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Danube River Cruises

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A cruise on the Danube River takes you through lush valleys filed with 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 Europe meandering through or bordering 10 countries including GermanyAustriaSlovakiaHungaryCroatiaSerbiaBulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Moldova. A cruise on any of the river ships that sail the Danube acquaints you with a diversity of central and eastern European cultures and landscapes through classic Danube River port cities like Vienna, Budapest, Passau, Regensberg, Melk and Bratislava. Enjoy wine tasting, bicycling, and walking focused river cruises. Contact one of our Danube River cruise specialists to start planning your dream trip.
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10 Best Danube River Cruises for 2024-2025

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10 Best Danube River Luxury Cruises

Trip NameFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
Magna on the Danube - Budapest to Vilshofen$32998Jun 9, 2024Embark on an 8-day river cruise from Budapest to Vilshofen aboard MS AmaMagna. Enjoy captivating architecture, music, and culinary experiences. …
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The Legendary Danube$467411Jun 2, 2024Fall in love with the Danube on this 14-day Danube River cruise aboard the MS Amasonata. Discover some of the most important cities such as …
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Gems of the Danube$94908May 23, 2024Enjoy an 8-day luxury cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest aboard the 5-star luxury Scenic Amber. Explore some of the most beautiful cities of central …
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Danube Waltz$22998Sep 1, 2024View the beauty of five different European countries and explore lesser-known Central European cities like Bratislava and Passau during this 8-day …
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Classic Prague & Danube Delights$771011Jun 25, 2024Take an 11-day trip from Prague to Budapest and experience the Classic Prague and Danube Delights. Enjoy a 3-night stay and a whole day of …
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Christmas Markets on the Danube - Cruise Only$36998Dec 21, 2024Join the Amasonata on this unique once-per-year 8-day Christmas cruise from Budapest to Vilshofen. In each town along the way, you'll feel the old …
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The Legendary Danube - Cruise Only$36998May 22, 2024Board the luxurious MS Amasonata on this exclusive 8-day cruise of the Danube River. From Nuremberg, you will sail through Germany and Austria before …
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Danube in Depth$1159010Aug 27, 2024Embark on a 10-day Danube in Depth cruise aboard Scenic Ruby. Explore Nuremberg's history, Regensburg's UNESCO-listed center, and Passau's scenic …
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Gems of the Danube$90908Oct 18, 2024Enjoy an 8-day luxury cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest aboard the 5-star luxury Scenic Opal. Visit some of the most beautiful cities of central …
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Danube Delights$79908May 25, 2024Glide smoothly through the Danube River with Emerald Sky and enjoy this 8-day journey from Budapest to Munich. Enjoy the views of the cities and …
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10 Best Danube - Main - Rhine River Cruises

Trip NameFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
Splendours of Europe$1119015Aug 2, 2024Embark on the 15-day Splendours of Europe cruise aboard the Emerald Destiny, traveling from Amsterdam to Budapest. Discover the wonders of the …
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Splendours of Europe$1119015Aug 11, 2024Sail on a 15-day Splendour of Europe cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest aboard Emerald Sun. Explore Amsterdam's canals, cafés, & art galleries. …
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Christmas & New Year$1699015Dec 21, 2024Embark on a 15-day cruise aboard the Scenic Opal. During the festive season, Europe transforms into a different realm, filled with the scent of …
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Magnificent Europe$729915May 24, 2024Enjoy this 15-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest, and many exciting stops along the way, immerse in the culture of Central Europe in a unique way …
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Splendours of Europe$1119015Jun 8, 2024Join this 15-day Splendors of Europe cruise on the Emerald Sky from Amsterdam to Budapest. Cruise through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, …
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Jewels of Europe$1609015Aug 14, 2024On this 15-day European river cruise along the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers, meander past forested slopes, picturesque vineyards, and enchanting …
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Grand European Tour$449915May 21, 2024Join this 15-day Grand European Tour from Budapest to Amsterdam. Explore the beauty, nature, and architecture of Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and …
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Grand Danube Cruise - Cruise Only$629915Jun 3, 2024Journey along paths forged by conquerors, crusaders, and kings through Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, and Germany. Step back …
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Grand Danube Cruise$869822Jun 16, 2024Board the luxurious MS AmaMagna for a fascinating 15-day Danube River cruise starting in the Czech Republic and visiting Germany, Austria, Hungary, …
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Grand Danube Cruise with Prague$859422May 31, 2024Spend two nights in Prague before starting on an enchanting 14-night Grand Danube cruise from Vilshofen to Rousse, which concludes with two nights in …
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6 Best Deals on Danube River Cruises

Trip NameSaveFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
Melodies of the Danube - Cruise OnlySavings$31998Jun 17, 2024Sail down the Danube River through Europe on this 8-day river cruise aboard the MS Amabella. Experience the different cultures, customs, and history …
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Grand Danube Cruise - Cruise OnlySavings$629915Jun 3, 2024Journey along paths forged by conquerors, crusaders, and kings through Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, and Germany. Step back …
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Gems of Southeast Europe - Cruise OnlySavings$39998Jun 23, 2024Arrive in Budapest and embark the Amamagna for your 8-day Danube River cruise. Traverse the dramatic narrow gorge known as the Iron Gates, then …
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Magna on the Danube - Cruise onlyCustom Label$33998Jun 2, 2024Embark on an 8-day river cruise from Vilshofen to Budapest aboard MS AmaMagna. Enjoy captivating architecture, music, and culinary experiences. …
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The Romantic Danube - Cruise OnlySavings$32998Jul 3, 2024Cruise eastern Europe on this 8-day itinerary along the romantic Danube from Vilshofen to Budapest aboard the MS Amasonata, stopping in cities like …
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Gems of the DanubeCustom Label$94908May 23, 2024Enjoy an 8-day luxury cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest aboard the 5-star luxury Scenic Amber. Explore some of the most beautiful cities of central …
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Top Danube River Ships for 2024-2025

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Danube River Cruise Tips & Travel Guide

When is the best time to take a Danube River cruise?

The optimal period to embark on a Danube River cruise is widely acknowledged to be during the fall months. This period, spanning from September to October, offers the most favorable conditions in terms of weather, reduced crowds, and consistent river levels.
Each season comes with its own set of advantages and drawbacks:
  • Spring (March, April, and May): While March can be quite chilly, temperatures become more agreeable as May approaches. However, this season is prone to rainfall. The melting snow causes river levels to rise, potentially leading to rerouting via bus due to impassable bridges.
  • Summer (June, July, August): The summer months can bring warmth and vibrant days for exploration. However, this season tends to be hot and bustling with tourists, which might affect the overall experience.
  • Fall (September and October): This season is particularly well-suited for Danube River cruises due to its mild climate and diminished tourist congestion at popular destinations. Securing reservations in advance is advisable as word spreads about this appealing time to visit.
  • Christmas (December): December offers a unique chance to witness the charming Christmas markets along the Danube River. These markets exude the festive spirit of the Advent season in central Europe, providing a special and captivating experience.
  • Keep in mind: The period from January through early March should be avoided. The temperatures throughout Europe, including the Danube region, plummet to cold and frigid levels, rendering this time unsuitable for travel.
To determine the most suitable month for your preferences and interests, feel free to consult one of our knowledgeable Danube cruise experts.
Favorite Castles to Visit Along the Danube
  • Melk Abbey - Melk, Austria: A masterpiece of Baroque architecture, Melk Abbey perches above the Danube and offers breathtaking views.
  • Buda Castle - Budapest, Hungary: Dominating Budapest's skyline, Buda Castle offers history, art, and panoramic vistas of the Danube and Pest.
  • Schönbrunn Palace - Vienna, Austria: The former imperial summer residence, Schönbrunn Palace is a UNESCO site known for its grandeur and extensive gardens.
  • Palais Liechtenstein - Vienna, Austria: A magnificent palace showcasing art and culture, Palais Liechtenstein is a hidden gem in Vienna.
  • St. Emmeram Castle - Regensburg, Germany: The sprawling St. Emmeram Castle in Regensburg boasts a rich history and striking architecture, revealing the city's grandeur.
Danube River Cruise Highlights by Country
As you journey along the meandering Danube River, each country you encounter on our diverse range of eastern European river cruises offers a distinctive cultural tapestry. The following highlights await your discovery:
Austria:
  • Vienna presents the medieval elegance of Schönbrunn and Hofburg Palaces.
  • The Baroque masterpiece, Melk Abbey, is a testament to Austria's grandeur.
  • The historic village of Dürnstein exudes charm, set against a backdrop of natural beauty.
  • The Wachau Valley unveils some of Europe's finest wine regions.
Germany:
  • Nuremberg's WWII sites provide poignant insights into history.
  • Regensburg boasts impeccably preserved medieval architecture.
  • Passau's 2000-year-old charm beckons with Baroque and Gothic splendor.
  • Biking and hiking opportunities offer unique perspectives.
Hungary:
  • Esztergom's neo-classic basilica and Royal Palace are landmarks of note.
  • Budapest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, narrates its storied history.
Slovakia:
  • Bratislava captivates with castles and cathedrals overlooking its pedestrian-only old town.
Croatia, Bulgaria, and Serbia:
  • Each country boasts its own historical, cultural, gastronomical, and architectural treasures.
Popular Trip Extensions of Danube River Cruises
Czech Republic:
  • Prague beckons with iconic sites like the Rudolfinum National Museum and Wenceslas Square.
  • The vibrant energy of the Hundertwasser Dancing House adds a modern touch.
  • The millennium-old Prague Castle and ornate bridges over the Vltava River reveal the city's rich history.
    What to Expect from Your Danube River Cruise Adventure

    Immerse yourself in the heart of Europe's imperial history with an enchanting European river cruise along the legendary Danube. Setting sail on a river cruise ship, you'll traverse the Main Danube Canal, an engineering marvel that seamlessly connects captivating cities.

    As you drift along this iconic river, your cruise director will orchestrate unforgettable shore excursions, unveiling the treasures of each stop. Picture yourself gazing upon the breathtaking Danube Bend, where the river weaves through lush landscapes and historical landmarks.
    Step ashore for excursions that unravel the stories of grandeur etched in the architecture of Vienna's palaces, Regensburg's medieval charm, and the regal embrace of Budapest. Each excursion offers an immersion into the tapestry of imperial history that Europe weaves.

    And don't forget the jewel of the Danube Delta, where the river meets the Black Sea. This remarkable finale to your journey paints a vivid portrait of nature's beauty.
    Choose your preferred cruise line to embark on this extraordinary adventure. Let the Danube be your guide as you navigate its timeless waters and relive the legacy of a continent through the lens of its most iconic river.
    Are Danube River Cruises Right for Me? 
    • Immersive Exploration: European civilization flourished along rivers, making river cruises an excellent way to experience major attractions and key sites in a culturally rich manner.
    • Effortless Travel: Imagine waking up each morning in a fresh destination without the hassle of packing and unpacking or enduring uncomfortable overnight buses. Danube River cruises provide the convenience of a floating hotel, ensuring seamless transitions between captivating locations.
    • All-Inclusive Value: The price of river cruising is, for the most part, all-inclusive. Your fare typically covers transportation, guided tours, and meals, simplifying your budgeting and allowing you to fully indulge in the experience without constant financial calculations.
    • Scenic Vistas: Enjoy breathtaking views right from the comfort of your cruise ship. The landscapes that unfold along the riverside provide a constantly changing panorama, offering a unique and enchanting backdrop for your journey.
    • Intimate Atmosphere: River cruises typically accommodate fewer passengers than ocean cruises, fostering a more intimate and sociable atmosphere. This allows for meaningful interactions with fellow travelers and the opportunity to forge connections that can last long after the journey ends.
    • Cultural Connections: Docking at city centers and smaller ports allows you to dive deeper into local cultures and communities. You'll have the chance to interact with locals, explore hidden gems, and gain insights into the authentic way of life along the riverbanks.
    • Guided Exploration: Danube River cruises often include guided tours led by knowledgeable experts who offer insightful commentary on the history, art, and culture of the regions you visit. This enhances your understanding and appreciation of the destinations.
    • Relaxed Pace: Danube River cruises embrace a more leisurely pace, allowing you to savor each stop and truly unwind. Whether it's a tranquil afternoon on the sun deck or a peaceful evening by the river, the pace encourages relaxation and rejuvenation.
    • Diverse Itineraries: With a plethora of river routes to choose from, you can opt for journeys that focus on your specific interests, whether it's exploring historic towns, indulging in culinary delights, or delving into natural beauty.
    • Captivating Landscapes: Witness the charm of picturesque towns, lush vineyards, and historic castles from a unique vantage point. The ever-changing scenery outside your window adds a touch of magic to every moment of your cruise.
    Travel Advisories

    Before traveling, always confirm conditions in the countries you will be traveling to with your country's official Here are links to resources if you are traveling from: The EU also maintains a list of travel advisories and restrictions when traveling to EU member nations.
    UNESCO World Heritage Sites Along the Danube River
    • Germany - Old Town of Regensburg
      • A well-preserved medieval gem, Regensburg's old town boasts architectural marvels and historical significance, earning its UNESCO World Heritage status.
    • Austria - Vienna Historic Center, Wachau Cultural Landscape, Salzburg Historic Center; Schönbrunn Palace
      • Vienna's historic center showcases imperial grandeur, while the Wachau Cultural Landscape offers picturesque vineyards and castles. In Salzburg, Mozart's birthplace and cultural heritage shine. Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna stands as a testament to Baroque opulence.
    • Czech Republic - Cesky Krumlov Historic Center, Prague Historic Center
      • Cesky Krumlov's historic center enchants with its medieval charm, while Prague's historic center captivates with its Gothic and Baroque treasures.
    • Hungary - Budapest & Danube Banks, Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs (Sopianae)
      • Budapest's stunning architecture along the Danube, along with the Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs, offer a glimpse into Hungary's rich history.
    • Romania - Danube Delta, Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania
      • The Danube Delta is a paradise for nature enthusiasts. Transylvania's fortified churches provide insights into the region's history and cultural diversity.
    Luxury Danube River Cruises in Europe
    Embarking on a luxury Danube River cruise in Europe offers an unparalleled journey that seamlessly blends opulence with discovery. These cruises redefine travel, elevating the experience to new heights of comfort and sophistication. Here are some key perks and benefits that make luxury Danube River cruises a must-experience for discerning travelers:
    • Elegant Accommodations: Luxury river cruises along the Danube River provide lavishly appointed cabins and suites designed with meticulous attention to detail. Immerse yourself in spacious, well-appointed living spaces that exude indulgence, ensuring a restful sanctuary throughout your voyage.
    • Exceptional Service: From the moment you step aboard, a team of dedicated and attentive staff members cater to your every need. Expect personalized service that anticipates your preferences, enhancing your overall comfort and enjoyment.
    • Gourmet Dining: Culinary excellence takes center stage with gourmet dining experiences that showcase the finest regional and international cuisines. Expert chefs craft delectable dishes using locally sourced, fresh ingredients, providing a gastronomic journey that tantalizes the taste buds.
    • Exclusive Amenities: Luxury Danube River cruises offer an array of exclusive amenities that redefine onboard leisure. Indulge in spa treatments, unwind in elegant lounges, or take a dip in refreshing pools, all while admiring the stunning river views.
    • Intimate Atmosphere: Luxury cruises typically feature smaller vessels, fostering an intimate ambiance that ensures a personalized and uncrowded voyage. This setting allows for genuine interactions with fellow travelers and crew members.
    • Immersive Enrichment: Enrichment activities such as talks, workshops, and performances enhance your understanding of the regions visited. Engage with experts who provide insights into the art, history, and culture of the destinations.
    • All-Inclusive Luxury: Many luxury Danube River cruises operate on an all-inclusive basis, encompassing accommodations, meals, beverages, and a range of enriching activities. This ensures a seamless experience where you can focus solely on enjoying every moment.
    • Exclusivity: Luxury cruises offer an exclusive atmosphere that resonates with travelers seeking refined experiences. Revel in the company of like-minded individuals while enjoying the comforts of a thoughtfully designed vessel.
    Danube Cruises for Solo Travelers

    While many river cruises may not be explicitly designed for solo travelers, there's still an incredible experience awaiting those who choose to explore alone.

    It's true that single rooms on riverboats are relatively scarce, and most cruise lines tend to apply a single supplement fee (typically around 50%) to occupy a double room for solo use. However, keep an eye out for exclusive offers that occasionally waive the single supplement fee, especially for last-minute bookings and special occasions.

    Traveling solo through Europe offers a unique opportunity for self-discovery, flexibility in your itinerary, and the chance to connect with fellow passengers and locals in a more personal way. The charming cities and captivating landscapes along the Danube provide an ideal backdrop for forging new connections and creating cherished memories on your solo journey.
    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 a wine-themed cruise on the Danube such as the Melodies of the Danube on AmaWaterway's Amaviola.

    Each voyage features one or two wine experts or onboard sommeliers that will host tastings and food-and-wine-pairings of local wines that complement our visits to historic vineyards, 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 Egri BikaverZierfandler, Cserszegi Fuszeres, and Juhfark. Slovakia, Croatia and Serbia also have local varietals that shouldn't be missed. 

     
    Best Danube River Cruises for Families

    In general, Danube river cruises don't specifically focus on the needs of children, but there are some riverships that cater specifically to children and some cruise lines are open to infants, toddlers and children of any age. 

    AmaWaterway's Amaviola was designed in conjunction with Adventures by Disney specifically with the needs of children and families in mind. Few of the departures during the year are managed by Disney, but the ship and the crew are prepared to create fun-filled voyages for younger passengers. 

    CroisiEurope's fleet of European riverships allow children of all ages including infants, but extras like cribs and high chairs are not provided, so you should consider bringing your own. 

    Contact one of our Danube cruising specialists for help planning the perfect European family river cruise.
     
    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:

    Beautiful Blue 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.  

    From the Black Sea to the Blue Danube 
    Further down the Danube ride through historical bike-friendly cities such as Belgrade, Serbia and Budapest, Hungary.

    How to Choose a Danube River Cruise

    Where to Go?
    The Danube River flows from Germany through some of the most historic regions of Central and 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 travelers find to be the perfect length. 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.
    All Europe Videos

    Cruising the Danube River with Adventure Life

    Reviews of Danube River Cruise Lines for 2024-2025

    AmaWaterways

    Offers guests all-inclusive itineraries with all gourmet meals served onboard in one of the multiple dining areas. There are a variety of social areas including a panoramic sundeck that hosts a walking track and heated pool, a spa and massage parlor, a fitness center, and several spacious lounges and bars. Another major draw of AmaWaterways are their active but not overwhelming itineraries, typically offering at least one activity in each port and also allowing travelers to enjoy a bit of independent exploration on their own time. 

    AmaWaterways Danube River ships are:
     
    CroisiEurope

    They have been around for over 40 years, but their competitively low cruise prices compared to the other operators has made them an excellent option for travelers hoping to authentically experience Europe on a bit of a tighter budget and surrounded by Europeans onboard. Although there is usually just one dining area on each vessel and there are fewer elegant amenities or social spaces, guests find the cabins comfortable and the food nourishing. There are also fewer activity options in each port. 

    Their Danube River vessels are:  
    MS France
    MS L'Europe,
    MS Vivaldi
    MS Beethoven.

     
    Scenic 

    Scenic is an Australian cruise line that also owns Emerald Waterways are famous for their "Space Ships" which are high-tech, modern and beautiful with gorgeous staterooms and multiple dining venues. Innovations include GPS powered self guided tours. They are known for top-shelf all inclusive service.

    Scenic river ships sailing the Danube include:
     
    Avalon Waterways 

    Offering a half dozen "suite ships" with large cabins that measure between 200 square feet and 300 square feet. These Avalon river ships sail the Danube:We love:
    The large windows that open in the suites to create a large open-air balcony.

    The Food. Avalon Fresh is a dining program that includes healthy cuisine including vegetarian and vegan options.

    The Active Discovery program  immerses you into the destinations through active walking, bicycling, and cultural immersion tours.
    Uniworld Cruises Boutique 
    River Cruises


    With lavish, sometimes over-the-top interior design, excellent fine dining with locally-sourced cuisine, and well-run excursions, Uniworld is firmly set at the high end of European river cruising with their three outstanding Danube River ships: 
    Viking River Cruises

    Perhaps the best known European river cruise line with around 60 river ships sailing the continent, 
    Viking River Cruises offers consistently excellent service, accommodations and cuisine at a competitive price point.


    Crystal Cruises

    Known for high-end experiences their river ships feature a number of lounges, beautiful deck space with comfortable loungers and an indoor swimming pool. Their Danube ships include:

    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 some that are around 200 passengers. Every boat features multiple social areas, exquisite food, and friendly crews & guides.

    Bigger riverboats might have more common areas on board, 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. 

    How to choose your cabin
    There aren't a lot of options like you might find on a bigger ocean liner, so choosing a good cabin might be a bit easier. The trick is to think about the least noisy areas of the boat. Try to avoid these places when booking your cabin:
    • Anywhere near a lounge, restaurant, bar, elevators, or stairs
    • Cabins above the engine room
    If you want a very upscale room, consider the suites. Just beware that you will pay a premium for these rooms.

    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. 

    What should I expect on a Danube River cruise?
    • River cruises tend to be more structured with less time for independent exploration
    • Danube cruises tend to focus on one specific geographic region of Eastern & Central Europe (unless you choose one of the longer cruises that are more comprehensive)
    • Day activities are "relaxed active," including frequent walking tours and similar activities
    • A more mature crowd - typically baby boomers hoping to enjoy a structured vacation
    • Intimate atmosphere onboard, seldom with more than 200 passengers
    I've been on ocean cruises -aren't river cruises pretty much the same thing?
    Not at all. Not only are there fewer passengers which guarantees a comfortable on board atmosphere with your shipmates, but the boom in river cruises in the last decade has taken the quality, comfort, and design of the cruises to the next level. You shouldn't expect a lot of nightlife or on board entertainment. Not only are the ships smaller and have fewer entertainment areas on board, but the cruise atmosphere is quite distinct as well. Your vessel might have an evening DJ or pianist, but usually not much more. Smaller group size means faster embarking and disembarking at each site and shorter lines. Nightly briefings will give you a peek at the next day's activities and some interesting info about what you will see and experience.


    Should I worry about seasickness?
    If you tend to avoid cruises because the rock and sway of the boat makes you feel nauseous, then a river cruise might be a great alternative - these boats don't really rock too much since they are on a river. If you're still concerned this might be a problem, most people find that packing Dramamine or OTC seasickness medications work well. An alternative might be the pressure point motion sickness wrist bands.

    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 that 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

    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. 

    How do meals work in Danube river cruises? 
    Expect your meals to be served buffet style for breakfast and lunch and sit-down style for dinner. Make sure you are arriving at the meal times indicated on your itinerary. Unlike bigger cruise ships where meal time is flexible, on river cruises you are expected to be punctual as each meal will only be served during the indicated hours. Frequently, you'll be served regional cuisine from the region you are visiting that day. Get ready for some wiener schnitzel in Vienna and goulash in Budapest!

    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.

    Do Danube cruises offer wheelchair accessibility?
    Although river cruising on the Danube is not particularly set up for those in a wheelchair or for those with accessibility issues, these riverboats cater to mobility-challenged guests: AmaSerena, AmaSonata, AmaPrima, and AmaCerto have specially designed cabins that have slightly wider doors and modified bathrooms that allow wheelchair access. CroisiEurope's MS  Vivaldi, MS Beethoven, MS Gérard Schmitter, MS L’Europe, MS Lafayette, and MS Modigliani have elevators and rooms for accessibility challenged guests. It is recommended that you be able to go up or down short flights of stairs in order to make the most of your trip.

    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.

    Can I smoke on board?
    Most (if not all) river cruise vessels ban smoking anywhere inside the boat, including your cabin. Many vessels allow you to smoke in designated areas of the sun deck. Note that there are also smoking restrictions in certain parts of towns and visitor sites. 

    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.

    Are river cruises good for honeymoons?
    River cruises can be an excellent honeymoon option for certain couples, as long as you keep a few key things in mind:
    • The majority of other passengers aboard tend to be around retirement age
    • The itinerary is relatively fixed with daily activities and tours
    • Relaxing and alone time are hard to come by, as you will likely dine with others and be on the move.
    • Staying in your cabin might mean missing tours.
    How have river cruises improved recently?
    If you were on a river cruise through Europe before, then you might be surprised by how much has changed in the last decade. Competition has resulted in:
    • nicer cabins, often with balconies or French balconies (full windows that open)
    • gourmet cuisine
    • more exciting and engaging onshore experiences.
    How Should I Tip On River Cruises?
    Tipping is a personal decision, and no one will force you to leave a gratuity. However, you should know that on European river cruises, this is an expectation. Here are a few guidelines:
    • Generally not included in the cost
    • Tip $20 per guest per day
    • Tip in a lump sum at the end with either cash or or card
    • Give tour guides $3-$5 per tour
    • Give bus drivers $1 per ride
    What is "rafting"? 
    If you've been reading about river cruising, you may have come across the word "rafting", but what on earth does it mean? When certain smaller ports receive more vessels than there are docks, the vessels will line up next to each other and "raft." Passengers will then cross other ships to board and de-board. Don't worry - this is normal and you shouldn't feel uncomfortable. Just make sure to glance out your window to make sure there aren't any ships beside you before throwing open the curtains in the morning in your birthday suit!

    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.

    What should I pack and dress for the cruise?
    Pack to be comfortable for walking in the season you are traveling. Pack one nice outfit for an upscale dinner, usually the last night of your cruise. Otherwise, you can expect casual attire to be appropriate for the cruise.

    Don't leave home without...
    • Toiletries, razor, hygiene products, medications
    • Extra contacts and glasses (just in case)
    • Plug adapter for two/three circular pin 220V European style outlets
    • 2-4 pairs of comfortable pants
    • One week’s worth of shirts (t-shirts and dress shirts)
    • Enough socks and underwear to avoid laundry
    • Sweater or sweatshirt
    • Waterproof jacket or lightweight raincoat
    • Sunscreen and bug spray
    • Sun glasses and a wide brimmed hat
    • Camera, lenses, accessories (like a charger, extra battery pack, memory cards, and cleaning kit), binoculars
    • Umbrella
    • A couple pairs of comfortable walking shoes
    If you still have space in your suitcase, consider bringing...
    • First aid kit
    • Day trip bag (or small backpack – maybe your carry-on)
    • Travel alarm clock (if your phone doesn’t have an alarm)
    • Sleeping clothes
    • Plastic bag for dirty clothes
    Why go through Adventure Life?
    Sure, we know that you can plan a great vacation independently. But any veteran river cruiser will tell you to always work with an agent - the tour operators let us know about exclusive deals. Plus we're here to help you through the whole process. Got a question? We're just a phone call or chat away.

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