This was our first river cruise after many ocean ones and based on our experience it likely won't be our last. Cruising the Danube River was everything we hoped it would be. We visited wonderful cities on a lovely ship with excellent service. Upon our arrival we were welcomed on board and then escorted to our cabin by a friendly crew member. Our luggage had already made it into our cabin as we were joining as part of a Collette tour which was nice. We unpacked and then proceeded to explore the ship. It is well appointed throughout and spotlessly clean and EVERY crew member encountered said hello. Although small by our previous experiences the reception area is lovely and both the restaurant and lounge are plenty big when the number of visitors is considered--in our case 83. We enjoyed every meal particularly the "local dishes" that were served and had great service for all. Breakfast was generally served buffet style, but items could be ordered and there was a hot station with a different featured item each day. The French toast and crepes and eggs benedict were all superb! Our cabin was small, but on par with all big ships we have known. The bathroom was large enough and water pressure was consistent as was temperature. At every excursion a crew member was present to assist exit and return. All cities docked at were worth the visits and the quality of scheduled excursions and availability of optional excursions was good. Obviously there is less entertainment than a big cruise, but what we had (music, folklore shows, lectures) was all high quality.
A couple things we appreciated that were different than our ocean cruise experiences was the absence of pressure from bar staff and photography staff. We could order or decline and not be bothered multiple times and the absence of a ship's photographer allowed us to exit the ship without wait or detour. We do appreciate the option of a ship's photographer but like to choose when and where rather than feeling pressured to be photographed.
Now the only decision is when and where to return to a river...maybe the lower Danube? an American river? the Seine?
Passau was our embarkation port and as such it worked well. We enjoyed a walking tour of the city. It was like many European cities quaint and delightful and not as busy/crowded as some. St. Stephens Cathedral is well worth a visit for the organ alone.
We loved the area around the large medieval square and ALL the churches that could be visited. It was nice--as proved to be the case on most of our cruise--to be docked in a great location very near many attractions. we would recommend a visit to this underappreciated Austrian city.
Do not miss a chance to visit the famed Abbey. There is a reason it is well-known. Simply amazing views inside and out.
What a lovely little historic city Durnstein is! We sure wish that we had more time to explore it, but what we did do we liked. Lots of family owned shops and restaurants and all locals encountered were extremely friendly and warm.
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 sites to see, but we simply did not have enough time on this trip. We do plan to return though and maybe then we can enjoy more. Our tour at Schonbrunn Palace was quite good. It is as lovely as any palace we have been to throughout Europe and like many has great gardens to explore as well.
What a great lesser known capital city! We loved touring the 13th-century castle that overlooks the city as well as St. Martin's Cathedral. This is a very walkable city and not as busy as many. Like so many European cities we found lots of delicious cafes just asking us to stop and loiter. Drinking coffee at an outdoor cafe is one of life's great pleasures.
Of all the cities on our cruise this IS the ONE we most want to return to. It is simply beautiful. Our nigh time cruise of the illuminated city is one we will never forget. The parliament building alone deserves a cruise-by. We thought that St. Mattias Church was as beautiful as any we visited on this cruise--and we saw many! The views from Fisherman's Bastion are worth the climb even if one takes the funicular or available elevators. The large market is so cool too.