2 Passau Holiday Cruise Reviews

The 2014 Christmas Markets cruise was a wonderful experience! Captain Smidt, Cruise Manager Bart and Hotel Director Carla, the crew, the guides and guest lecturers made this a truly special experience for my husband and me. Onboard meals ... Read More
The 2014 Christmas Markets cruise was a wonderful experience! Captain Smidt, Cruise Manager Bart and Hotel Director Carla, the crew, the guides and guest lecturers made this a truly special experience for my husband and me. Onboard meals were invariably excellent, featuring local specialties and wines as well as classic favorites. The on-board lectures were informative as well as entertaining. We enjoyed the classical duo in Bratislava, the performance by "Franz Josef" and "Sisi" in Vienna, and the Hungarian dancers in Budapest. Walking tours were in small groups, which made it easier for us to interact with the guides. Particularly enlightening for me were the lectures on Judaism & the Holocaust and life under Commmunism. My parents survived Nazi and Soviet invasions of their country, but (like so many of their generation) refused to speak of those times except to say it was too painful. It was difficult to listen to these lectures - but critically important to learn and remember so that history isn't repeated. On a lighter note, two special dinners stand out in my memory. Christmas dinner at a landmark restaurat in Linz, Austria (the Klosterhof?) was lovely. The grand dining room was beautifully decorated for the occasion and our schnitzel was fine. Service could be a bit slow (some of us were still waiting for our drink orders while others were enjoying their dinners) and another main-course option would have been appreciated, but overall it was fine. This appeared to be one of the few restaurants open on Christmas day, so I'm sure they were fully booked. We stopped at a small cafe afterwards for coffee and an extra (chocolate of course) dessert. I discovered small cafes, charcuteries and patisseries on my first visit to Europe many years ago - wish we had more of them at home! New Year's Eve was truly a night to remember. Our dinner at Budapest's Ethnographic Museum (catered by Gundel Etterem) was fantastic! I first learned of Gundel from restaurateur Georg Lang's "Cuisine of Hungary," imo an excellent introduction to traditional Hungarian cuisine with a generous dollop of history for good measure. So I expected something really special - and got it. The museum's great hall was decked out for a multi-course dinner with festively decorated tables and romantic (mainly classical) music played by a string quartet; hors d'oeuvres and cocktails were served in an upstairs gallery. Our dinner was excellent, from the goose liver appetizer through the perfectly-cooked veal tenderloin to the delicious dessert, all accompanied by Hungarian wines. The river cruise which followed showed us Budapest at its most charming and romantic. We sandwiched this cruise between a week in Germany (visiting several Christmas markets ranging from the oldest to the largest), and a few extra days afterwards in Budapest. This was our first visit to Budapest; hopefully not the last. Imo, Budapest has the beauty of Paris (with more individualized architecture) plus the charm of Vienna (with spectacular views from the Danube). Definitely worth exploring. All in all, a wonderful Christmas experience. This wasn't our first Uniworld cruise, and it won't be our last. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We just returned home from our most excellent river cruise. There is something to be said about a new ship - Magni being only in service for 3 month was beautiful, clean and decorated for the Holidays. We found the staff to be absolutely ... Read More
We just returned home from our most excellent river cruise. There is something to be said about a new ship - Magni being only in service for 3 month was beautiful, clean and decorated for the Holidays. We found the staff to be absolutely wonderful. Everyone on the ship made us feel welcome. This was to be our Thanksgiving Cruise, however as it turned out it was also a Christmas Market Cruise - all the Christmas Markets were open or just opening... We were very lucky as far as the weather goes - it was cold but sunny most of the trip - not a drop of rain was to be seen the entire time - we heard that the people on the previous cruise were not so lucky, as it rained every day. The trip started out with a greeting from the staff and a glass of champagne and the news that we had been upgraded to the 3rd deck, can you say room with a Balcony? Amazing - the room was small but beautifully laid out. We had sufficient storage for all our clothes and the suitcases fit under the bed. Bathroom was tiny but big enough for our use. No clingy shower curtains here, but a glass door separating the toilet from the shower. Food on the ship was also amazing. Breakfast was a buffet (or you could order), Lunch was also a buffet served both in the dining room and in the Sun Room. Beer and wine was served for Lunch and Dinner. I am not a beer drinker but had several glasses at lunch time and it was excellent, in my opinion. Dinner consisted of three courses - the main course always included a vegetarian meal (which was great for me). Wine was flowing freely..... Tours consisted mainly of bus and walking tours, and almost each tour included a Christmas Market with the wonderful smells of Christmas filling the air and the hot wine (gluewein) calling my name. Tours were well organized and attended well. Each evening we had a meeting to go over the next days events and some talk or entertainment from the different countries we visited. A shout out to our wonderful and amazing Cruise Director who went above and beyond organizing everything. The passengers on this cruise were a delightful, well traveled group and we enjoyed meeting and dinning with many of them. We got lucky at the Captains Farewell dinner and were invited to dine with the Captain and the Hotel Director. It goes without saying that the behavior of the staff reflects on how the Captain and Hotel Director treat them and this was one very happy group of employees. Places we visited: Passau - a very cute town that was still recovering from high flood waters Salzburg - a wonderful city with lots of history and the ride to the city which took about 1 1/2 hours was beautiful. Landscape covered in snow covered mountains. would not have missed this for the world. Melk - amazing tour through Melk Abby and of course don't forget to try the Apricot Liquor that the town is famous for.... Vienna - what can one say about this city? A must see for history and music buffs. There were several Xmas markets open but if you are there on a Saturday, beware - shopping is almost impossible with all the people at the markets it's hard to see anything - still an experience you have to try. Bratislava- Slovakia is a fairly new country and is still building itself up - it's charming to walk through a town that has not yet reached the 21st century.... Budapest- Wow, so much to see and do in this gem of a town. Highly recommended for all you History Buffs out there. I hope this makes each and every one of you reading this review want to go on this amazing journey just ones in your life time. As for my husband and I - we shall try and go again....soon... If anyone has any questions please contact me at ghorton@zod.com Read Less
Sail Date November 2013

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