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Budapest Cityscape

Istanbul & Enchantment of Eastern Europe

Istanbul to Budapest - Example 12 Day Cruise aboard Emerald Star
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Come aboard the Emerald Star, offering luxurious facilities and accommodation on this 12-day getaway. Enjoy a three-night stay in the colorful Turkish city of Istanbul before journeying to Bucharest in Romanian. The ship is waiting in Arbansi where you will attend a choir concert. This tour will showcase just how vibrant and ancient Eastern Europe's culture is. Take a guided city tour of Belgrade before returning to your Star-Ship for an evening performance of traditional Serbian folklore. Visit a local Croatian family for a home-hosted lunch in Osijek, then spend the day in rural Hungary for the Puszta Horse Show in Kalocsa.
Explore the Bulgarian city of Veliko TarnovoVisit charming PassauParliament Palace in Bucharest, RomaniaBudapestExplore BucharestExplore Romania's capital city, BucharestBudapest Cityscape
Highlights
  • Guided drive through Bucharest with a visit to the Spring Palace
  • Tour of Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi
  • Visit to a local vineyard with wine tasting & a visit to Baba Vida Fortress
  • Guided walking tour of Osijek Fortress
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1-3: Istanbul

  • 2 Breakfasts
Welcome to Istanbul, one of the most important and inspiringly beautiful cities in world history. You will be met at the airport in Istanbul and taken to your centrally-located hotel, with a three-night stay included in your itinerary.

On the second day, you will explore some of Istanbul’s highlights – such as the famed Hippodrome Square which was once the sporting and social center of Constantinople that hosted the chariot races until the Middle Ages. You will get to see the Blue Mosque, probably one of the most famed masterpieces of Ottoman religious architecture. Standing in great prestige with its six minarets and perfect proportioned dome, it is named after its Turquoise colored tiles made of quartz minerals. Ottoman Sultans preferred to pray in this timeless shrine due to its incomparable beauty until when the empire collapsed after World War I. Afterward, you will carry on to the Basilica of Saint Sophia, one of the largest Christian shrines ever built in history. 

The next day, start with a tour of the Underground Cistern known by the locals as the Sunken Cistern. From there you will continue your exploration with the bustling atmosphere of the Spice Market, dating back to the 17th century, but still, the most popular bazaar visited by locals to shop for fresh ingredients to spice up the dishes prepared in the kitchens of Istanbul. Afterward, you will experience a very unique aspect of the city by boarding a private boat for an unforgettable cruise on the waters of the Bosphorus. During your cruise on the famed strait running between the two continents, your guide will share with you all the legends and myths about the Bosphorus and its impressive mansions and palaces. As well as the scenery of the historical edifices, you will be overwhelmed by the skyline of Istanbul ornamented with domes and minarets of Byzantine and Ottoman cultures. 




Day 4: Istanbul | Bucharest

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast, fly to Bucharest where you will be transferred to your centrally-located hotel for a 1-night stay before your exciting cruise on the Danube.

Day 5: Bucharest | Giurgiu

After enjoying the plush surrounds of your hotel this morning, you'll have the opportunity to learn about some of Bucharest’s most iconic attractions during a guided drive around the city, including a visit to the Spring Palace. Then, you’ll have time to explore the leafy boulevards at leisure. 
After your insightful tour, you will be transferred from Bucharest to Giurgiu, on the banks of the Danube, where a warm welcome from your captain and crew awaits on board your Emerald Cruises Star-Ship.

Tonight, enjoy a welcome reception and dinner.

Day 6: Rousse | Veliko Tarnovo | Arbansi

Today, you'll have the opportunity to learn about Bulgarian history as you explore the former capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire with your local guide. On your included tour, you will have the opportunity to traverse its cobbled streets and witness its medieval fortifications.

Afterward, you will be taken to neighboring Arbanasi, situated overlooking the Yantra River, a tributary of the Danube that is known for its many scenic gorges. Explore the past with your local guide, as your tour visits a number of traditional houses and ancient churches. 
If you would prefer to do something more active, then you could instead choose to embark on a guided hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, known for their famous 14th-century frescoes.

Tonight, your crew will welcome you back on board for a welcome reception and dinner.

Day 7: Vidin

Viticulture forms the heart of life in the most western town in Bulgaria, where sun-kissed vineyards pepper the banks of the Danube and winemaking has prospered for generations. Your included tour of Vidin will introduce you to a peaceful side of life that revolves around wine, as you weave through a local vineyard and learn about their produce, before enjoying a tasting. Afterward, your local guide will take you to Baba Vida, a fortress that was originally constructed at the turn of the 10th century and is known for being one of only a handful of beautifully preserved castles in the country.

If you are feeling more active, you can instead choose to embark on a guided hike to Belogradchik Fortress, located on the northern slopes of the Balkan Mountains.

Day 8: Donji Milanovac | Golubac

This morning, relax on board and admire your surroundings as we sail along the mighty Danube to Donji Milanovac, where a visit to the Lepenski Vir archaeological site, one of Europe’s best-hidden gems, awaits. Located right on the riverbanks, the Palaeolithic site is one of the most important of its kind on the continent, effortlessly capturing more than eight millennia of history. Archaeologists from around the world have used this site to learn about a number of different Stone Age settlements and the way that prehistoric cultures moved across Europe.

Day 9: Belgrade

Serbia’s vibrant capital is yours to explore today. 

Your local guide will take you on a coach tour through the heart of the city, highlighting its many landmarks and the iconic Belgrade Fortress. The coach will pass through the center, where you will notice reminders of the country’s turbulent history, set amongst the quiet and peaceful streets. Witness the ornate beauty of the Church of Saint Sava, one of the largest religious buildings in Europe, before stopping for a tour of the Museum of Yugoslavia. 

If you’re feeling more active, then you may instead choose to learn about Belgrade’s history during a guided bike tour.

This evening, you will be invited to the Horizon Lounge to watch a traditional Serbian folklore show.

Day 10: Vukovar | Osijek

Today, you will have the opportunity to explore one of Croatia’s postcard-worthy historic university towns, full of delightful waterfront promenades and quaint cobbled streets. 

Embark on a guided walk around Osijek Fortress, a true icon in the romantic old town, before a truly unforgettable EmeraldPLUS experience, as you’re invited into the home of a local family for a traditional Croatian lunch and to meet students from the local village. 

Enjoy an evening of sailing further up the Danube towards Hungary, before joining your fellow passengers for a farewell dinner.

Day 11: Kalocsa

In the morning, we will sail to Kalocsa, a place known for its paprika production and colorful festivals. Discovering Hungary’s culture is an easy task in Kalocsa, where traditional folk art can be found around every corner, and old traditions pave the way for daily life.

Later, you will venture to the Puszta, or Great Hungarian Plain, to visit a traditional Puszta horse farm. Your guide will teach you about the traditional performances of the Magyar cowboys, and you will have the opportunity to witness some of their exceptional equestrian skills first-hand as they showcase some of their exercise drills.

Day 12: Budapest | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast, it is time to say farewell to your fellow guests and transfer to the airport, taking memories of a traditional Puszta equestrian performance and viticulture on the banks of the Danube with you. 

This itinerary is a guide only and may be amended for operational reasons such as high and low water. As such, the cruise may operate altered from that stated above. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information.

Ship/Hotel

Emerald Star

Outdoor Terrace
Sundeck
Horizon bar and lounge

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
Emerald Single Stateroom
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Single Stateroom (ES)
Single Occupancy Only. 117 sq ft. 2 single cabins located on the Riviera Deck with a deluxe single bed, bathroom with shower, indulgent toiletries and hairdryer, flat-screen TV and infotainment system
Emerald Stateroom
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Stateroom (E)
162 sq ft. 9 cabins located on the Riviera Deck with a Queen-size or twin hotel-style beds, bathroom with shower, indulgent toiletries and hairdryer, flat-screen TV and infotainment system
Emerald Stateroom
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Stateroom (D)
162 sq ft. 8 cabins located on the Riviera Deck with a Queen-size or twin hotel-style beds, bathroom with shower, indulgent toiletries and hairdryer, flat-screen TV and infotainment system
Emerald Panorama Balcony Suite
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Panorama Balcony Suite (C)
180 sq ft. 19 cabins located on the Vista Deck with a Queen-size or twin hotel-style beds, indoor balcony with open-air system, bathroom with shower, indulgent toiletries and hairdryer, flat-screen TV and infotainment system
Emerald Panorama Balcony Suite
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Panorama Balcony Suite (B)
Emerald Panorama Balcony Suite - 18 cabins located at Vista Deck with a Queen-size or twin hotel-style beds, indoor balcony with open-air system, bathroom with shower, indulgent toiletries and hairdryer, flat-screen TV and infotainment system
Emerald Panorama Balcony Suite
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Panorama Balcony Suite (A)
180 sq ft. 23 cabins located on the Horizon Deck with a Queen-size or twin hotel-style beds, indoor balcony with open-air system, bathroom with shower, indulgent toiletries and hairdryer, flat-screen TV and infotainment system
Grand Balcony Suite
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Grand Balcony Suite (S)
210 sq ft. 8 cabins located on the Horizon Deck with a Queen-size or twin hotel-style beds, outdoor private balcony with the open-air system, in-suite mini-bar available at own expense, a complimentary Nespresso machine and bathroom with shower, indulgent toiletries, hairdryer, on-board complimentary bathrobes, and slippers
Owners One-Bedroom Suite
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Owner's Suite (SA)
315 sq ft. 4 cabins located on the Horizon Deck with a Queen-size or twin beds, an outdoor private balcony with the open-air system, a separate bathroom and lounge area, a walk-in wardrobe, an in-suite mini-bar, restocked daily with wine, beer, and soft drinks

Notes

Single accommodations are available on some tours for an additional single supplement rate. Contact us for details of pricing and availability.
Included
  • 11 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners
  • 11 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Choice between Emerald Plus and Emerald Active Excursions
  • Wifi
  • Complimentary Wine, Beer and Soft drinks with lunch and dinner on board
  • The services of an Emerald Cruises Tour Manager
  • Airport transfers to and from the ship
  • Port taxes and charges
  • All tipping and gratuities
  • Including a Welcome and Farewell Reception & Dinner
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Travelers are urged to arrange comprehensive travel insurance to cover any unforeseen circumstances that may occur during the tour

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