Danube River Cruise: Vienna to Bucharest

  • $3199
    Air+Tax Included
  • 13
  • Average Tour Review


On this air-inclusive trip, sail down the Danube River stopping at some of Eastern Europe’s most fascinating cities—from Vienna and Budapest to Belgrade and Bucharest. Before setting sail, go sightseeing in Vienna, which features beautiful palaces and modern architecture. Then, depart on the ship to Bratislava, Slovakia where you’ll explore the sights around Old Town. Next stop down the river takes you into Hungary for a visit to Budapest. You’ll tour the city and then have full day to discover sights at your leisure. Sail along the picturesque Drava River to Croatia for a day around Osijek and then set your sights on Serbia, with stops at the charming cities of Novi Sad and Belgrade. Admire the stunning vistas as we cruise to Bulgaria, bringing you to Vidin.

New in 2019: smarTours travelers will be sailing on an upgraded ship—the 5-star, deluxe MS River Discovery II! 

Itinerary at
a Glance

  • 10-night Cruise from Vienna to Bucharest
  • Vienna (Austria)
  • Bratislava (Slovakia)
  • Budapest (Hungary)
  • Osijek (Croatia)
  • Novi Sad (Serbia)
  • Belgrade (Serbia)
  • Vidin (Bulgaria)
  • 1 night in Bucharest hotel
  • Optional Dracula’s Castle Extension


  • Hofburg Palace (Vienna)
  • St. Martin’s Cathedral (Bratislava)
  • Matthias Coronation Church (Budapest)
  • Gypsy Concert (On Board – Budapest)
  • Old Town with Concert (Osijek)
  • Petrovaradin Fortress (Novi Sad)
  • Kalemegdan Fortress (Belgrade)
  • Iron Gates Gorge
  • Baba Vida Fortress (Vidin)
  • Palace of Parliament (Bucharest)
  • Optional Dracula’s Castle Extension

Activity Level: Discoverer 

Your Tour

  • Round-trip airfare from New York (JFK)
  • Airfare taxes, fees & fuel surcharges
  • 10-night cruise aboard the deluxe MS River Discovery II (Cruise Ship A) in an outside facing cabin on the Odyssey Deck or MS River Navigator (Cruise Ship B)
  • One night in a Bucharest hotel
  • Port charges
  • 30 meals: 11 buffet breakfasts (B), 9 lunches (L), 10 dinners (D)
  • Wine or beer with lunches and dinners
  • Comprehensive sightseeing tours, shore excursions, onboard lectures, folklore performances, and concerts
  • Free Wi-Fi (where available)
  • English-speaking cruise director and tour guides

Your extension includes:

  • Transportation to and from the Carpathian Mountains resort of Brasov and nearby Dracula’s Castle
  • Breakfast (B) daily and two dinners (D)
  • Tour of Peles Castle, Brasov City & Dracula’s Castle

Tour Itinerary

Click the Day by Day itinerary above (or swipe on mobile devices) to see the experiences that await on each day of your tour.

Depart USA

Your fascinating river cruise journey begins as you depart on your overnight flight to Europe.

Arrive Vienna (Austria)

Arrive in Vienna, the splendid capital of Austria and the center of the Hapsburg Empire. You’ll be met at the airport and will travel to your cruise ship for embarkation. This evening enjoy a welcome cocktail followed by an orientation briefing and reception and then dinner. MS River Discovery II (Cruise Ship A) or MS River Navigator (Cruise Ship B)  (D)

Vienna Sightseeing/Set Sail

Today, experience Vienna’s glorious past as you embark on an included panoramic tour taking you along the Ring Boulevard, past Emperor Franz Josef’s Hofburg Palace and the State Opera to the Cathedral of St. Stephen’s. Afternoon at leisure to explore on your own or join an optional excursion to the magnificent Schonbrunn Palace, the baroque summer residence of the Hapsburgs. Your cruise director can assist in arranging tickets for an optional concert or cultural performance. Set sail late tonight. (B,L,D)

Bratislava (Slovakia)

Welcome to Slovakia! Depart on your morning walking exploration of the lovely city center, past St. Martin’s Cathedral and the Primate’s Palace. The sightseeing will end with a walk through the Old Town – Michael’s Gate, Michael’s Tower, Main Square, Old Town Hall and Slovak National Theatre. Return to the ship for lunch. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure, or participate in one of the optional tours. Dinner is back on board and an evening free to waltz the night away!(B,L,D)

Budapest (Hungary)

Morning at sail. In the afternoon, your motor coach tour of this lovely city will include the most popular sights: The Parliament Building, St. Stefan Cathedral, the Opera, the Square of Heroes, (the Millennium monument) and the town park with the Vajdahunyad Castle, etc. There will be stops at the Square of Heroes, the Fisherman’s Bastion and Gellert Hill. Prior to dinner enjoy a short live concert of Hungarian Gypsy music performed in the lounge. The rest of the evening is at leisure. You may consider an optional Hungarian Folklore show followed by nighttime views of the beautiful…

Budapest (Hungary)

Full day at leisure for independent exploration. You may want to join your Cruise Director for a wonderful walking tour of downtown Budapest or take an optional excursion to the Puszta, to meet the Hungarian Cowboys! Here you’ll be treated to a spectacular equestrian performance followed by a tasting of local snacks and brandy. This evening set sail. (B,L,D)

Osijek (Croatia)

After breakfast this morning head up to the sun deck to observe the beautiful vistas as you sail into the Drava River toward Osijek, Croatia’s 4th largest city. This afternoon, after entry formalities, depart for a tour of the Old Town, including Tvrdja (Citadel), the best-preserved and largest ensemble of baroque buildings in Croatia. Then, enjoy a refreshing drink and some snacks in the garden accompanied by live music featuring popular Croatian songs. Then some free time to explore the city at your leisure before returning to the ship for dinner. (B,L,D)

Novi Sad (Serbia)

Welcome to Serbia! When you wake up this morning, you’ll say hello to Novi Sad, Serbia’s lively university town. You will be delighted with this pedestrian-friendly town as you are led on a walking tour through the town center and the Petrovaradin Fortress, referred to as the “Gibraltar on the Danube.” Built in the 18th century on over 116 hectares, the fortress has four levels and more than 16km of underground tunnels. After the tour enjoy free time to explore the many charming streets lined with small shops and inviting outdoor cafes. This evening continue…


Witness the “new” Belgrade today as it rebuilds and once again warmly welcomes Western visitors. Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is located on a hill at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers. This ancient city, dating back to the Roman Empire, was destroyed and rebuilt several times during its tumultuous history. This morning’s motorcoach tour of the city highlights includes the Kalemegdan Fortress, the imposing St. Sava Cathedral and the cobblestone bohemian quarter of Skadarlija. Afternoon at leisure to explore vibrant Belgrade on your own or join an optional…

Sailing through the Iron Gates (Serbia)

This morning, savor the beautiful vistas while learning about the fascinating history of the Balkans. After lunch, enjoy one of the highlights of your voyage: passage through the impressive Iron Gates Gorge and the gigantic Djerdap Lock where the Danube surges down from the Carpathian Mountains. The views along the two-mile long gorge are spectacular! Arrive in Vidin, Bulgaria in the evening where you will overnight.(B,L,D)

Vidin (Bulgaria)

This morning, embark on a walking tour of this delightful Bulgarian river port highlighted by a visit to the 13th century fortress named “Baba Vida” (“Grandma Vida”) the best preserved medieval fortress in the country. Then enjoy some free time for strolling and shopping or take the optional Belogradchik Rock excursion. (B,L,D)

Disembark/Bucharest (Romania)/Dracula's Castle Extension

Dock at the Romanian port of Turnu Magurele and journey to nearby Bucharest, the capital of Romania, founded in 1459 by order of Prince Vlad Tepes, the original “Dracula.” Over the years, it has gone from times of greatness to periods of grief but especially flourished in the early 20th century when it was known as “Little Paris.” The influence of French architecture is still evident throughout, from the Arc de Triomphe to the Enescu Museum and the wide, tree-lined boulevards throughout the city. A panorama tour includes Revolution Square, and the imposing Palace…


Board your return flight after ending your Danube River cruises. Your fascinating voyage ends as you arrive New York later today. (B)

Guided Tour Pricing

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April 12April 24Apr 12 -
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Rates are based on double occupancy from New York (JFK).

2019 Departures: Single room supplement add $1649
2020 Departures: Single room supplement add $1599

Jun. 20 & Oct. 21 ’19 Departures: Please note the extension is not available

Jul. 30 ’19 Departure: Please note air-inclusive program only available for main cruise + extension. Main cruise available as land-only (no air available).

May 31, Sep. 17 & Oct. 7 Departures: Please note this is a reverse sailing. Extension not available.

2019 Departures: $549 based on double occupancy / $699 based on single occupancy
2020 Departures: $599 based on double occupancy / $729 based on single occupancy
Jul 10 ’19 Departure: Dracula’s Castle Extension is $649 based on double occupancy / $799 based on single occupancy

Rates are based on Odyssey Deck (Cat C) cabins with half windows. Upgrade to higher category cabins:
• CAT. B, Explorer Deck with outside facing cabin with french balconies: add $349 in 2019 / add $399 in 2020
• CAT. A, Navigator Deck outside facing cabin with french balconies: add $599
• Jr. Suite, Navigator Deck with outside facing cabin floor to ceiling French balconies: add $899 in 2019 / add $999 in 2020
All departures (except for Oct. 22 ’19) on the MS River Discovery II

Rates are based on Odyssey Deck (Cat C) cabins with half windows. Upgrade to higher category cabins:
• CAT. B, Explorer Deck outside facing cabin with big panoramic windows: add $299
• CAT. A, Navigator Deck outside facing cabin floor to ceiling French Balconies : add $549
• Jr. Suite, Navigator Deck outside facing cabin floor to ceiling French Balconies : add $799
Oct. 22 ’19 Departure on the MS River Navigator

For more information on this tour, please contact us here or call us during business hours (Mon-Fri, 9:00-9:00 EST and Sat-Sun, 10:00-6:30 EST) at 800-337-7773.

Reservations and Payments 
Reservations can be made by phone (1-800-337-7773) and will be confirmed upon receipt of $300 non-refundable, non-transferable deposit which must be received within 48 hours of reservation. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure. Baggage fees may apply. Space and prices subject to availability. For complete booking information and terms & conditions click here.

Extended Tours

Dracula's Castle Extension

  • From approx. $1199 Per Person

Why not take advantage of your already included airfare to Europe and add a visit to the enchanting Carpathian Mountains resort of Brasov and to nearby Dracula’s Castle?


Disembark and depart by road for Sinaia and visit the magnificent Peles Castle, a former summer residence of the Romanian Royal Family. Continue to Brasov, a medieval resort town set high in the scenic Carpathian Mountains. Aro Palace Hotel or similar. (B,D)

Dracula's Castle Excursion

Enjoy a morning tour of Brasov including Town Square and the renowned Black Cathedral. Proceed to the nearby town of Bran where the highlight of the visit is a tour of the mystical Vlad Tepes Dracula’s Castle. Afternoon is at leisure to explore lovely Brasov independently. (B)


After breakfast it’s time to check out of your hotel and board your bus for the leisurely 2 hour ride back towards Bucharest for a half day city tour prior to checking in to your hotel. Tonight enjoy a wonderful farewell dinner with live entertainment at one of the city’s renowned restaurants. Novotel Hotel or similar (B,D)


Board your return flight. Your fascinating voyage ends as you arrive New York later today. (B)

Optional Tours Customize your trip with these optional tours.

To make your cruise more even more memorable, we’ll offer several optional tours and cultural/dining evening activities. These are subject to change (and others will likely be added), and the prices are approximate. They are payable by cash (euros) or by credit card with a surcharge. Note that optional tours are non-refundable.

Schonbrunn Castle

  • Vienna
  • From approx. 55 Euros Per Person

Visit to the Castle of Maria Theresa. This 1,441-room Baroque palace is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historic monuments in the country. The tour includes a stroll in the gardens full of beautiful statues, flowers, and tree arrangements which constitute one of the most beautiful imperial properties in Europe. You will also visit of the imperial rooms of this former summer residence of the Habsburg Family.

Classical Music Concert

  • Vienna
  • From approx. 70 Euros Per Person

Vienna is often called the “Music Capital of the World.” Hear the Vienna Residence Orchestra and the Viennese chamber orchestra on this optional tour. The program will consist of the best and most popular works from Mozart to Johann Strauss. The concert will take place at the Hofburg Palace (or similar) and includes a glass of champagne!

Red Stone Castle & Wine Tasting

  • Bratislava
  • From approx. 50 Euro Per Person

A drive from Bratislava through a colorful scenery of Little Carpathian vineyards to the 13th century Red Stone Castle. In the Castle you can see an exhibition of historic furniture and a unique collection of arms. It was built in 1240 at the request of Queen Konstancia Uhorska, the widow of the Czech king. At the same time the castle got the name Red Stone, due to a typical local rock. After the excursion at the castle, visit a wine cellar in one of the small Carpathian villages or private winemaker. Taste a selection of Slovak wines with a little snack.

Hungarian Folk Ensemble & Budapest by Night

  • Budapest
  • From approx. 58 Euro Per Person

The Ensemble is regarded as one of the best in Hungary and one of the top ten touring groups in the world. It consists altogether of over 30 artists, dancers and musicians, members of the Gypsy Orchestra and of the Hungarian Folk Orchestra. Their performance of vigorous dances and beautiful tunes will take you through the different traditions of the Hungarians. After the performance, a short bus tour will take you around the Hungarian capital for a breathtaking by-night tour, when you will be able to see the gorgeously illuminated buildings and bridges!

Walking Tour of Downtown Pest

  • Budapest
  • From approx. 15 Euros Per Person

Join your Cruise Director for a delightful stroll down Vaci Utca, the city’s main pedestrian promenade full of shops, cafes, and beautiful people! Your stops will include the Great Market Hall and Gerbeaud, the oldest sweet shop in Budapest which opened in 1858! Your tour ends with a delightful ride aboard an old fashioned tram back to the docking location.

Puszta - Horse Show

  • Kalosca
  • From approx. 55 Euros Per Person

Visit the Lazar Lovas Puszta, and enjoy an unforgettable performance by the Czikos, the Hungarian Cowboys. They’ll perform several breathtaking riding tricks and will introduce you to the skills of the local horsemen. You will see how they train their animals, how they ride their four-horse carriages, ride without a saddle, and much more. Afterwards you will have the opportunity to tour the stables, home to more than 100 horses. Enjoy an authentic “ride to the Puszta” in several teamed oxen carts to a nearby outpost where you will have a chance to taste the local…

Krusedol - Sremski Karlovci - Petrovaradin Fortress

  • Novi Sad
  • From approx. 35 Euros Per Person

The Monastery is situated on the mountain Fruska Gora, famous for its fresco paintings from the 15th century. It is also the burial place of famous people from Serbian history, such as King Milan Obrenovic and Duchess Ljubica. On the way back, stop in Sremski Karlovci, center of wine production of the Fruska Gora region where you will  visit a private producer of wine, the Zivanovic family, who are well known for producing “Bermet” wine. Also, pass the Petrovaradin Fortress, known as the “Gibraltar on the Danube.”

Historical Landmarks in the Iron Gates

  • From approx. 35 Euro Per Person

This tour connects different points over time and opens the way through the history of this part of Europe.

Disembark the ship right by the impressive fortress of Golubac. Start your tour with a visit of this important witness of the local history. Established in the 13th century by the Serbs, the fortress played an important role at this strategic point of the river, being held at times by Hungarians, Ottomans, again Serbs. Today the impressive fort with 9 towers will take you to Lord of the Rings World. Afterwards, the drive along the first section of the Danube gorge will offer…

Belogradchik Rocks

  • Belogradchik
  • From approx. 37 Euro Per Person

Take the tour to the most famous natural phenomena in the region, Belogradchik Rocks. This rocky fairy-tale is spread from west to east and it is 30km long and 3km wide. The most attractive rocks are around the town and named as The Madonna, The Monks, The Rider, The Dervish, The Bear, Adam and Eve, The Castle, The Little Shepherd, The Mushrooms, The Lion and many others. The Belogradchik fortress is situated at an altitude of 610 m above sea level. Experience the memorable view from the top of the fortress.

Important Note: This tour is only recommended for active…


Patti C

My husband and I were recently on A Danube Discovery Cruise. Our tour Director was Dusan Kuljic. When the unimaginable happened, and my husband became ill and needed emergency surgery in Novi Sad Serbia, Dusan jumped in and stayed by our sides throughout the ordeal. Once he'd found me a place to stay, he returned to his ship but never gave up contact with us, calling frequently to see if we needed anything. When the cruise ended and we were still in Novi Sad, Dusan returned to Belgrade, came to pick us up and move us to Belgrade where we could get a flight home. This man was truly our angel and turned what could have been a real nightmare into an opportunity to develop friendships, sight see, and rest as needed. He is one in a million and thoughts of him will always be at the top of our best memories of this trip.

Virginia W

We thought the trip was excellent. The river boat was good and the people on the boat were VERY gracious. I loved the size of the river boat. Our TD, Dusan J, was excellent. Would have loved for him to stay with us the whole trip. He left after the cruise and we had another one for mountain portion of the trip. He was OK but I can't remember his name. He was very knowledgeable about the area. It would be better if you kept same one for all of the trip. I will take another river cruise with smarTours.

Prakash P

Everything was great.We had wonderful time.Tour guides,staff,crew and food was excellent.Also the group was the best ever.This was our seventh tour with smarTours.


This vacation was one of the best we have had. Everything, including the ship, all accommodations (ship and land), tours and tour guides, cuisine was very well prepared and excellent. The personnel (ship and land) did everything possible to make everyone happy and satisfied.

Hersh R

We are now on our way home from this wonderful Danube River cruise. I would like to sum up our experience on the Little Prince as outstanding. This trip turned out to far exceed our expectations. The crew and cruise director (Duschan) were terrific. Dining room staff and food quality was excellent. Kitchen staff and our waiter Liviu went out of their way to accommodate the kosher requirements of our table. Tour guides in most locations were very knowledgeable and spoke good english. Our only criticism was the air conditioning in the cabin and dining room. The cabin was very hot and humid and nothing could be done by the staff.We will highly recommend SmarTours to our friends.

Karen Y

Great itinerary. Included excursions were OK but did not really cover a lot of things we wanted to see. Seemed like we viewed a lot of the places from the bus or a walk by but did not go into many places. Boat was older and seemed like a camping trip with the bath being very small and single beds hard. Difficult to regulate the temperature in the room too. Food was good and the staff on the boat was great, very accommodating to food allergies. Hotel in Bucharest was very nice.
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