I sit here on my 11.5 hour flight back to Los Angeles in complete awe of what I have experienced over the past week. You see, just a few short weeks ago I was told that I would be putting on my explorer’s cap, packing a suitcase, and joining Adventures by Disney on their gorgeous Danube River Cruise!
Since this article, Adventures by Disney has added more European River Cruises to travel to; the Rhine, the Seine and their newest addition, the Rhône! Read more about the Rhône River Cruise at the end of this article.
Chugging down the 2nd-longest river in Europe, we would make port in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary. It’s every young person’s dream: to join the ranks of international explorers and see the world through a new lens. I was giddy. After eating the food, meeting the people, and absorbing the culture of these delightful destinations, I’ve done the (difficult) job of putting together a list of do’s and don’ts for your Adventures by Disney river cruise travels.
Do: Get to know your Adventure Guides.
Every Adventures by Disney itinerary has a fleet of trusty guides to lead you through the trials and tribulations of life while on vacation. In some cases, your Adventure Guides are even locals that have grown up alongside the customs and cultures of the destinations you’re visiting. Not only are these magnificent human beings absolute experts in the regions and activities, but they’re also a ton of fun to be around, too. Shoutout to Betti, Veronika, Stephanie, Janae, and Danny in the photos above. They truly turned a top-notch vacation into a world-class adventure.
Don’t: Be shy!
Sure, everyone gets a bit of social anxiety at one point or another, but the fabulous thing about the Danube River Cruise is that with up to 180 passengers on board, you become very acquainted with everyone. Every meal on board is a chance to make a new friend, and every activity is an opportunity to make lifelong memories. In fact, this was my very first time traveling solo and I was, quite frankly, terrified. I’m pleased to say that after six nights onboard the AmaViola, I now have friends across the entire country that I know I’ll keep in touch with for years to come.
Do: Go on the excursions!
This is your time to be adventurous! From ice skating in Vienna, to a trek through Schönbrunn Palace, to hiking up to the abandoned ruins of Durnstein Castle—everything is planned for you, and I mean everything. From outings, excursions, and meals to nightly activities and lounge entertainment, there is never a dull or empty moment to dwell on. Not to mention, your friendly and knowledgeable Adventure Guides will always be there to make you feel like family. This is truly the Disney difference. No worries, just pure adventure!
Don’t: Plan on sleeping in until noon.
As an avid sleep connoisseur myself, it’s a tough concept to break out of, but I can guarantee you that the early rise is well-worth the adventure ahead! Plus, isn’t that what the plane home is for?
Do: Research the itinerary before you go!
Having the legacy knowledge of why blocks of marzipan are transformed into faces in Passau, Germany, and why salt is so important in Salzburg, Austria is well worth the extra homework. Indeed, Adventures by Disney will even do some homework for you! Before my arrival in Munich I was treated to a handy brochure detailing all of the activities to choose from, as well as an entire guidebook on the regions we were to visit over the course of the itinerary. With so many diverse regions you’ll be visiting, it’ll enhance the experience exponentially with a basic understanding of the people and culture.
Don’t: Feel the need to plan … anything.
Of course, be sure to circle any must-sees during your alone time, but that’s the beauty of an Adventures by Disney trip; you can see the world without the stress and hassle of pre-trip planning. Hakuna matata—say bye-bye to vacation anxiety!
Do: Eat all the food and try something new.
Anyone who’s been on a cruise before knows this fact: you will not go hungry. With cuisine inspired by the current port and a plethora of appetizers, soups, entrees, and desserts to choose from, you’re going to have some deliciously difficult decisions to make. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are always provided onboard the AmaViola, but there are also opportunities to dine off of the ship. In fact, while in Salzburg, we dined with the entire ship at the oldest restaurant in the world, Stiftskeller St. Peter, which was founded in the year 803. (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is said to have been served at the restaurant a number of times!)
Don’t: Hold back on the food that you sample …
Eat all the foods offered and try new things! Now is the time to set expectations so you can enjoy your travels. (If you do decide to watch what you eat, the chef onboard can cater to most dietary restrictions. Now that’s service.)
Do: Take photos.
As a token anti-millennial, I’m always trying to break the always-on stereotype and stay off of my phone, but with so many must-see sights and sounds to take in, you’re going to want to share these with the folks back home. Plus, when you’re back home and in the swing of things, wouldn’t it be nice to remember a time when your biggest problem was deciding between a visit to the Salzburg salt mines or taking a walk through the adorable town of Monsee, Austria? *Sigh*
Don’t: Spend every waking moment taking photos.
I know that I’m contradicting myself here, but the most important thing is to be in the moment. Take time to capture the memories that truly matter to you, but keep in mind that observing is different than connecting with your surroundings. Invoke your senses to smell the air, feel the ground beneath your feet, taste that chocolate croissant, and smile at the people beside you.
Inspired to travel the world? Plan your Adventures by Disney getaway today. (But be sure to call me first … I’m already planning my next itinerary!)
New European Adventure: Rhône River Cruise
In 2020, Adventures by Disney will offer more European river cruise sailings than ever before, including a brand-new vacation on the Rhône River!
For the first time ever, Adventures by Disney guests will sail through southern France including Provence, a diverse region rich with cultural, artistic, historical and culinary delights.
During the Rhône River vacation, Adventurers will explore ancient cities, quaint hilltop villages, fairytale castles, rolling hills of lavender, romantic vineyards and much more. Très magnifique!