Anyone who has enjoyed a larger cruise ship knows already what that means. But Danube River cruises offer something a little different.
Think of Venice and gondola rides immediately come to mind. Visit St. Petersburg and a cruise along the Volga becomes a must. But Vienna has its own unique waterway, the Danube River that will provide a journey that is equally unforgettable.
With smaller ships that offer just over 70 cabins, cruisers will enjoy a quieter, more intimate experience. Many trips offer cabins as large as 170 square feet. That's 10 feet by 17 feet, larger than many hotels or bedrooms at home.
Sliding down the Danube river, or Donau as it's known locally, you'll be feted with food and plied with drink. As you indulge you can take in the sights of one of Europe's grandest cities.
Trips as short as a few hours are an option, by leisurely ferry or speed boat. Longer cruises take in cities as distant as Prague, Budapest, or Passau at the Austria-Germany border. Starting at Passau allows visitors to see one of the largest Baroque cathedrals in Germany at the confluence of the Danube, Inn, and Ilz Rivers.
Cruises may last a day or even weeks as they sail up the Main, the Rhine, and other rivers that intersect with the Danube. Local trips usually last a day. Passau to Vienna is typically a five day trip. Bucharest to Vienna takes three weeks.
DDSG Blue Danube Schiffahrt has a selection of 1-day or 2-day trips that take in some of Vienna's most popular sights, including the Ringturm, Ruprechts Church, and the Rossauer Kaserne. The trip from Reichsbrucke back to Schwedenplatz passes by beautiful scenery, as well as offering outstanding views of the Millennium Tower, the Danube Tower, and UN City.
Others might enjoy one of the many cruises from Vienna to Durnstein, or a hydrofoil trip all the way to Budapest. The latter offers sightseeing in Esztergom for those who are including Hungary along with their trip to Vienna.
Many of the trips, even short ones, include a champagne and candlelight dinner. As romantic waltz music plays in the background, visitors enjoy the sights of Vienna along the waterfront. The UN Building at night is a spectacular sight, as are the multicolored buildings of designer Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
Some trips begin with a wine reception at the Rathaus during Christmas Festival. Others will start with a concert of Mozart and Strauss or a tour of the Melk Abbey. Then it's all aboard for the cruise of a lifetime.