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Day One: UK to Liege
Departing the UK, we travel to Liege, via Calais, to stay at an overnight hotel.
4 September departures only
In order to improve the outbound journey to your river cruise ship the overnight hotel on night one will now be in the Aachen area on a bed and breakfast basis. There will be an en route dinner at a restaurant.
Day Two: Liege - Linz - Vienna
After breakfast, we continue our journey, making our way to Linz, where we join the MS Serenade 2. Spend time exploring our ship and meeting your fellow passengers. We set sail for vibrant Vienna tonight, sailing through the night. (B,D)
Day Three: Vienna to Kalocsa
Admire the spectacular scenery as we sail along the Wachau Valley, arriving in Vienna by lunchtime. Take in Vienna’s many sights today, from its grand palaces to its spectacular squares and historical monuments. We will have an optional Discover Vienna excursion to join, which will take us on a fantastic journey through this marvellous city. This evening, we sail onwards to Kalocsa. (B,L,D)
Day Four: Kalocsa - Mohacs - Belgrade
The small town of Kalocsa can be found in the expansive Hungarian plains, and we will arrive at this interesting port by mid-afternoon. We will have an included coach transfer to Kalocsa to discover this Baroque town for ourselves. With its fascinating history, Kalocsa is home to some stunning examples of fine architecture, including the Holy Trinity Square with the Holy Trinity column, and St Mary Cathedral and the Archiepiscopal Palace. This evening, we sail onwards to the historical town of Mohacs, before continuing to Belgrade overnight. (B,L,D)
Day Five: Belgrade to Iron Gate
Enjoy a pleasant cruise this morning as we make our way to Belgrade, the former capital of Yugoslavia, and now the capital of Serbia. The city lies at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, giving it a unique position. We arrive by early-afternoon and have time to discover this fascinating city for ourselves - why not join our optional city tour? We will take in the local highlights, such as the Belgrade Fortress and St Sava Church. In the evening, we begin our overnight sailing to the famous Iron Gate. (B,L,D)
Day Six: Iron Gate to Ruse
Admire astounding scenery as we sail along the gorge that forms the border between Romania and Bulgaria. This is also Europe’s largest river gorge and is an absolutely spectacular sight; carved between the Carpathian Mountains are the ‘Iron Gates’ - the boundary between Serbia and Romania. Relax on the MS Serenade 2’s Sun Deck and be sure to take some photos of this incredible scenery! We cruise through the night to Ruse. (B,L,D)
Day Seven: Ruse to Cernavoda
Known as ‘Little Vienna’ for its fabulous Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture, the Bulgarian city of Ruse is filled with spectacular sights. We enjoy a morning’s sailing and arrive at Ruse before midday. Consider joining our optional city tour to discover Ruse's excellent attractions, such as the UNESCO churches of Ivanovo, which have been carved out of solid rock, as well as the city’s many architectural landmarks. Tonight, we cruise to Romania as we make our way to Cernavoda. (B,L,D)
Day Eight: Cernavoda to Giurgiu
Arriving in Cernavoda in the early morning, we will have a full-day included excursion to look forward to, as we make our way to Constanta. Romania’s main port, Constanta is also Romania’s oldest city to still be populated, having been founded in approximately 600 BC. The city is situated on the Black Sea coast, and we will enjoy a guided tour of this historical destination. We then head to Efforie to enjoy lunch before heading to Mamaia, which is Romania's most famous bathing resort, why not take a dip in the famous Black Sea? We then travel back to the MS Serenade 2, departing for our overnight sailing to Giurgiu. (B,L,D)
Day Nine: Giurgiu - Turnu Maguerele - Iron Gate
After a short time in Giurgiu in the morning, we continue to Turnu Maguerele or why not join our full day optional excursion to Bucharest from Giurgiu. Bucharest is famous for its amazing monuments. Admire the Parliament Palace, the second-largest building in the world, after the Pentagon; and take in the stunning athenaeum, an ornate concert hall. After our time in Bucharest, we continue to Turnu Maguerele, where we re-join the MS Serenade 2 and cruise back to the formidable Iron Gate. (B,L,D)
Day Ten: Iron Gate to Novi Sad
Marvel at this amazing sight again as we sail back along the gorge, passing through the Iron Gate and continuing our journey to Novi Sad in Serbia. (B,L,D)
Day Eleven: Novi Sad to Mohacs
As Serbia’s second-largest city, Novi Sad is filled with incredible sights, which we will get to uncover with an optional city tour. Call at some of the city’s most famous attractions, such as the Petrovaradin Fortress, which sits on the banks of the Danube and dominates the city’s skyline. After our exploration of Novi Sad, we sail back to the Hungarian town of Mohacs through the night. (B,L,D)
Day Twelve: Mohacs to Budapest
Arriving in Mohacs in the morning, spend time exploring this historical town, before our included excursion to nearby Pecs. This ancient city was founded by the Romans in the early 2nd century, and is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in Hungary. The city is home to an incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site - the Necropolis of Sopianae. We will explore this amazing destination during our excursion, taking in some of its historical sights. Overnight, we cruise to Hungary’s capital, Budapest. (B,L,D)
Day Thirteen: Budapest to Bratislava
Admire the Danube’s beautiful riverscapes as we sail into Budapest over breakfast - be sure to take in the spectacular buildings situated alongside the river banks, such as the Hungarian Parliament. We will get to see more of this amazing architecture during our included city tour, while also learning about the city’s interesting history. We will visit both parts of the city, which sit astride the Danube - ‘Buda’ and ‘Pest’. We depart Budapest this evening and make our way to Bratislava in Slovakia. (B,L,D)
Day Fourteen: Bratislava to Melk
We spend the morning and early afternoon sailing through yet more extraordinary scenery, before we reach the Slovakian capital of Bratislava. Join our optional excursion this afternoon to explore more of this city, as we discover landmarks such as St Martin’s Church, the former University of Bratislava and the city’s many palaces, featuring stunning 18th century architecture. We continue our river cruise over dinner tonight, sailing to Melk in Austria. (B,L,D)
Day Fifteen: Melk to Passau
Take in the beautiful scenery during our morning cruise, or why not spend time relaxing with your fellow passengers and new friends on the MS Serenade 2’s Sun Deck? We arrive in Melk before midday and will have time to explore this beautiful city. Melk is perhaps most famous for its Benedictine abbey, which overlooks the city from its perch atop a rocky outcrop. We can discover the Baroque Melk Abbey for ourselves with an optional tour this afternoon, before it comes time to depart Melk and sail to Passau through the night. (B,L,D)
Day Sixteen: Passau to Liege
Arriving in Passau in the morning, we enjoy breakfast and then disembark, ready to continue our journey to Liege. Here, we stay at an overnight hotel and arrive in time for an evening meal. (B,D)
Day Seventeen: Liege to UK
On our final day of travel, we continue from Liege to the UK, via Calais, to return home. (B)
MS Serenade 2
The stunning MS Serenade 2 offers a truly unique cruising experience. This beautiful and sleek ship has been designed to create a luxurious, modern and spacious atmosphere on board. A real highlight of the Serenade 2 is the superbly designed Forward Observation Lounge where you can sit back and relax enjoying stunning views along the river. We’re sure that once you have experienced the magic of the Serenade 2 you will be back next year!
Allow us to welcome you on board our newest addition to the Shearings river cruise family, the MS Serenade 2. Inaugurated in 2007, this beautiful ship really is at the cutting edge of design, guaranteeing the most comfortable possible surroundings for her passengers. The cabins on board the Serenade 2 are amongst the very best and the largest of any river cruise vessel. They feature hotel style beds (not berths or bunks) and a well-appointed bathroom, with WC, bath and separate shower. All cabins feature a flat screen TV, phone, mini-fridge, tea/coffee making facilities, safe and hairdryer, plus floor-to-ceiling sliding French windows on the upper two decks.
Relax on-board, where our highly professional crew and cruise manager, will be happy to help. Why not enjoy the spacious Sun Deck which incorporates covered shaded areas, and space to relax in one of the plentiful deck chairs or sun loungers. Perhaps partake in a game of giant chess or visit the on-board fitness suite which incorporates a small gym and sauna.
Enjoy contemporary cuisine in the chic Mendelssohn Restaurant on-board located on the Mozart Deck, where each day begins with a sumptuous breakfast buffet, with English and Continental delicacies available.
At lunchtime, sit down to a mouth watering buffet, helping yourself to a fantastic selection of foods, from cold meats and cheeses to a choice of hot dishes.
Come dinnertime, there will be a four-course evening meal to enjoy with your fellow cruise passengers, sampling gourmet dishes from our superb on-board chefs. Not only this, you will also be treated to an impressive Captain’s gala dinner during your cruise, which is sure to be a wonderfully memorable experience.
And what better way to the end of the day, than a visit to the superb Captain’s Club for a post dinner drink.
Budapest City Tour
One of the most magnificent cities in the world, Budapest is filled with incredible sights and sounds. Join us as we take a city tour to learn more about this wonderful capital of Hungary, with its stunning architecture, historical attractions and marvellous culture.
Admire sights such as the Hungarian Parliament building and Liberty Square, with its mixture of art nouveau and historicist architecture. There’s also the House of Terror Museum, the beautiful St Stephen's Basilica and the neo-Gothic Fisherman's Bastion.
Explore Pecs - A UNESCO World Heritage Site
The fifth-largest city in Hungary, Pecs is found close to the border of Croatia in the Mecsek Mountains. This amazing city dates from the 2nd century, having been founded by the Romans, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as being a former Capital of Culture.
We will discover some of the city’s most magnificent sights, such as the cathedral, and the city’s main square (Szechenyi Square), where one can admire some of Pecs’ best historical attractions. Here, the 16th-century Gazi Kasim Mosque can be found, as well as the city hall, the statue of Trinity, and the stature of Janos Hunyadi.
Full Day: Constanta and the Black Sea
Today we enjoy a very special excursion, as we travel to Romania’s main port - Constanta. Originally founded in 600 BC, this is Romania’s oldest city to still be populated, and is home to a wonderful selection of sights. We will be treated to a city tour, taking in the city’s Mosque, featuring Moorish architecture; we will also admire the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, the Genoese Lighthouse and the exterior of the stunning art nouveau Casino.
Following our tour, we continue our journey to one of Romania’s charming seaside resorts, enjoying lunch and making the most of the opportunity to take a dip in the Black Sea.
Located on the Great Hungarian Plain, the small town of Kalocsa is filled with wonderful sights. Join us as we transfer to the town centre to explore its many attractions, including Szentharomsag Square, beside which we find the splendid St. Mary Cathedral and the treasury, home to a permanent exhibition of religious relics. Another popular attraction in Kalocsa is the Baroque archiepiscopal palace, once home to the archbishop.
Bucharest city tour
Known as the ‘Paris of the East’, Bucharest is Romania’s capital city and is famous for its beautiful monuments, historical sights and interesting attractions.
We enjoy a guided tour of Bucharest today, taking in sights such as the Patriarchal Cathedral, famous for its beautiful frescoes and mosaics. As well as this, take in the Palace of the Parliament, the world’s second-largest building, only beaten by America’s Pentagon; and the Romanian athenaeum.
Discover Ruse 'Little Vienna'
Ruse is one of Bulgaria’s most important cities, being the country’s largest river port. As well as this, the city is famous for its amazing Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture, for which is has earned the nickname ‘Little Vienna’.
Our tour begins as we visit the Kaliopa House Museum, where we will find the first grand piano to be imported into Bulgaria from Vienna. We then take a tour of Ruse, seeing its many spectacular sights, such as St Paul of the Cross Cathedral and the Alyosha Monument. From here, we may be able to see the Pantheon of National Revival Heroes when the sky is clear - its distinctive gold domed roof is hard to miss!
We then take a short walk to Ruse's main square, where we take in the Church of the Holy Trinity, the city’s oldest building.
Join us for an amazing tour of Vienna, allowing us to discover this splendid city for ourselves. Our coach tour will begin as we travel past Vienna’s large park, the Prater, admiring views of the famous Ferris wheel and then on to the State Opera House, also seeing the Fine Arts and History Museum.
We will also see the stunning Hofburg Palace during our city tour, along with the Parliament building, the Town Hall and the Burg Theatre. Making our way to St. Stephen's Cathedral in the city centre, we will disembark our coach and enjoy a walking tour of Vienna. We will stroll along the Graben, one of Vienna’s most famous streets.
After our walking tour, we return to our coach and begin our return journey, taking in the famous buildings by painter and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, stopping to admire the unique Hundertwasserhaus.
As Serbia’s capital city, Belgrade is filled with spectacular sights, as well as having a fascinating history. We will discover this magnificent city, which is situated at the mouth of the River Save on the Danube, during an interesting coach sight-seeing tour. Join us as we explore Belgrade’s best landmarks, including the Knez Milos Street, known as the ‘Street of Messages’, the Parliament building, the City Hall and Princess Ljubica’s residence.
We then continue on foot to explore the Kalemegdan Park, the largest part in Belgrade, and then visit the Kalemegdan Fortress. Admire the beautiful views from this vantage point over Belgrade before we make our way back to the coach.
Budapest is a beautiful city, even more so at night. Marvel at the beautiful illuminated buildings and bridges as we drive past Parliament and Heroes' Square on the Pest side of the city to a local chapel, here we enjoy a short organ concert along with a glass of champagne. We then head across Chain Bridge up to Castle Hill on the Buda side of the city, here you will enjoy spectacular views of Budapest and beyond, before heading back to the ship.
Novi Sad City Tour
We will enjoy an interesting city tour of Novi Sad, the second-largest city in Serbia. Situated on the banks of the Danube, Novi Sad is known for its excellent river views and is home to a number of amazing attractions, having been the Serbian capital of culture in the 19th century.
The city is known for its cultural history, with a number of excellent museums and art galleries to explore. Take in views of the Petrovaradin Fortress, which dominates the city from its hilltop position, as well as the Old Town (Stari Grad) with its many monuments and historical buildings.