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Danube River Cruises

The Danube River may not be the longest river in Europe—that distinction goes to the Volga River, which flows through central Russia—but it is without question, one of the continent’s most popular. The 1,785-mile-long waterway begins at the convergence of two streams in the Black Forest region of southwest Germany, and it flows east through 10 countries (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, and the Ukraine) before emptying into the Black Sea. The river also flows through a handful of Central and Eastern Europe’s most influential cities, including Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, and Bratislava, providing Scenic river cruise guests with endless opportunities for exploration and immersion.   

While it is clear to see the significance of the Danube in modern Europe, the river has played a major role in the advancement of civilization for more than 2,000 years. The ancient Greeks sailed up the Danube River from the Black Sea, getting as far north as a large gorge known today as the Iron Gate and serves as a natural border between Romania and Serbia. Under the rule of Julius Caesar, the Roman Empire strengthened and expanded its empire by establishing military settlements and strongholds up the Danube. Over time, those ancient Roman outposts grew into vibrant cities — Aquincum became Budapest, Singidunum became Belgrade, and Vindobona is the cultural center that Danube river cruise guests now know as Vienna.

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Danube River Cruise Highlights

One could argue that of those cities, Vienna is culturally the richest. After all, Vienna was the epicenter of classical music during the 18th and 19th centuries. On a Scenic Danube river cruise, guided walking tours dedicated to the city’s connection to great composers bring visitors to landmarks associated with artists such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Joseph Haydn, Franz Liszt, Gustav Mahler, and Franz Schubert. In fact, it was the Danube River, itself, that inspired Johann Strauss II’s famous waltz “On the Beautiful Blue Danube.” 

Yet, for as many great composers who lived and drafted their seminal works in Vienna, no one draws more interest and more visitors every year than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The musical prodigy settled in Vienna as a teenager, and many protected buildings throughout the city immortalize key events in his life. A visit to the archives at St. Stephen’s Cathedral, for example, will reveal documents that mark Mozart’s marriage, the christening of two of his six children, and—ultimately—his premature death in 1791. Those wishing to visit No. 5 Domgasse, an apartment that was once home to Mozart (and the only one of Mozart’s many apartments known to still exist), will learn much more about the composer, as the building now operates as Mozarthaus, a museum dedicated to the artist. It was there at No. 5 Domgasse that Mozart composed many of his greatest works, including the Marriage of Figaro. And while thousands of people visit Mozart’s gravestone in St. Marx Cemetery, fans of the composer should also make a pilgrimage to St. Michael’s Church, which is where, during Mozart’s funeral service, portions of the composer’s Requiem were performed for the first time.

Vienna

While in Vienna, passengers can disembark the ship and visit Palais Liechtenstein, a property made up of two distinct venues: a city palace, owned by the Liechtenstein family and is believed to have been the first High Baroque-styled building constructed in Vienna; and a garden palace, which houses Prince von und zu Liechtenstein’s private art collection—one of the world’s most extensive collections.

Guests will enjoy a private evening concert of Strauss and Mozart compositions. Alternatively, passengers can take in the grandeur of Schönbrunn Palace, an expansive Baroque estate that for centuries was the property of the Habsburg family. Today, the 1,441-room palace is owned by the Austrian Government and exists as a grand museum of the country’s former monarchy.

Budapest

In Budapest, Scenic travelers can partake in guided walking tours that bring them to Heroes’ Square, an expansive monument that was built in 1896 to celebrate Hungary’s 1,000-year anniversary. They can also visit Matthias Church, a Roman Catholic cathedral that was built during the second half of the 14th century and hosted the coronation of the last Habsburg King, Charles IV, in 1916. Other activities and excursions in Budapest include trips to one of the city’s many naturally heated thermal baths and spas, as well as tours of Hospital in the Rock, a medical facility that was built under Buda Castle during the 1930s and was later transformed into a nuclear bunker during the Cold War.

History and Culture along the Danube River

Danube river cruises first operated in the mid-19th century, thanks to the invention of the steam engine in 1830. They have remained popular largely due to almost a dozen World Heritage Sites that are located throughout the Danube River Region and can be visited and explored by river travelers. However, a Scenic River Cruise experience on the Danube is enhanced by far more than those protected historical sites.

About 50 miles east of Vienna, Scenic guests can visit a Benedictine abbey set above the town of Melk. The monastic site was founded in the 11th century and features Baroque structures that were built during the first part of the 18th century. The abbey has served as an educational center for almost 1,000 years, and its library, which is home to a large collection of medieval manuscripts from the 12th to the 15th centuries, provides the proof. For passengers seeking a different monastic experience, a ferry ride through the Danube Gorge further east in the Germanic town of Regensburg leads to the Weltenburg Abbey, one of the world’s oldest monastic breweries. It is there, along the shores of the Danube, that passengers can sample more than a dozen styles of beer, including the abbey’s award-winning Barock Dunkel, a full-bodied, malty dark lager that is characterized by subtle caramel and toffee notes.  

These are just a few of the many experiences afforded to travelers while cruising the Danube river with Scenic. To learn more about what Scenic guests can expect on a European river cruise, see more info below.

Palais Liechtenstein

Renowned for its musical legacy, Vienna is known as the ‘City of Music’ and its famous Palais Liechtenstein provides the perfect backdrop for another enriching event. Here you will attend an exclusive, private Viennese concert featuring the captivating music of Strauss and Mozart. Otherwise known as the Liechtenstein Garden Palace, your venue for the evening’s concert is home to one of the world’s largest private art collections, providing insight into aristocratic life of bygone days.

Sound Of Music

The sound of a concerto in a grand ballroom is a reminder of the sophistication of yesteryear. Germany and Austria were the epicenter of many of the most magnificent pieces of music to ever be composed. To hear them come to life against a backdrop of vaulted ceilings adorned with ancient frescoes provides a glimpse into the luxury of life at court in the 18th century. Vienna, the ‘City of Music’ is the world’s music capital. More famous composers have lived there than in any other city.

Danube River Cruises

Standard Suites Fly Free

Iconic Danube

8 days
Munich > Budapest
Enjoy an 8 day cruise from Budapest to Munich along the Danube river. See some of the most beautiful places that Germany, Austria and Hungary has to offer.
from $3,095

The Majestic East

8 days
Vienna > Belgrade
Begin in the magical city of Vienna and travel along the Danube to explore cities in Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Serbia
from $3,225
Fly Free Economy Class

Eastern Enlightenment

9 days
Belgrade > Bucharest
9 day cruise through the depths of Eastern Europe. Sail along the Danube to the tip of the Black Sea before staying for 1 night in Bucharest
from $3,375
Fly Free Economy Class

Gems of the Danube

8 days
Nuremberg > Budapest
Discover the historical wonders of Europe on a 8 day cruise from Budapest to Nuremberg. Enjoy ultimate luxury on an all-inclusive 5 star Scenic Space-Ship.
from $3,445
Save Up To $400*

Danube Discovery Christmas Markets

8 days
Budapest > Nuremberg
Soak up the Christmas atmosphere with an 8 day journey from Budapest to Nuremberg. Explore the beautiful cities, their christmas markets and decorations.
from $3,480 $3,280
Fly Free Economy Class

Gems of the Danube with Prague

11 days
Prague > Budapest
Enjoy 3 nights in Prague as you explore the city with a local guide before you embark on a 7 day river cruise along the Danube from Nuremberg to Budapest.
from $4,105
Standard Suites Fly Free

Black Sea Explorer

11 days
Budapest > Bucharest
Cruise the Danube on an 11 day river cruise from Budapest to Bucharest. Start with a guided tour of the city before you board your 5 Star Scenic Space-Ship.
from $4,165
Fly Free Economy Class

Jewels of Europe

15 days
Budapest > Amsterdam
Embark on a luxurious journey from Amsterdam to Budapest. Cruise the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers on board an all-inclusive 5-star Scenic Space-Ship.
from $5,445
Standard Suites Fly Free

Black Sea Explorer with Turkey

18 days
Budapest > Istanbul
Embark on an 18 day journey along the Danube on a Scenic Space-Ship to the picturesque Black Sea. Cruise through the Iron Gate and visit Gallipoli.
from $6,188
Save Up To $800*

Christmas Markets

15 days
Budapest > Amsterdam
Experience Europe at Christmastime on a 15 day river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. See the charming villages and visit the Christmas markets.
from $6,805 $6,405
Save Up To $2,000*

Danube Delta Discovery

16 days
Bucharest > Vienna
This 16 day cruise along the Danube will take you from amazing Bucharest to charming Vienna, visiting wondrous places like Budapest and the Iron Gate.
from $7,095
Fly Free Economy Class

Jewels of Europe with Prague

18 days
Amsterdam > Prague
Be enchanted on an 18 day journey from Amsterdam to Prague. See the canals, take part in a medieval feast and explore the famous Romantic Road in Wurzburg.
from $7,470
Fly Free Economy Class

Jewels of Europe with Paris

18 days
Paris > Budapest
Begin your adventure in Paris before boarding a Scenic Space-Ship in Amsterdam. Cruise the Rhine, Main & Danube rivers and discover the Jewels of Europe.
from $8,480

Jewels of Europe with Paris

18 days
Budapest > Paris
Have an amazing experience on this 18 day cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. Afterwards visit for 3 days one of the most romantic cities in the world, Paris.
from $8,665
Fly Free Economy Class

Jewels of Europe with Paris & Prague

21 days
Paris > Prague
Explore the wondrous cities of Amsterdam, Cologne, Vienna and more on a 21 day journey from Paris to Prague. See the Rhone Gorge, Marksburg Castle and more.
from $9,310
Fly Free Economy Class

North Sea to the Black Sea

23 days
Amsterdam > Bucharest
Embark on a 23 day river cruise from Amsterdam to Bucharest and discover the Rhine & Danube rivers. Visit the historical cities & villages that surround it.
from $10,685

Jewels of Europe with Eastern Europe Explorer

24 days
Prague > Amsterdam
Enlightenment and luxury combine on this all-encompassing cruise experience through Europe's finest. From Prague to Amsterdam, discover the old and the new.
from $11,765
Save Up To $2,000*

Jewels of Europe with Grand Alpine

26 days
Zurich > Amsterdam
The ultimate river cruising experience and more. Delight in the beauty of a 26 day journey from Zurich to Amsterdam. Majestic views and rich culture await.
from $12,635
Save Up To $2,000*

North Sea to the Black Sea with Turkey

30 days
Amsterdam > Istanbul
Travel through time on the ultimate 30 day journey from Amsterdam to Istanbul. See picturesque Cologne, gilded Vienna and historic Gallipolli along the way.
from $12,765

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