River cruise on the Danube: Bratislava – Vienna

I’m sure that a lot of people was at least once daydreaming while admiring the wafters floating on the Danube, thinking how lucky those travelers waving from the board are, and wishing they could also take part in a river cruise. For the Hungarian clientele, cruising used to seem inaccessible, the privilege of western tourists, which they can only observe from a distance.

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For changing this aspect, they created the river cruises called “Water music – Magic of classics on the water”. The conception dreamed by Zoltán Biczó, and founded with the sponsorship of Ponders Travel, decidedly addresses the Hungarian audience, and beside traditional tours it offers classical music concerts and performances for its passengers, on the board of the luxury ships of Lüftner Cruises.



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The first Water music river cruise of the last year started on 29th May from Bratislava, where we arrived by bus in the morning hours. First of all, we discovered the castle of Bratislava, then downtown with our Hungarian guide; we also had lunch there, and started to get to know the other members of the group travelling with us.


On the first cruise of my life, I had the chance to board on the first place to MS Amadeus Royal. The cabins are located on 3 levels, those on the upper 2 are equipped with a French balcony, from where we can admire the landscape slowly moving away. It’s an extraordinary experience to pull away the balcony’s door when locking, and find ourselves just a few centimeters in front of the high flood gates. There are 9 from these flood gates between Bratislava and Passau, but it’s strictly forbidden to reach or lean out. My suitcase was already in my cabin, and after the check-in, and the safety lecture I hurried to the promenade deck to walk around the ship that became my home for the time of the journey.


The sunbeds located next to the bound tempt for a sunbath, there are plenty of chairs and tables in the middle, under the shade-giving sun-wings, there’s a giant chess and rent-a-bike at the stern, and a pool behind the captain’s bridge to guarantee to never feel bored.


After the welcome dinner, at the Panorama Bar by the ship’s forepart, the concert of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Győr was arranged, spiced with authentic poems by András Jáger.


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After the concert, I went back to the promenade deck to witness the moments of departure. It was wonderful to feel the ship first starting to move, and heading to its 5-day way to Passau, swimming under the flood-lit Bratislava.


A lot have a kick against shipping, because they think it’s moving too much and wobbling, but it’s not the case. You can only feel a gentle sway, when ships coming from the opposite direction create waves, but it’s not disturbing at all, mostly not during the nights when it rocks you easily.

We started the next morning with some gymnastics on the promenade deck, with Vienna’s tower blocks in the background, then started our way to explore the city.

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Our stroll skimmed the Hundertwasserhaus, the Opera house, the Stephansdom, which are all Vienna’s must-see sights with a whale of tourists bustling; but the building of the Musikverein is on the list of lesser visitors. Among its five concert halls, the Groβe Saal hosts the New Year’s Eve concert of the world-famous Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Every year, at least half a million of people wants to take part – despite the coarse ticket prices – in the concert, so they draw to decide who’s going to be part of the lucky audience. There are rehearsals continuously in the halls, so the Musikverein can only be visited with a guide.


After sightseeing, we returned to Amadeus Royal, where we spent the afternoon with relaxing and bathing on the promenade deck, then came the delicious, this time a little earlier dinner, as the highlight of the evening was still on to come; the concert of André Rieu. The Wiener Stadthalle welcomed the Dutch violinist with full house, who enchanted the audience for almost 3 hours.


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I always wanted to witness a monumental classical music concert, so it was a great delight for me that “Water music – Magic of classics on the water” made this possible for me during a river cruise, and all passengers of the ship could enjoy the performance from an exquisite seat.


After the concert, we got into a storm with the ship, but it did not ruin our mood. Actually, for me it was a special experience to relax at the Panorama Bar with some smooth music, and watch lightnings swirl outside, while our ship was heading towards our next destination, Dürnstein.

We took part in the journey for the invitation of “Water music – Magic of classics on the water” powered by Ponders Travel.

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