Day 1 Budapest
Welcome to Budapest, the capital of Hungary and the perfect introduction to Eastern Europe. You will be met at the airport in Hungary and taken to your centrally-located hotel, with a two-night stay included in your itinerary.
Day 2 Budapest
This morning, your local guide will take you on a tour of Budapest, introducing you to sights that include the ornate Hungarian Parliament Building and the Buda Castle district, where a string of historic buildings line cobblestone streets leading up to the castle. (Breakfast, Dinner)
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided tour of Budapest
Day 3 Budapest
Today, you will be transferred from your hotel in Budapest to your contemporary Emerald Waterways Star-Ship. This evening, join your fellow guests for a welcome dinner on board. (Breakfast, Dinner)
EmeraldPLUS: A Budapest evening cruise
Day 4 Kalocsa
In the morning, we’ll sail out of Budapest towards Kalocsa, best known for its vibrant paprika festivals. Traditional folk art and culture are yours to discover here, as you sail through one of the oldest towns in Hungary.
This afternoon, you’ll venture to the Puszta, or Great Hungarian Plain, for a traditional performance showcasing the exceptional equestrian skills of the Magyar cowboys. Relax as you watch their spectacular horse parade and witness their exercise drills, most of which were readily practiced for wartime.
Today, enjoy a gala dinner on board. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldPLUS: A traditional Hungarian horse show
Day 5 Osijek
Cruise into the border region of Croatia and into Osijek, a historic university town full of leafy boulevards and promenades. Damage from the Homeland War is still visible across the city, but it is easily forgotten when you immerse yourself in the peaceful surrounds that can be found here.
Today, you will be able to meet students from a local village who will be delighted to perform for you during your EmeraldPLUS excursion, before embarking on a walk around Osijek Fortress, nestled in the centre of the romantic old town. This ensemble of well-preserved Baroque buildings is laid out like a traditional star fort, with bastions, armouries, a guardhouse and a military hospital all protected within its walls.
Later, sail further down the Danube and into Serbia, where remnants of recent conflicts can be seen on the riverbanks. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldPLUS: Visit the home of a local Croatian family
EmeraldPLUS: Meet the local village students
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided tour of Osijek Fortress
Day 6 Belgrade
The capital of Serbia awaits you today, as a city tour introduces you to the highlights of one of Europe’s oldest cities, including Belgrade Fortress. Relax as your coach takes you through the centre of the city, where remnants of a chaotic past look out of place among peaceful surrounds.
Witness the symmetrical façade of the Church of Saint Sava, one of the world’s largest church buildings, and stop for a tour of the Museum of Yugoslavia. Enjoy learning about the life of the leader of the Partisans, Josip Broz Tito, and the way that they became one of the most effective resistance movements in occupied Europe. Alternatively, learn about the history of Belgrade during a guided bike tour of the city.
This evening, relax in the Horizon Lounge and watch a traditional Serbian folklore show. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldPLUS: A Serbian folklore evening show
EmeraldACTIVE: A guided bike tour
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided tour of Belgrade
DiscoverMORE: A tour of the National Opera Theatre (extra expense)
Day 7 Golubac – Donji Milanovac
In eastern Serbia, within the Majdanpek municipality, the town of Donji Milanovac sits on the right bank of the Danube. Today, you will have the opportunity to visit the Palaeolithic site of Lepenski Vir on an included excursion. Enjoy learning about the importance of this archaeological site and its illustrious history, spanning more than 8 millennia. Archaeologists have used this site to track the development of prehistoric culture in Europe, and numerous Stone Age settlements have been found in the area.
The day ends as we sail through the Iron Gates, a scenic narrow gorge that meanders between the Carpathian Mountains and the European Alps. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldEXCURSION: A visit to Lepenski Vir archaeological site and museum
Day 8 Vidin
This morning, we’ll arrive in Vidin, a beautiful town in north-west Bulgaria. Situated on the right bank of the Danube, it is one of the oldest along the Bulgarian Danube bank, prospering from the surrounding countryside, renowned for producing wines. Your included tour will introduce you to the best of Vidin’s viticulture, as you stroll through a local vineyard and enjoy a tasting of their produce.
Later, venture to Baba Vida, a medieval fortress whose name can be translated to mean “Granny Vida”. Construction began on the fortress in the 10th century, and it has been steeped in legend ever since. Alternatively, hike to Belogradchik Fortress, a well-preserved stronghold that sits against a series of impressive rock formations. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldACTIVE: A hike to Belogradchik Fortress
EmeraldEXCURSION: Visit a local vineyard for a tasting
Day 9 Rousse – Veliko Tarnovo & Arbanasi
Today, your Star-Ship will cruise into Rousse. You will have the opportunity to visit Veliko Tarnovo, stopping to learn about its rich history as the former capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. This medieval city was built atop three hills, and its fortifications and cobbled streets are certain to delight history lovers.
Nearby, Arbanasi sits on a high plateau overlooking the Yantra. Each street in the area is lined with traditional houses, and old churches offer centuries of exploration during your guided tour of Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi.
Alternatively, embark on a guided hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, a complex of churches, chapels and monasteries. Witness the incredible nature of the 14th-century painted frescoes and learn about their composition and the emotional atmosphere that they convey, something that was far ahead of its time.
Tonight, we welcome you to the farewell reception. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldPLUS: A choir concert in Arbanasi
EmeraldACTIVE: Hike to the Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo
EmeraldEXCURSION: A tour of Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi
Day 10 Giurgiu – Bucharest
This morning, relax and enjoy the passing scenery as we drive towards Bucharest, including the Romanian city of Giurgiu, set amongst the mud flats and marshes of the Danube.
Visit the Spring Palace to see the elegant exterior of a well-kept secret and the plush interior of the private residence of Nicolae Ceausescu, before enjoying free time to explore the city at leisure. Learn about Bucharest’s vibrant history on a guided coach tour, including the Palace of Parliament.
This evening, settle into the comfortable surrounds of your hotel, perhaps going for a stroll down one of the wide avenues or leafy boulevards that give Bucharest a distinctly French feel. (Breakfast, Dinner)
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided drive through Bucharest
Day 11 Bucharest
After breakfast, it is time to say farewell to your fellow guests and transfer to the airport, taking memories of the Great Hungarian Plain and medieval fortresses with you. (Breakfast)
This 11-day itinerary transports you from the heritage of Budapest to the backwaters of eastern Europe, where cities once shrouded in secrecy, now offer up a treasure trove of customs and traditions.
25 meals including 10 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches and 9 Dinners
Boutique contemporary hotel feel, with spectacular on board heated pool, cinema, spa and lounge (Emerald Radiance Star-Ship pool is located on the sun deck and the Cinema is not available.)
Spacious, comfortable accommodations you'll want to spend time in, with panoramic suites and staterooms, and innovative open-air system for cabins on the Vista and Horizon decks
Gourmet all-included on board meals and highlight dinner events, al-fresco on The Terrace or in the well-appointed Reflections Restaurant
Enjoy in depth cultural experiences with EmeraldPLUS excursions; cheese and olive tasting or Provencal dinner on board hosted by a local chef
Emerald's Concierge Service - served right to your suite, enjoy continental breakfast, pre-dinner canapés and after dinner treats (Only applies to Owner’s One-bedroom Suites, Riverview Suites, and Grand Balcony Suites (CAT S, SA, RA))
A refined selection of wine, beer and soft drinks to accompany lunch and dinner
Tea and coffee available at all times
Bottled water restocked daily in your cabin
Built-in adventure, with an included on shore excursion at every port
Visits to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Emerald Active guided biking and hiking tours
Excellent service from an English speaking crew
Knowledgeable, personable local destination guides
Complimentary bicycles on board
Complimentary on board Wi-Fi
All airport transfers to and from your Star Ship, and all gratuities
Port charges now included in your tour price
All gratuities for onboard and shore side staff
Cruising: Cabin onboard Emerald Sun, Emerald Dawn, Emerald Destiny or Emerald Star
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.