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          A Trip Down the Danube...

          Posted in Travel Writing, Cruise by Louise Lockwood on 3rd Dec 2019

          On a chilly October morning I arrived at Manchester Airport to try something I never thought I would do, a river cruise.

          On arrival in Budapest we were transferred to our home for the next 7 nights, the Riviera Travel ship MS Thomas Hardy. My first impressions were that the cabins were larger than I expected and beautifully decorated. As we set sail from Budapest all the guests onboard gathered on the top deck to admire the stunning night-time views of Budapest - sailing past the parliament building at night is an experience not to miss as it is so beautifully lit! After dinner I went to bed and woke up refreshed the next morning in the beautiful town of Esztergom.

          My cruise included some beautiful European towns and cities, including Budapest, Esztergom, Durnstein, Melk, Saltzburg, Linz & the jewel in the crown Vienna. I have always wanted to visit Vienna and the city did not disappoint. Vienna is a lovely clean city that is easy to navigate, the walking tour that was included in the tour was excellent and set us up for what turned out to be a perfect day, visiting the horses at the world famous Spanish Riding School, eating Apple Strudel in the Square and indulging at the world renowned Hotel Sacher for a delicious piece of Sacher Torte.

          Once the day drew to a close, we made our way back to the MS Thomas Hardy and enjoyed our final night onboard, which included the farewell dinner. Food onboard the Riviera ships is first class and for those not wishing to eat from the full dinner menu, can take advantage of the ‘Always Available’ choices.

          The real beauty of river cruising is the city centre location where these small ships can moor, meaning that in the majority of places it is a short stroll into the city or town. With Riviera Travel, a tour of each destination is included and is an essential part of finding your bearings, with plenty of time afterwards to enjoy the area at your own pace.

          Being honest a river cruise had never appealed to me, however now I have experienced Riviera Travel onboard MS Thomas Hardy and learnt about the river cruise way of life, I can’t wait to river cruise again!