Riverside Mozart, Treasures of the Danube, Eastbound

Riverside Luxury Cruises is a new name on Europe’s rivers providing luxury for mature river cruise travellers. 

“Best ship on the Danube,” announced one seasoned river cruise expert who had sailed on the luxury seven-night voyage from Vienna to Budapest to investigate this new company. As around 200 ships sail the Danube, there is plenty of choice of river cruises for the over 50s. 

The ship 

When Crystal went into liquidation, the Seaside Collection, renowned for their resorts, purchased five ships.

Riverside Mozart is a double width, all-suite butler-service ship that sails the through the castles, cathedrals, capital cities, operas, palaces, waltzes and wines of Austria, Hungary, and Slovenia. 

All that space gives room for a gym, spa, indoor pool and jacuzzi. Up on the Vista Deck there is a beach club ambience created by the bean bags, deck chairs, sun loungers and sun umbrellas. Guests also appreciate the self-service laundry for catching up with the washing. 

Although there is a serene atmosphere on board, announcements are kept to an absolute minimum, a dark wood library with a lush collection of glossy coffee-table publications, is the place for a relaxed hour of two. 

The suites 

Appropriately there is a soothing riverine theme to the suites’ decor with blues, browns, greys and greens. Pull back the curtains of the wide picture windows to reveal stunning views of one of the most beautiful stretches of the river. 

Twice a day our friendly cabin attendant calls in to refresh the all inclusive minibar, tea and coffee. 

In the larger suites, such as the penthouse suite, there is a bath as well as a shower. Push button-controlled lighting allows guests to set lighting through levels from “brilliant” to “relaxed”. 

Food and drink 

Many guests gather in the elegant Palm Court Lounge before dinner. A pianist plays jazz and light classical music on the Bösendorfer grand piano. 

Although the main Waterside Restaurant seats all of the ship’s 162 guests there are other options. At the stern, Blue serves light lunches and is open some evenings for dinner. The Bistro begins with breakfast and then offers snacks throughout the day. 

A pop-up grill, on the top deck, has Egg BBQs. Ask your butler to book lunch as the ship cruises through the vine-terraced slopes of the Wachau valley and for an evening BBQ as the lights of Budapest come on to illuminate Hungary’s grand capital.

A double-width galley helps Riverside to provide fine-dining. Everyday the chefs bake a variety of fresh breads, make fresh pasta, create an astounding variety of soups and provide exciting ice cream flavours. Wine waiters, trained by the Court of Master Sommeliers, are on hand to make recommendations for every course. 

Excursions 

Riverside’s policy is to keep excursion groups to a maximum of 15 guests wherever possible. Where transport is required, Riverside’s coaches are air-conditioned and exceptionally comfortable. 

After a drive and walking tour through Vienna’s grand imperial history, Riverside Mozart sails west into the Wachau Valley. We moor at the pretty cobbled village of Durnstein for wine tasting. But when a virus decimated the vines in the mid 19th century, the region shrewdly diversified into apricots. A coach drive takes us to the glittering Counter Reformation glory of Melk Monastery. 

Then there is a choice between exploring the riverside city of Linz or taking a two-hour drive, with a stop in Austria’s scenic Lake District, to Salzburg. The tour is dominated by The Sound of Music and Mozart. Neither are conventional stories. Salzburg was shocked when 23-year-old Maria married 47- year-old Captain Von Trapp.  Whilst Mozart, wanting to write opera rather than church music, left Salzburg for Vienna. 

Another day, another country and we arrive in Slovenia’s capital of Bratislava for afternoon beer tasting and stories of the Velvet Revolution and the subsequent Velvet Divorce from the Czech Republic. 

Heading into Hungary, on a scenic bend of the Danube we visit Esztergom and its huge basilica, before sailing into the night lights of Budapest. That gives us a day to explore both sides of the river, Buda and Pest. 

The highlight 

Concert in Vienna
Concert in Vienna

Whilst moored in Vienna, an after-dinner drive takes guests to the Upper Belvedere Palace. An after-hours private tour gives guests the time to appreciate an art collection that includes Klimt’s The Kiss. 

Then we are seated in the Marble Hall, where Prince Eugene kept his pet lion, for a concert from a small orchestra accompanied by a baritone and soprano. Appropriately it is a programme of Mozart, Strauss and Viennese classics. 

The final verdict 

Many mature river cruisers return and sometimes again, to sail the Danube between Vienna and Budapest. Now, Riverside Mozart, sails our favourite stretch of the Danube in unparalleled all-suite luxury.

Next steps

Seven-night Danube cruises on the Riverside Mozart begin from £1,356 per person for 2023. Visit Riverside Luxury Cruises to find out further information on all the voyages available.

Call our Silver Travel Advisors on 0800 412 5678 to book. 

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Michael Edwards

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