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The Beautiful Blue Danube

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Overview

2 Included Excursions
  • Discover the wonderful Wachau Valley
  • Take a guided city tour of vibrant Vienna
  • Relax on-board the elegant MS Serenade 2, admiring amazing views
  • Discover romantic Bratislava

Take in the splendid scenery of the beautiful blue Danube with us on this excellent new river cruise. Sailing aboard our brand new vessel, the MS Serenade 2, this cruise will introduce you to the Danube and will call at some of the river’s finest towns and cities, as well as enjoying two included excursions.
Discover the Danube River, Europe’s second-longest river. Winding its way through Europe, this exceptional river is known for its amazing scenery and beautiful views, which we will be able to take in as we sail. Why not visit the MS Serenade’s spacious Sun Deck to take in the changing landscape, or to enjoy the excellent weather!

We will begin our river cruise as we embark the ship, departing as we enjoy our evening meal and sailing through the night to Melk. Awake to admire our river views, and explore this charming town today.

The next day, we will sail from Melk in the morning to arrive at Durnstein. Make the most of our included excursion - an incredible tour of the Wachau Valley. This valley is well-known for its vistas - take in the beautiful scenery during our drive, and enjoy time to explore the towns of Durnstein, Krems and Spitz. We will then continue our river cruise by sailing onwards to Vienna, arriving by early evening.

Another excellent included excursion awaits today, as we take a guided city tour of Vienna. This magnificent city is known for its cultural heritage, which we can delve into with our tour. Allow our expert guide to tell us all about Vienna’s wonderful history, and to take us past some of the city’s best attractions.

During our relaxing river cruise, we will also visit the grand cities of Bratislava and Budapest, with free time to explore both of these awe-inspiring destinations. Admire the architecture, historical attractions and excellent atmospheres in these two cities.

This Holiday is Great For

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Itinerary

Day One - Depart UK
From the UK, we travel overnight from Hull to Rotterdam on-board our superb P&O North Sea Ferry, staying in comfortable cabin accommodation and enjoying dinner on-board. (D)

Day Two - Rotterdam to Regensburg Area
In the morning, we disembark our ferry in Rotterdam and continue to the Regensburg area, where we stay at an overnight hotel and enjoy dinner this evening. (B,D)

Day Three - Regensburg Area to Linz
After breakfast this morning, we continue to Linz to embark the MS Serenade 2. After settling into the ship, spend time exploring this beautiful destination. Passau is known for its many attractions and beautiful architecture - be sure to take in the Baroque St Stephen's Cathedral, and the Old City, filled with splendid sights. (B,D)

Day Four - Linz to Melk
Enjoy a morning’s sailing on-board the MS Serenade 2, as we make our way to Melk. Consider visiting the Sun Deck to admire the views. We reach Melk after midday and have an optional excursion to consider - a trip to the magnificent Melk Abbey. Soaring above the Danube River on a rocky outcrop, this beautiful Baroque abbey is a truly stunning sight! We moor in Melk overnight. (B,L,D)

Day Five - Melk - Durnstein - Vienna
Departing Melk in the morning, enjoy the changing scenery over breakfast. We arrive at Durnstein by mid-morning, with time to explore this exciting little town at leisure. Situated in a winegrowing area, Durnstein is a lovely place to visit, and we will explore more of it and the surrounding areas with our exciting included Wachau Valley tour. After our time here, we board the MS Serenade 2 for our afternoon sailing to Vienna, arriving early evening. We will have two optional excursions to enjoy this evening - a delightful horse-drawn fiaker ride, or a trip to a Mozart and Strauss concert. (B,L,D)

Day Six - Vienna to Bratislava
Spend the morning exploring cultural Vienna with our included guided city tour. This city is famous for its many connections to amazing musicians, and we will get the opportunity to learn all about this with our excursion. By mid-afternoon, it will be time to continue our river cruise as we sail onwards to Bratislava, arriving in the evening. (B,L,D)

Day Seven - Bratislava to Budapest
This morning, we can enjoy an optional excursion to discover Bratislava’s hidden delights. Take in the city’s many attractions and fine architecture, before it comes time to board the MS Serenade 2 again. We will continue onwards to Budapest, travelling through the evening. (B,L,D)

Day Eight - Budapest
Wake in this magnificent city and take in the incredible sights of the Hungarian Parliament, St Stephen’s Basilica, the Chain Bridge and much more. Why not join our optional city tour today, or consider our optional Illuminated Budapest excursion this evening to see this incredible city by night. (B,L,D)

Day Nine - Budapest to Regensburg Area
After breakfast, it will be time to disembark the MS Serenade 2 and continue onwards to the Regensburg area to stay at an overnight hotel. (B,D)

Day Ten - Regensburg Area to Rotterdam
This morning, we make our way to Rotterdam, where we board our P&O North Sea Ferry and enjoy dinner on-board as we sail overnight to Hull. (B,D)

Day Eleven - Arrive in UK
We arrive in Hull this morning and continue our journey by coach to the interchange, and then return home. (B)

MS Serenade 2

The stunning MS Serenade 2 offers a truly unique cruising experience. This beautiful and sleek ship has been designed to create a luxurious, modern and spacious atmosphere on board. A real highlight of the Serenade 2 is the superbly designed Forward Observation Lounge where you can sit back and relax enjoying stunning views along the river. We’re sure that once you have experienced the magic of the Serenade 2 you will be back next year!

Allow us to welcome you on board our newest addition to the Shearings river cruise family, the MS Serenade 2. Inaugurated in 2007, this beautiful ship really is at the cutting edge of design, guaranteeing the most comfortable possible surroundings for her passengers. The cabins on board the Serenade 2 are amongst the very best and the largest of any river cruise vessel. They feature hotel style beds (not berths or bunks) and a well-appointed bathroom, with WC, bath and separate shower. All cabins feature a flat screen TV, phone, mini-fridge, tea/coffee making facilities, safe and hairdryer, plus floor-to-ceiling sliding French windows on the upper two decks.

Relax on-board, where our highly professional crew and cruise manager, will be happy to help. Why not enjoy the spacious Sun Deck which incorporates covered shaded areas, and space to relax in one of the plentiful deck chairs or sun loungers. Perhaps partake in a game of giant chess or visit the on-board fitness suite which incorporates a small gym and sauna.

Enjoy contemporary cuisine in the chic Mendelssohn Restaurant on-board located on the Mozart Deck, where each day begins with a sumptuous breakfast buffet, with English and Continental delicacies available.

At lunchtime, sit down to a mouth watering buffet, helping yourself to a fantastic selection of foods, from cold meats and cheeses to a choice of hot dishes.

Come dinnertime, there will be a four-course evening meal to enjoy with your fellow cruise passengers, sampling gourmet dishes from our superb on-board chefs. Not only this, you will also be treated to an impressive Captain’s gala dinner during your cruise, which is sure to be a wonderfully memorable experience.

And what better way to the end of the day, than a visit to the superb Captain’s Club for a post dinner drink.

 

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Cabins


Ship Gallery

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The Local Area

Included Excursions

Vienna Guided City Tour

Vienna is often thought of as the jewel in Austria’s crown, being the country’s capital city and famous for its connections to gifted musicians. It was also home to Sigmund Freud and he conducted much of his major work and studies from his apartments and office in the city between 1886 and 1938 when he was forced to flee Nazism. With a rich culture and heritage, our guided city tour of Vienna will give us more information about how this city has become the marvellous destination it is today.

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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 with its historic 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 historic interest including Kuenringer Castle were 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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Optional Excursions

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).

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Evening Horse-drawn Fiaker Ride

We’ll enjoy an enchanting ride in a traditional Viennese Fiaker. These horse drawn carriages have featured in many artistic pieces related to Vienna such as musical pieces and operas by Richard and Johan Strauss. We'll see the sights of this amazing city in a way you'll remember forever - admire the beautiful architecture, soak up the wonderful atmosphere and make the most of this charming experience.

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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.   

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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.  

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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.

 

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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.

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