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Active & Discovey on the lower Danube 2023

From Bucharest, Romania to Zagreb, Croatia
Length: 9 Days - Departs: Fri, Jul 14, 2023

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River Cruise Itinerary

Begin your Active & Discovery river cruise vacation with an overnight stay in Bucharest—the “Paris of the East.” See the Romanian capital’s WWI Arc de Triomphe and the Royal Palace Square, and spend free time browsing the lovely shops and cafes of Victory Boulevard. Embark on your Suite Ship® in the town of Oltenita to begin your Danube River cruise through the Balkans, and cruise for Nikopol. See the incredible ancient architecture in Veliko Târnovo and Arbanassi or join your local guide and hike to the Kroushuna Waterfalls. Sail to Vidin, Bulgaria, explore the city and visit the medieval Baba Vida Fortress. You might prefer to join a panoramic trek in Belogradchik. Cruise through the Iron Gates Gorge, explore the amazing archaeological site of Lepenski Vir, and visit the fascinating Fortress of Golubač. Sail to Belgrade, Serbia, where the Danube and Sava Rivers meet, and discover ancient architecture in Novi Sad. Walk up the Petrovaradin Fortress or get to know Belgrade through its people. Sail into beautiful Croatia, where a 1,000-year-old winemaking tradition lives on in Ilok. Disembark in Osijek and spend the night in the Croatian capital of Zagreb—dating back to the Roman Empire. This Danube River cruise through the Balkans reveals the beauty of its people and culture across a land of beauty and inspiration.

  1. Day 1
    BUCHAREST, ROMANIA
    Fri, Jul 14, 2023
    Welcome to Bucharest—The “Paris of the East” The day is yours to relax and enjoy Bucharest. Spend some free time exploring this fascinating city on your own to discover its trendy shops, cafés, museums, beautiful homes, and churches along Victory Avenue.
  2. Day 2
    BUCHAREST
    Sat, Jul 15, 2023
    Beautiful Boulevards and Bold History ACTIVE Take a guided natural walk in the V?c?re?ti Nature Park. Also known as Urban Delta, this wetland is home to more than 150 different species of birds and small mammals. Enjoy this green get away and learn more about this special green area located only 4km away from the centre of Romania’s capital, Bucharest, OR:DISCOVERY Discover the joie de vivre of Romanian cuisine -- a tasty hodge-podge of Balkan, Ottoman, French, and Russian influences, OR:CLASSIC Take a Guided Tour of the Romanian capital city of Bucharest with its tree-lined boulevards and Arc de Triomphe—honoring WWI Romanian soldiers. See the Royal Palace Square—the scene of the city’s 1989 riots to overthrow the communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.Travel to Oltenita to board your Avalon Suite Ship® this afternoon. OLTENITA (EMBARKATION) Your Adventure Begins Explore your Avalon Suite Ship® this evening and enjoy a dinner on board. EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO NIKOPOL(B,D)
  3. Day 3
    NIKOPOL. VELIKO TÂRNOVO & ARBANASSI EXCURSION
    Sun, Jul 16, 2023
    Cliff Houses and Revival ArchitectureACTIVE Follow your expert local guide through the beautiful eco-patch up to Kroushuna Waterfalls, OR:CLASSIC Join a full-day Guided Tour to the former Bulgarian capital of Veliko Târnovo—with its ancient stone houses clinging to the cliffs above the Yantra River. Discover one of the oldest towns in Bulgaria (circa 4300 BC), as well as the Bulgarian Revival architecture in the 15th-century town of Arbanassi. This evening enjoy a movie night on board your Avalon ship.OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO VIDIN(B,L,D)
  4. Day 4
    VIDIN, BULGARIA
    Mon, Jul 17, 2023
    Rocks, Ruins and Beauty in BulgariaACTIVE Enjoy a panoramic trek on the rocky landscape of Belogradchik OR:DISCOVERY Get to learn everything about the production technologies of the Bulgarian wines and enjoy a tasting of the various labels produced by a local well-known winery. All accompanied by local snacks and symphonic music. OR:CLASSIC Join Guided Sightseeing in Vidin, followed by a visit to Baba Vida Fortress, Bulgaria’s only completely preserved medieval castle.This evening, enjoy live entertainment on board with a Bulgarian folklore show. OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO DONJI MILANOVAC(B,L,D)
  5. Day 5
    IRON GATES GORGE—DONJI MILANOVAC. EXCURSION TO LEPENSKI VIR —GOLUBA?
    Tue, Jul 18, 2023
    Ancient Artifacts and the Iron Gates Join your Adventure Host for today’s special activities.Sail through the spectacular and narrow Iron Gates Gorge—a natural border between Serbia and Romania. ACTIVE Enjoy this scenic hike through Djerdap National Park and stop along the way to taste some local specialties before returning to your Avalon ship, OR:DISCOVERY Join a Guided Tour to Lepenski Vir—an important Mesolithic archaeological site chronicling prehistoric cultures, settlements, and art. Marvel at the ancient discoveries and artifacts, as well as the unique views the site affords of the Danube Gorge, OR:CLASSIC Join a guided tour of Donji Milanovac and learn the basic of the Cyrillic Serbian alphabet inside the local primary school. Meet locals and get to know the art of crocheting while learning about the history of this little Serbian town. Enjoy a brief sailing to Goluba?.CLASSIC Visit the Fortress of Goluba?, one of the best-preserved medieval fortresses in Europe. You’ll hear about its tumultuous history as a border control defense in the Middle Ages, and a source of conflict between Serbia, the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire. OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO BELGRADE(B,L,D)
  6. Day 6
    BELGRADE, SERBIA
    Wed, Jul 19, 2023
    Fortresses and Folklore ACTIVE Get a real taste of Serbia on this guided bike tour focusing on the history of Belgrade, from WWII to today, OR:DISCOVERY Go way beyond the ordinary, and get to know Belgrade through its remarkable people and innovative minds. OR:CLASSIC Join a Guided Sightseeing Tour of Belgrade—where the Danube and Sava Rivers converge—and see the city’s many fascinating sights, including Saint Sava, one of the world’s largest Orthodox churches.Spend free time in Belgrade exploring Knez Mihailova Street—Belgrade’s central pedestrian thoroughfare with many lively cafés, shops, and cultural spots. You might consider partaking one of the Optional Excursion available.DISCOVERY Before dinner, attend an onboard Lecture to learn about the rich history, destinations, and culture of the Balkan states. This evening, you might like to join an Optional Excursion for an authentic Bohemian Dinner in the Quarter of Skadarlija.OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO NOVI SAD(B,L,D)
  7. Day 7
    NOVI SAD
    Thu, Jul 20, 2023
    A Capital of CultureACTIVE Enjoy a guided hiking tour to the Petrovaradin part of town. Located on the right bank of the Danube, across from Novi Sad, this area will amaze you for its scenic views, OR:DISCOVERY Get to learn more about the beekeeper profession on this guided tour of Novi Sad by stopping at the Honey Museum and tasting local honey specialties, OR:CLASSIC Join a Guided Tour of Novi Sad, the second largest town in Serbia. Admire its Austro-Hungarian old town, with its baroque buildings, and ancient fortifications.Enjoy a brief cruise to Ilok while having lunch on board.ILOK, CROATIACroatian Heritage and Hilltop VintagesACTIVE Enjoy a scenic bike ride through the easternmost town in Croatia and be mesmerized by the beauty of Ilok. OR;DISCOVERY Explore the town of Vukovar and meet a local beer brewer who will share with you his fascinating story during a beer tasting. OR;CLASSIC Join a Guided Tour of Ilok, with its 1,000-year-old winemaking tradition still thriving and its medieval fortress protected for its Croatian cultural heritage.EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO OSIJEK(B,L,D)
  8. Day 8
    OSIJEK (DISEMBARKATION)–ZAGREB
    Fri, Jul 21, 2023
    A Night in ZagrebDisembark your ship this morning and travel to Zagreb, where you will enjoy a local lunch.CLASSIC Take a Guided Tour of the Croatian capital city of Zagreb and discover its rich history dating from the Roman times to the present day.Spend some free time exploring this fascinating city on your own to discover its Austro-Hungarian architecture. Do not miss pedestrian-friendly Tkal?i?eva Street, lined with outdoor cafes. (B,L)
  9. Day 9
    ZAGREB
    Sat, Jul 22, 2023
    Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.(B)

Countries Visited

Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia

Rivers Visited

Danube

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Inclusions

  • In the event of technical or water level issues, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or alter the program, including hotel overnight when necessary.
  • Guided Tours, Optional Excursions, activities, sailing and docking schedules may be contingent on weather conditions or other issues outside of our control and could therefore be subject to change at any time.
  • Please check visa requirements with your local consulate(s); responsibility for obtaining visas rests with the traveler.


Accommodation Information

Port charges:
$180

Gratuities to Local Guides & Excursion Drivers are included on Avalon portion only.

Avalon offers the opportunity for solo travelers to sail with no single supplement (subject to availability).

Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.

Health and Safety Protocols for Avalon Waterways

Today's world has changed, but what remains certain is Avalon Waterways' commitment to guest safety, comfort and peace-of-mind while traveling with us. To that end, Avalon Waterways has established a worldwide Assurance program, with enhanced on-trip protocols and procedures, to ensure the health – and happiness – of guests throughout their travels with us.

It all starts with Avalon Waterways' Global Health & Safety Team, dedicated to ensuring that cleanliness of all operations exceeds today’s travel standards—from start to finish. The following areas address Avalon Waterways' commitment to providing a safe and clean environment for guests.

WELCOME ABOARD

New embarkation procedures to offer guests a safe start to their journey, including:

  • Social distancing throughout embarkation
  • Mandatory health screening, including touch-free temperature-check, for all guests and crew
  • Luggage disinfection prior to onboarding (with crew wearing gloves and masks)

FRESH AIR, INSIDE AND OUT:

In addition to Avalon Waterways' Open-Air staterooms, the air in the ships is not circulated between staterooms; only within an individual stateroom and mixed with fresh, outside air.

BLENDING CULTURAL PROXIMITY WITH SOCIAL DISTANCE:

New social distancing guidelines for guests throughout their Avalon cruise include:

  • Reducing ship capacity as required for more space on board per guest
  • Introducing more dining venues for more dining space per person
  • Crew wearing masks for the duration of the cruise during any guest interaction
  • Providing masks for guests to wear during any event where social proximity could become an issue, including disembarkation for excursions and safety drills
  • Adjusting ratio of guides and coaches for excursions, as required

NEW TECHNOLOGY TO ENSURE CLEANLINESS:

  • Electrostatic disinfecting systems
  • UV disinfecting systems

TOUCHING HEARTS, NOT HANDS:

Reducing risk with hands-free service, including:

  • More hand-sanitizing stations throughout the ship
  • Required use of hand-sanitizing stations when leaving the ship, returning to the ship and entering dining venues as well as entering each public/common space
  • Self-serve stations, including buffets, drinks, specialty coffees and snacks have been replaced with crew service
  • All buffets (breakfast and lunch) replaced by a full range of á la carte menu choices
  • Hourly (or more frequent) disinfection of all public areas

COMMITMENT TO THE CLEANEST SHIPS:

Enhanced cleaning procedures throughout each ship, including these additional steps that go above-and-beyond Avalon’s already strict procedures:

  • Deep disinfection of each stateroom between cruises, including:
    • Use of disinfectants and cleaning materials that meet the highest standards
    • Soft goods in each stateroom (mattress, sofa, window coverings, chairs, etc.) disinfected between cruises
  • Disinfection of all dining areas between meals
  • Disinfection of all shared items like umbrellas, bicycles and other Adventure Center items
  • Disinfection of all goods prior to loading on the ship
  • Ongoing crew training in protective equipment use and hygiene

FOCUS ON CREW HEALTH:

Ensuring a healthy crew, including:

  • Medical certificate required prior to start of contract
  • Daily temperature checks
  • Social distancing in crew living quarters
  • Regular health screenings

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Ship Information

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Cabins

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Life on Board

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Questions & Answers

Question: Will the day-by-day itinerary change?

Yes, the river cruise itineraries may change due to reasons such as inclement weather or unforeseen events. Your safety is the number one concern aboard and all precautions necessary will be taken in order to ensure passenger safety, including changing itineraries. Please note that when itineraries do change, the ship staff will do their best to substitute any missed port with an alternative destination.

Question: In what language is the river cruise conducted?

The river cruise will be conducted in English only.

Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4.4
Accommodations
4.4
Itinerary
4.3
Professional Staff
4.7
Repeat with Operator
4.3
Value for Money
4.2

Ratings based off 56 reviews - currently showing 14 reviews with comments only

This tour /cruise was fantastic. The pre-cruise extension in Transylvania was for me the highlight and anyone considering the cruise should definitely include this. Our Avalon cruise director and the entire crew were outstanding as were the local guides who were extremely knowledgeable and spoke perfect English.

Outstanding cruise,ship and crew were excellent.Cruise Director Simona is a delight,extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Will travel again with Avalon.

I would travel on valon only in the future. Cleaner, newer, more comfortable ships with a great stafff. Better than my previous river cruises with a high end ship! And the cruise director has to be the absolutely best in the industry!!!

The ship is beautiful and the rooms very comfortable. Avalon seems to attract a very friendly and social group of travelers. It is also welcoming to the solo traveler.

This was probably the best cruise we have ever taken and we travel a lot. Autumn from Affordable is the best. She was always there when I needed her and so accommodating. The ship Passion was a 10 plus in every way from the rooms to the tours, food and staff. I liked that they had healthy choices at every meal.

Our Avalon cruise exceeded our expections. We had a great staff, great tours, and met wonderful people.

This river cruise to see the Christmas Markets and tour parts of Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic was a dream come true. Every part of it was amazing. From the organization of Affordable Tours pre-cruise to Avalon Waterways beautiful ship, great crew (especially cruise director Gusta) and the spectacular meals. The tours were marvelous and informative. Cant say enough about the great time we had.

As always the service on Avalon was excellent and the rooms wonderful. Missed the allergy notifications cards on buffet as my daughter had celiacs Did appriciate that after the third day the had made gluten fee desserts that she was able to have and the snacks provided at captains cocktail time. Would have been perfect if these items had been available the first few days also, as not having them made me feel my daughter was left out and me also feel guilty if I ate in front of her.

I thought the dinner meals were not as good as past cruise. Breakfast and lunch were fine. Service from staff was excellent

It was a wonderful trip and the person who made it really great was our Cruise Director, Monika. She was friendly, helpful and extremely kind. When I had a severe asthma attack in Venice, she made arrangements to get me to a hospital for necessary treatment and throughout the rest of the trip continued to check on me and make sure that I had whatever was needed to be comfortable. It can be a scary experience to be ill in a foreign country, but with Monika's help I made it through the rest of the trip without any more worries.

We had a great trip. This is our second river cruise with Avalon through Affordable Tours. We knew what to expect from our previous trip (Romantic Rhine a year ago). The day excursions are well-led, with lots of information from our capable guides. The food on board is very good, with buffet style (our preference) for breakfast and lunch. We're not gourmet food aficionados, honestly two-hour dinners every night are not our style, but we knew they were part of the package, so we weren't surprised.

Avalon staff and tours were excellent - enjoyed the many excursions.

The attention to detail is incredible. The tour director left nothing on the table. Everything was perfectly organized and described. The cruise was great and I would, and will, recommend this to all my friends and family. If you find yourself on this cruise, you are in for a great adventure. All arranged/included tours at each port were top notch.

The trip was an educational trip about the Balkan Region. It was wonderful!

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