Competition: win a Blue Danube river cruise with Riviera Travel - COMPETITION NOW CLOSED

Author: Kaye Holland

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Discover how you can win an eight-day Blue Danube river cruise for two onboard MS William Wordsworth.

The Danube is a popular destination for river cruises flowing, as it does, through 10 countries – more than any other river in the world.

Make no mistake: few rivers can match the sheer variety that the Danube has to offer and the good news for you, dear reader, is that we have teamed up with Riviera Travel to offer one lucky winner an amazing eight-day voyage for two along the mighty Danube departing on August 11, 2023.

Keep reading to find out more and be in with a chance of winning…

Budapest is your first port of call with Riviera Travel. Credit: Shutterstock

Your itinerary

Day one: Arrival in Budapest

You’ll fly to Budapest, where a coach will whisk you to the William Wordsworth and you will be welcomed onboard by the friendly crew.

There’s always a sense of expectancy and excitement on the eve of a cruise and, after an excellent dinner in the stylish restaurant, the conversation is sure to revolve around the delights ahead.

Day two: Esztergom

Overnight you will have cruised upstream to Esztergom, one of Hungary’s oldest towns, a royal capital during medieval times and today the seat of the country’s archbishop.

Enjoy a guided tour of the famous neoclassical basilica, standing sentinel over the Danube on the border with Slovakia, and boasting one of the world’s largest altarpieces and a wealth of priceless religious artefacts.

The castle is also worth exploring – it was the seat of government until the Ottomans invaded in the 16th century.

Nestling below are myriad atmospheric churches resonating with the enchanting sounds of choir; this is the best of provincial Hungary and is little changed since Habsburg times.

As you enjoy your first lunch on board, William Wordsworth will gently leave Esztergom, affording a fascinating opportunity to compare the different landscapes, towns and villages of Hungary on one river bank and of Slovakia on the other.

Gaze at the stunning Melk Abbey which sits alongside the Danube. Credit: Shutterstock

Day three: Bratislava

Spend the morning exploring Slovakia’s fast-emerging capital city, Bratislava, on a guided tour. Until recently swathed in the drab uniformity of Communism, the city has rekindled the splendour of its imperial past in its beautifully restored old town. Equally impressive is the imposing 17th-century castle commanding expansive views across the Danube.

In the afternoon, cruise into Lower Austria, a peaceful, bucolic region and home to some of the country’s best wines. By now the stresses of everyday life will seem distant as you absorb the ever-changing scenes you’ll pass: children playing on the river banks, young couples strolling arm in arm like generations before them, vignerons carefully pruning their vines, and cobbled quaysides lined by half-timbered buildings.

Marvel as the captain skilfully navigates the ship along the serene river and through locks whose mechanisms never cease to fascinate, as William Wordsmith cruises towards Dürnstein during dinner.

Day four: Durnstein and Melk

Durnstein is known principally for the ice-blue tower of its abbey, which dominates the view, and the castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192 after being shipwrecked on his return from the crusades.

In the morning, you’ll take a guided walking tour to explore this memorable city further. Set on a rocky outcrop high above the river, the castle is now ruined, but it’s easy to imagine England’s legendary monarch seething with frustration far from home while waiting for his family to raise funds to pay his ransom.

After lunch, visit the remarkable Melk Abbey. Nothing quite prepares you for your first sight of this enormous honey-coloured building, standing resplendent above the surrounding countryside.

Originally a castle, it was gifted to the Benedictine Order in the 11th century and, although reconstructed in Baroque style during the 18th century, it has remained a monastic school and monastery ever since.

The Abbey is renowned for its 214-yard-long Emperor’s Gallery lined with portraits, many fine rooms and an ornate library. After re-joining the ship, dinner is served during the final part of your cruise upstream through the pretty Nibelungengau, immortalised in the music of Wagner.

Discover Salzburg with Riviera Travel. Credit: Shutterstock

Day five: Salzburg or Linz

Reaching Linz, you will have the choice to stay in the city and take a guided walking tour, exploring its charming baroque old town.

At its heart you’ll see one of the finest squares in Austria, lined by grand pastel-coloured facades with an impressive central Trinity Column of white marble, crowned by a gilded sunburst. There’s also the fortress-like castle, built high above the city by Emperor Friedrich III, now a museum housing a fine collection of nineteenth and 20th-century artworks.

Alternatively, Riviera Travel will drive you to Salzburg, once an independent state whose archbishops turned it into one of the most sophisticated cities north of the Alps.

Dominating the skyline is one of Europe’s largest stone fortresses, the Hohensalzburg, while beneath its walls church domes and spires rise from the delightful Altstadt, or Old Town.

Then there’s the wonderful Hellbrunn Palace and the splendid formal gardens of the Mirabell Palace – a must for horticulture fans.

Discover some of the city’s main sights in the company of an expert local guide, then explore as you wish. Everywhere there are sights associated with the city’s most famous resident, Mozart, who played the harpsichord aged three, composed rudimentary music at five and wrote his first opera when he was 11!

Day six: Vienna

For many, the visit to Vienna will be one of the highlights of the cruise. The city’s very name provokes images of elegance, fine music, wide boulevards, Baroque architecture and a rich tapestry of peoples who were drawn here from all corners of Europe.

For 200 years until the First World War, Vienna was the cultural centre of Europe and many of the showpiece buildings, galleries, aristocratic palaces and magnificent churches you see today were built to reflect its imperial status.

The city’s most iconic monument is the breathtaking Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, whose striking multi-coloured roof and huge Gothic South Tower dominate the skyline.

There’s also the colossal Hofburg, the former royal court that is now home to a collection of museums, the Crown Jewels and the Spanish Riding Schoo. Then there are the lavish Imperial Apartments and an outstanding collection of relics of the Holy Roman Empire, including, allegedly, the sabre of Charlemagne himself. The Kunsthistorisches Museum, which contains the world’s fourth largest collection of paintings, is just across the road.

In the morning, join a tour with a local guide offering insights into why Vienna is one of Europe’s great capitals – the seat of the Habsburg emperors and home to some of the world’s finest classical composers, including Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and, of course, a whole family of Strausses.

During the afternoon you’re free to explore as you wish. Take a stroll in the Prater, notable for the huge Ferris wheel that features in several Cold War spy thrillers. Or, for something quite different, visit the Schönbrunn Palace, a former royal residence now housing a range of world-class museums and galleries.

Perhaps, though, just take a stroll through Vienna’s atmospheric side streets, or enjoy a coffee and a slice of delicious Sachertorte in one of the lovely coffee houses.

As for the evening, Riviera Travel has arranged truly the ‘icing on the cake’: no visit to Vienna is complete without a live musical experience, so after dinner, enjoy a classical recital on board. To hear this exquisite music played in the city of its creation makes a wonderful finale to the day.

In Budapest, the Museum of Fine Arts rewards a visit. Credit: Shutterstock

Day seven: Budapest

Enjoy a leisurely morning as you cruise majestically through Hungary’s peaceful pastoral landscape towards Budapest.

After lunch, there’s a sightseeing tour of this captivating city, which truly lives up to its reputation as the ‘Pearl of the Danube’. The twin cities of Buda, built around the hilltop fortress, and Pest, with its wide boulevards, were fought over through the centuries. The Ottomans ruled here for 150 years before being ousted in the late 17th century, but their legacy lives on in the many thermal baths fed by hot springs, giving rise to Budapest’s other sobriquet – the ‘City of Spas’.

After the end of Ottoman rule, Budapest became an imperial city of the Habsburg Empire, attracting great cultural and commercial wealth. Castle Hill is Budapest in microcosm: two churches, seven museums and a theatre among streets and squares with their own special atmosphere and a dramatic view across the river to the awe-inspiring neo-Gothic Parliament Building.

Budapest’s endless galleries, museums, outstanding Art Nouveau architecture and excellent shopping offer a fittingly elegant end to your Danube cruise.

This evening’s gala dinner closes with a Hungarian folklore show, giving you time to bid farewell to your travelling companions and reflect on all the inspirational places, sights and sounds you have experienced on a truly ‘imperial’ cruise.

Day eight: return home

Sadly it’s time to transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.

William Wordsworth is beautifully illuminated throughout. Credit: Riviera Travel

The Ship

Upon boarding William Wordsmith, you’ll enter a gleaming, richly coloured 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, utilising sustainable rich hardwoods, gleaming brass and polished copper, sparkling glass and intricate wrought iron.

The ship is beautifully illuminated throughout – including the exterior and imaginatively furnished with harmonious colour schemes, all designed to create a serene atmosphere reflective of the golden age of cruising.

Meanwhile, William Wordsmith’s restaurants rival 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 169 guests (similar size vessels may carry well over 190 passengers).

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 16 square metres (172 square feet), with upgrades available to ‘Superior’ and ‘Deluxe’ accommodation available.

What's included

The prize package includes:

*Return travel between the UK and the ship's port
*Seven nights’ accommodation aboard MS William Wordsworth, based on two people sharing a standard Middle Deck Cabin
*All meals on board from dinner on the day of arrival to breakfast on the day of departure
*Captain’s dinner
*Daily excursions as advertised
*Complimentary on-board tea and coffee
*Complimentary on-board Wi-Fi
*Port charges and airport taxes

The prize does not include travel between the winner’s home and airport, travel insurance, gratuities, alcoholic beverages, food and drink, personal expenditure or incidental costs, other than where mentioned above. It is the responsibility of the winner to ensure they and their guest each has a valid passport and travel insurance and obtain any necessary visas for their trip. The winner and their guest must adhere to the government’s travel advice. All elements of the prize are subject to availability, non-transferable and there are no cash alternatives.

To be in with a shot of winning this fantastic Blue Danube river cruise with Riviera Travel, simply complete the form above… good luck!

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Terms and Conditions

Conditions of entry

• The Promoter is Riviera Travel, who is responsible for all elements of prize fulfilment.

• World of Cruising is the administrator of the promotion.

• This prize draw (the "Promotion") is only open to UK residents, excluding employees and agents of (a) the Promoter or (b) any company connected with the production or distribution of this Promotion, as well as their relatives or members of their family or household.

• Entrants must be aged 18 years or over at the time of entry. Proof of eligibility must be provided upon request. By entering the Promotion you are deemed to accept and be bound by these terms and conditions.

• The Promotion is free to enter and entrants can enter online at Only one entry will be accepted per person or email address.

  • The winner must comply with all travel guidelines and restrictions as should be prevalent at the time of travel and must comply with Riviera Travel's booking conditions.
  • By entering you agree to your details being passed to and processed by Riviera Travel in line with its privacy policy and, if you provide your consent, to receive emails, post and phone communications from Riviera Travel.

• The closing time/date for the Promotion is 23:59 GMT on 28th February 2023. The Closing Date of the Promotion cannot be extended.

• There will be one winner who will be selected in a random draw by an independent judge from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified by the Promoter by email and required to further discuss the prize by telephone or email within one week of the Closing Date and will be given details of how to accept their prize. Failure by the winner to accept the prize in the manner specified within 14 days of the Promoter's email will make any claim invalid and the Promoter will then select another winner (again selected randomly in a draw) from all remaining eligible entries who will be contacted as above.

• The prize is an eight-day Blue Danube river cruise for two onboard MS William Wordsworth cruise for two departing on August 11, 2023. Home to airport/airport to home transfers not included.

Prize excludes service charges, beverage/dining gratuities and other personal expenditures. Prize is not transferable or redeemable for cash and cannot be combined with any other promotions or offers. Changes cannot be made to reservation once it has been confirmed. Additional amenities such as the beverage/dining package are available at standard rates at time of booking. Subject to Riviera Travel's standard payment and cancellation guidelines.

SPECIAL NOTES – • Travel insurance is not included. Any other expenses not identified in this terms incurred in connection with the prize will be the sole responsibility of the prize winner and their companion. The holiday must be taken on the dates stated above. Validity of the prize cannot be extended.

• The prize winner will be responsible for supplying valid passports and, where necessary, for obtaining appropriate vaccinations and inoculations. It is strongly recommended that travellers take out adequate travel insurance.

• Riviera Travel cannot be responsible for unforeseen cancellations or changes in dates or times of flights or cancellation of the holiday due to circumstances beyond its reasonable control.

• Riviera Travel cannot be responsible for entries that are lost, damaged or incomplete.

• Gifts, prizes and other promotional items are not transferable, may not be re-sold or assigned, and are subject to availability. The Promoter reserves the right in its sole discretion to substitute any such gift, prize or item with a gift, prize or item of equal value.


The determination and decision of the Promoter on all matters shall be final and no promotional correspondence or discussion will be entered into. The Promoter reserves the right in its reasonable discretion: (a) to disqualify any claimant, competitor or nominee whose conduct is contrary to the spirit of the rules or the intention of the promotion and to declare as void any or all of their claims or entries based on such conduct; (b) to declare as void any claims or entries resulting from any printing, production and/or distribution errors (including but not limited to any error(s) on any website, any game cards and/or other printed materials) or where there has been error(s) in any aspect of the preparation for or conduct of the promotion materially affecting the result of the promotion or the number of claimants or the value of claims; (c) to add to or to waive any rules on reasonable notice; and/or (d) to cancel the promotion or any part of it at any stage in the event of circumstances beyond the Promoter's reasonable control.

• No entries will be accepted in bulk, from agents or third parties. One entry will be submitted into the draw per entrant.

• The Promoter reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to modify, suspend or cancel the Promotion should virus, bugs, tampering, fraud or other causes beyond the reasonable control of the Promoter corrupt or hinder the administration, security or proper play of the Promotion.

• The Promotion and these terms and conditions, and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with them, shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law and any applicable provisions of mandatory local law.

About Kaye Holland

Kaye is a London-based wordsmith who has written for a range of publications including The Times, The Independent, The I, Culture Trip, The Sun, and ABTA among others. In June 2022, Kaye joined the Real Response Media where she looks – together with Lucy Abbott – after the World of Cruising website. Want to get in touch? Kaye can be reached at: [email protected]