Which cruise did you travel on?
The Splendours of Europe river cruise from Budapest to Vienna last August.
What was your cruise highlight?
Visiting a local Slovakian family on the outskirts of the capital Bratislava. After a very informative walking tour of this small and easily accessible capital we then transferred out to a village 40 minutes away. We were then welcomed by several local families who have made a living from producing their own wine, cheese, jam and gingerbread. We were ‘forced’ to sample as much of the local produce as we could take and were able to ask the guests any questions we had about the history of their country, family and local area.
We met 4 generations of one family and I can safely we say we sampled all that Slovakian hospitality had to offer.
What was the most surprising part of your cruise?
The interaction and entertainment of an evening. They had a fully qualified, professional pianist on board throughout the cruise but we were also visited by traditional dancers and folk artists from both Slovakia and Hungary. We had the opportunity to also take part in a quiz night as well as movie nights each evening at the rear of the ship. This made the ship's atmosphere welcoming and you never felt alone.
What was your favourite part of the ship?
My favourite area was The Horizon Lounge at the front of the upper deck. This area felt luxurious and comfortable enabling you to sample the cocktails of the day and regional hand-picked wines whilst watching Europe go by. It gave you a unique perspective on each new city and country morning, noon and night.
Why would you recommend this cruise?
Whether you are new to cruising or an experienced traveller this itinerary is a great one to do. For the novice it takes in the iconic European cities you think of when you think river cruising and for someone who thinks they have seen everything this trip will always give you something new and exciting to take part in.
Why do you think river cruising is increasing in popularity?
There are several reasons why river cruising is picking up in pace but from my experience I believe it is the personalised service and high standard that Emerald Waterways provide that is attracting so many new travellers. When you are on board you would never think you were moving and on a working leisure vessel. The quality of food, design and the amazing staff make you feel like you are in a 5* hotel only to find you get to explore a new city every day without having to move a muscle. Some of the destinations are simply not accessible by any other means as well which is a big plus for a lot of travellers.