Red Corner: The Blue Danube

While I’m not a big fan of big ocean going cruises, there is something entirely different about boarding a much smaller boat and cruising down a river-especially when it’s the Danube.

David Wickers of The Sunday Times (UK) recently spent a week leisurely touring the majestic river aboard a 114 passenger boat with 75 cabins.

His trip started in the Bavarian town of Passau and made its way downriver to Budapest, Vienna and Bratislava with a few shorter stops in places such as Esztergon (Hungary) to see a cathedral and Melk (Austria) to visit a monastery.

Wickers paints a pleasant picture of what it’s like to travel by boat; the leisurely pace, the relaxed lifestyle, the comfort of never having to pack yet arriving in a different city every day. “Sightseeing doesn’t come much more easygoing than this,” he confesses.

This is both good and bad. Wickers clearly laments how such mode of travel attracts a much older core of travelers. In addition, the routine is regimented on board, and the daily excursions are too short with barely enough time “to sniff the air.” But if you want to take it easy and see some truly wonderful cities with almost no effort, than this is the trip for you. Want to delve even deeper into Eastern Europe? Try a ten-day cruise that continues through Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania before arriving at the Black Sea.