The Danube River is one of the most popular rivers to cruise in Europe. You’ll find itineraries that sail between Passau, Germany and the Black Sea and packages that range in length from 5 to 23 days.
Viking Idun at her Budapest berth at night. Note the amount of glass used in these new Longships. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders
About the Danube River
Flowing through Central and Eastern Europe, the Danube is the second longest river in Europe. It spans for 1, 777 miles from Germany to Ukraine. On a Danube river cruise, you’ll typically travel between Germany and Croatia, although some Danube river cruises sail all the way to the Black Sea.
The Danube River is connected to the Main River via the Main-Danube Canal. Some itineraries include, which is located on the Main-Danube Canal and the Pegnitz River.
Cruising the Danube River
The most common itinerary for a cruise on the Danube River is between Passau, Germany and . Prague is often listed as a starting or ending point of a cruise; however, Prague is not located on the Danube River. It’s about 140 miles north of Passau and about 190 northeast of Nuremberg.
The Wauchau Valley is located in Austria between Melk and Krems. It’s one of the most beautiful parts of the river. A few cities in Austria that are often featured are Linz, Melk, Durstein, Vienna and sometimes Salzburg.
Other prominent cities often visited on a Danube River cruise include:Passau, Germany Bratislava, Slovakia Belgrade, Serbia Vidin and Belogradchik, Bulgaria Bucharest, Romania
If you travel to Bucharest, you will cruise through the Iron Gates, which is a river gorge that forms a border between Serbia and Romania.
Companies That Cruise on the Danube River
This information is intended to give you an overview and a general idea of what different river cruise companies offer. With regard to itineraries – they change from year to year and sometimes within a year. The number of itineraries listed for some of the companies does not include reverse itineraries. For example, a reverse river cruise from Passau to Budapest would be Budapest to Passau.
Most of the ships that are listed also cruise on other waterways that are connected to the Danube. You might notice a ship you’re familiar with that cruises on the Rhine River, too.
offers two options for all cruise packages. You can take the cruise only, or you can choose to combine land and cruise packages. The river cruises are between Vilshofen and Budapest or Rousse, or they are between Budapest and Rousse
Most cruises begin or end in the German city of Vilshofen, which is located on the Danube River about 65 miles southeast of Regensburg. If your trip begins in Prague, you will be transported to Vilshofen to board your ship. If your trip ends in Prague, you will be transferred from Vilshofen to .
For itineraries that include Istanbul, your Danube River cruise will end in Rousse, Bulgaria. You will take a motor coach to Plovdiv, Bulgaria where you will begin you will fly to Istanbul for a three-day journey.
There are also cruise packages that include the Main-Danube Canal and are between Nuremberg and Budapest.Packages: 8 to 23 days Danube River Only: 8 to 23 days Danube and Other Waterways: 8 to 21 days Number of Itineraries that Include Danube River: 10 Danube River Ony: 4 Danube + Main-Danube Canal: 3 Danube + Main + Rhine: 2 Danube + Main + Moselle + Rhine: 1 7 Ships on the Danube: AmaBella, AmaCerto, AmaDolce, AmaLyra, AmaPrima, AmaSerena, AmaSonata
Interesting to Note: AmaWaterways is the only river cruise company that begins and ends cruises in Vilshofen.
keeps it pretty simple. You won’t see cities like Prague or Munich listed in their itineraries, which can seem confusing to travelers who are not familiar with the rivers in Europe. The two cities listed in the itinerary are where your river cruise will begin and end.
The company has cruises that travel to and from Passau, Germany. Itineraries are from Passau to Budapest, Belgrade or Bucharest. The company also has one itinerary from Bucharest to Passau.Packages: 8 to 12 days Number of Itineraries that Include the Danube River: 8 Danube River Only: 6 Danube and Main: 2 2 Ships on the Danube: A-ROSA Donna, A-ROSA Silva
Interesting to Note: AROSA does not combine the Danube River with any other waterways on any ot its itineraries.
features cruises between Budapest and Vienna, Bucharest and Passau and from Vienna to Passau only on the Danube River. For itineraries that include the Main-Danube Canal, there are cruises between Nuremberg and Vienna, Budapest and Bucharest.
You’ll notice the cities of Prague and Munich listed in several of the itineraries. If your Danube River cruise begins or ends in Passau, transportation by motor coach will be to or from Munich or Prague. And if your cruise begins or ends in the city of Nuremberg, you will be transferred to or from Prague by motor coach.Packages: 8 to 24 days Danube River Only: 8 to 14 days Danube and Other Waterways: Up to 24 days Number of Itineraries on the Danube River: 18 Danube River Only: 5 Danube and Main-Danube Canal: 4 Danube and Main: 1 Danube, Main and Rhine: 7 Danube, Main, Rhine and Moselle: 1 9 Ships on the Danube: Avalon Affinity, Avalon Artistry II, Avalon Expression, Avalon Illumination, Avalon Impression, Avalon Luminary, Avalon Panorama, Avalon Visionary and Avalon Vista
Interesting to Note: Avalon Waterways is the only company that includes Munich in the package. (Other companies might offer a visit to Munich as an add-on destination.)
has cruises to and from Budapest to Passau, Budapest to Belgrade and Zagreb, Budapest to Tulcea, Vienna to Budapest and Linz to Budapest.
For cruises that travel to Constanta, Romania, the river cruise ends in Tulcea where you will be transferred to Constanta by motor coach.Packages: 5 to 12 days Number of Itineraries on the Danube: 18 Danube River Only: 13 Danube, Main and Rhine: 4 Danube and Tisza: 1 6 Ships on the Danube: MS La Boheme, MS Vivaldi, MS L’Europe, MS Victor Hugo, MS Monet, MS Beethoven