AMA Waterways’ Melodies Of The Danube is a lovely sailing from Budapest, Hungary to Vilshofen, Germany. I was fortunate enough to join this cruise in March of this year. What a magnificent cruise line and crew. Although the ship was beautifully appointed throughout, one of my favorite features was the amount of personal space allocated to the stateroom bath – a unique feature in my experience of river vessels.
Our first night on the cruise was enchanting. After a gourmet dinner, we enjoyed an evening cruise on the Danube River, enjoying the spectacle of the city in lights. Budapest is a charming city with its two names spread on both banks of the Danube River – Buda and Pest. Our timing was perfect for crowd-free sightseeing though the weather was a bit on the chilly side. We were given tours of both sides during the morning of our second day and set sail in the evening for the City of Music, Vienna, Austria. Vienna is also home of the famed Vienna Prater amusement park and of course, the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace, a must see that is steeped in European history.
After Vienna, we set sail for Durnstein, known for its apricots and wine-producing orchards and Melk, with its gorgeous abbey that is still in use today. Our cruise happened to be themed for wine aficionados so we visited famous cellars daily. Curated wines and pairings were an integral part of each lunch and dinner aboard ship.
We cruised on to Linz, a city whose history is very much tied to the evolving political structures in Europe’s history. Linz is a charming city that was nearly destroyed in a large fire in the 1300s. The destruction took nearly two thirds of the city’s structure. Linz became important again after the second world war and its name is lined to the eponymous Linzer Torte, a holiday classic in the region.
Our cruise ended in lovely Vilshofen where we were surprised by a celebratory “Oktoberfest” given for us by AMA Waterways, a celebration in which locals joined us for a delightful evening on the banks of the Danube.
Not only did we have beautiful weather the entire length of the trip, but AMA Waterways was always very helpful with unexpected touches. In cold weather blankets were brought to take away the chill; ice cream socials, not mentioned in the itinerary, were held on the sun deck. Little extras at every turn made the trip a pleasure.