This was our first river cruise ~ WOW!
We arrived in Budapest the day prior to boarding & stayed at the Hilton Hotel on Buda side ~ this was booked at the time of booking the cruise ~ What an excellent location ~ our double room overlooked the river & straight across was Parliament building lit up ! The view was like a postcard when we opened the curtains.
The next day, we were able to walk down from the hotel to the ship whereby we were welcomed on-board even though we were early we were shown to the lounge where lunch was served until cabins were available.
The ship was amazing, sleek, clean and felt very plush. We had a very friendly crew who we got to know due to the size of the passenger/ crew ratio. As on an ocean cruise you only get to recognise a few crew members because of the vast size etc.
The passengers were mostly Americans & so friendly (we were the only English)
The staterooms are very well equipped and presented. Each day you have free bottled water in your room. The housekeepers do a wonderful job.
Food ~ there was an excellent choice & local cuisine & wines relating to the countries we were visiting. The chefs were very creative with the presentation too ! Also the waiters always had smile ~ even though this was their last week! Nothing was ever too much trouble for them.
Dress code ~ This is what I was trying to find info on before we went ~ I struggled to find any information only smart casual ~ well for you ladies that also want to know what to pack before you go I will give you a few suggestions
We went in the fall though ~ layers, long sleeved t shirts/ blouses/ jumpers cardigans. smart jeans/ cords / trousers no need for skirts unless prefer to wear skirt to trousers. most people had trainers on,but we wore flat leather boots & heels for evening. smart tops for evenings with jeans / leggings.
Formal dress for captains night ~ they did request to 'dress up' I wore long maxi dress made from t-shirt fabric ~(no ironing as it rolled up :)But anything goes. If you do go in the fall remember to pack gloves & scarves!
Hope this helps you.
Excursions & guided walks ~ these were superbly organised by cruise director
Lisi ~ every excursion ran like clockwork !
The places we visited were ~ Budapest city tour, Bratislava walking tour
Optional Mozart & Strauss concert in Vienna I would recommend this.
Vienna city tour, Durnstein walking tour ~ a must to climb up to castle ruins!
Melk Abbey, Linz walking tour, excursion choices ~ we went to Salzburg Loved it!
Passau walking tour ~ we gave this one a miss and did our own walking tour due to the fact it was thick fog! Last stop Vilshofen where we had 'Oktoberfest'
local lager and music/dance.
I have listed the places we enjoyed the most
1st ~Budapest this was our favourite city especially when we sailed away at dusk !! I found it quiet moving.
2nd ~ Durnstein ~ very scenic especially if you climb up to the castle ruins
joint 3rd ~ Vienna & Salzburg both have lots of history and interesting buildings.
This was our first river cruise and we would definately recommend it ~ we only have one weeks holiday at this time of year and it was a great way to see lots of countries in a short time and we met some amazing people too.
once home ~ we received a handwritten post card from the captain and crew thanking us for sailing with them ~ what a lovely touch !