New Year in Vienna
Danube River Cruise
Finish 2007 with a flourish and start
2008 in style
Join a small group of 'Travel Insiders' and share the
enjoyment of a very different style of vacation on a custom
built river boat.
Celebrate New Year in one of the world's most exciting
cities, and glide by picture postcard scenes during the magic of the
holiday season in Hungary, Austria and Germany.
Maybe you've cruised on a
gigantic cruise ship before. Our New Year in Vienna Danube
Cruise is very different.
The brand new (launched in Feb 2006) river cruiser, Amadagio, has only 73 cabins,
making for a much more personal and less institutional
The river cruise itinerary is
also very different to a traditional ocean cruise. You
never have rough seas, and you're always treated to beautiful
views out your cabin window, never just empty ocean.
Note : We can offer you
an across the board 5% discount on all cruises operated by
Amadeus Waterways. So if this special
tour doesn't suit,
have us arrange whichever other cruise you'd prefer.
skip down to the booking form
About the Cruise/Tour
You'll depart the US on or
before Saturday 29 December, to join the vessel in Budapest on
Sunday 30 December. The cruise ends on Sunday 6 January
Should you wish it, you can choose between
either an optional two night extension to Prague that
continues until Tuesday 8 January, or you can remain on board
the Amadagio for another week and cruise on to Amsterdam, where
you'd leave the vessel on Sunday 13 January. You might
also wish to add a night or two in Budapest prior to the cruise.
Like a traditional cruise,
all meals are included, and - better than a
traditional cruise - it includes a generous amount of shore
touring as well, at no extra cost. You won't have to pay extra for your
shore touring as we visit the lovely towns and cities along the
The cruise of course
includes three great meals a day, plus various other snacks,
on-board entertainment, as well as generous opportunities to
sightsee, both from the boat as it cruises the river, and while
ashore during the many stops. You typically have time to
both participate in a provided tour and also to sightsee and
shop on your own.
While all meals are available on the vessel, you'll be able
to experience other dining opportunities ashore if you wish.
Similarly, the on-board entertainment can be supplemented with
visits to clubs and bars and shows ashore - the vessel
sometimes stays in each port until late at night, allowing you a chance to
experience some towns by day and by night.
information about river cruising in Europe can be found here.
Why Cruise in Winter?
Yes, we all know the weather
is cold in winter, but that is nothing which
several layers of warm clothes
can't combat. Offsetting this are several strong reasons
to consider this cruise at this time :
Firstly, of course, is the chance
to enjoy New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in Vienna. What
a wonderful place to celebrate the end of 2007 and the start of
Secondly, for many people, the
period between Christmas and New Year is their slowest time of
year at work or school, making it easier to get time off to
Thirdly, the very fact that this
time of year is the off-season is as much a positive advantage
as it is a disadvantage. The crowds of people aren't
as crushingly overpowering as they are in the busy season.
at the glorious abbey in Melk, during the summer there are tours departing every two
minutes. When we visited, we were the only group visiting
and so our guides could slow down and show us more things and
not rush to squeeze us in between the group immediately before
Lastly, you may be able to get a
lower rate on the air fare during this off-peak travel period.
I recommend this winter cruise.
Try it for yourself - you'll be delighted you did.
Information about Amadeus
As of the time of writing, we
have already had two very positive group experiences with
Amadeus, and we will have had three more prior to the New Year's
cruise in December. Every contact we've had with Amadeus
to date has confirmed our perception that they are a highest
This perception isn't just a
coincidence. The founder and head of Amadeus, Rudi
Schreiner, first worked for Uniworld (another fine cruise
company) and then was President of Viking River Cruises from
2000 until the end of 2002, when he left to found Amadeus, with
Amadeus first appearing on the market in 2003, and growing
steadily every year since then. Rudi was largely
responsible for the excellent operations at both Uniworld and
Viking, and now he is taking everything he has learned and
applying it in his own company, with - so far - outstanding
His ships are as good or better
than any others you'll find on the rivers and canals of Europe,
and are (of course) also very new. As the new company in
the market, he is having to work harder to win business, and is
doing so by offering great itineraries, lots of inclusions, and
great values. I've spoken with Rudi and he impresses as a
sensible and perceptive gentleman.
In 2004, Amadeus was still new
and largely unproven, so we chose the safer option of Viking. Now, in 2007,
Amadeus is a proven quality
operator we're pleased to partner with. We are
confident you'll agree with us that Amadeus Waterways is an
Because Amadeus is relatively
new, there are few independent reviews of their cruises. Here
are three :
on this site (scroll down a bit to get to the review)
...the Amadagio exceeded our
highest expectations. Amadeus Waterways claims that the
Amadagio is the most luxurious ship on the European
waterways today and this is true.
The hips don’t lie - one outstanding feature was the variety
of meals served for lunch and dinners with outstanding
desserts. The crew was very helpful, friendly and
Tom Ogg writes about his
experience with Amadeus on a different itinerary and says in his
conclusion (I agree with everything but wonder how they managed
to get 11 hours sleep a night!)
Joanie and I didn’t know if
we were going to like our river cruise or not. Many of our
friends told us that we wouldn’t for a variety of reasons.
They were too structured for us (we are well known for our
aversion to structured events), there is nothing but older
folks on a river cruise, or we would be bored out of our
minds. One friend that has taken several groups on river
cruises warned us against taking off on our own.
Here is the bottom line. We
liked it a lot….and here are the reasons. First, we went our
own way on purpose and no one said anything to us
whatsoever. We knew where the boat would be and when to be
there and that is all that counted. In fact, the cruise
manager would tell us special things we could do in some of
the towns that turned out great. Don’t discount river
cruises if you are the type that likes to go your own way.
Second, we loved the intimacy of the ship. With only 120
passengers we got to know quite a few people very well.
Joanie and I met a couple from Vail, Colorado that were
wonderful people that I am sure we will evolve a friendship
with. We were going to meet them for dinner in Paris, but
Joanie became ill and couldn’t make it. Folks that like
river cruising are well traveled, successful, bright and
interesting people and Joanie and I enjoyed the people we
met…all of them. I can’t say I have ever had the same
experience on a larger ship. Third, we loved the uniqueness
of the ports. About the only way to see the same ports would
be via a motor coach tour. Which would you rather do? Sit in
the sun on the river drinking a glass of wine while the
scenery drifts by, or sit in a motor coach trying to catch a
glimpse of that castle that is hiding behind the trees.
Finally, yes, it was boring.
There were no discos, no casino, no theme parties, no
production shows, no tender tickets, no lines, no bar
hopping, none of that. It was so boring that Joanie and I
got more rest than we have ever had. We averaged almost 11
hours of sleep a night. The entire cruise was so relaxing,
that we are having a hard time reentering our normal lives.
I will take boring any day! If you haven’t considered a
river cruise, take another look, you might just find it as
enjoyable as Joanie and I did.
Connie and Darwin write of their cruise on the same
itinerary with Amadeus
If you have never been to Europe, or even if you have, a
river cruise is the way to go. Your hotel travels with
you. It is so relaxing and you really get caught up in
the atmosphere and are intoxicated with the scenery, even
without beer or wine. We have been back a few weeks
now, and I still have vacation head. I would go back
in a heartbeat. During our cruise we celebrated our
anniversary and I whispered to my husband during the
fabulous sparkler-laden layer cake that paraded out, “How
are we ever going to top this?”
About the Amadagio
Our cruise ship for this
almost brand new, being commissioned in March of 2006.
The boat is long but narrow.
It is 360' long and 37.4' wide, and cruises at 15.6 mph.
This might seem like a slow speed, but it is faster than most of
the other cruise boats, enabling the boat to get between towns
faster and giving you more time sightseeing.
Dining is single-seating and
with no pre-assigned tables, so you can move about as you wish
from meal to meal. Amadeus even provides complimentary
beer or wine or softdrinks with your evening meal each day.
Smoking is restricted to the
Sun Deck only.
Our cruise has been marketed
primarily to English speaking people and the official language
on board is English. This means you won't have the
inconvenience of having to listen to every announcement being
repeated in four or five different languages.
Cabins on the Amadagio are the largest of
any cruise boat - a massive 170 sq ft each. The 154 sq ft
cabins on the earlier Viking cruise seemed spacious, and the 170
sq ft cabins on Amadagio are even more marvelously roomy and
The cruise is offered in
five cabin grades plus there are four suites as well.
There are 69 cabins and four suites on
three decks, and all are well equipped with a/c, bathroom and
shower, phone, flat screen television, internet access,
hairdryer and safe. The television has both local and
satellite channels, a bridge-cam channel, and an evening
All five grades of cabin are
very similar in terms of size and amenities. The main
difference is the deck the cabins are situated on.
picture clearly shows the three accommodation decks on
Amadagio. The top deck and the middle deck have floor
to ceiling sliding doors and 'French balconies' (a very small
space outside the sliding door), but the lower deck just has
The most important
difference though is not the style of window, but rather the
height above the waterline. There is a big difference in
perspective and view between the top deck (suites and A category
cabins) and the middle deck (B and C category cabins), while on
the lowest deck (D and E category cabins) the floor is actually
below the waterline and your windows and eye level is only a
foot or so above the waterline. On this deck, with even
the slightest amount of bank on the sides of the river, you'll
not see anything other than the water and bank from the bottom
deck, and there may be a bit more water and machinery noise on
that level too.
When moored, if your cabin
is on the dockside rather than the outboard side, the lowest
deck cabins will have a view blocked by the dock, the middle
deck cabins may have a limited view, and the top deck cabins
will usually have a view above the dock level.
These differences are much
more profound than in a massive cruise ship where even the
lowest deck is still a long way above the waterline. Of
course, if you do choose a D or E category cabin, you can spend
the days in the public areas and enjoy the views from there, but
if you can justify the extra cost to go up a deck or two, the
chances are you'll be very pleased you did.
Suites are 255 sq ft, cabins
are 170 sq ft.
More information about the
Amadagio can be seen on the
Tip : Choose the
least expensive cabin type on the deck you'd rather be on.
There is no added value in choosing a D cabin in favor of an E
cabin, or a B cabin in favor of a C cabin.
The cruise commences in
Budapest on Sunday 30 December 2006. If you're traveling from the
US, you should leave on Saturday 29 December (or earlier) to
arrive into Budapest on the 30th (or earlier).
The cruise finishes in
Nuremburg on Sunday 6 January. You can then either return
home that day, add on either the optional extension to Prague or
Amsterdam, or extend your stay in Europe any other way as you wish.
You might want to consider
arriving into Budapest a day or more early. This gives you an
'emergency' day in case of flight delays or luggage problems or
anything else, and also gives you a day to
'de-jetlag' before the cruise gets underway. You'll want
to be able to stay up until midnight on the 31st, after all!
Per person pricing for the
cruise is as follows :
Cruise & Prague
Cruise to Amsterdam
Extras and Inclusions
Rates include a free New
Year's event in
Vienna (subject to availability) - your choice of either :
* A Vienna Symphony Orchestra concert performance of
Beethoven's Ninth (Choral) Symphony; or
* A Vienna Hofburg Orchestra concert of popular
Strauss and Mozart pieces; or
* A performance of Die Fledermaus (by either the
Vienna Volksoper or Staatsoper); or
* A Vienna Heurigen (Folk) Show; or
* Half the cost of a €130 ($180) ticket to the Grand
Ball at the Hofburg Palace
Rates include a free
excursion to Salzburg (an $85 value) as a special Travel
Rates include a Travel Insider New Year's Party on board the Amadagio
Rates include a 10%
discount on the extension to Amsterdam
Bring your friends and
family! Group Discounts available :
* 3 or 4 people traveling together = 5% discount
* 5 or 6 people traveling together = 7.5%
discount per person
* 7 or more people traveling together = 10%
discount per person
(Note - 'traveling together' does not mean in the same
Port Taxes are $84 per
person to Nuremberg or $168 to Amsterdam.
Single rate is 150% of the
above per person share twin rates for cabins or 200% for a
junior suite. A guaranteed single share program is
also available for category B cabins (see below).
Air fares can be quoted from most cities in the US,
or you can arrange your own air travel as you wish.
You can pay for your tour using a
credit card with no credit card surcharge.
A $200 per person
non-refundable deposit is required to confirm your participation
and to hold your preferred grade of cabin on
this cruise, and the balance is due 90 days prior to departure.
Single Guaranteed Share
If you are planning to
travel by yourself, but would prefer to avoid the single
surcharge, Amadeus offer a guaranteed twin share program with
another person of the same gender, in their category B cabins.
What about the Air Fare?
If you buy the Amadeus
airfare, they include transfers from the airport to the cruise
ship when you arrive into Budapest, and from the ship back to
the airport at the end of the cruise in Prague if you extend on to Prague
(if you end your cruise in Nuremberg, they don't offer a
transfer there). These transfers
are convenient, but require you to arrive on the exact day the
cruise starts and leave on the exact day the cruise ends, and/or can easily be arranged by yourself when you
arrive at the airport as well, so should not unduly influence
your airfare planning.
We suggest you check to see
if you can use any frequent flier miles you might have for this
travel, and/or check to see what the best fare you can get on
your favorite airline is, then compare it to the Amadeus rate
and make your decision then.
You are therefore free to make your
own arrangements, any way you wish, to travel to Budapest and then
home again from Nuremburg, and you can of course make extra
stops and arrive earlier or stay longer. You can choose whichever
carrier has the best fare and the best schedules for you, and
you can also choose a carrier that you wish to earn miles with.
We'll be pleased to answer
any questions you might have about arranging your air
transportation, of course.
Tip : Ask for an
air included quote when you know your itinerary. Then with
that space held, see if you can get a better deal or more
convenient flights, or perhaps frequent flier tickets. As
long as you cancel your Amadeus arranged flights before you send
in final payment, you can do this without penalty.
Which cities to fly in and out
This might seem like an
obvious issue, but remember that Europe is very small and so if
you can't get convenient flights (or fares) on your preferred
airlines to and from the obvious cities at the start and end of
your tour, consider flying in or out of nearby airports and then
using a train to get between that airport and the city you need
to be in.
For example, if you are
returning home from Nuremberg, consider taking a short 1¾ hour
train ride from Nuremberg to Munich, and then connect at the
rail station to the suburban rail line that travels directly out
to the airport.
Similarly, if you are
thinking of perhaps arriving into Europe a day or two before the
cruise begins, maybe fly in to Vienna rather than Budapest.
It is only 2¾ hours by train between Vienna and Budapest.
Sometimes you might find you
get a cheaper fare if you fly in and out of the same city.
For example, to return to Vienna from Prague is 4 hours by
train, or to return to Vienna from Nuremberg is 5 hours.
We generally recommend you
should protect against the various types of losses that may
occur while traveling.
Amadeus Waterways offer a
policy that covers you for trip cancellation and interruption
costs, medical costs, trip delay, and baggage delay or loss.
This is $199 per person. The premium is payable with your
To add an extra trip
cancellation premium that will allow you to cancel for any
reason at all, add another $30. With this add-on premium,
if you cancel for a reason not covered by the main policy,
Amadeus will refund you as much of your payment as is covered by
their usual policy, and give you a voucher to be redeemed
against future travel any time in the next year for the balance.
for a new page with more information on the Amadeus travel
How to Extend or Vary this Tour
There are many ways you can
extend or vary this tour.
Many people typically choose
to arrive a day or two early into Budapest. This gives you
time to relax and unwind after the long flight and to adjust to
the new time zone, it gives you 'emergency time' in case of
delays to your flights or your luggage, and it gives you time to
explore Budapest prior to joining the cruise.
We'll be offering a tour and
transfer on Sunday 30 December that will feature sightseeing in
the city and to the artist's colony town of Szentendre before
taking you (and your bags) to join the Amadagio in Budapest.
Amadeus Waterways offers a
two night extension in Prague at the end of the tour for $300.
This takes you by coach from
Nuremberg to Prague, includes two nights of accommodation,
breakfast each morning, and a half day tour of the lovely city
As an alternate option, you
could choose to stay on the Amadagio and travel for another week
on to Amsterdam. The cost of this extension depends on
your cabin category, and is shown above.
Note these rates include a 10% discount on the extension to
Other Variations and Additions
are planning to arrive early, you might want to consider flying
in to Vienna and spending extra time in Vienna, then taking the
short 2¾ hour train ride to Budapest to join the cruise on
Sunday 30 December.
You are of course free to
arrange your travels before and after the cruise any way you
If you have more questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
We're here to help ensure your experience is as good as
Tour Terms and Conditions
standard terms and conditions
apply to this tour.
In addition, please note
these extra terms :
1. The 90 day
payment due date is considered to be Friday 28 September.
2. US citizens require a
current passport that will not expire for at least six months
after the date of their planned return back to the US in order
to be admitted to Europe. They do not require any European visas. Citizens of other countries should check with the
airline that will transport them to Europe to determine what
passport and visa requirements may apply.
3. Tour price is
subject to change prior to full payment being received.
4. Terms and
conditions of the cruise line (Amadeus
Waterways) also apply.
The Travel Insider is
licensed by the State of Washington as a seller of travel -
registration number 602 036 247.
30 Apr 2007, last update
08 Jan 2013