Grand European Cruise - Westbound Aboard ms Esprit

Explore stunning European landscapes like never before on this river cruise between Bucharest and Amsterdam! Journey nearly all the way from the Black Sea to the North Sea as you set off on a grand 3-week cruise through nine European countries, plus three nights at a city-center hotel in Bucharest.



Travel like the royals of old on our grand eastern European river cruises combining Amsterdam to Budapest by Riverboat with Budapest to the Black Sea to create an unforgettable 25-day experience through the heart of Europe. This remarkable voyage virtually links the North Sea to the Black Sea via the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers, taking you through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. Glide past grand cathedrals, medieval monasteries, and historic citadels - as well as through the Main-Danube Canal and the Iron Gate of the Danube. Tauck's private, inclusive shore excursions take in many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and in-depth exploration of cities including Amsterdam, Koln, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Belgrade and Bucharest. It's the ultimate European river cruise... with the Tauck Difference!

Travel like the royals of old on our grand eastern European river cruises combining Amsterdam to Budapest by Riverboat with Budapest to the Black Sea to create an unforgettable 25-day experience through the heart of Europe. This remarkable voyage virtually links the North Sea to the Black Sea via the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers, taking you through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. Glide past grand cathedrals, medieval monasteries, and historic citadels - as well as through the Main-Danube Canal and the Iron Gate of the Danube. Tauck's private, inclusive shore excursions take in many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and in-depth exploration of cities including Amsterdam, Koln, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Belgrade and Bucharest. It's the ultimate European river cruise... with the Tauck Difference!

Traveling Well Includes:
  • TAUCK EXCLUSIVE - A private Imperial Evening at a traditional palace in Vienna featuring dinner and Viennese performers
  • All gratuities to ship staff, drivers, local guides, Tauck Directors and Tauck Cruise Director
  • Tauck's private shore excursions and distinctive inclusions valued at $4,360
  • In Amsterdam, a guided tour of the famed Rijksmuseum, home to many masterpieces
  • Day exploring Nurnberg, the walled medieval town whose history is forever intertwined with World War II

  • Day 1 - Your journey begins in Bucharest

    Tour begins: 6:00 PM, JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel. A transfer is included from Bucharest Henri Coanda International Airport to the JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel in the heart of the city, ideally located adjacent to Bucharest's monumental Palace of Parliament - the site of tonight's Tauck Exclusive, after-hours gala welcome reception and dinner, where you'll meet your fellow travelers and Tauck Directors to kick off this extraordinary cross-Europe cruise in true Tauck Style.

    Lodging: JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel

    Meals: D

    Day 2 - A choice of excursion to Transylvania, Targoviste or Peles Castle in the Carpathian Mountains

    A choice of sightseeing today echoes the legacy of 15th-century Romanian prince Vlad Tepes (a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler), thought to be the historical model for Bram Stoker's Dracula. You may choose to take an excursion to Transylvania's 14th-century Bran Castle, which Tepes once used as a fortress during his military campaigns. Or you can opt for a trip to Targoviste to see the ruins of Tepes' palace, including its imposing watchtower, restored in the 19th century; you'll also visit the army barracks (now a museum) where Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was tried and executed in 1989; or an excursion into the Carpathian Mountains and Transylvania for a visit to Peles Castle and Sinaia. Lunch at a local restaurant and return to Bucharest for free time and dinner at leisure.



    Lodging: JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel

    Meals: B, L

    Day 3 - Explore more of Bucharest

    Explore more of Romania's capital on a morning sightseeing tour with our local guides, seeing such sights as Revolution Square and the Triumphal Arch, and ending in Bucharest's Old Town. The rest of the day and evening are yours to spend pursuing what interests you most in this fascinating city.



    Lodging: JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel

    Meals: B

    Day 4 - The Black Sea coast before boarding in Constanta

    Before embarking your riverboat today, drive to Romania's popular Black Sea coast - first to the popular resort of Mamaia for lunch and some beach time, then on to the port city of Constanta. Here, in what was originally the ancient Greek colony of Tomis, you'll view numerous Greek and Roman antiquities, an Art-Nouveau casino, and a monument to the Roman poet Ovid, who spent years in exile here. Board your riverboat in Constanta to launch your unforgettable cruise across the ancient heart of Europe.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 5 - Bulgarian art & architecture in Ruse or Ivanovo

    Your lower Danube cruise continues in Bulgaria; largely off limits during four centuries of Ottoman rule and decades behind the Iron Curtain, the country's rich natural beauty and history is yours to discover today. Disembark in Ruse - often referred to as “Little Vienna' for its Art-Nouveau homes, Austro-Hungarian architecture and lively cafes - for a choice of sightseeing today. You may join us for a guided walking tour of Ruse, or a lovely hike to the celebrated Rock Churches in the village of Ivanovo, whose stony chambers carved into steep, cliffside caves reveal stunning medieval frescoes inside; a visit is richly rewarding. Return to the riverboat for dinner this evening.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 6 - Danube cruising & Vidin, Bulgaria

    There's something special about just “kicking back' during a leisurely morning cruising the Danube, enjoying picture-perfect views of the passing landscapes. Onboard activities throughout your cruise, such as special lectures and presentations, cooking demonstrations or music and dance performances, are an important part of the Tauck river cruising experience. Today, after the riverboat arrives in Vidin, Bulgaria, join us for a walking tour of Vidin's cobblestone streets, including a visit to Baba Vida fortress.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 7 - King Decebalus & the Iron Gate

    On another relaxing day aboard your grand European river cruise, sail along the Bulgarian / Romanian border, enjoying great views of the Transylvanian Alps. As you cruise, keep an eye out for a kingly face carved into the Danube's rocky bank on the Romanian side; it's a monument to the 2nd-century Dacian King Decebalus, who defended his kingdom from the invading Romans - and it's the tallest rock sculpture in Europe. Glide through Romania's Kazan Narrows and the Iron Gate of the Danube, a spectacular two-mile-long series of gorges between the Carpathian and Balkan Mountains, en route to Serbia.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 8 - Belgrade sights & a private palace visit

    Dock in Belgrade, Serbia's eclectic, cosmopolitan capital at the juncture of the Danube and Sava rivers. Sightseeing includes visits to Tito's Memorial, the formidable Kalemegdan Fortress, views of busy Slavija Square (now one of the city's major squares, but once a large pool where residents hunted wild ducks!), Parliament, Republic Square and City Hall. See the Tito Memorial and the Cathedral of St. Sava; you'll have a choice of spending time on your own in Belgrade or returning to the riverboat, where you'll enjoy some entertainment by Serbian performers. Depart the ship early evening for a special reception and dinner at the White Palace on the grounds of the beautiful Royal Palace of Dedinje in Belgrade, built in the 1920s for the Yugoslavian royal family - HRH Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia and his family reside there today. Sail on to Croatia overnight.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 9 - Understanding Croatia's history in Vukovar

    Your Danube cruise crosses the border from Serbia to Croatia and arrives in historic Vukovar. Preceded by an onboard lecture on Croatia's turbulent history by a local expert, your tour of this venerable 10th-century city - once showcasing opulent 18th-century Baroque mansions, but now a mix of old and new - poignantly symbolizes the effects of the 1990s war. Visit with a local family who have recently returned to resume their lives in the city after the conflict, as they share homemade refreshments with you in their private home. You'll have some time at leisure in Vukovar before the riverboat continues on to Hungary tonight.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 10 - Antiquities and more in Hungary

    Arrive in Mohacs this morning for an excursion to Pecs and a tour of its 11th-century cathedral. Here you'll also explore the fascinating Christian Necropolis, a complex dating back to the 4th century that includes underground burial chambers and chapels adorned with early Christian art and frescoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the 19th century, Pecs was famous worldwide for the exquisite Zsolnay porcelain manufactured here, and your visit includes a stop at the Zsolnay Museum for a look at its stunning examples of Art Nouveau stoneware, tiles and pottery. Visit a winery in Villany for lunch (this region is renowned for its red wines) then return to Mohacs. Tonight, enjoy a cocktail reception and dinner aboard ship as your riverboat sails toward Budapest.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 11 - Exploring Buda in Budapest

    Budapest was once two separate cities, Buda and Pest, divided by the Danube River. Sightseeing in Budapest's Buda section today includes the Hungarian Parliament building, a 19th-century neo-Gothic masterpiece on the Danube (when open); and Fisherman's Bastion, standing watch like a sentinel over the river. Your riverboat spends the evening docked in Budapest.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 12 - On the Pest side of the river

    Explore the Pest section of the city on a morning sightseeing tour today. Sites include Heroes' Square, bounded by some of the finest architectural works in Hungary; City Park; and the bustling, 19th-century-vintage Central Market Hall, where you can buy practically anything! Enjoy an onboard cocktail reception and a gala dinner in the Compass Rose tonight as your riverboat departs Budapest and cruises on to Bratislava, Slovakia overnight.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 13 - Bratislava & a Grand Evening in Vienna

    An ancient city with a modern pulse, Slovakia's dynamic capital is home to an Old Town brimming with life - and devoid of cars. Our local expert shares insider anecdotes about Bratislava before you join a walking tour of the cobblestoned city center, the perfect place for ambling. Seventeen centuries of Slovak history are eloquently chronicled in its 13th-century Old Town Hall, Baroque Habsburg-era palaces, the Opera House, Slovak Philharmonic Hall, and St. Martin's Cathedral, site of the coronation of many Hungarian royals. Cruise this afternoon to Vienna, enjoying the passing scenery and shipboard activities. Tonight, nothing quite compares to the royal treatment you'll experience at a Tauck Exclusive - our private evening in the Palais Ferstel, a Baroque palace in the heart of the city. Welcome champagne and dinner precede a sumptuous dinner and a live musical performance.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 14 - A visit to Schonbrunn Palace or the Hofburg

    Wake up in Vienna, evoking quintessential images of Old World Europe. Sightseeing today includes your choice of guided visits to the Habsburgs' illustrious Schonbrunn Palace, an architectural masterpiece and Austrian cultural treasure, or the Sisi Museum in the Hofburg, once the Habsburgs' royal palace and now Austria's official presidential residence. Spend the remainder of the day as you please in Vienna, returning to the ship for dinner and onboard entertainment.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 15 - Durnstein & Melk in the Wachau Valley

    Go ashore in Durnstein this morning for an orientation walk, with an optional hike up to the hilltop ruins of Kuenringerburg - the castle where England's King Richard the Lionhearted was held for ransom during the Crusades. Cruise into the heart of Austria's vineyard-covered Wachau Valley, having lunch as you view the passing scenery. An enjoyable afternoon in Melk includes a guided visit to its famous 900-year-old Benedictine abbey, where both its Baroque architecture and river views impress. Return to your riverboat late afternoon. Following dinner tonight, you'll be entertained by a talented musical trio.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 16 - A bit of Baroque in Passau... or Salzburg

    After crossing the border from Austria to Germany, dock in the Bavarian town of Passau on the Danube and Inn rivers, whose history dates back to the days of the Roman empire. Today, you have the choice of a walking tour revealing the Baroque treasures of this lovely riverside town, known for its stained glass and its many churches - including St. Stephan's Cathedral, home to the largest pipe organ outside of the U.S., and the biggest cathedral organ in the world (inside cathedral visit may not be available on all departures); a cycling excursion around Passau, suitable for more experienced riders; or a full-day excursion to the lovely Austrian city of Salzburg, birthplace of W.A. Mozart (and setting of The Sound of Music). This evening, your riverboat departs Passau and continues on to Regensburg.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 17 - Old & new in Regensburg

    With its roots as a Roman encampment on the Danube, the quintessential Bavarian town of Regensburg is home to more than 1,400 original historic buildings. Walking here is a delight and is the only way to view the sights up-close. A local guide will lead the way as you see the town's 12th-century Steinerne Brucke (Germany's oldest surviving stone bridge), the 15th-century Altes Rathaus (Town Hall, once the seat of the Imperial Diet), towering Dom St. Peter, and the remains of the Roman wall. Visit the palatial house of Thurn and Taxis, where 1,000 years of history in the complex of buildings include a palace, a Benedictine monastery and a well-preserved gothic cloister.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 18 - Main-Danube Canal and historic Nurnberg

    Negotiate the Main-Danube Canal today, which ultimately links the North Sea with the Black Sea; learn about the canal's history from a local expert during your transit. The idea goes back as far as Charlemagne, but wasn't realized until the canal's completion in the 1990s; pass through 16 locks as the waterway traverses the mountains. After lunch on the riverboat, arrive in historic Nurnberg; take a walking tour through Nurnberg's medieval ramparts to the Imperial Castle and the old city, or visit sites associated with World War II and its aftermath, including the Courthouse (still active, so your visit is subject to availability), the Zeppelinfeld rally grounds and the Documentation Center. You'll have some free time in the city before the riverboat charts its course once again.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 19 - A walking tour in Bamberg

    Perched atop seven hills, Bamberg is home to a magnificent, four-towered Romanesque cathedral from the 13th century; see it, along with more of this charming medieval city's unique architecture and colorful gardens, during a walking tour of Old Town... and take some time to explore as you please.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 20 - Choice of Wurzburg or Rothenburg... and a little wine tasting

    Dock late morning in charming Wurzburg. Upon arrival, visit the town's 18th-century Residenz - a lavish Baroque palace where the town's prince bishops once lived, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site - and sample some excellent Franconian wines in the wine cellar (Hoffskeller). Then you'll have two choices of sightseeing. On one, explore Wurzburg's Old Town with a local guide; tour more of the Residenz, see the ornate Alte Mainbrucke (a bridge over the River Main), and spend some time on your own. Alternatively, depart on an excursion to the nearby town of Rothenburg; nestled on Germany's Romantic Road, it lives up to its reputation as Europe's most perfect fairy-tale town. View its Gothic cathedral, towered walls and gabled houses on a walking tour, followed by time at leisure. Spend the evening aboard the riverboat following an early evening departure.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 21 - Pleasures of a day cruising the Main...

    It is no wonder that river cruising was the favored pastime of royalty throughout the centuries... and you'll revel in the experience on a full day cruise along the picturesque Main. Fortified towns with towering cathedrals dot the lush landscapes along the riverbank... and you'll take pleasure in all that you'll see, learn and savor today. Perhaps you'll visit the spa... or the fitness center... practice your putting on the putting green... or savor a little quiet time...



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 22 - A little musical magic in Rudesheim

    Relax and enjoy your riverboat's amenities as you cruise along the Main River, as it transforms into the Rhine River, to the wine-making town of Rudesheim, part of the Rhine Gorge UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit Siegfried's Mechanisches Musikkabinett, an eclectic museum displaying one of the world's largest collections of mechanical musical instruments in a centuries-old castle. Have lunch in an old-world restaurant, a perfect opportunity to enjoy a taste of regional cuisine. You have the option this afternoon of walking back to the riverboat or riding the mini train. Your Rhine River cruise meanders through the scenic Lorelei Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, en route to Koln (Cologne).



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 23 - Koln, a.k.a. Cologne

    First up today - a morning visit to Koln (Cologne). Originally founded by the Romans, it is one of the oldest settlements in Germany. Visit the great Gothic cathedral, Kolner Dom, with a local guide (may be unavailable some holidays) then spend some time exploring as you please; Koln is a blend of sophistication and tradition. Return to the riverboat to sail to Amsterdam; your day concludes with a gala dinner in the Compass Rose.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 24 - Great art, a canal cruise and more in Amsterdam

    Amsterdam... the name itself conjures up images of the Dutch capital's myriad cultural treasures, from gabled houses, markets and cafes to awe-inspiring museums housing a treasure trove of world-famous art - and it's all yours to enjoy today. Your guided tour of the famed Rijksmuseum is really inspiring - a firsthand look at Rembrandt's masterpiece The Night Watch is like meeting the artist himself, and you'll love seeing acclaimed works by other well-known “Old Dutch Masters' including Vermeer and Hals. See the city's network of concentric, tree-lined 17th-century canals and view of Amsterdam's blend of architectural styles - they date all the way back to medieval times - on a private sightseeing cruise by canal boat; you'll get a unique taste of daily life in this easygoing city today. A farewell reception followed by dinner makes your last night on the riverboat memorable.



    Lodging: ms Esprit

    Meals: B, L, D

    Day 25 - Journey Home

    Tour ends: Amsterdam, Netherlands. Disembark in Amsterdam; a transfer is included from the riverboat to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport or Central Station. Allow 3 hours for departure flight check-in. A transfer will also be provided to the airport for guests enjoying a stay at Tauck's selected Amsterdam hotel following their cruise.



    Lodging:

    Meals: B

    Call (847) 593-6700 for more information or to book today! Mention code 14631779

    Cruise Line
    Tauck River Cruising
    Offer
    Offer valid through 12/31/2019
    Duration
    25 Days
    Cruise Ship
    ms Esprit

    Click for more information on this ship.

    DayPortArriveDepart
    Day 1Bucharest  
    Day 2Bucharest  
    Day 3Bucharest  
    Day 4Bucharest  
    Day 5Ruse  
    Day 6Vidin  
    Day 7Iron Gate  
    Day 8Belgrade  
    Day 9Vukovar  
    Day 10Pecs  
    Day 11Budapest  
    Day 12Budapest  
    Day 13Bratislava  
    Day 14Vienna  
    Day 15Durnstein  
    Day 16Passau  
    Day 17Regensburg  
    Day 18Nurnberg  
    Day 19Bamberg  
    Day 20Wurzburg  
    Day 21At Sea  
    Day 22Rudesheim  
    Day 23Koln  
    Day 24Amsterdam  
    Day 25Amsterdam  
    Dates/Pricing

    Click Quote or call us to get additional information on your chosen travel date. Special offers or competitive pricing may be available!

    DatePrice / DescriptionQuote
    May 20, 2020Quote
    July 01, 2020Quote
    Disclaimer
    * Land / cruise price per person in U.S. dollars, based on double occupancy, includes cruise fare, most meals, port charges, shore excursions, applicable fuel surcharges, and gratuities to Tauck Directors, Tauck Cruise Director, ship staff, local guides & drivers, and on all included meals.

    Itinerary Changes - Although not expected, Tauck reserves the right to alter the sequence of ports or omit or substitute scheduled ports or attractions at any time without prior notice. Further, museums and attractions may be subject to closure due to state, local or religious holidays.

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