At Christmas my parents found themselves in the unusual situation of all three of their children – me, my brother and sister – not spending the holidays with them. We were all with our in-laws. So rather than mope around at home missing us (!) they booked a cruise on the Danube, for the whole of the festive period. I must say, despite sometimes mocking the idea of a river cruise, I was rather jealous. Having been to Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest earlier last year I knew that they’d be visiting wonderful places and the idea of being waited on, no cooking, no chores etc for 2 full weeks while watching the world pass by sounded very appealing.
It is from my globe-trotting parents that I inherited my love of travel. They (a Brit and an Aussie) met in Ghana and have lived in 9 and 10 countries (dad and mum respectively) and travelled all over the world. Last count my dad had visited over 90 countries (and my mum not far behind) including unusual locations such as Bhutan, Honduras, Democratic Republic of Congo, Greenland and Angola. (I could go on…) Now in their mid seventies they may no longer choose West Africa or Central America for their holidays but they haven’t slowed down at all…they’re off again next month to Florence….
So with this in mind, and knowing they are loyal readers of this blog, I asked if they’d write a few words each about their cruise. And here’s what they had to say…
…over to Catherine
Inspired by Phoebe’s excellent blog posts I thought I might write, as an older person, about one of my recent travels.
I have done a little bit of ocean cruising in my time and each time I say never again. But it is all change now. I have just been cruising up and down the Danube and I loved it. We set sail from Vienna and went up river to Melk and back down river again to Budapest where we spent three days before returning to Vienna.
Our cruise was a Christmas New Year cruise and most of the other passengers were like us, doing their own thing while their families were too.
We were on the go all day being bussed to look at amazing abbeys, monasteries, pretty towns and villages and always returning to our wonderfully comfortable ship where we were superbly looked after. We moved mostly at night but daytime cruising was very relaxing as we sat and enjoyed the scenery. Being on a river it was always very smooth, gliding and going through locks was interesting. I think we did 15 locks.
We saw many lovely Christmas markets and cities. And towns lit up for Christmas and the new year fireworks in Vienna seen from the river were spectacular. But that’s not all. We had two little concerts on board ship and went to a wonderful concert in Budapest and a New Years concert in Vienna. We could have gone to the opera in Budapest too. So you see for oldies it was a pretty wonderful way to go and I recommend it highly. I did put on 6lbs (2.7kgs), but that will soon go while the memories will stay on.
… and Richard
Catherine and I spent Christmas and New Year on a boat cruising the Danube between Linz in Austria and Budapest, the capital of Hungary. We had never before been on a river cruise, and wondered whether we would find the experience a bit claustrophobic, but in the event we thoroughly enjoyed it.
We saw masses of interesting places and events – cities, abbeys, castles, villages, Christmas markets, New Year fireworks. We were hugely impressed by the quantity and tastefulness of the Christmas decorations in all the towns and cities – all white and not a trace of Disney.
We attended concerts in Vienna and Budapest, where we also went to a stupendous high mass in the cathedral. We spent a day in Budapest’s Jewish quarter, visiting the great synagogue, and the hugely moving museum, Wallenberg memorial and silver willow tree, covered in thousands of leaves each engraved with the names of people who had been killed in Auschwitz and elsewhere.
We basked in spring-like temperatures and sunshine, and then later thought that we would freeze solid, in Budapest and Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. While warming up we ate lots of calorie-filled Central European cakes and sipped a fair amount of gluhwein – or rather, I did. (Catherine doesn’t drink alcohol, sensible lady.) And we both got through our fair share of goulash, wiener schnitzel and apfelstrudel.
This was not how we normally spend “the festive season”, and of course we missed seeing all our children and grandchildren. But we kept in touch by modern means – texting and so on. And it was great fun!
… back to me
So what do you think? Would you like to go on a river cruise? Have you been on any type of cruise before? And didn’t we all put on several kilos over Christmas whether on a cruise or not?! I’d love to hear from you
I would absolutely love to do a river cruise! We cruise a lot but never on a river #getgone
hi Phoebe, I enjoyed your parents’ account of their river cruise. It’s great that they had a great time and made the most out of it. My husband and I are not cruise people. The closest we did was the trip in Antarctica and Galapagos -but then they’re not the typical cruise. Between ocean cruise and river cruise, I think I’ll go for a river cruise. It sounds like it allows you to spend more time in lands and to explore more than the ocean cruises allow.
i love the spirits of your parents. I hope that my husband and I will still be as travel active as them when we reach their age.
I like being thought of as a legend!
They didn’t abandon us. It was just the in-laws’ turn in two cases and another good reason in the third (we have three children who between them have provided us with eight grandchildren). So, rather than feel sorry for ourselves we went on a cruise. And what fun we had.
Thanks Jacqui D
Thanks Corinna. Maybe you could do a cruise like this one day
Why not do a Danube river cruise Nancie. I’m sure you would love. It.
You will have to wait till your kids are older. You are right there would not be enough on board to entertain them and young children tire of constant sight seeing. It is worth waiting though.
It is true that the majority of people river cruising seem to be older, but that should not put you off. There is so much to see and do and older people often have wonderful tales to tell.
I know what I would prefer, alex
You are right Christine, it was. We did miss the family of course.
Great post. I wonder could younger people enjoy it too? I think I could go for that. Your parents made it sound so appealing. I love such positive people. Also, I see where you get your writing skills and sense of humour from.
Phoebe, How nice for your parents. They really are an inspiration! Thanks for once again linking up with #wkendtravelinspiration!
What a great review of their cruise. I loved that your parents are still traveling and especially letting us virtually tag along on this awesome cruise. We’ve done our fair share of ocean cruises and have always wanted to do a river cruise. I’m just worried my kids won’t be as entertained 🙂 What a great itinerary they picked too.
Fantastic. I love that you had your parents write part of this post about their trip. I actually enjoy ocean cruising and always worried I might be bored on a river cruise. Your mum’s description let me know I would love it. Thanks for linking up at Weekend Travel Inspiration (I am one of the new co-hosts)
Nice post with some really amazing photos #wkendtravelinspiration
Hi Phoebe, Catherine, and Richard! Thanks for the wonderful post. You brought back some wonderful memories of Budapest. I can hear music in my head! I have taken a number of river cruises, but more of the short variety. I did an evening cruise in Budapest, a cruise in Prague. My cruise down the Yangtze in China was a bit longer…2nights/3days. I also did a feluca river cruise in Egypt. How can I forget my two Mediterranean cruises when I was in high school…so much fun! (and more than a few years ago) 🙂
I would really like to go on a river cruise. I love this post, it looks so interesting and I love that it’s by your mum….more please!! 🙂
When I was at my own mum’s house over Christmas, I was looking at a European river cruise brochure. The Danube was one of them, and it looked so tempting. All of your parents’ shore excursions sound fanstastic, and I think I would really want a stateroom with a balcony where I could sit and watch the landscape go by. My husband has been hoping to catch an opera in Budapest when he’s there on business. Perhaps it’ll happen in the spring.
LOVED this post! Great to hear of older people travelling and enjoying getting around, not to menation your parents sound like legends! Plus New Years concert in Vienna is one of my dreams too! Thanks for linking up to #wkendtravelinspiration!
Visiting from Weekend Travel Inspiration. I’ve been tossing around the idea of a river cruise this summer — a similar itinerary to the ones your parents did. Sounds wonderful!
I see now that I described the wonderful Holocaust tree in Budapest as an olive, which is nonsense, and maybe a senior moment too. What I meant to write was weeping willow, which is what it looks like as well as a far better symbol of sadness.
another one perhaps?
Your parents are my heroes! lol…. looks amazing! Shame on you all for abandoning them though 😉
Brilliant blog, exciting experience, fun festivities and picturesque photos.
Sounds great. Very evocative having visited most of those places many years ago!
We spent New Year in a barn in Normandy with no services in sub-zero temperatures. Less comfy than a cruise but wonderful.
I’ve fancied the Danube for quite a while now but we’ve not made it there yet. I’m not sure about a cruise yet but my parents have recently fallen for them big time, that could be a factor 🙂 I think I may be shifting this destination up my list! #wkendtravelinspiration
I’d love to cruise the Danube so beautiful
Fancy me writing a blog! Whatever next.
My parents went on a Danube river cruise this year to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. They really enjoyed it and I’m glad that your parents did too. I’ve not been on a river cruise myself but this one sounds like an excellent way to see some fascinating cities.
Really lovely photos, I love the towel animal, so cool x
Oh My what an experience. We go on boat’s when we visit places as you get lots of different views.
How lovely that your parents still travel so much! We loved Budapest although ours was on the land rather than the boat, in fact we’re looking at going back soon. x
I love this idea! Not that I’m wishing my time with the kids to fly by but I’m looking forward to the time dad and I can enjoy our time together.
What beautiful photos. I have never really thought of a cruise before, however, your parents do make it sound very appealing and certainly a lovely way to spend the festive holidays.
I love water, so I imagine I would like a cruise x
Sounds like the sort of things my parents would do- they are always gadding about somewhere – I hope when I am retired I can follow in their footsteps! Looks like a wonderful trip!
Wow This looks fab! Glad they had a wonderful time!
This sounds amazing! I’d love to go on a cruise one day 🙂 xxx
I’ve been on a med cruise before years ago but this sounds far more my cup of tea to be honest.
Wow what a wonderful adventure, such beautiful photo’s, I have always fancied a river cruise and this looks amazing 🙂
Honestly, this is probably my ideal holiday. I am longing to go to Vienna and cruise the Danube – everything from the architecture to the food looks perfect.
Oh my gosh, I would have been jealous too.
How amazing does that look?
No have no fears re seasickness. Certainly at night we were hardly aware of moving. We went with Noble Caledonia another good company is Viking river cruises, especially if you are coming from the USA as they are an American company.
It sounds like a lovely way to spend the festive season!
I have always been interested in a Danube tour, thanks for sharing.
No I’ve not been yet, but when I am your Mum and Dad’s age I certainly hope to be. For such well travelled people to have enjoyed it so much says it all!
hello! Thanks for sharing this information about the river cruise! I’m wondering if there was any issues with getting ‘seasick’? Which cruise company did your parents go with?