Danube River Cruise

Nov 10, 2015 Avatar Laurie White Laurie White

Although this river was the inspiration for Johann Strauss’s Austrian Waltz “The Blue Danube,” the Danube isn’t really blue. The river runs through ten countries, starting in Germany and ending in the Ukraine where it flows into the Black Sea.

I just returned from an amazing river cruise on AMA Waterways starting in Budapest, Hungary and sailing to Vilshofen, Germany.

I have a lot of favorite moments from this trip.

The AmaPrima is a delightful, new and crisp riverboat that creates a perfect blend of incredible service, meals, and accommodations. Ama prides itsself on providing a unique cruise experience — and they truly succeed.

Our trip began in romantic Budapest, a historical city that lights up at night with beautiful soft twinkling lights. The city is divided by the Danube into two distinct areas – Buda and Pest. A Danube river cruise is a most picturesque vacation. The hills are lush and green and spotted with remains of historical castles.

Did you know Mozart was born in Salzburg and played at the age of six for Empress Maria Theresa at Schonbrunn Palace? Or that Beethoven lived most of his life in Vienna and was deaf at the age of 26?

And I can’t forget St Michael’s Cathedral in Mondsee, where Maria and Captain Von Trapp were married! We also had the good fortune to see a 1st communion celebration here, complete with a marching band and all the church guests in dirndl’s and lederhosen!

To make this trip even more perfect I borrowed a bike from the AmaPrima and set out with a group of eight from Durnstein to Melk. This was a 23-mile journey on the bike trail that runs on both sides of the Danube.

Our journey took us thru 10 villages, some dating back to 800 AD – Durnstein, Weissenkirchen in der Wachau, Wosendorf in der Wachau, Spitz, Schwallenbach, Willendorf in der Wachau, Groisbach, Aggsbach, Grimsing, Shallemmersdorf, and finally Melk.

I remember seeing most of these names on signposts. The hillswere full of lush vineyards, stone castles, massive churches, narrow cobblestone streets, apple trees and corn fields. It was breathtaking!

Salzburg is a Baroque city, located where the Alps meet flat land. The city is full of beautiful cathedrals and home to the famous Salzburg music festival. Much of the movie “The Sound of Music” was filmed here.

On to Passau, or “City of Three Rivers,” because the Danube is joined at Passau by the Inn from the south and the Ilz from the north. As rumors have it, it is here if the light is right you can see the water is blue! As my time on the AmaPrima was drawing to a close,

I realize what a perfect trip this European river cruise was.