Along the glorious river

By Market Magazine

Mix feeling very special with breath taking destinations, captivating information, walking tours, bike riding, endless entertainment, new friends, superb food and wine, cruising in absolute luxury… and you have days ahead of wonderful travelling.

Now, ask yourself, when was the last time on a trip you just smiled because you thought, ‘I don’t have to think about anything! It’s all being done for me! And it’s fabulous!’? Well, smile now, because your journey ahead is amazing. Welcome to a Tauck River Cruise!

The Blue Danube Cruise from Budapest to Prague is just one of 36 Tauck River Cruises and promises an enchanting journey through the heart of Europe with exclusive and meticulously created shore excursions.

The cruise begins with a warm welcome aboard. Amid sophisticated design, your eye travels the length of the ship and each cabin door promises a superb ‘home’ for you – think comfort, flowing panoramic views and delightful amenities for your next days on the water. You smile again at the pleasure of it all. Then your journey begins!

First stop, splendid Budapest

Your first port, Budapest, is Hungary’s mesmerising capital. It’s a romantic marriage of two cities, Buda and Pest, divided – but also beautifully bonded – by the Danube. As you discover stunning historic architecture and lush tree-lined streets packed with imposing sights such as the Great Synagogue, the Opera House and more, as well as formally dining at the grand Academy of Science, this will become your new favourite city.

You’ll love your experts

Here, too, you’ll meet more favourites, the first of your highly knowledgeable tour directors who serve as guides and facilitators during your entire cruise. They are brilliant experts in their regions and captivate you as you go, ensuring you have a memorable and enriching experience at each stop whether you’re bussing, walking, bike riding or just chatting. They are endlessly entertaining and so good – you’ll warm to each by name as they become such an integral part of your journey.

Then, as you depart Budapest cruising alongside the glorious architecture of Parliament House, your ship glides north along the scenic Danube and you’ll dock next in much-loved Bratislava, old capital of new Slovakia, a city of both modern flair and classic baroque design. You can walk or cycle the enchanting old town with quaint pedestrian-friendly streets, dating back to before even Roman times.

So get on your bike

Now may be time to think about taking a bike tour, if you haven’t already! You’ll feel yourself come alive as you step across those pedals, familiarise yourself with brakes, gears and a comfortable seat, test your helmet then exclaim with confidence ‘I’m ready!’ (Whether you’ve ridden just recently or not for the last 20 years!) You’ll tour with freedom in the city’s environs or amid nature with a lovely group of fellow travellers and loaded again with fascinating knowledge and anecdotes from another amiable guide. Cruising schmuising! Guaranteed it’s bike riding you’ll now love!

Which is how you can partly tour, if you choose, one of Europe’s grandest and most regal cities, Vienna, your next magnificent two-day port stop.

Envision your shore excursions among historic and magnificent museums, palaces, Hapsburg castles, the Opera House, shopping malls, street culture, parks, famous restaurants and very special events such as the Lipizzaner horses and an unforgettable formal dinner in one of Vienna’s private baroque palaces. You’ll feel absolutely part of Vienna’s classic, coutured and cultured past as you’re serenaded by your own opera singer accompanied by a small chamber orchestra. Your whole visit to Vienna is truly unforgettable.

Superb wining and dining

Flush with excitement as you return to the ship, you’re welcomed back by your familiar cruise directors. Open-armed, they make you feel like you’re ‘coming home’, cajoling and entertaining you, assisting with whatever you need as you settle in for pre-dinner drinks before another gourmet dinner featuring regional and international flavours and fine wines, serving you yet another superb culinary experience. Marry it with singing and dancing performances and evenings onboard are a great pleasure.

Meanwhile, you’ll have a true love affair with Arthur’s, your 24-hour cafe at the stern of the ship, satisfying all your timetable foibles with snacks and drinks – your ‘best friend’ if you can’t sleep or when you cherish your early mornings alone, watching the river go by! 

A change of pace you’ll enjoy, too. It’s not only the bigger cities you explore – cruising the river takes you through World Heritage Wachau Valley, listed for its vineyards and medieval landscapes. You’ll intimately discover its small, quaint town of Durnstein, enjoying a gentle day of walking, biking and meandering before docking at Linz ready for your choice the following morning of romantic Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic – or just a day to yourself.

The exquisite beauty of Salzburg couples with the excitement of being on the Mirabell Gardens steps, site of the Sound of Music’s ‘Do Re Mi’ – ‘Doe, a deer, a female deer!’ Later, visiting Mozart’s home and standing beside his violin is breathtaking. He played it there, and if you close your eyes and listen quietly, you can almost hear it. Or, if you’ve opted for Cesky Krumlov, heritage listed for its fairytale charm and historic buildings, you’ll find that equally awe-inspiring.

Lunch is on us

Attention cruisers: a little specialty along the way, Tauck often gives you lunch money to eat well ashore!

And to wake well aboard, a new surprise each morning awaits. Now you’re at Engelhartszell, a small, pretty town welcoming you with morning coffee and cake in a private home, making you feel even more part of the communities and cultures you’ve been visiting. Next, breathe easy in the afternoon, leisurely sipping, sitting and cruising the river, or zestfully bike riding 30km of its banks – see how the mood takes you!

Next, your ship quietly glides through Germany via medieval Regensburg or Strahov Monastery, to its final destination of Vilshofen and amazing Prague, largest city of the Czech Republic!

Farewelling the ship is no easy job before you travel overland from the river to Prague. You’re leaving days of a splendid cruise being totally pampered and with amazing company. But being checked in at luxurious Andaz Hotel keeps your holiday spirit alive and well. After a chatty breakfast with all your new friends from the ship, you’ll begin your excursions from there.

Brilliant beyond words and with your usual warm and expertly guided tours, you walk ‘through the centuries’ in the historic Jewish Quarter, past Prague’s beautiful buildings, the grandeur of some and the quaintness of others all in quiet, lovely colours, in and out of plazas and pathways with sights that are magic to you at every turn. You’ll understand the reason Prague is known as one of the most wonderful cities in the world.

It’s not quite over yet

Culminating with a flourish, the grand finale of a splendid trip is celebrated with a memorable dinner in magnificent Prague Castle. Picture the glamorous chandeliered room as you wine and dine, sway to the quartet and sit alongside all your new friends, sharing your high points, exchanging contact details and laughing lots.

And as you are transferred to your plane or train the following morning, reminiscing on your lovely ship, your luxurious journey, superb dining and drinks, flawless warm service, deep cultural experiences, wide-eyed learnings, entertainment at every turn and creating a tapestry of memories, you’ll be thinking ‘I have to do this again!’ And you’re already planning the next…

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