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Danube's Imperial Cities & Yuletide Markets

Itinerary, Prices and Dates

Round Trip from Budapest 6 Days

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Enjoy a guided tour of the fascinating Hungarian capital Budapest, imperial city of two halves straddling the mighty Danube, plus spectacular cruising along the famously dramatic Danube Bend in all its wintry splendour. Discover delightful Bratislava, Slovakia’s fast emerging capital, on our guided tour then wander the atmospheric markets of its lovely baroque old town, beautifully restored to its former glory. After a guided tour of the grand imperial city of Vienna, seeing the main sights at this spectacular time of the year, explore some of the capital’s traditional markets with their huge range of inspirational gifts and tempting Christmas fayre. Relax on board and enjoy the stunning river views on our return to Budapest to explore further and soak up the lovely festive ambience of its seasonal markets.

What's Included

  • 5 nights full board cruise accommodation in an outside suite
  • Most suites have floor to ceiling sliding glass doors opening to a French Balcony, Deluxe suites with full balconies available
  • Tour highlights include
  • Guided tour of Budapest
  • Guided tour of Vienna
  • Guided tour of Bratislava
  • Cruise the scenic 'Danube Bend'
  • Explore Vienna's Christmas Markets
  • Lovely dining with all meals included during your cruise
  • Welcome & Captain's Gala Dinners
  • Services of professional Cruise Manager
  • Return standard class Eurostar or flights from various UK airports
  • All port charges, airport taxes and transfers from airport or station to ship

Day 1: Arrive in Budapest

Map of the Danube river
Map of the Danube River

You fly to Budapest, where a coach transfers you to your five-star cruise ship moored in this beautiful city straddling the banks of the glorious Danube. As you step on board you will be greeted by your professional, five-star crew who are on hand to help you settle in as you familiarise yourself with the layout of this splendid ship.

We are moored overnight so you may fancy a wander ashore to start exploring this charismatic city, so full of atmosphere at this special time of year. It won’t be long before our first excellent dinner is served in the ship’s restaurant, over which you can get acquainted with some of your fellow travellers. Enjoy a digestif in the welcoming lounge as you ponder all that the next few days has in store!
Included Meals D

Day 2: Budapest

Budapest is always an atmospheric and fascinating city, but at this time of the year, the muted colours of its magnificent archaic spires and grand domes are especially captivating on the wintry skyline. The historic and palatial buildings, the superb Roman ruins and exquisite Art Nouveau architecture provide a truly impressive backdrop for the city’s acclaimed Christmas markets. This morning we enjoy a guided tour seeing the main sights such as the iconic Parliament Building and the ancient Castle District with its winding streets and panoramic views. There’s free time to explore under your own steam, so perhaps take in one of the city’s fine museums or simply wander the markets. Soak up the traditional atmosphere as classical music fills the air along with the delicious smells of spicy gingerbread and peppery goulash – and don’t forget the mulled wine to stave off the winter chill! Back on board for lunch, excitement mounts as we slip our mooring and our adventure begins; just sit back and relax as the fairytale landscape glides by through the ship’s panoramic windows. This afternoon we witness a cruising highlight as we navigate the Danube Bend, where the river spectacularly winds its way through a narrow twisting valley, flanked by high mountains and snow covered hillsides.

Wrap up and take to the deck to enjoy this wonderful kaleidoscope of Christmas card scenery drifting by in the frosty air, then return to the warmth of the ship’s inviting lounge and catch up on some reading or write those final Christmas cards. Later head to the convivial atmosphere of the ship’s well-stocked bar for your favourite aperitif, before another excellent dinner is served.
Included Meals B L D

Day 3: Bratislava

During this morning’s breakfast, we arrive in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Its communist past now firmly confined to the history books, the city has rediscovered its imperial heritage in its beautifully restored baroque old town whilst the grand white fortress, former seat of the rulers, enjoys commanding views over the river. This morning we will discover more about the city’s interesting history, seeing the main sights and visiting some of the churches to view their traditional Christmas cribs, before you enjoy some free time. Wander the maze of streets, admiring the Christmas decorations until you reach the main square and the market with its cosy atmosphere; the sweet fragrance of cinnamon wafts on the air and hundreds of fairy lights twinkle amongst the branches of the Christmas trees. The pretty red and white stalls groan with inspirational artisan gifts, from decorations, wooden figurines or pottery. Sample some local delicacies too such as potato pancakes or poppy seed strudel but make sure you don’t spoil your appetite as it won’t be long until lunch is served back on board. Afterwards you may wish to return to shore – perhaps to climb the tower of the Old Town Hall for a bird’s eye view of the city and the bustling market below. Alternatively, you may choose to join our optional excursion to Slovensky Grob, a village situated in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, famed for its geese rearing. We will visit a typical Slovak chalet to enjoy a wine tasting of some of the season’s new wines, accompanied by some typical local delicacies.

Later we return to the ship where another excellent dinner will be served.
Included Meals B L D

Day 4: Vienna

During the early hours, our ship has stealthily crept into port and you awake to find yourself in Vienna. There are few places that can so delightfully evoke the spirit of Christmas than here – where the elegant imperial facades, their decorations glittering in the glow from a thousand Christmas lights, the sound of classical carols floating on the crisp air and the irresistible smell of candyfloss and roasted chestnuts is truly reminiscent of Christmas from a bygone age. There has been a Christmas market here since the Middle Ages and today there are more than 20 markets held over the festive period selling a huge range of seasonal gifts and mouth-watering treats. Vienna’s City Hall provides a splendid backdrop for one of the most popular, its windows a giant advent calendar, reflecting the myriad of lights glistening in the trees below. The magnificent Schönbrunn Palace also hosts a superb market, specialising in traditional handicrafts and nostalgic toys. After breakfast you enjoy a guided tour seeing the main sights such as St Stephen’s Cathedral and the impressive Hofburg complex, former royal court, now home to a collection of museums, the Vienna Boys’ Choir and the world famous Spanish Riding School.

After lunch on board there’s plenty of time to explore some more of the markets, while the brass band plays its Christmas repertoire and the sweet aroma of nutmeg fills the air. When things turn chilly, retreat to the refined yet cosy elegance of a traditional Viennese café for a steaming hot chocolate and watch the last daylight fade away.

After tonight’s excellent dinner on board, retire to the lounge for a nightcap and enjoy a classical recital - a fitting musical finale to our day as the ship glides away from this captivating city.
Included Meals B L D

Day 5: Budapest

We have sailed overnight and on waking, draw back the curtains to see the early morning mist rising over this gentle pastoral landscape, draped in a blanket of glistening frost. After breakfast, seek out a good vantage spot in the lounge, sink into a comfy chair and watch this lovely slideshow of winter wonderland scenery effortlessly gliding by – what could be more relaxing! For the more energetic, perhaps a visit to the ship’s fitness centre to work off some of those delicious meals or head up to the sun deck to enjoy the bracing river breeze as the Captain skilfully navigates our return course to the Hungarian capital.

Our final lunch is served during which Budapest’s majestic skyline comes into view. This afternoon you are at leisure so perhaps wander to the Vorosmarty Square in the very heart of Pest, where the rustic cottage-style wooden stalls groan under the weight of their treasure troves of unique Christmas. The scent of traditional honey cookies and mulled wine pervades the air as you browse the stalls, enjoying the friendly festive ambience or perhaps indulging in a slice of traditional chimney cake.

Return to the ship in time for tonight’s superb Captain’s Dinner, expertly served by your attentive crew before enjoying one last evening amongst newly-made friends in the convivial bar, recounting stories from a very magical cruise.
Included Meals B L D

Day 6: Depart Budapest

This morning at the appropriate time, you will be taken to the airport for your flight home.
Included Meals B

  • Included Meals  Included Meals - B: breakfast, L: lunch, D: dinner.

MS Thomas Hardy

Video of the Emily Brontë & Thomas Hardy from Global River Cruising.


Launched in 2017, sister ships Emily Brontë, Thomas Hardy and Oscar Wilde continue Riviera Travel's partnership with Swiss river cruise operator Scylla. These new 'all suite' ships offer excellent standards of accommodation consistent with Scylla's other 5 star ships. Standard Suites are large at 183 sq.ft., with floor to ceiling windows opening to a rail on the middle and upper decks. Suites on the lower deck are the same size but feature high level windows. 6 Superior Suites and 4 Deluxe Balcony Suites are available on each ship at 210sq.ft. and 274sq.ft. respectively. Deluxe Balcony Suites, located on the upper deck, also feature a small pricvate balcony.

Onboard Features & Facilities

  • 88 comfortable outside suites, most with French balconies, some with private balcony
  • For and aft sundecks with sun-shades, deck chairs & loungers
  • 'Whirlpool' splash pool
  • Stylish restaurant with open seating with tables of 4 and 6
  • Main lounge with bar & piano
  • Bistro bar & restaurant
  • Complimentary coffee and tea throughout the day with speciality patisseries in the afternoon
  • Elevator to Diamond, Ruby and Emerald decks
  • Wellness area, massage, nail salon and hairdresser
  • Onboard souvenir shop*
  • Laundry service*

* Payable locally.

Deck Plan

Riviera Travel, MS Emily Bronte, Thomas Hardy & Oscar Wilde - deck plan
Click image to zoom

Luxury Cabins

These lovely new 5★ river cruise vessels, feature beautifully furnished cabins and suites, the majority featuring floor to ceiling sliding glass doors opening to a French balcony.

All Cabins & Suites Feature

  • Private marble bathroom with WC, wash basin & glass shower enclosure with Crabtree and Evelyn bath products
  • Hotel style beds, the best mattresses and fine cotton bed linen
  • A bed turn down service operates during dinner
  • Seating area with 2 chairs and a table
  • In room safe, mini-bar, hair dryer, full-length mirror, plenty of storage space & telephone
  • Tea & Coffee making facilities
  • Flat-screen televisions with satellite TV channels, GPS and for & aft camera views.
  • Individually controlled air-conditioning

Deluxe Suite (Diamond Deck)

Additional Features

  • Suite size: 274 sq. ft.
  • Floor to ceiling glass doors opening to a private balcony with table and chairs and additionl fllor to ceiling windows
  • Enhanced sitting area
  • Larger bathroom with complimentary bathrobes and slippers

Superior Suite (Diamond & Ruby Decks)

Additional Features

  • Suite size: 210 sq. ft.
  • Floor to ceiling glass doors opening to French balcony
  • Enhanced sitting area

Standard Suite (Diamond & Ruby Decks)

Additional Features

  • Cabin size: 183 sq. ft.
  • Floor to ceiling glass doors opening to a French balcony

Standard Suite (Emerald Deck)

Additional Features

  • Suite size: 183 sq. ft.
  • Smaller Fixed Window

Fine dining

As you enter the restaurant the mouth-watering aroma of roasting Provençal Lamb drifts tantalisingly from the galley. Smartly uniformed, friendly and intuitive waiting staff professionally guide you to your classically set table with its crisp white linen, premium quality European china, polished fine glassware and gleaming cutlery whilst freshly baked bread is immediately placed before you with effortless style.Welcome - you're at home. Quality dining is an integral part of your river cruise experience - and our ships take this to the highest five-star levels with superb cuisine prepared by a dedicated and highly professional brigade of chefs.

Take a stroll on the Sun Deck as the river gradually awakes, and enjoy Early Risers' tea or coffee and freshly baked pastries. The full breakfast buffet is a sumptuous affair with innumerable hot and cold options, plus a popular omelette station prepares dishes to order. Or if you prefer, why not enjoy continental breakfast in your cabin: breakfast in bed as enchanting scenery and riverside life drift gently by - priceless! Naturally complimentary tea and coffee are available throughout the day and a very comprehensive lunch buffet allows selection of as little or as much as you wish from an extensive and tempting selection. Don't forget to leave some room for afternoon tea and the chef's special patisserie - it's just too tempting to ignore!

The day's culinary highlight is the splendid four-course dinner: entrée, soup, main course and dessert plus a salad buffet is always available - all within the ambience of a high quality restaurant. The carefully designed menus include international classics together with dishes reflecting the regions we pass through, with careful selections from local markets. In addition, the 'Welcome Dinner' enjoys an extended menu and towards the end of your cruise, the Captain proudly hosts his excellent 'Gala Dinner' featuring specialities of the countries and regions through which you've travelled.

Open Seating

Our clients constantly tell us they love our informal free seating and smaller tables policy, quite unlike the inevitable regimentation of many cruise ships which is exactly the atmosphere we are trying to achieve. Then there's the wine list. We take great pride in its excellent quality and style, including not only the classic choices but also an extensive range of local wines. Many of these are extremely well-priced, delightful hidden gems and rarely marketed outside their production area.

New Chef's Restaurant

In addition to the main restaurant, we are proud to unveil the unique new Chef's Restaurant, open for dinner on the Lord Byron and Jane Austen, with huge panoramic windows and seating for just 24 diners. Here the chef presents his personal favourite signature dishes with a fixed menu using the finest of seasonal produce. This superb dining experience must be reserved on board.

Dec 1Thomas HardyBudapest£699Cabin Upgrades 
Lower DeckSuite183 ft², fixed windows£699
Middle DeckSuite183 ft², French balcony£899
Middle DeckSuperior Suite210 ft², French balcony£999
Upper DeckSuite183 ft², French balcony£949
Upper DeckSuperior Stern Suite210 ft², French balcony£999
Upper DeckSuperior Suite210 ft², French balcony£1049
Upper DeckDeluxe Balcony Suite274 ft², Outside balcony£1199
Dec 6Thomas HardyBudapest£699Cabin Upgrades 
Lower DeckSuite183 ft², fixed windows£699
Middle DeckSuite183 ft², French balcony£899
Middle DeckSuperior Suite210 ft², French balcony£999
Upper DeckSuite183 ft², French balcony£949
Upper DeckSuperior Stern Suite210 ft², French balcony£999
Upper DeckSuperior Suite210 ft², French balcony£1049
Upper DeckDeluxe Balcony Suite274 ft², Outside balcony£1199
Dec 11Thomas HardyBudapest£699Cabin Upgrades 
Lower DeckSuite183 ft², fixed windows£699
Middle DeckSuite183 ft², French balcony£899
Middle DeckSuperior Suite210 ft², French balcony£999
Upper DeckSuite183 ft², French balcony£949
Upper DeckSuperior Stern Suite210 ft², French balcony£999
Upper DeckSuperior Suite210 ft², French balcony£1049
Upper DeckDeluxe Balcony Suite274 ft², Outside balcony£1199
Dec 16Thomas HardyBudapest£649Cabin Upgrades 
Lower DeckSuite183 ft², fixed windows£649
Middle DeckSuite183 ft², French balcony£849
Middle DeckSuperior Suite210 ft², French balcony£949
Upper DeckSuite183 ft², French balcony£899
Upper DeckSuperior Stern Suite210 ft², French balcony£949
Upper DeckSuperior Suite210 ft², French balcony£999
Upper DeckDeluxe Balcony Suite274 ft², Outside balcony£1149

Flight Availability & Supplements

BristolBMI Regional£119
DublinAer Lingus£99
Leeds BradfordFlybe£99
HeathrowBritish Airways£79

Please call for latest prices and availability or Request a Callback ...

Prices are per person based on two sharing and are subject to availability at time of booking. Operators reserve the right to amend published prices prior to a confirmed booking being made.

Single Occupancy Supplements: No single supplement for selected lower deck cabins, subject to availability.

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