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Cruises to Bucharest

Bucharest (Photo:Augustin Lazaroiu/Shutterstock)

About Bucharest

The word on Bucharest is that it's ugly, gritty, grimy -- and parts of it are. But don't make do with first impressions. As our guide aptly put it: "New-old-beautiful-ugly. This is what Bucharest is."

Energetic, hectic and just two decades out of Communist rule, this textured capital city of 2.2 million people is an acquired taste, and it's still in the process of defining itself. Just as Romania has been touted as the New Italy, Bucharest is being hailed as a sophisticated but less pricey alternative to Budapest and Belgrade.

The overarching signature of Bucharest today is the intersection of Communism and capitalism: Buses carrying tourists routinely pull up to the massive Palace of Parliament, built by Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu as a tribute to himself. (More than one-sixth of the city was leveled to accommodate his indulgence.) The endless grey blocks of apartments that rose during Communist times are still in evidence, but so are outlets for Ferrari and Maserati, Hard Rock Cafe, ING, Starbucks and McDonald's. And the national sense of humor that Romanians quietly relied upon to help them survive Ceausescu's dictatorship is out in the open now. Locals, for instance, call the Judicial Ministry "the laundry": where politicians go in dirty and come out clean.

Located between the Carpathian foothills and the Danube River, Bucharest in its golden age -- the late 19th and early 20th centuries -- was known throughout Europe as "Little Paris." Royals ruled at the time, and the city was famous for its elegant architecture, grand thoroughfares and cultural elite. There are still some gorgeous neo-Classical buildings that date back to Bucharest's heyday, but World War II bombings and two earthquakes altered much of the skyline.

A member of the European Union since 2007, modern-day Bucharest is trying hard to regain its fallen stature as a European capital. In a recent travel piece in The Guardian, the British newspaper calls Bucharest "Paris eaten then spat out." Get real. Bucharestians make no apologies for their city -- and they shouldn't. Just like its residents, it's a place with a big personality and a huge heart.

With its elegant, historic city center, emerging cafe society, architectural high points and proximity to lovely Transylvania, Bucharest has a lot to offer tourists. That is why many companies book their Danube River cruise passengers on Bucharest (and nearby Transylvania) pre- or post-trips, even though passengers, depending on their itineraries, will embark or disembark their river ships in Ruse, Bulgaria, a few hours away. Buses transport them between Bucharest and the Danube. Ruse, for its part, has little to recommend it.


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  • 15 Night
    Cruise to Bucharest

    Leaving:
    Nuremberg
    Visiting:
    Regensburg, Passau ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Emerald Waterways
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    15 Night Cruise to Bucharest Route (Emerald Waterways)
    • Day 1
      Nuremberg
    • Day 2
      Regensburg
    • Day 3
      Passau
    • Day 3
      Salzburg
    • Day 4
      Melk
    • Day 5
      Vienna
    • Day 6
      Bratislava
    • Day 7
      Budapest
    • Day 8
      Budapest
    • Day 9
      Kalocsa
    • Day 10
      Osijek
    • Day 11
      Belgrade
    • Day 12
      Donji Milanovac
    • Day 12
      Golubac
    • Day 13
      Vidin
    • Day 14
      Veliko Tarnovo
    • Day 15
      Bucharest
    • Day 15
      Giurgiu
    • Day 16
      Bucharest
    Ship Details

    Emerald Sun - Emerald Waterways

    Pros

    Modern design in public areas and cabins, enclosed indoor pool, included gratuities

    Cons

    Perfunctory service; lackluster dining

    Bottom Line

    A good value with a contemporary feel, moderate inclusions and a casual, friendly atmosphere

    Reviews

    Emerald Sun Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.0/5
    Cabins4.5
    Dining4.0
    Service4.0
    Value4.5

    Since its launch in 2013, Emerald Waterways has built a reputation for value river cruising on ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    Cruiser Gil
    Sail Date Oct 2019
    Expensive but food lacking
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    DTOR
    Sail Date Oct 2019
    Entertaining and Educational
    Read More
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  • 8 Night
    Cruise to Bucharest

    Leaving:
    Bucharest
    Visiting:
    Bucharest, Giurgiu ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Emerald Waterways
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    8 Night Cruise to Bucharest Route (Emerald Waterways)
    • Day 1
      Bucharest
    • Day 2
      Bucharest
    • Day 2
      Giurgiu
    • Day 3
      Veliko Tarnovo
    • Day 4
      Vidin
    • Day 5
      Donji Milanovac
    • Day 6
      Belgrade
    • Day 7
      Osijek
    • Day 8
      Kalocsa
    • Day 9
      Budapest
    Ship Details

    Emerald Destiny - Emerald Waterways

    Star-Ship design features heated pool with retractable roof

    Line offers inclusions at a reasonable fare

    Bikes onboard as well as active excursions

    Reviews

    Emerald Destiny Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    0.0/5

    Emerald Destiny -- one of Emerald Waterways fleet of "Star Ships" -- has been sailing on the Da...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    debrariley
    Sail Date Jul 2019
    Basel to Amsterdam Rhine River Cruise
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    harperlewis
    Sail Date Jul 2019
    Emerald Star- Bucharest to Budapest
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  • 9 Night
    Cruise to Bucharest

    Leaving:
    Budapest
    Visiting:
    Budapest, Batna ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    9 Night Cruise to Bucharest Route (Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection)
    • Day 1
      Budapest
    • Day 2
      Budapest
    • Day 3
      Batna
    • Day 4
      Belgrade
    • Day 5
      Golubac
    • Day 6
      Vidin
    • Day 7
      Ruse
    • Day 8
      Giurgiu
    • Day 9
      Bucharest
    • Day 10
      Bucharest
    Ship Details

    S.S. Beatrice - Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

    Pros

    2018 makeover elevated ship to a higher level of luxury with additional venues

    Cons

    Some excursions involve long drives and large groups

    Bottom Line

    Superb service, dining, decor and activities ensure a highly pleasing experience

    Reviews

    S.S. Beatrice Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    5.0/5
    Cabins5.0
    Dining5.0
    Service5.0
    Value5.0

    Beatrice is the first vessel to be converted into one of Uniworld's signature "Super Ships," a ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    katmachine
    Sail Date Dec 2019
    Not Value for money
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    lynettejenkins
    Sail Date Oct 2019
    Loved Fall on the Danube
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  • 9 Night
    Cruise to Bucharest

    Leaving:
    Budapest
    Visiting:
    Budapest, Batna ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    9 Night Cruise to Bucharest Route (Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection)
    • Day 1
      Budapest
    • Day 2
      Budapest
    • Day 3
      Batna
    • Day 4
      Belgrade
    • Day 5
      Golubac
    • Day 6
      Vidin
    • Day 7
      Ruse
    • Day 8
      Giurgiu
    • Day 9
      Bucharest
    • Day 10
      Bucharest
    Ship Details

    S.S. Beatrice - Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

    Pros

    2018 makeover elevated ship to a higher level of luxury with additional venues

    Cons

    Some excursions involve long drives and large groups

    Bottom Line

    Superb service, dining, decor and activities ensure a highly pleasing experience

    Reviews

    S.S. Beatrice Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    5.0/5
    Cabins5.0
    Dining5.0
    Service5.0
    Value5.0

    Beatrice is the first vessel to be converted into one of Uniworld's signature "Super Ships," a ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    djbarnes
    Sail Date Jul 2019
    Small ship, big price, big excursion groups, poorly organized
    Read More
    Worldtraveler2013
    Sail Date Jun 2019
    Another River Cruise Turned into a Bus Tour
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  • 24 Night
    Cruise to Bucharest

    Leaving:
    Bucharest
    Visiting:
    Bucharest, Brasov ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    APT
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    24 Night Cruise to Bucharest Route (APT)
    • Day 1
      Bucharest
    • Day 2
      Bucharest
    • Day 2
      Brasov
    • Day 3
      Brasov
    • Day 4
      Brasov
    • Day 4
      Bucharest
    • Day 5
      Bucharest
    • Day 5
      Ruse
    • Day 6
      Ruse
    • Day 6
      Vidin
    • Day 7
      Vidin
    • Day 7
      Cruising (Iron Gates)
    • Day 8
      Cruising (Iron Gates)
    • Day 8
      Novi Sad
    • Day 9
      Novi Sad
    • Day 9
      Kalocsa
    • Day 10
      Kalocsa
    • Day 10
      Budapest
    • Day 11
      Budapest
    • Day 12
      Budapest
    • Day 13
      Budapest
    • Day 13
      Vienna
    • Day 14
      Vienna
    • Day 15
      Vienna
    • Day 15
      Durnstein (Krems)
    • Day 16
      Durnstein (Krems)
    • Day 16
      Passau
    • Day 17
      Passau
    • Day 17
      Regensburg
    • Day 18
      Regensburg
    • Day 18
      Nuremberg
    • Day 19
      Nuremberg
    • Day 19
      Bamberg
    • Day 20
      Bamberg
    • Day 20
      Wurzburg
    • Day 21
      Wurzburg
    • Day 21
      Miltenberg
    • Day 22
      Miltenberg
    • Day 22
      Rudesheim
    • Day 23
      Rudesheim
    • Day 23
      Cologne
    • Day 24
      Cologne
    • Day 24
      Amsterdam
    • Day 25
      Amsterdam
    Ship Details

    AmaVerde (APT) - APT

    Pros

    Great staff-to-guest ratio, excellent food and superb off-ship touring

    Cons

    Quality of wines, while adequate, could be improved

    Bottom Line

    A well-designed ship offering wonderful curated journeys through Central Europe

    Reviews

    AmaVerde (APT) Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.5/5
    Cabins4.5
    Dining5.0
    Service5.0
    Value4.5

    APT's Amaverde is one of the Concerto river ships that cruise the Rhine and Danube rivers and t...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    Johnclaude
    Sail Date Oct 2019
    10/10
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    Ship of FaultyTowers
    Sail Date Jul 2018
    Ship of Faulty Towers
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  • 17 Night
    Cruise to Bucharest

    Leaving:
    Prague
    Visiting:
    Prague, Budapest ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    APT
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    17 Night Cruise to Bucharest Route (APT)
    • Day 1
      Prague
    • Day 2
      Prague
    • Day 3
      Prague
    • Day 4
      Prague
    • Day 4
      Budapest
    • Day 5
      Budapest
    • Day 5
      Bratislava
    • Day 6
      Bratislava
    • Day 6
      Vienna
    • Day 7
      Vienna
    • Day 7
      Budapest
    • Day 8
      Budapest
    • Day 8
      Mohacs
    • Day 9
      Mohacs
    • Day 9
      Belgrade
    • Day 10
      Belgrade
    • Day 10
      Cruising (Iron Gates)
    • Day 11
      Cruising (Iron Gates)
    • Day 11
      Bucharest
    • Day 12
      Bucharest
    • Day 12
      Ruse
    • Day 13
      Ruse
    • Day 13
      Vidin
    • Day 14
      Vidin
    • Day 14
      Cruising (Iron Gates)
    • Day 15
      Cruising (Iron Gates)
    • Day 15
      Novi Sad
    • Day 16
      Novi Sad
    • Day 16
      Kalocsa
    • Day 17
      Kalocsa
    • Day 17
      Budapest
    • Day 18
      Budapest
    Ship Details

    AmaVerde (APT) - APT

    Pros

    Great staff-to-guest ratio, excellent food and superb off-ship touring

    Cons

    Quality of wines, while adequate, could be improved

    Bottom Line

    A well-designed ship offering wonderful curated journeys through Central Europe

    Reviews

    AmaVerde (APT) Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.5/5
    Cabins4.5
    Dining5.0
    Service5.0
    Value4.5

    APT's Amaverde is one of the Concerto river ships that cruise the Rhine and Danube rivers and t...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    Boaterlady
    Sail Date Jul 2018
    An enjoyable trip even though we've done it before
    Read More
    Flicky
    Sail Date Jun 2018
    Terrific
    Read More
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  • 10 Night
    Cruise to Bucharest

    Leaving:
    Bucharest
    Visiting:
    Giurgiu, Silistra ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Scenic
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    10 Night Cruise to Bucharest Route (Scenic)
    • Day 1
      Bucharest
    • Day 2
      Giurgiu
    • Day 3
      Silistra
    • Day 4
      Ruse
    • Day 5
      Cruising
    • Day 6
      Belgrade
    • Day 7
      Osijek
    • Day 8
      Kalocsa
    • Day 9
      Budapest
    • Day 10
      Budapest
    • Day 11
      Budapest
    Ship Details

    Scenic Ruby - Scenic

    Pros

    Gratuities, booze, excursions and butlers all included in fare

    Cons

    Spotty Wi-Fi, slow room service with limited menu

    Bottom Line

    Unlimited free beverages, butlers and no tipping = relaxing way to see Europe

    Reviews

    Scenic Ruby Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    5.0/5
    Cabins4.0
    Dining4.0
    Service5.0
    Value5.0

    Part of the popular Space Ship series, Scenic Ruby is an upscale, luxury vessel with clean, mod...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    livingevenbetter
    Sail Date Aug 2019
    Crazy wonderful Cruise...Scenic is the best
    Read More
    Ricky Hope
    Sail Date Aug 2019
    Amazing five star cruise
    Read More
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  • 8 Night
    Cruise to Bucharest

    Leaving:
    Budapest
    Visiting:
    Kalocsa, Osijek ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Emerald Waterways
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    8 Night Cruise to Bucharest Route (Emerald Waterways)
    • Day 1
      Budapest
    • Day 2
      Kalocsa
    • Day 3
      Osijek
    • Day 4
      Belgrade
    • Day 5
      Donji Milanovac
    • Day 5
      Golubac
    • Day 6
      Vidin
    • Day 7
      Veliko Tarnovo
    • Day 8
      Bucharest
    • Day 8
      Giurgiu
    • Day 9
      Bucharest
    Ship Details

    Emerald Dawn - Emerald Waterways

    Contemporary ship with a friendly vibe

    Swimming pool that converts into a movie theater

    Value for money fares

    Reviews

    Emerald Dawn Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    0.0/5

    The 182-passenger Emerald Dawn is one of Emerald Waterways signature "Star Ships." Emerald...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    SoCal Retiree
    Sail Date Aug 2019
    Great First Cruise Experience
    Read More
    Ianmpartridge
    Sail Date Oct 2019
    Superb cruise
    Read More
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  • 8 Night
    Cruise to Bucharest

    Leaving:
    Budapest
    Visiting:
    Kalocsa, Osijek ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Emerald Waterways
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    Itinerary

    Cruise Itinerary

    8 Night Cruise to Bucharest Route (Emerald Waterways)
    • Day 1
      Budapest
    • Day 2
      Kalocsa
    • Day 3
      Osijek
    • Day 4
      Belgrade
    • Day 5
      Donji Milanovac
    • Day 5
      Golubac
    • Day 6
      Vidin
    • Day 7
      Veliko Tarnovo
    • Day 8
      Bucharest
    • Day 8
      Giurgiu
    • Day 9
      Bucharest
    Ship Details

    Emerald Sun - Emerald Waterways

    Pros

    Modern design in public areas and cabins, enclosed indoor pool, included gratuities

    Cons

    Perfunctory service; lackluster dining

    Bottom Line

    A good value with a contemporary feel, moderate inclusions and a casual, friendly atmosphere

    Reviews

    Emerald Sun Reviews

    Cruise Critic Editor Ratings
    Overall
    4.0/5
    Cabins4.5
    Dining4.0
    Service4.0
    Value4.5

    Since its launch in 2013, Emerald Waterways has built a reputation for value river cruising on ...

    Cruise Critic Member Ratings
    Maxine.noble
    Sail Date Sep 2019
    When can I afford another
    Read More
    Janeblandford
    Sail Date Aug 2019
    Well planned excursions with well informed guides
    Read More
    Cabin Comparison

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  • 8 Night
    Cruise to Bucharest

    Leaving:
    Budapest
    Visiting:
    Kalocsa, Osijek ... see more
    Cruise Line:
    Scenic