Danube Cruise 2016

A photo essay of Kay and Ken's cruise on the Danube.

From Passau to Budapest and back



Link to a Ships Portrait of the MS Belvedere

Day 1 - Sunday 22 May 2016

After our 6:25am easyJet flight from Gatwick to Munich, we were met at the airport and boarded our coach for the 2-hour drive to the riverside at Passau to board our cruise ship - the MS Belvedere.

Finally settling in to our cabin, we unpacked and watched as we set sail at 6pm down river and enjoyed our first meal aboard - a Welcome Gala Dinner - where we met our table companions.

Photos

Day 2 - Monday 23 May 2016

The first real days cruising. Great weather for our slow meander down the Danube - passing the Benedictine Abbey at Melk, where other cruise ships were docked for shore excusions, but not for us.

Onward past some very picturesque scenery, arriving at out first port of call, the famous town of D├╝rnstein - where King Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned and ransomed on his way back from the Crusades.  We arrived just after 10am - and went ashore for our  2-hour walking tour around the very photogenic town.

Back on board for lunch, we set off again for our next destination - Vienna.

Docking at 5:30pm, we had our dinner and before setting off by coach for a fabulous evening concert of Mozart and Strauss music at the Kursalon Wien.

Photos

Day 3 - Tuesday 24 May 2016

After breakfast it was on to our coach for an early morning trip around Vienna - for which the weather had turned ugly with low cloud and drizzle. In the city centre we decanted from the coach and proceeded on foot.

Back on board for lunch - followed by a second excursion, this time in bright sunshine to the old royal palace at Sch├Ânbrunn. We could take photographs of the exterior, but not inside.

A quick iced coffee and a beer was had before re-boarding the coach at 5pm to return to our moorings.

After dinner, the MS Belvedere set sail at 7pm - Oh! Vienna.

Photos

Day 4 - Wednesday 25 May 2016

Opening the curtains at 7:30am saw us passing Estzergom Monastery - followed by breakfast and a lazy morning sunbathing as we meandered down the mighty Danube.

We now had Hungary on both banks - and we caught sight of Budapest ahead at about 11am - so lots of photos of both sides of the city - Buda and Pest - before docking at 11:30.

Having signed up for the city tour, it was on to our coach after lunch at 2:30am to visit Heroes Square, followed by the Fisherman's Bastion and, in the rush-hour traffic, the Citadel.

Back on board for dinner, followed by an evening river cruise to see the city lit up at night.

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Day 5 - Thursday 26 May 2016

Kay wanted to visit the famous market - so we were knocking on the door before they opened at 6am!

Back to the ship for breakfast and onto our coach for an 8:30am departure for the 1.5 hour trip to the horse farm at Puszta - where we entertained with a cart ride and a display of traditional horsemanship.

Back on board for lunch, the MS Belvedere set sail back up the Danube - and in the afternoon we took the oportuniy to visit the hi-tech wheelhouse and the immaculate stainless-steel kitchens - where we all marvelled at how they could produce such fabulous cuisine in such tiny surroundings.

The evening meal was a 'themed' event - Pirates Evening - where all the crew dressed up in pirate gear. Kay and I joined in by dressing up as best we could - but we were the only passengers to make the effort.

The crew also put on a 'cabaret' in the bar lounge that evening - with sketches and music - much to the amusement of those who watched.

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Day 6 - Friday 27 May 2016

The early morning saw us berthed at Bratislava - so after breakfast, it was aboard our 'Choo Choo' with our English-speaking guide for the city tour - up to Bratislava Castle and back down into town where we decanted for a guided walking tour.

Free to make our own way back to the Belvedere, Kay and I had a massive ice cream each - before a slow stroll took us back to our ships moorings for midday.

After lunch, the MS Belvedere cast off and set sail upsteam for a lazy afternoon sightseeing and sunbathing.

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Day 7 - Saturday 28 May 2016

Opening the curtains early on Saturday morning revealed the mist-shrouded locks at Melk - although by the time we had consumed breakfast, it was burning off to reveal a bright sunlit day.

Another day of taking in the passing scenery and sunbathing, we arrived at our destination of Linz, where we docked at 3pm.

Our city excursion was by another 'Choo Choo' - although this one wasn't so comfortable - so after the visiting the regular tourist sights, we got off to have a restful beer and do our own thing walking around the beautiful city of Linz.

By the time we got back on board for dinner, the weather had turned decidedly nasty - with thick black clouds and a huge electrical storm.

Still, it made for a dramatic backdrop to the changing colours of the Electronica Centre on the opposite bank.

Photos

Day 8 - Sunday 29 May 2016

All the other passengers had early-morning departures, but we had to wait until 1pm for our transport to Munich - so we had a free morning to ourselves.

We found a taxi on the dockside, so Kay and I took it to go into Passau - where we arrived to find the streets deserted - well it was only 7:40am!

An interesting few hours was spent wandering around the very photogenic city - finished off with a beer and coke - before hailing another taxy to take us back to the Belvedere in plenty of time to board our coach to take us to Munch airport.

The two-hour journey was uneventful - but our flight departure was delayed by 20minutes due to the non-arrival of our plane - and once we had boarded and settled down, the captain announced a further 1hour delay imposed by Air Traffic Control due to the many thunderstorms in the area.

We finally took off an arrived at Gatwick at 7:30pm local time.

Photos

This was a thoroughly enoyable cruise with some amenable fellow travellers, we were made very welcome by all the ships crew and we had a great time.

Heartily recommended.

Ken Duffey - June 2016