The Danube River is the gem of European river cruising: at 1,771 miles it's the second longest river in Europe, and it flows through 10 countries and four capital cities. With so much history, culture and stunning scenes along this grand waterway, travelers can have a hard time choosing just what river voyager is right for them.
Emerald Cruises has a wonderful lineup, though, with details that show you just what to expect. Check out these five great ways to experience a Danube River cruise, provided by Emerald Cruises.
You just might want to try them all!
The upper Danube between Regensburg and Budapest is often the first choice for river cruisers with good reason.
You can discover Old Europe because the river traverses four countries (Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary) and calls on three capital cities (Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest) during the approximately 465-mile sailing.
On Emerald Cruises' eight-day Danube Delights, cruisers take in the sights on walking tours of the ports or dial up the activity with the cruise line's menu of seven EmeraldACTIVE tours.
Guided biking tours of Regensburg, Passau, the Wachau Valley and Vienna, as well as guided hikes in Durnstein, Bratislava and Budapest allow fitness-focused travelers to keep moving in each port. All EmeraldACTIVE tours are included and bookable onboard, meaning you can decide each day whether you want to join the active options.
Other highlights include musical entertainment onboard from a Bavarian band, an opportunity to visit the home of a Slovakian family for coffee, cake and cultural exchange, and a tour of post-communist Bratislava via a classic Skoda automobile with a driver. Emerald Cruises offers 37 departures between April and October 2023.
2. A Leisurely Danube Voyage for Culinary Enthusiasts
Emerald Cruises' eight-day Danube Explorer itinerary shines a different light on a similar stretch of the river between Passau and Budapest. It's shorter sailing at 362 miles, and this cruise takes a leisurely pace, offering more time to explore on your own.
However, a shorter distance doesn't mean that you'll see less. On the contrary, this route adds a country with a day trip from Linz, Austria, to the UNESCO World Heritage listed town of Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic.
A strong focus on culinary offerings throughout this cruise entices foodies and home cooks, who get a Bavarian brunch at a farm in Passau, a Linzer torte-making demonstration and tasting in Linz, a "Tastes of Vienna" food tour and a special culinary tour of Budapest with a visit to the famed Market Hall.
Other highlights include an overnight in Vienna for those wishing to explore the vibrant city's nightlife and renowned restaurants, a tour of Melk Abbey and the opportunity to visit the famed baths in Budapest. Emerald Cruises offers 23 departures of this cruise between April and October 2023.
3. The Lower Danube for History Buffs
Five countries accompany the Danube on its journey through Eastern Europe. Emerald Cruises' nine-day Enchantment of Eastern Europe explores this fascinating region between Budapest and Bucharest, Romania, with ports in Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia.
History buffs will be mesmerized by the range of significant sites visited, from visiting the oldest planned settlement in Europe, Lepesnki Ver in Serbia, which dates to 9500 BC, to a visit to Revolution Square in Bucharest, a key site that contributed to the fall of the Soviet empire.
Opportunities for cultural immersion abound, from a choir concert in Arbanasi, Budapest, to a home-hosted lunch in Croatia and a visit to the Puszta horse farm in Hungary. The itinerary includes a one-night hotel stay in Bucharest to allow travelers to familiarize themselves with the "Paris of the East." Emerald Cruises offers 12 departures between April and October 2023.
A holiday Danube river cruise calling on some of the most enchanting Christmas Markets in Europe is a dream come true for any Christmas enthusiast. Wandering through the gingerbread-inspired stalls, sipping mulled wine and shopping for traditional ornaments and unique gifts is the perfect way to usher in the holiday spirit while satisfying the desire to experience Europe's timeless holiday season.
Emerald Cruises offers two options on the Danube during the holidays.
Its five-day Christmastime on the Danube voyage sails between Vienna and Budapest, two great cities that host two of the largest markets on the river. The longer eight-day Christmas Markets on the Danube cruises between Regensburg and Budapest and offers a nice mix of smaller markets and a wintertime visit to the Bavarian Forest.
Emerald Cruises offers four Danube Christmas Market cruises between November and December 2023.
5. A Danube River Cruise for the Whole Family
Emerald Cruises features a Danube cruise perfect for the whole family. The eight-day Family Danube River Cruise sails between Budapest and Passau and has been carefully crafted with passengers ages 10 to 18 in mind. In Budapest, families can opt to visit the AM 3D gallery, a quirky museum where you are encouraged to interact and pose with the art.
In Bratislava, budding chefs will enjoy taking part in a cooking class on an active Slovakian farm. A geocaching outing in Passau and an archery lesson at Schallaburg Castle in Austria ensure that the kids are having fun while discovering Europe, too.
Onboard, young cruisers can look forward to dedicated pool activities with the ship's wellness coach, wheelhouse tours with the captain, learning about what it takes to navigate the mighty Danube, and locally inspired dinner menus with options modified for younger more-finicky tastes.
Emerald Cruises first Family Danube River Cruise will depart July 15, 2023.
Thanks for reading, and happy cruising!