Walking along the Danube with our suitcases in hand we hopped onboard our first ship, Avalon Envision. We were welcomed by attentive staff as we entered the modern and stylish reception, which sparkled as we checked in. First stop the bar! The Avalon lounge was sophisticated yet cosy. The seats were spread out, which is always an advantage in these covid times. After a late-night tipple, we checked into our Panorama Suite. What is unique to Avalon, is that their beds face the Juliet balcony, allowing you to enjoy the city of Budapest from the comfort of your bed! And the beds were defiantly comfy, with extra pillows in the cupboards, making it difficult to leave the next morning.
The next morning we made our way down to the dining hall for a buffet breakfast, where we were spoilt for choice. Fresh yogurt and pastries, along with the classic fry up were available, plus the chef was making omelettes.
Before we attended the CLIA Conference, we decided to walk along the Danube to take in as many sites as we could. Seeing the Citadella, Buda Castle plus some quirky cafes. At the conference we learnt how river cruising was striving for more sustainability. Namely Arosa’s new ship, will use hybrid technology, enabling their ships to use battery power.
Time for lunch onboard SS Beatrice. Each UNIWORLD ship has its own unique decor, to match the locations they are sailing through. The SS Beatrice was stunning, with a grand chandelier in pride of place, high above the entrance. The dining tables each had a tulip in the middle which I thought was a lovely touch, as they are my favourite flowers. We tried traditional Hungarian goulash and were served by staff who knew their wines!
We ended the day with an exquisite meal onboard Avalon. Five courses of flavour! My favourite was the puddings of course, where we tried traditional mini-Hungarian desserts. To end the night the Avalon team organised a local band to play, singing all the greats, from ABBA to Beyonce. My heels did not stay on long!
To start our second day in Budapest, we headed out to experience the remaining river cruise ships. My favourite of the day was APT Vega with its modern lounge, well designed outdoor space plus an Irish bar, which shows all Sky Sports programmes including the F1. We were on APT Vega just before their first sailing and you could sense all the staff were really proud, deservedly so!
In our free time we explored the Buda side of the city, walking up to the castle and enjoying a drink at the Fisherman's Bastion. Which offered stunning views of the parliament buildings however, very cold! It was a good job they provided blankets. After a quick tram journey, we headed onboard Scenic Amber. The cabins were stunning, I was really impressed with their balcony area. The innovative design made you feel like you were outside just by gliding down the window. Plus, we had our own butler! We only used Marek to ask for the Wi-Fi password, which we later found was on the TV the whole time! There was even a pool on the top deck, however I didn’t fancy a late-night dip!
On our last day we explored Budapest, visiting the parliament buildings. We enjoyed an evening meal in the Pavilion leading towards the astonishing St. Stephen's Basilica, which was beautiful lite at night. I would defiantly recommend a river cruise, especially along the Danube to enjoy the beautiful city of Budapest.