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Cruises to Vienna

4 Awards
Vienna (Photo:Ionia/Shutterstock)

About Vienna

Visitors come to Vienna with high expectations of lavish palaces, ornamental parks, cakes piled high with whipped cream and the strain of Strauss waltzes. They're rarely disappointed; this is a city that trades on its glorious past, reveling in its heyday, when Gustav Mahler was conducting the Vienna Philharmonic, Sigmund Freud was inventing psychoanalysis and the coffee houses were abuzz with the banter of middle-class intellectuals.

Yet, as much as it lives in the past, Vienna has hauled itself into the present with elegance and style. Visitors will discover a compact but diverse, multicultural city, with a thriving art and design scene, some truly fabulous shopping, superb contemporary art collections, and acres of gorgeous parks and gardens. Here, you'll find a happy devotion to the good life, whether it's sipping a cocktail at one of the hip bars on the Danube Canal or the gemutlichkeit (the Austrian term for "coziness") of tasting wines grown on the hills around the city in a traditional pub garden in the village of Grinzing.

Because most of the big attractions are around or inside the Ringstrasse, the circular boulevard that encloses the first district, or city center, Vienna is easy to explore. In fact, you could spend days in the first district alone, shopping on the elegant Karntnerstrasse, exploring St. Stephen's Cathedral and countless other Baroque churches, devoting time to galleries and museums and immersing yourself in the famous coffee culture.

The many river cruise lines that call on the city provide a mere snapshot of this thriving center of European culture with little deviation from the very well-trodden tourist trail. But Vienna caters to a diverse range of interests, and the good news is that if you come back for more, or want to explore it alone, the city is a snap to navigate independently.

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Avalon Impression
Avalon Impression

10 Night
Active & Discovery On The Danube With 2 Nights In Prague & 1 Night In Budapest

68 Reviews
Leaving:Prague
Cruise Line:Avalon Waterways
ItineraryShipReviewsFull Details
Jul 2, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Avalon Envision
Avalon Envision (Photo: Avalon Waterways)

14 Night
Magnificent Europe

15 Reviews
Leaving:Amsterdam
Cruise Line:Avalon Waterways
Sep 26, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Viking Vali
Viking Vali (Photo: Viking River Cruises)

14 Night
Grand European Tour

14 Reviews
Leaving:Amsterdam
Cruise Line:Viking River Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Virgin Voyages

Viking Kadlin
Viking Kadlin (Photo: Viking River Cruises)

7 Night
Danube Christmas Delights

167 Reviews
Leaving:Passau
Cruise Line:Viking River Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Grand European Tour

121 Reviews
Leaving:Amsterdam
Cruise Line:Viking River Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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6 Night
Christmastime On The Danube

68 Reviews
Leaving:Nuremberg
Cruise Line:Avalon Waterways
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Grand European Tour

151 Reviews
Leaving:Budapest
Cruise Line:Viking River Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Danube Christmas Delights

94 Reviews
Leaving:Budapest
Cruise Line:Viking River Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

14 Night
Grand European Tour

123 Reviews
Leaving:Amsterdam
Cruise Line:Viking River Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Grand European Tour

103 Reviews
Leaving:Budapest
Cruise Line:Viking River Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Splendours Of Europe

11 Reviews
Leaving:Amsterdam
Cruise Line:Emerald Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Grand European Tour

141 Reviews
Leaving:Budapest
Cruise Line:Viking River Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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5 Night
A Taste Of The Danube With 2 Nights In Budapest

68 Reviews
Leaving:Budapest
Cruise Line:Avalon Waterways
Aug 7, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Danube Waltz

94 Reviews
Leaving:Budapest
Cruise Line:Viking River Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

14 Night
Splendours Of Europe

162 Reviews
Leaving:Amsterdam
Cruise Line:Emerald Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Why go to Vienna?

Pros:

Vienna, with its compact layout, is markedly easy to explore

Cons:

Some shops and attractions are closed on Sundays; others close for lunch daily

Bottom Line:

Most points of interest are found in or around Ringstrasse, offering something for everyone

Vienna Cruise Port Facilities?

The big attractions are all in the city center, so there's not much to see around the Reichsbrucke area. The Prater amusement park is about seven blocks from the river, and the Danube Island (Donauinsel), a skinny, 21-kilometer strip of land running along the center of the river, is very close. The island serves as the city's recreational area in summer. It's used for jogging, walking, cycling and roller-blading and is lined with bars, restaurants and river beaches.

Good to Know?

Vienna is a very safe, clean city, although pickpockets inevitably operate in the most crowded tourist areas, such as around St. Stephen's Cathedral.

Keep an eye on shop opening hours; stores are closed on Sundays, and some shut for lunch every day.

Pay attention to good manners; it's customary to greet shopkeepers when you walk in and to say goodbye when you leave. In a coffee house, never, ever ask for a take-out cup. Viennese like to take their time, and coffee drinking is considered sacrosanct, unless you're in Starbucks.

Getting Around?

Public transport is so easy to master in Vienna, there's barely any need to take taxis. If you're planning to use public transport for more than a couple of journeys, buy a 24-hour ticket for unlimited rides. Tickets need to be validated in the machine onboard the trams or at the gate into the underground stations.

By Subway: There are five underground lines (the U-Bahn), and the service is fast and efficient. The nearest U-Bahn to the Reichsbrucke, where most ships dock, is Vorgartenstrasse, served by the U1, which takes you straight into Stephansplatz and St. Stephen's Cathedral.

By Tram/Streetcar: Above ground, the trams are fun and offer the best views; tram line No. 1 goes right round the Ringstrasse for a bargain-priced sightseeing tour of all the main Baroque buildings. Or for a circuit of the Ring by tram with commentary and a multimedia presentation for tourists, a special, yellow Vienna Ring Tram departs every half hour from Schwedenplatz (although you can get on or off at any of the stops around the Ring).

By Horse-Drawn Carriage: You can also tour Vienna by Fiaker, the shiny, horse-drawn carriages that carry romantics around old town, day and night. You can book in advance online at fiaker.co.at.

By Bicycle: Citybike Wien is a free bike system with more than 100 stations around the city center at which you can pick up and drop off bikes. The first hour is free, and it's only 1 euro for the second hour and 2 euros for the third.

On Foot: The city center is compact and a real treat to explore on foot, especially the tangle of narrow streets around St. Stephen's Cathedral. Pick up a free map from the tourist information booths around the city.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency is the Euro. For current currency conversion figures, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. There are ATM's all over Vienna. Always check whether a credit card will be accepted when you visit a smaller shop or restaurant; some places are cash only.

Language?

German is the official language of Austria, although Austrians speak with a particular accent. (This will not be distinguishable to a non-German speaker.) In tourist areas, everybody speaks English, but it's polite to say guten Morgen (good morning) or guten Tag (good day) when you walk into a shop or restaurant, and auf Wiedersehen (goodbye) when you leave.

Where You're Docked?

Most river cruise ships tie up on the Danube at the Reichsbrucke terminal on Handelskai, a seven-minute ride by U-Bahn (underground railway) into the center. There is no actual city center mooring because the Danube was diverted years ago to the east of the city to avoid flooding.

Some ships dock at Nussdorf, a pretty wine-growing village to the north, at the foot of the vineyards. It's easy to travel into town by tram from there, although it's a longer ride than from the Reichsbrucke dock.


Vienna Cruise Reviews
I decided I was going to venture out and take an included biking excursion in Vienna, the local hosts were amazing and provided so much information about the destination! After, decided to venture out with some tips Read More
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maddaboutcruising
Incredible historic city. Took the bike tour which was outstanding. The only problem was the group was too large (24!) and we had too many longish stops to get everyone through the traffic lights.Read More
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cberger46
Beautiful clean city. Great side trip to city, Lipizann Stables. Ebike ride along the Danube was well worth it. Read More
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mt53
This was the only city on our cruise that we did not dock in/near city center which is why it does not receive a higher ranking--busing to attractions takes time we would prefer to have exploring. There are many siteRead More
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Jtitus

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