Days 1 & 2 - Bucharest
Day 3 - Danube Delta
Day 4 - Bucharest
Day 5 - Veliko Tarnovo
Day 6 - Ruse
Day 7 - Iron Gate
Day 8 - Belgrade/Novi Sad
Day 9 - Osijek
Day 10 - Budapest
Day 11 - Return Flight

Spendology - Widgets

Secret Danube

Sailing from the Black Sea to Budapest, this is a fascinating and multi-faceted journey, revealing the less-known reaches of the Danube, and cruising through the ravishing riverscapes which connect the countries, capitals, and cultures along its remarkable route

Covering 1,780 miles from its Black Forest source to the Blue Danube course and the Black Sea delta, this revered river never fails to live up to its legends. We travel upstream on its multi-cultural journey, as it flows through cosmopolitan capitals, medieval towns, and splendid landscapes; and forms national borders for Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, and Hungary. The lakes and marshes of the delta are a pristine UNESCO protected Biosphere Reserve; abbeys and palaces, castles and cathedrals punctuate the Danube’s banks; and the river’s own landmarks include Belgrade’s Great War Island at the confluence with the Sava, and Margaret Island mid-stream between Buda and Pest, the spectacular Iron Gate gorge and its dam, carving a passage between the Carpathian and Balkan mountains, and the sweeping curve of the Danube Bend as it changes direction in Hungary. Bookended by Bucharest and Budapest, and cruising on the premium MS Vivaldi of the CroisiEurope river fleet, the tour visits elegant Ruse, on the river’s Bulgarian bank, and Veliko Tarnovo, tiered on the hills of its Yantra valley setting; Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, and its ‘city of art and music’, Novi Sad; and intriguing Osijek in Croatia’s Slavonia region.

Key Features

UNESCO: Danube Delta
Drinks on Cruise Vessel
Jules Verne Representative

Day 1 Fly from London Heathrow to Bucharest, and transfer to the 4-star Mercure City Centre for an overnight stay. (D)

Day 2 Begin the day with a visit to the beautiful Mogosoaìa Palace in its peaceful gardens; with a history of romance, tragedy and Ottoman attacks, now lovingly restored to its former glory. Enjoy an afternoon walking tour of Bucharest, where the city’s Arc de Triomphe mimics Paris, and its huge Palace of Parliament is the heaviest construction on earth, second only to the Pentagon in the world’s largest administrative buildings. Drive to Oltenita to embark on the MS Vivaldi, join us for a welcome drink and introduction to the crew, and sail toward Tulcea, a busy fishing port on the Danube delta. (B, L, D)

Day 3 Tour the delta by boat. A UNESCO Natural Heritage area, the delta wetlands are an intricate web of waterways, forests and floating reed ‘islands’, with flocks of pelicans among the wonderful wildlife. Return to the ship, cruising through rural scenes back to Oltenita, and enjoy a pre-dinner Jules Verne drinks party. (B, L, D)  

Day 4 Drive to Bucharest for a guided tour of the Romanian capital, where parks and lakes soften the cityscape, and architectural styles mix tree-lined boulevards and Belle Epoch buildings with huge socialist structures, and the lovely little churches hidden amongst them. Re-join the vessel at Ruse, Bulgaria’s biggest Danube port. (B, L, D)

Day 5 Visit Veliko Tarnavo, the country’s medieval capital and hub of culture. Sprinkled with orthodox churches, and crowned by the medieval citadel/fortress atop Tsaravets Hill, its atmospheric Old Town has been named ‘Bulgaria’s Most Beautiful’. Continue to Arbanassi. A craft and trade centre in its 17th-century heyday, the hamlet is now an open-air ‘museum reserve’ of architectural and cultural heritage, its Church of the Nativity adorned with 3,600 frescoes.

Day 6 A morning tour of Ruse, founded by the Roman Emperor Augustus as a fortress naval base; known as ‘Little Vienna’ for its neo-Baroque and neo-Rococo buildings; and famed for its Friendship Bridge linking Bulgaria with Romania. Cruise through the two countries during the afternoon and night. (B, L, D)

Day 7 A leisurely day to enjoy the scenery and the ship’s facilities as we sail toward the Serbian border, marked by the legendary Iron Gate gorge, dubbed ‘the cauldrons’ for the foaming rapids and whirlpools, and hemmed by high cliffs, with the colossal sculpture of King Decebal’s Face carved into the rock. Continue cruising to Belgrade. (B, L, D)

Day 8 Tour the capital this morning, where Soviet-era severity meets hints of grandeur in historic façades; St. Sava Cathedral is a marble icon, eighty years in the making; and Kalemegdan castle ruins overlook the confluence of the Sava and Danube. Cruise to Novi Sad, set on a bluff above the river, for an afternoon tour of Serbia’s second city and cultural heart, and including its spiritual beacon, the 16th-century Krusedol Monastery, on the slopes of Fruska Gora mountain. Cruise into Croatia. (B, L, D)

Day 9 Arrive in Osijek, a capsule of culture untypical of Croatia, reflecting its Austro-Hungarian heritage with Baroque buildings; where the Church of Saints Peter & Paul pierces the sky with it soaring belltower, and historic bastions survive around the cobbled streets of star-shaped Tvrda citadel. Cruise toward Budapest this afternoon, passing Mohacs, the site of the 16th-century battle which destroyed the Hungarian monarchy and made way for Habsburg rule. Gala Dinner aboard. (B, L, D)

Day 10 Disembark the MS Vivaldi and discover the highlights of Budapest, straddling the river with Buda’s castle on the west bank and Pest’s boulevards on the east. A morning walking tour includes a visit to St. Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest’s tallest structure, and a pause for a coffee & cake. An optional visit to the Retro Museum is an interactive experience of the 1960s & ’70s communist era, complete with jukeboxes, music booths, a Lada police car, and retro food and drinks (£10, pre-bookable). Overnight at the 4-star Hilton Garden Inn Budapest City Centre. (B)

Day 11  Transfer to Budapest airport for the return flight to London Heathrow. (B)

  • Key
  • B - Breakfast
  • L - Lunch
  • D - Dinner


Whilst the vessel carries more, the group size specified refers to transfers and excursions.
The programme may be altered due to navigational factors with locks, water levels or congestion at certain sites.


per person in a twin/double Main Deck cabin 

British Airways from Heathrow

Date Price
May 26 £3275
August 24 £3215

Supplements per person

Single Supplement

Single supplement £925

Cabin Upgrades

Middle Deck £185
Upper Deck £215

Flight Options

British Airways Club Europe - On request

Optional Excursions

Budapest Retro Experience £10

Extra Night Options

Extra nights – Bucharest
Mercure City Center
(per night) £70
Single supplement £65

Extra nights – Budapest
Hilton Garden Inn
(per night) £105
Single supplement £95

Tour Only

Save £250
Arrival transfer add £25
Departure transfer add £45

Price Includes
Air travel and taxes, all port charges, transfers, 2 night’s hotel, 8-night cruise, breakfast daily, 1 dinner, full board and drinks on cruise vessel, excursions, Jules Verne Representative, local expert guides and representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.

Not Included
Travel insurance, optional excursions, tipping, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.

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Secret Danube - 2024

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