Charles Dickens, Blue Danube River Cruise ex Budapest Return

Cruise Line
Riviera Travel
Ship
Charles Dickens
Cruise Departs
16 Jun 2019
Other Dates
Cruise Duration
7 Nights
Embark Ship
Budapest, Hungary
Disembark Ship
Budapest, Hungary
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Interior Oceanview Balcony Suite
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Cruise Itinerary

DateActivityArriveDepart
16 Jun 2019
Budapest, Hungary
17 Jun 2019
Esztergom, Hungary
18 Jun 2019
Bratislava, Slovakia
19 Jun 2019
Durnstein, Austria
20 Jun 2019
Linz, Austria
21 Jun 2019
Vienna, Austria
22 Jun 2019
Budapest, Hungary
23 Jun 2019
Budapest, Hungary

All itineraries and ports of call at the discretion of the cruise line subject to local weather conditions and may change without notice.

7 Night River Cruise sailing from Budapest roundtrip aboard MS Charles Dickens.

Day 1 Budapest
Moored in Budapest, the dedicated crew will welcome you on board, ensuring you settle into your comfortable and extremely well-equipped cabin and familiarise yourself with the ship, your first-class floating hotel. There’s always a sense of expectancy and excitement on the eve of a cruise and after an excellent dinner in the stylish restaurant, conversation is sure to revolve around the delights ahead of you.

Day 2 – Esztergom
Experience one of the great joys of cruising as you awake in a completely different location. Overnight we slipped upstream to Esztergom, one of Hungary’s oldest towns, a royal capital during medieval times and today the seat of the country’s archbishop. Esztergom is famous for its enormous neoclassical basilica, Hungary’s largest church, standing sentinel over the Danube on the border with Slovakia, and boasting one of the world’s largest altarpieces and a wealth of priceless religious artefacts. The castle is also worth exploring; it was the seat of government until the Ottomans invaded in the 16th century. Nestling below are myriad atmospheric churches resonating with the enchanting sounds of choirs, adding to the unmistakable Central European atmosphere. This is the best of provincial Hungary and is little changed since Habsburg times. As you enjoy your first lunch on board we gently leave Esztergom in our wake, affording a fascinating opportunity to compare the different landscapes, towns and villages of Hungary on one river bank and of Slovakia on the other.

Day 3 – Bratislava
This morning, you explore Slovakia’s fast emerging capital city, Bratislava, on a guided tour. Until recently swathed in the drab uniformity of communism, the city has shrugged off its greyness, rekindling the splendour of its imperial past, so evident in its beautifully restored baroque old town. Equally impressive is the great 17th century fortress commanding expansive views across the Danube. This afternoon you cruise into Lower Austria, a peaceful, bucolic region and home to some of the country’s best wines. By now, the stresses of everyday life seem very distant as you absorb life on the river, children playing on the banks, young couples strolling arm-in-arm like generations before them, vignerons carefully pruning their vines, cobbled quaysides lined by half-timbered buildings teem with life – with no one giving you a second glance. You will marvel as the captain skillfully navigates the ship with such easy confidence along the serene river and into the fascinating locks as we cruise towards Dürnstein whilst enjoying another superb dinner.

Day 4 – Durnstein & Melk
As well as being a delightfully picturesque town in a landscape of forested hills and vineyards, Dürnstein is known principally for two things: first, for the ice-blue tower of its abbey, which dominates the view, and second, for the castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192 after being shipwrecked on his return from the crusades then captured by his enemy, Leopold V, Duke of Austria. Set on a rocky outcrop high above the river, the castle is now ruined, but it’s easy to imagine England’s legendary monarch seething with frustration far from home, while waiting for his family to raise funds to pay his ransom.

After lunch you visit the remarkable Melk Abbey. Nothing quite prepares you for your first sight of this enormous honey-coloured building, standing resplendent above the surrounding countryside. Originally a castle, it was gifted to the Benedictine Order in the 11th century and, although reconstructed in Baroque style during the 18th century, it has remained a monastic school and monastery ever since. The Abbey is renowned for its 214-yard-long Emperor’s Gallery lined with portraits of Austrian royalty, many fine rooms and an ornate library containing over 100,000 volumes, including a unique collection of medieval manuscripts. After we re-join the ship, dinner is served during the final part of our cruise upstream through the pretty Nibelungengau, immortalised in the music of Wagner.

Day 5 – Salzburg or Linz
Reaching Linz, you will have the choice to stay in the city and take a guided walking tour, exploring its charming baroque old town. At its heart you’ll see one of the finest squares in Austria, lined by grand pastel-coloured facades with an impressive central Trinity Column of white marble, crowned by a gilded sunburst. There’s also the fortress-like castle, built high above the city by Emperor Friedrich III, now a museum housing a fine collection of nineteenth and twentieth-century artworks.

Alternatively, we drive to Salzburg, once an independent state whose archbishops turned it into one of the most sophisticated cities north of the Alps. Dominating the skyline is one of Europe’s largest stone fortresses, the Hohensalzburg, while beneath its walls church domes and spires rise from the delightful Altstadt, or Old Town. Then there’s the wonderful Hellbrunn Palace and the splendid formal gardens of the Mirabell Palace – a must for horticulture fans.
This morning, discover some of the city’s main sights in the company of an expert local guide, then you’re free to explore as you wish. Everywhere there are sights associated with the city’s most famous resident, Mozart, who played the harpsichord aged three, composed rudimentary music at five and wrote his first opera when he was 11!
Please note lunch is not included on this full day excursion to Salzburg; however, the ship will offer a packed lunch. We return to the ship for another splendid dinner.

Day 6 – Vienna
For many, today’s visit to Vienna will be one of the highlights of the cruise. The city’s very name provokes images of elegance, fine music, wide boulevards, Baroque architecture and a rich tapestry of peoples who were drawn here from all corners of Europe. For 200 years until the First World War, Vienna was the cultural centre of Europe and many of the showpiece buildings, galleries, aristocratic palaces and magnificent churches you see today were built to reflect its imperial status.

The city’s most iconic monument is the breathtaking Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, whose striking multicoloured roof and huge Gothic South Tower dominate the skyline. There’s also the colossal Hofburg, the former royal court that is now home to a collection of museums, the Crown Jewels and the Spanish Riding School, and where the Vienna Boys’ Choir performs. Then there are the lavish Imperial Apartments and an outstanding collection of relics of the Holy Roman Empire, including, allegedly, the sabre of Charlemagne himself. The Kunsthistorisches Museum, which contains the world’s fourth largest collection of paintings, is just across the road.

This morning we have a tour with a local guide offering insights into why Vienna is one of Europe’s great capitals – the seat of the Habsburg emperors and home to some of the world’s finest classical composers, including Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and, of course, a whole family of Strausses. During the afternoon you’re free to explore as you wish. Take a stroll in the Prater, notable for the huge Ferris wheel that features in several Cold War spy thrillers. Or, for something quite different, visit the Schönbrunn Palace, a former royal residence now housing a range of world-class museums and galleries. Perhaps, though, just take a stroll through Vienna’s atmospheric side streets, enjoy a coffee and a slice of delicious Sachertorte in one of the extraordinarily ornate coffee houses, or admire the skill of the street entertainers and even the occasional opera singer

This evening we’ve arranged truly the ‘icing on the cake’: no visit to Vienna is complete without a live musical experience, so after dinner we have a classical recital on board. To hear this exquisite music played in the city of its creation makes a wonderful finale to the day.

Day 7 – Budapest
Enjoy a leisurely morning as we cruise majestically through Hungary’s peaceful pastoral landscape towards Budapest. After lunch we enjoy a sightseeing tour of this captivating city, which truly lives up to its reputation as the ‘Pearl of the Danube’. The twin cities of Buda, built around the hilltop fortress, and Pest, with its wide boulevards, were fought over through the centuries. The Ottomans ruled here for 150 years before being ousted in the late 17th century, but their legacy lives on in the many thermal baths fed by hot springs, giving rise to Budapest’s other sobriquet – the ‘City of Spas’. After the end of Ottoman rule, Budapest became an imperial city of the Habsburg Empire, attracting great cultural and commercial wealth.

Castle Hill is Budapest in microcosm: two churches, seven museums and a theatre among streets and squares with their own special atmosphere and a dramatic view across the river to the awe-inspiring neo-Gothic Parliament Building. Budapest’s endless galleries, museums, outstanding Art Nouveau architecture and excellent shopping offer a fittingly elegant end to your Danube cruise. This evening’s Gala Dinner closes with a Hungarian folklore show, giving you time to bid farewell to your travelling companions and reflect on all the inspirational places, sights and sounds you have experienced on a truly ‘imperial’ cruise.

Day 8 Budapest
After breakfast this morning your friendly crew bid you farewell before you disembark the ship.

Specially commissioned and designed to our exacting specifications, MS Charles Dickens is, without doubt, one of the world’s finest river cruise ships. We have worked tirelessly with one of Europe’s most experienced and respected luxury shipbuilders, Veka Group, to create the perfect ship, featuring many unique, ground breaking innovations. The finest of materials have been used in construction with virtually no expense spared; its sustainably sourced tropical hardwoods, highly polished brass and wrought iron fittings, thick pile high-quality carpets, luxuriously comfortable deep armchairs and settees will absolutely delight you. In addition the ship’s spacious layout, subtle and tasteful lighting, elegant décor, luxurious cabins and excellent facilities are undoubtedly the very best on cruise ships today.

Superb attention to detail continues outside the vessel, where the extensive use of glass and polished stainless steel complements her sleek modern profile perfectly. As the ship glides, serenely through the water, she truly is a wonderful sight to behold! As you would expect, the ship also incorporates the very latest in modern construction techniques and safety systems, ensuring your cruise is as comfortable and secure as possible. Finally the ship carries just 140 passengers and with 35 crew, a 4:1 ratio ensures excellent service levels. With many similar size vessels carrying 180 passengers or more, you will find the extra space, especially in the restaurant, very noticeable indeed.

The four-deck design helps to enhance the ships’ spaciousness and is typified by the delightful lobby on the Upper deck. As you are greeted on board, you will appreciate the five-star quality of the warm-coloured wood and marble that has been extensively utilised, whilst above, the innovative atrium tastefully bathes the whole welcoming scene in natural light. There is also a lift and small boutique stocking those essentials which always run out whilst one is away!

Moving towards the front of the ship you will find the classically appointed lounge and bar, with a wide selection of comfortable and elegant seating. Here you can relax and enjoy the delights of the passing scenery through the superb observation windows on both sides of the vessel, whilst the forward facing panoramic bay window ensures the most extensive and uninterrupted viewing of any river cruise ship! The welcoming bar offers a full range of drinks sourced from all over the world, including the finest wines and spirits. When the sun sinks slowly below the riverside hills this is the perfect place to relax and reflect on another day’s experiences. Then, as the evening progresses into darkness, subtle lighting evolves through colour and intensity accompanied by gentle piano background music, creating a very special ambience. However should you prefer a good book to read you can always visit the library, which, with its leather-effect wall linings, offers a gentile environment reminiscent of the golden age of cruising.

To the rear of the ship is the stern bar, with large panoramic windows and outside seating, where again you can enjoy and relax, watching the passing scenery. Here, in the evenings the chef presents his personal signature dishes for just 24 diners – this intimate dining experience can be reserved on board at no extra charge. Stairs and a lift lead down to the middle deck, where the culinary delights of a superbly elegant restaurant are enhanced by sparkling crystal and crisp, high-quality table linen. Here the ship’s outstanding chefs will amaze you with superb fine dining of the highest order, using freshly prepared seasonal produce to create very best of European cuisine. The sumptuous breakfast buffet, with omelettes and fresh eggs prepared to order, ensures a great start to the day and a lunchtime buffet ensures you can eat a full meal or something as simple as a fresh crunchy salad – just as you desire. The evening dinner features excellently executed dishes with silver service, plus a relaxed atmosphere and our ‘open seating’ policy that ensures your dining experience is one you will always look forward to. Wonderfully illustrating the extraordinary attention to detail focussed on the Charles Dicken’s design is the use of special ‘sound absorbent’ paint on the restaurant ceiling to reduce noise levels whilst dining – remarkable! Another outstanding restaurant feature are the large tinted panoramic windows, so as you enjoy your epicurean adventure you will also be able to enjoy the scenery as it glides past – you miss nothing!

A further staircase descends to the lower deck, where a small but well equipped fitness suite is available for the energetic, whilst others may choose to plump for an invigorating sauna! There is also a hairdressing salon so you can always look your best (small additional fee).

Crowning the ship is the magnificent Sun deck, where you are very welcome to visit the Bridge whenever you wish except when berthing or navigating locks. You can discuss life on the river and view the fascinating technologically advanced array of ‘state of the art’ navigation and control equipment, whilst highly skilled officers guide all 110 metres of the Charles Dickens carefully along the river. Of course the view from the sun deck is just wonderful, whilst the informal café style seating is an ideal place to relax with like-minded travellers.

Just absorb the magical sights, sounds and unique river atmosphere whilst perhaps availing yourself of the attentive bar service. Or just relax on a sun bed and read a book, solve the crossword from a deck chair, take a dip in the whirlpool, play chess, try your hand on the putting green or just relax and admire the ever-changing kaleidoscope of stunning views passing by.

Ship Profile & Stats

  • Maiden Voyage: 2015
  • Passenger Capacity (dbl): 140

Ship Amenities

  • Spacious marble bathroom
  • Safe
  • Telephone
  • Hairdryer
  • Tea & coffee making facilities
  • Individually controlled air-conditioning
  • Flat screen TV
  • Seating area with two chairs and a small table
  • Bathrobes & slippers

Ship Facilities

  • Laundry service
  • Hairdressing salon
  • Wellness area with sauna and fitness equipment
  • Reception
  • Small boutique
  • Giant chess
  • Putting green
  • Small splash pool
  • Sun deck with comfortable outdoor chairs and sun loungers
  • 24hr self service station for tea & coffee
  • Lift between middle and upper deck
  • Air conditioned public areas & cabins
  • Stern bar and restaurant on the Upper Deck
  • Lounge with bar and panoramic views on the upper deck
  • Main restaurant on middle deck serving buffet breakfast, buffet lunch and dinner

There’s so much more to experience on a Riviera Travel River Cruise:

What’s the best way to travel through the heart of Europe and discover its greatest delights? You’ll find it hard to beat a European river cruise along some of our continent’s most timeless, appealing waterways. After all, people have travelled Europe’s mighty rivers for centuries to trade, explore and sometimes conquer. Steeped in history and culture and flowing through stunning scenery, they form natural highways that connect great cities and beautiful towns, each with its own unique and rewarding character.

While you sit back and relax on your river cruise of Europe, the views change constantly as amazing destinations come to you. The pace is slower, with plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere and contemplate the world as it passes serenely by. If you’re feeling energetic, there are new opportunities every day to explore riverside ports with knowledgeable guides or at your own speed. If not – you can just take it easy.

Your European river cruise might take you down the majestic Rhine or Danube, to atmospheric cities like Coblenz and Vienna. You’ll pass astonishing ‘fairytale’ castles and learn their mystical stories. There’s the meandering Moselle with its impossibly steep riverside vineyards, the lesser known River Main twisting through Germany’s rural heart. In France, the Rhone flows majestically almost from the Burgundy vineyards to the heart of sun-kissed Provence, while the iconic Seine will transport you from Paris through the countryside of impressionist painters to medieval Rouen and historic Bayeux. Then there’s the picturesque and largely undiscovered Douro with its dramatic cliffs, lush hillsides, medieval walled villages and terraced vineyards.

You experience all this in the most relaxing manner possible on your river cruise through Europe, on board some of the most spacious ships gracing Europe’s waterways. No sea-sickness or rough water – just comfort and luxury with superb service and dining on an unforgettable journey through time and culture.

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