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Danube River Cruises & Luxury Riverboats

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Extending from its source where the Breg and Brigach Rivers meet in southern Germany's Black Forest and 1,777 miles later emptying into the Black Sea, the Danube River is the second-longest river in all of Europe. Along its winding course, it crosses through 10 countries in Europe, including Austria, Slovakia, Hungary Croatia, SerbiaBulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Moldava. A cruise on any one of the riverboats that sail these waters will acquaint you with a diversity of cultures, customs, & traditions. Immerse yourself in the rich architecture of Austria's capital, Vienna, home of both Beethoven & Mozart. In Budapest, you will see 700-year-old buildings and cross under the famous Chain Bridge. Contact one of our Danube River cruise specialists to start planning your dream trip on the Danube today.

10 Best Danube River Cruises for 2017

10 Best Luxury Danube River Cruises for 2017

Trip NameFromDaysLevelSummary
Blue Danube Discovery - Cruise Only$25998RelaxedEmbark the luxurious MS Amacerto for an 8-day river cruise of the highlights of Europe along the Danube River from Budapest to Nuremberg. Walking tours, wine & food tasting, and city explorations immerse you in the cultural heart of Vienna, Bratisava, Passau, and Regensberg, as seen in Melk's massive Benedictine Abbey and other historic sites.
The Legendary Danube - Cruise Only$31998RelaxedJoin the MS Amasonata on this exclusive 8-day cruise of the Danube. An extensive lineup of included tours offer a large variety of activities so that you can choose how you want to explore. From Nuremberg, you will depart through Germany and Austria before arriving in the vibrant city of Budapest, Hungary.
Blue Danube Discovery - Cruise Only$28998RelaxedEmbark the luxurious MS Amaserena for an 8-day cruise along the legendary Danube River from Budapest to Nuremberg, enjoying rich wine country and excursions along the way. A guided tour of 2,000-year-old Passau, visits to the medieval cities of Germany, and wine tasting in Austria's renowned Wachau Valley highlight this cultural immersion.
Blue Danube Discovery - Cruise Only$27998RelaxedBoard the luxurious MS Amaviola for an unforgettable highlights tour of Europe along the Danube River, from the famous and historical city of Budapest to Nuremberg. Enjoy an extensive lineup of included tours, so that you can choose how you want to explore. Bike, hike, and discover the unique landscapes of this remarkable region.
Blue Danube Discovery - Cruise Only$27998RelaxedExperience centuries of art, history, and culture, on this 8-day cruise aboard the MS Amalea. Sail the Danube from Budapest to Nuremberg to discover central Europe's main cultural centers on hikes & walking tours of Vienna, Bratislava, and Regensburg, where delicious food & Baroque architecture will delight and impress you.
The Legendary Danube - Cruise Only$29998RelaxedEmbark on the luxurious MS Amadante for a fascinating 8-day Danube River cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest. You'll have chances to tour medieval castles & monasteries, bike along the river, and sightsee in historic cities like Regensburg, Passau, Melk, and Vienna, where Baroque architecture blends into the scenic European backdrop.
Blue Danube Discovery - Cruise Only$30998RelaxedOn this unforgettable 8-day cruise, embark in Budapest, Hungary, and make your way to the charming city of Nuremberg on the MS Amasonata. Visit some of the most important sites of the region (including Gothic & Baroque cathedrals, the Oberhaus Fortress, and others) and bike through the spectacular scenery of the Danube Valley.
The Legendary Danube - Cruise Only$27998RelaxedEmbark the luxury river cruise ship MS Amacerto for a fascinating 8-day journey along the Danube River from Nuremberg to Budapest.
The Romantic Danube - Cruise Only$24998RelaxedEnjoy a fascinating 8-day cruise from Vilshofen to Budapest aboard the MS Amacerto that captures the romance and timelessness of Europe's unforgettable Danube River.
Melodies of the Danube (Wine Themed) - Cruise Only$27998RelaxedEmbark the luxury ship MS Amacerto for a fascinating 8-day cruise along the Danube River from Budapest to Vilshofen, enjoying wine tastings from the rich Wachau Valley region. You'll also visit sites like the Benedictine Abbey of Melk, Castle Hill in Budapest, and optional hiking and biking tours. End your journey with an Oktoberfest celebration.

10 Longest Danube River Cruises for 2017

Trip NameFromDaysLevelSummary
Magnificent Europe (Christmas Cruise) - Cruise Only$559915RelaxedEmbark the Amastella for a 15-day cruise visiting Europe's renowned Christmas Markets on the scenic river route from Budapest to Amsterdam. This comprehensive tour crosses from the top destinations of the Danube River through the Main-Danube Canal into the Rhine River, including optional excursions like bike & walking tours and wine tastings.
Magnificent Europe (Christmas Cruise) - Cruise Only$539915RelaxedEmbark the MS Amaserena for a 15-day cruise and visit Europe's renowned Christmas Markets on the scenic river route from Budapest to Amsterdam. With an extensive lineup of included tours, this cruise offers the opportunity to decide how you want to explore.
Grand Danube Cruise - Cruise Only$559814RelaxedChoose how you want to explore the Danube River on this exclusive 14-day adventure that offers you a large variety of activities such as standard tours, bike tours, hikes, and Limited Edition tours. No matter your preference, your days are full of discovery and wonder.
Grand Danube Cruise - Cruise Only$619815RelaxedEmbark the luxury ship MS Amacerto for an unforgettable 15-day cruise along the Danube River from Vilshofen to Rousse, exploring some of Central and Eastern Europe's best-known highlights.
Magnificent Europe - Cruise Only$619915RelaxedBoard the MS Amaprima for an epic 15-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest through the heart of Europe and across the Continental Divide. You'll cross from the Netherlands through major German cities like Cologne, Rudesheim, and Nuremberg, to Austria's historic Linz, Melk, & Vienna, and ultimately through Slovakia & Hungary.
Magnificent Europe - Cruise Only$639915RelaxedEmbark the luxurious MS Amacerto for a truly grand cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest through the heart of Europe and across the Continental Divide.
Grand Danube Cruise$761820RelaxedSpend 3 nights in Prague, then embark the luxurious MS Amacerto for a fascinating 15-day cruise from Vilshofen to Rousse and conclude with 2 nights in Bucharest.
Magnificent Europe - Cruise Only$639915RelaxedJoin the MS Amasonata for a truly grand 15-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest through the heart of Europe and across the Continental Divide.
From Amsterdam to Budapest$522519RelaxedDiscover four amazing countries in this 19-day river cruise voyage aboard the MS La Boheme. Navigate through Holland, Germany, Austria and Hungary's waterways, uncovering the cultural traditions, historic architecture and gastronomic treasures of the Northern Europe.
Grand Danube Cruise$771820RelaxedSpend 3 nights in Prague, then embark on a fascinating 14-night cruise from Vilshofen to Rousse and conclude with 2 nights in Bucharest

How to choose a Danube River Cruise

Where to Go?  
The Danube River snakes through the major Eastern European nations of Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and Moldava. The embarking ports depend on the length of your cruise and which countries it will visit, which is different with most cruises. We offer both round-trip cruises that embark and disembark from the same city (these typically visit fewer destinations), and cruises that depart from one port and ultimately arrive in another city.
 
How Long?
Our Adventure Life itineraries along the Danube River range from 5 days all the way to 20 days. The most popular itineraries are 7- or 8-days. Shorter trips (5 or 6-days) tend to visit one or two major destination cities in addition to the port cities where you will embark and depart, which is typically no more than two or three countries (on a 6-day cruise, you might start in Vienna, Austria and depart in Budapest, Hungary, stopping in Bratislava, Slovakia along the way). Week-long tours will give you a good sampling of the culture and highlights of the Danube. The longer itineraries offer a more comprehensive exploration of eastern Europe, spending one or two days in each country for 20 days. 

On which riverboat?
We have hand-selected the most comfortable river cruise vessels that explore the Danube. The average capacity of a river cruise vessel is 160 passengers, with some smaller vessels having an occupancy as low as 100 and several that are around 200 passengers. Every boat features multiple social areas, exquisite food, and friendly crews & guides. Bigger vessels might have more common areas onboard, so if having a pool, dance floor, or exercise room is important, then shy away from the smaller boats. The biggest factor in choosing your boat is the itinerary - each boat sails certain routes, so knowing which cruise you'd like to take will make your boat choice much easier. Contact us if you need guidance in selecting the best boat for you. 

What is there to do and see?
Our cruises through eastern Europe are full of exciting and engaging ways to explore the region, including biking, wine tasting, hiking, urban exploration, visiting quaint villages, and discovering ancient & modern architectural wonders. If you choose a December cruise, you will see the vibrant traditional Christmas markets that populate the small towns and big cities of the Danube.

Our Favorite Danube Riverboats

Ship NameCapacityFromSummary
MS Modigliani160$The MS Modigliani is a 4 anchors class ship, designed with 78 cabins for a maximun of 160 passengers. The ship is small enough to moor at a town or …
MS Vivaldi176$The MS Vivaldi sails on the Danube and Rhine rivers, and was built in 2009. She features three floors, an upper sun deck, and 88 guest cabins. The …
MS Amasonata164$The MS Amasonata is among the most luxurious and advanced river vessels in Europe, with occupancy for up to 164 passengers in comfortable cabins, …
MS Amacerto164$This luxurious river cruiser features panoramic views from the sundeck, a pool and swim-up bar, gourmet meals, luxurious lounges, and comfortable …
MS Amaserena164$Making its debut in 2015, the AmaSerena features the most advanced designs in river cruise vessels. This 164-passenger ship boasts spacious …
MS Amaviola158$The AmaViola – set to debut in 2016 – is a sister ship to the AmaSerena and features the most advanced design of any river cruise vessel …
MS Amalea158$The AmaLea debuts in 2018 and features the most advanced design of any river cruise vessel currently in operation. With a guest capacity of up to 158 …
MS Amadante148$Launched in 2008, the MS Amadante is part of the newest, state-of-the-art fleet of river cruise vessels in Europe.

Danube River Travel Guide

When should I plan my Danube River cruise?
The best time to visit eastern Europe on a Danube River cruise is definitely during the summer time. During this season you'll enjoy sunny days and warm temperatures.

Since the Danube winds through southern Europe, the cruise season is a bit longer, and we do offer several cruises as early as March and April and as late as November.

In December, we feature a rare opportunity to see the Christmas markets of the Danube River, where the holiday spirit that has characterized the Advent season in central Europe will come to life for you as you witness these fascinating yule-tide markets.

From January through early March, the temperatures along the Danube and throughout Europe fall between cold and frigid, making this a bad time to visit the Danube region. 

If the cold weather doesn't bother you and you're hoping to experience a European cruise during the winter months, then consider a Scandinavian excursion or perhaps even an Arctic expedition. 
Major Ports along the Danube River

The Danube River is the major artery transversing eastern Europe, crossing from the Black Sea through Romania, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, and Germany. Depending on which region your cruise is visiting, you might stop at one of these major ports along the way:
 
What is it like aboard a riverboat on the Danube?

On the outside, you'll notice that the riverboats we feature strike a contrast with more traditional ocean-going cruise ships. Most notably, they are very long, frequently over 100m, and typically have only two or three decks in order to fit under low bridges.

While not particularly spacious, the cabins are ample and comfortable. All of our featured riverboats offer luxury or first-class accommodations, and most have a big lounge, an open-air sundeck, a restaurant/ dining room area, and some even have pools and hot tubs.

Since there are just a few social spaces, you will get to know your fellow cruise-mates in a friendly environment that river vesels offer.

Days will be spent visiting ports of call, hiking and bicycling or cruising along the scenic Danube. Evenings are usually spent in transit to the next spectacular port.
 
Highlights of the Danube River by country
Though united by the winding Danube River, each of the countries that we visit on our many eastern European river cruises have a distinct cultural identity. You might recognize these highlights as you visit:
  • Austria: Home to the medieval Schönbrunn & Hofburg Palaces in Vienna, historic Dürnstein village and the Baroque-style Melk Abbey.
  • Germany: The WWII sites of Nuremberg, the architecture of well-preserved medieval Regensburg, biking and hiking around the Baroque & Gothic architecture of 2000-year-old Passau.
  • Hungary: Visit the neo-classic basilica and former Royal Palace in Esztergom or learn the storied history of Unesco World Heritage SiteBudapest.
  • Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, and Serbia are all home to their own historical, cultural, and architectural delights.

Popular Trip Extensions of Danube River Cruises
  • Czech Republic: The sites of Prague, like Rudolfinum National Museum, Wenceslas Square, the Hundertwasser Dancing House, and the 1,000 year-old Prague Castle, just to name a few.
  • Prague to Bucharest: Explore historic Prague including Prague Castle and the city's many ornate bridges over the Vltava River. Explore the countryside of Eastern Europe hiking and bicycling, culminating in Transylvania. 
        Fun Facts about the Danube River

        Did you know...
        • Not counting Russia's Volga River (which is partially in Asia), the Danube is Europe's longest river, at an incredible length of 1800 miles (2,860 km).
        • German warships were sunk to avoid Soviet capture towards the end of WWII, and their remains can still be seen peering through the water in the summer months.
        • The Danube crosses through 10 countries, which helped certain cities like Vienna, Budapest, and Belgrade gain importance in European affairs.
        • Biking and walking trails are very common along the whole river.
        • Home to more than 200 species of fish, it was once a main source of food for the region and before becoming a river cruise destination was primarily a major economic waterway through Europe.

        Danube River FAQs

        Why should I choose a river cruise?
        If you choose to take a Danube River cruise, you will have an all access pass to some of the greatest destinations in central and eastern Europe, including all tours, meals, lodging, and transportation on a comfortable river vessel. They take advantage of the down time to make the long journeys, like during meal times or at night. Each day when you wake up, you'll be in a brand new destination, without ever having to pack & unpack your bags. 

        What should I look for on a riverboat?
        Due to space constrictions of Danube riverboats, no riverboats have a lot of amenities like multiple dining areas or casinos, but you can expect to have a spacious sun deck from which to view the amazing sites of central & eastern Europe, a large dining room & bar where you can enjoy the gourmet cuisine, and perhaps even a pool, spa, or fitness center on the finer vessels. The cabins range from comfortable to luxurious, and you will find that the captain and crew are very friendly and welcoming. 

        Are there 5-star river vessels in Europe?
        Whereas seafaring ships have the luxury of spacious deckplans, riverboats on the Danube follow a stricter design with three to four long decks, one dining room, lounge, and bar, and a sun deck on the top level. Because their space is limited and they feature necessarily fewer social areas and amenities, they aren't considered five star vessels. However, this is a quickly advancing business in Europe, so it's likely that within the next few years there will be five-star river vessels, as we already feature a fair number of vessels that are truly luxurious. 

        Should I get a room with a balcony?
        The Danube River can be appreciated in its full beauty from the panoramic sundeck, so balconies don't generally improve the overall experience – they will cost hundreds of dollars more and could cost you valuable floor space in cabins that are already smaller than typical cabins on larger ships. A room with a floor to ceiling window or a window that opens can be just as good on a riverboat. 

        What is dining like?
        All of our featured boats will treat you to some of the finest local delicacies and comfort food, all in the decadent dining rooms/ bars of the vessels. Excellent chefs guarantee a wonderful menu. 

        Do river cruises ever visit destinations that aren't on the river?
        You can count on it! While many of the Danube visitor sites are right on the shores of the river, there are also a fair number that are a bit more isolated. To get to these destinations, you will just take a bus from the river vessel, but this is included in the price.

        Will my riverboat have WiFi?
        Not usually, but it's possible. Some vessels have free WiFi, others charge, and others simply don't have it at all. You might be able to get a WiFi signal in the bigger cities where hotspots are more common. But it's just as likely that you won't have a signal at all for one or more days.

        What kind of power outlets are there? Will I need a converter?
        All of Europe uses 220v power, different from 110v power in North America, but fortunately most devices can handle both voltages so you probably won't need a power converter. You will need plug adapters to convert the two flat prong American style plugs to the three flat prong British version of plugs or the two round prong European style.

        How can I save money on a river cruise?
        Save thousands of dollars on your cruise by checking out the latest promotions for your destination on our Danube River Cruise Deals page or by letting one of our travel experts help you find the best deals. Don't look to save money by getting cheaper rooms since the lower class cabins are sometimes less comfortable or simply have less space.

        Are Danube river cruises a good family vacation?
        The Danube river is a wonderful destination for families of all ages, but the best cruises for families with children or teens are the active cruises that offer biking and walking tours. Check out our family travel article for more information.

        Do Americans and Canadians need a passport and visa to travel to the Danube?
        All citizens of North America traveling to Europe need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months. In recent years, it has not been necessary to apply for a visa before traveling to Europe if you plan to stay less than three months, however, this situation may change in the future. See current European visa requirements.

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