Christmas on the Danube

Become a TourHound member today to access personalised recommendations and bucket lists to help plan your trips. You’ll also receive rebates on selected tours. It’s free to become a member, sign up here.
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Dates
  • Riviera Travel

Celebrate Christmas and experience all the pleasures of this joyous time of the year amidst the grand imperial cities of the magnificent Danube. Immerse yourself in majestic surroundings and enjoy a superb gala dinner on Christmas Day.

Highlights
  • Complimentary on-board Wi-Fi
  • Hungarian Christmas folklore show on board
  • Complimentary on-board tea and coffee&nbsp
  • Celebrate Christmas and experience all the pleasures of this joyous time of the year amidst the grand imperial cities of the magnificent Danube. Immerse yourself in majestic surroundings and enjoy a superb gala dinner on Christmas Day.
  • Seven visits and tours including guided tours in Vienna, Salzburg or Linz, Budapest and Bratislava
  • and&nbsp
  • Five-star service from an English-speaking crew and knowledgeable local guides&nbsp
  • All port charges, airport taxes and overseas transfers
  • All meals on board from dinner on your day of arrival through to breakfast on your day of departure, including welcome cocktails, a welcome dinner, a Christmas Day Gala Dinner and the Captain’s Dinner
  • Change your booking free up to 45 days before travel&nbsp
  • visits to Esztergom, Melk Abbey and Schonbrunn Palace
  • Services of a Riviera Travel cruise director and concierge&nbsp
  • Seven nights on board in your choice of luxury cabin or suite, with river views&nbsp
  • Happy by day two or we'll bring you home with a full refund
  • Return scheduled flights from a selection of regional airports
  • Covid Cancellation protection included as standard&nbsp
  • Live Christmas classical quartet recital on board
Destinations
  • Europe
  • Hungary
Tour Types
  • European River Cruise
  • River Cruise

Arrive at the airport for your flight to Budapest from where you will be taken to your cruise ship, now glimmering in festive glory. The dedicated crew are there to welcome you on board, ensuring you settle in and familiarise yourself with this first-class floating hotel. Your eyes will be wide with wonder as you take in the fabulous décor, with garlands adorning the staircases, lights as far as the eye can see and of course the majestic Christmas tree taking centre stage. There’s always a sense of expectancy and excitement on the eve of a cruise, especially at Christmas time and, after an excellent dinner in the stylish restaurant, conversation is sure to revolve around the seasonal delights ahead.

Overnight we have cruised upstream to Esztergom, one of Hungary’s oldest towns, a royal capital during medieval times and today the seat of the country’s archbishop. We have a guided tour of the famous neoclassical basilica, standing sentinel over the Danube on the border with Slovakia, and boasting one of the world’s largest altarpieces and a wealth of priceless religious artefacts. The castle is also worth exploring; it was the seat of government until the Ottomans invaded in the 16th century. Nestling below are myriad atmospheric churches resonating with the sounds of choir, particularly enchanting at this special time of the year; this is the best of provincial Hungary and is little changed since Habsburg times.  There will also be time to browse the stalls at the Esztergom Christmas market, where Széchenyi Square has now been transformed into a winter spectacular, and for years has featured an ice rink and live music. Seek out those last minute gifts from the rustic wooden stalls, enjoy the friendly festive atmosphere and perhaps indulge in a slice of traditional chimney cake. As you enjoy your first lunch on board we gently leave Esztergom in our wake, affording a fascinating opportunity to compare the different landscapes, towns and villages of Hungary on one river bank and of Slovakia on the other. Wrap up in your winter best and take to the deck to enjoy the wonderful kaleidoscope of Christmas card scenery drifting by in the frosty air, then return to the warmth of the ship’s inviting lounge.   

We awake on Christmas Eve to Slovakia’s fast-emerging capital city, Bratislava. After a delicious breakfast, we begin the day with a fascinating guided tour. Until recently swathed in the drab uniformity of Communism, the city has rekindled the splendour of its imperial past in its beautifully restored old town. Equally impressive is the imposing 17th-century castle commanding expansive views across the Danube. Christmas in Bratislava is an enchanting experience, with Hviezdoslav Square now dressed up for the special season, complete with a lit-up tram with cosy interior and joyous carols. You’ll also have plenty of free time to explore the cobble-stoned streets of this captivating city – so what’s it to be? Why not head to the regal Primatial Palace?  Built in the late 1700s in a classical style, the once home to the archbishop of Esztergom now holds a rare collection of tapestry works from the 17th-century.  Take the opportunity to view the traditional Christmas cribs in some of the churches or maybe wander the maze of streets, admiring the Christmas decorations, until you reach the main square.  For a seasonal treat try the medovníky, these delicious honey and ginger biscuits are traditionally eaten at Christmas time in Slovakia.  This afternoon we cruise into Lower Austria, a peaceful, bucolic region and home to some of the country’s best wines. Head to the convivial atmosphere of the ship’s well stocked bar for your favourite aperitif before another excellent dinner is served.

We awake on Christmas Day amidst the enchanting surroundings of the Wachau Valley where the landscape is blanketed with vineyards and dotted with ornamental villages. After breakfast you visit the remarkable Melk Abbey. Nothing quite prepares you for your first sight of this enormous honey-coloured building, standing resplendent above the surrounding countryside and perhaps even more atmospheric at Christmas time. Originally built as a castle, it was gifted to the Benedictine Order in the 11th-century and, although reconstructed in Baroque style, it has remained a monastic school and monastery ever since. The Abbey is renowned for its 214-yard-long Emperor’s Gallery lined with portraits, many fine rooms and an ornate library. Later we re-join the ship for lunch and the final part of our cruise upstream through the pretty Nibelugengau, an inspiration to poets and also immortalised in the music of Wagner.   This evening enjoy tonight’s superb Gala Christmas Day dinner, expertly served by your attentive crew before further celebrations with newly made friends in the convivial bar.

Reaching Linz, you will have the choice of two included excursions. You can stay in the city and take a guided walking tour, exploring the charming, decorated streets of the Baroque old town. At its heart you’ll see one of the finest squares in Austria, lined by grand pastel-coloured facades with an impressive central Trinity Column of white marble, crowned by a gilded sunburst.  There’s also the fortress-like castle, built high above the city by Emperor Friedrich III, now a museum housing a fine collection of nineteenth and twentieth-century artworks. Now embellished in seasonal splendour, take in the festive ambience with the glow of lights and the magnificent Christmas tree in the Hauptplatz.  Alternatively, join our included tour to Salzburg. Dominating the skyline of Salzburg is one of Europe’s largest stone fortresses, the Hohensalzburg, while beneath its walls, church domes and spires rise from the delightful Altstadt. Then there’s the wonderful Hellbrunn Palace and the splendid formal gardens of the Mirabell Palace.  This morning discover some of the city’s main sights in the company of an expert local guide, then you’re free to explore as you wish. Everywhere there are sights associated with the city’s most famous resident, Mozart, who wrote his first opera when he was 11!  Celebrate the day by the magnificent Christmas tree in Cathedral Square and perhaps reflect on the hauntingly beautiful lyrics of Silent Night. This carol was written by Joseph Mohr who was also born in Salzburg.  Please note lunch is not included on this full day excursion to Salzburg; however, the ship will offer a packed lunch. After tonight's excellent dinner on board, perhaps reture to the lounge for a nightcap, whilst we begin our cruise towards magnificent Vienna.

During the early hours, our ship has stealthily crept into port and you awake to find yourself in twinkling Vienna. There are few places that can so delightfully evoke the spirit of Christmas than here – where the elegant imperial facades, their decorations glittering in the glow from a thousand Christmas lights, the sound of classical carols floating on the crisp air and the irresistible smell of candyfloss and roasted chestnuts is truly reminiscent of Christmas from a bygone age. There has been a Christmas market here since the Middle Ages and today the markets held over the festive period sell a huge range of seasonal gifts and mouth-watering treats. After breakfast you enjoy a guided tour seeing the main sights such as St Stephen’s Cathedral and the impressive Hofburg complex, former royal court, now home to a collection of museums, the Vienna Boys’ Choir and the world famous Spanish Riding School.  There will also be time to explore the Christmas markets, or if you prefer you can retreat to the refined, yet cosy elegance of a traditional Viennese café for an indulgent Sachertorte.   After lunch on board we visit the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace. Once the summer residence of the Hapsburgs, this former royal residence now houses a range of world-class museums and galleries. The palace also hosts a superb Christmas market, specialising in traditional handicrafts and nostalgic toys. After tonight’s excellent dinner on board, retire to the lounge for a nightcap and enjoy a classical Christmas recital – a fitting musical finale to our day as the ship glides away from this captivating city.

We have sailed overnight and on waking, draw back the curtains to see the early morning mist rising over this gentle pastoral landscape, draped in a blanket of glistening frost. After breakfast, seek out a good vantage spot in the lounge, sink into a comfy chair and watch this lovely slideshow of winter wonderland scenery effortlessly gliding by – what could be more relaxing! For the more energetic, perhaps a visit to the ship’s fitness centre to work off some of those delicious meals or head up to the sun deck to enjoy the bracing river breeze as the Captain skilfully navigates our return course to the Hungarian capital. Our final lunch is served during which Budapest’s majestic skyline comes into view.  Budapest is always an atmospheric and fascinating city, but at this time of the year, the muted colours of its magnificent archaic spires and grand domes are especially captivating on the wintry skyline. The historic and palatial buildings, the superb Roman ruins and exquisite Art Nouveau architecture provide a truly impressive backdrop for the city’s acclaimed Christmas markets. This afternoon we enjoy a guided tour seeing the main sights such as the iconic Parliament Building and the ancient Castle District with its winding streets and panoramic views. There’s free time to explore under your own steam and wander the markets. Soak up the traditional atmosphere as classical music fills the air along with the delicious smells of spicy gingerbread and peppery goulash – and don’t forget the mulled wine to stave off the winter chill! This evening the magnificent Captain’s Dinner closes with a Hungarian Christmas folklore show, giving you time to bid farewell to your travelling companions and reflect on all the inspirational places, sights and sounds you have experienced on this very magical festive cruise. 

Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.

Included
  • -and
  • -Seven nights on board in your choice of luxury cabin or suite, with river views
  • -Prices are per person, based on two people sharing a twin cabin with a limited number of sole occupancy;cabins available on all decks;at the relevant supplement. The price includes: Full board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day; if you choose to travel with us on any of the full day excursions by coach, a packed lunch will be provided. Anyone choosing to stay on the ship may of course have lunch in the restaurant; Welcome cocktails Christmas Day Gala dinner Live Christmas classical quartet recital on board Hungarian Christmas folklore show on board Morning/afternoon tea and coffee All visits and excursions as mentioned in the itinerary Overseas transfers Coach travel as mentioned The services of a Riviera Travel cruise director and concierge
  • -All port charges, airport taxes and overseas transfers
  • -All meals on board from dinner on your day of arrival through to breakfast on your day of departure, including welcome cocktails, a welcome dinner, a Christmas Day Gala Dinner and the Captain’s Dinner
  • -Seven visits and tours including guided tours in Vienna, Salzburg or Linz, Budapest and Bratislava
  • -Hungarian Christmas folklore show on board
  • -Five-star service from an English-speaking crew and knowledgeable local guides
  • -Complimentary on-board Wi-Fi
  • -Happy by day two or we'll bring you home with a full refund
  • -Services of a Riviera Travel cruise director and concierge
  • -Return scheduled flights from a selection of regional airports
  • -Live Christmas classical quartet recital on board
  • -Complimentary on-board tea and coffee
  • -Change your booking free up to 45 days before travel
  • -Covid Cancellation protection included as standard

Dates Price Single Availability
22-Dec-2021
7 Nights
Diamond Deck (Upper) - Deluxe Balcony Suite Flight Included View live deal View live deal
22-Dec-2021
7 Nights
Diamond Deck (Upper) - Stern Superior Suite Flight Included View live deal View live deal
22-Dec-2021
7 Nights
Diamond Deck (Upper) - Superior Suite Flight Included View live deal View live deal
22-Dec-2021
7 Nights
Diamond Deck Suite (Upper) Flight Included View live deal View live deal
22-Dec-2021
7 Nights
Diamond Deck Suite (Upper) - Sole Occ Flight Included View live deal View live deal
22-Dec-2021
7 Nights
Diamond Deck Suite (Upper) - Sole Occupancy Flight Included View live deal View live deal
22-Dec-2021
7 Nights
Emerald Deck Suite (Lower) Flight Included View live deal View live deal
22-Dec-2021
7 Nights
Emerald Deck Suite (Lower) - Sole Occupancy No Supplement Flight Included View live deal View live deal
22-Dec-2021
7 Nights
Ruby Deck (Middle) - Superior Suite Flight Included View live deal View live deal
22-Dec-2021
7 Nights
Ruby Deck Suite (Middle) Flight Included View live deal View live deal
22-Dec-2021
7 Nights
Ruby Deck Suite (Middle) - Sole Occ Flight Included View live deal View live deal
22-Dec-2021
7 Nights
Ruby Deck Suite (Middle) - Sole Occupancy Flight Included View live deal View live deal

Touring Holidays with Riviera Travel

Outstanding tour managers, friendly local guides, meticulously crafted itineraries, personalised experiences and honest pricing policy are just some of the reasons to book an escorted tour with Riviera Travel. Boasting an award-winning reputation, the brand has been delighting travellers for 35 years and is proud to currently hold two Which? Recommended Provider awards, including Escorted Tour Provider and River Cruise Provider. Riviera Travel is also consistently recognised by customers and the industry for excellent service and value for money and has recently been awarded ‘Best Value for Money’ by Travel Weekly.

When you choose a Riviera Travel holiday, every detail of your river cruise or escorted tour is personally considered by travel specialists. The experts behind the brand go to great lengths to curate each holiday, ensuring you can enjoy the very best of your chosen destination and have plenty of free time to explore at your own pace. What’s more, Riviera Travel is fully bonded by ABTA and ATOL and you can fully relax with the brand’s no surcharge guarantee.

Riviera Travel offers a wide range of thrilling escorted tour itineraries for every type of traveller. Whether you want to see the iconic sites of Prague, go on a solo traveller adventure in Paris or relax with a soak in Iceland’s famous geothermal spa, Riviera Travel promises to give you the best European tour experience possible. The brand also offers amazing worldwide escorted tours, which means you can voyage to Antarctica, stay in the heart of New York City or even go on a guided safari in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. And remember, insightful guided tours and visits are all included in the price and you can enjoy scheduled flights from a choice of UK airports or Eurostar travel.

When it comes to the local guides and tour managers, Riviera Travel chooses specialists that are not only extremely friendly and knowledgeable but also have flair for engaging audiences and sharing eye-opening insights. Ancient ruins, historic towns and unfamiliar landscapes all come to life when you’re in the company of one of the guides or managers, and each one will make you feel as though you’re travelling with a friend who knows the best secrets of every destination.

Once you’ve booked your Riviera Travel escorted tour, you can rest assured that the cost of your holiday will not increase as there are no hidden costs at all. As Riviera Travel’s pricing is transparent, clear and includes essentials such as taxes and fuel supplements, you can book with confidence knowing that your holiday offers exceptional value. You do, however, have the option to upgrade and add hand-picked highlights to your itinerary to make your trip extra special. And if you choose a solo tour, all prices are fully inclusive with no single supplement to be added and you’ll still have a room all to yourself.

 



 

{{shortLabel}}

tour details

This tour is operated by Riviera Travel

7 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
compare Compare tour Add this tour to the comparison list. compare Compare tour This tour has been added to the comparison list. Cick here to view.
View live deal View live deal Our commitment to quality, thoughtfulness and value are our guaranteed hallmarks
Suitable for: 18-99
Physical rating:Please contact Riviera Travel if you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility.
Diets:Vegetarians, Please contact Riviera Travel with specific dietary requests.
Tour operated in: English
tourhound promise
tourhound promise
TourHound Promise
  • I compare from the largest selection of touring companies available.
  • It doesn’t cost you a penny to use me, or to book a tour through TourHound.
  • I never favour one operator over another and provide a totally neutral comparison.
View live deal View live deal View live deal View live deal
tour hound
Why TourHound?