Danube River cruise tours are popular, and we are just back from a fabulous one, cruising from Passau, Germany to Budapest Hungary. What a great trip! We sailed on Uniworld’s River Beatrice, and she is one beautiful ship! One of the finer river cruise ships, River Beatrice was inaugurated in 2009. However, it was so fresh and lovely, you would have thought it was yesterday when they brought her out for her debut.
The crew was so personable when we arrived a bit tired. Our Hotel Manager and Cruise Master were waiting for us with a glass of wine and a light snack as we boarded the ship. They introduced themselves and let us know that if there was anything they could do to make our vacation better they would. Well we didn’t have to ask them, but they truly did make our vacation wonderful. Anytime you had a question or needed something they were right there! We went on this river cruise with another couple, friends of ours from Arizona, Penny & Jimmy. They are really a hoot and great to travel with. The dinners were great and we enjoyed the free-flowing wine or beer with dinner nightly. This is yet another thing that our cruise agency loves about Uniworld river cruises.
Onboard the highlights included the local entertainment, from Austrians, Germans to Hungarians. They provided different styles of folk dancing and music, from classical to pop. The house entertainer was “Zoltan,” who was fun, had a good voice, and was very accommodating to the guests.
Another highlight for us was was dining with the Captain one evening. He was probably the most friendly and fun Captains I have run into after many years in the cruise business. We were treated like onboard royalty and did not want for anything. After a long day we hit the hay and slept; and we slept great! The beds were amazing and so comfy! I had no trouble sleeping the entire trip.
Passau, Germany is where many of the Danube river tours begin. It is an adorable town, considered one of Bavaria’s oldest cities. It avoided the bombing during World War II, so the old church is still there with the world largest pipe organ. We later enjoyed a concert there (included for river cruise guests). The town itself was just cuter than cute, with cobblestone streets and lots of beautiful pansies in flower boxes. Passau is one of the most adorable cities I have seen.
We headed down river to our next stop, Linz, which is an hour and a half north of Salzburg. It was pouring that day and I am sure we would have had a different view of Salzburg if it hadn’t rained so hard. Charming and sweet, but cold and raining. Salzburg is one of the best preserved city centers north of the Alps. It was very easy to get around the city. I did get a huge soft pretzel in the market -- yumo!!!
Our guide in Salzburg was not a big fan of the Sound of Music, but I am. Even so, there were several places during our visit where we could just see Julie Andrews followed by the Von Trapp children running thru the Mirabel Garten.
We set sail to Melk Abbey, It was lovely, with lots of beautiful art and a fabulous view over the small own below. It started out as a Roman post and was handed over to the Benedictine Monks in the 11th century. Melk is now a charming little cobblestone town. We went on the Durnstein that day, which I thought was even cuter, it is about 1 or 2 blocks long and we were able to walk to and from the ship into town. So adorable! We also enjoyed a wine tasting at Domain Wachau winery (included). I am not a huge fan of German/ Austrian wines as I prefer full-bodied reds, but we had a lot of fun. The cellars there were really cool. Love wineries!!!!
Now on to Vienna! Loved it there!!!! Uniworld is doing a great job on their included shore excursions. They have two choices and a slower walking group, so everyone is happy. We chose the Vienna as the Viennese do “choice tour”… Awesome! We did a short city tour in the bus and debarked for a fun walking tour. We went to a Vienna Coffee shop for coffee. Yum! And then on to to a sausage stand to sample the most delicious sausages ever. We trekked thru the Jewish Ghetto, where several of us were visibly moved after seeing the Holocaust monument there. After this we needed some wine, and went to a really cool wine bar before heading back to the ship via the underground. Wonderful alternative excursion!
In Budapest we did the city tour; you will love the Central Market, the Parliament and Castle Hill. We went to Hero’s Square and played around there for a while. We really enjoyed Budapest and would return there in a heartbeat.
All in all we had a wonderful time, loved Uniworld, loved our friends and I just love River cruises! This is the hottest way of cruising and I am finding so many more people loving it!