At worst, had we missed our ship at the first port, a taxi ride would have gotten us to the next port, Regensburg, over lovely German countryside. I secretly smiled at the prospect, though we ended up seeing plenty during our Danube stops. That's one of the beauties of a river cruise: The stops come one after another, rather quickly compared to an ocean cruise.
The travel nightmares faded as we visited the medieval city of Regensburg, with its 12th century stone bridge and towering structures built by merchants of eras past. Stops also included Passau, where the Danube, Ilz and Inn Rivers meet. We opted for a side tour on a separate boat through the Danube Gorge, where towering cliffs loom over the river, and Kelheim, where we sampled beer which has been brewed at the Weltenburg Abbey since 1050.
In Vienna, the city's easily navigable metro system could be accessed a pleasant walk from the ship to the city's center. Another stop was Melk in Austria, and finally Budapest, whose breathtaking sites are too countless to list. The Central Market Hall is one stop that shouldn't be missed.
Along the Danube, the ship maneuvered through a series of locks that raise it to the high waters at the continental divide, before lowering it stage by stage as the Danube works its way to the Black Sea.
The return journey from Budapest to Amsterdam to Boston was trouble-free, no cancellations.
That was not the case on our previous trip to Europe.
When returning from Italy, we were told by the airline at London's Heathrow Airport that our confirmed flight to Boston had been canceled. The clerk handed us a plastic bag with overnight toiletries and chits for a hotel, bus rides and meals before the next day's flight.
She didn't mention the European Union's Compensation Claims program for such instances, but a British passenger who had been scheduled on the same flight brought it our attention. In the end, we were mailed a check for $1,700 for our trouble. No need to access the insurance that time.
If You Go...
TRAVEL INSURANCE: Squaremouth.com offers quote estimates from a variety of companies.
VIKING RIVER CRUISES: http://www.vikingrivercruises.com