Detailed Itinerary Gems of Southeast Europe (Christmas)

CRUISE YEAR

7- Night Cruise


Day 1

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – EMBARKATION
Board the ship for your Gems of Southeast Europe Christmas cruise. (D)

Day 2

MOHÁCS
Enjoy a scenic morning cruise to Mohács. In the afternoon, you can visit Pécs, founded more than 2,000 years ago by the Romans. Visit the UNESCO-designated Christian Necropolis; St. Peter’s Basilica, the city’s main Catholic cathedral along with its catacombs; and Széchenyi Square, the heart of Old Town Pécs. You will also see the Mosque of Pasha Qasim the Victorious, one of the symbols of the city. You will also have the opportunity to visit the delightful Pécs Christmas Market in front of Town Hall. Alternatively, you can travel to the Szekszárd wine region, one of the oldest red-wine-growing areas in Hungary, established more than 2,000 years ago. You may also take an exhilarating guided bike tour around Mohács. (B,L,D)

Mohacs

Day 3

VUKOVAR, CROATIA
Explore this historic Croatian city of Vukovar on a city tour, where you may see sites such as the Ovčara Memorial and Eltz Manor House. Alternatively, you may see Osijek on a guided tour. For a more active excursion, enjoy a guided bike tour of Vukovar. In the afternoon, wine connoisseurs will want to sample Croatia’s famous Grasevina, Traminac and Frankovka wines during a special tasting excursion. You can also choose to explore the Vucedol Museum, home to fascinating exhibits on prehistoric culture and one of the most important archaeological sites in Europe. (B,L,D)

Vukovar

Day 4

BELGRADE, SERBIA
Explore Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, on a city tour, which includes the Nikola Tesla Museum, encompassing the world-renowned inventor’s life and inventions, as well as the Kalemegdan Fortress and the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava, the largest such church in the world. You’ll have time to explore Belgrade’s Winter Fest in the main square and its holiday treats, colorful Christmas Market stalls, concerts and more. Alternatively, you can opt for more active excursions with either a hike to Belgrade Fortress or a guided bike tour through Belgrade. Later in the day, enjoy a taste of the region by sampling Serbian brandy, Šlivovitz, paired with delicious local delights, at the Quburich Distillery. Or discover Novi Sad, the “Serbian Athens,” on a full-day walking tour to Dunavski Park, through Stari Grad, the Old Town center, and the Petrovaradin Fortress, originally built to defend against the Ottoman Turks, but now home to summertime festivals and beautiful views of the Danube below. (B,L,D)

Belgrade

Day 5

SCENIC CRUISING THROUGH THE IRON GATES
Visit Golubac Fortress – a medieval fortified town on the south side of the Danube River – before cruising through the Iron Gates. The Iron Gates is one of Europe’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders. The Danube narrows as it winds through a series of magnificent gorges between the Carpathian and Balkan mountains, forming a natural border between Serbia and Romania. The ancient King Decebalus, the last king of Dacia, is proudly carved into the mountainside and always captivates travelers. (B,L,D)

Iron Gates

Day 6

VIDIN, BULGARIA
Explore Vidin, one of Bulgaria’s oldest cities, and surrounding areas with a choice of excursions. Discover Baba Vida Fortress, the largest preserved medieval castle in Bulgaria, then explore Vidin on a guided walking tour, where you will also have the opportunity to visit the city’s Christmas Market. For a taste of local cuisine, visit a local home for a demonstration of traditional Bulgarian yogurt and Banitsa, a pastry you will also get to make. Alternatively, you can bike through Vidin or enjoy a wine tasting at a local boutique winery. (B,L,D)

Vidin

Day 7

ROUSSE – GIURGIU, ROMANIA
Visit Bulgaria’s ancient capital, Veliko Tarnovo, with its medieval fortress and multiple orthodox temples. Enjoy the magic of the holidays when learning about the Bulgarian traditions and folklore during Christmastime. You can opt instead to go to Rousse, known for its 19th- and 20th-century Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture, and then afterwards visit the UNESCO-designated Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo with frescos revealing exceptional artistry of 14th-century paintings. Or travel through the Romanian countryside to the capital of Bucharest, known as the “Little Paris of the East.” Enjoy a panoramic tour of the historic city center and its elegant architecture. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the Bucharest Christmas market, shining bright in festive holiday lights, in front of the Palace of the Parliament. (B,L,D)

Rousse

Day 8

GIURIU – DISEMBARKATION
Bid farewell to Giurgiu as you prepare for your flight home. (B)

Day 1

EMBARKATION – GIURGIU, ROMANIA
Embark the ship in Giurgiu for your Gems of Southeast Europe Christmas Markets cruise.

Day 2

ROUSSE, BULGARIA
Experience more of Bucharest where you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the Bucharest Christmas market, shining bright in festive holiday lights, in front of the Palace of the Parliament. Or visit Bulgaria’s ancient capital, Veliko Tarnovo, with its medieval fortress and multiple orthodox temples, and make new holiday memories when learning about the Bulgarian traditions and folklore during Christmastime. You can opt instead to explore Rousse, known for its 19th- and 20th-century Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture, and then afterwards visit the UNESCO-designated Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo with frescos revealing exceptional artistry of 14th-century paintings. (B,L,D)

Rousse

Day 3

VIDIN, BULGARIA
Explore Vidin, one of Bulgaria’s oldest cities, and surrounding areas with a choice of excursions. Discover Baba Vida Fortress, the largest preserved medieval castle in Bulgaria, and then enjoy a walking tour of Vidin with a visit to the local Christmas Market. Alternatively, visit a local home for a demonstration of traditional Bulgarian yogurt and Banitsa, a pastry you will also get to make. You also have the option to take an exhilarating bike tour through Vidin. You may also opt for a wine tasting at a local winery. (B,L,D)

Vidin

Day 4

SCENIC CRUISING THROUGH THE IRON GATES
The Iron Gates are some of Europe’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders. The Danube narrows as it winds through a series of magnificent gorges between the Carpathian and Balkan mountains, forming a natural border between Serbia and Romania. The ancient King Decebalus, the last king of Dacia, is proudly carved into the mountainside and always captivates travelers. After your scenic cruise, you will arrive at Golubac Fortress – one of the best preserved medieval fortresses in Europe – for a tour. (B,L,D)

Iron Gates

Day 5

BELGRADE, SERBIA
Explore Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, on a city tour, which includes the Nikola Tesla Museum, encompassing the world-renowned inventor’s life and inventions, as well as the Kalemegdan Fortress and the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava, the largest such church in the world. Serbia celebrates the holidays with festive Winter Markets as they have an extended Christmas period, following the Orthodox calendar where Christmas falls on the 7th of January and the New Year on the 14th. You’ll have time to explore Belgrade’s Winter Fest in the main square and its holiday treats, colorful Christmas Market stalls, concerts and more. Alternatively, you can hike to Belgrade Fortress. Later in the day, enjoy a taste of the region by sampling Serbian brandy, Šlivovitz, which was added in 2022 to UNESCO’s list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage,” paired with delicious local appetizers. For those wishing a more active adventure, join a guided bike tour. (B,L,D)

Belgrade

Day 6

VUKOVAR, CROATIA
Enjoy a morning of scenic cruising. In the afternoon, explore Vukovar on a guided city tour where you will have a chance to visit Eltz Manor House and its collection of historic artifacts, paintings and clothing. Alternatively, you may explore Vukovar on an active bike tour. Wine connoisseurs will enjoy a Croatian wine tasting and tour in the Old Cellars, famous for their Grasevina, Traminac and Frankovka wines. (B,L,D)

Vukovar

Day 7

MOHÁCS - PÉCS, HUNGARY
Visit Pécs, founded more than 2,000 years ago by the Romans, and the UNESCO-designated Christian Necropolis; St. Peter’s Basilica, the city’s main Catholic cathedral along with its catacombs; and Széchenyi Square, the heart of Old Town Pécs. You will also see the Mosque of Pasha Qasim the Victorious, one of the symbols of the city. You will also have the opportunity to visit the delightful Pécs Christmas Market in front of Town Hall. Or for wine connoisseurs, you’ll want to go to the Szekszárd wine region, one of the oldest red-wine-growing areas in Hungary, established more than 2,000 years ago. (B,L,D)

Mohacs

Day 8

BUDAPEST – DISEMBARKATION
Disembark the ship in Budapest and prepare for your flight home. (B)

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