Eastern Europe Danube River

By Randy Mink.

In Part 2 of Randy Mink’s Eastern Europe river cruise odyssey, the story continues on board the 169-passenger Scenic Crystal as it plies the Danube River toward Bucharest, calling in Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. The 10-night “Black Sea Explorer” itinerary comprises a 7-night cruise and two hotels nights before and one after.  

(Click here to read  Part 1 of Randy’s story.) 

Eastern Europe Danube River

Scenic’s 10-night “Black Sea Explorer” doesn’t actually cruise all the way to the Black Sea. * Photo: Scenic

Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade, with 1.6 million residents in the metro area, is home to a quarter of Serbia’s population. From my short visit I found the city to be a bit funky; having been ravaged and rebuilt so many times, it’s not exactly attractive. Yet people on the street were engaging, there’s a lively cafe and bar culture, and I liked the university students who guided the two-hour walking tour from the ship, which had deposited us in the heart of town.

Eastern Europe River Cruise

A Belgrade market. * Photo: Randy Mink

Much of our morning walk was spent at Kalemegdan Fortress, where, from lookout points atop the stone ramparts, we snapped away at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers. Actually a city park, the sprawling citadel has everything from tennis courts and an archery range to dinosaur displays, historical monuments and a military museum. Then we explored Knez Mihailova, the main-drag pedestrian street full of boutiques, restaurants and banks, plus souvenir kiosks selling items like Serbian army caps, Vladimir Putin T-shirts and Tito magnets.

Eastern European River Cruise

Belgrade’s Kalmegdan Fortress. * Photo: Ranky Mink

During free time that afternoon, some of us visited St. Sava, the biggest Eastern Orthodox church in the world, and Belgrade’s festive bohemian quarter, Skadarska, where traditional restaurants draw in tourists with the aromas of roasted meats and zingy sounds of strolling musicians. Serbia uses the Cyrillic alphabet, so the street signs are a challenge to tourists, but a semester of college Russian helped me figure out certain words. Rounding out the Belgrade visit was Scenic’s Sundowners event, a happy hour with a band at one of the Sava River’s many floating restaurants.

The Iron Gates, between Serbia & Romania

Part of the next day was spent on the Scenic Crystal’s Sun Deck as we sailed through the Iron Gates area, Europe’s longest and deepest series of gorges. Everyone came out to take in the rock-walled shores of Serbia and Romania — the most dramatic scenery of the cruise — and watch the ship pass through locks. By mid-afternoon we had left Serbia behind and entered the 372-mile stretch of the Danube that forms much of the Romania-Bulgaria border.

Eastern Europe Danube River

The Iron Gates Gorge. * Photo: Randy Mink

Ruse, Bulgaria

From Ruse (sometimes written Rousse), our first all-day excursion in Bulgaria went to the medieval town of Veliko Tarnovo, which flourished as the capital of the second Bulgarian Empire from the 12th to 14th centuries. Spilling across an amphitheater of wooded hills high above the Yantra River, it commands a stunning setting dominated by the Tsarevets Fortress. One stop was a store selling rose-oil cosmetics and foods. (Bulgaria boasts the best quality rose oil in the world — one ounce of perfume sells for $40 an ounce.) We helped ourselves to samples of rose-petal jam, rose liqueur and rose-flavored candy. In the sleepy village of Arbanasi, the excursion featured two 16th-century Orthodox churches with lavishly frescoed interiors. A choir sang a Gregorian chant for us at the church of Archangels Michael and Gabriel. (Bulgaria is 85 percent Orthodox.)

Eastern Europe Danube River

Church of Archangels Michael and Gabriel in Arbanasi, Bulgaria. * Photo: Randy Mink

Varna, Bulgaria

In the seaside city of Varna the following day, we saw some of mankind’s first gold jewelry in the vast Archaeological Museum and then had time to shop or dip our toes in the Black Sea. Lunch was at a replica pirate ship right on the beach. (Though an excursion from Silistra goes to Varna on the coast, Scenic Crystal does not sail as far east as the Black Sea, despite the name of the itinerary.)

Local Guides & Their Stories

Just as fascinating as the snippets of local life looming outside the bus window were our guides’ comparisons between Bulgaria today and in Communist times. On the way to Varna, our guide, Clemena, talked of limited goods for sale in the stores (one kind of yogurt, two kinds of cheese) and “ugly” clothes and shoes. But in some ways, she said, life was better under totalitarian rule—everyone had a job because factories were working full force to supply ready markets in other Soviet-bloc countries, and all the news was positive because there was no voice other than the government’s propaganda machine. Many older people, she added, yearn for a past when big-brother control lent a sense of security.

For ease in following the guides’ remarks on shore excursions, each Scenic passenger gets a high-tech audio device, called Tailormade. Touch “Voice Guide” and through the ear piece you can hear the guide loud and clear, even if you’ve drifted to the back of the pack. Tailormade’s “Self-Guided Tours” option, meanwhile, becomes the best friend of those who want to roam independently in cities on the cruise route, with brief descriptions of select sights and a digital map. (Happily, in every port of call we had chances to wander, shop or sit down at a cafe, and even many excursions included free time.)

Besides being enlightened by local guides, we learned much about the region from Scenic Crystal crew members, many of whom are Serbs. During a cocktail-hour session on “Growing up in Eastern Europe,” staff members told their stories and took questions from the audience. They talked of their childhoods and discussed their countrymen’s current hopes and dreams. Cultural programming also included Serbian dancers and Croatian singers who came on board.

Lunches and dinners in the dining room featured a wide variety of international cuisine, including Eastern European specialties. Every passenger is invited to have one dinner at Portobello’s, a sectioned-off area where 32 guests each night enjoy an Italian meal with wines from Tuscany.

Eastern Europe Danube River

Scenic Crystal’s restaurant. * Photo: Scenic

Giurgiu, Romania

In Giurgiu, Romania, alas, it was time to say farewell to all the good eating on the Scenic Crystal and board buses for Bucharest, where we had a choice of two tours before checking in to the hotel. Some passengers opted to see inside the Palace of Parliament, the gargantuan creation of Communist strong man Nicolae Ceausescu (the world’s second largest building after the Pentagon).

Eastern Europe Danube River

Bucharest’s humongous parliament palace. * Photo: Scenic

I chose the National Village Museum, an open-air collection of homesteads relocated from rural Romania, to get a taste of the country as a whole. At night we explored Bucharest’s Old Town, a happening scene where hip bars and eateries are rejuvenating the historic city core.

Eastern Europe River Cruise

Bucharest Old Town. * Photo: Randy Mink

From Budapest and Bucharest to Belgrade, Bulgaria and the Black Sea, Eastern Europe is the place to “B” for curiosity-seekers eager to chart a course through lands a bit off the beaten track. The eastern frontier beckons.

Read Part 1 of Randy Mink’s Eastern Europe Danube River cruise story.

Scenic’s 2018 “Black Sea Explorer” cruises are scheduled for April 14 and 22, May 26 and June 3. The first and third sailings are Budapest-Bucharest; the second and fourth operate in reverse. Fares start at $4,895 USD per person, based on double occupancy, plus airfare. Included are all meals, drinks, shore excursions and tips. For more info, go to


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Eastern Europe Danube River Cruise

By Randy Mink.

An Eastern Europe Danube River cruise with Scenic peeks into Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania.

On a shore excursion in northern Bulgaria, I constantly had my nose pressed to the bus window, not wanting to miss a thing as we rolled through the fertile fields of the Danubian Plain and rural towns bursting with scenes reminiscent of an earlier time. Here I spotted a shepherd tending his flock, there a farmer in his horse wagon, and women dressed in traditional headscarves and aprons — vignettes right out of the 19th century.

It was springtime, and yellow canola flowers carpeted broad swaths of countryside. Our buses were headed to the Black Sea port of Varna, a big city that turned out to be less interesting than the ride getting there.

Eastern Europe Danube River Cruise

The canola fields of Bulgaria. * Photo: Randy Mink

A Slice of Eastern Europe, from Budapest to Bucharest

The day trip was just one of many eye-opening excursions for passengers booked on Scenic Crystal’s 10-night “Black Sea Explorer” from Budapest to Bucharest — comprising a 7-night cruise and two hotel nights before in Budapest and one after in Bucharest. This river cruise was a perfect introduction to the less-visited countries of Eastern Europe, a slice of the world once closed off to mass tourism from the West. Now, nearly three decades after the lifting of the Iron Curtain, these formerly Communist-controlled societies are forging ahead, in varying degrees of success, with free-market economies. All are ripe for discovery for curiosity-seekers like me, a baby boomer who never thought he’d see the day when the Berlin Wall would fall and the enslaved satellites of Soviet Russia would be free.

Because of my fascination with 20th-century European history, I appreciated that our local guides shared their families’ experiences during those dark Communist days. In Serbia and Croatia they also commented on the 1990s wars ignited by the unhappy breakup of Yugoslavia.

Europe’s Far East: Communist-era Apartment Blocks & National Currencies

Most people don’t think of vacationing in countries like Serbia and Bulgaria — places that seem so alien and out of the mainstream. Scenery-wise, they hardly qualify as dream destinations, and there are few grand attractions. The cities, with their Communist-era apartment blocks, appear drab. The languages, much different from Romance and Germanic tongues, will throw you for a loop. If you’re accustomed to using euros or pounds in Europe, you have to adapt to currencies like the Hungarian forint, Serbian dinar and Bulgarian lev. All of this, however, just lends a sense of exoticism, and then there’s satisfaction in exploring a region not overrun with English-speaking tourists. You might call it Europe’s “Far East.”

The best way to sample these countries is an Eastern Europe Danube River cruise where everything is wrapped into one neat package. My home for this Danube adventure was one of the sleek Space-Ships in the growing fleet of luxury operator Scenic, a company based in Australia.

Eastern Europe Danube River Cruise

Scenic Crystal on the Danube in Budapest. * Photo: Randy Mink

All Aboard in Budapest, Hungary

From Budapest, where a two-night hotel stay is included in the fare (with most passengers at the Marriott), the 169-passenger Scenic Crystal took us to Kalocsa, Hungary; Osijek, Croatia; Belgrade, the capital of Serbia (and former Yugoslavia); and Ruse and Silistra, Bulgaria. (Though an excursion from Silistra goes to Varna, the Scenic Crystal does not sail as far east as the Black Sea, despite the name of the itinerary.) The Scenic package ends with a hotel night in Bucharest, the capital of Romania.

The Danube flows for about 1,800 miles from Germany’s Black Forest to the vast delta where Romania and Ukraine border the Black Sea, touching more countries (10) than any other river. Scenic’s most popular Danube itineraries operate between Nuremburg and Budapest, with stops in Germany and Austria.

Eastern Europe Danube River Cruise

Scenic’s 10-night “Black Sea Explorer” doesn’t actually cruise all the way to the Black Sea. * Photo: Scenic

Budapest, Hungary

Of all the cities visited on our Eastern Europe Danube River cruise, Budapest was the most impressive. The two days I had to explore Hungary’s capital prior to boarding the Scenic Crystal, gave me a good overview. I took a Scenic-arranged bus tour and poked around on my own.

Eastern Europe Danube River Cruise

A Budapest panorama. * Photo: Randy Mink

The morning bus circuit took us to Castle Hill, site of skyline landmarks like the Royal Palace and Matthias Church, and to Heroes’ Square, a sweeping plaza with statues and monuments glorifying Hungary through the ages. As we rode through heavy traffic, our guide gave us a quick lesson in Hungarian culture and history, mentioning the centuries of Turkish rule, the Hapsburgs’ Austro-Hungarian Empire, how Jewish citizens suffered in the ghetto, and how thousands of people were killed and injured during the 1956 uprising quashed by Soviet tanks.

Eastern Europe Danube River Cruise

Budapest’s St. Matthias Church. * Photo: Randy Mink

I didn’t have time to visit Budapest’s ornately decorated Great Synagogue, the largest synagogue in Europe and second-largest synagogue in the world (after Temple Emanu-El in New York), but did peek through the gates of the memorial garden behind it. I devoted two hours to the House of Terror, a chilling and deeply moving museum in the very building where the Communist regime’s secret police interrogated and tortured ordinary citizens. Most fascinating were the propaganda films showing “happy” factory workers and eyewitness interviews (English subtitles) of those whose relatives were imprisoned or brutalized. The tiny gift shop sells Lenin and Stalin busts in the form of candles, a sly gesture to the fleeting nature of evil.

Eastern Europe Danube River Cruise

Budapest’s Great Market. * Photo: Randy Mink

During my brief visit to Budapest, I also checked out the food and craft stalls in the historic town center, where I had a chance to sample a few pastries amid the Old World trappings of Gerbaud Cafe, a traditional Hungarian restaurant and coffee house dating back to 1858. More local color surfaced at the cavernous Market Hall, a bustling farmers’ market, souvenir spot and transit station where I savored goulash soup dished up by one of the second floor’s many food vendors.

After our first-night dinner aboard the Scenic Crystal, which was moored in Budapest until morning, we enjoyed an hour-long cruise past the illuminated domes and spires of churches, the Royal Palace and grandiose Hungarian Parliament, the neo-Gothic masterpiece often shown on river cruise brochures and TV commercials.

Kalocsa, Hungary

A day after departing Budapest, our ship arrived in Kalocsa, Hungary, about 100 miles south of Budapest. This is the country’s “paprika capital,” so we had plenty of chances to buy souvenir bags of sweet and hot paprika at stops like the House of Paprika, a small museum maintained by the local growers’ cooperative. The main event in Kalocsa was the horse show at Bakod Puszta farm, where riders in traditional costumes performed stunts.

Eastern Europe Danube River Cruise

Horse Show in Kalocsa, Hungary. * Photo: Randy Mink

Osijek, Croatia

The Danube cuts through the northeastern corner of Croatia, an agricultural area far from the country’s better-known Adriatic resorts. There we toured Osijek, the main urban center in the region of Slavonia (not to be confused with the countries of Slovenia or Slovakia). Located on the Drava River, a tributary of the Danube, Osijek is just 18 miles from the Hungarian border and 12 miles west of Serbia.

Since the Drava was low, we had to take a bus from the Danube port of Vukovar, but Maja, our 36-year-old Croatian guide, kept us enthralled with insights into her country’s past and present. Right off the bat she started talking about the 1991 war with Serbia after the collapse of the Yugoslav federation, an arrangement that had suppressed ethnic differences between the component republics during the reign of Communist leader Marshal Tito and his successors. Bullet holes still mar buildings in Osijek and Vukovar.

In Osijek, which bears traces of Hapsburg-era elegance, we enjoyed a guided walk on the cobbled streets of Tvrda, the old walled city, and an organ concert in a 1732 Franciscan church. But the day’s highlight was lunch in the village of Bilje — a home-cooked spread in the intimate setting of a bed and breakfast. It’s one of Scenic’s signature Enrich programs designed to immerse passengers in the local culture.

Lunch in a Local Home

My group of eight feasted at the home of Nada Cavic, a young mom who rents two bedrooms to tourists. Dressed in blue jeans and making easy conversation with her guests, Nada, in fluent English, talked freely about life since the war, mentioning that both her sisters were married to Serbians. She started us out with a soup made with vegetables from her garden and homemade noodles. Also on the menu: meatloaf fritters, sliced potatoes with paprika and meat drippings, cabbage salad and a creamy dish called milk rice. We washed it all down with white wine, elderberry juice, homemade cherry brandy and slivovitz, a plum brandy Nada’s father-in-law made for her wedding last year.

Eastern Europe Danube River Cruise

A meal in a local Croatian home. * Photo: Randy Mink

Stayed tuned for Part 2 of Randy Mink’s Eastern Europe Danube River Cruise — to be posted later this week! Here’s PART 2!

Scenic’s 2018 “Black Sea Explorer” cruises are scheduled for April 14 and 22, May 26 and June 3. The first and third sailings are Budapest-Bucharest; the second and fourth operate in reverse. Fares start at $4,895 USD per person, based on double occupancy, plus airfare. Included are all meals, drinks, shore excursions and tips. For more info, go to


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Danube River

by Ted Scull.

The Danube River has provided a river route for human migration, invasion, and trade since Celtic, Greek, Roman, Mongol, Turkish, and modern times, in effect linking the Occident and Orient, Christianity and Islam. The layers of civilization and strife that have occurred along its banks make for an incredibly complex history lesson, as we would discover on our two-week cruise. We had a look at what the Lower Danube is all about, downstream of Budapest.

Blue the Danube is not, rather some variation on muddy brown, especially in April with the river flooding. Arriving at the Danube landing on the Pest side of Budapest on my last Danube River cruise, we found a long, white Viking River Cruise boat securely tied to a floating pontoon and buffeted by an eight mile-an-hour current that carried rafts of tree trunks and floating debris thumping along the riverboat’s hull. Casting off, we sailed with the strong current to unfamiliar places that proved to be most intriguing surprises.

Map of the Danube River

Map of the Danube River

Ports Along the Danube River

We first stopped at the Hungarian market town of Mohacs for an hour’s drive inland past cattle farms and vineyards to Pecs (pronounced “Paich”), a UNESCO World Heritage site surrounded by the longest reconstructed wall in Europe. In the town center, a Christian cross rose out of a crescent moon recalling that St. Peter’s Basilica had been converted to a mosque during the long years of Ottoman Empire rule. It’s again functioning as a church, but the interior decoration is unmistakable Islamic.

Pecs, Hungary

St. Peter’s, first built as a church, then converted to a mosque, and again a church – see cross atop dome. Pecs, Hungary. * Photo: Ted Scull

On a nearby rise, Pecs’ 200-year-old cathedral includes 11th-century sections and sits atop a 5th-century crypt. During our visit, the transept was filled with high school students who, since the fall of the Communism, may again attend Roman Catholic schools.

From Europe’s second largest fortress opposite Novi Sad, our next port of call, we had a sweeping view of the river and over farmlands that extended to the horizon. Beginning at the main square we followed a curving pedestrian street to the produce and clothing markets and to a landscaped wooded park filled with school children at play.

We cruised through the Iron Gate, a dramatic series of gorges created by the Transylvanian Alps that cross the river here. Once, to overcome the powerful and dangerous rapids, steam locomotives operating on a parallel track hauled the upriver traffic. Now the turbulent waters have been tamed by locks and a dam providing safe navigation and generating hydroelectricity. Our riverboat shared the deep lock chambers with Ukrainian and Romanian tugs and barges, loaded with coal, iron ore, rock, gravel, petroleum products, lumber, and grain.

Danube River

Danube’s Iron Gates form border between Romania and Serbia. * Photo: Viking River Cruises

Most riverboats and tows have pilot houses and masts that can be lowered for passage under bridges during high water when clearances are minimal. On our riverboat, the pilothouse drops into a deck cavity, and the forward and aft signal masts lower electrically. For extreme low clearances, top deck railings can be folded to the deck.

The riverboat’s hull has strength to make contact with floating objects and the hardened propellers have an extra set of blades to slice through most debris. When overtaking a slow tow, the captain radios ahead to agree on which side to pass, and the language of communication is German above Budapest and Russian below. Depending on the language, Danube appears on maps as Donau, Dunaj, Dunay, Duna, Dunav, Dunrea and Danubius.

The Danube forms the boundary between Bulgaria and Romania, and the countryside beyond is lovely, the river banks low, and springtime high water spreads into the fringing forests.

Landing at Giurgiu, we headed inland to Bucharest, which in the 1870s, became Europe’s first illuminated city and was soon referred to as the Paris of the Balkans. Since my last visit now long ago, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu had demolished a huge section of the old capital, destroying 26 churches and synagogues and housing for 70,000, to build his monstrous marble House of the People, a building exceeded in size only by the Pentagon. The looming white elephant fronts on a boulevard longer than Paris’ famed Champs-Elysees. Our guide pointed out the office balcony, where in December 1989, Ceausescu made his last desperate speech before fleeing by helicopter, only to be captured and executed, along with his wife, several days later.

Bucharest Parliament, The Palace

Bucharest – Parliament, The Palace.

On the way back to the ship, we encountered donkey and horse carts hauling villagers and their goods along the narrow highway, and in the fields a few farmers tilled the soil using horse-drawn plows. Migrant Roma or Gypsies gathered by the roadside, and the guide pointed out several turreted mansions owned by rich Roma who curiously choose to live in traditional tents in the back and out of sight. She added that some Roma children go to school for the free breakfast then come home. I did not know whether to believe that or not.

Roma-built house, Romania. * Photo: Ted Scull, taken from the bus.

Our window on the Black Sea arrived at Constanta, where, besides a strip of tourist hotels primping for the upcoming season, the Romanian city exhibits layers of history dating from Greek colonization then followed by Roman, Turkish, and Communist domination. During the interval between Muslim call to prayer, I climbed a minaret for a view down to an uncovered third-century Roman mosaic promenade and out over the sprawling container port to the Black Sea, sparkling blue on this sunny day.

Now sailing back upriver, we docked at the Bulgarian port of Russe for a 90-minute drive through lovely rolling farmland devoid of residences, as landowners cluster in villages. The destination was Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria’s hillside capital from the 12th to 14th century that we approached through a deep gorge. The Ottoman Empire controlled the region until the last quarter of the 19th century, and a sizable minority remains Turk, mostly secular descendants of those who stayed on. The Cyrillic alphabet that we associate with Russia originated in Bulgaria in the eighth century, then spread to Serbia and Russia.

Danube River

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria – The Castle, walls, and town in foreground.

After a delightful walk along cobbled streets while eyeing the produce, fashions, and local crafts, we had lunch at nearby Arbanasi, originally settled by Greeks and Macedonians and now a mountain retreat for better-off Bulgarians. The village featured an unassuming 17th-century Eastern Orthodox church, designed not to attract Ottoman wrath, but within richly painted frescos illustrating more than 3,600 religious images decorate separate-sex chambers.

Returning over rough country roads to a Danube River coal and lumber port, we cruised back through the Iron Gate as the sun set on the Romanian mountains.

On our morning arrival, Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, seemed uninviting from the river, but once we were ashore, the city exhibited majesty and importance. From the landing, we walked up through the battlements, constructed from the 15th century onward, one portion sitting atop a Roman well. Beyond, the city center is strung along by an attractive pedestrian street lined with stylish cafés and prosperous looking stores. We learned that Belgrade had witnessed 115 major battles, and since Roman rule, has been completely destroyed 44 times, had 40 name changes, and served as a capital of five different states. Ruined government buildings from the 1999 bombings had been left as disturbing artifacts.

The city walls, Belgrade, Serbia

The city walls, Belgrade, Serbia. * Photo: Ted Scull

The cruise then continued to more familiar territory, ending in Vienna.

Other Lower Danube River Stops

From the Bulgarian river city at Vidin, an attractive hilly drive inland leads to the Ottoman castle at Belgradshick with terrific views from the several levels of terraces to the town below and nearby rock formations. Tying up at Orsova, an excursion visits the Romanian resort spa at Baile Herculane where the present 19th century medicinal baths were built next to the early Roman site. Heading deeper into the Transylvanian Alps, the road leads to Vlad Tepes’ (Dracula) 14th-century Bran Castle. The fantasy most of us ingested via old black and white films is somewhat shattered by reality, but none the less, most intriguing.

While the Upper Danube in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary is picture-post card Europe, with vineyards and red-tiled-roof villages, cathedrals and castles lining the banks and hillsides, the Lower Danube flows into Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania, countries that saw their prosperity wither in wars and under dictatorships, leaving magnificent relics and ruined economies. However, the last two eventually joined the European Community.

Layers of Danube River history are incredibly complex, and it is well advised to study up in advance of the river cruise, otherwise much of what the guides relate will be brand-new and difficult to fathom. For centuries, East and West have collided along the Lower Danube, and the results are fascinating.

Danube River ABC’s

Upper vs Lower Danube River: The Upper Danube passes through Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. The Lower Danube flows into Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania.

Season: As with most Danube River cruises, the season runs from April to October, though occasionally there may be early and late season sailings with a specific river line. Christmas Markets cruises do not operate on the Lower Danube.

Best Time to Go: Peak summer travel is less intense on the Lower Danube than the Upper, hence you can expect less crowding overall. Spring and fall daytime highs will average from upper 50s to low 60s (Fahrenheit). Summer highs are in the 80s with occasionally low 90s.

Itineraries: Most Lower Danube cruises are longer than a week, with some as long as three weeks if making the granddaddy inland waterway route from Amsterdam to Romania and the Black Sea. However, most Lower Danube cruises originate/end in Budapest, Hungary or Giurgiu, a port south of Bucharest, Romania. Upper Danube cruises may start/end in such ports as Regensburg or Passau, Germany; Vienna, Austria; and Budapest, Hungary.

River lines that ply the Lower Danube


Avalon Waterway


Grand Circle




Vantage World Travel

Viking River Cruises


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