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Travelogues

 by Cruise Holidays | Luxury Travel Boutique

 

 Click below to read other trip reports

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My Scenic River Cruise from Budapest to Nuremberg


 Over 80 photos below

 

In mid-November, 2014, I travelled to Budapest for a 7 day cruise on the Danube River. The cruise was hosted by Scenic Tours, an Australian company that manages luxury river cruises on Scenic and Emerald Waterways, and also conducts coach tours around the world. A couple of years ago I sailed on Ama Waterways through Holland and Belgium during Tulip Time, so it was interesting to compare the two river cruise lines. There are many different river cruise companies, including Avalon, Viking, and A-Rosa, just to name a few, and comparing them can be tricky and dependent on the services that are included in the total cruise fare; pre-cruise and post-cruise hotel stays, airport transfers etc. which are included with some and not with others.

 





 

I arrived in Budapest from Toronto in the late morning and made my way to the ship via the private transfer provided by Scenic Tours which met us at the airport baggage claim area. We were able to check into our stateroom almost immediately.


We had booked a balcony stateroom and it contained all of the amenities and luxuries one would expect from a luxury line, including a bathrobe, slippers, a minibar (stocked!), a safe, both still and sparkling mineral water, and a female butler who brought us appetizers, petit fours, and other delicacies every day of the cruise. All food and beverages on the ship were included on this trip. And not only the alcoholic beverages but also any type of specialty coffee you can imagine!

 

The food on this cruise was also amazing! Wonderful breakfast buffets
with the best fresh breads, cheeses, meats, and other typical breakfast items.
Lunch was either another beautiful and elaborate buffet or a sit down affair,
and dinners were for the most part served and included the best of the local
wines that were perfectly paired with the meals we were enjoying. The chef who
happened to be Indonesian was very gifted and in every country we sailed
through we enjoyed some of the local cuisine which of course included Hungarian
Goulash, Wiener Schnitzel, Sauerkraut, Sacher Torte, and delicious chocolate
desserts. Light meals were always available in the lounge area of the ship.

 

In Budapest I took part in the city tour and then opted for the Turkish
Baths which were spectacular! Eighteen indoor baths of varying temperatures and
mineral content, and 3 outdoor baths all heated thermally! In addition a lovely
café served hot and cold meals as well as wines and beers. The locals spend
much time at these baths and even play chess while sitting in the healing
waters.

 

Cruise Holidays | Luxury Travel Boutique River Cruise Specialist Lola Stoker Danube River Cruise

 

 

Our next stop was Vienna with an optional side trip to Bratislava in Slovakia, for those who are counting the countries on their bucket list!  On our first night in Vienna, we were treated to a private concert and dance at the Palais Lichtenstein, a small private palace in the centre of Vienna.  The palace was filled with art and frescos.  The concert featured music by Mozart, Strauss and other classical musicians performed by a small orchestra and included ballet dancers and opera singers.

 

River Cruise Specialist Lola Stoker at the Palais Lichtenstein

 

I chose to visit Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna which is a replica of Chateau Versailles outside of Paris. It was built by order of Empress Maria Theresa. The palace is all you might expect of a palace of this stature and also houses a wonderful café where Strudel is the main staple on the menu. They even hold Strudel making demonstrations. Part of the history of the palace and the royal family of Austria does of course include the story of Princess Elizabeth, also referred to as Sissi, the People’s Princess. Who does not remember the movie starring Romy Schneider as Sissy?! Of course one can purchase many wonderful souvenirs at the palace as well which include CD’s featuring Austrian waltzes, Austrian embroidered table doilies, and Mozart Kugeln chocolates which are filled with almond paste!

 

In Vienna I also visited the Lippezaner Horse stables and as it was Christmas market time, I was lucky enough to be there for the official lighting of the big Christmas tree in front of city hall. Of course the buildings were all beautifully lit and the markets sold any kind of Christmas ornament one can imagine and the smells of Gluhwein and Apple Cider with honey filled the air. After the market we had a visit to a Kaffe Haus and enjoyed some fresh apple strudel and a kaffe latte!

 

Our next stop was Durnstein, a beautiful small village surrounded by
vineyards. In nearby Melk we visited the famous Abby. My, what a building!
Almost like a palace! Now partially occupied by a high school focused on
teaching Latin, Greek, and other courses, the building still houses an age old
library where the book cases go right up to the ceiling (which is not unlike
the Sistine Chapel!).  The room is surrounded by a narrow walkway to access the higher level book cases. The church in the building is incredibly ornate and just about every adornment is covered in gold! Definitely worth a visit!

 

Cruise Holidays | Luxury Travel Boutique River Cruise Specialist on the way to Melk

 

After Durnstein and Melk we stopped in Passau. Half our group decided on
Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic; the report back was that Cesky Krumlov is
a beautiful medieval town and that the walking tour was definitely worthwhile!
Instead of the Czech Republic, I opted for the trip to Salzburg and enjoyed
somewhat of a Sound of Music tour and visited many of the areas the movie was
filmed in. Salzburg is of course also famous for its Sacher Torte as well as
Mozart’s Geburtzhaus! Plus we had lunch in Europe’s oldest restaurant, built in
803 AD.

 

Next stop was Regensburg, where, guess what, it rained! We had a lovely
city tour which ended with a private organ recital in the age old cathedral.
The church, again, was amazing and the ceilings were again painted beautifully.
Last stop was Nuremberg. I had booked an early flight out due to work
commitments, so I unfortunately did miss the city tour. Nuremberg is of course
knows for its Nazi trials but unbeknownst to me, they also manufacture the
famous Faber-Castell pencils here which are used the world over.


Scenic Tours as well as most of the other river cruise companies sail many other
itineraries which include the Rhone in the South of France, the Seine from
Paris to Normandy, The Dutch and Belgian waterways, The Moselle, the Venetian
Canals, and the Bordeaux.

 


Photos and article by Lola Stoker, Cruise Holidays | Luxury Travel Boutique river cruise and travel specialist.