When our client, Phil Motes, told us he wanted to plan a special vacation in honor of his daughter’s college graduation, we knew they would love to go on one of the top river cruises in Europe as the perfect way to celebrate.

The father-daughter duo recently embarked as first-time cruisers on the Viking Danube Waltz, one of our favorite river cruises in Europe for 2019 vacationers. Phil shares all the details of their memorable holiday below!


Top River Cruises in Europe: New Experiences Along the Danube

An alternative way to experience Europe, river cruises give luxury travelers a unique chance to explore lesser-known locales and wake up to new sights and sounds each morning. Phil and Anna’s 8-day river cruise itinerary featured six stops along the Danube River, including:

  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Krems, Austria
  • Linza, Austria
  • Passau, Germany

The pair opted to spend two extra nights pre-departure exploring Budapest at their own pace, but found that life on the ship also struck the perfect balance between freedom and planned activities.

“I really enjoyed the structure and appreciated that I never felt rushed,” says Phil. “After enjoying a leisurely buffet breakfast each morning, there was always time to return to the cabin and prepare for the day.”

With breakfast finished, the two would set out for an included morning excursion, usually consisting of a walking tour with a professional guide. From fascinating history to local tips, Phil and Anna were notably impressed by the amount of knowledge each guide presented.  

“Most days, we took advantage of afternoon free time to explore on our own or revisit recommendations from the morning tour guide… but in Vienna, we allowed ourselves an extra excursion and attended the Mozart and Strauss concert. It was honestly the best thing we did!”

Describing it as the highlight of their river cruise trip, Phil raves about how the concert, exclusive to Viking passengers, is an authentic opportunity to experience classical music — and one of the city’s most famous traditions.

Other highlights included gazing over castle ruins and vineyards of the Wachau Valley, and learning the “beautiful but sobering” WWII history throughout the region.  

Aboard the Danube Waltz: Southern Travel Agency's Top River Cruises in Europe for 2019

Phil and Anna Motes, taking in the Wachau Valley from the top of Göttweig Abbey in Krems, Austria.

Down to the Last Detail

“Jane at Southern Travel Agency really helped steer me in the right direction when picking which European river cruise we wanted to embark on. She told me what to expect in all of the various European locations, even down to the airport!” ~Phil and Anna Motes, father & daughter travel duo

For Phil, having Jane’s travel expert advice meant he knew exactly how to manage time when he needed to transfer through a very large and spread out airport. Upon arriving at their connection, Phil and Anna were well-prepared and able to avoid travel complications and unwanted stress — a double win in our book!

Overall, Phil remarked that he and his daughter had a fabulous first European river cruising experience. Such a fabulous time, in fact, that he’s already working with Jane to book another for him and his wife to enjoy this summer!


Ready for a Refined River Adventure?

Elegant architecture. Engaging history. Exclusive excursions. Luxury river cruising is a unique way to discover the finest experiences Europe has to offer, and our team of expert travel advisors is standing by to make that dream vacation a reality! Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Southern Travel Agency advisor today.

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