Well we are just back from a fabulous cruise down the Danube from Passau Germany to Budapest Hungary. What a great trip. We sailed on Uniworld’s new River Beatrice and she is one beautiful ship! The ship was inaugurated in 2009 but it was so fresh and lovely you would have thought it was yesterday when they brought her out for her debut.
The crew was so personable when we arrived, a bit tired and worn for the wear. Our Hotel Manager and Cruise Master were waiting for us and introduced themselves to us and let us know that if there was anything they could do to make our vacation better they would. Well we didn’t have to ask them but they truly did make our vacation wonderful. Anytime you had a question or needed something they were right there! They were ready with a glass of wine and a light snack as we boarded the ship.
We went on this cruise with another couple, friends of ours from Arizona, Penny & Jimmy, they are really a hoot and great to travel with. Thankfully they are close enough for us to see them more frequently as we spent so much time laughing; we just loved traveling with them!
The dinners were great and we enjoyed the free-flowing wine or beer with dinner nightly this is yet another thing that we all love about Uniworld.
After a long day we hit the hay and slept, we slept great! The beds were amazing and so comfy! I had no trouble sleeping the entire trip.
Onboard the highlites were, the local entertainment onboard, Austrians, Germans and Hungarians, all different types of entertainment, like folk dancing and music, classical and pop music. The house Entertainer was “Zoltan” last I heard he went on the the River Antoinette, he was fun, he sounded good and was very accommodating to the guests.
Another highlight was on the first Captain’s night we were invited to sit with the Captain, who was probably the most friendly and fun Captains I have run into after many years in the cruise business. We were treated like onboard royalty and did not want for anything.
Passau Germany is where the cruise started and it is an adorable town, considered one of Bavaria’s oldest cities. World War II never affected, so the old church was still there with the world largest pipe organ, we later enjoyed a concert there (Included with our passage). The town itself was just cuter than cute, it had cobblestone streets, lots of beautiful pansies in flower boxes, I would say one of the most adorable cities I have seen.
We headed on down the river to our next stop, Linz which is an hour and a half north of Salzburg, it was pouring that day and I am sure we would have had a different view of Salzburg if it hadn’t rained so hard. Charming and sweet, but cold and raining. Salzburg is one of the best preserved city centers north of the Alps, it was very easy to get around and getting lost wasn’t an issue. I did get a huge soft pretzel in the market yumo!!!!!
Our guide in Salzburg was not a big fan of the Sound of Music, but I am, there were several places where you could just see Julie Andrews followed by the Von Trapp children running thru the Mirabel Garten. He kind of blew off the whole story and that was disappointing but we were happy to ignore him humph! He also told us not to visit Mozart’s birth home.
We set sail to Melk Abbey, It was nice, lots of beautiful art and a fabulous view over the small own below. It started out as a Roman post and was handed over to the Benedictine Monks in the 11th century, Melk is now a charming little cobblestone town.
We went on the Durnstein that day which I thought was even cuter, it is about 1 or 2 blocks long and we were able to walk to and from the ship into town, so adorable! We also enjoyed a wine tasting at Domain Wachau winery (Included). I am not a huge fan of German/ Austrian wines as I am a full-bodied red every day of the week, but we had a lot of fun. The cellars there were really cool. Love wineries!!!!
Now onto a big city Vienna! Loved it there!!!! Uniworld is doing a great job on their included shore excursions; they have 2 choices and a slower walking group so everyone is happy. We chose the “choice tour” Vienna as the Viennese do… Awesome! We did a short city tour in the bus and debarked to a fun walking tour. We went to a Vienna Coffee shop for guess what, yep coffee! yum! And then went to a sausage stand to sample the most delicious sausages ever. We trekked thru the Jewish Ghetto were several of us were visibly shaken after seeing the Holocaust monument there, I must say that it was really overwhelming to be there and on the same ground where some very horrible acts were committed. I was very happy to see a memorial. After this we needed some wine and went to a really cool wine bar before heading back to the ship via the underground. Wonderful alternative excursion!
In Budapest we did the city tour; you will love the Central Market, the Parliament and Castle hill. We went to hero’s Square and played around there for a while. We really enjoyed Budapest and would return there in a heartbeat.
All in all we had a wonderful time, loved Uniworld, loved our friends and I just love River cruising! This is the hottest way of cruising and I am finding so many more people loving it!