European Luxury River Cruises

AVALON – North Sea to the Black Sea – Bucharest to Amsterdam – 24 days

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 AvalonLuminary

Introduction

Cruise a spectacular route across the heart of Europe from the Black Sea to the North Sea (or vice versa). Sail along the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers, stopping to explore many of Europe’s magnificent riverside towns on the way. Explore Constanta on the Black Sea coast, visit Bucharest and Veliko Târnovo, Belgrade and Budapest, Nuremberg, imperial Vienna and cosmopolitan Cologne, enjoy beer tasting in Regensburg, sail through the dramatic Iron Gates Gorge, Wachau Valley and Rhine Gorge as well as cruising the canals of Amsterdam.

Itinerary

Day 1 Bucharest. Fly to Bucharest where you will be met and transferred to the Athénée Palace Hilton hotel for one night.
Day 2 Bucharest – Fetesti. Included today: Guided sightseeing. During your included tour of Romania’s lively capital this morning, enjoy a photo stop at the colossal, 6,000 room Palace of Parliament and a visit to the Royal Palace, which now houses the National Art Museum and includes over 100,000 works of Romanian and European art from the 15th to the 20th centuries. Later, drive to Fetesti, where your cruise ship is docked. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception. (B, D)

Day 3 St Gheorghe – Tulcea
Included today: Danube Delta excursion; see ‘Km 0’; guided visit to Tulcea’s Delta Museum. Arrive in St Gheorghe early this morning. After breakfast, join an excursion by small boat into the Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the best preserved of Europe’s deltas, hosting over 300 species of birds and 45 species of freshwater fish. The Danube stretches 2,845km from its source in the Black Forest to its delta at the Black Sea. Km markings can be seen on the banks along the length of the river and today you can celebrate the end of the Danube’s journey at ‘Km 0’. After lunch, learn about the fascinating Danube Delta at an on board lecture. In the early evening, visit Tulcea’s Delta Museum.. (B, L, D)

Day 4 Harsova.
Excursion to Contanta. Included today: Choice of full- or half- day excursion to Constanta; guided sightseeing and visit to Natural History & Archaeological Museum. Arrive in Harsova after breakfast. From here, choose either the full day or half day afternoon excursion to Constanta on the Black Sea Coast, the most important commercial centre in Romania. A Local Guide introduces highlights including the Natural History & Archaeological museum. Later visit a winery at Murfatlar. Alternatively, relax on board in the morning stay and visit Constanta in the afternoon only. (B, L, D)

Day 5 Rousse.
Excursion to Veliko Târnovo & Arbanassi. Included today: Veliko Târnovo guided sightseeing and Ethnographical Museum and Patriarch’s Church in Arbanassi, or Rousse guided sightseeing. Drive to the ancient Bulgarian former capital 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. The oldest part is Tsarevets Hill, home to the Royal Fortress, palaces and Patriarch’s Church. The historic village of Arbanassi is best known for its Ethnographical Museum and the outstanding collection of frescoes in the Church of the Nativity. Rejoin your ship in Svistov. Alternatively, explore Rousse on an included tour of the city with a Local Guide after breakfast and relax on board in the afternoon as you cruise to Svistov. (B, L, D)

Day 6 Cetate
Included today: Cruise through the Iron Gates Gorge; wine tasting in Cetate. Today, enjoy a leisurely day of sailing. At first, the river separates Romania on the right bank from Bulgaria on the left and is relatively wide. Later, it carves a path through the lower Carpathian Mountains to the north and the Balkan Mountains to the south, creating a series of four steep gorges known as the Iron Gates Gorge. Until the Iron Gates hydro-electric dam was completed in 1972, the river presented great hazards to the shipping trade. Before lunch, stop at Cetate for a tasting of excellent local wines. (B, L, D)

Day 7 Iron Gates Gorge
. Excursion to Lepenski Vir Included today: Cruise the Iron Gates Gorge; visit Lepenski Vir archaeological site. More spectacular scenery as you cruise through the Iron Gates Gorge, a narrow and formerly very dangerous passage dividing Europe’s Alps in the northwest from the Carpathians in the southeast, that forms a natural border between Serbia and Romania. This afternoon, dock at Donji Milanovac and drive to the Lepenski Vir Exhibition Centre, a rich archaeological site that also offers unique, striking views of the Danube Gorge. (B, L, D)

Day 8 Belgrade.
 Included today: Guided sightseeing. Reaching the Serbian capital Belgrade, set at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers, a local expert will show you its main sights including St Sava, the world’s largest Orthodox Church, and the city’s principal landmark: Kalemegdan Fortress, which showcases the history of Belgrade. Built in stages between the 1st and 18th centuries, the fortress witnessed many battles and observed the courage of those trying to defend the city from conquerors. The surrounding park is the largest and most beautiful in Belgrade. There’s free time to enjoy the city centre’s lively pedestrian area and charming outdoor cafés. This afternoon, a fascinating on board lecture introduces the Balkan region. (B, L, D)

Day 9 Vukovar
. Excursion to Osijek. Today, learn about Croatia’s complex history and the events that led to the Croatian War of Independence. Accompanied by local experts, explore Osijek and Vukovar, Croatia’s largest river port. Located at the confluence of the Danube and Vuka Rivers, Vukovar was the scene of an 87 day siege in 1991, known as The Battle of Vukovar. This and other dramatic events in the recent past have shaped both the present and future of this region. (B, L, D)

Day 10 Mohács
Included today: Wine tasting at the Villány Wine District. Arrive in Mohács this morning, and after breakfast, an included excursion takes in the Villány district, where some of Hungary’s best red wines are produced. During the wine tasting, learn about which varietals are grown, and why the climate and soil conditions here are ideal for the production of excellent wines. This afternoon, relax on board as you cruise to Budapest. (B, L, D)

Day 11 Budapest
Included today: Guided sightseeing. Spanning the banks of the Danube, Budapest is one of Eastern Europe’s liveliest cities. Today’s guided city tour takes in the massive hilltop castle complex, Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church. This afternoon, explore this vibrant city at your own pace, perhaps strolling across the famed Chain Bridge, a symbol of Budapest built in 1849 that connects ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. Or why not visit St Stephen’s Basilica for fantastic city views, or stroll along Vací Utca main shopping street? (B, L, D)

Day 12 Bratislava – Vienna
Included today: Bratislava guided sightseeing; Schloss Hof Palace. This morning, dock in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Today’s sightseeing with a Local Guide will introduce you to the charming Old Town and its Town Hall, one of the oldest stone buildings in the city. Also visit the Gothic St Martin’s Cathedral, coronation church for the Kingdom of Hungary from the 16th to 19th centuries. Later, set sail for Vienna, stopping to visit the Schloss Hof Palace on the way. (B, L, D)

Day 13 Vienna
Included today: Guided sightseeing. Vienna, known as the ‘City of Music’, inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss. Once the centre of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Vienna is a showcase of gilded architecture. See the lavish Hofburg Palace, the impressive Vienna Opera House, the majestic Ring Boulevard and awe-inspiring St Stephen’s Cathedral on a guided tour. Shop on the Kärntnerstrasse and enjoy Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in a local café. An optional concert is available during your stay. (B, L, D)

Day 14 Dürnstein – Grein
Included today: Guided walks in Dürnstein and Grein. Cruise through the heart of the picturesque Wachau Valley wine region to Dürnstein, known for its magnificent baroque Stiftskirche with its blue façade. A Local Guide will take you on a walking tour of the town and tell you the tale of the castle ruins perched overlooking the town, where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192. This afternoon, cruise to the attractive country resort of Grein, nestled at the foot of a bluff in the shadow of its castle. Join a Local Guide for a guided walk to admire the turreted houses on the main square. Its castle is the oldest residential castle in Austria, and its theatre, built in 1791, is Austria’s oldest theatre. (B, L, D)

Day 15 Linz
Included today: Guided walk. Arriving before lunch, your Local Guide will introduce you to Linz, Austria’s third-largest city and an important river port. See the 13th century Hauptplatz, Austria’s largest medieval square, and the Trinity Column. Alternatively, join a full-day optional excursion to Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. (B, L, D)

Day 16 Regensburg
Included today: Guided walk. Dating back to the time of the Celts around 500BC, Regensburg is one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. Architectural highlights on your guided walk this morning include the Old Town Hall and the Porta Pretoria – gates to the Roman fort built in 179AD. Enjoy a tasty snack at Germany’s oldest restaurant, the 12th century Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen). (B, L, D)

Day 17 Nuremberg
Included today: Choice of guided sightseeing or Nuremberg Trials tour; beer tasting. Although Nuremberg suffered extensive damage during World War II, much of it has been restored to its original style. Marvel at this historic city with its fabulous gothic churches, Kaiserburg Imperial Castle and elegant patrician houses on an included guided tour or perhaps join the more specialised ‘Nuremberg Trials’ tour. This afternoon, learn more about the fascinating Main-Danube Canal at our included on board lecture. After dinner sample some of Germany’s famous beers. (B, L, D)

Day 18 Bamberg
Included today: Guided sightseeing. Enjoy a leisurely morning on board as you cruise on the gentle Main River. This afternoon, arrive in medieval Bamberg, a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your guided walking tour takes in its breathtaking cathedral, the Old Town Hall which straddles the River Regnitz, and serpentine streets with charming houses and 18th century mansions. (B, L, D)

Day 19 Würzburg
Included today: Guided sightseeing. Surrounded by steep, verdant vineyards, Würzburg is known as the ‘Pearl of the Romantic Road’ and makes an immediate impression with views of its beautiful Marienberg Fortress and 15th century Old Main Bridge. Today’s guided sightseeing tour visits the magnificent Bishop’s Residenz, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. This afternoon enjoy time at leisure, perhaps join the optional excursion to medieval Rothenburg. (B, L, D)

Day 20 Wertheim
Included today: Guided walk. Enjoy a morning at leisure on board as you cruise the picturesque Main River, reaching Wertheim in the early afternoon. Wertheim is set at the confluence of the Tauber and Main Rivers and today’s guided walk introduces the medieval town centre. Enjoy an included tasting of local specialities before time at leisure to admire locally produced blown-glass ornaments or head up to the castle overlooking the town. (B, L, D)

Day 21 Rüdesheim – Rhine Gorge
Included today: Visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum; cruise through the Rhine Gorge. Whilst in pretty Rüdesheim, a visit to Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum is included, as well as free time to explore the Drosselgasse. Afterwards, sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge and pass the legendary Lorelei Rock, where it is thought the sweet songs of sirens lured enchanted sailors to their doom. (B, L, D)

Day 22 Cologne
Included today: Choice of Guided city walk or Jewish Cologne tour. Cologne is one of Germany’s largest cities, with a river skyline dominated by the soaring twin spires of its magnificent Gothic cathedral. This afternoon, choose between an included Guided City Walk or a ‘Jewish Cologne’ tour. The Old Town offers up a great choice of cafés, shops and taverns so be sure to try a Kölsch the favourite local beer and shop for a bottle of 4711, the original ‘eau de cologne’. (B, L, D)

Day 23 Amsterdam
Included today: Canal cruise. Holland’s delightful 700-year-old capital is sophisticated and modern, with a rich and fascinating history. The works of famous Dutch masters can be seen in world-renowned museums such as the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum. There is no better way to see Amsterdam than by canal boat, cruising along elegant grachten lined by stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s ‘Golden Age’. (B, L, D)

Day 24 Amsterdam
. Disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK. (B)

Featured Hotel – Athénée Palace Hilton

 

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Price & dates

All prices and supplements are per person. The prices and departure dates listed in the table below do not show live availability therefore may not be up-to-date. To find out the latest availability please call us on 0800 612 5677 for information.

 

Departure Date Booking Code Your Ship Price
22 Apr 2015 WOA Avalon Luminary £5486
26 Apr 2015 WOA2 Avalon Vista £5522
01 Jul 2015 WOA Avalon Luminary £5504
22 Jul 2015 WOA1 Avalon Illumination £5494
09 Sep 2015 WOA Avalon Luminary £5775
14 Oct 2015 WOA1 Avalon Illumination £5312

Upgrade supplements

Category Deck Luminary Illumination/Vista
Cat D Indigo £375
Cat B Sapphire £1,169 £1,809
Cat A Sapphire £1,269 £1,905
Cat P Royal £1,460 £2,125
Suite Royal £2,555 £3,499

Travel Options

Prices are based on flights from Heathrow. Regional flights are availble at a supplement from Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edignburgh, Glasgow, Humberside, Manchester, Newcastle and Norwich.

The Avalon experience

Included Highlights

  • BUCHAREST Guided sightseeing
  • DANUBE DELTA Delta excursion; see ‘Km 0’
  • TULCEA Visit the Delta Museum
  • CONSTANTA Excursion, visit the Natural History & Archaeological Museum
  • VELIKO TÂRNOVO Guided sightseeing, visit the Patriarch’s Church
  • ARBANASSI Guided visit of the Ethnographical Museum and Church of the Nativity
  • ROUSSE Guided Sightseeing if not participating in Veliko Târnova and Arbanassi excursion
  • IRON GATES GORGE Cruise through the Iron Gates gorge
  • CETATE Wine tasting
  • LEPENSKI VIR Visit archaeological site
  • BELGRADE Guided sightseeing, visit Kalemegdan Fortress
  • VUKOVAR Guided sightseeing
  • OSIJEK Guided sightseeing
  • PECS Excursion; Wine tasting in Villány wine region
  • BUDAPEST Guided sightseeing
  • BRATISLAVA Guided sightseeing, visit St Martin’s Cathedral
  • VIENNA Guided sightseeing
  • DÜRNSTEIN Guided walk; see the Stiftskirche
  • GREIN Guided walk
  • LINZ Guided walk
  • REGENSBURG Guided walk
  • MAIN-DANUBE CANAL Cruise on the canal
  • NUREMBERG Choice of guided sightseeing or Nuremberg Trials tour; beer tasting
  • BAMBERG Guided sightseeing, see the Old Town Hall
  • WÜRZBURG Guided sightseeing, visit the Bishop’s Residenz
  • WERTHEIM Guided walk
  • RÜDESHEIM Visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum
  • RHINE GORGE Cruise through the gorge
  • COLOGNE Choice of guided city walk or Jewish Cologne tour
  • AMSTERDAM Canal cruise
  • WELCOME RECEPTION, CAPTAIN’S RECEPTION AND FAREWELL DINNER

Included in the price

  • Private door-to-door home pick-up service by executive car for you and your travelling companions
  • Flights from London Heathrow with British Airways; regional flights at a supplement
  • 22 nights deluxe accommodation in a spacious stateroom with hotel-style beds, ensuite facilities and river views. Floor to ceiling sliding glass doors and a French Balcony in most staterooms. 1 night at the Athénée Palace Hilton, Bucharest
  • All meals on board including full breakfast, buffet lunch and waiter service dinner with quality wines from Europe’s most famous wine regions; afternoon tea with cakes and sweet treats; a choice of teas and coffees throughout the day. Buffet breakfast in Bucharest
  • Included excursions and sightseeing trips with Local Guides and a choice of optional tours; headsets provided on excursions
  • Services of an experienced Cruise Director
  • Gratuities for Cruise Director and crew
  • On board lectures, activities and nightly piano music
  • Welcome reception, Captain’s Reception and Farewell Dinner
  • All transfers, local port charges and airport taxe
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