First time with Tauck, April 2023

My wife and I will take our first river cruise with Tauck in Apr 2023. I visited the Balkan areas years ago but it was as a Marine and the area was at war. I truly want to see how things have changed for the better. We will be on the MS Savor and doing the before and after stays in Budapest and Bucharest. Other than the early 90s neither my wife or I have visited this area and we are excited to see and taste it. I am looking for any advise for a first timer, what clothes to take, sites to see, tours to take, etc. If anyone is on the same tour please let me know as well.


  • Trent, there is a wealth of knowledge on this forum in older threads (especially what clothing). Best advice is to read thru loads of older threads for this cruise, any other cruise that includes Budapest (we did the Budapest to Amsterdam cruise in 2019 and I wrote a long review), and river cruises in general.

  • Trent: I agree with Claudia. The older posts have a wealth of information. Try those first and if you still have questions, feel free to post them. I took this cruise with Tauck in 2016 and it remains one of my favorite all time European Cruises. It is a definite winner. The one thing I will say is that Budapest is a wonderful "walk around" type City with many sights, cafes and shops; whereas Bucharest is not pedestrian friendly. In Bucharest you will need transportation if you wish to see things on your own. One thing I do recommend seeing in Budapest is the "Shoes on the Danube Banks" Memorial located on the Pest side of the Danube. You can "google" it on the Internet for information. The walk from the Hotel is relatively short. We stayed at the Ritz Carlton in 2016 and it appears the same Hotel is used on the current tours.

  • Yes, I agree with both commentaries. There is no reason to pre-stay in Bucharest if that is what you were considering. I’ve been to Budapest a few times, and it is a wonderful city.

  • Trent, we are on the April 21st start in Budapest for this tour. We've been on several Tauck riverboats mostly on the northern Belgium, Holland, Germany and Switzerland routes. Never been to any of these countries, so looking forward to vising new places. We arrive in Budapest a day early and need to plan our day vs. what Tauck will be doing on our city tour.

  • edited December 2022

    We did the Tauck Balkans land tour a while back. I was surprised at how nice things were, especially after the war.

    Budapest is a very interesting city - it would be a place to spend a couple of days. When I was there, prices were fairly cheap. May be more expensive now.


  • We are traveling there April 27. I too, am researching appropriate clothing if anyone finds something helpful.

  • edited January 5

    Jane Russell
    January 4>
    We are traveling there April 27. I too, am researching appropriate clothing if anyone finds something helpful.

    If you are talking appropriate for the weather- we did Blue Danube, eastbound 12 - 23 April 2018. All that was needed off the ship was a light jacket or light fleece/puffer vest. The weather was wonderful- the last stretch of our cruise to Budapest was actually warmer, and since your trip from Budapest through southern Hungary, between Romania and Bulgaria to the Black Sea is even further south, it should be even warmer. Spring will be in full bloom! You can check out the historical weather for various cities along way using WeatherSpark.

    You can see typical excursion attire on those in the photo below which was taken in Cesky Krumlov on April 12. The clothing during excursions was similar throughout the tour. I don't know if our weather was unusual or typical for that time of year. Best to check WeatherSpark.

    As far as style appropriate for the venue and travelers- check out the forum archives for your trip in the list to the right of this page ( Danube > Budapest to the Black Sea Forum ) or just follow this link: River boat cruises are getting more casual. Many of the men on our 2018 cruise wore jackets, but many of those did not wear ties to dinners at fancy venues like the Welcome Dinner at Lobkowicz Palace, part of the Prague Castle complex, the special dinner at Palais Pallavicini in Vienna, and the Farewell Dinner at the Academy Club in Budapest. The women were dressed in matching style, but as I said, you can read about that in older forum posts.

  • My husband doesn't bother with a sport jacket anymore unless there is a special dinner at a special location i.e. not on board the ship or the Tauck hotel. He does pack at least one long sleeve dress shirt, a tie and a nice v-neck sweater.

    I've noticed on several tours that the first night Welcome dinner you see the maximum number of jackets/ties then on the final dinner the number drops way down as guys figure out they don't need to bother.

    Hot weather also minimizes the number bothering to wear jackets.

    For women - most bring a nice pair of dress slacks, 2-3 tops to go with and some dressy accessories/shoes. Some wear dresses but mostly those who just like to wear dresses. Either mode is just fine.

    Being able to adjust to the weather is WAY more important. I've never had a bad day because I wasn't dressed up enough but have had several when I was too cold, too wet or too hot to enjoy the excursions.

  • Thank you Claudia,
    Found your comments to be most helpful. Now I know. Bottom line, I’ll be on vacation, comfort over fashion. I like the Sails plan!

  • We are on the April 27th tour between Bucharest and Budapest and I’m having a little bit of concern about clothing as well. Claudia states she’s been too cold, too wet, or too hot on trips. That leads me to think we need light wraps at night, and a jacket, puffer vest, and, or, sweater, during the day. We need play clothes, jeans, shorts, sturdy walking shoes, etc. for the day and A little nicer pants or dresses for the evenings and 1 little nicer outfit for the fancier dinners and welcome party. How someone manages all that in 1 pair of dress slacks and 2 blouses is beyond my comprehension at the moment

  • You shouldn't need shorts on that trip at that time of the year. Maybe 1 pair of jeans and one or 2 other day-time pants. You can get light-weight pants from LL Bean or Columbia (or many other shops). You won't need both a jacket and a puffer vest. I'd definitely bring a sweater and a light jacket or fleece. I have a puffy jacket that is warm when zipped up, but extremely light when unzipped. It's so versatile and takes up very little room (and adds very little weight) in a suitcase. One or two pants for evening with which you can wear multiple tops -- including at the welcome dinner. Scarves can dress up black pants and a black top. You can wear the same outfit multiple times. No one cares what you wear. By the way, I always travel with foldable plastic coat hangers that I use to hang up clothing that I hand-wash in the sink. Please post a review of your trip. It's one that I'm considering taking.

  • Kathy, my packing advice covers personal experience after 5 river cruises and 4 land tours in different climates and times of year. The point being not to go overboard (as I did on our first cruise) with dressy outfits. On that first cruise I got rained on in Paris and Provence in July. Thankfully had slipped in an Eddie Bauer rain/windbreaker into the outer pocket of my suitcase thinking no way I'd need it. You need to do a weather check at both ends of your tour to decide on things like coats, shorts, etc.

    Mostly I pack 1 pair of nice slacks for evening and 2-3 tops to go with it. Most of the time I wear the same thing to dinner I wore during the day with just a change of shoes. For day touring I often wear casual slacks (rayon/nylon/spandex blend) and a top that isn't dressy but isn't athletic wear or logo Tshirts. You can also wear capris to dinner. Nice jeans are generally fine. I just don't normally pack them due to weight. It can be cool on the sundeck especially in the evening so some sort of wrap like a large scarf or a sweater is useful.

    FYI, my packing for a 2 week trip is usually 6 pairs of pants, 8-10 tops of varied sleeve length, and 2-3 pairs of shoes. The pants are either all black or navy and all the tops except the dressiest ones will mix and match with the pants. Limiting pant colors means I don't need different shoes just to go with different colors.

    Best wishes on your cruise.

  • Your packing list is Really very similar to mine. For dress I am bringing 1 pair of Eileen Fischer cream dress pants, coat like top with a camisole underneath and 1 black Tahari sleeveless, mid calf length Lenin dress and 3 shawls to wear with it. It’s not particularly dressy and I’ve worn it for years on trips. Then for during the day, 1 pair Athleta black pant, 1 pair jeans and 1 pair white and 1 pair navy pants and 1 pair white shorts in case it’s really warm near the Black Sea and tops that go with all of the pants. Totally mix and match tops going from day to night when appropriate. 1 puffer vest, 1 sweatshirt that I am wearing on the long plane ride, and 1 white fleece that goes with everything. Bathing suit. I think I should throw in a raincoat? One that folds into a pouch, like the puffer vest.

  • I'd say yes on the rain coat. Sounds like the one that saved me in France.

    I've seen the Athleta pants online but we don't have a store here. I want to try them on.

  • I’m in Sicily at the moment and it’s cool, we are further south than you are going to be in just a week’s time. We have been wearing layers each day, starting with an outer puffer jacket but we carry a puffer vest for if it gets warmer. We wear long sleeve lightweight T shirts underneath. We switch them around all day…oh, and we carry packable rain jackets which we have also needed. ..
    … we are not odd and not particularly prone to being cold. The tour director does exactly the same and so do the two other very well traveled singles on the tour. We carry lightweight backpacks. Some other women are carrying hand held or shoulder bags but we like both hands free.

  • Sam, I think you're right. Their description of returns is cryptic with the words "prepaid return label" but in their FAQs it says that is free so I just might give them a chance.

    Lol, I'm only the Goddess of Amazon though most of our shipments come via the local post office. Personally doing my bit to keep our small rural P.O. in business.

  • I love the Athleta sport pants. They have zippered pockets that I use. Just order them in your regular size and you will be alright. Mine don’t “pill” and are thick enough for this old lady to be respectful. I just looked up the weather and we are going to need raincoats. Showers are predicted. Layers are going to be necessary.

  • I took a picture at Christmas time of all the Amazon trucks lined up down our street. There must of been 6 of them all at the same time!

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