Dracula on the
Danube River Cruise
Prague Post-Cruise Extension
A Note from Marla Archer:
Rick and I invite you to join us as we
take one of the most interesting trips I have ever run
across. The 2018 Dracula-Danube River Cruise
offers you the choice of three separate adventures.
The main body of the trip is an eleven-day river cruise on
the eastern half of the Danube River. Starting
in Bucharest, Romania, near the Black Sea, our Viking
riverboat will take us on a long journey up the Danube River
through the spectacular mountain scenery of the Balkans.
follow a path forged by
Roman conquerors, Crusaders,
and Ottoman invasion forces from Turkey
as we explore a part of the world largely unknown to most
If you have a fascination with the Gothic realm of the
macabre, we invite you to participate in a special
Pre-Cruise event. By arriving in Bucharest three days
early, you can join Rick and I on a bus trip deep into the
Carpathian Mountains to visit the castle of Count Dracula on
Halloween. Incidentally, vampires are reported
to visit the castle on this day of year. You
never know who you might meet on this trip.
At the end of our River Cruise up the Danube, I have
scheduled a post-cruise extension that will visit the
amazing city of Prague in the Czech Republic. Please
note that both the visit to Dracula's castle and the visit
to Prague are additions to the basic river cruise package.
My attitude is once we are here, I want to see it all.
Assuming you survive the trip to Count
Dracula's castle, our adventure
will explore rugged lands
that have been fought over since
antiquity. With the Balkan area placed in the
crossroads of civilization between Asia and Eastern Europe,
you will see forbidding fortresses along the Danube built to
keep out the Mongols and the Turks.
I hope you will take the time to browse the pictures and the
copy of the fascinating places we will visit as well as the
scenery that we will see as we travel the Danube towards the
spectacular city of Budapest.
This trip offers a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity to experience the energy of Halloween in a way
that will always be remembered. If you have a
bent for guilty pleasures, try to imagine the fun you will
have posting photos from this trip back to your trick or
treat friends stuck back in Houston. They will
never forgive you.
Velcome to my Castle in Transylvania!!
Halloween at Dracula's Castle
A Three-Day Transylvania
October 29-November 1
VISIT TO TRANSYLVANIA
Viking River Cruise offers an optional three day Pre-Cruise
visit into the Romanian countryside that heads in a
mountainous area known as Transylvania.
destination, of course, is a visit on Halloween to the
legendary castle of Vlad the Impaler, better known as Count
Dracula. Vlad the Impaler was an actual ruler of
Transylvania in the 1400s who beheaded his enemies, then had
their skulls placed on stakes as a warning to any
penchant for cruelty was so pronounced that his fame... or
infamy if you prefer... spread throughout Europe.
story after another of Vlad's bloodbaths circulated, all
sorts of bizarre legends made the rounds.
It was Bram
Stoker's Dracula, published in 1897, that
first linked Dracula and vampirism. Stoker had his
attention drawn to the blood-sucking vampires of Romanian
folklore by Emily Gerard's article about Transylvanian
superstitions (published in 1885. Whether Vlad was
actually a vampire or not is debatable, but the legends of
Romanian vampires lurking in the forest is something we will
definitely learn about first-hand... and perhaps come away
with a quite unique experience.
practical note, we will spend our first night of the
Transylvania Pre-Cruise in a hotel in Bucharest.
The following night will be spent in Transylvania.
And then comes Halloween at the castle of Count Dracula.
know about the rest of you, but I will be difficult to
recognize. You see, for this particular part of the
trip, I intend to blend in if you know what I mean...
Although our focus will assuredly be on Halloween at the
Vampire Citadel, keep in mind that the scenery of the
Carpathian Mountains in Autumn promises to be spectacular.
Here is what is included in this $799 package.
3 nights of accommodations:
Hotel & ship transfers included
2 nights in Bucharest—Radisson Blu Hotel (breakfast
1 night in Brasov—Kronwell Brasov Hotel (breakfast included)
Guided Tour to city of Brasov
Guided Tour to Peles Castle and to Dracula’s Castle
October 29th Day 1 Pre-Cruise in Bucharest
Welcome to Bucharest. Transfer to the First-Class Radisson Blu Hotel, Bucharest (or similar) in the heart of the city,
with the former Royal Palace and great shopping at your
doorstep. The rest of the day you are free to relax or begin
exploring the city’s wide boulevards and gracious
architecture on your own. Our Viking Tour Director is
available to help plan your time in Bucharest so you can
make the most of your visit.
October 30th Day 2 Pre-Cruise in Transylvania
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and take a
motor-coach drive through the Transylvania countryside. Stop
for a tour of Peleş Castle, a 19th-century fortification in
Sinaia that melds numerous European architectural styles and
materials into a harmonious and romantic structure. Continue
to Braşov, where you have a panoramic city tour featuring
the city’s Gothic-style Black Church.
Check in to the First-Class Kronwell Braşov Hotel (or
similar). You have a free evening to enjoy the town square,
with its Council House (complete with the ancient Trumpets
Tower) and lovely fountain. Our Viking Tour Director is
available to help plan your time in Braşov so you can make
the most of your visit.
October 31st HALLOWEEN
Pre-Cruise in Transylvania & Bucharest
This morning, check out of your Braşov hotel. Take a short
ride to Bran Castle, commonly known as Dracula’s Castle.
This landmark citadel, built in the 14th century and used by
Saxon and Walachian kings, is the best-known of several
locations linked to the Dracula legend; it was used by Vlad
Tepes, or “Vlad the Impaler,” as his headquarters for his
incursions into Transylvania. The castle has Gothic and
baroque furnishings and decorative arts on display. After
the tour, we return to the First-Class Radisson Blu Hotel,
Bucharest (or similar). (B)
November 1st Day 4 Pre-Cruise in Bucharest
You have the day at leisure in Romania’s gracious capital
city, which offers many churches and monasteries, palaces
and Palace of Parliament, museums, parks, gardens and
interesting neighborhoods. Or, take an optional excursion to
Constanţa on the Black Sea coast. The oldest living city in
Romania, Constanţa was founded around 600 BC by Greek
settlers and is now a fashionable resort town. Arrive
mid-morning for a city tour, featuring the iconic seaside
casino and Art Nouveau architecture, and a stroll along
Mamaia Beach, the “Palm Beach” of the Black Sea. (B)
Pre-Cruise Hotel Information:
Radisson Blu Hotel, Bucharest
is located near the Bucharest airport, allowing easy access
to the city’s cultural and shopping centers. This
contemporary hotel has four dining options, a fitness
center, laundry cleaning services and a spa. Guest rooms
have a hair dryer, coffee/tea making facilities, a TV and
complimentary Internet access.
Braşov Hotel is located in the city center in an area
recommended for its cultural offerings. This spacious,
contemporary hotel has three dining options, a fitness
center, laundry/dry cleaning services and a spa. Guest rooms
have a private bathroom with a hair dryer, tea maker, TV,
Internet access and a phone.
ABOUT THE DANUBE
RIVER CRUISE and TOUR
for 11-Day Danube River Cruise and Tour
Explorer Suite 445 SqFt
Veranda Suite Upper
Deck 275 SqFt
Upper Deck 205 SqFt Fullsize Veranda
Middle Deck 205 SqFt Fullsize Veranda
Balcony Middle Deck 135 Sqft
Riverview Main Deck 150 SqFt
Riverview Main Deck 150 SqFt
Group Perk of $100 in onboard credit.
Promotional Air: $295 per
person from Houston
transfers are included when using Viking Air.
A $500 per person deposit is required at time of
Day 1 and Day 2
For those arriving at the Bucharest airport, transfer to the
superior first-class Radisson Blu Hotel Bucharest in the
heart of the city for a 1-night stay.
Spend the rest of the day relaxing, or do some exploring
on your own.
Bucharest & Giurgiu
After breakfast, we check out
of our hotel and take a morning tour of the city.
The highlight of the day is an 8
hour bus tour of Bucharest. Don't worry about food,
lunch is included.
Founded in the 14th century, Bucharest became Romania's
capital in 1859 with the merging of Moldavia and Wallachia.
We will explore Romania's
fascinating capital, an impressive collection of unique
architecture and grand monuments. We
will see the city's wide boulevards, the Romanian Athenaeum,
the Arch of Triumph, and many other highlights.
Bucharest is two cities in one.
There is the lovely 'Old Bucharest' and the rather less
attractive Bucharest from its 50 year history under
was Romania's leader for 25 years (1965-1989). We will
see his expansive Palace of Parliament
which happens to be the largest
civilian building in the world. It
has 3000 rooms and 24-carat gold ceilings.
We will visit the outdoor Village Museum, where authentic
dwellings from all regions of the country have been
relocated and reassembled, including rural cottages,
farmhouses and watermills.
During our lunch, we will enjoy
a lively folkloric performance
that recalls the simple pleasures of
Romanian rural life.
At the end of our tour, our bus will
take us to Giurgiu on the banks of
the Danube. Here we will
find our rooms, relax and
enjoy a welcome aboard dinner.
VELIKO TARNOVO & ARBANASI
Ruse (3 hours)
Danube serves as a border city between Romania on the north
side and Bulgaria on the south side.
The Viking schedule for today offers a
choice of two tours... short or long. The shorter trip
goes to Ruse, a city located on the opposite
side of the Danube from Giurgiu. Please
note that unless we specify a charge, all tours are included
in your cruise experience.
The Ruse tour should take
approximately three hours.
Ruse, often called "Little
Vienna", is Bulgaria's most
important river port. It was
established in the 1st century
Ruse is a repository of neo-baroque, neo-rococo, Empire,
Renaissance and Secession brilliance. During this guided
excursion, you will see the city's most beloved landmarks.
By bus, we wander through the city.
We pass the rich, crimson-hued Opera House; the
Liberty Monument, the symbol of the city completed around
the turn of the 20th century; and the neoclassical Theater
and Concert Hall.
Continue to the baroque Old City Center, a collection of
architectural styles, and the impressive Sveta Troitsa, or
Holy Trinity, Church with its hexagonal tower.
Next we browse the fascinating
collection at the Museum of History, which houses 140,000
artifacts and items discovered in Danube castles.
After a stop at the
Ethnographic Museum, we return to
Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi(8
After breakfast, we will
disembark at Ruse for a full-day excursion to Veliko
fascinating medieval town built around Tsarevets Hill and
its hilltop royal castle.
Veliko Tarnovo was once the capital of
Bulgaria. It is an extremely pretty place located
amidst tall hills .
Located 50 miles south of the Danube,
this location will require an hour bus ride. Rather
than object to the ride, keep in mind you can get a feel for
this country that most of us know very little about.
will see Tsaravets Hill and the ruins of the royal castle.
During free time, we can shop for
local crafts along Samovodska Charshia.
After a coffee break overlooking the Old Town, stop at
the Yantra River bridge for a nice view of the majestic
Assenev Brothers monument, a towering obelisk flanked by
Next, explore Samovodska Charshia, a traditional street
teeming with handicrafts, or visit the castle ruins and
enjoy vistas of the Old Town and countryside.
Afterward, proceed to Arbanasi, rich in
history and Greek influence. Here
we will have lunch at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon, we can
sample the Damascus Rose products, locally made from the
essence of roses. Afterwards,
visit a local merchant house and see the intricate frescoes
of the Nativity Church with a local guide.
VIDIN AND BELOGRADCHIK
Vidin is a Danube port on the edge of the
Bulgarian-Serbian border. After we dock, we will
take an excursion to see the amazing Belogradchik
The Belogradchik Rocks are a group of
strange shaped sandstone and conglomerate rock formations
located on the western slopes of the Balkan Mountains.
The rocks vary in color from primarily red to yellow; some
of the rocks reach up to 200 m in height.
With their strange, red-hued cliffs and massifs, these
breathtaking mountains strike a dramatic pose. The result of
millennia of weathering, river erosion, freezing, and
countless other factors, these formations are
considered Bulgaria's great
They are also a curiosity for the multitude of fantastic
figures and profiles that emerge when you catch them at just
the right angle. Silhouettes of people, towers, ships,
mushrooms, palaces and animals populate the cliffs.
Many rocks have fantastic shapes and are
associated with interesting legends. They are often named
for people or objects they are thought to resemble. No
doubt we will find the one named for Dracula.
There is a very unusual fortress that
is built right into the striking Belogradchik Rocks.
The fort was begun in Roman
times and then greatly extended by
Bulgarian tsars and the Ottomans.
The Iron Gate is a spectacular
narrow gorge with enormous white limestone cliffs.
It runs for 80 miles with Serbia on the south side with
Romania on the north side.
As it turns out, the Danube transits
two enormous plains. As the picture shows, the area
south of Budapest is flatlands as well as the Romanian
lowlands. These two plains are separated by the
Over the eons, the Danube has somehow
carved a deep gorge through the mountains to extend its
reach the Black Sea to the east.
This day will mark a highlight of the
trip. The Iron Gate is considered
one of Europe's most dramatic natural wonders.
One of the things we will see is the
giant rock sculpture of Decebalus.
Decebalus was the last king
of Dacia, a large kingdom which
encompassed Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. Deceblus was
a hero who fought against the Roman emperors Domitian
and Trajan to preserve the independence of his country,
which corresponded to modern Romania.
The sculpture was made between 1994 and 2004 on a rocky
outcrop on the river Danube.
Located near the city of Orsova
in Romania, it is the tallest rock
relief in Europe.
Our trip through this long, winding
gorge will be a sublime experience. As we sit outside
in our rocking chairs, we will be treated to unbelievable
scenery. We will sip our wine and take beautiful
pictures to our heart's desire. The comfort of our
ship and the beauty around us will make it clear why a river
cruise is considered one of the world's premium vacations.
Our next stop is Belgrade,
the capital of Serbia.
Belgrade is has been a ping pong
ball throughout history. Thanks to its unusual
position at the crossroads of civilization, conquerors
coming from every direction have passed through. As
the chart shows, Belgrade has been dominated by many rulers.
It was conquered by the Romans during the reign of
Augustus, and awarded city rights in the mid-2nd century.
It was settled by the Slavs in the 520s, and changed
hands several times between the Byzantine Empire, Frankish
Empire, Bulgarian Empire and Kingdom of Hungary before it
became the capital of Serbian king Stephen Dragutin
In 1521, Belgrade was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and
became the seat of the Sanjak of Smederevo. It frequently
passed from Ottoman to Habsburg rule, which saw the
destruction of most of the city during the Austro-Ottoman
Belgrade was again named the capital of Serbia in 1841.
Due to its strategic location, the
city was battled over in 115 wars and razed 44 times.
Belgrade was the capital of
Yugoslavia from its creation in 1918, to its final
dissolution in 2006.
Today there are two options, one that
is included and one that we would pay extra for.
The 'Included tour' lasts for
four hours. The Serbian capital of Belgrade
overlooks the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers.
Ravaged and rebuilt 20 times
in its history, many of the city's finest buildings have
been gloriously restored. We begin
with a guided walk around the famed Kalemegdan Fortress. Its
stalwart walls loom over the Old Town
Visiting this site promises to be a
real treat. Situated on a ridge overlooking the
confluence of the Sava and the Danube rivers,
Kalemegdan is one of the favorite places for
Belgraders as well as tourists. The name derives from
the Turkish words kale meaning ‘fort’ and meydan meaning
‘square’ or ‘field’. The literal translation would be
The Kalemegdan location has attracted people since the most
ancient times because of its exceptional strategic
importance. For this reason a fortification was erected here
in the Second century AD as a permanent military camp for
This was just the start.
Unfortunately, Belgrade Fortress was involved in every
dispute throughout history. The fort was constantly changed,
strengthened and even demolished. Today it exists as
the perfect place to view the Danube and contemplate the
vast history that has taken place here.
We will enjoy viewing many fine
monuments and architectural splendor during this
enlightening tour of Europe's most resilient city.
In the Old Town, medieval gates
enclose Orthodox churches, Turkish baths, a soaring monument
to "The Victor" and more. You will also enjoy a stroll in
the park around the fortress, taking in the picturesque
vistas of the river. Later, witness some of modern-day
Belgrade during a short panoramic drive. Stop in the Square
of the Republic to admire the statue of Prince Michael.
Afterwards, we return to the ship for
lunch. We will then have the
afternoon free to explore Belgrade in the adjacent
pedestrian shopping area or visit
one of its many museums, like the Nikola Tesla Museum.
The Optional Tour of Belgrade lasts six
Here is Viking's promotional writeup:
Explore the rich history and culture of Serbia's capital,
set where the graceful Sava and Danube Rivers meet. Once the
center of a civil war, Belgrade today is an exuberant,
forward-looking city. Drive with your guide to the ancient
Kalemegdan Fortress, the pinnacle of the city. Enjoy a
guided walk through the surrounding park.
Then, during a panoramic tour, pass the Church of St.
Sava, one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world; the
imposing Town Hall, once home of the Obrenovi? dynasty; the
Moscow Hotel, where Albert Einstein and Robert De Niro
stayed; and Republic Square. Next, tour the Tesla Museum,
dedicated to the life and work of Nikola Tesla, the Serbian
inventor who helped advance electricity (closed Mondays; you
will visit the Tito Memorial instead). Later, descend
underground into a vast labyrinth owned by the wine-making
Panajotovi family. Enjoy lunch and wine
tasting in these fascinating cellars.
Since we spend the evening in Belgrade, you will have the
option to dine aboard or experience some of
Belgrade's nightlife. We depart very late this evening.
OSIJEK AND VUKOVAR
Osijek & Vukovar
Vukovar is a city in eastern Croatia.
Located at the confluence of
the Vuka and the Danube, it is
Croatia's largest river port.
Today's point of interest is
Osijek, a town 20 miles to the northwest of Vukovar.
Here again each guest has two choices.
The "Included Excursion"
lasts 4.5 hours. Here
is the write-up:
See the highlights of Vukovar and Osijek, and stop to
meet a Croatian family along the way. You will meet your
guide and make the short drive to Vukovar, passing the
Vuka River, the palace of the former Count Eltz and the
city's main street, lined with buildings that carry
echoes of Northern Europe. As you arrive in Osijek, you
will pause to visit a local family in their home and
learn about their daily lives. After, continue to the
Osijek Citadel complex for a walking tour. Enjoy a
concert in the Rising of the Holy Cross Church. Then
explore Holy Trinity Square, see the town's only
surviving gate and stroll the picturesque promenade
along the Drava River. See more of the town by coach,
passing green parks and driving along European Avenue,
the most scenic street in Osijek, lined with elegant
baroque and Belle Epoque buildings.
The "Optional Tour" is titled Croatian
Countryside & Wine Tasting.
It lasts 3.5 hours. Here is the write-up:
Discover the rich and varied history of Northern
Croatia and sample some of its delicious wines. Since
Roman times, this region of the country has been
coveted, thanks to its strategic location on the Danube.
During this enlightening excursion, you will drive with
your guide to one of the area's renowned museums, a
castle with fascinating medieval origins, where you will
browse a rich and revealing collection of artifacts
dating back centuries. As you tour the castle chambers
and halls, Croatia's past comes alive in priceless
relics that have survived the ages. You will also turn
to the fruits of the earth when you descend into a wine
cellar in the historic town of Ilok. In these dim
corridors, you will taste two white wines and one red
and experience for yourself why its prized grapes and
hearty vintages have helped put Croatia on every
We sail into
Hungary in the morning, arriving
in Kalocsa after lunch. Our tour
will last approximately 3.5 hours.
Our tour begins with a short bus drive
into the city of Kalocsa. In Holy Trinity
Square, we will see the splendid
cathedral and admire the Archbishop's Palace. After a short
organ concert at St. Joseph Church, we
continue on to the Bakodpuszta
The people of the Hungarian Puszta region have long
relied on the horse for transport, settlement and defending
their land. Many locals worry that their country's
equestrian connection is being lost to a motorized world, so
they hold fast to rural ways and to their four-legged
will witness expert horsemanship
during a thrilling show.
The evening promises to be very
special. Expect our wait staff to be dressed in
traditional Hungarian garb serving all the local dishes.
Considering Kalocsa is the paprika capital, no doubt we can
expect some spicy goulash.
Day 9, Day 10, Day 11
Budapest: Day 9
Rick and I visited Budapest on our
previous Danube Cruise. I had the absolute best
time in this city. There are some very wonderful
things to see. To begin with, our hotel is right
on the Danube. There is an incredible walkway that
parallels the Danube and allows visitors to reach all
kinds of places on foot.
I am proud to say I set a personal
record of 32,000 steps in one day just by walking up and
down this walkway. My only problem was that I had
three broken ribs from a fall two days earlier. If
not for the broken ribs, I would have visited even more
Trust me, there are plenty of sites
left on my 'must-see list' for our next trip.
Along with Paris and Barcelona, Budapest is one of the
most interesting cities I have ever visited.
give it my highest recommendation.
Budapest is one of Europe's hard luck
cities. It has been under the domination of various
empires for many centuries. Stretching back to the
Habsburg Dynasty of Austria, then came the Germans, then
came the Russians. It is hard to believe, but Hungary
did not become a free country until the fall of the Soviet
Union in 1989.
Fortunately, Budapest sprang to life
in a hurry. Despite all its past tragedy, today it is
a vibrant, beautiful pearl on the Danube River.
On our first day in Budapest, we will
disembark after breakfast, get on
a bus and take a tour of Budapest.
For those of you who have never
been here before, Budapest was once two cities: Buda
is on the west side of the Danube and Pest on
Today our four-hour tour begins in
Pest. Our bus
will take us down the elegant Andrássy Avenue, the
Champs-Élysées of Budapest. We will
stop briefly to see the Hungarian State Opera House.
Our next stop
is at Heroes' Square, a wide-open
plaza of monuments and statues commemorating the Magyar
Now it is time to cross the Danube
using the famous Chain Bridge.
The Chain Bridge was the first span to ever connect the two
halves of the city when it opened in 1849.
Across the river, we will explore
the Buda side of the city.
Here you will
visit the Castle District with its massive hilltop castle
complex, the turreted Fishermen's Bastion and Matthias
Church, named for the country's most popular medieval king.
Then our bus will climb the heights of Buda Hill
which will take us to the Citadel, an impressive mountaintop
fortress which afford us panoramic views of the
Danube the city.
At the end of our tour, we will check in to the deluxe Budapest
Hilton for a 2-night stay. We will then
have the rest
of the day to sightsee on our own.
Budapest: Day 10
This is the final day of our trip.
You have four things to chose from. There are three
optional tours offered by Viking. Or you can simply
branch out on your own.
If you do decide to go out on your
own, there is the beautiful Margaret Island within walking
distance. There is also a fabulous city park with a
giant lake for paddle boats and a lovely city zoo.
Another place to visit might be the giant fort on the hill
across the Danube from your hotel. Our friends Bill
and Sharon said they walked there and it was great fun.
The Jewish Quarter is another
important place to visit. Although this trip will be a
bit somber for obvious reasons, the history of the synagogue
is simply amazing.
The important thing is that this is
your day to explore Budapest on your own.
Take a walk, ride the
city's innovative, efficient metro, or
take a taxi. There are many very interesting places to
If you are interested in the optional
tours, here is a description:
Optional Tour 1:
Royal Palace & Gardens
DURATION: 3.5 HOURS TOUR
This is one of Hungary's Largest, Most Important Palaces.
Visit one of Hungary's most beloved monuments, built by a
count in the 1760s. Gödöllö Royal Palace was built by Count
Antal Grassalkovich, well-respected among the monarchy and a
confidante of Empress Maria Theresa. But when the last
direct male descendant in the family died, it was bought for
the royal couple as a summer house. In the 20th century,
Soviet troops used it as a barracks and transformed some
wings into rest homes for the aged. Restoration began in
1985 and continues today. Upon arrival, you will tour the
elegantly adorned rooms of King Franz Joseph's suite. See
the lush furnishings and finely detailed woodwork of Empress
Elisabeth's private apartments. And pause in the impressive
Grand Hall to imagine the royal court gathering for
ceremonial occasions. Later, there will be time to admire
the French-inspired gardens and vast, beautifully manicured
park surrounding the palace.
Optional Tour 2:
Dohány Street Synagogue & Jewish Budapest
Immerse Yourself in a Cherished History
Explore Budapest's Jewish history and heritage, including
the Jewish Quarter and massive synagogue. A century ago,
Budapest had a thriving Jewish community. In the years
leading up to and including World War II, half of the city's
250,000 Jews were killed. The 19th-century Moorish-Revival
Dohány Street Synagogue (Great Synagogue), the largest in
Europe, was converted to a stable. Today, a rich Jewish
history is preserved, as you'll see with your guide. During
a walking tour of the Jewish Quarter, once the Budapest
Ghetto, admire the Great Synagogue with its glittering
interior. In the synagogue complex, browse religious relics
at the Jewish Museum and view the "Tree of Life" memorial to
the 400,000 Hungarian Jews killed by Nazis. Note that the
synagogue is not open to tours on Saturdays and Jewish
Optional Tour 3:
Szentendre & the Margit Kovács Museum
DURATION: 4 HOURS
Hungary's Renowned Rich and Thriving Artists' Center
Stroll the delightful streets of Szentendre, a colorful
village of galleries and artists, and pay a visit to one of
its renowned museums commemorating one of the town's
beloved. With cobblestone streets, pastel facades and a
red-roofed townscape, Szentendre overflows with charm. In
the 1500s, the Hungarian-Serbian community laid the
foundations of what we see here today; at one time, eight
Serbian Orthodox churches served this rural hamlet. The town
holds fast to its roots. And today, it is home to a thriving
artists' community, embodied in the richly hued houses and
decorated storefronts. Journey here with your guide and
amble along the narrow, picturesque streets, pausing to
browse inviting galleries that display the work of local
artists. You will also visit the Margit Kovács Museum; this
artist's early 20th-century ceramics and other sculptures
won her international accolades as they captured a rich
tableau of past times in the Hungarian countryside.
Budapest: Day 11
For some, this is departure day back
to the USA or perhaps another European destination.
After breakfast, you
check out of your hotel and proceed to the airport for
Viking also offers a three night extension
in Prague, the Czech Republic's capital.
Known as the 'City of 100 Spires', Prague is an
architectural wonder in the middle of Europe.
Rick and I will be continuing on to three nights in
Prague. We hope you will consider joining us.
A Three-Day Post-Trip
November 11-November 13
Extend your journey by discovering
Prague, the Czech Republic's vibrant capital.
Prague is an unusually beautiful city, well-worth a visit
before returning home. Viking offers a $699
Package to extend your Danube trip to
Prague for three nights.
3 nights in the Hilton Prague
Guided City Tour
Services of a Viking host
Hotel & ship transfers are included
Prague is located 300 miles to the
northwest of Budapest. Considering its proximity, if
you have the time, it makes sense to see one of Europe's
transfer us by coach from
our Budapest hotel to the
Hilton Prague Hotel which
overlooks the Vltava River near
the historic Old Town and the shopping district.
The journey will allow you to see the
countryside of Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
After arriving arrive in Prague in the late afternoon, we
will check into our hotel and have the evening to ourselves.
Dine at the hotel or sample some of the hearty local
Afterwards take a stroll and
see the city's monuments such as the
National Theater, Prague Castle and the beautifully
illuminated Charles Bridge.
A Viking host is available to help you plan your time in
Prague so you can make the most of your
Prague has a rich history which makes
it a popular tourist destination. Prague is the fifth
most visited European city after London, Paris, Istanbul and
We begin our
day with a morning guided tour of
Prague. Prague is very similar to
Budapest in that its major locations are built right along
the majestic Vltava River. A
highlight of our tour will include a visit to the famous
Our afternoon will be free, so after
lunch, enjoy an afternoon
and evening to visit the city's landmarks
This day is completely unprogrammed.
We have an entire day to
do whatever we want. Now
that yesterday's bus tour has covered the highlights, this
is your chance to go back and check out what interested you
Perhaps visit the Old Town or
check out some of Prague's modern
sights such as the Frank Gehry-designed
Dancing House. This is an
unusual office building inspired by Fred Astaire and Ginger
Walk across the Charles Bridge, see the mesmerizing
Astronomical Clock and the poignant Lennon Wall, and stand
in historic Wenceslas Square.
Wander past the colorful cottages in Golden Lane, where
Franz Kafka lived and worked. Or
go see the Jewish Quarter with its
Altneuschul, Europe's oldest, active synagogue.
Hilton Prague Hotel is located between the Business District
and Old Town. This airy, comfortable hotel includes five
dining options, a fitness center, laundry and dry cleaning
services, a sauna, a pool and complimentary Internet access
in public areas. Guest rooms feature a hair dryer, coffee
making facilities, a TV and Internet access with an
Marla's Note: Viking
has an extremely valuable promotion that is $295
round trip (per person)
from Houston. I highly recommend
you take advantage of this generous offer.
Some of you
might have special travel concerns. In this case, I
suggest you consider using
Viking Custom Air is an
exclusive custom air department designed
for guests who have specific travel needs or special
upon your travel schedules, requests and flexibility,
Viking's team of experienced Viking Air Plus agents can
assist with the following services whether you are traveling
on economy, Premium Economy or Business Class air:
Deviate from the planned route
to an alternate destination city or stay extra time
before or after your cruise or cruise-tour.
2. Stopover in another destination such as London,
Paris, Amsterdam, or a U.S. gateway
3. Nonstop flights or the most direct air service
4. Reservations with airlines that accept frequent flyer
5. Travel on specific airlines or air routing
6. Confirmation of flight schedules at time of
reservation; no waiting once deposit and Guest
Information Forms are received
7. Coordination of family, friends or groups traveling
together from the same or different cities
Marla's Note: Viking
is not offered 50 days or less before departure. A
$50-per-guest non refundable fee applies, as well as any
additional fees based on the difference between the selected
air and the air price paid.
Date or city deviations and stopover fees are typically
between $100 and $300 additional. Airlines have advised that
seat assignments are subject to change therefore are not
part of the Air Plus program.
About the Viking Embla
Review of the Embla:
The Embla is a super sleek ship.
It has large windows that bring in an abundance of sunlight.
Its design is contemporary with classic Scandinavian touches
that maximize light and space. Accommodates 190 passengers
at full capacity and a crew of 45.
It has quiet, environmentally friendly hybrid engines, solar
panels and an organic herb garden on the large sun deck.
The all-new Aquavit Terrace—an indoor/outdoor area at the
bow of the ship for viewing, relaxing and casual dining.
The Aquavit Terrace’s indoor/outdoor configuration has glass
walls that open to reveal scenic views on warm days. On
cooler days, the expansive windows still provide spectacular
views. The adjoining Observation Lounge has expansive
windows that showcase the river views and plenty of
comfortable couches and cozy chairs. While the lounge is
large, it can feel crowded at times and it is advisable to
get there early for a spot during lectures and briefings.
The Middle Deck lobby is a striking, light-filled, welcoming
area with colorful artwork and a staircase leading up to the
Observation Lounge. The concierge desk and a small boutique
offering Viking River gear and books are in the reception
area on the Middle Deck along with coffee and tea stations
open 24 hours a day, with cookies served in the afternoons.
The ship’s library had a great selection of
itinerary-related books and two computers with free Internet
Accommodations: The 95 outside rooms and suites aboard the
Viking Embla have a functional
modernity and neutral color palette. The spaces are targeted
to today’s traveler, with plenty of plugs (including
American outlets), reading lights, a hair dryer, a telephone
and a refrigerator.
Each stateroom on the ship features plenty of storage, from
the typical large space under the bed for luggage to a
spacious closet and eight separate additional drawers. Extra
pillows are available. Bathrooms are small but comfortable,
with L’Occitane amenities, a bowl-style sink and plenty of
shelf space for toiletries. There’s also a large vanity and
French balcony staterooms featuring floor-to-ceiling sliding
Turndown service is offered each night in addition to
morning housekeeping, and printouts of the next day’s
itinerary and other important information. The flat-screen
TV provides a sizable selection of included entertainment,
from itinerary-themed movies and documentaries to Hollywood
Fine cuisine, exemplary service and immersive, culture-rich
Al fresco dining aboard Viking Embla--
Imagine waking as the mist rolls off the river,
stopping in the lounge for a frothy cappuccino, and heading
out to the Aquavit Terrace to silently cruise through the
early morning light. That is one definition of a Viking
one is in the more traditional sense: unwinding in the late
afternoon with a pint of beer or glass of wine, chatting
with friends and enjoying a delicious light bite. With the
Aquavit Terrace equipped with grills and plentiful seating,
each of these al fresco “happy hours” will be yours to
Fine dining aboard Viking Embla:
The chefs create a variety of tasty offerings for you, with
freshly prepared seasonal local vegetables, European
specialties adapted to satisfy the tastes of the passengers,
and homemade soups prepared daily. For breakfast, choose
from selections of pastries,
cereals, breakfast meats, egg dishes, fresh fruit and
selected cheeses. At lunch, select from the soup and
sandwich bar, or a choice of entrées and dessert. And for
dinner, you are treated to a five-course gourmet menu with
regional specialties. You can also select from regional
wines to perfectly complement your meal.
There are two main dining areas: a large traditional
restaurant and the Aquavit Terrace, which serves a more
casual breakfast and lunch buffet daily. Seating is open
All meals aboard are prepared by local chefs under the
guidance of Viking's European management team
Service is lighthearted and seamless, with a wait staff that
remembers individual preferences. The dinner menu has a
large selection of rotating daily specialties from the
region, though simple chicken and fish are always an option,
as well as several dessert choices. A buffet is always
offered at breakfast and lunch, with hot items to order
All meals, coffee, tea, soft drinks, house wines and beers
with lunch and dinner are included. A Silver Spirits
beverage package can be ordered for those desiring a wider
selection of premium wines and beers. Complimentary bottles
of water are available in each stateroom and refreshed each
day. There also is no corkage fee for those who find a great
bottle of wine ashore.
On embarkation day, while the crew is preparing staterooms
for the arriving guests, you can relax in the ship’s lounge
or leave your luggage with the staff and explore
your own. You will be given access to your stateroom around
mid-afternoon, at approximately 3:00 p.m. If you arrive
during lunchtime, a light lunch buffet will be available in
confirmed and cabin numbers are assigned when a deposit of
$500 per person (plus travel insurance, if applicable) is
I encourage you to confirm your cabin as soon as possible.
The pricing that I am offered will be recalled when the the
ship occupancy level within that category is classified as
All bookings must be made through Marla Archer.