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Danube Discovery Cruise

AUSTRIA, SLOVAKIA, HUNGARY, CROATIA, SERBIA, ROMANIA & BULGARIA

 

    Save up to $800 per couple!!!

For a limited time only save up to $800 per couple on this amazing “old world” journey through seven countries and five capitals in some of the less traveled parts of the Danube River! Reserve by November 16, 2017 to qualify for the early booking discount. Space is limited on our Danube River Cruises so please reserve early.

New in 2018: smarTours travelers will be sailing on an upgraded ship — the 5-star, deluxe MS River Discovery II! 

Itinerary at a glance Tour Highlights Your tour includes
  • 10-night Cruise from Vienna to Bucharest
    • Vienna (Austria)
    • Bratislava (Slovakia)
    • Budapest (Hungary)
    • Osijek (Croatia)
    • Novi Sad (Serbia)
    • Belgrade (Serbia)
    • Vidin (Bulgaria)
  • 1 night in Bucharest hotel
  • Optional Dracula’s Castle Extension

 

  • Hofburg Palace (Vienna)
  • St. Martin’s Cathedral (Bratislava)
  • Matthias Coronation Church (Budapest)
  • Gypsy Concert (On Board – Budapest)
  • Old Town with Concert (Osijek)
  • Petrovaradin Fortress (Novi Sad)
  • Kalemegdan Fortress (Belgrade)
  • Iron Gates Gorge
  • Baba Vida Fortress (Vidin)
  • Palace of Parliament (Bucharest)
  • Optional Dracula’s Castle Extension
  • Round trip airfare from New York (JFK)
  • Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
  • 10-night cruise aboard the deluxe MS River Discovery II (Cruise Ship A – 2018 Departures) in an outside facing cabin on the Odyssey Deck or MS River Navigator (Cruise Ship B – Late Sep & Early Oct 2018 Departures)
  • One night in a Bucharest hotel
  • Port charges
  • 30 meals: 11 buffet breakfasts (B), 9 lunches (L), 10 dinners (D)
  • Wine or beer with lunches and dinners
  • Comprehensive sightseeing tours, shore excursions, onboard lectures, folklore performances, and concerts
  • Free Wi-Fi (where available)
  • English-speaking cruise director and tour guides

Your extension includes:

  • Transportation to and from the Carpathian Mountains resort of Brasov and nearby Dracula’s Castle
  • Breakfast (B) daily and two dinners (D)
  • Tour of Peles Castle, Brasov City & Dracula’s Castle

Click on the tabs to learn more!

Guided Tour Pricing

Pricing includes land and airfare

(Cruise only pricing available upon request)

Depart

Return

Best Value Pricing
Reserve by Nov 16 2017

Reserve after
Nov 16 2017

2018

w/check 
discount

Sale

After Sale

Apr 28 (A)

May 10

$ 2999

$ 3099

$ 3399

May 18 (A)

May 30

$ 3299

$ 3399

$ 3699

Jun 7 (A)^

Jun 19

$ 3499

$ 3599

$ 3899

Jun 27 (A)

Jul 9

$ 3599

$ 3699

$ 3999

Jul 17 (A)

Jul 29

$ 3499

$ 3599

$ 3899

Aug 6 (A)

Aug 18

$ 3499

$ 3599

$ 3899

Aug 26 (A)

Sep 7

$ 3499

$ 3599

$ 3899

Sep 15 (A)

Sep 27

$ 3299

$ 3399

$ 3699

Rates are per person based on double occupancy from New York (JFK).
Single room supplement add $1399
^Jun 7 Departure: Please note the extension is not available for this departure.
DRACULA’S CASTLE EXTENSION$549 based on double occupancy / $699 based on single occupancy
MS RIVER DISCOVERY II (CRUISE SHIP A) CABIN UPGRADE: 
Rates are based on Odyssey Deck (Cat C) cabins with half windows. Upgrade to higher category cabins:
• CAT. B, Explorer Deck with outside facing cabin with french balconies: add $299 per person
• CAT. A, Navigator Deck outside facing cabin with french balconies: add $549 per person
• Jr. Suite, Navigator Deck with outside facing cabin floor to ceiling French Balconies: add $799 per person
MS RIVER NAVIGATOR (CRUISE SHIP B) CABIN UPGRADE: 
Rates are based on Odyssey Deck (Cat C) cabins with half windows. Upgrade to higher category cabins:
• CAT. B, Explorer Deck outside facing cabin with big panoramic windows: add $299 per person
• CAT. A, Navigator Deck outside facing cabin floor to ceiling French Balconies : add $549 per person• Jr. Suite, Upper Navigator Deck outside facing cabin floor to ceiling French Balconies : add $799 per person
For more information on this tour, please contact us here or call us during business hours (Mon-Fri, 9:30-5:30 EST) at 800-337-7773.
Reservations and Payments 
Reservations can be made by phone (1-800-337-7773) and will be confirmed upon receipt of $300 per person non-refundable, non-transferable deposit (by check) which must be received within 7 days of reservation. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure. Baggage fees may apply. Space and prices subject to availability. For complete booking information and terms & conditions click here.
Day 1
Depart USA.
Your fascinating river cruise journey begins as you depart on your overnight flight to Europe.
Day 2
Arrive Vienna (Austria).
Arrive in Vienna, the splendid capital of Austria and the center of the Hapsburg Empire. You’ll be met at the airport and embark on a brief introductory drive to the city center enroute to the pier to board your riverboat for your Danube River Cruises. The balance of the day is at leisure to relax and unpack. This evening enjoy a welcome cocktail followed by an orientation briefing and reception and then dinner. MS River Navigator (Cruise Ship A) or MS River Discovery II (Cruise Ship B)  (D)
Day 3
Vienna Sightseeing/Set Sail.
Today, experience Vienna’s glorious past as you embark on an included panoramic tour taking you along the Ring Boulevard, past Emperor Franz Josef’s Hofburg Palace and the State Opera to the Cathedral of St. Stephen’s. Afternoon at leisure to explore on your own or join an optional excursion to the magnificent Schonbrunn Palace, the baroque summer residence of the Hapsburgs. Your cruise director can assist in arranging tickets for an optional concert or cultural performance. Set sail late tonight. (B,L,D)
Day 4
Bratislava (Slovakia).
Welcome to Slovakia! Depart on your morning exploration of the lovely city center, past St. Martin’s Cathedral and the Primate’s Palace. The sightseeing will end with a walk through the Old Town – Michael’s Gate, Michael’s Tower, Main Square, Old Town Hall and Slovak National Theatre. Return to the ship for lunch. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure, or participate in one of the optional tours. Dinner is back on board and an evening free to waltz the night away!(B,L,D)
Day 5
Budapest (Hungary).
Morning at sail. In the afternoon, your motor coach tour of this lovely city will include the most popular sights: The Parliament Building, St. Stefan Cathedral, the Opera, the Square of Heroes, (the Millennium monument) and the town park with the Vajdahunyad Castle, etc. There will be stops at the Square of Heroes, the Fisherman’s Bastion and Gellert Hill. Prior to dinner enjoy a short live concert of Hungarian Gypsy music performed in the lounge. The rest of the evening is at leisure. You may consider an optional Hungarian Folklore show followed by nighttime views of the beautiful city bridges as they are illuminated. (B,L,D)
Day 6
Full day at leisure for independent exploration. You may want to join your Cruise Director for a wonderful walking tour of downtown Budapest or take an optional excursion to the Puszta, to meet the Hungarian Cowboys! Here you’ll be treated to a spectacular equestrian performance followed by a tasting of local snacks and brandy. This evening set sail. (B,L,D)
Day 7
Osijek (Croatia).
After breakfast this morning head up to the sun deck to observe the beautiful vistas as you sail into the Drava River toward Osijek, Croatia’s 4th largest city. After entry formalities, depart for a tour of the Old Town, including Tvrdja (Citadel), the best-preserved and largest ensemble of baroque buildings in Croatia. Then, enjoy a refreshing drink and some snacks in the garden of the Franciscan Monastery accompanied by live music featuring popular Croatian songs. Then some free time to explore the city at your leisure before returning to the ship for dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 8
Novi Sad (Serbia).
Welcome to Serbia! When you wake up this morning, you’ll say hello to Novi Sad, Serbia’s lively university town. You will be delighted with this pedestrian-friendly town as you are led on a walking tour through the town center and the Petrovaradin Fortress, referred to as the “Gibraltar on the Danube.” Built in the 18th century over 116 hectares, the fortress has four levels and more than 16km of underground tunnels. After the tour enjoy free time to explore the many charming streets lined with small shops and inviting outdoor cafes. This evening continue sailing towards the “White City”, Belgrade, Serbia’s vibrant capital. (B,L,D)
Day 9
Belgrade.
Witness the “new” Belgrade today as it rebuilds and once again warmly welcomes Western visitors.Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is located on a hill at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers. This ancient city, dating back to the Roman Empire, was destroyed and rebuilt several times during its tumultuous history. A tour of the city highlights includes the Kalemegdan Fortress, the imposing St. Sava Cathedral and the cobblestone bohemian quarter of Skadarlija. Afternoon at leisure to explore vibrant Belgrade on your own or join an optional visit to an authentic Serbian home. After dinner, you’ll be entertained by a local folklore ensemble featuring dancers and musicians dressed in colorful costumes. (B,L,D)
Day 10
Sailing through the Iron Gates (Serbia).
This morning, savor the beautiful vistas while learning about the fascinating history of the Balkans. After lunch, enjoy one of the highlights of your voyage: passage through the impressive Iron Gates Gorge and the gigantic Djerdap Lock where the Danube surges down from the Carpathian Mountains. The views along the two-mile long gorge are spectacular! Arrive Vidin, Bulgaria in the evening where you will overnight.(B,L,D)
Day 11
Vidin (Bulgaria).
On arrival, embark on a walking tour of this delightful Bulgarian river port highlighted by a visit to the 13th century fortress named “Baba Vida” (“Grandma Vida”) the best preserved medieval fortress in the country. Then enjoy some free time for strolling and shopping or take the optional Belogradchik Rock excursion. Tonight prepare for your Captain’s Farewell Dinner! (B,L,D)
Day 12
Disembark/Bucharest (Romania)/Dracula’s Castle Extension.
Dock at the Romanian port of Turnu Magurele and journey to nearby Bucharest, the capital of Romania, founded in 1459 by order of Prince Vlad Tepes, the original “Dracula”. Over the years, it has gone from times of greatness to periods of grief but especially flourished in the early 20th century when it was known as “Little Paris”. The influence of French architecture is still evident throughout, from the Arc de Triomphe to the Enescu Museum and the wide, tree-lined boulevards throughout the city. A panorama tour includes Revolution Square, the National Theater and the imposing Palace of Parliament, the second largest building in the world. Leisure time this afternoon for independent exploration or head to the scenic Carpathian Mountains for the Dracula’s Castle Extension. Please see the “Extension” tab for more detail about the Dracula’s Castle Extension itineraryNovotel Hotel or similar for travelers not going on the extension. (B)
Day 13 Main Tour
Bucharest/USA.
Board your return flight after ending your Danube River cruises. Your fascinating voyage ends as you arrive New York later today. (B)

Why not take advantage of your already included airfare to Europe and add a visit to the enchanting Carpathian Mountains resort of Brasov and to nearby Dracula’s Castle?

Day 12 Extension
Bucharest/Sinaia/Brasov.
Disembark and depart by road for Sinaia and visit the magnificent Peles Castle, a former summer residence of the Romanian Royal Family. Continue to Brasov, a medieval resort town set high in the scenic Carpathian Mountains. Aro Palace Hotel or similar. (B,D)
Day 13 Extension
Dracula’s Castle Excursion.
Enjoy a morning tour of Brasov including Town Square and the renowned Black Cathedral. Proceed to the nearby town of Bran where the highlight of the visit is a tour of the mystical Vlad Tepes Dracula’s Castle. Afternoon is at leisure to explore lovely Brasov independently. (B)
Day 14 Extension
Brasov/Bucharest.
After breakfast it’s time to check out of your hotel and board your bus for the leisurely 2 hour ride back towards Bucharest for a half day city tour prior to checking in to your hotel. Tonight enjoy a wonderful farewell dinner with live entertainment at one of the city’s renowned restaurants. Novotel Hotel or similar (B,D)
Day 15 Extension
Bucharest/USA.
Board your return flight. Your fascinating voyage ends as you arrive New York later today. (B) 

MS River Discovery II

Built in 2012, the MS River Discovery II represents a new generation of river cruise vessels sailing the rivers of Europe! The 71 deluxe cabins are all 165 square feet in size, outward facing, and furnished with modern furniture, hotel style twin beds, bathrooms with glass-enclosed showers and hair dryers, flat screen TV’s, mini safes, US plugs, and plenty of storage space. They are distributed over 3 decks with the Lower Odyssey Deck featuring half-windows, while cabins on the Middle and Upper decks all feature full floor to ceiling French Balconies which allow you to open your room to fresh river breezes without compromising the valuable interior space the way a traditional balcony would! As an added convenience, an elevator connects all 3 decks and free wifi is available throughout (subject to availability while sailing). The Panorama restaurant serving world class meals along with free flowing wine and beer for lunch and dinner. At the back of the ship there is a bar and separate Captains Club with retractable sliding roof. A Panorama Lounge, beautiful sun deck, fitness room, library, and two story lobby complete the amenities! This ship also features novel eco-friendly features including LED lighting throughout and is one of the rare vessels classified as a “green ship”. With a young and vivacious crew of 42+ cruise managers and entertainers, you’re sure to have the cruise experience of a lifetime!

MS River Discovery II

MS River Discovery II Library

MS River Discovery II Captain's Club

MS River Discovery II Evening Lounge

MS River Navigator Cabins

Category C – Odyssey Deck

Featuring half-windows

Category C Odyssey Deck smarTours

Category B – Explorer Deck

Featuring full floor to ceiling French Balconies

Category B Explorer Deck smarTours

Category A – Navigator Deck

Featuring full floor to ceiling French Balconies

Category A Navigator Deck smarTours

Jr. Suite – Navigator Deck

Jr. Suite Navigator Deck smarTours

 

Deck Plan

Deck Plan_Navigator_smarTours

 

MS River Navigator

Built in 2002 and completely renovated from hull up in 2013, the River Navigator is the epitome of style and elegance! Her public areas consist of an elegant restaurant, a 1950’s themed Rat Pack bar including an original juke box and statue of Frank Sinatra, a wonderful panorama lounge, a cozy library and an over-sized covered sun deck offering fabulous views of the passing countryside. All standard twin cabins are 165sq ft in size and are spread over 3 decks. Category C cabins located on the lower deck feature half-windows, Category B cabins located on the middle deck feature big panoramic windows, and Category A cabins on the upper deck have full floor to ceiling French Balconies!
Suites are double sized and include DVD’s and mini bars. An elevator connects the middle and upper decks. The River Navigator is sure to please even the most discriminating passengers!

NavShipatSail2

NavShipDocked1

NavLibrary1

NavSinatraLounge1

Navigator Sun Deck smarTours

Navigator Sun Deck Chess smarTours

MS River Navigator Cabins & Deck Plan

Category C – Odyssey Deck

Featuring half-windows

Navigator Cat C smarTours

Category B – Explorer Deck

Featuring big panoramic windows

Navigator Cat B smarTours

Category A – Navigator Deck

Featuring full floor to ceiling French balconies

Navigator Cat A smarTours

Deck Plan

Deck Plan_Navigator_smarTours

 

 

Night 12 Main / Night 14 Extension
Bucharest: Novotel Hotel
Calea Victoriei 37B Sector 1
010061, Bucharest, Romania
Click here to visit hotel website
Nights 12-13 Extension
Brasov: Aro Palace
Eroilor Nr. 27
Brasov, Romania
Click here to visit hotel website

Optional Tours

To enhance and make your cruise through the Danube River more complete and memorable, your cruise director will offer several optional tours and cultural/dining evening activities. These optional tours are subject to change (and others will likely be added), and the prices are approximate.

Vienna
Schonbrunn Castle (euro 55 per person) 
Visit to the Castle of Maria Theresa. This 1,441-room Baroque palace is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historic monuments in the country. The tour includes a stroll in the gardens full of beautiful statues, flowers, and tree arrangements which constitute one of the most beautiful imperial properties in Europe. You will also visit of the imperial rooms of this former summer residence of the Habsburg Family.

Vienna
Classical Wiener Concert (euro 65 per person) 
Vienna is often called the “Music Capital of the World.” Hear the Vienna Residence Orchestra and the Viennese chamber orchestra on this optional tour. The program will consist of the best and most popular works from Mozart to Johann Strauss. The concert will take place at the Hofburg Palace (or similar) and includes a glass of champagne!
Budapest
Walking Tour of Downtown Pest (euro 15 per person) 
Join your Cruise Director for a delightful stroll down Vaci Utca, the city’s main pedestrian promenade full of shops, cafes, and beautiful people! Your stops will include the Great Market Hall and Gerbeaud, the oldest sweet shop in Budapest which opened in 1858! Your tour ends with a delightful ride aboard an old fashioned tram back to the docking location.

Kalosca
Puszta – Horse Show (euro 55 per person) 
Visit the Lazar Lovas Puszta, and enjoy an unforgettable performance by the Czikos, the Hungarian Cowboys. They’ll perform several breathtaking riding tricks and will introduce you to the at and skills of the local horsemen. You will see how they train their animals, how they ride their four-horse carriages, ride without a saddle, and much more. Afterwards you will have the opportunity to tour the stables, home to more than 100 horses. Enjoy an authentic “ride to the Puszta” in several teamed oxen carts to a nearby outpost where you will have a chance to taste the local “palinka brandy” and wine along with typical Hungarian snacks.
Novi Sad
Krusedol – Sremski Karlovci – Petrovaradin Fortress (euro 35 per person) 
The Monastery is situated on the mountain Fruska Gora, famous for its fresco paintings from the 15th century. It is also the burial place of famous people from Serbian history, such as King Milan Obrenovic and Duchess Ljubica. On the way back, stop in Sremski Karlovci, center of vine production of the Fruska Gora region where you will  visit a private producer of wine, the Zivanovic family, who are well known for producing “Bermet” wine. Also, pass the Petrovaradin Fortress, known as the “Gibraltar on the Danube”.

Trip Preparation

FLIGHT INFORMATION

Your flights from New York’s JFK Airport to Europe are on the following airlines with the corresponding schedules.  We recommend that you arrive at the airport at least 3 ½ hours before the scheduled departure.

Departure Date

Airline

Depart

Return (main tour)

Return (with ext)

2018: Apr. 28, Jun. 27, Sep. 15 Lufthansa Airlines 9:55PM 8:00PM 8:00PM
2018: May 18 Lufthansa Airlines 5:30PM 8:00PM 8:00PM
2018: Jun. 7 British Airways 7:00PM 4:00PM N/A
2018: Jul. 17 Austrian Airlines 5:30PM 2:30PM 2:30PM
2018: Aug. 6, Aug. 26 Austrian Airlines / Lufthansa Airlines 5:30PM 8:00PM 8:00PM

Please make sure to allow sufficient time for clearing immigration and customs if you are planning a connecting flight.  We recommend at least 3 ½ hours.  Please keep in mind that flight schedules are always subject to change.

ADVANCE SEAT ASSIGNMENT

Please note that the above airlines do not assign seats in advance. Seat assignments can only be arranged upon check-in at the airport. Please note that smarTours is not involved in your seat assignment. It is between you and the airline!

PASSPORT AND VISA INFORMATION

You must be in possession of a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel. American citizens do not require a visa to enter the countries visited. Non U.S. citizens should check with the respective consulates of the countries visited on this tour as to the most current visa requirements. Please remember that it is your responsibility to obtain the necessary travel documents before the trip.

TICKETS AND FINAL DOCUMENTS

Your airline tickets along with final instruction and some additional travel tips will be sent to you 10 – 7 days before the scheduled departure of your tour.  Please advise us in writing should your address change.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

Immunizations are NOT currently required; however, you may wish to consult your personal physician or local public health authorities as to their suggestions.

CLIMATE

You may expect day time temperatures averaging in the 60’s & 70’s in May and September, 70’s & 80’s in June, July and August, 50’s & 60’s in October.

CREDIT CARDS AND LOCAL CURRENCY

The currency used aboard the ship is the Euro! You will have an opportunity to exchange US dollars to Euros at the beginning of your trip. You may also purchase Euros in the USA before departure. The ship does not have currency exchange facilities. Traveler’s checks are not accepted aboard the ship nor are they widely accepted in the smaller towns and villages along the route. For incidental expenses onboard (excluding optional tours) you may also use Visa or Mastercard but a small service fee will apply. During visits to major cities and on shore excursions, you will find that many of the small souvenir vendors may accept US dollars or Euros as payment.

BAGGAGE

Each passenger may bring one piece of checked-in luggage (suitcase) max. 44 pounds and one carry-on piece. Carry on must not exceed 18”x10”x8”. We recommend that you do not over-pack and that you take a variety of separates with climate and comfort in mind.

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