Sailing the Danube

  • 10 nights
  • Sails from Hirsova to Budapest
  • Brabant
Petrovaradin Fortress

Sorry, this sailing has now reached full capacity.

From passing the point where the Danube meets the Black Sea to visiting beautiful Budapest and discovering an abundance of scenic and city delights in between, there are a smorgasbord of simply unforgettable experiences to enjoy on this stunning river cruise aboard Brabant. Chances to explore the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve; cruise the iconic Iron Gates gorges; and discover the historic landmarks of Bucharest and Belgrade are among the many highlights.

On day one of this memorable ten-night river cruise you’ll witness the River Danube flowing into the Black Sea, and have the opportunity to take a small boat tour into the beautiful Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve during a stop at picturesque St Gheorghe. The following day you could tour to Bucharest if you wish, before continuing your adventure in Ruse. Nicknamed ‘Little Vienna’, Bulgaria’s fifth largest city is renowned for its stunning architecture and elegant squares. ‘Must-visit’ sites here include the Monument of Liberty and the Danube Bridge. Further along the Danube, a stop at the remote port town of Vidin – home to the medieval Baba Vida Fortress – is followed by a momentous journey through the awe-inspiring Iron Gates. Admire stunning national parks lining the river, which narrows to just 150 metres-wide at the Great Kazan gorge, and be on the lookout for the famous Rock Sculpture of Decebalus from the decks of Brabant.

After marvelling at the glory of the Iron Gates you’ll arrive in Serbia’s enchanting capital, Belgrade. A full day here is sure to be rewarding with time to discover the city’s historic monuments and museums, wander along Knez Mihailova Boulevard and savour the views on offer from the Kalemegdan Fortress. Staying in Serbia, a stop at Novi Sad – a future European Capital of Culture – is up next. The main landmark here is the unmissable Petrovaradin Fortress and its world-famous clock tower, while Zmaj Jovina is the perfect place for a relaxing stroll. A scenic cruise through the fertile plains of the Tisa-Danube basin follows, as you head for the fourth and final country on your itinerary, Hungary. Kalocsa is the first of two engrossing Hungarian calls; from here you can take a tour to learn about the history of Paprika or catch a traditional Hungarian horse show within Puszta plains. Finally, UNESCO-listed Budapest – with all its historic highlights and attractions – is the perfect last stop. Before heading home be sure to take in the Buda Castle complex and the Millennium Underground Railway, and wander along Andrássy Avenue to Heroes’ Square.

Itinerary
Day Destination  
Day 1
  • Hirsova, Romania
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  • Located on the River Danube at the western county line of Romania’s picturesque Constanta County, Hirsova is ideally situated for embarking and disembarking Danube River cruises to and from the Danube Delta, as well as the neighbouring countries of Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and beyond. Spending time in here is worthwhile too though; charming Hirsova boasts plenty of interesting sights in and around the town centre. 

    Located on the River Danube at the western county line of Romania’s picturesque Constanta County, Hirsova is ideally situated for embarking and disembarking Danube River cruises to and from the Danube Delta, as well as the neighbouring countries of Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and beyond. Spending time in here is worthwhile too though; charming Hirsova boasts plenty of interesting sights in and around the town centre.

    The main attractions in Hirsova are the Carsium Museum and the Carsium Fortress. Both feature an array of remarkable exhibits, which offer an insight into the town’s incredible, over 6500-year history and how the Neolithic, Byzantine, Roman and medieval Roman eras influenced Hirsova as it developed on the right bank of the Danube. Master Manole’s Church of St Constantine and Elena – which was completed in 1905 – is well worth a visit too.  

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Day 2
  • St Gheorghe, Romania
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  • Hidden away deep within the breathtaking Danube Delta, where the Danube River empties into the Black Sea on Romania’s east coast, the fishing village of St Gheorghe – not to be confused with the Transylvanian city of the same name – is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

    Hidden away deep within the breathtaking Danube Delta, where the Danube River empties into the Black Sea on Romania’s east coast, the fishing village of St Gheorghe – not to be confused with the Transylvanian city of the same name – is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

    Situated at the end of the winding Sfântu Gheorghe branch of the Danube, St Gheorghe is surrounded by simply spectacular wetland landscapes that must be seen to be believed, and for many visitors is the starting point for unforgettable tours taking in the many wonders of the Danube Delta. The chance to ride a small boat into the heart of the UNESCO-listed Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve and explore the marshlands in search of gorgeous flora and wonderful wildlife – including pelicans and hundreds of other bird species – is an experience that’s not-to-be-missed. Alternatively, you could take a short, 30-minute walk to the coast to discover St Gheorghe’s beautifully unspoilt, eerily quiet golden sand beach. 

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Day 3
  • Cruising
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  • Cruising

    Cruising

Day 4
  • Ruse, Bulgaria
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  • Ruse is one of Bulgaria’s biggest and most important port cities, serving as a vital link between several countries across Europe and Asia thanks to its strategic location on the Danube River. However, there’s much more to this city than its thriving port. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Little Vienna’, Ruse is among the most elegant and enchanting cities situated on the Danube, revered for its rich history, culture and magnificent architecture. 

    Ruse is one of Bulgaria’s biggest and most important port cities, serving as a vital link between several countries across Europe and Asia thanks to its strategic location on the Danube River. However, there’s much more to this city than its thriving port. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Little Vienna’, Ruse is among the most elegant and enchanting cities situated on the Danube, revered for its rich history, culture and magnificent architecture.

    There are over 300 incredible historical and architectural highlights to discover in Ruse, many of which feature on Bulgaria’s National Heritage List, and simply strolling around the city’s streets on foot will present you with an abundance of impressive Viennese-inspired Baroque, Renaissance, Gothic and Rococo style landmarks and monuments.

    Liberty Square is a great place to start your exploration. Perhaps marvel at striking sights such as the Statue of Liberty, the Opera House, the iconic Dohodno Zdanie theatre and St Trinity Church here, then venture down the surrounding streets in search of interesting attractions such as the Rousse Historical Museum, the Pantheon of National Revival Heroes national monument and the ruins of the Sexaginta Prista Roman Fortress. A wander along Aleksandrovska Street – Ruse’s main street – is highly recommended, to take in its melting pot of architectural styles.

    Away from Ruse’s many man-made marvels, there are natural delights to uncover close-by too. The Natural Park of Rusenski Lom – situated a short journey south from the city – is a sprawling 32 square kilometre wonderland of dramatic cliff faces and rock formations, beautiful riverside terraces and ancient caves such as the Orlova Chuka Cave – Bulgaria’s second-longest cave. Rusenski Lom is a haven for birdwatches too, home to around 172 diverse species including Egyptian vultures, lesser kestrels and eagle owls. 

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Day 5
  • Vidin, Bulgaria
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  • Tucked away far in the northwest corner of Bulgaria on a bend of the Danube River, Vidin seems a long way from anywhere else. This ‘middle of nowhere’ feel only adds to this pretty port town’s charm though; the population is small and unlike many of the larger, better-known tourist hotspots in the surrounding region, Vidin – despite being a popular river cruise destination – isn’t flooded with visitors all year round. This ensures that, no matter when you visit, the town is always a rewarding and relaxing place to enjoy some time ashore during a Danube River cruise. 

    Tucked away far in the northwest corner of Bulgaria on a bend of the Danube River, Vidin seems a long way from anywhere else. This ‘middle of nowhere’ feel only adds to this pretty port town’s charm though; the population is small and unlike many of the larger, better-known tourist hotspots in the surrounding region, Vidin – despite being a popular river cruise destination – isn’t flooded with visitors all year round. This ensures that, no matter when you visit, the town is always a rewarding and relaxing place to enjoy some time ashore during a Danube River cruise.

    Vidin is one of Bulgaria’s oldest towns. Founded in the 3rd century BC by a Thracian tribe, it later became part of the Roman Empire and a capital of the Bulgarian Kingdom until the 14th century, when the Ottoman Empire ruled the region. The influence of Vidin’s fascinating past can still be seen today, in the town’s mix of ancient Roman, medieval, Turkish and modern architecture, and collection of impressive historical landmarks.

    The Baba Vida Fortress – one of the best-preserved medieval fortresses in Bulgaria – is the finest exhibit of the town’s history and a must-visit site. Originally built between the 9th and 10th centuries on the ruins of a Roman fortress, Baba Vida has been rebuilt several times, and in several different styles, over the years. The town’s other notable highlights include the Kaleto Fortress; the beautiful orthodox churches of St Pantaleimon, St Petka and St Great Martyr Demetrius, built between the 17th and 19th centuries; the 19th century Jewish synagogue; the mosque; and an abundance of charming Renaissance-style buildings.  

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Day 6
  • Cruising the Iron Gates, Serbia
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  • Marvel at simply breathtaking fjord-like landscapes and some of the most dramatic natural wonders seen anywhere in Europe on a momentous cruise through the incredible Iron Gates gorges.

    Marvel at simply breathtaking fjord-like landscapes and some of the most dramatic natural wonders seen anywhere in Europe on a momentous cruise through the incredible Iron Gates gorges.

    This remarkable section of the Danube River forms part of the border between Serbia and Romania and divides the magnificent Carpathian and Balkan Mountains. The awe-inspiring scenery here has to be seen to be believed and, as your smaller-sized river boat can navigate the locks and dams of this often narrow waterway with ease, you’ll experience the very best of the Iron Gates.

    As well as stunning natural landmarks you’ll also encounter a few man-made marvels as you glide along the Danube here, including the iconic Rock Sculpture of Decebalus at the Great Kazan gorge and a number of historic churches, castles and fortifications such as Severin Castle and Golubac Fortress.  

Day 7
  • Belgrade, Serbia
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  • Belgrade might not be as pretty as some of Europe’s other riverside capitals, however that’s all part of this gritty Serbian city’s charm. Shaped by its somewhat chaotic past – having been part of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia and much more over several centuries; and survived a number of punishing battles and wars – Belgrade is a jumble of historical, architectural and cultural monuments, buildings and landmarks. 

    Belgrade might not be as pretty as some of Europe’s other riverside capitals, however that’s all part of this gritty Serbian city’s charm. Shaped by its somewhat chaotic past – having been part of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia and much more over several centuries; and survived a number of punishing battles and wars – Belgrade is a jumble of historical, architectural and cultural monuments, buildings and landmarks.

    As Belgrade boasts such a unique and eclectic cityscape, there are new and interesting sights to uncover at almost every turn as you explore the relatively small city centre. Imposing socialist-era concrete tower blocks vie for your attention alongside magnificent art nouveau masterpieces, while various structures hark back to the Habsburg and Ottoman eras.

    Many of the city’s main sights are all within walking distance of each other. Perhaps start you exploration at the confluence of the beautiful Sava and Danube Rivers where the impressive Kalemegdan Fortress ‘guards’ the city; then head into the historic heart to discover a collection of highlights. The Old Royal Palace, built for the Serbian kings in 1881; the 20th century New Palace; the Serbian National Assembly; and a collection of centuries-old churches including St Sava Temple, the largest Orthodox Church in Serbia, all await. Nikolajevska Church, Belgrade’s oldest building, is worth stopping-by too. Republic Square and the vibrant boulevards of Knez Mihailova and Skadarlija, although lined with historic buildings, offer a taste of life in Belgrade today, with their crowded cosmopolitan cafes, high-end shops and trendy bars.  

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Day 8
  • Belgrade, Serbia
  • Novi Sad, Serbia
  • Cruising the Tisa Plain, Hungary
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  • Belgrade

    Belgrade might not be as pretty as some of Europe’s other riverside capitals, however that’s all part of this gritty Serbian city’s charm. Shaped by its somewhat chaotic past – having been part of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia and much more over several centuries; and survived a number of punishing battles and wars – Belgrade is a jumble of historical, architectural and cultural monuments, buildings and landmarks. 

    Belgrade might not be as pretty as some of Europe’s other riverside capitals, however that’s all part of this gritty Serbian city’s charm. Shaped by its somewhat chaotic past – having been part of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia and much more over several centuries; and survived a number of punishing battles and wars – Belgrade is a jumble of historical, architectural and cultural monuments, buildings and landmarks.

    As Belgrade boasts such a unique and eclectic cityscape, there are new and interesting sights to uncover at almost every turn as you explore the relatively small city centre. Imposing socialist-era concrete tower blocks vie for your attention alongside magnificent art nouveau masterpieces, while various structures hark back to the Habsburg and Ottoman eras.

    Many of the city’s main sights are all within walking distance of each other. Perhaps start you exploration at the confluence of the beautiful Sava and Danube Rivers where the impressive Kalemegdan Fortress ‘guards’ the city; then head into the historic heart to discover a collection of highlights. The Old Royal Palace, built for the Serbian kings in 1881; the 20th century New Palace; the Serbian National Assembly; and a collection of centuries-old churches including St Sava Temple, the largest Orthodox Church in Serbia, all await. Nikolajevska Church, Belgrade’s oldest building, is worth stopping-by too. Republic Square and the vibrant boulevards of Knez Mihailova and Skadarlija, although lined with historic buildings, offer a taste of life in Belgrade today, with their crowded cosmopolitan cafes, high-end shops and trendy bars.  

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  • Novi Sad

    Although Novi Sad is arguably not as well-known as Belgrade, there is plenty to suggest that Serbia’s second city in fact has much more to offer than its capital. Energetic, creative and multi-cultural, Novi Sad is an expression of modern Serbia, with its bustling pedestrianised thoroughfares and squares, trendy bars and cafés, thriving music scene and interesting museums and galleries. Throw the city’s abundance of historic landmarks into the mix too and it’s easy to understand why Novi Sad is to become the first ever non-EU European Capital of Culture in 2021. 

    Although Novi Sad is arguably not as well-known as Belgrade, there is plenty to suggest that Serbia’s second city in fact has much more to offer than its capital. Energetic, creative and multi-cultural, Novi Sad is an expression of modern Serbia, with its bustling pedestrianised thoroughfares and squares, trendy bars and cafés, thriving music scene and interesting museums and galleries. Throw the city’s abundance of historic landmarks into the mix too and it’s easy to understand why Novi Sad is to become the first ever non-EU European Capital of Culture in 2021.

    While Novi Sad really comes to life in July, when the annual EXIT Festival – one of the biggest and best music festivals in Europe – attracts thousands of revellers, this stunning city is a delight to explore at any time of the year. Visiting Novi Sad on a river cruise is a particularly rewarding experience, offering you the chance to enjoy the gorgeous scenery of the Danube River as you sail into the city; then take advantage of the chance to simply step ashore and discover the very best attractions.

    There are numerous cultural and historical highlights to uncover in Novi Sad, many of which are within walking distance of each other. The pedestrianised thoroughfare of Zmaj Jovina, which stretches from the town square to Dunavska Street, is the gateway to many of the city’s most popular sights. The architectural delights of Trg Slobode (the town square), including the neo-renaissance style Town Hall and the impressive neo-gothic Church of Mary’s Name; the magnificent façade of Hotel Vojvodina, situated in the charming Old Town district; the ornate Bauhaus-style Tanurdžić Palace; and the Bishop’s House are not to be missed.

    Petrovaradin Fortress is without doubt Novi Sad’s most iconic site. Situated on the right bank of the river, the Petrovaradin is famous for its ‘reversed’ clock tower that helps fishermen tell the time from afar. It’s also home to the Novi Sad City Museum and the venue for the aforementioned EXIT festival.    

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  • Cruising the Tisa Plain

    Capture the gorgeous scenery of the Tisa-Danube Basin’s fertile plains as you sail along the picturesque Danube River between the historic Serbian city of Novi Sad and Kalocsa, a charming town situated in the heart of beautiful Hungarian countryside. 

    Capture the gorgeous scenery of the Tisa-Danube Basin’s fertile plains as you sail along the picturesque Danube River between the historic Serbian city of Novi Sad and Kalocsa, a charming town situated in the heart of beautiful Hungarian countryside.

    This stunning section of the Danube passes through and by several lush-green national parks, nature reserves and picturesque riverside towns and cities, presenting you with breathtaking views to enjoy with every twist and turn of the river. 

Day 9
  • Kalocsa, Hungary
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  • Although Kalocsa is the famed ‘paprika capital of the world’, there is much more to recommend this quaint, culture-rich town than the history of Hungary’s ‘red gold’. Founded by St Stephen – the First King of Hungary – over 1000 years ago, Kalocsa is one of Hungary’s oldest towns and among the country’s most important religious centres. The town is also renowned for producing vividly coloured folk embroideries and flowered porcelains. 

    Although Kalocsa is the famed ‘paprika capital of the world’, there is much more to recommend this quaint, culture-rich town than the history of Hungary’s ‘red gold’. Founded by St Stephen – the First King of Hungary – over 1000 years ago, Kalocsa is one of Hungary’s oldest towns and among the country’s most important religious centres. The town is also renowned for producing vividly coloured folk embroideries and flowered porcelains.

    The compact centre of Kalocsa, with its jumble of boulevards, narrow alleyways and ornate squares, lends itself perfectly to a couple of hours of exploration, and there are plenty of architectural highlights and attractions to discover here. Many of the town’s most popular and impressive sights are in and around Holy Trinity Square and Szent István király út (St Stephen’s Road), which runs through the length of the town centre.

    Perhaps start at Holy Trinity Square to admire the Archbishop’s Palace, the 18th century Archbishop’s Cathedral, the statue of St Stephen and the Holy Trinity Column; then wander along St Stephen’s Road to admire fine examples of Baroque style architecture, visit the early 20th century town hall, and stop-by the interesting Paprika Museum. The House of Folk Art Museum and the Károly Visky Museum, which display various works of local folk art, are well worth visiting too, while the 85-foot-high Cybernetic Light Tower – created by Nicolas Schöffer, a pioneer of kinetic sculpture – is a remarkable sight.

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Day 10
  • Budapest, Hungary
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  • Bustling and beautiful Budapest is an explorer’s dream destination. Straddling the magnificent Danube River, Hungary’s historic capital is split into two distinct districts: Buda, with its steep hills, streets and alleys; and low-lying Pest, where architectural and cultural treasures are in abundance. Exploring Budapest on either side of the water is an unforgettable experience, with unique and fascinating attractions to discover at every turn, but if you have time it’s well worth hopping back and forth via the impressive bridges to take in as many of the city’s spectacular sights as you can. 

    Bustling and beautiful Budapest is an explorer’s dream destination. Straddling the magnificent Danube River, Hungary’s historic capital is split into two distinct districts: Buda, with its steep hills, streets and alleys; and low-lying Pest, where architectural and cultural treasures are in abundance. Exploring Budapest on either side of the water is an unforgettable experience, with unique and fascinating attractions to discover at every turn, but if you have time it is well worth hopping back and forth via the impressive bridges to take in as many of the city’s spectacular sights as you can.

    The highlights of the Buda side include the Ottoman-era thermal baths located at the foot of the majestic Gellért Hill; the ornate Royal Palace; Matthias Church, with its soaring rococo spire; Buda Castle, the crowning glory of Budapest’s cityscape; and much more.

    The awe-inspiring Parliament building – a neo-gothic, neo-Romanesque and neo-baroque architectural wonder perched on the Danube’s banks – beckons you to explore the Pest side of the river. Here you can also uncover the charms of the pretty Jewish Quarter – which is home to the incredible Great Synagogue – and the Palace District; stop-by the striking St Stephen’s Basillica; and visit a number of fantastic galleries and museums.

    As well as a plethora of historic attractions, Budapest also boasts plenty of trendy cafés, superb restaurants and bars, and a number of busy shopping streets where you can indulge in a little retail therapy – just as you would expect from a city that today is considered one of the world’s major metropolises.  

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Day 11
  • Budapest, Hungary
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  • Bustling and beautiful Budapest is an explorer’s dream destination. Straddling the magnificent Danube River, Hungary’s historic capital is split into two distinct districts: Buda, with its steep hills, streets and alleys; and low-lying Pest, where architectural and cultural treasures are in abundance. Exploring Budapest on either side of the water is an unforgettable experience, with unique and fascinating attractions to discover at every turn, but if you have time it’s well worth hopping back and forth via the impressive bridges to take in as many of the city’s spectacular sights as you can. 

    Bustling and beautiful Budapest is an explorer’s dream destination. Straddling the magnificent Danube River, Hungary’s historic capital is split into two distinct districts: Buda, with its steep hills, streets and alleys; and low-lying Pest, where architectural and cultural treasures are in abundance. Exploring Budapest on either side of the water is an unforgettable experience, with unique and fascinating attractions to discover at every turn, but if you have time it is well worth hopping back and forth via the impressive bridges to take in as many of the city’s spectacular sights as you can.

    The highlights of the Buda side include the Ottoman-era thermal baths located at the foot of the majestic Gellért Hill; the ornate Royal Palace; Matthias Church, with its soaring rococo spire; Buda Castle, the crowning glory of Budapest’s cityscape; and much more.

    The awe-inspiring Parliament building – a neo-gothic, neo-Romanesque and neo-baroque architectural wonder perched on the Danube’s banks – beckons you to explore the Pest side of the river. Here you can also uncover the charms of the pretty Jewish Quarter – which is home to the incredible Great Synagogue – and the Palace District; stop-by the striking St Stephen’s Basillica; and visit a number of fantastic galleries and museums.

    As well as a plethora of historic attractions, Budapest also boasts plenty of trendy cafés, superb restaurants and bars, and a number of busy shopping streets where you can indulge in a little retail therapy – just as you would expect from a city that today is considered one of the world’s major metropolises.  

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Dates & Prices
13th May 2018 - R1807
What's Included

Rest assured, all of the following comes as standard on every Fred. Olsen river cruise:

  • Comfortable en suite accommodation with TV, hairdryer, safe and individually controlled air conditioning 
  • Tempting cuisine every day throughout your cruise – with ‘early riser’ breakfast, breakfast buffet, casual lunch, five-course à la carte dinner and late-night snacks
  • Complimentary tea & coffee station 24 hours a day 
  • Complimentary afternoon tea & coffee with sandwiches and cakes 
  • Welcome Cocktail, Welcome Dinner and Captain’s Gala Dinner 
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi 
  • Use of leisure facilities including Fitness Room and Wellness Tub 
  • Lounge music by pianist, or duo every day 
  • All local taxes and port charges (where collectable in advance)
On Our Boat

Built in 2006, this elegant and comfortable vessel is in keeping with the fleet of our ocean-going cruise ships. Brabant’s bright and spacious public areas and 79 well-equipped rooms and suites, spread across four decks, provide the intimate, home-from-home feel which Fred. Olsen’s guests already know and love. Cruise ship staples such as swimming pools, a number of lounges and on-going activities are not in evidence on board, making way for a comfortable ambience and ample space in which to relax and enjoy the river cruise experience with around 150 fellow guests.

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