Grand Voyage to the Black Sea Spirit of the Danube River Cruise
You’ll be swept off your feet by the spectacular scenery on this epic 16-night river cruise. Your adventure begins in Hungary’s cosmopolitan capital Budapest, where you’ll have a choice of included excursions: a sightseeing tour of the city highlights or sample the local food and culture of Budapest. Then step aboard Spirit of the Danube to begin your cruise, stopping firstly at Novi Sad for a walking tour of the old town with it’s fine 18th-century architecture. Dramatic scenery awaits at the world-famous Iron Gate gorge and the wildlife-rich Danube Delta, where you can venture further into the UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserve on an optional exploration. Then contrast and compare the sights of three capital cities: Belgrade, where an included coach tour takes in Republic Square and visits the Kalemegdan Fortress; Bratislava with its Habsburg architecture and 18th-century palaces; and Vienna, where an included tour heads to the Ringstrasse which encircles the old city. You’ll even have the opportunity to enjoy an optional performance of music by Mozart and Strauss in one of the great formal concert houses of Imperial Vienna – a truly memorable occasion and fitting finale.
Celebrity Guest: Cruises departing on 18 April 2022 will be joined by humanitarian and author Terry Waite for the first seven nights. As the Archbishop of Canterbury's Assistant for Anglican Communion Affairs, he negotiated the release of hostages in Iran, Libya and Lebanon. Terry was taken hostage in Beirut in 1987 and held for 1,763 days before his release. He is now a best-selling author and lecturer.
Fly to Hungary's capital and embark Spirit of the Danube. Enjoy a welcome cocktail reception and dinner on board as your ship remains moored here overnight.
Your ship remains moored in Budapest until lunchtime. This cosmopolitan city is divided by the Danube into Buda and Pest. An included city tour this morning reveals some of the city's highlights, from the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Buda Castle that sits above the river on the west bank, to the impressive Hungarian Parliament buildings in Pest on the east bank.
Alternatively, perhaps opt for an included food-themed experience that enables you to sample the local food and culture as part of a small group. This tour begins with a tram ride to the First Strudel House, where you’ll see a live strudel-making demonstration and will even have the opportunity to make your own. You’ll also take a walk through the city to enjoy a slice of authentic chimney cake and visit the Central Market Hall where you can sample authentic Hungarian salami.
Set sail over lunch and cruise through the remainder of the day and night.
Arrive late morning in this city where European and Balkan cultures meet, with this stretch of the Danube acting as a natural border. Novi Sad is the capital of Vojvodina, the northern Autonomous Province of Serbia. Situated on the Danube between Budapest and Belgrade, it’s a treasured regional and cultural centre. You can enjoy a short walking tour of the old town centre, which boasts a fine selection of 18th and 19th-century architecture. Proceeding through the streets to an old family wine cellar, which is also a producer of local honey. Whilst here you treat your taste buds to the delicious wines and sweet honey. Set sail again this evening.
This morning sail through a particularly scenic stretch of the Danube – the world-famous Iron Gate gorge, between Romania and Serbia, the largest and longest in Europe, and the Iron Gates is the narrowest and deepest part. No doubt you'll want to head out on deck to admire this particularly scenic stretch of the river, as the Danube passes through the Carpathian mountains and the foothills of the Balkans. Plus you can follow proceedings as the ship manoeuvres through two locks by the Djerdap power stations.
Continue sailing overnight.
This morning you will arrive in Rousse, the largest port in Bulgaria and often referred to as ‘Little Vienna’. Perhaps discover the city on an optional tour this morning. Resume your cruise at lunchtime and sail through the day and night to Romania.
Enjoy the scenery as you cruise the wildlife-rich Danube Delta.
Much of it is a protected reserve, as the meandering river, reed beds and groves of willow, oak and poplar provide sanctuary for over 300 species of bird. This morning you may like to join an optional small boat cruise further into this UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserve. Set sail at lunchtime and cruise overnight towards Chiciu.
Arrive in Fetesti this morning and disembark after breakfast for a full day trip to Bucharest.
An included tour of this lively city reveals some of its attractions, such as the impressive Palace of the Parliament, Cotroceni Palace where the President of Romania resides, and grand Cretulescu Palace. Rejoin your ship in Oltenita in time for dinner on board.
Relax on board Spirit of the Danube and admire the changing scenery as you cruise into Serbia.
Spend the day on a leisurely journey along the waters of the Danube, passing through the Carpathians, and the foothills of the Balkans to the ‘Iron Gates’.
This strikingly scenic stretch of river is framed on both sides by sheer cliffs that are dotted with frills of greenery, so make sure you're on the Upper Deck with your camera! In ancient times the water level in the Iron Gates gorge was much lower and and it was considered one of the most dangerous stretches of river in Europe to navigate. The riverbed rocks and low water levels combined to make this part of the river particularly treacherous for passing ships, but now a complex system of dams and locks ensures this is no longer the case.
Enjoy passing through the scenic gorge on your way to Donji Milanovac, a Serbian town with a special history and a beautiful setting in the midst of the Djerdap National Park. You may like to join an optional excursion to the Lepenski Vir Mesolithic site, in the Derdap Gorge.
Set sail for Belgrade this evening.
Arrive in Serbia's capital, one of the oldest European cities, this morning for a full-day stay.
Enjoy an included coach tour that takes in Republic Square where the National Theatre and Museum are located. You’ll also visit Saint Sava basilica, one of the world’s largest churches, and the Kalemegdan Fortress, parts of which date back to the 18th century. The site of military fortifications from the 2nd century onwards, it has been tussled over by the Romans, the Goths, the Huns, the Avars, the Serbs, the Turks and the Austrians in turn. Today it also serves as Belgrade’s central park for all to enjoy.
This afternoon perhaps join an optional excursion visiting the Royal Palace and Tito’s Memorial. This evening another optional excursion joins the Belgrade Folklore Group for an evening of traditional Serbian entertainment.
Depart late tonight and cruise overnight towards Croatia.
Arrive in Vukovar, the largest Croatian town and river port on the Danube, during lunch. Vukovar was a thriving town before the Yugoslav War and its unscathed belle époque architecture can be compared with shell-scarred buildings preserved in memoriam, during your visit here.
Set sail later this afternoon.
Early this morning arrive in Mohács, an important port of call for Danube traffic for many centuries. You can disembark to spend the morning and afternoon on an optional excursion into the Hungarian plains where you can enjoy seeing a demonstration of traditional Hungarian horsemanship by local Magyar cowboys on an optional full day excursion.
Your ship continues to Kalocsa pausing briefly for excursion participants to rejoin her and setting sail again this evening and cruising overnight.
Arrive before breakfast and this morning you can explore independently at leisure or perhaps join an optional tour to discover the town’s highlights and the artistic community of Szentendre.
Sail on over lunch and cruise through the remainder of the day and overnight.
This morning you arrive in Slovakia's capital, Bratislava.
Spend an enjoyable day exploring the city’s old quarter, overlooked by the massive rectangular castle, and admiring the attractive Habsburg architecture on an included morning city tour. Stroll through ancient cobbled streets to Bratislava Castle for a bird’s-eye view of the city and see the Gothic-style Cathedral, where 11 Kings of Hungary were crowned while Turks occupied their own capital. This afternoon a choice of optional excursions provide the opportunity to uncover traditional Majolica pottery and Slovakian wine practices or to sample locally brewed beer at the UFO observation tower.
Before dinner set sail again, cruising overnight bound for Melk.
Arrive after breakfast to explore the historic town of Melk, a charming medley of architectural styles from across the centuries.
Its jewel is the abbey which sits on a bluff above the town. This masterpiece of baroque architecture, with a lavishly decorated interior contains innumerable artistic treasures and can be visited on an optional tour. At lunchtime you'll cruise along the Danube to pretty Weissenkirchen where the late afternoon and evening are at leisure for you to explore independently.
Set sail late tonight and cruise towards the Austrian border.
Before breakfast arrive in Vienna.
This morning you can look forward to either an included city tour with a drive around the Ringstrasse, encircling the old city, or perhaps opt for an included culinary walking tour with the opportunity to sample some of the famous sandwiches for which Vienna is renowned, such as the local speciality sausage and horseradish, and the delicious Mozart Thaler sweet chocolate biscuits. This afternoon an optional excursion visits grand Schönbrunn Palace. You may wish to spend the final evening of your holiday in style – after dinner on board, you can attend an optional performance of music by Mozart and Strauss in one of the great formal concert houses of Imperial Vienna.
Disembark Spirit of the Danube after breakfast and travel to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
|Date||Price from (pp)|
|18 April 2022||£3,439|
|24 August 2022||£3,539|
- Low deposit of only £99pp
- VIP door-to-door travel service
- Optional travel insurance or a discount of £54 if not required†
- A selection of return transport including UK flights, Eurostar or coach travel (subject to availability and some may carry a supplement)
- 16 nights on board Spirit of the Danube
- 47 meals: 16 breakfasts, 15 lunches and 16 dinners
- All gratuities on board
- Wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
- Saga cruise director & Saga cruise escort on board
- Budapest city tour OR Budapest culinary walking tour
- Tour of Novi Sad
- Bucharest City Tour
- Bratislava City Tour
- Belgrade Belgrade and the Kalemegdan Fortress
- Tour of Bratislava
- Vienna city tour OR Vienna culinary walking tour
- Tour of Rousse
- Danube Delta exploration
- Lepenski Vir Mesolithic Site
- Royal Palace and Tito Memorial
- Vukovar and the Ovcara Memorial
- Kalocsa and Puszta
- Visit Szentendre
- Majolica Pottery & Slovakian Wine Tour
- Beer tasting at the UFO
- Melk Abbey
- Schonbrunn Palace
- Vienna evening concert