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12 nights
from £3195

Eastern Treasures

A Cultural Exploration from the Delta Lands of the Danube to the Plains of Hungary aboard the MS Royal Crown

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  • History and Culture
  • Pelicans, Danube Delta

Join us as we navigate the Danube River from the delta in the east to Budapest. We travel from the Black Sea shores to the heart of Europe visiting Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and Hungary. This is one of the world’s great journeys, following as it does one of the most important trade routes since the earliest of times, linking the east with the west.

We will travel through some of Europe’s most beautiful landscapes, from the delta lands of the Danube, past the distant Carpathian Mountains to the plains of Hungary. We will visit the great cities of Bucharest, Budapest and Belgrade as well as riverside villages and towns along the Danube. From the great comfort of our vessel we will travel effortlessly, enjoying the varied scenery and architecture whilst learning more about a region that has seen more of its fair share of conflicts, revolutions and wars. The combination of modern and traditional culture along the way makes for a fascinating time away.

To enhance your holiday further we are offering a five night pre-cruise extension in the beautiful region of Transylvania in Romania, during which you will travel through some of the last untouched and least travelled areas of Europe.

Useful Links & Travel Advice

Please find a selection of useful websites to refer to for information from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on visa requirements, NHS travel health advice and other useful travel tips.  

  • Itinerary Highlights

    Iron Gates

    • Danube Delta wetlands
    • The rock monastery of St Demetrius Basarbovski in Bulgaria
    • Arbanassi, famous for its 17th and 18th century architecture and the unique Church of the Nativity of Christ
    • Spectacular sailing through the Iron Gates
    • The wine region of Villany in Hungary
    • The historic city of Osijek in Croatia
    • Hungarian horse display at Kalocsa
    • “Queen of the Danube” - Budapest

    More information
  • Exclusive Performances

    SHERBAN LUPU

    By Sherban Lupu

    We will be joined on board by Sherban Lupu, one of the world’s leading performers of Romanian composer and virtuoso George Enescu’s music. Romanian-born, Sherban studied at the Bucharest Conservatory with George Manoliu and later in London at the Guildhall School of Music, taking lessons and masterclasses with legendary violinists Yehudi Menuhin. He specializes in the music of his native Romania and Eastern Europe as well as the virtuoso romantic repertoire.

    More information

Royal Crown

Royal Crown

This elegant vessel combines the nostalgic charm of the 1930s with the comfort and service of a four-star vessel. No expense has been spared to create not only a vessel that is beautiful to look at, but also a great joy to travel on. Spacious teak decks, elegant public rooms and staterooms with mahogany, rosewood and marble, together with rich fabrics and specially designed furniture, all blend together to create a unique river vessel. Built in 1996 and refurbished in 2010, the 90 passenger MS Royal Crown was designed for the rivers flowing through the heart of Europe. Exquisite furniture, expensive materials and accessories give the vessel its unique atmosphere. Facilities onboard include a library, boutique, fitness area, lounge with panoramic views and a restaurant with open seating. Outside there is a large sun deck, lido bar, a putting green and large scale chessboard. Onboard the efficient air-conditioning system ensures a comfortable temperature. Two powerful engines propel the vessel up to a speed of 12 knots.

View vessel details

Itinerary

Day 1 - London to Bucharest, Romania.

Fly by scheduled flight and transfer (approx. three hours) to the MS Royal Crown in Cernavoda. Sail this evening.

Day 2 - Tulcea.

Today we arrive in Tulcea, situated at the entrance to the Danube Delta. Enjoy a boat trip into the delta wetlands, famous for its birdlife. Sail in the early afternoon and meet your fellow travellers this evening at the welcome drinks and dinner. There will be an after dinner recital by Sherban Lupu.

Day 3 - Bucharest.

Arrive this morning in the port of Oltenita from where we drive to Bucharest. We will explore the main sights of the city and see the boulevards with their decidedly French style. After lunch in a local restaurant there will be a choice of afternoon visits. You may choose to visit the Parliament Palace, the second largest administrative building in the world at 3.77 million square feet. This gargantuan construction is Ceausescu’s most infamous creation and makes for a fascinating tour. Alternatively, you may prefer to visit the unique Village Museum, an open-air ethnographic museum located in the Herastrau Park, showcasing traditional Romanian village life. The museum contains 272 authentic peasant farms and houses from all over Romania. We rejoin the vessel in Giurgiu and sail on to Rousse.

Day 4 - Rousse, Bulgaria.

After breakfast join a city tour of Rousse, birthplace of Nobel Prize winner for literature, Elias Canetti. After a brief walking tour of the city centre, drive a short distance to visit the Monastery of St Demetrius Basarbovski, a fascinating rock monastery dating back to the 12th century. Return to Rousse for a wine tasting session of some splendid Bulgarian wines. This afternoon is at leisure for individual exploration and, with its stunning architecture, charming restaurants and shops, there is much to see here. This evening there will be an after dinner performance by Sherban Lupu. Moor overnight.

Day 5 - Veliko Tarnovo.

Disembark and enjoy a tour to the city of Veliko Tarnovo, the capital of the second Bulgarian Kingdom from 1187 to 1393. The city formed a natural fortress, located on three hills surrounding the Yantra River. A palace, fortifications and churches were built into the terrain. Across the river, ancient stone houses seemingly perched on top of each other rise up the steep riverbank. After lunch in a local restaurant we visit the museum town of Arbanassi. Rejoin the ship at Svistov and sail.

Day 6 - Cruising through the Iron Gates.

Today the scenery becomes truly spectacular as you cruise through the Iron Gates, a narrow Danube gorge between the Carpathian and Balkan Mountains.

Day 7 - Belgrade, Serbia.

Spend the afternoon in this interesting city. A half-day tour highlights the city’s main attractions, including the Kalemegdan fortress as it looms over the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, Saint Sava Cathedral, the largest Orthodox Church in the world, and Tito’s Memorial. Our tour will end with a spectacular Folklore performance. Sail this afternoon towards Croatia.

Day 8 - Osijek, Croatia.

Arrive this afternoon in Vukovar, Croatia. Disembark and join the excursion to nearby Osijek, located in the Slavonian region of Croatia and picturesquely positioned on the Drava River. On arrival join a walking tour of this historic and lively city; see Tvrda, the oldest part of the town and the neo-gothic Church of St Peter & Paul with its 90 metre high bell tower, 40 stained glass windows and stonework from the Viennese sculptor Eduard Hauser. Enjoy some free time here to explore at leisure, perhaps visit the impressive Church of St Anthony, erected on the remains of a Turkish minaret. Later we return to the ship and sail on towards Hungary.

Day 9 - Pecs & Villány, Hungary.

From the port of Mohacs, depart after breakfast for a full day scenic tour of Pecs and Villány. The city of Pecs enjoys a fine position on the slopes of the Mecsek Hills. The visit will feature the sites associated with the city’s Roman Ottoman Hapsburg past, as well as a short organ recital in the splendid Pecs Cathedral. Continue on to the town of Villány for lunch and a wine tasting. Villány is one of Hungary’s top wine regions, known for its reds and rosés. Thanks to the area’s sub- Mediterranean climate, wines from Villány are full-bodied and spicy and of the highest quality. Sail in the early evening towards Kalocsa.

Day 10 - Kalocsa.

Arrive this morning in charming Kalocsa, renowned for paprika production. Your tour of the Puszta district will include the town and a spectacular display of horsemanship. Depart in the afternoon for a relaxing cruise along the glorious Danube towards Budapest.

Day 11 - Budapest.

We have the day to explore Hungary’s elegant capital city. Spend the morning on an excursion that will include the old quarter, visiting the Matthias Church and the Fisherman’s Bastion, and spend the afternoon relaxing or exploring independently. After dinner be on deck to experience a “Budapest by Night” cruise, a chance to see this beautiful city’s lights in the evening. Moor overnight.

Day 12 - Budapest.

After breakfast today we depart for our visit to Godollo. It was the favoured home of Sissy, the wife of Emperor Franz Josef, and in recent years the palace has been restored. Alternatively, spend a full day in Budapest exploring the delights of this historic city. Tonight enjoy your Farewell Gala Dinner on board.

Day 13 - Budapest to London.

Disembark after breakfast and return to London by scheduled flight.

Dates and Prices

SPECIAL OFFER – SAVE £200 PER PERSON FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY
Prices per person based on double occupancy
12 to 24 June 2017
Category Brochure Price Special Offer Price
Junior Suite £3395 £3195
Superior Suite £3495 £3295
Deluxe Suite £3695 £3495
Premium Suite £3895 £3695
Royal Suite £4395 £4195
Deluxe Suite For sole use £3695 £3495

Tour Reference Code: RCRC120617

Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel, 12 nights aboard the MS Royal Crown on full board basis, house wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, shore excursions and music events, guest speaker, services of a cruise director, tour manager, transfers, port taxes, airport taxes, gratuities.

Not Included: Travel Insurance.

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Royal Crown

This elegant vessel combines the nostalgic charm of the 1930s with the comfort and service of a four-star vessel. No expense has been spared to create not only a vessel that is beautiful to look at, but also a great joy to travel on. Spacious teak decks, elegant public rooms and staterooms with mahogany, rosewood and marble, together with rich fabrics and specially designed furniture, all blend together to create a unique river vessel. Built in 1996 and refurbished in 2010, the 90 passenger MS Royal Crown was designed for the rivers flowing through the heart of Europe. Exquisite furniture, expensive materials and accessories give the vessel its unique atmosphere. Facilities onboard include a library, boutique, fitness area, lounge with panoramic views and a restaurant with open seating. Outside there is a large sun deck, lido bar, a putting green and large scale chessboard. Onboard the efficient air-conditioning system ensures a comfortable temperature. Two powerful engines propel the vessel up to a speed of 12 knots.

 
  • Royal Crown
  • Lounge
  • Restaurant
  • On Deck
  • Twin Cabin
  • Sun Deck
  • Cabin Bathroom
  • Bar
  • Royal Suite
    Royal Suite
  • Your Cabin / Suite

    Royal Crown has 45 suites which range in size from 145 square feet to the spacious Royal Suites which measure 200 square feet. All suites are fitted with spacious rosewood cupboards, a dressing table, satellite TV, a safety deposit box, individually controlled airconditioning and en-suite facilities with shower and hairdryer. Suites on the Select deck have portholes and the Royal Suites on the Panorama deck have large windows.

    Please note that Junior, Deluxe & Superior Suites have fixed twin beds. Premium and Royal Suites have fixed double beds with separate mattresses and duvets, so can be made up as twins if required.

  • Your Space

    The elegant Lounge Bar is defined by its 30s inspired Art Deco style, with textured carpets, carved mahogany and plush sofas which create a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. Experience unforgettable views from the large windows as you enjoy coffee or tea. The lounge is also where our guest speakers will entertain you with informative presentations. In the evenings, let the day come to an end with a choice of beverages from the extensive menu accompanied by a musician playing a Steinway & Sons grand piano. The huge sun deck on MS Royal Crown covers almost the entire length of the vessel, interrupted only by the bridge and the Lido Bar (open when weather permits) where you can enjoy a drink under the umbrella such as fresh juice, a milkshake, or even a cocktail. Recline on a sun lounger and read a book or watch the changing scenery. There is also a putting green and a large chess board for your enjoyment. For some time out, relax in the wellness centre which includes a sauna with shower facilities, and a fitness room. There is also a small boutique and a library with a selection of books and games. Daily news sheets are also supplied.

  • Your Dining

    While the most beautiful river scenery passes by, enjoy delicacies created by the Executive Chef and his team. The restaurant has open seating, allowing you to sit where and with whom you like at each meal. In the morning breakfast is served buffet style, lunch is a delightful salad buffet with hot served choices and dinner is a served four course meal. In addition house wine, beer and soft drinks are included at both lunch and dinner.

  • Life Onboard

    The atmosphere onboard is friendly and informal and within days you will have made new friends in the open-seating restaurant, on the shore excursions or whilst relaxing in the comfortable public areas onboard. You will find yourself amongst like-minded people in an English speaking environment and for those who seek peace and quiet, there will always be the opportunity to find a secluded spot on the sun deck or simply rest in your well-appointed cabin. A musician will play each evening whilst you relax in the lounge, guest speakers will provide a series of interesting talks and our cruise director will host informative port briefings. After a day exploring ashore, you will return to the comfort and peace of a well-run and exceedingly comfortable vessel.

  • For Your Comfort

    The Royal Crown is equipped with the latest safety and navigation equipment for sailing Europe’s waterways. During you voyage you will have the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers in the Bridge to learn more about navigating the varying water levels of these meandering rivers. There is no doctor onboard. Smoking is limited to the Sun deck.

  • Ship Directory
    The booklet below contains some further details pertaining to the vessel.
    Please click on the booklet to view. 

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  • Deck plans
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Itinerary Highlights

• Danube Delta wetlands
• The rock monastery of St Demetrius Basarbovski in Bulgaria
• Arbanassi, famous for its 17th and 18th century architecture and the unique Church of the Nativity of Christ
• Spectacular sailing through the Iron Gates
• The wine region of Villany in Hungary
• The historic city of Osijek in Croatia
• Hungarian horse display at Kalocsa
• “Queen of the Danube” - Budapest

Onboard Experts

  • Ticu Gamalie

    Ticu Gamalie

    Born in Constanta, Romania, Ticu began his career in the travel industry at a young age, guiding short tours in the Black Sea in his summer holidays. This led to longer tours such as The Painted Wonders of Bucovina, Bucharest: the Little Paris and Dracula: between Myth and History for various cruise ships and being invited to give lectures on board.

    He then graduated from Bucharest Physics University and worked for 10 years as a high school teacher in Romania, whilst continuing to guide in the holidays. He was also a member of Pro-Democracy, a Romanian NGO involved in elections-surveillance in Romania, Bulgaria and Albania (under OSCE).

    In 1998 he was invited to the United States as an exchange professor where he graduated with a Masters in Science of Education. He has been working as an Assistant Professor at Arkansas State University-Beebe since 2000 and teaches a variety of courses including Physics, Earth Science and Environmental Science.

    Ticu Gamalie will be on the following tour dates: 12 to 24 June 2017

Exclusive Performances

By Sherban Lupu

We will be joined on board by Sherban Lupu, one of the world’s leading performers of Romanian composer and virtuoso George Enescu’s music. Romanian-born, Sherban studied at the Bucharest Conservatory with George Manoliu and later in London at the Guildhall School of Music, taking lessons and masterclasses with legendary violinists Yehudi Menuhin. He specializes in the music of his native Romania and Eastern Europe as well as the virtuoso romantic repertoire.

Tour Extensions

    • 7th to 12th June 2017

      Transylvania is located in central Romania, a region of exquisite countryside surrounded by the arc of the dramatic Carpathian mountain chain. This region is home to some of Europe’s best-preserved Medieval towns, most notably Brasov, featuring Old Saxon architecture and citadel ruins. We begin our five night tour in Sibiu, with its cobblestone streets and pastel-coloured houses. We also encounter stunning castles such as Bran, near Brasov – a Gothic fairy-tale structure associated with 15th century Walachian Prince Vlad Tepes, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. We also visit the notable town of Biertan and its’ 14th century UNESCO Church-Fortress, the fairytale Peles Castle, built by King Carol I in the 19th century, and the dramatic citadel at Rasnov, built to protect the region’s villages from Tartarian invasion.

      Sibiu Sibiu

      Day 1 London to Sibiu, Romania. Fly by scheduled indirect flight from London to Sibiu. Arrive this afternoon and transfer to your four-star hotel for a two night stay. Dinner this evening will be at your hotel.

      Day 2 Sibiu. After breakfast join a walking tour of colourful Sibiu, followed by some free time before lunch in the old city. Later, drive to Sibiel, a pretty village situated 20 kilometres from Sibiu. Here we visit a unique and superb museum of glass painted icons, located in the old village church. This evening, enjoy a traditional dinner during which we will be able to talk to our local hosts about Romanian daily life in a Transylvanian village.

      Day 3 Biertan-Sighisoara-Brasov. After breakfast depart for picturesque Biertan. Your first glimpse of the town’s Medieval church is unforgettable; it towers over the square below, surrounded by vividly painted houses and backed by vineyards. On arrival we visit the UNESCO 14th century fortified church, once the home to the Lutheran Bishop of Transylvania. Continue on to Sighisoara and on arrival explore the Old Town with its cobbled streets, burgher houses and ornate churches. Also visit the Clock Tower known as the Council Tower, built in the second half of the 14th century and expanded in the 16th century. Enjoy lunch in “Dracula’s House” restaurant followed by some free time. Continue on to Brasov where we will be staying for three nights. Dinner this evening will be at a local restaurant.

      Day 4 Azuga-Sinaia-Rasnov. After breakfast depart for a city tour of Brasov, including the City Hall Square, St Nicholas Church and the Old City. Afterwards we continue to Azuga in Prahova Valley, home of the Royal Cellar which is the wine supplier for the Royal family. We will stop at a local vineyard for lunch and enjoy some wine tasting. Continue on to see the fairy-tale Peles Castle, built by King Carol I in the 19th century. Afterwards we head back towards Brasov with a stop enroute at the Rasnov Citadel, a historic monument and landmark in Romania. This outstanding citadel was first mentioned in documents in the 1335, built as a defense against invading Tartarian armies. Please note that the entrance to the citadel is a 15 minute uphill walk for those who wish to visit inside. Dinner this evening will be at a local restaurant.

      Day 5 Brasov. After breakfast, visit the Black Church, followed by some free time in the Old City. We will have lunch in a local restaurant and the afternoon is at leisure to relax or explore independently. This evening enjoy dinner in the nearby resort town of Poiana Brasov.

      Day 6 Brasov to Cernavoda. After breakfast depart for a visit to Bran to see the world famous ‘Dracula’s Castle’, built as a fortress in 1212 by the Knights of the Teutonic Order. Vlad Tepes, better known as Vlad the Impaler, used the castle as headquarters for his incursions into Transylvania. We then depart for Ploiesti and enjoy lunch on arrival before continuing on our journey to Cernavoda, where we will embark the MS Royal Crown. Sail in the evening.

    • Prices per person based on double occupancy
      CategoryPrice
      Twin £695
      Single £795

      Price includes: Five nights accommodation at four-star hotels in Sibiu and Brasov, full board throughout, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, all sightseeing as described, water during excursions, gratuities.

      Not Included: Travel Insurance.

River Guides

  • To see our current selection of tours for the river Danube click here.
     
    • Danube

    More than any other river in the world, the Danube will always conjure thoughts of music. The Danube rises in the Black Forest of Germany and reaches its end in the Black Sea, passing through four capital cities on its way (more than any other river in the world) and ten countries – Romania, Hungary, Serbia, Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Croatia, Ukraine and Moldova. It has many tributaries, some important rivers themselves. The Danube is all about high culture and the historic cities that appear in close succession along its banks.

    Vienna, for instance, is a jewel. Its Ring created by Franz Joseph in the 1860s is a parade of imperial magnificence, opera house after university, palace after cathedral, interspersed with shaded gardens designed for outdoor summer concerts. Yet this is a city centre small enough to walk around easily – though you can take a tour in a horse-drawn carriage. Must-sees include the Hofburg and the Schonbrunn but if you might want to try a must-do, go to the Music House where you can virtually conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra on screen – if you get to the end, the orchestra stands up and applauds you!

    Bratislava is a tiny city dominated by its castle on the hill and a historic gem. The Old Town is completely pedestrianized which makes for pleasant walking. Besides the Gothic Cathedral and an exquisitely pretty Old Town Hall, look out for the humorous statues – the Good Soldier Schweik’s head emerging from a manhole on the street for instance. Budapest is a city of two halves. Buda is hilly and wooded with Gothic houses and cobbled streets. Pest is all grand boulevards and Baroque buildings including a jewel of an opera house. For music lovers, there are museums to Liszt and Bartok and plenty of concerts on offer. And for everyone there are breath-taking views from the Fisherman’s Bastion perched high above the city where, in the sunshine, the Danube turns a perfect blue.

Book with Confidence

Speak to one of our advisors on 020 7752 0000