To:  Anyone Who’s Thinking of Going On A River Cruise

From: The Danube River 

Dear Friends,

Pack Your Bags: 

As you know I love cruising! Most of my cruises in the past have been on the ocean, but lately it’s been river cruising that seems to be gaining a lot of popularity. I often have clients that have never been on a river cruise and are sometimes hesitant when I recommend this option. Maybe it’s because it seems less luxurious or less entertaining. But that’s so far from the truth! 

First, river cruising is obviously on smaller ships. This is mainly due to the fact that rivers are affected by the rise and fall of river water levels and these ships must be able to pass under low bridges. That limits size to only 100 to 175 passengers. The main thing to keep in mind is that you won’t find all the bells and whistles you would on an ocean ship. No casino, no big Broadway shows, no huge gyms or spas, and limited specialty restaurants.

But hear me out…that might not be so bad! 

Imagine a more intimate, personalized experience onboard, a crew that actually knows your name, charming little village port visits, cultural entertainment nightly, and foods locally sourced at the town markets. What a unique way to travel! 

Stamp My Passport

My river cruise along the Danube River actually began in Budapest, Hungry, but not until I had a few days in the magnificent city of Prague. This is one city that should be on everyone’s bucket list. As one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, it was spared the devastation of bombing during World War II. In this beautiful city you’ll marvel at colorful baroque buildings, Gothic churches, and even a medieval Astronomical Clock in its original form! 

After traveling through the countryside of Czech Republic and Slovenia I arrived in Budapest for a tour of the city and boarded my ship that would eventually pass Vienna and conclude in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Let the fun begin!

A Path Well Traveled: 

How can anyone explain the beauty of river cruising? Well, let me give you a glimpse into my journey. Imagine opening your balcony window from your cabin to feel a slight breeze, the mild scent of river foliage, and the calming motion as your ship glides across wake-less waters. Endless colors bounce off the building walls of charming medieval towns and villages. The sights are breathtaking. 

Your days will be busy. Once your river boat is docked and tied off, you’ll step off the small gangplank into adventures that unfold like a fantasy storybook. Your choice of activities is endless, either by touring with private guides, or joining small group cruise excursions. 

I especially loved my private guide in Vienna that started at the elegant Schonbrunn Palace and preceded through this historical city. Don’t miss the famous Spanish Riding School to witness firsthand the graceful dancing of the Lipizzaner horses. And if you’re hungry you have to try Werner Schnitzel at the famous Figlmuller Restaurant.  

When in need for some exercise most cruise lines offer bicycle adventures. I truly enjoyed my 20-mile bicycle trip on an e-bike along the Danube River from Durnstein to Milk through picturesque little villages and local vineyards. 

But the best part of the day was throwing off my shoes, taking a shower and heading down to the dining room for a great dinner, a couple of glasses of local Riesling, and retiring to my room for a well-deserved sleep on Egyptian cotton 600-thread count sheets. Gute Nacht!

The other highlights of my river journey included Christmas shopping in Nuremburg (even in May!), walking the ancient streets of Bamberg, and visiting the historical Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

Wheels Down

I know they say there is no place like home…but I have personally had plenty of home over the last year! When considering the health crisis going on during 2020, the idea of a small ship without crowds would seem to be just what the doctor ordered. And the best part is you won’t need to contemplate sea sickness!

I have to admit that I didn’t regret choosing to travel in luxury! Some river cruise lines such as Crystal, Uniworld, Tauck, Scenic, and AmaWaterways will definitely meet your expectations for upgraded accommodations, exceptional service, gourmet cuisine, and amazing excursions. In most cases a luxury river cruise will offer an all-inclusive program. I’ll cheers to that! 

Wishing You Safe Travels,