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Danube River Cruises & Riverboats

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A cruise on the Danube River takes you through lush vineyards, castles, and some of Europe's most culturally rich cities. Extending from 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 meandering through 10 countries including GermanyAustria, Slovakia, HungaryCroatiaSerbiaBulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Moldava. A cruise on any of the riverboats that sail the Danube acquaints you with a diversity of cultures and inspired European landscapes through classic European river port cities like Vienna, Budapest, Passau, Regensberg, Melk and Bratislava. Enjoy wine tasting, bicycling, and walking along one of Europe's most scenic rivers. Contact one of our Danube River cruise specialists to start planning your dream trip.

10 Best Danube River Cruises for 2018

Danube River Cruises (127 Results)
All Danube River Cruises

Best Danube - Main - Rhine River Cruises

Trip NameFromDaysLevelSummary
Magnificent Europe (Christmas Cruise) - Cruise Only$669915RelaxedEmbark the Amastella for a 15-day cruise visiting Europe's renowned Christmas Markets on the scenic river route from Budapest to Amsterdam. This …
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 …
Magnificent Europe - Cruise Only$669915RelaxedEnjoy this 14-night cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest through the heart of Europe and across the continental divide aboard the MS Amaviola
Medieval Treasures (Wine Cruise)$549915RelaxedBegin your 15-day river cruise of the Rhine & Main Rivers with two nights in Zurich, followed by two nights in Lucerne before boarding the MS …
Magnificent Europe$733917RelaxedThis 17-day river cruise aboard the MS Amastella takes you from the Netherlands through Germany, Austria, and Slovakia before ending in Hungary, …

Top Riverboats Cruising the Danube River for 2018

Ship NameCapacityFromSummary
MS Modigliani160$799The 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 Amasonata164$2699The 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$2699This luxurious river cruiser features panoramic views from the sundeck, a pool and swim-up bar, gourmet meals, luxurious lounges, and comfortable …
MS Vivaldi176$1000The 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 Amaserena164$2699Making its debut in 2015, the AmaSerena features the most advanced designs in river cruise vessels. This 164-passenger ship boasts spacious …
MS Amaviola158$2699The 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$2699The 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$2799Launched in 2008, the MS Amadante is part of the newest, state-of-the-art fleet of river cruise vessels in Europe.

Danube River Cruise Tips & Travel Guide

When should I plan my Danube River cruise?

Most experts agree that best time to go on a Danube River cruise is during the fall when you'll have best chance for pleasant weather, smaller crowds, and consistent river levels.

Advantages & disadvantages of each each season:
  • Spring - March, April, and May - can be rainy. March can be very cool, but by May temperatures are quite pleasant. Snow melt makes the river levels rise so boats can't pass under bridges, so getting rerouted by bus downstream is a risk.
  • Summer - June, July, August - can be hot and crowded, but longer nights let you explore more and see more of the countryside.
  • Fall - September and October - are good for Danube River cruises due to mild weather and less crowding at hotspots. It's best to reserve in advance, as the word is getting out.
  • Christmas - 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 you want help selecting the best month for you, please contact one of our Danube cruise experts.
Specialized Wine-Themed Cruises on the Danube
Experience some of central and eastern Europe's most famous and unique wine regions like Austria's Krems and the Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Melodies of the Danube wine-themed cruises.

Your onboard sommelier will host tastings and food-and-wine-pairings of local wines that complement our visits to wine villages, wineries, and famed wine cellars of the Danube River valley.

The Wachau Valley is unique due to its unique man-made stone terraces that enable cultivation of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling varieties on the steep river banks of the Danube. 

Downriver near Budapest, Hungary, we'll taste exotic Hungarian varieties such as Zierfandler, Cserszegi Fuszeres, and Juhfark. 

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:
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.
        Bicycling Tours Along the Danube River
        For many, the favorite way of exploring the countryside, small village or riverside bike paths in iconic European cities is by bicycle. Our cruises down the Danube give ample opportunities to leisurely pedal your way through Europe. Here are some of our favorite spots:
        Legendary Danube Cruise
        Melk, Austria - Ride along the picturesque Danube River between Dürnstein and Melk through one of Austria’s Wachau Valley.

        Passau, Germany - take guided bike tour along the Danube from Passau to Erlau passing breathtaking castles & cathedrals.

        Romantic Danube Cruise
        Vienna Austria - ride along the Danube through the Donaupark or the Klosterneuburg Monastery accompanied with tasting Viennese coffee and pastries in a traditional cafe. 
        Linz, Austria take a guided bike tour around the Old City Center, along the Danube River, and past the ultra-modern Ars Electronica Center.  

        Grand Danube Cruise
        Further down the Danube ride through the historical bike-friendly cities such as Vukovar, Croatia and Belgrade, Serbia and Vidin, Bulgaria.
        UNESCO World Cultural Sites Near the Danube River
        • Germany: Old Town of Regensburg
        • Austria: Vienna Historic Center, Wachau Cultural Landscape, Salzburg Historic Center; Schönbrunn Palace
        • Czech Republic: Cesky Krumlov Historic Center, Prague Historic Center
        • Hungary: Budapest & Danube Banks, Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs (Sopianae)
        • Romania: Danube Delta, Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania
        Favorite Danube River Ports

        Austria: Vienna, MelkDürnstein (Wachau Valley)
        Germany: Regensberg, Passau
        Slovenia:  Bratislava
        Romania: Bucharest

        How to Choose a Riverboat on the Danube

        We have hand-selected the most comfortable riverboats that explore the Danube. The average capacity of a riverboat 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 riverboats 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 it like aboard a riverboat on the Danube?

        On the outside, you'll notice that riverboats strike a contrast with traditional ocean-going cruise ships. Most notably, they are very long, frequently over 100 meters (300 feet), and low having only two or three decks in order to fit under low bridges.

        While not particularly spacious, riverboat cabins are 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.

        Days will be spent visiting ports of call, exploring quaint villages and castles, bicycling, wine tasting or cruising along the scenic Danube. Evenings may include concerts and waltzes on the boat and in major cities like Vienna. Most nights are spent in transit to the next spectacular port.

        Danube River Cruise 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, riverboats generally don't 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 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 riverboats 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 that much – 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 almost 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. Ask about our wine themed cruises down the Danube for insight into the top regions, varieties and unique viniculture on the steep river banks. 

        Do river cruises ever visit destinations that aren't on the river?
        Yes, on most trips. 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. Some cruises may offer optional excursions that have an additional cost.

        Will my riverboat have WiFi?
        Most but not all Danube River boats have WiFi. Most boats have free WiFi, others charge, and some have reception only on deck and not in the rooms. It's important to check with your Adventure Life representative to confirm that your river boat of choice has WiFi.

        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 220v to 110v power converter. You will need plug adapters to convert the two flat prong American style plugs to 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.

        How to choose a Danube River cruise

        Where to Go?
        The Danube River flows from the heart of Germany throughout some of the most historic regions of eastern Europe, including Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria. Since most of our cruises visit the popular destinations throughout central Europe, the majority of the Danube River cruises only go as far as Slovakia & Hungary. You will likely visit towns like Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Melk, Passau, Nuremburg, and other German towns. If your cruise connects to the Main or Rhine Rivers, you might also make your way all the way to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

        How Long?
        Danube River cruises average 8 days, which most traelers find to be the perfect length. Depending on where you start, your cruise may visit multiple countries or one country in greater depth. There are longer Danube River cruises that range in length from 11-15 days. On these trips, you will likely navigate a large portion of the Danube, from the Netherlands through Germany, and into the eastern European countries of Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia. Shorter itineraries tend to stay in one or two countries.

        On which riverboat?
        The vessels we have hand-selected for the Danube River cruises were specifically designed to explore Eastern and Central Europe. Their length, comfort, and style reflect classic riverboat design. All of the vessels feature a panoramic sun deck, a lounge and bar, elegant dining rooms, and comfortable air-conditioned rooms. Several of the Danube River boats, including the Amastella, Amaserena, Amasonata, and Amacerto, have an onboard pool. Others feature massage spas and salons. Contact us if you need guidance in selecting the best boat for you.

        What is there to do and see?
        Danube River tours offer all kinds of activities for travelers of all interests. Wine tasting tours are very popular, visiting local vineyards and sampling the regional vintages and unique local cuisine. Hiking and biking in the rolling hills and verdant valleys are active ways to explore the Danube region. And urban exploration and historic tours of the ancient city centers and architecture fill out any central/ eastern Europe itinerary. If you travel during the Christmas season, you will see and experience the treasured Danube River Christmas Markets, which bring centuries of tradition and craftsmanship to life in vibrant artisan markets.

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        How many days do you need to cruise the Danube?

        How many days should I cruise on the Danube?
        Danube River cruise itineraries range from 6 to 20 days in length, and the most popular itineraries are 7 or 8-days.
        A few 6-day cruises sail between Passau and Budapest, and there are dozens of week-long cruises will give you a good sampling of the culture and highlights of the Danube.
        The longer itineraries of two weeks or more usually explore Germany, Austria, and Hungary, with most venturing further down river to Slovakia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania.

        20-day trips either include extensions to Prague or combine the Rhine River with the Danube in the Ultimate River Cruise

        Off the Beaten Path on the Danube: Bulgaria

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