By Magic Maker® Allie Willits
I recently had the amazing opportunity to travel on an Adventures by Disney® Danube River Cruise with my 7-year-old daughter and my parents to celebrate my mother’s 70th birthday. This was the IDEAL way to visit the historical cities throughout Hungary, Austria and Germany for all of us! Imagine only having to unpack once, in a luxury room, on an incredible river ship; no lugging luggage on and off busses, trains and planes, no having to entertain kids on multiple train, bus or plane rides and receiving top of the line customer service and gourmet food and beverages at every meal. It truly was a hassle free, active and luxury vacation full of history, architecture, fun and laughs!
We flew from the USA to Budapest, Hungary to embark on the luxurious AmaViola River Cruise Ship and we were immediately greeted by one of four Disney-trained Adventure Guides. Paola, Dean, Danny and Stephanie were the Adventure Guides on our adventure (we had 93 guests onboard). I think of them as a mix of tour guide, entertainer, concierge, director of fun, keeper of children, storyteller and most of all friend. They truly made this trip special, they set up interactive, engaging, hands on shore excursions that were fun for all ages from youngest (5 years old on our cruise) to the grandparents on board. While the adults had private tours of castles and palaces by superb storytellers, our Adventure Guides took the kids on their own tours to play dress up, make cookies and play all while learning the history of some amazing places. Nightly entertainment onboard the AmaViola in the lovely lounge is also hosted by our Adventure Guides – we sang karaoke, danced, laughed and more. My daughter cried when we hugged our Adventure Guides goodbye at the end of the vacation – she, and all of us felt like they were family!
We visited cities each day along the Danube river and had options for excursions like bike rides along the river, walking tours of cities along cobblestone streets, archery at a medieval castle, visiting the Salt Mines, engaging on a Sound of Music tour, several castle and palace tours, food and wine tastings at a family owned apricot farm and winery and more. There is also the option to simply enjoy the port visits on your own – the AmaViola staff provided maps and gave suggestions for each stop!
Onboard the AmaViola, lunch and dinner each day was a foodie’s delight! Gourmet meals, served by the most attentive and friendly servers with choices galore including local wines (different each day) and draft beer. There’s even the option of dining at the Chef’s Table (no extra cost) for a 7 course, wine pairing meal. While the adults dine in the gorgeous dining room for dinner, the kids have the option of dining in the lounge on a kids buffet with entertainment and the Adventure Guides. Breakfast was also delicious with an option of a buffet or a la carte and even mimosas! Daily “tea” was served in the lounge with appetizers, fresh fruit, cakes and cookies. Many “extra” fun food events were also included like ice cream parties, cocktail receptions, Palinka (Hungarian Schnapps) tastings, a private Oktoberfest celebration and more.
Talking with the other guests on our final day as we traveled to the beautiful city of Munich, Germany, everybody agreed that it was their favorite family vacation ever (and many of the guests have traveled extensively and all over the world). I agree, it was absolutely an incredible experience. I can’t wait to try a Christmas Market river cruise and would love to sail the Rhine river with Adventures by Disney®. My daughter still talks about the castles and palaces she visited along with our Adventure Guides on a daily basis – and we’ve been home a month!
They are specials running NOW for these Adventures by Disney® Danube River Cruises!! Don’t miss this opportunity, ask your Magic Maker® for more information!