During Christmas holidays, I had the chance to test a cruise on the Danube, with U by Uniworld. It was a first time for me. Before… I flatly refused to go on a cruise. Well … it was a nice surprise! I want to do it again! I give you all the information about the week, the activities, the price and things to see and do during stopovers on the Danube. Regensburg, Passau, Melk, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest … Eastern Europe has my heart!
From December 27th to January 3rd, I left to the east of Germany to join the ship of U By Uniworld, a cruise company a little bit different from the others. By booking a cruise on the A or B (boat names), you won’t land in a huge and big boat with over 500 people on board. No ! The boat, or rather barge, is on 3 floors. On the first floor are the normal rooms and the breakfast room, brunch and dinner. On the 2nd floor, you have the rooms called “Upgraded” (a little bit larger) and the U Lounge (bar, disco). On the deck (top floor) you will find the outdoor relaxation area (perfect during the summer) and the Ice Bar. There is also a photo booth to immortalize the moments with your love or friends, a gym and a spa.
The bar is one of my favorite places to stay (I see you coming guys). This is where you will meet the people of the boat and especially enjoy most of the time of the cruise. Prices are affordable for drinks and snacks. The waiters are very cool. It’s also here that you will realize that the U by Uniworld cruise is totally different from a typical cruise. People are cool, they are travelers looking for the authentic and new things!
How to go to Regensburg from Paris ?
As you know, I live in Dijon. From the train station of Dijon – City center, we took a train to Munich, then a Flixbus to Rastibonne (Regensburg). For the return, we took a plane from Budapest to Basel, then a train to Dijon. The total transport budget was 220 €.
From Paris, take a flight to Munich, then a bus. For the return, you can book a non-stop plane ticket from Budapest. The budget will be around € 200 too.
The price of the cruise is from 1 329 £ or 1480 €, for a double room and for 8 days. You are half board, there are activities and tours included every day. Every night you have a party organized on the boat. We were lucky to be able to make New Year’s Eve in Vienna on December 31st, it was amazing!
Every day, you will have the possibility to add excursions in addition to the walk planned with 2 U Hosts (these are two people who are there to guide you throughout your cruise). Optional excursions are from 35€. Sincerely, it’s worth it! Generally, they last 3 hours and they are super fun and original.
The cruise was pure joy. All the days were different and full of interesting things and places to see. Here are the different step of the trip, the stops and things to do:
Day 1 – Regensburg :
I was a little bit stressed the first day because I forgot to check the place where the boat was (totally me). To make it easier, here is a list of ports where U by Uniworld’s ship is located. This list is valid for all cruises. Arrived at the boat, you will be able to take possession of the places, of your room and discover the various services proposed.
Day 2 – Regensburg :
Here is what I advise you to visit in Regensburg. The days are quite short, so do your best and you will see … it’s really worth it!
- Walk along the Danube at the end of the day. The sunset is crazy and you can admire the colorful houses from the Rock Bridge.
- Visit the church of Saint-Pierre. It’s also beautiful from outside.
- Eat sausages in the oldest rotisserie in the city: the Historische Wurstkuch.
- If you are rather healthy, go to the restaurant Malefiz. It’s pure madeness. Avocado toasts are crazy!
Day 3 – Passau :
Passau really surprised me. I was not expecting that at all. For this stop, I suggest you to:
- Book the extra “Winter Walk”. A guide showed us another side of the city. From the heights of the castle Oberhaus Veste, you will have a splendid view of Passau. This excursion also permit us to discover the typical dishes of the south-east of Germany and carols. Mulled wine, sausages, Bretzel … The day ended with a little bit of snow. It was perfect.
- Visit the Saint-Etienne cathedral but especially take every path of the churches of the city.
- The houses are colorful and during the Christmas holidays, it’s really worth it. The decorations are breathtaking.
- Admire the houses from the docks of the Danube and walk along the Ilz.
Day 4 – Melk :
During the 4th day, we made a 3 hour stop in Melk before leaving for Vienna. So, you’ll tell me… 3 hours is short but don’t worry! You will have time to:
- visit the Melk Abbey with a guide (the tour takes about 1 hour). The place is breathtaking! I loved the library.
- Stroll through the streets of Melk before returning to the boat (the ride takes about 30 minutes).
Day 5 – Vienne :
Vienna was a real surprise for me! This is where we spent the New Year. When we arrived, the streets were already crowded and everyone was preparing to celebrate 2019! Some have even started to party early in the morning. Here is a list of things to do in Vienna in one day:
- Visit Schönbrunn Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and dine at Hotel Daniel’s restaurant
- Go to the Palace of the Hofburg (Palace of Sissi, also called Imperial Palace) is the most photographed place in Vienna
- Admire the colors of the Hundertwasserhaus
- Go for a Viennese coffee in one of Vienna’s famous cafes like the Hawelka
- Everyone will tell you to ride the big eye in the Prater Park. I don’t recommend it. The price is huge and you will stay 15 minutes in the eye. Especially since the view isn’t necessarily incredible and you will wait more than 45 minutes.
- Go take pictures inside the Palace of Justice.
- Don’t miss the architecture of Vienna’s churches.
Day 6 – Bratislava :
The stop in Brastislava has been short but it gives you time to visit the big must-sees:
- the Blue Church
- the castle of Devin
- the castle of Bratislava (the panorama is incredible)
- the town hall and the main square
Day 7 – Budapest :
Budapest was my biggest surprise throughout the U by Uniworld cruise. First of all, if you choose this cruise, you will arrive by night. It’s just a splendid show so stay awake! The illuminated buildings are sumptuous! For your day in Budapest, I advise you to:
- visit the Fisherman’s Bastion and the Cathedral
- Eat a donut to Mr Funk
- Walking along Danube docks during sunset
- Admire Parliament from the docks opposite
- Climb to the top of Gellert mountain
- Enjoy the famous hot baths of the city. Pay attention, we chose the Széchenyi and we were super disappointed. The entrance is 19 €, the place is crowded and the smell is really nauseating. If you really want to go, go there from the opening at 6 am. Don’t forget your swimsuit and especially flip flops if you don’t want to walk barefoot where people mop in shoes.
- In winter, don’t miss the ice rink of Városliget.
Day 8 – Budapest :
It’s the day of departure. Be careful, you must vacate your room at 8.30 am but you can have access to the whole boat until noon.
My suitcase during U By Uniworld
- Sweater, Knot Sisters
- Rain Jacket, Rains
- Dress, Free People
- Sweater, Line & Dot
- Berklin Lace Top, WAYF
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