Day 1 – UK to Budapest
The trip started with an afternoon flight from Heathrow with British Airways to Budapest.
After a very comfortable flight we were met on arrival into Budapest by Jessie the Cruise Director who guided us to the awaiting coach and we were whisked off to the ship. Within the hour we were checked in and shown to our cabins. As it was dinner time we made are way to the restaurant and enjoyed a wonderful evening meal. By the time dinner was finished my suitcase had been delivered to my cabin, and I had the rest of the evening to unpack and enjoy my very comfortable surroundings.
My cabin was mid ship on Ruby Deck, cabin number 217. It had fabulous floor to ceiling windows which pulled right back to open on to a Juliet balcony.
The cabins are very well appointed, tastefully furnished and cater to the British tastes. Every cabin on board has a kettle, a Nespresso coffee machine and the tea, coffee, hot chocolate and milk are replenished twice daily with the room service. Also in the cabin is a fridge which you are free to use and can be stocked at your request, and a safe also free to use.
Day 2 - Esztergom, Hungary
After attending the compulsory safety briefing we docked into the small town of Esztergom.
Esztergom has a beautiful domed Basilica set high on the hill overlooking the Danube and the town. It is possible to walk from the Ship, but we took the Noddy train up which is bookable onboard and is great fun. After taking in the stunning views from the hilltop we made our way back to the ship and enjoyed lunch as we sailed towards our next stop.
Day 3 – Bratislavia, Slovakia
After enjoying an early breakfast, we embarked on a guided tour of Bratislavia, the capital of Slovakia.
Noddy trains met us from the ship and took us to the castle, a 17th Century Fortress with amazing views of the Danube and the beautiful baroque old town. We then enjoyed a 45 minute walking tour. This is however optional and if preferred you can take the Noddy train back to the ship. This afternoon we then continued our cruise on to lower Austria.
Day 4 - Durnstein and Melk, Austria
We arrived early into the beautifully quaint Austrian town of Durnstein, famous for its amazing Blue Baroque tower which overlooks the Danube and for being the place where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned.
There are no excursions planned here and we were free to explore this beautiful little gem.
If you make the climb up to the top you can enjoy a coffee and watch the world go by or browse one of the many shops which are full of local arts and crafts as well as some craft gin and vodka shops!
Back on board for lunch as we sail on to our second stop of the day Melk. Coaches met us on arrival into Melk and it was a short ride before we arrived at the very impressive Melk Abbey.
We had free time to enjoy the stunning gardens before having a guided tour around the abbey which was formerly a palace before being gifted to the Benedictine order.
Day 5 - Linz and Salzburg, Austria
Today we had a choice, we could either stay in Linz where we moored and take in a guided walking tour or enjoy a full days excursion to Salzburg, which is the option I took.
Before leaving the ship we went to the Lounge and chose our packed lunch to enjoy whilst in Salzburg.
It was a two and a half hour journey from the ship to Salzburg, broken up by a comfort stop at the beautiful Mondsee. What a place to enjoy a coffee, with stunning views over the Austrian countryside and lake.
We arrived into Salzburg at 11am and then enjoyed an hour and a half guided walking tour followed by free time to explore this beautiful city steeped in history. During our free time we enjoyed our delicious packed lunch sat on the steps made famous by The Sound Of Music song , Do-Re-Mi!
We were all back on board for 17.30 to sail to our next stop, Vienna.
Day 6 - Vienna
If I had to choose a highlight stop for me, this was it!
A full day in Vienna, first a sightseeing tour by coach and then a guided walking tour which allowed us to fully appreciate this truly beautiful city. The city is filled with aristocratic palaces, art galleries, and baroque churches. Of course, the highlight for many will be the famous Spanish Riding School with the Lipizzans.
You are able to pre book a guided tour and attend a morning exercise. This is very popular and I would recommend booking that as early as possible. The afternoon is given to free time to enjoy Vienna at your leisure.
After dinner our trip to Vienna was made complete as we were treated to a wonderful classical recital before sailing on to our final stop.
Day 7 – Budapest
We had a late breakfast and then sat up on sun deck to enjoy the views as we sailed in to Budapest mid afternoon.
After lunch we had a guided tour of the twin Cities Buda and Pest by coach, followed by free time to enjoy Castle Hill with its churches, museums and squares with coffee shops and restaurants.
Then it was back on board to enjoy our final evening and gala dinner.
Day 8 – Home
Sadly the day had come to say goodbye to the Emily Bronte and the beautiful Danube. We were off the ship at 10am and made our way back to the airport for our return flight to Heathrow.
The Emily Bronte is a beautiful 4/5* ship. It has 2 Restaurants, the main A L’Carte and hidden at the back of the Ship is The Bistro. The Bistro is well worth a visit and is open for Lunch and Dinner. I would recommend pre booking Dinner as it can get very busy.
The ship also has a small Fitness Suite and Spa where you can pre book treatments at a very reasonable cost.
Also available 24hrs a day is the Hot Drinks area just near the reception where you can help yourself to Coffee Teas and Hot Chocolate as well as homemade Cookies!
And if you haven’t eaten enough everyday they serve afternoon tea in the lounge between 16.00 and 16.30.
I would recommend that if you are a light sleeper book a cabin that is mid ship, or forward from mid ship as it can get a little noisy some nights with the vibrations from the engine at the back. All the cabins are beautiful but I have to say it was amazing to wake up to stunning views, pull back the windows and lie in bed with a coffee watching the world sail by and I would certainly book a Juliet balcony cabin if were to go again.