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?
I've been on ocean cruises -aren't river cruises pretty much the same thing?
- 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
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
, 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:
How have river cruises improved recently?
- 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.
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:
How Should I Tip On River Cruises?
- nicer cabins, often with balconies or French balconies (full windows that open)
- gourmet cuisine
- more exciting and engaging onshore experiences.
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:
What is "rafting"?
- 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
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...
If you still have space in your suitcase, consider bringing...
- 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
- A couple pairs of comfortable walking shoes
Why go through Adventure Life?
- 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
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.