Understandably, some of you may be a little nervous about getting on board one of those giant ocean cruise ships with thousands of people. It’s one of the reasons river cruises sound like such a fantastic way to travel.
The river ship I’m going to tell you about today, Amawaterway’s AmaLea only has 78 staterooms and carries a maximum of 156 passengers and 51 crew members. That’s only about 200 people on the boat. That’s opposed to one of the big cruise ships that sails out of Galveston, a ship I would love to sail on, by the way, that holds over 3,000 passengers and 1360 crew members. In the case of these two ships, given the past few months, you might feel more comfortable cruising with about 200 people vs. cruising with over 4,000 people.
Check out the episode for a great incentive on Adventures by Disney European River Cruises that sail by December 31, 2020.
A Superhero team-up of Disney and AmaWaterways!
Connecting staterooms if you’re traveling with family and friends.
As with all Adventures By Disney vacations, you get
- Authentic cultural activities
- Private sightseeing
- Sophisticated Experiences for all ages
- Exclusive Insider-Access Opportunities
- English-speaking adventure guides
- Entrance fees and taxes included.
Immerse in and learn about different cultures.
The trip offers lots of interaction for the kids.
8 Adventure Guides on each ship.
Wellness amenities onboard the ship. Fitness room, whirlpool, and complimentary bikes. Some sailings offer fitness classes.
Adventures By Disney vacations are hassle-free. Your trip includes transportation, transfers, snacks, and many amenities.
Onboard Food and beverages are included, as is onboard entertainment. In your stateroom, Entertainment-on-demand, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a selection of movies and music are available.
I can’t imagine needing or wanting Wi-Fi on this trip, but it’s there.
8 Days / 7 Nights
Danube River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1: Vilshofen, Germany
Dinner on the ship is included.
Oktoberfest celebration in a beer tent outside the ship.
Day 2: Passau, Germany
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included
Walking tour of Passau.
Passau is called the “City of Three Rivers” since the Danube, Inn, and Ilz Rivers converge. There are five breweries and delicious Bavarian fare in the restaurants, pubs, and wine bars.
In Passau is St. Stephen’s Cathedral with a 17,000-pipe organ. I thought each key had a pipe. Does it have 17,000 keys? I’m not an organ expert. I mean, I know there’s the brain, the heart, the on my face that talks, and others. I’m a wizard, not a doctor.
The walking tour includes a marzipan-making activity.
Three options for the evening:
- Tree Path Kopfing – a guided walk along a wooden decking that connects 41 towers through the treetops and proved views of the forest and the Austrian Alps.
- Aldersbacher Brewery Tour & Tasting – a working brewery, and museum and home to a Cistercian monetary that was founded in 1776.
- Explore Passau on your own.
Then the day ends with “Junior Adventurer Movie Night,” during which kids get to watch a movie that highlights Passau.
Day 3: Linz, Austria
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included
That’s Salzburg as in The Sound of Music. See the gardens, spires, and green hills.
You’ll see the Salzburg Cathedral, St. Peter’s Monastery, and Old Town. You’ll get to tour hidden alleys and shops along Getreidegasse. Pound sign: Mozart’s hometown. Those along with the Mirabell gardens and other sites you’ll recognize from The Sound of Music.
I promise this to you. If you help me earn this trip, I will take you with me to those, and I will twirl around, arms outstretched, singing The Sound of Music twirling around like Julie Andrews. I will do that for you, my fellow Wizard.
Then you have a couple of options:
- Visit Mondsee – Mondsee is a postcard town with the famous blue lake and that amazing Drachenwand Mountain behind it. You’ll visit a medieval abbey and see the church from The Sound of Music.
- Explore the Salt Mines of Hallein – I’ll admit that when I saw “salt mines,” I may have yawned a little bit. So I Googled it. You get to raft through underground salt mines. It looks awesome.
You’ll get lunch in a restaurant with either Mondsee or the Salt Mines.
Then you get dinner back on board the ship with Linz in the background.
The night ends with what might be the highlight of the trip for my fellow lovers of musicals, watching The Sound of Music with a sing-along. Maybe for the first half.
Day 4: Melk, Austria
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included
You’ll enjoy Breakfast on the ship, then enjoy a privately guided tour of Melk Benedictine Abby. This abbey was founded in 1089.
Then some cultural activities around the Danube.
A fish activity, marmalade-making, wine and juice tasting, and an Austrian dance lesson. In my case, I hope the dance lesson includes a couple of beers. I gotta get my booze on to get my moves on.
Lunch is served on the ship while you cruise through the Wachau Valley.
There are several options for the afternoon of day 4. It’s literally a “choose your own adventure.”
I used to cycle, and I loved it, so Adventure Option A sounds like a blast. A bide ride from Melk to Krems, passing through Dürnstien.
The cycling trip is 28 miles and takes about 4 hours. Disney suggests that you know how to ride a bike and be in good shape for this trip. Amawaterways has some motorized bicycles on some of their river cruises, but this particular ride requires that we pedal.
I am in!
Depending on your own personal idea of fun, if you decide against the bike ride, option B is an ice cream party on the ship.
28- mile bike ride? Ice Cream Party? You decide.
If you select the Ice Cream Party, then you’ll have a choice of three activities after the Ice Cream Party.
- Tour of Dürnstien and Hike to the Castle – This is a guided tour of the village, including the ruins of the castle. The ads say that there are “incredible views from the castle.”Now as much as I love cycling, I also love castles. And views. And ice cream. I’ve been to a few castle ruins in Spain with spectacular views. I’m a fan! Another thing to point out. It’s a village. It’s not a town. It’s in Europe. It’s a village. How cool is that?
- Bike along the Danube River from Krems to Dürnstien – This is a 1-hour bike ride. You still have to pedal, but it’s only for an hour at a leisurely pace. Along the Danube. In Austria.
- Experience a Family-run Apricot Farm – I’m sure it’s better than it sounds! I mean, it’s not Schrute Farms for sure. But you get wine for the adults and juice for the kids. I imagine apricot wine is rather tasty. And you get to take home a jar of marmalade.
4-hour bike ride? Ice Cream and marmalade? It’s up to you.
And because that’s not a full enough day, they provide dinner on the ship followed by a movie for the kids and karaoke for the teens.
Day 5: Vienna Austria
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided on Day 5.
The day starts with breakfast onboard the ship.
Then you get a motorcoach tour of Vienna. That’s a great idea. We’ll appreciate that after a day of cycling for four hours. Or for hours of ice cream and marmalade.
Then you’ll get a privately guided tour of Schönbrunn Palace. The tour includes terraced gardens. One of them is the longest in the world. There is also a garden maze and a labyrinth. The tour includes rooms inside the palace furnished by the Imperial Family.
Following that is a private Marionette Show and a strudel-making demonstration. I think marionettes are creepy, but I bet the show is terrific.
Amazingly, this is all before lunch. You have the option of enjoying lunch on board the ship or lunch on your own in Vienna.
We have two options after lunch.
- Option A: More biking! I’m in. A bike ride to Klosterneuburg Abby. I love biking, so I’m in. And the tour of the Abbey sounds excellent. Lots of artwork from various periods to view: gothic panel paintings, Baroque works, and modern paintings.
- Option B is exploring Vienna on your own. As much as I enjoy biking and museums, I love just wandering through a city. Stepping into pubs, having a drink, and trying to talk to locals. This is a huge reason why I would prefer river cruising of ocean cruising.
For some images of Vienna, check out my Vienna Pinterest board.
After dinner onboard the ship, you have two options for the rest of the evening.
- Option A: Visit a Traditional Wine House. Not Amy Winehouse, but a family-run local wine tavern. I love local bars. I especially love local bars in other countries. That along with finger foods, cheeses, and breads. Plus, “live music and entertainment from a local performer.”
- Option B: A Mozart & Strauss concert at Schönbrunn Palace. It’s in “.one of the most renowned architectural monuments and concert venues in the country.”
Day 6: Bratislava, Slovakia
The day starts with Breakfast on the ship.
Then you have the option of either spending the day in Vienna, on your own time or an excursion to Bratislava.
Spending the day in Vienna includes lunch on board the ship.
The excursion to Bratislava includes a walking tour and scavenger hunt. Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, but it’s one of the smaller capitals in Europe. It has charming architecture, including famous castles and medieval towers.
I found a few images of Bratislava for you in my Bratislava Pinterest board.
Lunch for this option is back at the Schloss Hof Palace in Austria at the border of Slovakia. The restaurant is on a Manor Farm and has indoor seating and an outdoor terrace. Then you can spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Schloss Hof. Costumed storytellers will tell you stories about Schloss Hof’s history. There is a Schnapps tasting and a waltz lesson. Not Christoph Waltz, the actor, but the dance. Waltzing lessons in the grand ballroom.
Who doesn’t love a grand ballroom?
Dinner that evening is back on board the ship, followed by karaoke night.
Day 7: Budapest, Hungary
Enjoy breakfast on the ship before heading out to explore Budapest.
We have two options for Day 7 activities on the Danube River Cruise.
- Option A: Visit Budapest Central Market Hall – shop for food, arts, and crafts. Take in the sites of the largest indoor market in Budapest. Then spend an afternoon at Lazar Equestrian Park. It’s working, family-owned farm and entertainment venue. It features the Lazar Brothers, who are world-champion master horseman. You can watch the Hungarian cowboys work, take a carriage ride, watch a horse show, learn how to make goulash, and get to pet the animals at a petting zoo. You’ll have lunch at the Park while enjoying live, traditional Hungarian music. Then enjoy a Panoramic City Tour of Budapest.
- Option B: Budapest Walking Food Tour – This includes tastings and Central Market Hall and other famous venues. Enjoy lunch onboard the AmaLea or on your own in Budapest. Then spend an afternoon exploring Budapest on your own.
To see some images of Budapest, Central Hall Market, and Lazar Equestrian Park, check out my Budapest Pinterest board.
In the evening, enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Toast Cocktail reception, followed by dinner onboard the ship.
Day 8: Budapest, Hungary
Enjoy one last breakfast onboard the ship. Then say farewell to your new friends and fellow Adventurers.
There is also a trip that does the itinerary in reverse order.
What You Need to Know
U.S. citizens need a valid passport for this trip.
It must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended stay, and it must have at least 2 blank pages remaining.
You don’t need a visa to travel to Austria, Germany, Hungary, or Slovakia for less than 90 days.
Kids 17 and younger may be required to show additional documentation when traveling with a single parent.
Book with me, so I can advise you on what to pack. And what to not pack.
Breakfast is usually a buffet style.
Dinners and lunches usually include fish, meat, and pasta or rice entrees; vegetables and salad; and dessert and fruit.
Wine and beer are included during scheduled meals in the ship’s dining room.
Adventures by Disney makes reasonable effort to accommodate some special dietary needs at no additional charge.
Other Great Options
3-Day Budapest Escape
Add to your river cruise this pre- or post-cruise package. I mean, you’re there, right?
3 days and 2 nights in Budapest. The package includes 4 meals over the 3 days and 2 nights.
It includes 2 Adventure Guides. Admission fees to attractions and performances.
Danube River: Oktoberfest
It’s like the regular Danube River cruise but with some added beer, food, and brewery tours.
Danube River: Christmas Markets
Similar to the Danube River Cruise but with tours of Chrismas markets, and of course, the Christmas lights and decorations in these fantastic cities.
Enjoy the extra value of working with a Travel Advisor at no cost to you!
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