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Marvel at

The Grand Danube

 

Budapest at night
  • Overview

    highlights

    • Explore Vienna, the ‘City of Waltzes’
    • Discover Bratislava’s old town
    • Visit Budapest, a truly unique city
    • Marvel at the spectacular scenery of the Wachau Valley

    Sit back, relax and enjoy some of the most beautiful cities and captivating scenery in central Europe as we embark on a journey of discovery on The Grand Danube. Visit the key cities of this mighty river including spectacular Vienna, the hidden gem of Bratislava and the magnificent city of Budapest. You’ll discover picture-postcard towns and cities such as Krems, Melk and Linz. This is sure to be a unique tour and cruise experience. Read More

    Great for:

    • Great for - City
    • Great for - Culture
    • Great for - Food & Drink
    • Great for - History
    • Great for - Nature
    • Great for - Scenery


    Museum of Natural History, Vienna
      
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    Must See: Bratislava
    Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia. It is the political, cultural and economic centre, housing parliament and the Slovak executive. The city is home to several universities, museums, theatres and galleries. 

    Geographically its location on the borders with Austria and Hungary makes it the only national capital that borders two countries. 

    The city straddles the Danube which for centuries was the main transportation route of this area.

    The old town is best discovered on foot, look out for the Main Square, town hall and the famous man hole - Ganymedes!
  • Itinerary

    ITINERARY

    LOCATIONS


  • The Ship

    YOUR SHIP



    MV Esmeralda

    • MV Esmeralda exterior
    • MV esmeralda
    The hugely popular MV Esmeralda is our largest River Cruise ship, and this exclusively-chartered vessel is perfect for Europe River Cruises exploring some of the most beautiful scenery. Discover wonderful landscapes during our relaxing Danube River Cruises, and relax on-board, making the most of the Esmeralda’s excellent facilities.

    With her comfortable lounge areas and attractive decor, the MV Esmeralda is sure to be the perfect home from home just our scenic River Cruises. You’ll be able to travel in style and comfort as we make our way along one of the world’s most enchanting rivers, discovering mesmerising attractions, towns and cities. And, this year, we have even more departures to choose from!

    Enjoy delicious meals on-board the MV Esmeralda, including buffet breakfasts, three-course lunches and four-course evening meals, as well as exciting gala dinners! When the weather’s nice, you should absolutely spend some time on the sun deck, where you’ll find sun loungers and a shaded area from which you can admire the ever-changing scenery. You can also make your way to the lounge, with its comfortable leather couches and plush chairs.

    For those who would like to enjoy some quiet time, why not spend an hour or two in the MV Esmeralda’s library? Here you’ll find a great assortment of books and games that are sure to provide lots of entertainment.

    You’re sure to make lots of new friends during our relaxing River Cruises on-board the MV Esmeralda, and in the evening you’ll be able to chat with your new companions over a drink or two at the bar. Or, for those feeling more energetic, you could always dance the night away along to our talented on-board keyboardist!

    We promise to take good care of you during our MV Esmeralda River Cruises - we can’t wait to welcome you on board!
    • Length: 90 metres
    • Width: 11.20 metres
    • Accommodation areas refurbished: 2011
    • Passenger Capacity: 126
    • Passenger decks: 3
    • Star rating: 3*

    Cabins

    • MV Esmeralda Grade A

      Promenade Deck Cabin, MV Esmeralda
      • Private bathroom facilities including wet room-style shower and toilet
      • A higher deck for fantastic views
      • Safe
      • Radiator
      • LCD TV
      • Air conditioning
      • Wardrobe with full length mirror
      • Dressing table with mirror
      • Large sliding picture window
      • Twin beds
      Enjoy the best possible views of the changing landscape on our Danube River Cruises by choosing one of our excellent Grade A cabins on-board the MV Esmeralda. We have a superb selection of cabins, and these offer wonderful views of the river scenery, as well as the great facilities you expect of Shearings River Cruises.

      Spend time relaxing in your cabin, with its LCD TV and comfortable air conditioning. You’ll also find a wet room-style bathroom in your cabin, ensuring you have everything you could possibly require during your journey.
    • MV Esmeralda Grade B Single Cabin

      MV Esmeralda
      • Private bathroom facilities including wet room-style shower and toilet
      • Safe
      • Radiator
      • Portable TV
      • Air conditioning
      • Wardrobe with full length mirror
      • Dressing table with mirror
      • Large sliding picture window
      • Twin beds for sole occupancy
      Relax on-board fantastic Europe River Cruises with Shearings and make the most of the MV Esmeralda’s excellent Grade B single cabins. Perfect for those travelling alone, these cabins provide everything you’ll need during your exciting River Cruise, including a safe to hold your important personal belongings, and air conditioning.

      You’ll also find a portable TV, wardrobe, dressing table and private bathroom in your Grade B single cabin, with twin beds for sole occupancy.
    • MV Esmeralda Grade B Twin Cabin

      MV Esmeralda
      • Private bathroom facilities including wet room-style shower and toilet
      • Safe
      • Radiator
      • Portable TV
      • Air conditioning
      • Wardrobe with full length mirror
      • Dressing table with mirror
      • Large sliding picture window
      • Twin beds
      Join us on scenic River Cruises along the Danube on the MV Esmeralda and enjoy a relaxing stay in one of our Grade B Twin Cabins. Located on the Promenade deck, these cabins offer a great range of facilities to ensure you have everything you’re likely to require during your pleasant cruise along one of Europe’s most picturesque rivers.

      You’ll find air conditioning, a safe, a radiator and a portable TV in your cabin. As well as this, you’ll be able to store your belongings in the cabin’s wardrobe and on the dressing table. Be sure to admire the beautiful views from the large sliding picture window!
     
  • Gallery
  • Excursions & Extras

    INCLUDED EXCURSIONS


    Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest
    Budapest Guided City Tour

    One of the most magnificent cities in the world, Budapest is filled with incredible sights and sounds. Join us as we take a city tour to learn more about this wonderful capital of Hungary, with its stunning architecture, historical attractions and marvellous culture.

    Budapest is actually two cities astride the Danube. Our guided tour of Budapest takes us by coach on a visit to both. 

    On the Pest side we see St Stephen’s Basilica, Vajdahunyad Castle and Heroes’ Square, which is dominated by the impressive Millenary Monument, home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

    We then cross to Buda and the Castle District, where we find the seven-hundred year-old Matthias Church, one of the jewels of Budapest. We also see the famous Fisherman’s Bastion, which offers great views over the city. 

    The city is home to the largest medicinal bath in Europe (Szechenyi Medicinal Bath) and the third largest Parliament building in the world, once the largest in the world. The city also contains the third largest church in Europe (Esztergom Basilica) and the second largest Baroque castle in the world (Godollo).

    Salzburg scenery
    Full Day: Salzburg

    The city of Salzburg makes for an excellent excursion, the city famous for being home to the Sound of Music. Enjoy the old town with its impressive fortress and cathedral, take time out to visit the house where Mozart was born or relax in the Mirabell Gardens.

    There are numerous architectural styles to be found in Salzburg, including Romanesque, gothic, renaissance, baroque and many more modern styles. We’ll be able to admire this architecture throughout our visit, as well as exploring the city itself to see its many attractions.

    Salzburg scenery
    Full Day: Salzburg

    The city of Salzburg makes for an excellent excursion, the city famous for being home to the Sound of Music. Enjoy the old town with its impressive fortress and cathedral, take time out to visit the house where Mozart was born or relax in the Mirabell Gardens.

    There are numerous architectural styles to be found in Salzburg, including Romanesque, gothic, renaissance, baroque and many more modern styles. We’ll be able to admire this architecture throughout our visit, as well as exploring the city itself to see its many attractions.

    Budapest, Hungary
    Imperial Budapest

    Join us on our guided tour of this historical city, which is actually two cities astride the Danube. Our excursion takes us by coach on a visit to both.

    On the Pest side, we see St Stephen’s Basilica, Vajdahunyad Castle and Heroes’ Square, which is dominated by the impressive Millenary Monument, home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    We then cross to Buda and the Castle District, where we find the seven-hundred year-old Matthias Church, one of the jewels of Budapest. We also see the famous Fisherman’s Bastion, which offers great views over the city.

    The city is home to the largest medicinal bath in Europe (Szechenyi Medicinal Bath) and the third-largest Parliament building in the world, once the largest in the world. The city also contains the third-largest church in Europe (Esztergom Basilica) and the second largest Baroque castle in the world (Godollo).

     

    OPTIONAL EXCURSIONS


    Salzburg
    Classical Salzburg

    Join us on our excursion to explore the elegant city of music and the birthplace of Mozart. On our guided walking tour we see the Cathedral, St Peter’s Abbey, Mozart Square, the glorious Mirabell Gardens and the imposing Hohensalzburg Fortress.

    Admire Nonnberg Convent and the famous Getreidegasse - a busy shopping street in the Old Town section of Salzburg. The house at no. 9 Getreidegasse is the place where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born and where he lived until the age of 17. Following our guided tour, we enjoy some free time to explore this wonderful city before heading back to the ship in time for dinner.

    Hofburg Palace in Vienna
    Discover Vienna

    Join us for an amazing tour of Vienna, allowing us to discover this splendid city for ourselves. Our coach tour will begin as we travel past Vienna’s large park, the Prater, admiring views of the famous Ferris wheel and then on to the State Opera House, also seeing the Fine Arts and History Museum.

    We will also see the stunning Hofburg Palace during our city tour, along with the Parliament building, the Town Hall and the Burg Theatre. Making our way to St. Stephen's Cathedral in the city centre, we will disembark our coach and enjoy a walking tour of Vienna. We will stroll along the Graben, one of Vienna’s most famous streets, and will pass by the Spanish Riding School and Albertina Museum.

    After our walking tour, we return to our coach and begin our return journey, taking in the famous buildings by painter and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, stopping to admire the unique Hundertwasserhaus.   

    Durnstein on the Danube
    Durnstein Transfer
    This charming town on the Danube River in Austria is a wonderful example of the traditional Austrian way of life. With its beautiful surrounding scenery and slow pace, we’ll enjoy excellent time at leisure to discover the many sights here. 
    Fiaker Horses
    Evening Horse-drawn Fiaker Ride
    We’ll enjoy an enchanting ride in a traditional Viennese Fiaker - a horse-drawn carriage. This will allow us to see the sights of this amazing city in a way we’re sure to remember forever - admire the beautiful architecture, soak up the wonderful atmosphere and make the most of this charming experience.
    Krems
    Evening wine tasting in Krems

    A chance to join us for an evening of wine tasting. Includes a tour of the cellars followed by a tasting of five different Danube wines, as well as the opportunity to sample local breads. So come for an amazing experience and compare the different quality levels, colours, grape varieties and characteristics, and learn how the different wines of this region are produced.

    Esztergom
    Explore Esztergom & Wine
    Esztergom is one of the oldest cities in Hungary founded around 972 AD and was the capital of Hungary from the 10th till the mid-13th century. The most famous landmark of Esztergom is the Basilica situated on Castle Hill overlooking the city. 

    Join us as we take the electric train 50 metres up to the impressive Basilica with its 72m-high central dome which can be seen for many miles around.

    Inside the grandiose 19th century church we see where Franz Liszt used to play the organ and admire the renaissance chapel from the 15th century. We enjoy a glass of wine in the cellars of Basilica.

    The city has a wonderful historical and architectural heritage that includes many Baroque buildings, the Primate's Palace, the Franciscan monastery and several chapels and churches. One the newest additions to Esztergom is the Mária Valéria Bridge, which connects the city with Slovakia. Esztergom is truly a beautiful city hence it is often referred to as the 'Hungarian Rome'.
    Bratislava square
    Hidden Bratislava
    Join us as we discover one of the smallest and most picturesque capitals of Central Europe. Our tour commences by local tourist train, we pass the Slovak Philharmonic Hall, the Slovak National Theatre around the Old Historical Town to the Archbishops Summer Residence. We also see Blumental Church, the bustling commercial street of Obchodna with its many shops, the buildings of the Technical University, Slovak Radio, and the Slovak National Bank.

    We then head to Bratislava’s imposing Castle and through the garden suburb and onto Vienna Gate and Castle Hill, where we enjoy majestic views of the city before heading to the Old Town. Our tour continues on foot where we see Archbishop Place, St. Martin Cathedral – the previous Coronation Church of the Hungarian Kings – Academia Istropolitana – the oldest University dated from the 15th century, Main Square with its Old Town Hall and the Opera House and the famous manhole - Ganymedes.   
    Budapest at night
    Illuminated Budapest
    Budapest is a beautiful city, even more so at night. Marvel at the beautiful illuminated buildings and bridges as we drive past Parliament and Heroes Square on the Pest side of the city to a local chapel, here we enjoy a short organ concert along with a glass of champagne. We then head across Chain Bridge up to Castle Hill on the Buda side of the city, here you will enjoy spectacular views of Budapest and beyond, before heading back to the ship.  
    Melk Abbey
    Majestic Melk Abbey

    Stift Melk (Melk Abbey) is a Baroque-era masterpiece, located above the town of Melk on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river Danube. Part palace, part monastery and part opera set, Melk is a magnificent vision thanks greatly to its upward-reaching twin towers. Capped with baroque helmets and cradling a 208-foot-high dome, this abbey is a true Baroque masterpiece.

    Our tour of the abbey includes the Imperial rooms, Marble Hall, and the balcony, which offers fine views of the river. It’s likely that Napoleon probably used this room as a lookout when his headquarters were based in Melk for his campaign against Austria.

    We also see the magnificent library, with more than 100,000 books, nearly 2,000 manuscripts, and a superb ceiling fresco by the master Paul Troger; the Marmorsaal, whose windows on both sides enhance the ceiling frescoes; and the glorious Stiftskirche (abbey church) of Saints Peter and Paul, an exquisite example of the Baroque style.

    Following the tour you can enjoy some free time to wander around the abbey’s park with its impressive Baroque garden, the recently restored northern bastion. Or you may just wish to sit and relax in the abbey’s restaurant with a coffee and admire the beautiful views.

     

    Vienna
    Mozart and Strauss Concert

    Vienna is undoubtedly Europe’s musical capital, and this excursion will give us the opportunity to enjoy the music of two of Austria’s favourite sons. Sit back and relax as we listen to the music of Johann Strauss, the Waltz King, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the infant prodigy.

    We make the short journey by coach to the concert hall for an evening full of Viennese charm, with the lilting sound of waltzes, polkas, arias and duets, as well as operetta and piano concerto melodies. Accompanied by excellent opera vocalists and our enchanting ballet soloists, Vienna's classical music reveals itself as a living firework display for all the senses taking us back to the days of old Vienna for a truly unforgettable evening.

    Wachau Valley, River Danube
    Wonderful Wachau Valley
    Join us as we explore the spectacular Wachau Valley, located midway between the towns of Melk and Krems. The Valley was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2000, as recognition of its architectural and agricultural history.

    During our tour we visit the historical centre of Krems, one of the most beautiful in Europe, and famous for its ancient squares, old monasteries, churches and impressive town houses.

    We also visit the charming town of Durnstein, situated in the heart of the valley; here we enjoy breath-taking scenery, traditional architecture, and places of historical interest, including Kuenringer Castle. It was here that English King Richard the Lionheart was once held prisoner.

    We then head to the picturesque town of Spitz, with its cobbled streets amidst vineyards, offering spectacular views, before calling at the wine-producing village of Weissenkirchen.
    Salzburg
    Classical Salzburg

    Join us on our excursion to explore the elegant city of music and the birthplace of Mozart. On our guided walking tour we see the Cathedral, St Peter’s Abbey, Mozart Square, the glorious Mirabell Gardens and the imposing Hohensalzburg Fortress.

    Admire Nonnberg Convent and the famous Getreidegasse - a busy shopping street in the Old Town section of Salzburg. The house at no. 9 Getreidegasse is the place where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born and where he lived until the age of 17. Following our guided tour, we enjoy some free time to explore this wonderful city before heading back to the ship in time for dinner.

    Hofburg Palace in Vienna
    Discover Vienna

    Join us for an amazing tour of Vienna, allowing us to discover this splendid city for ourselves. Our coach tour will begin as we travel past Vienna’s large park, the Prater, admiring views of the famous Ferris wheel and then on to the State Opera House, also seeing the Fine Arts and History Museum.

    We will also see the stunning Hofburg Palace during our city tour, along with the Parliament building, the Town Hall and the Burg Theatre. Making our way to St. Stephen's Cathedral in the city centre, we will disembark our coach and enjoy a walking tour of Vienna. We will stroll along the Graben, one of Vienna’s most famous streets, and will pass by the Spanish Riding School and Albertina Museum.

    After our walking tour, we return to our coach and begin our return journey, taking in the famous buildings by painter and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, stopping to admire the unique Hundertwasserhaus.   

    Durnstein on the Danube
    Durnstein Transfer
    This charming town on the Danube River in Austria is a wonderful example of the traditional Austrian way of life. With its beautiful surrounding scenery and slow pace, we’ll enjoy excellent time at leisure to discover the many sights here. 
    Fiaker Horses
    Evening Horse-drawn Fiaker Ride
    We’ll enjoy an enchanting ride in a traditional Viennese Fiaker - a horse-drawn carriage. This will allow us to see the sights of this amazing city in a way we’re sure to remember forever - admire the beautiful architecture, soak up the wonderful atmosphere and make the most of this charming experience.
    Krems
    Evening wine tasting in Krems

    A chance to join us for an evening of wine tasting. Includes a tour of the cellars followed by a tasting of five different Danube wines, as well as the opportunity to sample local breads. So come for an amazing experience and compare the different quality levels, colours, grape varieties and characteristics, and learn how the different wines of this region are produced.

    Esztergom
    Explore Esztergom & Wine
    Esztergom is one of the oldest cities in Hungary founded around 972 AD and was the capital of Hungary from the 10th till the mid-13th century. The most famous landmark of Esztergom is the Basilica situated on Castle Hill overlooking the city. 

    Join us as we take the electric train 50 metres up to the impressive Basilica with its 72m-high central dome which can be seen for many miles around.

    Inside the grandiose 19th century church we see where Franz Liszt used to play the organ and admire the renaissance chapel from the 15th century. We enjoy a glass of wine in the cellars of Basilica.

    The city has a wonderful historical and architectural heritage that includes many Baroque buildings, the Primate's Palace, the Franciscan monastery and several chapels and churches. One the newest additions to Esztergom is the Mária Valéria Bridge, which connects the city with Slovakia. Esztergom is truly a beautiful city hence it is often referred to as the 'Hungarian Rome'.
    Bratislava square
    Hidden Bratislava
    Join us as we discover one of the smallest and most picturesque capitals of Central Europe. Our tour commences by local tourist train, we pass the Slovak Philharmonic Hall, the Slovak National Theatre around the Old Historical Town to the Archbishops Summer Residence. We also see Blumental Church, the bustling commercial street of Obchodna with its many shops, the buildings of the Technical University, Slovak Radio, and the Slovak National Bank.

    We then head to Bratislava’s imposing Castle and through the garden suburb and onto Vienna Gate and Castle Hill, where we enjoy majestic views of the city before heading to the Old Town. Our tour continues on foot where we see Archbishop Place, St. Martin Cathedral – the previous Coronation Church of the Hungarian Kings – Academia Istropolitana – the oldest University dated from the 15th century, Main Square with its Old Town Hall and the Opera House and the famous manhole - Ganymedes.   
    Budapest at night
    Illuminated Budapest
    Budapest is a beautiful city, even more so at night. Marvel at the beautiful illuminated buildings and bridges as we drive past Parliament and Heroes Square on the Pest side of the city to a local chapel, here we enjoy a short organ concert along with a glass of champagne. We then head across Chain Bridge up to Castle Hill on the Buda side of the city, here you will enjoy spectacular views of Budapest and beyond, before heading back to the ship.  
    Melk Abbey
    Majestic Melk Abbey

    Stift Melk (Melk Abbey) is a Baroque-era masterpiece, located above the town of Melk on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river Danube. Part palace, part monastery and part opera set, Melk is a magnificent vision thanks greatly to its upward-reaching twin towers. Capped with baroque helmets and cradling a 208-foot-high dome, this abbey is a true Baroque masterpiece.

    Our tour of the abbey includes the Imperial rooms, Marble Hall, and the balcony, which offers fine views of the river. It’s likely that Napoleon probably used this room as a lookout when his headquarters were based in Melk for his campaign against Austria.

    We also see the magnificent library, with more than 100,000 books, nearly 2,000 manuscripts, and a superb ceiling fresco by the master Paul Troger; the Marmorsaal, whose windows on both sides enhance the ceiling frescoes; and the glorious Stiftskirche (abbey church) of Saints Peter and Paul, an exquisite example of the Baroque style.

    Following the tour you can enjoy some free time to wander around the abbey’s park with its impressive Baroque garden, the recently restored northern bastion. Or you may just wish to sit and relax in the abbey’s restaurant with a coffee and admire the beautiful views.

     

    Vienna
    Mozart and Strauss Concert

    Vienna is undoubtedly Europe’s musical capital, and this excursion will give us the opportunity to enjoy the music of two of Austria’s favourite sons. Sit back and relax as we listen to the music of Johann Strauss, the Waltz King, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the infant prodigy.

    We make the short journey by coach to the concert hall for an evening full of Viennese charm, with the lilting sound of waltzes, polkas, arias and duets, as well as operetta and piano concerto melodies. Accompanied by excellent opera vocalists and our enchanting ballet soloists, Vienna's classical music reveals itself as a living firework display for all the senses taking us back to the days of old Vienna for a truly unforgettable evening.

    Wachau Valley, River Danube
    Wonderful Wachau Valley
    Join us as we explore the spectacular Wachau Valley, located midway between the towns of Melk and Krems. The Valley was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2000, as recognition of its architectural and agricultural history.

    During our tour we visit the historical centre of Krems, one of the most beautiful in Europe, and famous for its ancient squares, old monasteries, churches and impressive town houses.

    We also visit the charming town of Durnstein, situated in the heart of the valley; here we enjoy breath-taking scenery, traditional architecture, and places of historical interest, including Kuenringer Castle. It was here that English King Richard the Lionheart was once held prisoner.

    We then head to the picturesque town of Spitz, with its cobbled streets amidst vineyards, offering spectacular views, before calling at the wine-producing village of Weissenkirchen.

 


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What's included

  • Eight nights full-board cruise
  • Services of a Shearings Cruise Manager
  • Welcome drink on arrival
  • Fantastic river views from every cabin
  • On-board evening entertainment programme
  • Expertly-planned optional shore excursions to help you make the most of your time away
  • Two included excursions
  • Twelve optional excursions
MV Esmeralda exterior

MV Esmeralda

The hugely popular MV Esmeralda is our largest River Cruise ship, and this exclusively-chartered vessel is perfect for Europe River Cruises exploring some of the most beautiful scenery.

Learn more about the ship
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  • British Travel Awards
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