A celebratory Birthday year for me so a search for a special trip ensued. We decided to push the boat out on our first cruise along the River Danube which really was something special.
On arrival at Budapest we were speedily transferred to our boat which was docked opposite the beautiful Parliament building. Our 2 days here included an evening cruise to take in the City and many Bridges of Budapest illuminated. The following day we embarked on a coach and walking tour taking in many of the sights of Budapest. Our guide was excellent filling us with lots of information on Buda and Pest, including interesting snippets of his own family’s experiences of the change over the years.
Our next stop was Vienna for 2 days. We arrived later than expected for a few reasons including the river being quite low. Our initial coach tour of Vienna was shortened in order to fit in the remaining evening scheduled events. After dinner we were taken to The Arsenal, an amazing former military building, for a private performance night to be remembered. A champagne reception where we were able to meet former Strictly come Dancing performers Vincent and Flavia. A musical performance evening followed with renditions of Mozart and Strauss music, which of course included the Blue Danube Waltz. Following this Vincent and Flavia entertained us with 4 beautiful and amazing dances. A perfect evening.
The following morning after a night on board and breakfast, Vincent and Flavia entertained and treated us to dancing lessons choosing 2 dances, the Argentine Tango and the Cha Cha Cha. Although I had booked this trip before it was promoted as Ballroom Dancing on the Danube, we certainly weren’t disappointed by these additions.
On this our second day in Vienna we chose to take the trip to Bratislava on the afternoon which we thoroughly enjoyed and wouldn’t have missed. A further return to Vienna for me is a must as there is so much more to see that we would not have seen at all this trip.
Our next mooring stop was Durnstein, a lovely little place. We chose the option to hike up to the castle ruins, as much to walk of some calories of our wonderful meals as to take in the spectacular views. If you do this walk I would recommend using the walking sticks which you will find in your wardrobe. There were many steps on the walk up. We came back down the slope way rather than the steps which we found easier but one American gentleman who had a hip replacement found this worse than the steps although he did manage. Definitely not for the unfit or those with walking difficulties. Durnstein is lovely and you don’t need to do this walk at all.
We then moved on further to spend the afternoon at Melk, some even felt energetic enough to cycle along to Melk. A coach took us up to the beautiful Melk Abbey and tour. We then chose to walk back through Melk itself to browse in the shops and a few of us enjoyed an alfresco drink.
We then moved on to Linz for a tour and free time. Another interesting place with much to see and History. Passau was our final stay for a night. A lovely place with many things to explore and enjoy.
Our trip was sadly nearing its end. We had been looked after like Royalty by amazing staff. Darren our Cruise Director made us laugh with his little cruise titbits especially as they were often relayed in a variety of hilarious and familiar voices. He never seemed to stop working, constantly updating us with port talks, daily visits, quizes etc. A person born for the job. It also helped that there was a quality Bose sound system on board so he could be heard clearly wherever you were.
If we had any complaints about this trip it would be that the trip was over far too quickly. Our visits were tasters of places that had much more to offer. I feel this review is much the same.
Well until next time…HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY EMERALD WATERWAYS xx