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Trip report: Riverside Cruises

Luxury on the Danube

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8 November 2023 by Alison Nicolle

Wexas cruise specialist Alison Nicolle takes to the Danube aboard Riverside Mozart – the brand-new river ship from Europe's latest luxury river cruise line.

As it turned out October was the perfect time to experience Riverside Mozart – the first ship in a fleet of luxurious river cruise boats that will make up the sophisticated new Riverside Luxury Collection.

We were on a Westbound “Treasures of the Danube” itinerary, which combines some of the well-known cities of Europe such as Budapest and Vienna alongside some smaller off the beaten track places such as the small Austrian town of Durnstein in the UNESCO protected World Heritage Wachau Valley.

On our arrival in the vibrant Hungarian capital, the sun was shining and the city was experiencing unseasonably high temperatures of 25 degrees. Coupled with the beautiful autumn colours, it was a sight to behold. From the airport, we were whisked straight to the dock and our river ship – the Riverside Mozart – where I we were immediately struck by its luxurious interior. Indeed, I could already tell that this was to be a week of cultural and culinary exploration, enjoyed in the utmost comfort.

Alison's itinerary took in the highlights of the Danube
Alison's itinerary took in the highlights of the Danube

It's fair to say that the sophisticated Riverside Mozart is a quite exceptional vessel, and one of the largest and most luxurious river cruise boats currently operating on the Danube. For me, a real standout feature is the exceptionally high level of service, with a suite-to-crew ratio of 1:1. Indeed, our own personal butler was on hand to welcome us to our accommodation – a spacious Grand Suite located on the second deck, complete with king-sized bed, roomy shower and a sliding door with French balcony. In fact, it's worth noting that even the ship's smallest suites measure a spacious 20 sq. m. 

The suites on Riverside Mozart are stylish and spacious
The suites on Riverside Mozart are stylish and spacious

The public areas are just as stylish, elegant and comfortable, from the dining spaces and lounges to the contemporary spa, which comes complete with a counter-current pool, a sauna and steam baths, as well as a well-equipped gym. The outdoor deck space is vast, with plenty of room for a morning or sunset stroll, or to find a quiet spot to relax with a book on a sun lounger while enjoying a drink from the bar.

Itineraries

Riverside offer a superb selection of excursions in the various ports, which can be pre-booked as part of an all-inclusive package, and on this trip we experienced a real variety. There was everything from a tour of the impressive Schonbrunn Palace, just outside of Vienna, to a guided stroll through the beautiful riverside town of Durnstein in the Wachau Valley in Austria, where we sampled a variety of delicious apricot products.


Durnstein in the Wachau Valley, Austria

Another highlight was an excursion to the old town of Bratislava, which included a visit to a famous restaurant whose menu featured local delicacies and craft beers, while another favourite was a trip to the impressive Abbey at Melk. In addition we experienced a very moving small group walking tour around the former Concentration Camp of Mauthausen, where we were joined by a very knowledgeable local guide who provided a fascinating yet haunting reminder of the region's past.

All in, it was a wonderful week, with the perfect mix of exploration, culture, fine cuisine and relaxation.

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