I have tried many different types of holidays but cruising was never one of them. So when the chance to take a river cruise came along, I surprised myself by agreeing to give it a try and I must say I am so glad I did.
Nikki is very knowledgeable and recommended Tauck cruises, an American company that really knows how to treat its customers.
We chose the River Danube itinerary and flew to Budapest to join the very long sleek river cruiser that was to be our floating hotel for a week.
Its appeal was obvious: you only unpack once, you have a river view room, it's all inclusive and it takes you in luxury to fantastic venues along the iconic river. The added bonus is that there are only about 200 people on board.
The cruiser can dock right In the centre of each destination for easy access.
Budapest is known as the Paris of the East with its art nouveau architecture. It was fascinating to explore Buda and Pest as the city is divided into two distinctive regions – the old and the new!
Then Vienna with its parks, theatres, wide boulevards and strangely named Spanish Riding School; Bratislava with its 18th century old town which is pedestrianised; and Nuremburg, a city with a sombre past but a beautiful castle and half-timber houses.
The staff on board make every attempt to immerse you in the local area. In Hungary they served Goulash, in Austria apple strudel. Local wines matched the regions and local entertainers joined the cruise each evening to entertain. Mealtimes on board are relaxed and wine flows freely; you can sit anywhere with anyone and friendships are soon made.
We met some lovely ladies from California who knew how to party and as the Moet flowed they loved our accents more and more. The week flew past and our love of river cruising was complete, so next time we will try a different river.
Tauck is very guest orientated in that they offer a turn down service each evening with a little gift of the day’s experiences – a lagniappe They will even arrange and pay for an alternative tour or visit to suit you if any of the group tours don’t appeal. They even pay locally if you need to spend a penny!
Top tips: The Spanish Riding School in Vienna is a must see especially on a training day.