Reflections of the Danube

Katrina Smith on 27 October 2017

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My husband and I were lucky enough to sample a Danube river cruise with Tauck recently. Sailing from Vienna to Regensberg and then onto Prague. Our journey started with 2 nights in Vienna staying at the 5-star Hotel Grand Wein in the heart of the city - just down from the wonderful Vienna Opera House and a short stroll to St Stephens Cathedral (where we did do the climb of over 340 steps to the top of the East Tower). An aperol spritzer was required afterwards in one of the local bars close by.

The first night we met with our fellow guests at a gala dinner in the sumptuous surroundings of the Palais Pallavicini with an evening of classical music, ballet, champagne and dining. This is something neither I or my husband will ever forget!

The next day it was on to sample the delights of Vienna, with of course coffee, strudel and chocolate torte - when in Vienna... Then off to visit the Belvedere Palace the home of the famous painting, The Kiss by Klimpt (but did you know it was originally called The Lovers) with our delightful guide Elphie - a most interesting lady, and so enthusiastic about her home city and its history. We finished the day off, just the two of us, on a rooftop cocktail bar called Lamee which offered the most beautiful sunsets over Vienna (and the cocktails were pretty good too).

Our first day onboard MS Savor arrived. With a maximum number of 130 guests there was plenty of room for everyone. During our entire week onboard I did not notice any overcrowding at all. There were always plenty of dining tables, chairs and quiet spaces for when you just wanted to contemplate the scenery and world around you.

The main restaurant, The Compass Rose is elegant and spacious and the waiting staff very inviting and friendly, with food that was just so delicious I had to try everything - diet started when I got home. You can choose to dine just the two of you, or join fellow guests. Most evenings we joined different guests sometimes just four of us, sometimes eight or even ten people. It really was a friendly cruise on which we made many friends. There is a second restaurant onboard, Arthurs which is the ships casual dining venue available for continental breakfast as well as lunch and dinner.

The cabins onboard the ship are very spacious. We were in a loft cabin which had a mezzanine floor with 2 chairs and a table and large picture windows (the top windows opened to form a balcony type space). There is plenty of wardrobe space and cupboards as well as a mini-bar that is re-stocked daily with complimentary soft drinks. The bathrooms were full size rooms, with large walk-in showers stocked with Molton Brown toiletries. Wi-Fi is available and included in the price, as well as on demand movies.

We journeyed along the Danube, stopping first in Bratislava visiting Cerveny Kamen Castle in the mountains and tasting locally produced Slovakian wines. Next it was Durnstein where Richard the Lionheart was held for ransom in the 12th century. This is very much wine country, so more wine tasting had to be done!

We were very lucky that we had exceptional weather for October, beautiful sunshine for our cruise through the Wachau Valley. With the fall colours the views were breathtaking. We just sat back with our hot chocolates and took everything in - stunning.

Another stop was made in Passau where we learnt the art of chocolate making with Walter Simon a local chocolatier. We also visited the fabulous Cathedral with its baroque interiors and the largest organ in Europe. We stayed to listen to a concert in the cathedral before venturing back to the ship for lunch.

I should also mention the crew onboard the ship. There are four (yes four) Tauck directors onboard - the Cruise Director Stephen Marchant from Canada, then our Tour Directors, Gill from the UK, Sinead from Ireland and Emile from Bulgaria - all of them give 100% of their time to looking after their guests. I can say exactly the same of the rest of the crew, every single member of crew was friendly and personable and went out of their way to ensure every guest was made to feel special.

After seven nights onboard we disembarked our ship, feeling really sad to leave her and ventured to Prague for the last part of our trip. We have two nights at the Intercontinental Hotel in Prague which culminated in a farewell dinner on the rooftop terrace of the hotel.

We made so many new friends on this trip. I would 100% recommend a Tauck cruise. You will get superb customer service, value for money and wont have to pay for anything during the trip other than souvenirs along the way as it truly is ALL INCLUDED!!!

Please give me a call on 01403 887190 or email Katrina.smith@travelcounsellors.com if you’d like me to book you on this amazing trip of a lifetime - you will certainly not regret it.

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