Leaving the Budapest airport, we boarded a large bus sporting the Uniworld logo and headed for our ship, the River Beatrice, docked on the Buda side of the Danube. To get there we had to pass through urban gritty areas and truthfully, many resembled the slums of Chicago or Detroit. We were taken aback as we drove for several miles down streets lined with communist- era gray concrete apartment buildings intermixed with shabby or abandoned factories covered with graffiti. i didn’t get any photos as the bus was zipping along through the rain and the skies were very dark. The Ramblers wondered for a moment if this cruise had been the right choice, however, we couldn’t turn back now.
Although the area was still industrial when we got to the Danube , we could see several cruise boats docked along the river, and crossed over an impressive bridge. When the bus stopped, a member of the crew was waiting for us by the gangplank to welcome us.
He took the picture I used for my header. Once we got on-board, check-in was easy. On the Beatrice they made photo ID’s that were scanned every time we boarded or disembarked. I thought this was a pretty good idea, providing both security and a way to keep track of the passengers as well. As we walked through the door we were greeted by a festive gingerbread house and an assortment of fruit and cookies.
We found our luggage waiting for us in our small (150 sq. ft.) but very tastefully laid out and furnished cabin with a very comfortable bed and a picture window that looked out on a greenish-gray Danube. Our cabin #315 had a large old-fashioned brass key. We liked it but some would have preferred a key card. We thought it brought some old-world charm. After some time to freshen up and explore the boat, we headed for dinner.
Dinner is served at 7 pm on the Beatrice, although they don’t turn anyone away if they are late. Cruisers included both couples and individuals traveling alone, mainly women on this trip. Because there is no fixed seating, one meets a variety of interesting people on the trip. Many river cruise lines encourage single travelers by waiving the single supplement.
The table settings were elegant with complete with Christmas poinsettias
and we had our choice of wines with each meal, both white and red. My husband doesn’t drink alcohol, so while I tasted a variety of local wines as we traveled the river, he enjoyed orange juice or a soft drink. We felt very much at home in the Hungarian capital as we enjoyed an excellent meal.