Saga has added four new river cruises to its 2016 programme with two ships exclusively hosting Saga guests. Single cabins come at no extra cost, *subject to availability, and there is a choice of UK regional departures, including Eurostar.
A two-night hotel stay on the peaceful Margitsziget Island offers a memorable start to the Budapest and the Scenic Vistas of the Danube cruise while the From Flanders to the Rhineland cruise features a new Saga port of call to the pretty Belgian town of Temse.
There are two new cruises on Rex Rheni; Treasures of Medieval Flanders and From Flanders to the Rhineland while Filia Rheni II will explore the tributaries of the Danube on the In the Wake of the Ottomans and Budapest and the Scenic Vistas of the Danube cruises. Both ships carry up to 151 passengers.
Here’s a snapshot of the four new cruises:
Treasures of Medieval Flanders
Rex Rheni will sail along Dutch waterways from Amsterdam to pretty Willemstad before arriving in Middelburg where the medieval town hall’s 55-metre belfry dominates its centre. In Ghent, guests can take a walking tour and visit St Bavo’s Cathedral with its Gothic nave and alterpiece, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by Jan van Eyck. Bruges awaits, a fairy tale town with an unspoilt market square and cobbled streets, museums, galleries, cafes and bars. Next, Antwerp, home to art treasures by the city’s famous son, Peter Paul Rubens. In Brussels, tour the historical centre and see the St Catherine area, St Goriks, Royal Galleries and Royal Square.
From Flanders to the Rhineland
From Brussels, sail to Temse, a maiden port, to explore the pretty town before visiting historic Antwerp and mooring at Dordrecht. Tour Kinderdijk with its 19 UNESCO-protected windmills and the next explore Arnhem to visit sites associated with the Second World War battle. Along the Rhine, highlights will include Bonn, Cloblenz and Cologne. An optional tour includes taking the rack-railway to the ruins of 12th castle of Drachenfels which was immortalised by Wagner in the third opera of his Ring Cycle.
In the Wake of the Ottomans
Depart from Budapest and sail to Vukovar, Croatia’s largest river port. This historic city was conquered by the Ottomans in 1526 and was part of their empire for more than 150 years. Sail on to Osijek, which boasts many well-preserved baroque buildings including the Tvrda, the Hapsburg-built citadel built to keep the Ottomans at bay. En-route to Belgrade pass the Iron Gates gorge and cruise to Sremska Mitrovica, an important former capital of the Roman Empire. Filia Rheni will berth in Mohács and there will be an optional visit to the Puszta to see a traditional display of Hungarian horsemanship. Budapest awaits with an optional tour of this fascinating city or visit the Great Market Hall on the Pest side of the river for some retail therapy.
Budapest and the Scenic Vistas of the Danube
A two-night stay in the Danubuis Health Spa Resort, on peaceful Margitsziget Island, makes for a relaxing base to explore Budapest before embarking on the cruise. Sail to Visegrad on the Danube Bend where there are remains of a Renaissance palace and medieval citadel, and on to Esztergom, with its artists’ quarter. The next port of call is the Slovakian capital of Bratislava before calling in to vibrant Vienna where there will be an option to attend a Strauss or Mozart concert. Sail on to UNESCO-protected Krems and along the scenic Wachau Valley to Linz to soak up the atmosphere of this former European Capital of Culture.