Cruise West (www.cruisewest.com<http://www.cruisewest.com/>), the global leader in small-ship voyages, travels to Europe for the first time in 2009 with 11-and 12-day Danube River cruises. The new Vienna To Bucharest route provides tours in Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Croatia and cruising in the Danube Delta onboard the elegant, new 148-guest Amadeus Diamond; the luxury vessel owned by Lüftner Cruises is launching in 2009. Eighty percent of the cabins have large "French balconies" providing a full wall of glass to view the passing scenery. Four departure date options include July 16 and 24, 2009 and October 13 and 21, 2009. The inaugural July 16 Chairman’s Cruise will be hosted by Cruise West Chairman Richard West and wife Leslie West and the October 13 sailing is a PENTAX Photography Cruise featuring field events and onboard workshops all co-hosted by professional PENTAX photographer Kerrick James. Pre-and post-cruises are available in Prague and Transylvania.
“Cruise West offering European river cruising is a natural progression as we continue to provide intimate, up-close experiences not available on larger vessels and provide new itineraries for our Quyana Club Members (repeat guests),” remarked Cruise West’s newly-appointed President and Chief Executive Officer, Dietmar R. Wertanzl. “With the value of the Euro where it is, cruises provide a cost-effective way for travelers to experience Europe and our itineraries ensure that guests see destinations as they never have before.”
Depending on the direction of their cruise, guests will be greeted at the Vienna or Bucharest airport before transferring to the Amadeus Diamond. The next 11 to 12 days, varying slightly based on the vessel’s route, will be filled with such highlights as city tours of Budapest, Osijek, Belgrade and Bucharest. Also exclusive to Cruise West guests is exploration of the remote areas of the Danube Delta aboard smaller excursion boats. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the best-preserved Delta in Europe, the largest reed bed in the world and home to 320 species of birds. Travelers will dine on local cuisine and experience traditional culture at horse shows, wine-tastings at world-renowned vineyards as well as exclusive insider-access such as breakfast at the Nunnery of Saun and dinner along the Black Sea. As with all Cruise West voyages, knowledgeable Exploration Leaders accompany the cruise and share insightful information on the diverse flora, fauna, culture and history of the region.
The Danube River cruise begins at $5,199 per person including taxes, port charges, fees and onboard services. Prices are per person, based on double occupancy and are exclusive of airfare. Trips booked before December 19, 2008 will receive an early-booking discount of up to $1,100 per cabin.