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Great Cities of the Danube

Holiday Highlights

  • Vienna's elegance and culture
  • Explore the Gothic architecture of Budapest
  • Bratislava's charming old town
  • Discover wonderful wines at Durnstein

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Our customers rate this holiday

4 out of 5 stars ( from 5 customers )

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Holiday details

What is Included?

  • Return travel by coach or air
  • If travelling by coach, overnight hotel says on outbound and return journey
  • 7 nights full-board cruise
  • Captain's dinner
  • River views from every cabin
  • Services of a Shearings Cruise Tour Manager
  • Check out our holiday video for the Danube

A majestic cruise through the valleys, vineyards and scenery that make the Danube so special. From the elegance of Vienna, with its many sights from the glorious Hapsburg era, to the ancient splendour of Bratislava and stunning Budapest. You could sample some Wachau Valley wine or tour beautiful Melk Abbey. Immerse yourself in some of the heartland of Europe’s most magical capitals while enjoying the friendly atmosphere of the MV Esmeralda.


Travel Options

10 Days by Coach
1 night bed & breakfast accommodation en route, 7 nights full-board cruise and 1 night half-board accommodation post route.

8 days by Air
Return flights, transfers and 7 nights full-board cruise.


Must See: Vienna

The beautiful city of Vienna is a superb mix of old and new, where magnificent baroque buildings and the latest modern architecture can be admired.

Some of the city’s most stunning buildings include the Schönbrunn Palace, Belvedere Palace, the Hofburg Palace and St Stephen’s Cathedral.

Why not go up the Danube Tower to enjoy an excellent view of Vienna's old city and the Vienna Woods? Maybe take a ride by horse-drawn carriage for a more unique way to take in the city’s sights. Whichever way you choose to explore Vienna, you won’t be disappointed


Optional Excursions

Vienna & Schonbrunn Palace
Mozart & Strauss concert
Vienna by night
Imperial Budapest
Guided walking tour of Bratislava & Noddy Train
Melk Abbey
Walking tour of Durnstein
UNESCO town of Cesky Krumlov

Holiday Details

Wednesday: Embark in Linz
Make yourself familiar with the ship and meet fellow travellers over dinner this evening.
Thursday: Melk to Vienna
Wake up in Melk with its magnificent Benedictine Abbey and renaissance Schallaburg Castle with great views of the river and picturesque valley. Then on to Vienna, enjoy the city in the evening on one of the optional tours, Vienna by night or a Mozart and Strauss concert.
Friday: Vienna to Budapest
A whole day is devoted to the magnificence of Vienna, where you can discover the architectural wonder of St Stephen’s Cathedral, walk around one of several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, visit the Museum Quarter, or try one of the renowned delicious cakes and pastries in the numerous cafes. An evening sail to Budapest.
Saturday: Budapest to Bratislava
A full day in Budapest to discover the ‘Pearl of the Danube’, one of the most beautiful capitals in Europe. Here, the river separates the old and new towns (Buda and Pest), the city is always lively and has long been a haven for writers, artists and musicians.
Sunday: Bratislava to Durnstein
We spend the morning cruising to the fascinating town of Bratislava, enjoying the beautiful views the Danube has to offer. Discover the old town dominated by the impressive castle. Sail through the night to Durnstein.
Monday: Durnstein to Linz
Durnstein is a popular town, with its cosy wine taverns, where locally grown Wachauer wines can be sampled. Also worth visiting is the historic city square and the oldest theatre in the country. Departing after lunch to enjoy a leisurely sail through stunning scenery and arrive in Linz late evening.
Tuesday: Linz
Discover the town of Linz or why not take the opportunity to visit the Czech Republic on our optional tour to the UNESCO town of Cesky Krumlov?
Wednesday: Disembark in Linz
It’s time to leave the MV Esmeralda with memories of a fantastic cruise.

Join by Coach

Tuesday: UK to Belgium
Across to Calais and our overnight hotel in Belgium.
Wednesday: Belgium to Linz
After breakfast we travel through Europe to join the MV Esmeralda in time for dinner.
Wednesday: Linz to Belgium
Bid a fond farewell to the MV Esmeralda before we journey to our overnight hotel in Belgium in time for dinner.
Thursday: Belgium to UK
We travel on to Calais for our ferry to Dover and continue home.

Join by Air

Wednesday: UK to Munich
Fly to Munich where you will be met at the airport by a representative and transferred to the MV Esmeralda in Linz, ready to embark on your cruise.
Wednesday: Munich to UK
From the MV Esmeralda, transfer to the airport for the flight back to the UK.




8 September 2012

The excursions to Vienna and Budapest were good. But overall, we were disappointed with the cruise.

The cabin was clean, but very small. The food quality was poor. The regular Tannoy announcements were extremely annoying. There was noise and disturbance of some kind every night. Our last day was memorable! 6 of us had dis-embarkation from the ship at 03.45pm. We had to have our suitcases out at 6am, breakfast was until 7.30am, and cabin keys had to be handed in by 9am. We were told we could then use the ship toilets! We went for a walk to the nearby town, and returned about an hour before our transport was due. We asked if we could have a drink (four of us are over 65) and it was very hot. We were told "No, you ceased to be passengers from 9am this morning" Glad to go home!

J and R

Essex, UK

6 September 2012

Good value for money, except the excursions

Just returned from this cruise 5th Sept. agree with previous reviews cabins are small compared to other river cruise boats l have been on but food and catering staff good..Cleanliness of the boat very good.


Cheshire, UK

29 July 2012

Arriving by ship at the three impressive and individual cities made this holiday memorable.

We found the places visited interesting and we were allowed plenty of time to explore. The ship however we found disappointing. Tiny cabins, a crowded dining room and food of poorer quality than usually expected on a cruise did cast a shadow over our enjoyment overall. The staff however worked extremely hard to try to ensure good service.


West Yorkshire, UK

15 July 2012

excellent staff and food second to none

just returned from danube cruise and we can not praise the crew and shearings rep enough wonderful holiday. cant wait to book another must say cabins very tiny but the time that is spent is only sleeping time the straus concert is expensive but worth every penny if you like classical music whichwe do.we are now looking to book the rhine explorer at the end of august this year but my advice is to upgrade if you can afford it, hope my review will help for people to have a truly memorable holiday kenmar



26 January 2012

Great Cruise

We did went on this cruise last year on the Esmeralda. We enjoyed the cruise and the food was very good, staff excellent and the company great although the boat could do with an update. I would certainly recommend this cruise as we felt we would not visit these cities again and to visit three capital cities on one holiday was really marvelous.

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