January 20th 2018


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Not sure about River Cruising? Not sure about River Cruising? Not sure about River Cruising? Not sure about River Cruising?


Continent: Europe. Country: Budapest. City: Hungary.

Not sure about River Cruising?

By Hannah Wilson

Not sure about River Cruising? Let me convert you........

I have just been lucky enough to spend 3 fabulous nights and days cruising the Danube from Vienna to Budapest courtesy of Avalon, and let me tell you, they have been the best of days. Although I have experienced many of our ocean going cruise ships, large and small, this was my first ever river cruise, and  I am completely sold on the whole experience. It has very much confirmed to me that I am a huge fan of the smaller vessel and having now tried sailing along rivers I now understand the attraction, and the benefits of river cruising over ocean cruising.

I have so much to share with you on this subject that I will have to cover it in several posts. I offer no apologies for spending so much time and blog space on this subject because I know it is 'unchartered waters' for many of you and I am sure that what I have to tell you will convince you to try it.

To briefly outline my trip, I flew to Vienna via Frankfurst on Sunday - not an issue as the transfer times were perfect. We were met at Vienna airport by private taxi which took us to the Intercontinental in Vienna where we spent around 3 hours so there was plenty of time to explore if we wished. At around 4pm we were taken by coach to the ship, accompanied by our Cruise Director Karolien, a most charming Dutch lady.
Monday morning we visited Melk Benedictine Abbey, stunning. We then cruised the Wachau Valley for about 2 - 3 hours, and although it was very cold I stayed on top deck the whole time as the scenery was fabulous.We then  spent the afternoon in Durnstein which is the prettiest of little villages on the banks of the Danube.

Tuesday we spent the whole day in Bratislava, Slovakia. This is a beautiful city with so much history. Wednesday morning we awoke to find ourselves in Budapest which was absolutely breathtaking at first light - yes, I was on top deck in my pyjamas and fleece, taking photos!

The big bonus being on a river cruise is that when you wake up or even arrive somewhere during the day, you are right where you need to be - most of the time you could sight see on foot, no long costly transfers. The other obvious bonus is that at virtually every port you get an 'included' coach tour with a very knowledgable guide and if you wish you can continue onto the walking tour with headsets and your guide, or if you prefer you can take the coach back to the ship. This is all free! There are optional tours should you wish to pay for them but they are very reasonably priced. We managed to fill our days without paying for extra tours.
At the end of our tour of Budapest we were dropped at the Intercontinental in Budapest where we were collected by private taxi and taken to the airport.

Another plus with river cruising is that the boats are small, although they feel spacious enough. Our ship only had 100 passengers and the atmosphere was friendly, passengers and staff alike. The food was as good or even better than I have had on large ships, with regional specialities at lunch each day - the Austrian Meatloaf was to die for!

Entertainment was limited as you would exect although one evening a local Austrian chap came on board an did a stunning performance on an electric violin. Well worth seeing. I have to say that our days were so busy that we wouldn't have made it to a night club even if there had been one on board. I was ready for my PJ's by 10pm, although I think I made it to 11pm on the last night.
I have so much to tell you and so many pics to share over the next posts - maybe check out my photos on the site linked to this blog as many of them will be going on there over the next few weeks.
I have to end by saying that there were six of us agents on this trip and we had an absolute blast. What a great bunch of girls to spend time with. Look out for further posts including the six of us and what we go up to.
As always, if you would like to know more, please give me a call or drop me an email.

Hannah Wilson

Specialist Cruise Consultant



0800 408 6084