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Travel between northern Italy and the diverse nations of the Balkan Peninsula, and discover a unique blend of eastern and western cultures on a one-of-a-kind journey by land, cruise and train. Complement your journey with a 9-day trip on a private train to Istanbul, plus two nights at the Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul. You’ll sleep on the luxury Golden Eagle Danube Express with ever-changing views at your window—the perfect addition to a river cruise. Along the way, visit Alpine lake towns, historic cities across Eastern Europe, the Greek seafront and more. On the cruise portion of your journey, travel to romantic Venice and treat yourself to a private evening opening and lighting ceremony at St. Mark’s Basilica. Depart the enchanting “City of Water” to explore the waterfront shops, colorful facades and peaceful canals unique to Burano, Mazzorbo and Torcello. Farther south, discover Chioggia—a charming southern port loved by fishermen, artists and anyone looking for unique gifts or souvenirs. Enjoy additional shopping time in “bountiful” Bologna and medieval Padua, once home to Galileo and Copernicus. Each of these enchanting locales is yours to uncover on “Cruise & Rail: Venice & Istanbul.”
- Day 1IstanbulSat, Aug 06, 2022Arrive at Istanbul Airport. If your cruise/tour package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, a Uniworld representative will be on hand to greet you and escort you to the Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul (or similar).
- Day 2IstanbulSun, Aug 07, 2022Your adventure begins in the spectacular and bustling 3,000-year-old city of Istanbul. As the only city in the world built on two continents, Istanbul has a unique mix of Eastern and Western culture. Experience it all during your free time here by browsing the thousands of vendors of the Grand Bazaar and sampling Turkish delights amongst colorful piles of seasonings at the Spice Bazaar. Cross from Europe to Asia on a Bosphorus strait ferry—if you’re lucky, you might even spot a pod of dolphins along the way! You’ll also want to explore some of the city’s famous architectural masterpieces, such as the brilliantly tiled Blue Mosque and the ancient Hagia Sophia, plus the beautiful gardens stretched between them.
- Day 3Istanbul (Embark)Mon, Aug 08, 2022In the afternoon you will be taken to Istanbul’s historic Sirkeci railway station, starting point of the world famous Orient Express. The station is currently only used by the Venice Simplon Orient Express and the Golden Eagle Danube Express. Your cabin attendants will be waiting on the platform to welcome you and escort you to your cabin. Enjoy a spectacular view of the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus as the train leaves the station and slowly threads its way along the Sea of Marmara. After settling into your cabin, you will head to one of the restaurant cars for a Welcome Dinner. During the night your train will cross the border into Bulgaria.
- Day 4Plovdiv, SofiaTue, Aug 09, 2022After breakfast, your train arrives in Plovdiv. The second largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia, ‘The City of Seven Hills’ is one of the oldest cities in Europe with more than 200 known archaeological sites. Spend the morning here exploring the Roman Forum and Amphitheatre. You’ll also visit the charming Old Town including its medieval walls and Ottoman baths.After lunch, your train arrives in Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital at the foot of Vitosha Mountain. On your afternoon tour, you will visit sections of the Roman wall and admire the ancient Church of St. George, the golden domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Turkish Banya Bashi Mosque.
- Day 5Thessaloniki, SkopjeWed, Aug 10, 2022This morning, you'll cross into Greece and after breakfast arrive in the vibrant city of Thessaloniki. Soak up the atmosphere of this vibrant city by heading to Aristotelous Square and the seafront before returning to the train for lunch.In the afternoon, you’ll arrive in the little-visited Skopje and discover a city where the Ottoman influences are still strong. Explore the narrow streets of the Old Town with tiny shops and mosques with ceramic-tiled interiors. Meander through the Old Bazaar area, brimming with things to buy, and cross the 15th-century stone bridge that links the bazaar to the modern town.
- Day 6BelgradeThu, Aug 11, 2022Arrive this morning in the Serbian capital, Belgrade, the former Yugoslavian capital. Located at the strategic meeting point of the Danube and Sava Rivers, this truly cosmopolitan city has fortifications from Celtic times, medieval tombs and Turkish baths.Spend a full day here and set out on a city tour that includes the ‘House of Flowers’—the mausoleum of Josip Tito. On the tour, you’ll also see the Town Hall, Republic Square, Knez Mihailova Street, ‘Varoš’ and the mighty Kalemegdan Fortress. Lunch today will be in the spectacular Salon 1905. You’ll leave Belgrade late in the afternoon and head towards Bosnia.
- Day 7Mostar, SarajevoFri, Aug 12, 2022Over breakfast, you’ll travel along a very scenic line to the historic city of Mostar, the crossroads of many civilizations, cultures and religions. Mostar was one of the most important cities of the Ottoman Empire. The town’s renowned stone arch bridge linking the Christian and Muslim areas was re-built in the summer of 2004. Visit the Turkish House and the mosque before walking through the narrow bazaar streets, where you can shop for traditional souvenirs and handicrafts. Depart Mostar, and after lunch you’ll arrive in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, which has an intriguing blend of Eastern and Western culture. It has mosques and minarets, an ancient bazaar and an atmospheric old Turkish quarter.Discover the city’s poignant history through a truly absorbing tour detailing the horrors of the Balkan War. Sarajevo suffered from the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare. The scars of war are still evident in the war-torn buildings you’ll pass before making a special visit to the Tunnel Museum under Sarajevo Airport. Your guide, who lived through the 1992–1996 conflict, powerfully brings to life the struggles that the citizens of Sarajevo faced during the siege of the city.Return to the train for dinner onboard as your journey continues on to Croatia and Slovenia.
- Day 8Zagreb, Ljubljana, Lake BledSat, Aug 13, 2022Have breakfast onboard as the train heads to Croatia’s Capital, Zagreb, then spend the morning touring the city.Return to the train for lunch as the train follows the scenic River Sava to the Capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. Tour this lovely, compact city by foot and by a cruise on the Ljubljanica River. Later, you'll head to Lake Bled, one of the most picturesque and photographed lakes in Eastern Europe.Then, return to the train for a Farewell Dinner onboard as you travel overnight toward Italy.
- Day 9Trieste and Venice (Disembark), Transfer to ship (Embark)Sun, Aug 14, 2022After an early breakfast, you’ll stop in the medieval port city of Trieste, once amongst the oldest and largest cities in the Habsburg Empire. Then return to the train and prepare to disembark at the Venice Santa Lucia Station on the Canal Grande, where you will be transferred to the ship. Unpack, relax and enjoy your first evening on the Venetian Lagoon.
- Day 10VeniceMon, Aug 15, 2022With your early morning arrival at Doge’s Palace, you’ll be able to marvel at the estate in total peace. Wander through a Venetian neighborhood and experience daily life in an authentic Venetian residential quarter. Later in the evening, cap the day off with a private once-in-a-lifetime experience at an after-hours lighting ceremony inside St. Mark’s Basilica without the crowds.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Day 11Venice, ChioggiaTue, Aug 16, 2022Begin your morning with a walk through Venice to meet a local gondola artisan, then head back onboard for a lunchtime sailing across the lagoon. Upon arrival in the fishing town of Chioggia, you'll be able to choose between a ride in a traditional bragozzo with a visit to a countryside estate, some Italian villa wine tasting or a walking tour through Padua.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Day 12Polesella (Bologna or Ferrara)Wed, Aug 17, 2022Explore Italy’s culinary capital Bologna on a full-day tour packed with an exclusive pasta-making workshop and lunch or explore Ferrara on a half-day tour.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Day 13Porto Viro, Chioggia, BuranoThu, Aug 18, 2022Today, you’ll admire the greatest sites of charming and coastal Chioggia, including a stop at the local and lively market. Your ship will move to dock overnight in Burano, where you’ll enjoy a lovely evening stroll through this multicolored island.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Day 14Burano (Torcello, Mazzorbo, and Burano), VeniceFri, Aug 19, 2022Spend the day exploring the northern lagoon of Venice and its captivating islands. Start with a visit to Torcello's famous basilica with an art historian, then stroll through the agricultural island of Mazzorbo and the rainbow-hued island of Burano during your free time after lunch. Alternatively, you can take the afternoon to see the renowned glassblowing artisans of Murano at work.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
- Day 15VeniceSat, Aug 20, 2022As your water taxi glides past narrow side canals and the Canal Grande, you’ll arrive in style at the Rialto Bridge. The iconic stone arch bridge sits at the narrowest point of the Canal Grande and holds numerous shops and restaurants.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Day 16Venice (Disembark)Sun, Aug 21, 2022Disembark the ship. If your cruise/tour package includes a group departure transfer or if you purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Venice Marco Polo International Airport for your flight home.
Health and Safety Protocols for Uniworld
Uniworld approaches every cruise with that same thorough diligence. Stringent security and sanitation protocols onboard our ships are nothing new to us. They not only remain top priorities but are being escalated as we face the current challenge. As more information is provided from Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Uniworld will look to adopt their health and safety recommendations and continue to update for your added peace of mind.
SAFETY & SECURITY PROTOCOLS
- All outside doors and access to the interior of the ships are locked when docked. Only registered guests can access the ship using a key card.
- All guests and luggage are verified against the manifest at check-in.
- Guests have 24/7 access to the front desk.
- Key card scanners with facial recognition are utilized at the gangway.
- Cameras are present at the entrance of the ship and in public areas, and are monitored by the reception staff.
- Trained security staff are posted at the gangway 24 hours a day.
- Ships are patrolled by trained staff 24/7.
- All deliveries are thoroughly inspected before being brought onboard.
HEALTH & SANITATION PROTOCOLS
PLEASE NOTE: While Uniworld believes these protocols to be the appropriate steps in protecting the wellbeing of guests and crew, they will continue to evaluate and make changes if they are deemed to be ineffective or if they negatively impact the wellbeing of guests and crew. Uniworld is actively reviewing additional health and sanitation steps and will add them to these protocols upon approval.
- All guests must complete a health screening prior to embarkation.
- Gloves, face masks and small bottles of hand sanitizer will be readily available for each guest.
- All guests and crew are required to sanitize their hands when entering public spaces, when coming back onboard the ship each day, and before each meal.
- Housekeeping staff disinfect all public area touch points and hot spots throughout the day, including all handrails and door handles.
- Fruits, cookies, chips, nuts, candies or other treats are now served to individual guests by the crew only. These treats are no longer available for self-service.
- Disinfected wipes are available throughout the ship, including at coffee stations and in the public toilets.
- Any onboard payments are processed using a contactless payment method and credit card machines will be wiped after each pin entry.
- All coffee table books, magazines and brochures have been removed from public use. Guests will be able to access these reading materials via their complimentary PressReader app on their mobile devices.
- Crew wash their hands frequently when handling guest luggage. Disembarkation luggage is kept separate from embarkation luggage to avoid cross-contamination.
- All meals are now served by culinary and waitstaff, with no self-service allowed during buffets.
- All restaurant dining now has reserved seating, with guests at the same table, with the same people, each day.
- To limit the total number of guests in a restaurant at a time, they have introduced two seating times for each meal.
- Items that are usually shared, like bread and butter, are now served to each person individually.
- All touch points, like chairs and salt and pepper shakers, are immediately disinfected after each seating.
STATEROOMS & SUITES:
- All staterooms and suites are thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis.
- All air-conditioning filters are cleaned and disinfected on each embarkation day before rooming takes place.
- Umbrellas are now only available in rooms for individual use, with no shared umbrella stands in public areas.
- In-room chocolate candy bowls are replaced at the end/beginning of each cruise.
- All buses are cleaned and wiped with disinfectant before each use.
- Face masks are also available on the buses, in addition to the staterooms.
- Vox boxes are sanitized prior to embarkation and after each excursion.
- All crew receives professional health and hygiene training (HACCP) by an external consultant before each ship begins its sailing season, including training on how to look for symptoms.
- All crew strictly adhere to social distancing requirements.
- All crew undergo regular health screenings and are quarantined immediately if symptoms are present.
- Hand sanitizer is readably available and mandated for use in all crew areas.
- Crew quarters, public and private, are sanitized regularly.
- All crew meals are served, with no self-service allowed.
Life on Board
Questions & Answers
Question: Will the day-by-day itinerary change?
Question: In what language is the river cruise conducted?
The staff on the Marie Teresa is outstanding.
Uniworld takes care of you! The bottom line is we had a great trip, in great part, because of the attention the staff on the boat paid to us and all the other passengers.
Uniworld takes care of you! The bottom line is we had a great trip, in great part, because of the attention the staff on the boat paid to us and all the other passengers. Our day trip coordinator, went out of her way to help us with information and booking assistance for additional sights we wanted to see.
Perfect trip and excellent service by Kia
Uniworld is a luxury river cruise and all tours were exceptional.
During COVID we were unsure about all the rules of the trip. Everything turned out OK. This cruise was above our expectations for itinerary, accommodations, food, and safety. Visiting southern France felt like being among friends. They appreciated us being there and we had an amazing time. This is our 5th trip with Uniworld and most of our fellow cruisers were also repeats.
Uniworld continues to provide an exceptional level of service. The food and beverages were excellent. The included excursions were very well done with relatively small groups and very entertaining local guides. This was our 5th Uniworld cruise and we were so happy that they continue to offer the personal attention and quality that we have grown to expect. This itinerary had a nice balance of some daytime sailing and very interesting excursions.
Uniworld was the first cruise to Eastern Europe since Covid shut everything down in 2019. That means there were a few hiccups, but the staff did the very best they could with what they were dealt.
Uniworld should advise potential customers of the level of activity, especially for this trip. While I personally had no problems with the demanding Itinerary, the elderly or disabled could not visit some of the sites we saw due to accessibility. Uniworld rents their boats so there is no consistency from trip to trip. This was a very beautiful, spacious boat and the staff were incredibly gracious and helpful. We felt very welcomed and appreciated. Four seasons was nice but food was too expensive and there were no alternatives since we were warned not to venture out on our own. Customer should be warned that they will be escorted by armed guards and there will be a lot of security checks on this trip.
Well Planned Trip Package, Excellent Service.
The ship was outstanding, staff was extremely courteous and helpful, and the food was delicious and plentiful. Wonderful cruise Paris to Normandy with UniiWorld.
Uniworld provided an exceptional experience!
We had a pleasant, easy booking for our river cruise.
Cindy was extremely helpful
OUR TRAVEL AGENT KEVIN ORR WAS EXTREMELY RESPONSIVE TO OUR TRAVEL DESIRES. HE MADE EVERY EFFORT TO ACCOMMODATE OUR REQUESTS AND OVERALL WE WERE SUPREMELY PLEASED BY OUR TRIP AND THE EFFORTS MADE AFFORDABLE TOURS ON OUR BEHALF
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