
learning about the spice’s historic significance. We continue to
the former home of a wealthy 19th century family where we are
treated to a performance of traditional folk music and dancing
before heading out into the great plains themselves to try some
more local delicacies, meet Hungarian half-blood horses and
experience a wagon ride hauled by these magnificent and powerful
creatures. We meet the Amadeus Silver II in Kalocsa, with time to
freshen up before tonight’s gala dinner.

Days 9-10 – Exploring Budapest

A city of two halves divided by the mighty River Danube and sewn
together by a collection of beautiful bridges, we enter the
handsome city of Budapest in the most elegant way possible. You
have some free time to go sightseeing and a light lunch will be
available on board, though the staff will also be preparing the
ship for a new cohort of GRJ adventurers to join us.

This evening we stay aboard the Amadeus Silver II for a Budapest
illuminations tour, followed by a traditional Hungarian folklore
show in the panoramic bar. Day 10 includes a guided coach tour as
well as an atmospheric sailing along the Danube Bend at sunset.

Days 11-12 – Arrival in Bratislava and on to Vienna

Your morning is at leisure before we moor up early this
afternoon. After lunch, we set out on a guided coach tour of the
Slovakian capital, a picture-postcard destination which boasts
historic Gothic buildings, a wealth of museums and galleries, and a
refreshing cosmopolitan atmosphere. The historic centre features
delightful cobblestoned roads, pedestrianised plazas, 18th century
rococo buildings and street cafs galore. After a calm night of
cruising, we arrive into glorious Vienna for a comprehensive
sightseeing tour on Day 12.

Tonight a real treat awaits us on board, where after dinner we
are joined by musicians from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for
an exclusive, private recital.

Days 13-14 – Melk & Salzburg or the Austrian Lake District

Today we reach Austria’s Wachau Valley, arriving at the idyllic
village of Drnstein before journeying by coach to Melk Abbey. On
Day 14 there’s a choice of excursions. Discover
the spectacular scenery of the Austrian lakes, or travel by coach
to Salzburg for a guided sightseeing tour.

Days 15-16 – Regensburg and homeward bound

Regensburg is our port of call this morning, which we explore on
foot. This medieval town contains many buildings that testify to
its history as a trading centre which had a huge influence on the
whole region from the 9th century onwards. Back on board tonight,
we attend the Captain’s gala dinner, a chance to don our
evening-wear and celebrate our cruise experience.

On Day 16 we disembark after breakfast and
transfer to the airport for your flight back to the UK.

Day 1 – To Passau

Fly from your choice of airport to Munich, on arrival you’ll be
met at the airport for the transfer to your ship in Paasau. On
arriving in Passau, we meet the Amadeus Silver II and are welcomed
with a cocktail in the lounge before dinner.

Day 2 – Regensburg

Regensberg is our port of call this morning, which we explore on
foot. This medieval town contains many buildings that testify to
its history as a trading centre and to its influence on the whole
region from the 9th century onwards. We enjoy dinner back on board
tonight.

Days 3-4 – Melk & Salzburg or the Austrian Lake District

We arrive into Passau this morning where you have a choice
of excursions. You could head further into the countryside for a
day spent amidst the spectacular scenery of the Austrian lakes.
Make stops in UNESCO listed Hallstatt, one of Austria’s most
photographed villages thanks to its traditional pastel-coloured
houses perched on the tiny plain between the mountains and
Hallstttersee Lake, as well as Mondsee.This pretty town is set on
the lake of the same name, and its most famous sight is the
15th-century parish church, which featured in the wedding scenes of
‘The Sound of Music’.

Otherwise, travel by coach to Salzburg, via Mondsee, one of
Austria’s most famous cities and known as the birth place of
Mozart. A guided sightseeing tour reveals the city’s
internationally renowned Baroque architecture, a UNESCO World
Heritage site. 

On Day 4 we reach Austria’s Wachau
Valley, a famous wine-making region. We arrive in the idyllic
village of Drnstein where you have time at leisure. As we sit down
to lunch on board we begin cruising along the picturesque Wachau
Valley, an extremely scenic area with green valleys and vineyards
rising up from the river, picturesque riverside towns, and
commanding fortresses with sweeping views. We then journey by coach
to Melk Abbey, enjoying entrance to this 11th century Benedictine
Abbey which stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube and is
home to the Abbey Church, considered one of the most beautiful
Baroque churches north of the Alps.

Day 5 – The history and music of Vienna

After a calm night of cruising, we arrive into glorious Vienna,
for a comprehensive sightseeing tour. This is a chance to relish in
Austria’s Imperial heritage, one full of tradition and rich in
architectural, artistic and musical heritage. You’ll see many of
Vienna’s finest ornate buildings, including the impressive Hofburg
Palace. This vast complex of buildings demonstrates the awesome
power and wealth commanded by the Habsburgs. You’ll also take in
the impressive Opera House, one of the leading opera venues in the
world, as well as the grand Parliament Building.

Tonight a real treat awaits us on board, where after dinner we
are joined by musicians from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for
an exclusive, private recital. Be whisked away by the music as you
immerse yourself in this singularly exceptional experience, as the
Vienna Philharmonic is one of the most popular and skilled
orchestras in the world.

Day 6 – Arrival in Bratislava

Your morning is at leisure aboard before we moor up early this
afternoon. After lunch, we set out on a guided coach tour of
Slovakian capital. Located in the foothills of the Carpathian
Mountains, Bratislava straddles the Danube which neatly divides the
city into two parts; the Baroque Old Town (Stare Mesto) and the new
city. This picture-postcard city destination historic Gothic
buildings, several universities, a wealth of museums and galleries,
and a refreshing cosmopolitan atmosphere. The historic centre
features delightful cobbled stoned roads, pedestrianised plazas,
pastel 18th century rococo buildings and street cafs galore.
Following our excursion, we return to the ship for another
delicious, 5-course dinner.

Days 7-8 – Discovering Budapest

This morning we arrive at the scenic Danube Bend. This section
of the river has a long and fascinating history and from the sun
deck or panoramic windows in the bar, you’ll be able to see castle
ruins, churches, pretty houses hidden in the hills and dense
forests.

After lunch on board, we enjoy a guided coach tour of Budapest,
introducing us to Budapest’s main sights. We pass impressive
buildings and monuments on both sides of the Danube, including the
neo-Gothic Parliament building, the magnificent State Opera House
and St Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest Castle, Matthias Church and
Fishermen’s Bastion. Later take in the illuminated sights as
we sail around the city. We are also treated to a performance from
a local Hungarian folk band in the lounge. On Day
8
 your morning is free to explore Budapest before we
rejoing the ship as we cruise to Kalocsa.

Days 9-10 – Hungarian puszta tour and Serbia

We arrive into the port of Kalocsa this morning and embark on
puszta tour by coach.

The puszta itself is an area of Hungary defined by its grassland
ecosystem set amongst the Great Hungarian Plains, and which has a
certain ‘wild west’ feel to it. Our first visit during our time
here is to a paprika house.

One of Hungary’s most famous and important cooking ingredients,
paprika was once known as ‘red gold’ in this region, and we get to
taste it in a variety of dishes while learning about the spice’s
historic significance and how it help shaped the lives of the
people who resided here. We continue to the former home of a
wealthy 19th century family where we are treated to a performance
of traditional folk music and dancing before heading out into the
great plains themselves to try some more local delicacies, meet
Hungarian half-blood horses and experience a wagon ride hauled by
these magnificent and powerful creatures.

On Day 10 we moor in the Serbian
capital of Belgrade this morning, heading out on a guided walking
tour to see the attractions of a city whose varied history can be
documented through its architecture. First up is the Kalemegdan
Fortress; the oldest surviving part of the city and dating back to
the 3rd century BC, it also offers wonderful views across the
Danube and Sava rivers. Next we swing by Belgrade’s National Museum
before seeing the parliament building, Terazije Square and lastly,
the Palace of Princess Ljubica. With it’s Asian influences, this is
an unusual building for this part of the world, one which was built
in the 1800s for the wife of Prince Milo – the eponymous Princess
Ljubica. This afternoon you are free to continue sightseeing, or do
a little shopping, independently.

Day 11 – The Iron Gate Gorge

Today is spent at leisure on board as we make our way towards
Vidin. During the afternoon we pass through the ‘Iron Gate’ Gorge.
Enjoy the cruise director’s informative commentary as we witness
towering mossy cliffs interspersed with ornate and detailed
carvings hewn straight from the rock face.

Days 12-13 – Constanta and Veliko Tarnovo

We begin sailing towards Ruse, in Bulgaria, docking for an
excursion to Veliko Tarnovo. The city was once the cornerstone of
Bulgaria’s 14th century empire, and boasts impressive medieval
churches and an Old Town of timber-framed buildings for us to
explore on our guided tour.

On Day 13 we have a free morning on
board the ship. This afternoon we’re driven by coach to the
nearby port town of Constanta for a guided tour. Here we uncover
Constanta’s ancient history from its Greek origins to its Roman
ancestry and Persian influences. Some of the attractions we’ll see
include the great mosque, art-nouveau casino and Genovese
lighthouse. A short visit to the city’s History and Archaeology
Museum is also very enlightening, and there’s even some time to
take a stroll along the pristine beach before we return to our
ship.

Day 14 – Danube Delta safari

We hop aboard some smaller safari boats today for a nature
cruise through the UNESCO-listed Danube Delta, formed by the river
as it splits into thousands of tributaries on its way to the Black
Sea.

This specialist biosphere reserve is jam-packed with wildlife,
including many rare and endangered species such as golden jackal,
European hoopoe, white-tailed eagle and lesser-spotted woodpecker.
Back on board we enjoy a relaxing afternoon sailing back to
Fetesti.

Days 15-16 – Bucharest

We arrive in Burcharest this morning and set out on a guided
city tour, discovering the palaces, remains of medieval homes and
21st century modernist skyscrapers that all mesh together to make
for a remarkable and surprising destination.

You have some free time for lunch and might like to try out one
of the many al fresco restaurants tucked away amongst the tangled
network of streets and verdant parks. We transfer to our hotel for
the night.

Following breakfast on Day 16, we
disembark and make for the airport for your flight back home.

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