Welcome in the New Year on this splendid cruise along the mighty Danube. Experience the imperial grandeur of Vienna and the elegance of Budapest, browse at the atmospheric Yuletide markets and enjoy the enchanting New Year’s Eve celebrations on board.
Arrive at the airport for your flight to Budapest from where a coach transfers you to your cruise ship moored in this beautiful city. The dedicated crew are there to welcome you on board, ensuring you settle in and familiarise yourself with this first class floating hotel that will be your home for your New Year sojourn.
You’ll be mesmerised by the beautiful twinkling garlands and luscious décor, a striking backdrop to welcome in 2021.
The ship remains here overnight so take in the views of the sparkling lights of the city as you enjoy your first dinner on board.
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 twin cities of Buda, built around the hilltop fortress, and Pest, with its wide boulevards, were fought over through the centuries. The Ottomans ruled here for 150 years before being ousted in the late 17th-century, but their legacy lives on in the many thermal baths fed by hot springs, giving rise to Budapest’s other sobriquet – the ‘City of Spas’.
After the end of Ottoman rule, Budapest became an imperial city of the Habsburg Empire, attracting great cultural and commercial wealth. The historic and palatial buildings, the superb Roman ruins and exquisite Art Nouveau architecture also provide a truly impressive setting for the acclaimed Yuletide markets.
This morning we enjoy a guided tour of this captivating city which truly does live up to its reputation as the ‘Pearl of the Danube’. Castle Hill is Budapest in microcosm: two churches, seven museums and a theatre among streets and squares with their own special atmosphere and a dramatic view across the river to the awe-inspiring neo-Gothic Parliament.
There’s also 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 we slip our mooring and our Danube adventure begins. Wrap up and take to the deck to enjoy a kaleidoscope of winter scenery before stepping back into the warmth of the ship’s inviting lounge.
Join new found friends for welcome cocktails before a superb dinner as we sail towards Bratislava.
Day 3 - Bratislava
After a delicious breakfast, this morning we explore Slovakia’s fast-emerging capital city, Bratislava, on a guided tour. Until recently swathed in the drab uniformity of Communism, the city has rekindled the splendour of its imperial past in its beautifully restored old town.
Equally impressive is the imposing 17th-century castle commanding expansive views across the Danube. Christmas in Bratislava is an enchanting experience, with Hviezdoslav Square now dressed up for the special season, complete with a lit-up tram with cosy interior and joyous carols.
You’ll also have plenty of free time to explore the cobble-stoned streets of this captivating city – so what’s it to be? Why not head to the regal Primatial Palace? Built in the late 1700s in a classical style, the once home to the archbishop of Esztergom now holds a rare collection of tapestry works from the 17th-century.
Take the opportunity to view the traditional Christmas cribs in some of the churches or maybe wander the maze of streets, admiring the Christmas decorations, until you reach the main square. For a seasonal treat try the medovníky, these delicious honey and ginger biscuits are traditionally eaten at Christmas time in Slovakia.
This afternoon we cruise into Lower Austria, a peaceful, bucolic region and home to some of the country’s best wines. Head to the convivial atmosphere of the ship’s well stocked bar for your favourite aperitif before another excellent dinner is served.
Day 4 - Vienna on New Year's Eve
For many waking in Vienna on the eve of the coming year will be a highlight of the cruise. The city’s very name provokes images of elegance, fine music, wide boulevards, Baroque architecture and a rich tapestry of peoples who were drawn here from all corners of Europe. For 200 years until the First World War, Vienna was the cultural centre of Europe and many of the showpiece buildings, galleries, aristocratic palaces and magnificent churches you see today were built to reflect its imperial status.
The city was the seat of the Habsburg emperors and home to some of the world’s finest classical composers, including Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and of course, a whole family of Strausses. 2020 is a particularly special time to visit Vienna, as the city has planned many events to mark Beethoven’s 250th birthday.
In this capitvating city, there’s also the colossal Hofburg, the former royal court that is now home to a collection of museums, the Crown Jewels and the Spanish Riding School and the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Then there are the lavish Imperial Apartments and an outstanding collection of relics of the Holy Roman Empire. There has also been a Yuletide market in Vienna since the Middle Ages and today the markets held over the festive period sell a huge range of seasonal gifts and mouth-watering treats.
This morning we enjoy a tour in the company of a local guide who will offer insights into why Vienna is one of Europe’s great capitals, now proudly embellished in winter sparkle, ahead of the New Year festivities.. There will also be time to browse the stalls of the markets where the irresistible smell of roasting chestnuts fills the air.
Alternatively retreat to the refined yet cosy elegance of a traditional Viennese café for a steaming hot chocolate and a tempting pastry. After lunch on board we visit the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace. Once the summer residence of the Habsburgs, this former royal residence now houses a range of world-class museums and galleries. Your included entrance and audio guide allows you into the dazzling state rooms, with their wealth of priceless artworks and the family’s impressive royal carriages. The palace also hosts a superb Yuletide market, specialising in traditional handicrafts and nostalgic toys. This evening, it’s time to dress up in your winter best for a New Year’s Eve to remember!
No visit to Vienna is complete without a live musical experience and this evening we have arranged truly the ‘icing on the cake’, a classical recital on board.
After an excellent New Year’s Eve dinner listen to exquisite music – a fitting reminder of our day in this most captivating of cities.
As the clock strikes midnight our wonderful crew will serve celebration drinks and canapés as you welcome in the New Year.
Day 5 - Budapest on New Year's Day
We have sailed overnight and on waking to the first day in 2021, draw back the curtains to see the early morning mist rising over this gentle pastoral landscape, draped in a blanket of glistening frost.
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!
A sumptuous brunch will be served, giving you the perfect opportunity to mark the New Year and share your favourite moments.
This afternoon head up to the sun deck to enjoy the bracing river breeze as the Captain skilfully navigates our return course to the Hungarian capital. For the more energetic, perhaps a visit to the ship’s fitness centre to keep up your usual routine or start something new for 2021.
Our ship will be moored right in the heart of Budapest this evening so why not take a stroll before the magnificent Captain’s Dinner.
A lively Hungarian folklore show draws this glorious day to a close, giving you time to bid farewell to your travelling companions and reflect on all the wonderful places you have experienced on this most magical of cruises.
Day 6 - Return Home
During the early hours, our ship has stealthily crept into port and you awake to find yourself in twinkling 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 the markets held over the festive period sell a huge range of seasonal gifts and mouth-watering treats.
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. f.
MS William Wordsworth is one of Riviera Travel’s new ‘all suite’ ships. Launched in 2019 she offers excellent standards of accommodation consistent with Scylla’s (the ship operator) other 5 star ships. Standard Suites are large at 183 ft² with floor to ceiling windows opening to a rail on the middle and upper decks. Suites on the lower deck are slightly smaller at 172 ft² and feature high level windows. 6 Superior Suites and 4 Deluxe Balcony Suites are available on each ship at 247 ft² and 269 ft² respectively. Deluxe Balcony Suites, located on the upper deck, also feature a small private balcony. This superb vessel carries 44 in-house trained crew members serving just 176 guests (similar size vessels may carry well over 190 passengers) giving the ratio which our experience proves is concurrent with our first class service levels. An outstanding ship it would be very easy to just say ‘luxurious’ but it’s much more than that, a unique yet exquisite blend of understated taste, style and elegance at the highest level. A spacious new vessel as you enter a gleaming, richly coloured marble-floored lobby flooded with natural light from a stunning atrium above. The ship is beautifully illuminated throughout, including the exterior and imaginatively furnished with harmonious colour schemes, all designed to create the serene atmosphere reflective of the golden age of cruising.
* Payable locally.
88 spacious, elegantly appointed staterooms and suites range in size from 172 – 269 ft² or indulge even more in one of the 6 Superior suites or 4 Deluxe Balcony Suites. Most accommodations featuring floor to ceiling glass sliding doors opening to a French Balcony, so you can enjoy the ever-changing scenery however you wish.
|Dec 28||William Wordsworth||Budapest||Cabin Upgrades|
|Lower Deck||Cabin||172 ft², Fixed Windows||£1399|
|Middle Deck||Suite||183 ft², French Balcony||£1749|
|Middle Deck||Superior Suite||247 ft², French Balcony||£1999|
|Upper Deck||Suite||183 ft², French Balcony||£1849|
|Upper Deck||Superior Stern Suite||247 ft², French Balcony||£1999|
|Upper Deck||Superior Suite||247 ft², French Balcony||£2099|
|Upper Deck||Deluxe Balcony Suite||269 ft², Outside Balcony||£2399|
Please Note: Not all airports are available for every departure. For availability from your preferred departure point, and flight times please call for the latest information.
Solo Occupancy On the lower deck there are a limited number of standard cabins available for single occupancy without a supplement. For other cabins the sole occupancy price is twice the per person rate less £500.
Enquire now about this cruise & speak to one of our friendly river cruising team on 0800 471 4754.
Riviera Travel’s river cruises have caused a bit of a revolution in the UK market and sell more river cruises in the UK than any other river cruise line. A range of brand new ships, styled classically have impressed with their high standards for the price. Riviera’s 30 years of land-touring experience are carried into their river cruise excursions, providing good value off ship experiences. Whilst some may require higher levels of inclusions and finer dining, Riviera’s river cruises deliver consistently high standards for their loyal UK customers.