“Blue Danube Dreams River Cruise “    

Jul 31- Aug  9, 2024      

We must close out trips 90 days before departure.  Priced from $2995 listed below the daily itinerary.


Come sail with us on the “River of Kings “ through centuries of world history in Hungary, Slovakia and Austria! Discover the legacies of former monarchies, on our new AFS 10-day sailing adventure. Witness breathtaking landscapes of lush valleys and vineyards worth countless Instagram moments. Marvel at Europe’s majestic capitals filled with imperial palaces, gothic cathedrals, ancient castles and stunning baroque architecture. Indulge your passions in culinary delights and our walking tours through charming lanes of fairytale-like towns. Inspired by Johann Strauss, the Blue Danube tops the list of Europe’s most popular rivers.  

 It’s been 10 years since AFS did river cruises and my how they’ve advanced! Unpack once, cruise overnight and enjoy maximum leisure time in each port – it’s the most relaxing way to explore Europe.  You’ll love our 5-star ship MS William Wadsworth, so small and intimate compared to crowds on the mega ships. And it’s all-inclusive from port charges to shore excursions! Your perks? Spacious cabins, free onboard Wi-Fi, and drink package, AFS cocktail reception, amazing English-speaking crew, exceptional dining with complementary breakfast room service and 7  guided city tours. 

 From enchanting  Budapest, we sail north to explore historic Esztergom, once Hungary‘s capital. Venture into the fabulous old town of Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital city. Sail on to  Richard the Lionheart’s love-struck town of Durnstein. Visit the beautiful Melk Abby monastery filled with art treasures.  Then to Linz for a delightful excursion to Salzburg, home of Mozart. Heading east, we reach sophisticated Vienna, where Strauss and countless composers roamed. Be dazzled by the elegant architecture here and the iconic must see sights. Finally, navigating locks back to Budapest to tour the city’s most famous sites. We end with a wonderful dinner hosted by our Captain and toast each other farewell.  

  We even include an optional pre-night cruise with a fun gypsy-style dinner in Budapest for you to relax, explore and ensure you ‘ don’t miss the boat’. This is truly a remarkable voyage through legendary gems into bygone eras with a vibrant mix of East meets West. You’ll be swept away, each mile along the enchanting shores, on our delightful blue Danube 10-day holiday.  Come, pamper yourself; you deserve it! 

MS Wordsworth

After years of painstaking research to create the perfect vessels afloat, a new era in river cruising dawns as we introduce our state-of-the-art ‘all suite’ ships. Swiss-operated and truly world-class, we are absolutely delighted to present the five-star MS William Wordsworth.  It is extremely difficult to convey just how extraordinary this outstanding ship really is and exactly what distinguishes it from similar vessels. It would be very easy to just say ‘luxurious,’ but it’s much more than that; we have deliberately avoided the current trend for a minimalist style where you could be anywhere in the world, creating instead a unique yet exquisite blend of understated taste, style and elegance at the highest level. Immediately striking is just how exceptionally spacious this new vessel is as you enter a gleaming, richly colored marble-floored lobby flooded with natural light from a stunning atrium above. Moving inside, exceptional creativity from Europe’s finest design studio has produced a superbly balanced masterpiece of onboard style, utilizing sustainable rich hardwoods, gleaming brass and polished copper, sparkling glass and intricate wrought iron. The restaurant rivals the finest on shore establishments taking fine dining to another level complemented by delicate European porcelain, gleaming glassware and the intuitive service in which the Swiss excel. This superb vessel carries 44 in-house trained crew members serving just 165 guests (similar size vessels may carry well over 190 passengers), giving the ratio that our experience proves is concurrent with our first-class service levels.  Furthermore, your suite will easily exceed your expectations for not only will you enjoy the most discerning décor, so too the ship’s dimensions afford the ultimate in space and comfort – a minimum 17 square metres (183 square feet), with upgrades available to ‘Superior’ and ‘Deluxe’ accommodation.


Our Glorious AFS Itinerary

Click here for the Trip Tips

Click for a printable PDF itinerary.

July 31 – Fly USA to Budapest  (Air details coming in trip tips and by email)


Land tour officially begins.  Arrive at Budapest International Airport and transfer to your hotel. One common group transfer will be arranged. Check into our deluxe hotel. Time to rest, explore, then prepare for our welcome dinner.

Hungry’s capital of Budapest is bisected by the beautiful river Danube. Its 19th-century chain bridge connects the hilly Buddha district with a flat Pest district. So many things to do and see here. Go to www.budapesttourism.com for the countless wonders. With time permitting, visit one of the city’s famous thermal baths! There are dozens. Our past AF groups absolutely loved –  Szechenyi Baths –  This is the Times Square of bathing, like an amusement park of 15 huge indoor and outdoor pools with spa treatments.  Also, Gellert Bath – Set in the elegant nouveau Hotel Gellert, this iconic place has been a landmark since 1918.

Tonight, we transfer by coach to a traditional Hungarian restaurant with great food and live gypsy music! It’s more than goulash. Enjoy a delicious three-course Welcome Dinner with Hungarian wines. During dinner, see the fabulous Folklore Show with dancers dressed in folk costumes and gypsy music. You’ll get some great photos here.

Return to the hotel. Overnight at Hotel Radisson Blu Beke       D (Meals)


After breakfast, you’ll have some time to play. Afternoon check out and transfer to the cruise terminal to embark on our 8-day river cruise on the beautiful MS Wordsworth.
Here our luxurious floating abode awaits. The devoted crew members greet you with open arms, assisting you in settling into your well-appointed cabin and acquainting yourself with the magnificent ship. As anticipation and excitement fill the air on the eve of your adventure, enjoy a cocktail reception and gourmet dinner at the elegant onboard restaurant. Get to know your fellow AFS travel lovers with enthusiasm about the amazing experiences that lay just around the bend.

Overnight MS William Wordsworth     L


As we sailed upstream overnight, we arrived at Esztergom, a charming gem among Hungary’s ancient towns. This medieval royal capital is now home to the nation’s archbishop. Together, let’s explore the renowned neoclassical basilica perched over the Danube, standing tall at the border of Slovakia. Marvel at one of the world’s largest altarpieces and a trove of invaluable religious treasures within. Don’t miss the intriguing castle that once governed this land before the Ottomans arrived in the 16th century.

Beneath it all, you’ll find many quaint churches echoing enchanting choir melodies, transporting you back to provincial Hungary during the Habsburg era. Later enjoy your first delectable lunch onboard as we bid farewell to Esztergom and drift along the river. Take in the captivating contrast between Hungary’s picturesque landscape on one side and Slovakia’s stunning towns and villages on the other – a truly unforgettable journey.


Today, we set off on an adventure in Slovakia’s rapidly rising capital, Bratislava, with a guided tour in store. Once cocooned in the bleak sameness of Communism, the city now proudly radiates the grandeur of its imperial history through its exquisitely rejuvenated Old Town. The majestic 17th-century castle overlooking the Danube is another awe-inspiring sight to behold.

As afternoon rolls in, we sail into the tranquil heartland of Lower Austria, renowned for its top-notch wines and idyllic landscape. By now, you’ll find daily stresses fading away as you fully immerse yourself in the constantly evolving riverside tableau: playful children dotting the banks, love-struck couples wandering hand-in-hand just like their ancestors once did, meticulous winemakers tending to their vines, and charming half-timbered buildings lining cobbled quaysides.

Step outside to watch our Captain expertly steering the vessel along the placid river and deftly navigating through intriguing locks during our dinner cruise towards Dürnstein. Gaze upon the captivating towns and villages of Hungary on one bank, while Slovakia unfolds on the other.


Durnstein is a picturesque town that will capture your heart with the ice-blue tower of its iconic abbey and the imposing castle where Richard the Lionheart found himself captive in 1192 following a shipwreck upon his return from the crusades.

Begin your day with a delightful guided walk through this captivating town, retracing the footsteps of historical legends. The once-majestic castle now lies in ruin atop a rocky ridge, yet it’s not difficult to envision England’s legendary king fuming with impatience, stuck miles away from home as his loved ones scrambled to gather funds for his release.

After lunch, prepare to be wowed by the grandeur of Melk Abbey. The magnificent honey-hued structure perched atop the rolling countryside will take your breath away at first glance. This former castle was bequeathed to the Benedictine Order in the 11th-century and has since been transformed to a Baroque masterpiece in the 18th century while remaining a thriving monastic school and monastery. Explore its star attractions, including the impressive 214-yard-long Emperor’s Gallery adorned with exquisite portraits, stunning chambers, and an intricately designed library. After our tour, return to your ship for a sumptuous dinner as you continue cruising through the enchanting Nibelungengau region, forever immortalized through Wagner’s harmonious melodies.


Upon arriving in Linz, you can choose to remain in the city and join a fascinating guided walking tour, uncovering the beauty of its baroque old town. Strolling through its heart, you’ll encounter one of Austria’s most exquisite squares, adorned with grand pastel-hued facades and a striking white marble Trinity Column topped with a golden sunburst. Additionally, don’t miss the imposing castle, constructed high above Linz by Emperor Friedrich III, now home to a museum displaying an array of remarkable nineteenth and twentieth-century art.

Or, venture with us to Salzburg, a former independent state transformed by its archbishops into one of the Alps’ most cultured cities. The majestic Hohensalzburg fortress graces the skyline – one of Europe’s largest stone strongholds – while beneath it lies the enchanting Altstadt or Old Town, dotted with church domes and spires. Be sure to explore the magnificent Hellbrunn Palace and admire the Mirabell Palace’s exquisite formal gardens – a paradise for horticulture enthusiasts. AFS groups love Salzberg so much, they don’t want to leave.

Begin your day by immersing yourself in the city’s primary attractions alongside an experienced local guide. Afterward, you’ll be free to roam at your leisure. Excellent retail therapy here.  You’ll find Mozart’s influence throughout the city – from his prodigious harpsichord playing at age three to his first opera composition at just 11 years old!

Remember that lunch isn’t provided during this full-day Salzburg adventure; however, the ship is happy to supply a tasty, packed lunch if you like. Afterward, return to the ship to delight in yet another delectable dinner.


Get ready for an unforgettable day in Vienna, a city that exudes charm, grace, and harmonious tunes at every turn. Picture yourself strolling along grand boulevards, marveling at Baroque architecture, and soaking in the diverse culture that drew people from all over Europe. For two centuries leading up to World War I, Vienna reigned as Europe’s cultural heart, filling its streets with stunning galleries, aristocratic mansions, and divine churches that still display its imperial past.

Prepare to be captivated by Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, a striking masterpiece with a vibrant roof and an imposing Gothic South Tower that define the city’s skyline. Explore the enormous Hofburg — once a royal court, now home to splendid museums, the Crown Jewels, the Spanish Riding School, and the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Don’t forget to visit the resplendent Imperial Apartments and a marvelous collection of Holy Roman Empire relics— you might even catch a glimpse of Charlemagne’s purported saber! Just across the street lies the Kunsthistorisches Museum, proudly housing the world’s fourth-largest painting collection. Join a local expert this morning to uncover why Vienna holds its rightful place among Europe’s legendary capitals — as both the Habsburg emperors’ seat and birthplace of renowned classical composers like Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and of course, the Strauss dynasty.

Then the afternoon is yours to explore Vienna’s hidden gems at your leisure. Walk around the Prater Park with its iconic Ferris wheel—featured in famous Cold War spy flicks—or delve into history at Schönbrunn Palace, a former royal abode now brimming with top-notch museums and exhibitions. Alternatively, lose yourself in picturesque side streets or savor traditional Viennese coffee along with delectable Sachertorte at one of Vienna’s quaint cafés.

Lastly, prepare for an extraordinary climax to your day: we’ve arranged a live classical recital on board to enjoy a transcendent evening as you savor sublime music in the very heart of the city where it was born. A perfect finale to a memorable day in Vienna!


Savor a relaxed morning onboard as we gracefully sail through Hungary’s serene, picturesque countryside heading toward Budapest.

Following lunch, we’ll embark on an exciting sightseeing adventure around this enchanting city, which truly justifies its nickname as the ‘Pearl of the Danube’. The two neighboring cities of Buda, encircling a hilltop fortress, and Pest, lined with expansive boulevards, have witnessed countless battles. The Ottomans held dominion here for 150 years before being expelled in the late 17th century, but their influence endures in the numerous thermal baths and hot springs scattered around Budapest – aptly coined the ‘City of Spas’. After ending the Ottoman era, Budapest flourished into an imperial metropolis under Habsburg rule, amassing extensive cultural and commercial riches. Castle Hill is a mini-replica of Budapest itself: nestled among its streets and squares lie two churches, seven museums, a theater, and breathtaking views across the river to the awe-inspiring neo-Gothic Parliament Building. Budapest’s infinite galleries, museums, exceptional Art Nouveau architecture, and superb shopping opportunities provide an eloquent conclusion to your Danube cruise experience.

The evening comes alive with a Gala Dinner and a traditional Hungarian folklore show. This evening comes alive with a Gala Dinner and a traditional Hungarian folklore show.


After breakfast this morning, the crew bids you farewell before you disembark the ship.



DEPOSIT:  $600 deposit  (Cruise terms and conditions are more strict than land tours.  Riviera requires name as soon as you deposit. Name changes for replacement incur $100 penalty. This is in addition to our standard cancellation terms.). Second deposit of 50% due March 30, and final payment due April 30, 2024.

INCLUDED:  Superior drink package (detailed onboard and valued at $179).  Full board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your final day; if you choose to travel with us on any of the full-day excursions by coach, a packed lunch will be provided. Anyone can choose to stay on the ship to have lunch in the restaurant.  Morning/afternoon tea and coffee.  All visits and excursions as mentioned.  Coach travel as mentioned.  The services of a Riviera River Cruises cruise director and concierge, AFS GTL.  €50 bonus to spend on board.

All staterooms on the William Wordsworth cruise ship come with standard amenities such as hotel-style twin beds that can be converted into a double or Queen-size bed. Each stateroom has bedside cabinets and deluxe bedding with pillows and fine linens. The en-suite bathroom includes a WC, shower, single-sink vanity, plush towels, and premium bath toiletries. Under the sink, there is storage space and a large mirror.

Emerald Deck $2995  (3 solo-use cabins)

The Emerald Deck suites offer a wonderful ambiance, spanning around 16 square meters (172 square feet) and featuring compact fixed windows. AFS has reserved 3 of these rooms for people that must have a single room.  These rooms tend to sell out first.   The ship’s Wellness Centre can be found on the Emerald Deck, boasting a luxurious Beauty Salon, including hairstyling, barber services, and a nail studio, alongside a well-equipped Fitness Room and an indulgent Spa with massage treatments.

Cabins 101 to 116 can be found on the Emerald Deck; they are all exterior staterooms furnished with a non-opening quarter-height window situated near the ceiling. These cabins are perfect for single travelers due to the absence of single supplement charges, subject to availability.

All passenger decks are equipped with air conditioning and can be accessed via a convenient elevator or a beautifully crafted wrought-iron staircase.

Ruby Deck  $3395  (7 cabins)

Boasting a spacious 17 square meters (183 square feet), this cruiser offers some of the most expansive accommodations found on any European river vessel. Artfully designed with top-notch specifications, the cruiser provides a luxurious experience akin to a chic boutique hotel, ensuring your comfort is never compromised. The pristine marble bathroom features an invigorating, fully glazed power shower with an oversized rain showerhead – perfect to unwind after a long day of exploration. The thoughtful design maximizes space while modern lighting, complimentary Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries, and plush towels make getting ready for your day an absolute delight. Additionally, suites on the Ruby Deck are equipped with French Balconies, offering panoramic floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that bring you even closer to the vibrant riverside scenery.


Diamond Deck  $3695  (7 cabins)

Spanning a spacious 17 square meters (183 square feet), this elegant cruiser boasts some of the most generous dimensions available on any European river voyage. Expertly designed and meticulously furnished to meet the highest standards akin to a chic boutique hotel, rest assured that your comfort will not be compromised at any stage. The pristine marble bathroom showcases a powerful, fully glazed shower with an oversized rain shower head, perfect for rejuvenation after a long day of sightseeing. Intelligent design provides ample room, while modern lighting, complimentary Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries, and sumptuous towels make getting ready for the day ahead an absolute delight. Suites located on the Diamond Deck feature French Balconies – expansive floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that bring riverside life even closer. Experience the opulence of Riviera Plus when staying in an upper-deck cabin or suite. Within your well-furnished cabin, discover a range of thoughtful extras that elevate your experience to exceptional.

Itineraries are prepared up to a year ahead and things can change.  Go on a river cruise, modifications may be made.  

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William Wordsworth is a recent addition to Riviera Travel’s river fleet, catering specifically to British travelers and being the largest provider of European river cruises in the UK. This ship, along with seven others, is named after renowned British authors and is described as “five-star” by the cruise line. Launched in 2018, William Wordsworth can accommodate 167 passengers and offers facilities tailored to solo travelers.

The deck plans of William Wordsworth boast stylish décor and a wide range of amenities. Unlike the prevailing minimalist trend, the ship features sustainable hardwoods, polished copper and brass fittings, as well as wrought iron elements. Notably, the elegant curved staircase leads to the marble-floored lobby, which benefits from natural light streaming in through the glass atrium above. This area encompasses the reception, shore excursion desk, and boutique. Throughout the rest of the ship, an understated elegance and spacious atmosphere prevail.

Despite its similar size to other ships, William Wordsworth boasts fewer passengers, allowing for dedicated spaces that are not allocated for additional cabins. These areas are utilized for onboard amenities, including a spa and wellness area complete with a gym, massage room, and nail and hair salon. On the sun deck, guests can enjoy a small splash pool and a putting green.

Mealtimes onboard comprise a buffet breakfast and lunch, as well as a four-course dinner, all served in the main restaurant. Seating four to six passengers per table, the restaurant can accommodate all guests in one sitting. Additionally, the ship offers the Bistro, a smaller alternative restaurant located at the back on the upper Diamond Deck, providing both indoor and outdoor seating. Chefs at the open kitchen within the Bistro create a signature menu based on seasonal ingredients, offering an intimate dining experience that can be reserved onboard at no extra charge.

On the same level, the Panorama Lounge and bar serves as the social hub of the ship and hosts nightly entertainment provided by the onboard musician. Complimentary self-service tea and coffee stations are also available for guests’ convenience.

As you are welcomed aboard the five-star pedigree is striking, with a remarkable feeling of spaciousness and harmonious design at every glance. The three fully air-conditioned accommodation decks, including notably the lower deck – are all accessed by an attractive glass lift for your convenience or the wide elegant wrought-iron staircase.

All staterooms on the William Wordsworth cruise ship come with standard amenities such as hotel-style twin beds that can be converted into a double or Queen-size bed. Each stateroom has bedside cabinets and deluxe bedding with pillows and fine linens. The en-suite bathroom includes a WC, shower, single-sink vanity, plush towels, and premium bath toiletries. Under the sink, there is storage space and a large mirror.

For entertainment, each stateroom is equipped with a 40-inch flat HDTV with satellite reception. The infotainment system offers Internet access and movies-on-demand. Additionally, there is a bow camera that provides real-time views. Guests can enjoy refreshments from the mini-bar and make tea or coffee using the provided facilities.

A glass-top round table with two armchairs is available for sitting and dining. There is also a mirrored dressing table with a pouf chair for convenience. The wardrobe provides hangers and drawers, and there is an electronic safe box for valuables. Other amenities include a hairdryer and a phone for communication. The air-conditioning in each stateroom can be individually controlled according to preference.

Guests can enjoy the evening turndown service, and the cabin furniture is made of hand-crafted hardwoods for a luxurious feel. Most cabins feature wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open to a railing, providing a French Balcony experience. The only exceptions are the Lower/Emerald Deck cabins, which have a fixed non-opening window located close to the ceiling.

All cabin bathrooms are elegantly designed with marble tops and glass showers featuring large rain shower heads. The bath cosmetics provided are from the well-known brand Crabtree and Evelyn.

Ship Facilities:

– Well-cooled public areas and cabins with individual heating controls.
– A stunning restaurant situated on the Main Deck, offering buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, and a four-course dinner.
– A lounge and bar where you can enjoy cocktails and an early risers’ breakfast.
– A bistro with an open kitchen, large panoramic windows, and outdoor seating.
– A lift between the Emerald, Ruby, and Diamond decks.
– Laundry service available.
– Spa and wellness area featuring a Nail Salon and Hairdressing Service.
– A boutique gift shop for purchasing holiday souvenirs.
– Reception area open 24 hours a day.
– A small splash pool and putting green on the Sun Deck.
– A 24-hour self-service station providing complimentary tea and coffee.