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The Danube’s Imperial Cities & Yuletide Markets River Cruise - MS William Wordsworth

Budapest, Hungary Round-trip
Length: 6 Days - Departs: Sun, Dec 12, 2021

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River Cruise Itinerary

Enjoy a guided tour of the fascinating Hungarian capital, imperial city of two halves straddling the mighty Danube, plus spectacular cruising along the famously dramatic Danube Bend in all its wintry splendour. Discover delightful Bratislava, Slovakia’s fast emerging capital, on our guided tour then wander the atmospheric markets of its lovely baroque old town, beautifully restored to its former glory.After a guided tour of this grand imperial city, seeing the main sights at this spectacular time of the year, explore some of the capital’s traditional markets with their huge range of inspirational gifts and tempting Christmas fayre. Relax on board and enjoy the stunning river views on our return to this alluring and historic city to explore further and soak up the lovely festive ambience of its seasonal markets.

  1. Day 1
    EMBARK IN BUDAPEST
    Sun, Dec 12, 2021
    Make your way to Budapest, where your five-star cruise ship moored in this beautiful city straddling the banks of the glorious Danube. As you step on board you will be greeted by your professional, five-star crew who are on hand to help you settle in as you familiarise yourself with the layout of this splendid ship.We are moored overnight so you may fancy a wander ashore to start exploring this charismatic city, so full of atmosphere at this special time of year. It won’t be long before our first excellent dinner is served in the ship’s restaurant, over which you can get acquainted with some of your fellow travellers. Enjoy a digestif in the welcoming lounge as you ponder all that the next few days has in store!
  2. Day 2
    BUDAPEST
    Mon, Dec 13, 2021
    Budapest is always an atmospheric and fascinating city, but at this time of the year, the muted colors of its magnificent archaic spires and grand domes are especially captivating on the wintry skyline. The historic and palatial buildings, the superb Roman ruins and exquisite Art Nouveau architecture provide a truly impressive backdrop for the city’s acclaimed Christmas markets. This morning we enjoy a guided tour seeing the main sights such as the iconic Parliament Building and the ancient Castle District with its winding streets and panoramic views.There’s free time to explore under your own steam, so perhaps take in one of the city’s fine museums or simply wander the markets. Soak up the traditional atmosphere as classical music fills the air along with the delicious smells of spicy gingerbread and peppery goulash – and don’t forget the mulled wine to stave off the winter chill! Back on board for lunch, excitement mounts as we slip our mooring and our adventure begins; just sit back and relax as the fairytale landscape glides by through the ship’s panoramic windows. This afternoon we witness a cruising highlight as we navigate the Danube Bend, where the river spectacularly winds its way through a narrow twisting valley, flanked by high mountains and snow-covered hillsides.Wrap up and take to the deck to enjoy this wonderful kaleidoscope of Christmas card scenery drifting by in the frosty air, then return to the warmth of the ship’s inviting lounge and catch up on some reading or write those final Christmas cards. Later head to the convivial atmosphere of the ship’s well-stocked bar for your favorite aperitif, before another excellent dinner is served.
  3. Day 3
    BRATISLAVA
    Tue, Dec 14, 2021
    During this morning’s breakfast, we arrive in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Its communist past now firmly confined to the history books, the city has rediscovered its imperial heritage in its beautifully restored baroque old town whilst the grand white fortress, the former seat of the rulers, enjoys commanding views over the river.This morning we will discover more about the city’s interesting history, seeing the main sights and visiting some of the churches to view their traditional Christmas cribs, before you enjoy some free time. Wander the maze of streets, admiring the Christmas decorations until you reach the main square and the market with its cozy atmosphere; the sweet fragrance of cinnamon wafts on the air and hundreds of fairy lights twinkle amongst the branches of the Christmas trees. The pretty red and white stalls groan with inspirational artisan gifts, from decorations, wooden figurines or pottery. Sample some local delicacies too such as potato pancakes or poppy seed strudel but make sure you don’t spoil your appetite as it won’t be long until lunch is served back on board.Afterward, you may wish to return to shore – perhaps to climb the tower of the Old Town Hall for a bird’s eye view of the city and the bustling market below. Alternatively, you may choose to join our optional excursion to Slovensky Grob, a village situated in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, famed for its geese rearing. We will visit a typical Slovak chalet to enjoy a wine tasting of some of the season’s new wines, accompanied by some typical local delicacies.Later we return to the ship where another excellent dinner will be served.
  4. Day 4
    VIENNA
    Wed, Dec 15, 2021
    During the early hours, our ship has stealthily crept into port and you awake to find yourself in Vienna. There are few places that can so delightfully evoke the spirit of Christmas than here – where the elegant imperial facades, their decorations glittering in the glow from a thousand Christmas lights, the sound of classical carols floating on the crisp air and the irresistible smell of candyfloss and roasted chestnuts are truly reminiscent of Christmas from a bygone age. There has been a Christmas market here since the Middle Ages and today there are more than 20 markets held over the festive period selling a huge range of seasonal gifts and mouth-watering treats. Vienna’s City Hall provides a splendid backdrop for one of the most popular, its windows a giant advent calendar, reflecting the myriad of lights glistening in the trees below. The magnificent Schönbrunn Palace also hosts a superb market, specializing in traditional handicrafts and nostalgic toys. After breakfast you enjoy a guided tour seeing the main sights such as St Stephen’s Cathedral and the impressive Hofburg complex, former royal court, now home to a collection of museums, the Vienna Boys’ Choir and the world-famous Spanish Riding School.After lunch on board there’s plenty of time to explore some more of the markets, while the brass band plays its Christmas repertoire and the sweet aroma of nutmeg fills the air. When things turn chilly, retreat to the refined yet cozy elegance of a traditional Viennese café for a steaming hot chocolate and watch the last daylight fade away.After tonight’s excellent dinner on board, retire to the lounge for a nightcap and enjoy a classical recital - a fitting musical finale to our day as the ship glides away from this captivating city.
  5. Day 5
    BUDAPEST
    Thu, Dec 16, 2021
    We have sailed overnight and on waking, draw back the curtains to see the early morning mist rising over this gentle pastoral landscape, draped in a blanket of glistening frost. After breakfast, seek out a good vantage spot in the lounge, sink into a comfy chair and watch this lovely slideshow of winter wonderland scenery effortlessly gliding by – what could be more relaxing! For the more energetic, perhaps a visit to the ship’s fitness center to work off some of those delicious meals or head up to the sun deck to enjoy the bracing river breeze as the Captain skilfully navigates our return course to the Hungarian capital.Our final lunch is served during which Budapest’s majestic skyline comes into view. This afternoon you are at leisure so perhaps wander to the Vorosmarty Square in the very heart of Pest, where the rustic cottage-style wooden stalls groan under the weight of their treasure troves of unique Christmas gifts. The scent of traditional honey cookies and mulled wine pervades the air as you browse the stalls, enjoying the friendly festive ambiance or perhaps indulging in a slice of traditional chimney cake.Return to the ship in time for tonight’s superb Captain’s Dinner, expertly served by your attentive crew before enjoying one last evening amongst newly-made friends in the convivial bar, recounting stories from a very magical cruise.
  6. Day 6
    DISEMBARK IN BUDAPEST
    Fri, Dec 17, 2021
    This morning at the appropriate time, you will disembark the ship ready for your onward journey.

Countries Visited

Austria, Hungary, Slovakia

Rivers Visited

Danube

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Inclusions

Prices are per person, based on two people sharing a twin cabin with a limited number of single cabins available on all decks, at the relevant supplement. The price includes:  Full board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day; if you choose to travel with us on any of the full day excursions by coach, a packed lunch will be provided. Anyone choosing to stay on the ship may of course have lunch in the restaurant Morning/afternoon tea and coffee All visits and excursions as mentioned Coach travel as mentioned The services of a Riviera River Cruises cruise director and concierge

Health and Safety Protocols for Riviera

Everyone knows that the pandemic has impacted travel plans in recent months, but it’s now encouraging to see signs of recovery as countries re-open their borders and aircraft take to the skies. We can’t wait to start travelling again and we hope you’re looking forward to your forthcoming vacation more than ever.

We rigorously follow the guidance issued by the US Department of State and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can access the very latest information via the State Department and CDC.

Health and Medication Advice

  • Please ensure that all medication is packed with your hand luggage and take adequate supplies for the length of your trip. Please check with your airline first to ensure you are compliant with current airport security regulations with regards to medication.
  • Whilst the travelling schedule on our holidays shall impose no problems for people of any age in normal physical health, we should like to point out that we visit many historical sites and often enjoy walking tours of various places of interest. Some holidays, therefore, may not be suitable for clients of greatly impaired mobility. If you have greatly impaired mobility then please contact us for further advice or click here to read more.
  • We would request that you bring the name, address and telephone number of your Primary Care Physician as this is usually required by insurance companies if you become ill.
  • If you have a physical disability or are undergoing medical treatment that may affect your ability to do the tour, and which you have not already informed us about, you must let us know in writing now. We will be able to advise you if the ship is equipped to meet your needs. If you do not inform us, the ship’s Captain may refuse passage or your travel insurance may become invalid.
  • No immunizations are required to travel to European destinations.
  • You may wish to take a basic first aid kit with you.
  • Take high-factor sunscreen, a hat and insect repellent if you are travelling in the summer.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): sitting immobile for long periods of time in aircraft, trains or coaches may increase the risk of DVT. Recent major surgery or hip/knee replacement can also increase DVT risk. Drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol, move your ankles and toes and get up and walk around regularly. For more information, see your physician.
  • It is also advisable to take copies of any regular prescriptions you may take.

Health Concerns

  • If you have any concerns about your health while on the cruise please see your tour manager. They will be able to advise you about pharmacies, drug stores and the availability of doctors.
  • There will be occasions when the tour manager isn’t immediately available and in this case the ship crew should be able to help. In an emergency you could always phone our emergency number as issued on your itinerary.

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Ship Information

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Cabins

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Life on Board

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Questions & Answers

Question: Will the day-by-day itinerary change?

Yes, the river cruise itineraries may change due to reasons such as inclement weather or unforeseen events. Your safety is the number one concern aboard and all precautions necessary will be taken in order to ensure passenger safety, including changing itineraries. Please note that when itineraries do change, the ship staff will do their best to substitute any missed port with an alternative destination.

Question: In what language is the river cruise conducted?

The river cruise will be conducted in English only.

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