Aug 16th to 28th 2021 - Black Sea to Budapest via MS Joy

Disappointed that COVID19 interrupted international travel plans for 2020, many of us are looking forward to our river cruise in August 2021.

Affirmative action by Tauck’s Global Response Team was very much appreciated by this Tauck traveler impacted by the cancellations. Their updated travel policies were clear and well communicated. Prior to the public notice of my back to back reservations being cancelled I was contact by a Tauck representative. In a very professional manner I was informed with facts and options to consider. When I suggested an alternative option it was accepted and all cancellations and rebooking were confirmed by the end of business that day.

Recognizing Tauck’s highest priorities for the health and wellbeing of their guests and employees around the world, this Tauck traveler is confident that Tauck will continue to provide the “World’s Best” river cruise for 2021.

Updating the travel book that I prepared for this river cruise in 2020, I have already corrected the dates and minor changes in the itinerary provided by Tauck’s “Up Coming Tours” “Itinerary & Excursion Choices” provided online in my “Account Dashboard”.

Current plans include Air Transportation Austin, TX to Bucharest, Romania (AUS-AMS-OTP) requested through Tauck.

Early arrival hotel reservations by Tauck for 3 nights (Aug 13th, 14th & 15th) at the JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel and 1 night (Aug 28th) “Gift of Time” extended stay at the Ritz-Carlton, Budapest.

Prior to the Tauck Journey I plan to take the Sinaia & Peles Castle (Aug 14th) and the Targoviste, Vlad Tepes & Ceausescu (Aug 15th) tours on my own. During the Tauck Journey my shore excursion choices are Transylvania. Brasov & Bran Castle (Day 2), Belgrade City Tour (Day 8) and Discovering Buda (Day 12).

Your comments, concerns, questions, answers and response are welcomed.


  • Derek- I have taken that river cruise with Tauck. Traveling through the Iron Gates was the most spectacular scenery I have seen in any of my journeys. Enjoy!

  • Derek - Just curious, are you a solo traveler? Your itinerary sounds good to me, but would completely overwhelm my wife. Hope next years trips don't get cancelled.

  • Smiling Sam:

    Yes, I am a solo traveler.

    Retired with nothing but time to travel or volunteer.

    Prefer back to back and extended trips.

  • Derek:

    I took this River Cruise Tour in 2016, only in the other direction starting from Budapest. You are going to love this Tour. It is fascinating. I loved the location of the Ritz Carlton in Budapest. Great walking city, pedestrian friendly and very central to restaurants, stores, etc. The Buda Sightseeing Tour was excellent and the Hospital in the Rock was fascinating. Our Tour to the Fisherman's Bastion didn't go very well as it was pouring down rain and our City Guide (not a Tauck Guide) just told us to meet at a specific point on the grounds afterwards and suggested we make a run towards the inside of the Bastion. The only problem is that it started to flood in there and most of us got separated from our Guide. I had to hoist myself up on one of the walls near the entrance to get out of the floodwaters going down the steps as did most of the people in there. It was rather scary. I saw our City Guide running down the steps ahead of the cascade of water , just watching out for herself. She wasn't a very good guide and I let Tauck know about it, along with many others. Hopefully, this wouldn't happen again.

    If you have extra time in Budapest at the end of the Tour, I would highly recommend taking a walk from the Hotel to view "The Shoes on the Danube Bank" which is a memorial by Gyula Pauer to honor the Jews who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during WW II. They were ordered to take off their shoes and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away. The memorial represents their shoes that were left behind on the bank. The sculptor created sixty pairs of period-appropriate shoes out of iron. You can google it to get more information. It was very emotional. The monument is located on the Pest side of the Danube Promenade in line with where Zoltan Street would meet the Danube if it continued that far, about 1000 feet south of the Hungarian Parliament and near the Hungarian Academy of Scienes; between Roosevelt Square and Kossuth square. (I saved the directions).

    The JW Marriott Bucharest is a nice Hotel, however, not pedestrian friendly as in Budapest. I took the Targoviste Tour offered by Tauck, it was very interesting and I enjoyed the Ruins. I found the Ceausescu portion of the tour quite fascinating. I also enjoyed the Belgrade Tour very much. The Dinner at The Palace of Parliament was amazing, you will have a short tour of some of the rooms and be able to go out to the Balacony which looks over the City and where Ceausescu made his speeches to the people.

    When you arrive in Serbia, if you have an opportunity to walk thru the town of Novi Sad after dinner, do so. It was a wonderful opportunity to wander the streets and take in the local scene, including viewing The Cathedral and Public Buildings all lit up. When I went, there were street musicians and we enjoyed some ice cream at a local shop.

    I think the only Tour I wasn't thrilled with was the Ruse City tour in Bulgaria. I made a note in my booklet that it was so, so and could of skipped it, although the Tour Guide was very good.

    If you have any other questions, I would be happy to assist.

  • We did Budapest to Amsterdam last year and found Budapest very interesting. Truly a mix of architectural styles. On our own we toured the Great Synagogue. So unique and worth the time. Also rode the team along the river from the parliament to the great market. Cheap ride.

    We had great weather for the Bastion but a couple thousand tourists blocking the walkway to take photos.

    Our hotel was the Intercontinental - probably not as nice as the Ritz - but everyone had river view rooms. Awesome.

  • travel maven


    I took this River Cruise Tour in 2016, only in the other direction starting from Budapest. You are going to love this Tour. It is fascinating. I loved the location of the Ritz Carlton in Budapest.

    Just be careful they don't put you up in the Carleton, on the Buda side of the river- not up to Tauck standards! :D:D:D

  • Thank you, Bob Burch, Smiling Sam, travel marven, BKMD, Claudia Sails and AlanS for your response, questions and comments.

    The river cruise through Romanian’s spectacular Kazan Narrows and the Iron Gates of the Danube and the Transylvanian Alps should be an enjoyable relaxing day as we sail along the Serbian / Romanian border. I can picture it now, seated in the Panorama Lounge sampling glasses of Serbian and Romanian wine, or on the Sun Deck with a cold glass of the finest local craft beers, and just taking in the nearby and distant views of the natural wonders of this part of Europe as observed from any deck of our Tauck riverboat.

    Your suggestions and recommendations of things to do while in Bucharest and Budapest, as while as stops along the Danube, is very much appreciated by this Tauck solo traveler. The “Shoes on the Danube Bank”, Neri Sad in Serbia, Great Synagogue in Budapest and the 1/2 star Carlton Hotel on the Buda side are on my list of things to do and places not to stay.

    You may have noticed that I have extra nights in Bucharest and Budapest. Basically I will be at the JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel from August 13th through August 18th including 3 extra days of sightseeing in Romania on my own and 2 days of sightseeing with Tauck. In addition to the two day tours mentioned before, my plans are to focus (Aug 16th) on Bucharest sights not included in the Tauck tour. When we arrive in Budapest we have 2 days and nights in Budapest with the Tauck tour. Then 1 night (Aug 28th) “Gift of Time” extended stay at the Ritz-Carlton giving me an extra day of sightseeing in Budapest.

    However, my transfer at the end of my Black Sea journey is not to the train station or airport but to the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest for Tauck’s river cruise of Aug 31st to Sep 11th 2021 - Blue Danube Budapest to Prague via MS Savor. With an extra night (Aug 29th) and “Gift of Time” (Aug 30th) I will be in Budapest August 26th through September 2nd with a total of 4 extra days sightseeing on my own to visit those parts of Budapest not included in my back to back Tauck river cruises.

    This Tauck solo traveler looks forward to hearing form those who have traveled with Tauck in the past, travelers registered for this specific river cruise, 1st time Tauck guests, and travelers considering traveling with Tauck in the future.

    Your comments, concerns, questions, answers and response are welcomed.

  • Dear Derek, I love all your plans, amazing. As you may have read, I am definitely the pessimist right now. Unless things change, you won’t be drinking in the Panorama lounge and things like that, haven’t the river boats closed as much of the communal areas as possible? I’m thinking Tauck could cancel cruises next year too, I’m not sure guest want to travel where there is a possibility they may have to eat meals in their rooms and many other inconveniences.
    I do so hope I am wrong, but my scientist and drug specialist hubby and I don’t think so.

  • Derek I also took that cruise in 2017 starting in Budapest, you will love it, I also booked some of the tours on my own so that I could see all that was offered by Tauck. I'm booked for a river cruise in April 2021 and feel very hopeful and optimistic about it.

  • I forgot to mention one other suggestion when in Budapest. I don't see a visit to the Central Market Hall on the Pest Side of the City on your particular Tour. It is listed on the Eastbound Tour. Regardless, if Tauck does provide a visit to the Central Market Hall , they just give you an overview and only 15 minutes to wander on your own. I love visiting Markets wherever I travel so I would suggest you visit the Market on your own or if your Tour for the day ends there, just stay on and take your time walking around and enjoying a bite to eat, there are many wonderful food stalls with all sorts of tempting dishes. I can't remember how far the Market is from the Hotel, however, you can always hail a cab to get back to the hotel.

  • edited June 2020

    Derek, as I noted above, we did the Budapest to Amsterdam cruise last year and I wrote a long post about our experience. One of the things we did on our own was a Viator private tour of the Danube Bend. It had some interesting stops.

  • I’m an optimist. I think you will have a great trip next year. And I plan on being in Antarctica next January. This year I will be in Yosemite in July. And, I will be in Hawaii in October with the whole family at the Hale Koa.

  • 67 days out and I am optimist that my 3 back to back journeys are a go.

    Received an email from Tauck today that final payment is now due 30 days before my August 16th Black Sea to Budapest River Cruise departure.

    Called Tauck and confirmed that my Tauck air reservations would not be booked until July 16th and could be changed at the current rates or cancelled without penalties.

    No updates today regarding my August 29th Adriatic Treasures: Croatia-Venice journey, or my September 12th Switzerland: Europe's Crown Jewel journey.

    Today I also participated in a town hall meeting with the American Camp Association and the Center for Disease Control regarding current Covid19 standards for youth camps (Similar to Schools and Cruise Ships). Noted that current CDC recommendations apply to all camps operating during the summer of 2021. Currently I am assisting 1 day camp as a team leader and van driver, and 2 resident camps as their lead visitor for accreditation.

    Regarding questions asked on this forum recently, it was noted today that if 1 camper in a cohort group test positive for Covid19 then that person is immediately placed in isolation, and all members of the cohort group are placed in quarantine for 10-14 days depending on age including the vaccinated counselors.

  • Derek, your plans sound fabulous. I’m a former Austinite, now living in Colorado. We are booked for Tauck’s England, Scotland and Wales, and Grand Australia and New Zealand for 2022. Since things are opening up, we decided to explore something for Fall 2021. We have a Viking credit from a cancelled Alaska cruise, so asked our TA to check out their Amsterdam-Budapest cruise and any restrictions for it. The Viking rep told her that at present, masks were still required in common areas and that you had to be on one of the scheduled excursions in order to leave the boat. Those restrictions, along with some of the same concerns Mr. British has made us decide to stick with the U.S. (Maybe Utah parks and Broadway) for 2021. Don’t know if the same things will apply for Tauck and I hope your trip turns out as great as it sounds.

  • Derek,

    Three back-to-back tours. How wonderful! Please be sure to post comments. Travel safely.

  • If I could recommend two delightful historical fiction WW 2 books about Bucharest that I found delightful: The Girl They Left Behind and When the Summer was Ours. Both authored by Roxanne Veletzos who was born and raised in Bucharest and now resides in the SF Bay Area. The entire Tauck post above had references to those two books. WW2 historical fiction is my genre.

  • So does anyone know if Westbound cruise Bucharest to Budapest in May is being discussed

  • Hello. Checking in to see if anyone here is on May 20 Black Sea to Budapest. If so, any comments? Thanks.

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