River cruising on the Danube is an experience like no other, getting you up close to Europe’s most fascinating historical and cultural sights, and offering an array of experiences along the way. Tiffany McCrea-Lennon joined a group of travellers for an Avalon Waterways cruise along the Danube and this is how she found it!
We arrived in Budapest (pronounced Buda Pesht) in the early morning and an Avalon minibus met us to transfer to the Hilton – a one hour drive away due to one lane roads and lots of traffic. The Hilton checked us in early and also upgraded us to the river view rooms. It was a lovely hotel on the hill overlooking the river.
We spent the day looking around the Buda side (hillside) and then went across the river to the Pesht side.
The next day we had breakfast and then ventured on a city bike tour. The guide took us around the main sights and told us about the very interesting history of the city.
We also visited a museum – the House of Terror – that was about the Hungarian revolution. It was both amazing and horrific! It cost HUF3000 pp ($15).
The Danube river cruising begins
We boarded our ship at 4.30pm. We had a Panorama stateroom on the top level, which was very spacious. There were full floor to ceiling windows with sliding doors and a French balcony.
Our cruise itinerary
- DAY 1: Budapest, Hungary
- DAY 2: Budapest (embarkation) – Danube bend
- DAY 3: Visegrad
- DAY 4: Vienna, Austria
- DAY 5: Vienna
- DAY 6: Krems
- DAY 7: Grein
- DAY 8: Engelhartszell-Schlogen Oxbow
- DAY 9: Linz (disembarkation)
The Avalon App was a must as it gave valuable information regarding our cruise and area that we were in, and with GPS you didn’t even need wifi – though the ship did have free wifi.
Tours to suit everyone
Each day had a choice of ACTIVE, CLASSIC or DISCOVERY tours, which are included in the cost. On top of those are some Optional Excursions which are chargeable.
- The ACTIVE activities are normally bike tours, hikes or even a jogging city tour. Most of the tours are grouped to fitness levels so even the least fit people got to do some active things.
- The CLASSIC activities included walking tours and trips to specific sights.
- The DISCOVERY tours included food and wine/beer experiences, walking tours and experiencing local cafes or local highlights.
The majority of the people on the cruise were in their fifties or sixties and mainly fit and active people. There were many Canadians, Americans, Kiwis and Aussies.
Meals on the cruise were mainly buffet and of a very high calibre. Beer and wine was included at meal times. You also had the choice to eat small meals before or after the main dining times in the bar upstairs, or dine in your room for no extra charge.
A coffee machine was situated in the bar and also at the back of the ship where you could self-serve free of charge at any time.
There was a small indoor area at the back of the ship that had a collection of reading material including novels and board games for kids (or adults). On the top deck were plenty of sun loungers to relax and read a book or watch the stunning scenery go by.
Cruise boat staff
The staff were amazing and polite and couldn’t do enough for you. They were always cleaning and tidying the staterooms including a nightly turndown. Avalon included the gratuities.
Overall I would definitely recommend the Active and Discovery cruises with Avalon. I am in my mid forties and would definitely do one again.
Has Tiffany convinced you to do an Avalon Waterways cruise along the Danube of your own? Get in touch with us and we’ll get your sorted!