December 13, 2012

River cruising on the Danube

Budapest at night

Budapest. Pic by Adam R / Free Digital Photos

If cruising on the mighty Danube is on your Bucket List, then you’ll love this…

Phillip Cassrels is the Business Development Manager at Francis Travel Marketing, and if you’re a regular reader of my blogs, you’ll know these guys just sent me to Europe to cruise from Istanbul to Nice. (You can see my quick video highlights of that cruise here >>>)

But Phillip has just hopped off the Luftner ship, Amadeus Diamond after cruising from Nuremberg to Budapest, so I picked his brains.

The mighty Danube is 2860 km long and winds through 10 countries. On this eight-day cruise it stopped at Kelheim, Regensberg, Passau, Linz, Melk, Vienna, Bratislava and finished in Budapest.

Luftner

The Amadeus Diamond gliding through Paris

Here are some of Phillip’s highlights:

Kelheim: Our tour to the Weltenberg Abbey was a great way to start the cruise. From the picturesque inlet we took a short walk to the square for a refreshingly amusing presentation in the magnificent Abbey. The interior is stunning – and the sampling of local beer and snacks afterward was excellent!

Regensburg: This is one of Germany’s oldest towns founded by the Romans in 179 AD. We walked through the lovely old city around the medieval city centre.

Passau: St Stephen’s Cathedral boasts the second largest organ in the world with 17,774 pipes and 233 registers. But instead we did the full day tour to Salzburg – the birthplace of Mozart. It is a long day but well worth while top see the incredible architecture from Romanesque to Gothic, Renaissance to baroque. It also included a delightful lunch in an old Monastery.

Melk: We pottered off on our own today, but the city is best known for the Benedictine monastery Melk Abbey – and I was told and the wine tasting was excellent!

Vienna Opera

Vienna State Opera. Pic by Marc Aert / Free Digital Photos

Vienna: A beautiful big city with magnificent architecture and an excellent tram network for getting around. We did the night tour which ended in a local restaurant/bar being entertained by a couple of locals playing Heurigen music. As we over nighted in Vienna we took the city tour the next day featuring beautiful old buildings including the stunning Opera house.

Bratislava: is in southwest Slovakia and spans both sides of the Danube. Again we enjoyed walking around this city at our own pace, visiting the Main Square, Bratislava Castle and the Imperial Palace.

Budapest: This city is split into two parts by the river, Buda and Pest. We did an excellent morning tour including Hero’s Square and up to Castle Hill, then walked for the rest of the day. It’s easy walking with some great old buildings, castles and churches. The night trip on the boat was fantastic, as all the beautiful architecture, statues and bridges of the city are lit up.

 

Highlights onboard the Amadeus:

Amadeus Diamond dining

Dinner is served – along with local wines

The Amadeus Diamond is a state-of-the-art river boat and is only three years old. Each cabin has doors onto little French balconies so you can see the countryside going past. With only 62 cabins and 12 suites, all with generous sized bathrooms, this is a slow-paced and intimate affair on the river.

There is only 40 crew, so it doesn’t take long to get know everyone and the staff show on the last night is great fun. We also enjoyed the themed Bavarian and Hungarian nights.

Facilities onboard include the Panorama lounge/bar, library, hairdresser and gift shop. There is also a walking track, a small pool and a covered area with the Lido bar on the sun deck. But as the temps were only around 18 degrees we didn’t spend a great deal of time up there, although it was a great spot to take photos passing through the locks.

The food was a very good standard, the service excellent and the staff were delightful.

Amadeus Diamond

Docked and off to explore

This post is sponsored by Francis Travel Marketing. If you’d like more info about these Luftner River Cruises, click here for Francis Travel Marketing to see all the upcoming itineraries >>>

About Megan Singleton

Megan

Megan Singleton is a travel writer, blogger and radio correspondent. She's been gallivanting around the world telling stories for the last 16 years and has her suitcase always half packed (or half un-packed!) Follow along on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want to keep up with the journey!

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