Half of every river cruise is spent on land, so APT has planned some special events for passengers in Europe. Cruise Weekly editor Louise Goldsbury checked out a classical music concert in a palace, a train journey back in time, and a 34km bike ride.
VIENNA – Forget a dusty hall or an old church, APT has scored access to the newly refurbished City Palace, official residence of the Liechenstein Royal Family. The evening starts with drinks in this spectacular venue, dripping in gold and crystal chandeliers.
This year, for a limited season, Vienna’s acclaimed Mozart Boys’ Choir will perform private concerts for APT guests. Even if you’re not a huge fan of classical music, this ‘Royal Experience’ program is not to be missed.
We enjoyed an hour of songs by several other singers, including one woman who got into some audience participation!
LINZ – Day trips to Salzburg (home of ‘The Sound of Music’) are usually taken by bus, but next year, APT will take passengers aboard the grand, restored Majestic Imperator, which was modelled on the Imperial Train built for Emperor Franz Josef I and Empress Elisabeth of Austria.
I thought this was a great taste of nostalgic luxury on rails, as well as an insight into the history and traditions of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Guests are served wine and canapés, along with music and views snow-capped mountains.
DURNSTEIN – Need some exercise after all the food and drinks? While the ship sailed to Melk, we were given the option to ride APT’s bikes between ports. The trip took three hours, with lots of breaks, and followed a flat path almost all the way. Only one hill was a challenge – most people walked up.
Beautiful scenery, cherry blossoms blooming, a lovely 22 degrees – the highlight of the trip. If you are confident on a bicycle and exercise more than occasionally, do it.
There may have been a cheeky stop at a pub.
Large beer: 6 euro. Danube view: priceless.