Flowing through 10 countries in central and eastern Europe, the meandering Danube River has witnessed the rise and fall of empires through the ages. As you cruise down the waterway, the second longest in Europe, you will see historic riverside towns, cathedrals and castles dating back to the medieval period.
From the Hungarian Magyars, who occupied the middle basin of the Danube River in the late 9th century, the Bavarians in Germany to the Slavs in Czech Republic, you will get to learn more about these forgotten tribes whose ways of life and traditions continued to influence many parts of Europe till this day.
Two upcoming Danube River Winter Cruise packages offered by Chan Brothers Travel offer a rare opportunity to travel back in time to experience an electrifying mix of opulent Baroque era architecture, old-world cultures, diverse cuisines and more - while not missing out on modern-day comforts on board a luxurious cruise ship.
Many historic towns not commonly featured in land tours are easily accessible from the piers along Danube River, including Melk, Passau and Regensburg. The time saved on travelling, compared to coach tours, translates into more time for sight-seeing, shopping and dining.
The 10D7N Enchanting Danube River Winter Cruise sets sail on Nov 27, taking travellers to seven destinations, many of which are exclusive to river cruise travellers.
The 12D10N Magical Danube River Winter Cruise sets sail on Dec 7 and takes travellers to nine stops, including the exotic Czech Republic, formerly part of Czechoslovakia, and Prague.
Classic European style, modern-day comforts
Before starting the river cruise, travellers can be assured of a good rest upon arrival in Budapest: They would be flying to Europe on day flights and enjoying a night's rest in the business and cultural centre of Hungary.
The next morning will be spent exploring the attractions of Budapest before driving to Vienna to board a specially chartered cruise ship. The ship will set sail nightly, after travellers board the ship; cruising along Danube River to a new city while the passengers are resting each night. When the sun rises each morning, a new destination on the holiday itinerary awaits to be discovered. No time will be wasted on travelling from city to city.
The first stop is Melk where you can take a stroll down the cobblestone streets of the ancient town, which is part of UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley in Austria, as you make your way to the Melk Abbey, which was first established in the 11th century and rebuilt in the 18th century. Once inside the spectacular abbey, close your eyes and soak in the air of serenity at one of the world's most renowned spiritual centres. Behold the opulent Baroque style of architecture, and the eight pounds of gold used to adorn some of the statues and altars.
Next on the itinerary is the German town of Passau, where you can sink your teeth into Gingerbread Man as the smell of spices used to make this traditional holiday treat wafts through the air. Formerly part of the Roman empire, Passau is said to be home to the country's oldest gingerbread recipe. It is also home to the magnificent St. Stephen's Cathedral which houses the largest pipe organ in Europe.
After Passau, sail down the river to reach the Bavarian city of Regensburg where the 12th century Stone Bridge still stands. It was built across the Danube to link the Old Town of Regensburg and the island of Stadtamhof in the 12th century.
Touted as a construction masterpiece during the medieval ages, the bridge has 16 arches and became a model for other European stone bridges built in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Travel to a dark period in modern history when the cruise ship docks at the historic German town of Nuremberg. Explore Nazi party rally grounds and learn what happened during the Third Reich and the infamous Nuremberg war trials that took place after World War II.
Guests who sign up for the 12D10N Magical Danube River Winter Cruise in December can look forward to additional treats: Year-end Christmas markets in Germany.
The 12-day tour will take them to Cesky Krumlov, whose ancient city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Karlovy Vary, a spa town situated in western Bohemia, and Prague, home to the largest ancient castle in the world and more.
Perks of cruising
Here are more reasons why cruising the Danube River with Chan Brothers Travel is not to be missed.
Chan Brothers Travel has a wealth of experience and solid track record in chartering Danube River cruises, and this year marks its 12th year doing so. The company has amassed more than 1,000 five-star ratings from its customers for its Danube River cruises.
The 10D7N Enchanting Danube River Winter Cruise package covers one night of accommodation at a five-star hotel in Budapest and six nights on board a luxury cruise ship.
The 12D10N Magical Danube River Winter Cruise package covers one night of accommodation at a five-star hotel in Budapest, six nights on board the cruise, one night at a spa hotel in Karlovy Vary and two nights at a five-star hotel in Prague.
For each cruise package, the entire MS Amadeus Queen will be chartered exclusively for Chan Brothers Travel's guests.
With MS Amadeus Queen as your palatial hotel for six nights, there is no need to pack and unpack your luggage as you would for a land-based tour.
Upon boarding the cruise, passengers' passports will be collected so that custom procedures can be entrusted to the crew. Custom procedures are relatively hassle-free when crossing borders as compared to a road trip, and these leave more time for sightseeing or shopping at each port of call.
When the cruise ship arrives at a different port each morning, travellers can embark right away on daily guided excursions specially curated for them. All guided land excursions are inclusive in the packages at no extra cost.
A floating hotel
The cruise ship travel experience epitomises the concept of "the finest hospitality afloat": The moment you are on board, you can expect a service level that is on a par with that of a luxury hotel, complete with personalised touches to ensure a comfortable stay right from the beginning.
All of MS Amadeus Queen's 69 staterooms and 12 suites offer panoramic window views, while the suites afford balcony vantage points. No detail is too small to be overlooked - fine fabrics, traditional craftsmanship of the décor and tasteful hues at every turn of the cabins, lounges, halls and decks.
Holidays are all about choice and a cruise experience allows you to pick and choose what you fancy. There is absolute freedom of movement onboard and you can choose how little or how much you wish to do. You can idle in the lounge, revel in evening entertaining or rev up each day with morning aerobics on the deck.
MS Amadeus Queen will take the cruise dining experience to the new level: Breakfast is buffet style while both daily lunch and dinner are fine dining. Each dining table has a dedicated waiter so that all passengers are well taken care of. There are vegetarian options too.
Book your next Europe travel escapade with Chan Brothers Travel. Go with the flow of Danube River and see Europe in a new light.
10D7N Enchanting Danube River Winter Cruise
Departure: Nov 27, 2019
Fare: From $3,488
Taxes and surcharges: From $625
Visit Budapest, Vienna, Melk, Passau, Regensburg, Nuremberg and Munich.
For more details, click here
Terms and conditions apply.
12D10N Magical Danube River Winter Cruise
Departure: Dec 9, 2019
Fare: From $3,988
Taxes and surcharges: From $550
Visit Budapest, Vienna, Melk, Passau, Regensburg, Nuremberg, Cesky Krumlov, Karlovy Vary and Prague.
For more details, click here
Terms and conditions apply.