Trip Type : River Cruise
Grand European Cruise tour

Grand European Cruise

Grand Circle Cruise Line
3.4 . Average
58%
Travel Style: A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
28 days
From: $ 7,195 $ 257 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Cruise along Europe’s greatest waterways through eight countries, from Amsterdam on the North Sea to Constanta on the Black Sea
  • Cruise aboard our award-winning 140- to 164-passenger ships with a dedicated English-speaking crew
  • Experience this European itinerary, and uncover a local and American perspective in destinations impacted by global events, such as World War II and the Cold War
  • Explore with an expert, local Program Director—a native or resident of Europe—who will be dedicated to your group of no more than 47 from the start to the end of your trip

Short Description

Join Grand Circle on the ultimate European cruise. On this River Cruise, you'll unpack just once, then wend your way continuously from Amsterdam on the North Sea to Constanta on the Black Sea. In between, a rich and textured Old World canvas comes to life as you visit some of Europe's main sites along its major waterways—the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers. Plus, you'll explore eight fascinating countries as your experienced, local Program Director leads your discoveries. From the Netherlands' low countries to Germany's famed wine regions, from rich Hungarian cultures to the heart of Eastern Europe in Bulgaria and Romania, this European River Cruise has it all.

These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Trip Type River Cruise
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.
Lodging Level Luxury - 5 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Amsterdam
End City Bucharest

Trip Includes

  • Accommodations: 25 nights aboard a private Grand Circle river ship in an outside cabin and 1 night at the Superior First-Class Ramada Plaza Bucharest or similar
  • 78 meals, including Captain's Welcome and Farewell receptions and dinners: 26 breakfasts, 26 lunches, and 26 dinners (and beverages—including beer, wine, and soft drinks—during all onboard lunches and dinners)
  • 18 exclusive, included tours with personal headsets: Amsterdam • Cologne • Koblenz • Heidelberg • Wertheim • Wurzburg • Bamberg • Nuremberg • Regensburg • Passau • Vienna • Budapest • Osijek • Novi Sad • Belgrade • Vidin • Constanta • Bucharest
  • Exclusive Discovery Series events: Home-Hosted Kaffeeklatsch • Home-Hosted Lunch • Discussion with a Serbian local • Life Under Communism discussion
  • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure with the purchase of Grand Circle's airfare
  • All port charges—a value of $290 per person
  • Gratuities for local guides and motorcoach drivers on your main trip
  • Baggage handling for 1 piece of luggage per person, including tips
  • 5% Frequent Traveler credit on your next Grand Circle trip—an average of $495

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Itinerary

Day 1: Depart U.S.

Depart the U.S. today on your flight to Amsterdam.

Day 2: Amsterdam, the Netherlands • Embark ship

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

Arrive today in Amsterdam. You are met at the airport by a Grand Circle representative and transferred to the pier to embark your river ship, which will be your home for the duration of the European cruise.

Enjoy a light lunch onboard and time before dinner to relax after your flight, or do some exploring on your own. Amsterdam is a thoroughly modern city that has taken extraordinary measures to retain its Old World charm and historical significance. The narrow Dutch houses with their tidy window boxes and hand-scrubbed stoops and sidewalks will charm you. The city is easy to get around in and explore on your own. You may want to spend time in Dam Square, the heart of the city. This is the spot where the Amstel River once flowed. Due to flooding caused by high river tides, a dam was built—thus, the square's name. Or relax and do some people-watching in Rembrandt and Leidse squares.

During your cruise, whenever you have leisure time at a port along your route, you'll receive a Port Talk about the pier area and town prior to arrival so you can make the best use of your free time. Tonight, you'll gather for your first Port Talk. Then get better acquainted with your Program Director and traveling companions over a Welcome Drink.

Day 3: Amsterdam

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

View five passengers enjoying a cruise down an Amsterdam canal

After breakfast, join us for a boat tour introducing you to Amsterdam’s famed canals, providing a matchless perspective on the city’s remarkable architecture and relaxed pace. You also see the Mint Tower, which has retained its name even though gold and silver coins were minted here for only a few years, and other city highlights. Following the conclusion of your tour, you can enjoy free time in downtown Amsterdam before returning to the ship.

After lunch back onboard your ship, begin your European River Cruise Tour as you sail the Rhine River towards Germany.

This evening, meet your crew and fellow travelers at the Captain's Welcome Reception and Dinner.

Day 4: Cologne, Germany

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

Arrive in Cologne in the afternoon for an included tour. Cologne was a Roman settlement called Colonia Agrippina after AD 50 and came under Frankish control in the fifth century. You can still see the ruins of Roman temples scattered through the city, and the Roman Gate near the cathedral was once part of the medieval town walls. During the 15th century, the city flourished as a member of the Hanseatic League.

Explore the streets of Cologne

Your tour will end at Cologne’s magnificent Gothic cathedral—the Dom. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the cathedral largely escaped the World War II damage that ravaged the city and the rest of Germany. There’s evidence that Allied forces had orders to avoid damaging this beautiful structure. It is the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe, boasting beautiful stained-glass windows, an ornate gold shrine on its elaborate altar, and the intricate detail common to 14th-century Gothic churches.

The rest of the afternoon is yours to spend at leisure or to continue your explorations. You may want to go inside the cathedral, or perhaps explore the Roman Germanic Museum to see its magnificent mosaic floor, discovered in the ruins of a Roman villa.

Share your day's experiences over dinner onboard tonight.

Day 5: Koblenz • Rudesheim

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

Explore the streets of Koblenz

This morning, enjoy a walking tour of Koblenz, set at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel rivers. Originally established as an outpost of the Roman Empire and named Castellum apud Confluentes, the town became a city in the 13th century and served as a haven for French refugees during the French Revolution. During your tour, you'll see the highlights of the Old Town.

You'll then disembark in Rudesheim, where you'll enjoy an informative stroll, followed by an included dinner off the ship, featuring traditional folk music normally played in beer halls, at a local restaurant.

Day 6: Rudesheim • Frankfurt • Heidelberg

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

View a beautiful German bridge in Heidelberg

Join a full-day tour of Heidelberg. You begin by touring the impressive ruins of the city's Gothic castle, where you'll have an expansive view of the surrounding area. Your tour continues with a walk through the city.

From here, you'll enjoy lunch in a traditional Gasthaus that has been part of Heidelberg's Old Town for centuries. After some free time to make discoveries on your own, you return to the ship in time for dinner onboard.

Day 7: Wertheim • Home-Hosted Kaffeeklatsch

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

View castle ruins and fairy tale sights while touring Wertheim

Disembark for a walking tour of Wertheim, a charming fairy-tale town located at the meeting of the Main and Tauber rivers. Admire the imposing ruins of its castle, set on a hill overlooking the town.

Enjoy the rest of the morning exploring Wertheim on your own. You may want to climb the stairs to the castle and follow the trail around the castle walls. Or you could visit the renowned Glass Museum in Wertheim, where exhibitions display the town's long and proud tradition of glass production.

In the early afternoon, we visit with a local family and share coffee and cake with your hosts, an exclusive Discovery Series event. This is a great opportunity to experience what life is like for a typical family in this region of Europe.

Day 8: Wurzburg

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

View scenic German towns and countryside while sailing along the Main River

In the early morning, start sailing from Wertheim to Wurzburg.

This afternoon, we'll dock in Wurzburg, a city on the Main River in Bavaria. Founded in the tenth century, Wurzburg was home to several powerful prince-bishops for many centuries.

We'll enjoy an informative walk here. Perhaps you'll view the Residenz, commissioned by prince-bishop brothers Johann Philipp Franz and Friedrich Karl von Schonborn. The complex was almost completely destroyed during World War II, but has since been rebuilt to its original grandeur prior to the war.

Day 9: Gerlachshausen • Schweinfurt • Optional Rothenburg tour  OPTIONAL TOUR

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

View a beautiful German village situated along the Main River

Spend the day on the water as we cruise the Main River and sail into Schweinfurt this afternoon.

Or, disembark during a stop in Gerlachshausen for an optional tour of Rothenburg. This lovely old town sits on the Tauber River and boasts undamaged 14th-century city walls and beautifully preserved fortifications.

During your walking tour, you'll see stately towers and imposing burghers' houses. After an included lunch, you have the afternoon free to make your own discoveries in this charming town before transferring to meet the ship in Schweinfurt. This optional tour includes lunch.

Day 10: Bamberg • Walking tour

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

Explore Old Town Hall in the city of Bamberg Germany

Today, join your Program Director for a guided tour of Bamberg, a hidden gem dating back to AD 902 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bamberg began to prosper in the twelfth century and was the center of southern Germany's Enlightenment in the late 18th century. The great German philosopher Hegel lived here, and Bamberg was the second city (after Mainz) to introduce book printing.

Today, Bamberg boasts 2,000 buildings listed as historical monuments, and its old city center is Europe's largest existing group of historic buildings. The city was awarded the title of “World Cultural and Natural Heritage of Mankind” by UNESCO in 1993.

You have some free time to explore Bamberg on your own before returning to the ship. Later this afternoon, you'll set sail for Nuremberg.

Day 11: Nuremberg • Rhine-Main-Danube Canal transit

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

View a group of travelers in front of a beautiful fountain in Nuremberg Germany

After breakfast, we disembark for an included tour of Nuremberg, Bavaria's second-largest city and the most important city in Franconia, with a local guide. Once the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire, Nuremberg evokes its exalted past with its imposing medieval Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle). However, its more recent history is intricately linked to its role in World War II.

During your included tour here, you'll visit the Zeppelin Field where the Nazi party held rallies for up to 100,000 spectators. The rally grounds were designed by Hitler's chief architect, Albert Speer, who went down in history as "the Nazi who said sorry" during the Nuremberg Trials. You'll learn more about the trials during an included tour of Room 600, the courtroom where the hearings took place.

We return to the ship for lunch. This afternoon, you can choose to relax onboard or take advantage of our complimentary shuttle bus into town. While there, you may want to explore the Documentation Center, which offers a sobering look at the causes, context, and consequence of the Nazi reign of terror. Or take time to explore Nuremberg's Old Town on your own. The city was devastated by bombs during the war, and subsequently rebuilt and painstakingly restored. Today the city th

Dinner tonight is onboard. This evening, enter the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal and learn about the construction and history of this engineering marvel.

Day 12: Kelheim • Optional Bavaria: Baroque & Beer tour • Regensburg  OPTIONAL TOUR

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

Explore Germany’s largest medieval city on a walking tour of Regensburg

This morning, we sail to Kelheim and Regensburg. You can enjoy leisure activities aboard ship.

Or, delve deeper into the Danube's scenic splendor during an optional excursion from Kelheim to the Weltenburg Monastery.  Before you visit the monastery, you'll board a ferry for a ride through the beautiful Danube Gorge, Donaudurchbruch, the river's narrowest and deepest stretch. From your ship's outdoor deck, you'll enjoy close-up views of towering Jurassic-era limestone cliffs as you wend your way through this scenic passage. Along the way, you'll discover the town's impressive Befreiungshalle, or Liberation Hall. Built by Bavarian King Ludwig I in the mid-18th century, the tower-like structure honors the German tribes who banded together to defeat the French during the Napoleonic wars of 1813-1815.

At the monastery, you'll marvel at its Baroque construction of stucco, polished marble, gilt, and painted ceilings. There, you'll have the opportunity to reflect in the cool stillness of the abbey—Germany's oldest, founded at the beginning of the seventh century by the Abbot Eustasius. The compound also houses the oldest monastery brewery in the world. Here, visitors have enjoyed its famous dark brew for nearly 1,000 years.

Transfer by motorcoach to Regensburg, where the ship has cruised to meet you.

After lunch onboard, enjoy a walking tour of Regensburg, Germany's largest medieval city. Since the historic city center was undamaged during World War II, it remains beautifully preserved. Your tour features the Old Town Hall and the famous Stone Bridge (Germany's oldest bridge), constructed during the twelfth century. You also see soaring St. Peter's Cathedral, a Gothic church adorned with beautiful stained glass. Admire the narrow medieval streets and the relics of Regensburg's Roman past at the ruins of Castra Regina fort—the Porta Praetoria—containing a stone inscribed in AD 179, when Marcus Aurelius was emperor.

After your tour, enjoy time to explore on your own before dinner onboard.

Day 13: Passau

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

View St. Steven's Cathedral and Danube River in Passau Germany

After breakfast, you enjoy a walking tour of Passau, situated at the confluence of the Danube, Ilz, and Inn rivers. Called the Dreifluessestadt (City on Three Rivers), Passau is an elegant town that has served as a German cultural and intellectual hub for centuries. You see the impressive Bishop’s Residenz, the 14th-century Town Hall. You'll walk to the lavish St. Stephen's Cathedral. This magnificent 17th-century cathedral contains one of the world’s largest pipe organs, with 17,774 pipes and 234 resounding stops. The cathedral’s original Gothic plan is still evident through the 17th-century reconstruction it received in the grand Baroque style. One of its most striking features is the gorgeous octagonal dome that hovers over the intersection of the nave, where the congregation sits, and the transept, which runs perpendicular to it.

Your afternoon is at leisure.

Our evening cruise carries us into Austria, the third country on our itinerary.

Day 14: Melk, Austria • Vienna • Optional Musical Vienna tour  OPTIONAL TOUR

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

View Durnstein while cruising through Austria along the Melk River

You will arrive at Melk early in the morning. From your ship, you'll be able to see the formidable Melk Abbey as it rises up from the surrounding countryside along the Danube. After breakfast, enjoy a guided tour of the dramatic 900-year-old Baroque abbey. This magnificently ornate structure has a long and storied history. Strategically situated on a steep, cliffside perch, Melk Abbey's earliest incarnation was as a Roman border post. Later, it served as a tenth-century Babenberg fortress. It became a Benedictine monastery in 1089 and earned a distinguished reputation for medieval scholarship. Its library includes more than 70,000 books and 2,000 manuscripts, chiefly from the ninth through the 15th centuries. The abbey was ravaged by fires in 1297 and 1683. The stately Baroque edifice that stands today, with its twin towers and 208-foot-high dome, dates from its reconstruction in 1736.

In addition to the remarkable cherub-filled library, the Abbey features 365 windows—one for each day of the year. The interior of the Abbey's church is a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and gold—with a magnificent carved pulpit and shimmering ceiling frescoes. During your tour, you'll get the chance to observe and explore it up close, learning more about Melk Abbey's fascinating story.

After setting sail again, your travel on the river takes you through the lovely landscape of the Wachau Valley—past terraced vineyards and lush flowering fields—on your way to Vienna.

In the early evening, you arrive in Vienna, Austria's capital. This evening, you can relax or spend the evening exploring on your own. After dinner onboard, join us on an optional Musical Vienna tour this evening. Vienna without music wouldn't be Vienna. So, subject to availability of tickets, you can enjoy an evening in one of Vienna's famed concert halls.

Day 15: Vienna

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

After breakfast on board the ship, you'll enjoy a tour of Vienna, including the Ringstrasse, probably the greatest achievement of the Emperor Franz Joseph. In 1857, the Emperor ordered the demolition of the ancient city walls, which were no longer needed as fortifications and which were impeding the growth of the city. In their place was constructed an elegant 2.5-mile-long boulevard, encircling the Innere Stadt ("Inner City"). The Neo-classical buildings along the Ringstrasse bring together all the greatest architectural styles in an exuberant celebration of all that seemed possible during the Industrial Revolution.

View Cecilienhof Palace on a guided tour

Our stroll continues along the city sidewalks, passing by the well-known Hofburg Palace, home to many generations of the Habsburg family, and the renowned Spanish Riding School.

The balance of the day is free to relax or do some more exploring on your own.

Your evening is free to do as you please. Ask your Program Director for suggestions.

Day 16: Vienna

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

Discover new friendships during a river cruise along the Danube

This morning, join your Program Director in discovering more of Vienna via public transportation. Then return to your ship for lunch and cruise toward Hungary.

Day 17: Budapest, Hungary

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

This morning, set out to explore Budapest on an included city tour. Budapest is situated on both sides of the Danube River, with Buda (the right bank) to the west and Pest (the left bank) to the east.

In Pest, you'll see Heroes' Square, with its Millennial Column set off by equestrian statues of historic ninth-century Magyar leaders who conquered this region. The adjoining colonnade displays more statues of kings, dukes of Transylvania, and liberty fighters who influenced the history of Hungary.

As your tour takes you over the Danube bridges into Buda, you can see how the imposing Parliament Building dominates Pest on the opposite side of the river. Then, turn your attention to beautiful and historical Buda. Here, you'll visit Castle Hill, where a massive castle complex with its protective ramparts has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Mostly destroyed during World War II, the Royal Palace has been lovingly restored, approximating its former splendor, and it now includes the Hungarian National Gallery.

In your free time, you can also visit the Church of Our Lady, formerly used for the coronations of Hungarian kings. Its popular name of Matthias is in recognition of the Renaissance king who ruled in the 15th century and whose heraldic sign—a raven—is displayed on one of the towers of the church. Dating to the 13th century, the structure is an interesting mix of architectural styles used during reconstruction of the building at different times in its history. Note that during the 150-year Turkish occupation of Hungary, the church served as Eski Djami (Old Mosque) for the Turks. Inside the church, you can view art of Bertalan Szekely and Karoly Lotz, 19th-century Hungarian painters.

After lunch onboard, you can relax on the ship or explore more of this grand city.

Budapest offers some particularly fine museums and galleries. The Hungarian National Gallery contains excellent examples of Hungarian art from the Middle Ages on. The collection is comprehensive and somewhat massive, so give yourself plenty of time to enjoy it. The Museum of Contemporary Art and the Budapest History Museum are also worth a visit.

Day 18: Budapest

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

See St Stephen Basilica while touring Budapest

After breakfast, join us for a briefing by your Program Director. Then, enjoy the entire day to continue your discoveries in Budapest at your own pace.

Day 19: Budapest • Optional Hungarian Jewish Heritage tour  OPTIONAL TOUR

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

View Budapest's Fisherman's Bastion while cruising Hungary

This morning, you can join an optional tour exploring Hungarian Jewish Heritage. You'll visit the Great Synagogue (the largest in Europe, Moorish but with Byzantine, Romantic, and Gothic elements), the Kazinczy Street orthodox synagogue (the center of traditional orthodox Jewish life here), the Emanuel Memorial Tree (a sculpture in the form of a weeping willow tree, a memorial to Hungarian victims of the Holocaust), and the Jewish Museum.

Or spend the morning making your own discoveries. Your afternoon is at leisure.

Enjoy dinner onboard tonight.

Day 20: Batina, Croatia • Osijek • Home-Hosted Lunch • Vukovar  FOUNDATION VISIT

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

Discover local culture at a Home Hosted Lunch in Osijek

After passing through customs this morning and docking in Batina, you'll set out to explore Osijek, the administrative and economic center of eastern Croatia.

Situated on the Drava River, about 15 miles from the mouth of the Danube, this area was populated even in prehistoric times, and the first urban settlement was erected by the Romans. But the area's advantageous geographical location made it prey to assault throughout the centuries. It was destroyed by the Huns, rebuilt in the Middle Ages, destroyed by the Turks, and rebuilt again in the 18th century. As a result, Osijek boasts an eclectic architectural heritage, which you'll see on your included city tour.

Among the more notable sites are the Tvrdja, a unique urban and military complex that lies in the center of the city and was built between 1712 and 1721 by the new Austrian authorities; the neo-Gothic Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, with a 290-foot spire; and the striking, 690-foot modern pedestrian bridge that rises over the Drava.

Reliving its own cruel history in our era, Osijek was heavily damaged during the Croatian-Serbian war. Now peaceful, the city is experiencing a rebirth of civic pride and cultural and economic achievement.

Following your walking tour, you will visit with students at a local school that's supported, in part, by Grand Circle Foundation. Please note: The school visit is not possible on weekends, or during the summer or national holidays, when school is not in session. Instead, Croatian teachers will join you for an onboard discussion.

You'll enhance your appreciation for everyday Croatian life as you join a local family for lunch in their home, an exclusive Discovery Series event.

Later this afternoon, transfer by motorcoach to Vukovar, where you'll meet your ship. Enjoy a short walk through the town and see some of its scars (Vukovar suffered the worst artillery shelling during the Croatian-Serbian war that waged from 1991 to 1995), as well as witness its revival.

This evening, after dinner onboard, enjoy a Slavonian musical performance.

Day 21: Novi Sad, Serbia • Optional Sremski Karlovci tour  OPTIONAL TOUR

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

After breakfast this morning, enjoy an included tour of Novi Sad, Serbia's cultural hub and second-largest city. The beauty of the city is in its name—novi sad in English translates to "new garden." Nestled along a bend in the Danube river, Novi Sad is peppered with myriad historical and cultural monuments, verdant parks, bustling squares, a thriving pedestrian zone, and a history-rich fortress standing tall on the right bank of the river.

After lunch onboard, the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to make further discoveries of Novi Sad on your own. Perhaps you'll choose to explore the Petrovaradin Fortress, built between 1692 and 1780 by the Austrians as a defense against invading Turks. Declared a historical monument 200 years later, this partially restored fortress is now a museum. Delve deep into the monument's strange past, including a 12-mile network of underground tunnels, a mysterious well with supposed links to black magic, and an iconic clock tower where the size of the minute and hour hands are reversed.

Or, join us on an optional excursion to Sremski Karlovci, a culture-rich town just 10 miles southeast of Novi Sad. Spend the afternoon exploring the town, including visits to a beekeeping museum and a 300-year-old wine cellar.

Tonight, dinner is onboard.

Day 22: Belgrade, Serbia • Discussion with a Serbian local

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

Witness the sights along the banks of the Danube this morning as the captain weighs anchor for your cruise to Belgrade. Belgrade and the rest of Serbia are just now emerging from many years of repressive rule with a welcoming spirit for visitors.

Explore Kalemegdan Castle while touring Belgrade

Enjoy a full morning in Belgrade, beginning with an included tour around this grand old city, which was built centuries ago along important east-west trade routes and used as a gateway to Western Europe from the Balkans. You'll see the old Town Hall, St. Sava Orthodox Cathedral—the largest Orthodox cathedral in the world—and Kalemegdan Castle. You also explore the Tito Memorial, erected to honor Josip Broz Tito, who held Yugoslavia together as an independent country in the turmoil that followed World War II and the subsequent Cold War. Then, enjoy lunch on board. Please note: The Tito Memorial is closed on Mondays.

This evening, join a local resident for an exclusive Discovery Series discussion about their lives in this dynamic country. Enjoy dinner onboard.

Day 23: Iron Gates • Life Under Communism discussion

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

Encounter friendly staff on the private river ship

Today, you cruise along a stretch of the Danube that was once a raging river pounding through deep gorges. In the 1960s, Yugoslavia and Romania cooperated on a joint venture that raised the level of the Danube with a series of hydroelectric dams called the Iron Gates. The Danube is now placid through the Iron Gates, its spectacular two-mile-long gorge now underwater. Though the river is tamed, the views along the Danube at this point are exceptional. We cruise by fields and vineyards that are sculpted into the riverbank and where farmers pause to watch our passage and wave a greeting.

Before lunch, join us for an exclusive Discovery Series discussion about life under communism with your Program Director. You can then linger over lunch as we navigate the Danube. In mid-afternoon, join the chef in the galley (the ship's kitchen) for a special tour. This afternoon finds us passing through Iron Gate I and Iron Gate II.

Join us in the lounge after dinner onboard for a special show, presented by the crew.

Day 24: Vidin, Bulgaria

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

See views of Bulgaria's Iron Gates while cruising the Danube River

This morning, you'll stop in Vidin and then travel to Baba Vida, a medieval fortress of two walls and four towers. Baba Vida was the city's main defense in the Middle Ages, and also the most important fortress of northwestern Bulgaria.

After lunch onboard, you'll set sail for Ruse.

Day 25: Ruse • Optional Veliko Tarnovo & Arbanassi tour  OPTIONAL TOUR

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

Arrive in Ruse early this morning, which is situated where the Danube forms a natural border between Romania and Bulgaria. Enjoy time to explore this historic city on your own, or join our optional tour to Veliko Tarnovo & Arbanassi, which includes lunch. First, you'll travel by motorcoach to Veliko Tarnovo, the capital of Bulgaria from 1186 until 1394. This cultural center rewards visitors with views of the fortification wall atop Zarevez Hill, the cobblestoned old city, ancient ruins, and a steep ravine plunging down from two towering promontories.

Then continue on to Arbanassi, a historical village of Bulgarian heritage. Its 80 houses, five churches, and two monasteries reflect a unique, fortress-like architectural style of the 17th and 18th centuries, when the village flourished. Enjoy free time to make your own discoveries. Perhaps you'll visit the Church of Archangels Michael and Gabriel, whose plain exterior conceals colorful frescoes depicting some 3,500 figures. While here, you'll savor typical Bulgarian fare at a local restaurant. Return to the ship for dinner onboard.

Day 26: Danube-Black Sea Canal transit • Constanta, Romania • Captain's Farewell Dinner

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Private Grand Circle River Ship

Encounter friendly staff aboard the MS River Aria

Early this morning, sail into the Danube-Black Sea Canal, a 40-mile engineering marvel begun in 1949, but not fully completed until 1987. You'll pass through the canal's lock system and cruise by the inland port towns of Murfatlar and Medgidia.

Following lunch, you'll call on Constanta, a Romanian port on the Black Sea that is the country's oldest continually inhabited city. Dating back more than 2,500 years, Constanta boasts a wealth of fascinating architecture and history. Myth holds that Jason and the Argonauts stopped here after recovering the legendary Golden Fleece. On your included tour, you'll explore the charming old city, the mosaic-paved Roman Edifice of Tomis, and other highlights of this beloved city.

Tonight, celebrate your Eastern European odyssey at the Captain's Farewell Dinner.

Day 27: Constanta • Disembark ship • Bucharest

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodations: Ramada Plaza Bucharest

See the Romanian Athenaeum while touring Bucharest

We disembark shortly after breakfast for motorcoach transfer to Bucharest, Romania. We will arrive in about four hours.

Upon arriving in Bucharest, you'll enjoy an included lunch at a local restaurant and explore the city by motorcoach. This is an old city that has served as the capital of Wallachia, and later Romania, since 1659. Today, it is noted for its broad, tree-lined boulevards, well-kept parks, and mix of architectural styles that combine Neo-classical 19th-century structures with monumental 20th-century edifices (the latter built for the most part to satisfy the late dictator Nicolae Ceausescu). You'll view the Arc de Triomphe commemorating the heroics of World War I soldiers and drive along Victory Avenue to Revolution Square, where recent events in history are inscribed. You have some time in the late afternoon to relax. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel. Please note: If you have chosen the optional post-trip extension to Transylvania, you will continue your motorcoach ride to Sinaia.

Day 28: Bucharest • Return to U.S.

Meals: Breakfast

Transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or set out on your optional post-trip extension to Istanbul, Turkey.

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26 Grand Circle Cruise Line Travel Reviews & Ratings

58%
3.4 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 15
Great 0
Average 0
Disappointing 3
Terrible 8
Value
3.4
Guide
3.4
Activities
3.4
Lodging
3.4
Transportation
3.4
Meals
3.4

Grand European Cruise

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Company Reviews

The service and the food were excellent

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I have done ten river/sea cruises with GCC, and the history was excellent that we learned from each city we visited. Our tour directors kept us informed as to what to expect about the region, city and weather. Aboard the ship, the service and the food were excellent. Along with these trips I have done ten land trips with GCT.
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The most amazing river trip in Europe

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Traveling from Belgium through 6 countries to Switzerland is one of the most amazing travel experiences in Europe, especially if traveling with Grand Circle Travel. The ship's crew and staff are the most professional and personable folks that I've ever had the fortune to travel with. Not only have I traveled European rivers with these folks once, but have done so several times. For a single traveler, traveling with Grand Circle is a great bargain, as there is very seldom an extra charge for traveling solo and if their is, the price is very modest. You can't go wrong with these folks.
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Grand Circle had made a mistake in purchasing our Adria Airlines tickets

2.0
Details
Value2.0
Guide2.0
Activities2.0
Lodging2.0
Transportation2.0
Meals2.0
I just returned from a small ships cruise of Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia Herzegovina yesterday. We also took a post trip to Slovenia. My husband and I actually enjoyed the cruise and appreciated our program director Danijela. The post trip was a bit of a disappointment for several reasons although we discovered Slovenia is a beautiful country. Our greatest issue is with the air reservations which we purchased through Grand Circle. When we arrived at the Slovenian airport to begin our international flights to return home, we discovered Grand Circle had made a mistake in purchasing our Adria Airlines tickets connecting to Amsterdam and KLM to San Francisco.
They purchased Adria tickets which did not include the cost of baggage! Zero checked bags. Even though they tell you that one bag is included in the cost of the trip per person; even though the bags had been brought on the trip and included in the flights to Croatia; and even though all of the other 12 fellow travelers from the tour had their baggage included in the cost of the air tickets purchased through Grand Circle. We almost missed our flight dealing with the rude Adria Airlines personnel and had to pay for our bags before we were allowed to board the plane. This morning, Grand Circle said it isn't their problem that they purchased our tickets with zero checked baggage allowance and refused to refund the cost of the baggage fee. So, beware!! This could happen to you. Especially at a small airport with no Grand Circle representative present and Grand Circle transportation to the airport getting you there just one hour prior to departure. And, importantly, you may just suffer the same rude response I got when attempting to rectify the situation. Grand Circle customer service is a myth and not only do they not stand behind their performance, they are deceitful in their descriptions of what is included in their pricing. Imagine buying an air ticket with zero baggage included for participants in a cruise. Come on, Grand Circle. Admit your mistake and reimburse.
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Amazing time!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
My entire family just wrapped up a 12 day trip, "Christmas Markets on the Rhine", and we had an amazing time! My grandparents are Inner Circle members, but this was the first time for the other 7 of us. The ship - MS River Rhapsody - was clean and very comfortable to stay on, the crew was absolutely phenomenal, and the program directors were very friendly and knowledgeable about the places we were visiting. The morning walking tours were something I really enjoyed, since they gave us a personal introduction to each city. I have zero complaints and will look into taking another trip with Grand Circle in the future :)
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We had an amazing time!

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
My entire family just wrapped up a 12 day trip, "Christmas Markets on the Rhine", and we had an amazing time! My grandparents are Inner Circle members, but this was the first time for the other 7 of us. The ship - MS River Rhapsody - was clean and very comfortable to stay on, the crew was absolutely phenomenal, and the program directors were very friendly and knowledgeable about the places we were visiting. The morning walking tours were something I really enjoyed, since they gave us a personal introduction to each city. I have zero complaints and will look into taking another trip with Grand Circle in the future
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I may look Elsewhere going forward.

1.0
Details
Value1.0
Guide1.0
Activities1.0
Lodging1.0
Transportation1.0
Meals1.0
I get the brochures and e mail deals. Last two times I call immediately. The can't fine the deal. Thy send out the low price offers then Grand Circle deal arrived yesterday Thanksgiving to my e-mail. Called last night and today and throughout the day. Got an answer after 3 pm. Couldn't get the advertised rate to Paris /Normandy for 13 days. Second time now I tried. Last was English /Scotland and Ireland. We found a deal elsewhere . Anyone else feel they bait and switch at Garand Circle? It was $1000 more than the deal in the E mail and I had no date limitations . I may look Elsewhere going forward.
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Details

Ship Name

M/S River Adagio

Ship Stats

Registry: Malta

Width: 38 feet

Length: 418 feet

Passenger capacity: 164

Crew/Nationality: 38/International

Entered service: 2003

Decks: 4

Number of cabins: 82—all outside

Elevator: Yes

Ship Description

The M/S River Adagio was ranked #26 in Condé Nast Traveler’s “Top 40 River Cruise Ships in the World” 2014 Readers’ Poll.

One of the largest ships in Grand Circle's own deluxe fleet, the M/S River Adagio was built specifically for cruising the widest part of the Danube and the deeper waters leading to the Black Sea. Enjoy personalized attention from the ship staff, and up to four experienced Grand Circle Program Directors. And with no more than 164 fellow Grand Circle travelers aboard with you, you'll find it easy to make friends and share your experiences.

Deck & Cabin Plans

All Deck & Cabin Plans Trip Photos

Optional Activities

Extend Your Trip

Pre Trip: Bruges, Belgium

3 nights from only $695

Post Trip: Transylvania, Romania

3 nights from only $595

Post Trip: Istanbul, Turkey

4 nights from only $1,195

Rothenburg

Day 9 $105 per person

Disembark during a stop in Gerlachshausen for a full-day optional tour of Rothenburg. This lovely old town sits on the Tauber River and boasts undamaged 14th-century city walls and beautifully preserved fortifications. Set off on a walking tour to see stately towers and imposing burghers’ houses. After an included lunch, the afternoon is yours to make your own discoveries before transferring to meet your ship.

Bavaria: Baroque & Beer

Day 12 $80 per person

Discover Weltenburg Monastery nestled in the Danube Gorge

Delve deeper into the Danube’s scenic splendor this morning during an optional river craft ride through the beautiful Danube Gorge, the river’s narrowest and deepest stretch. After, you’ll discover the town’s impressive Befreiungshalle, or Liberation Hall, built by Bavarian King Ludwig I in the mid-18th century. You’ll then visit the Weltenburg Monastery, a Baroque edifice of stucco, polished marble, gilt, and painted ceilings. There, you’ll have the opportunity to reflect in the cool stillness of the abbey—Germany’s oldest, founded at the beginning of the seventh century by the Abbot Eustasius. The compound also houses the world’s oldest monastic brewery, and you’ll have the chance to sample some beer here during the tour.

Musical Vienna

Day 14 $90 per person

Encounter local performers at Vienna's famous concert halls

Vienna without music wouldn’t be Vienna. So, subject to availability of tickets, you may want to enjoy an evening in one of Vienna’s famed concert halls, where you'll hear enchanting performances of some of the most wonderful melodies of classical Austrian music.

Hungarian Jewish Heritage

Day 19 $55 per person

See the Great Synagogue in Budapest

Join us for an optional tour exploring Hungarian Jewish Heritage. The journey begins at the Great Synagogue, the largest in Europe, with its Moorish design further enhanced by Byzantine, Romantic and Gothic elements. You'll also visit the Kazinczy Street orthodox synagogue—center of traditional orthodox Jewish life here—then, the Emanuel Memorial Tree (a sculpture in the form of a weeping-willow tree, a memorial to Hungarian victims of the Holocaust), and the Jewish Museum.

Sremski Karlovci

Day 21 $60 per person

This afternoon, discover Sremski Karlovci, a town just 10 miles southeast of Novi Sad. The history of Sremski Karlovci is rich in culture and history, and has often been thought of as both a political and a spiritual capital. The town was designated the capital of Vojvodina—a self-proclaimed Serbian province between 1848 and 1849—and the official seat of the Patriarchate of Karlovci—an office of the Eastern Orthodox Church between 1848 and 1920. Today, Sremski Karlovci is renowned for its Baroque architecture and wine production. During a guided tour, you'll discover a handful of Serbian landmarks, including the Patriarch's Palace and the oldest Serbian grammar school. You'll also visit a beekeeping museum—which also doubles as a wine cellar—where you'll savor samples of locally made wine and honey.

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Standard Group

Accomodations

Ramada Plaza Bucharest

Located just north of the city center, this First-Class hotel’s amenities include a restaurant, bar, and sauna. Air-conditioned rooms feature a telephone, satellite TV, safe, minibar, and private bath with hair dryer.

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellation Charges for River Cruises and Small Ships:

Prior to departure and Charges

121 days or more is $300

120-90 days ,10% of selling price or $300—whichever is greater

89-60 days, 40% of selling price

59-30 days, 65% of selling price

29 days–departure , 100% of selling price

 

Additional Information:

  • We are the only cruise company to provide the exclusive services of a dedicated Program Director from the beginning of your main trip to the end
  • Discover the insights that only a native or resident of your destination can provide to your group of no more than 47 travelers
  • Enrich your experiences through their expertise, from answering questions to offering recommendations for free time

Trip ID#:

GraEurGra

Trip Excludes

  • International airfare
  • Passport and visa fees
  • Personal expenses

Meals Included:

26 Breakfasts, 26 Lunches, and 26 Dinners

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