What a ship! We were very impressed when we embarked for our preparational tour on the Danube. The Primadonna is the most expensive ship that has ever been built for the Danube River. It’s been sailing for Viking for many years and is now available with a great service but for lower prices. I would love to share some impressions and information about the ship, the river, the trip here with you. So you know a bit more about joining a bigger ship! So here are 10 comments on the tour!

  1. The Danube is for sure a mighty river, floating through many countries with loads of impressions. It’s mighty not only for the distance it stretches but also for the amount of water that it may contain. On our May tour, the water levels are very high, and the water floats at an impressive speed. So going downstream we are saving a lot of time, but on the way back upstream we will spend a lot of time cruising. So what we need is to be flexible about it. We will have to wait and see how the day will be! We might arrive on time, we might arrive earlier or later. This will affect the options to go cycling, and the times we may be able to do so.
  2. Every day is very different! Not only because we visit different countries and towns, but mainly because the cycling options vary. We have our “normal” rides along the Danube, but also some circular day trips. The infrastructure varies from dedicated bike paths to shared paths (with pedestrians) to joining quiet roads. Sometimes we have to share with cars for some parts of our tour.
  3. Our ship is booked by many guests coming from different countries. On our tour, we met Dutch, Swiss, New Zealanders, Australians, Americans, and a lot of German guests. On our own guided tour, we will be our own group on board, having our own meetings and eating together seated at reserved tables close to each other every meal.
  4. The services on board are great, like in a hotel. The meals are very good with options to choose the main dish for lunch and for dinner every day. Vegetarian options every day, other wishes can be honoured if ordered ahead. Contact with staff and other guests, not belonging to your own group, will also be different. Again: like in a larger hotel. You might like to chat to the barman or the ladies at the reception, but it’s not your home away from home. This is a very nice floating hotel! Other guests: again, don’t expect to get to know the other guests. Not only will you experience some language problems, but also…there are just so many and we will most likely be with our own group most of the time
  5. Sightseeing cycling: we only cycle bits and pieces on our trip on this mighty river: the ship travels a lot of miles mainly at night and we get off when we can, and cycle around 29 to 54 k on a day (can be more if the schedule changes due to low or high water!). So this is a very different experience compared to our we cycle, ship sails routine! Sightseeing is a major part of the cycling in Budapest for instance: we more or less use the bike to see as much as possible and have to pay attention because we are sharing the cycle path with pedestrians.
  6. This tour suits very well if you have a friend/husband/wife who is not that much into cycling. You can visit the highlights of this tour for the most part without biking.
  7. The Danube is floating through nature mainly, so it’s a very tranquil environment mainly, with the major towns as highlights
  8. Sailing at night and your rest. Wouter and I stayed in a standard cabin on this trip. We were totally OK with the rest we got, but we realize it is something that we have to mention in this list of differences. The ship does make some noises and will cross some locks, so you might find this disturbs your sleep. It’s a constant sound for the most part, and really not too loud. But sometimes the engine is used to pull back and things like that might wake you. But on the other hand, being on the ship quite some time, you can easily catch up on a morning or afternoon, or an early night in. Breakfast is available at 7.30 to 9.00, and dinner at night is from 19.00 until 21.00 most of the days.
  9. Compared to the IRIS this ship offers a more spacious standard cabin, with a minibar and desk. To write your own blogs for instance! It offers a big pothole window which gives a lovely view of the river. The upper and superior cabins are a bit more spacious and offer this great balcony with a view from floor to ceiling. But the ship has other rooms like the front bar that gives you great views as well. I haven’t slept there but will be a bit less noise.
  10. The internet services are not very reliable. This is mainly due to the remote areas this river floats through, but also because a lot of guests use it at the same times. If you do need it, you might consider organizing a European option on your own devices beforehand

Want to read about the Danube Tour here


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