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A Hungarian River Cruise on the Danube with something extra special!

River cruising has always been on bucket list for Hungarian travellers. However, it seemed to be far dear and beyond their financial capability to experience the sailing that has been a privilage of Westerners for decades.

However, in 2014, everything has changed when Zoltan Biczo – after having worked for Lüftner Cruises joined Ponders Travel and set up an international office for the company in Hungary.

His goal was to introduce a new river cruising concept for the local audience.

This week, Ponders Travel has successfully completed its third Hungarian River Cruise on the Danube with highest customer satisfaction.

The cruise departed from Bratislava and ended in Passau. During the 5 day cruise many ports were visited – Vienna, Dürnstein, Melk, Linz where local acknowledgable guides emphasised the regions’ specialities and manmade or natural landmarks.

Classical music always represents a key factor on these river cruises.

In Bratislava, after the welcome dinner, on the first night a quartet of the renowned Győr Philharmonic Orchestra played enchanting melodies, seasoned with authentic poems quoted by Andras Jager, the talened player of the National Theatre of Győr.

At 10pm, we started the sailing through the illuminated city and made our way up on the Danube for Vienna.

On the entire ship, there were just as many crew (43) members than pasesngers (50), 1:1,16 ratio represented one of the highest in the history of river cruising.

On the second day, Amadeus Royal moored to its own docking in Nüssdorf, in the north of Vienna.
In the morning, there was a possibility to enjoy a Vienna sightseeing tour that included all the popular must-see highlights of the city – Stephansdom, Hofburg, Hundertwasserhaus followed by a visit to the Musikverein Concert House. It is the home to the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra. The building hosts the yearly New Year Concert. There is ca. 500 thousands people hope to secure places each year despite high admission fees but only the lucky ones make it through due to the ballot system. This tour was rather unique, designed for discerning travellers. No other groups were allowed that morning . It was a rare opportunity to enjoy the “Great Hall” (Großer Saal) during rehearsal due to its highly regarded acoustics. (It is considered one of the finest concert halls in the world.). Everyone came back with awe-inspiring experience.

Upon return clients had some free time to relax, use benefits of the ship’s facilities –sunlounges and pool or had a bike ride along the Danube promenade at leisure.
After an early dinner, the evening concert by Andre Rieu world-class violonist and his orchestra made our time very special.

We sailied away late night for the next stop, Dürnstein. The pictoresque city that famous for its geographic location, its blue church and fortress where Richard the Lionheart has been locked up. After a walking discovery we took a short bus ride to the neighbouring city, Krems where visited a famous cellar, the Sandgrube 13 Winzer Krems and samples local produces.

Winetasting perfectly worked as appetiser for the sumptuous lunch onboard while sailing across the Wachau Valley from Dürnstein to Melk.
In the afternoon, we visited the barock Melk Abbey and its beautiful botanical garden.

In the evening, the cruise director made a tricky quiz game and the onboard musicians played romantic tunes while the parquet floor was filled with dancers and enjoyed the saling through the night .

Next stop was Linz, the third largest city in Austria that took „the European Capital of Culture” title in 2009. It is vibrant place with vision and vitality. The participants of the city tour had opportunitity to taste the original Linzer Torte, the pastry that named after the city.

The weather was kind since the beginning of the trip with average temperature above 25C, however clouds have started building up from the West and the concert organist and I were concerned if we could still proceed with the original plann to arrange the open-air concert up on the sundeck while sailing from Linz to Passau.

The captain and the entire crew were so cooperative and prepared safety measures in case of a suddain downpour thus we were confident to stick to our main goal to deliver one of the life time experiences for our customers and finish our river cruise on a high note.

Having an organ concert open air was sinply SENSATIONAL and OUTSTANDING!

Mihali the Capitain quoted that he has never experienced similar in his entire career(30+ years..).

Wow, it was incredible sound and scenery…. sailing while hearing for instance Bach Toccata D-Moll… People ashore were astonished just as we were onboard.

On the final day, upon arrival in Passau, the rain picked up and the weather become rather wet and unpleasant. Though we have not lost our spirit, we arranged a city tour by coach for everyone, then borrowed Lüftner umbrellas for a short walk in the city to see the tomb of Gizella ( The first Hungarian Queen) and enjoyed the midday concert at the cathedral where the largest cathedral organ in the world with 17.774 pipes housed…

Early afternoon, filled with lots of joy we were ready for the final homeward journey.

Although the holiday has come to an end, our memories will stay with us forever.
The clients appreciated so much the chance to enjoy a yachting rather than a river cruising on the Danube…

I would like to thank the Lüftner Family the extraordinary cooperation that they allowed Ponders Travel to charter the full ship for 50 passengers and the entire crew to deliver impeccable customers services for our clients.”


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