Just back from my first ever River Cruise ~

March 22, 2023

Rolling Down the River

In early March, I had the most amazing opportunity to embark on my first ever River Cruise down the Danube River from Vienna to Budapest. My host agency, Gifted Travel Network, hosted one of the first of it’s kind Group Travel Symposium’s while cruising on a beautiful luxury ship.


This trip was three-fold: First, to do some deep-dive education on the intricacies of Group Travel as well as to mastermind with some of the best in the travel business. To be on a small, intimate ship and have coffee, dinner and side chats all day long with fellow travel advisors, was worth it’s weight in gold. That is one of my favorite parts about working in the travel industry…they truly believe in Collaboration over Competition.


The second purpose of my trip, whilst cruising into the stunning city of Budapest (let me tell you, that is the way to arrive in Budapest!) was to attend the 2nd Annual ASTA River Cruise Expo. Essentially, all of the River Cruise companies bring and park their ships all along the banks of Budapest and open their doors to Travel Advisors. We go way beyond just touring the ships as we got to meet with the top Executives of every cruise line and test out the food and shore excursions so that we can truly understand the client experience from each and every line. I am coming home with not only a love of river cruising but also a wealth of information about it to help assist my clients with choosing the right river cruise line, itinerary and ship for you!


Lastly, while in every destination, I tour multiple hotels, meet with hotel managers and embark on the best tours and sights and attractions so that I can fully educate my clients on some of the most under-rated European destinations.


Travel just reinvigorates you and I’m so grateful for these incredible opportunities  


Destination Spotlight:



This was my second time visiting this city and I have always wanted to go back…and now I remember why! 


Vienna is the capital and largest city of Austria but it has a very approachable and down to earth vibe. The entire inner city is easy to navigate and entirely walkable.


You could spend days just admiring the baroque architecture of each and every building…one right after the other! But there are so many things to see and do like visiting all of the Imperial Palaces of the Hapsburg Family, attending a showstopping performance at the Opera House and touring the stunning St. Stephen’s Cathedral. 


My favorite way to explore a city (other than on foot) is through it’s food and drink. Vienna is nothing short of amazing on both of these parts. Sachertorte, their famous chocolate cake with layers of apricots, is not only delicious but also offers up quite the debate between Austrians on who developed the ‘original’ recipe. 


What pairs best with the Sachertorte? Coffee of course! Step foot into one of the only 5 traditional coffee houses in Vienna and you will understand the true coffee culture of this region.  


As if you need another reason to visit Vienna…the US dollar is very strong right now and everything was very reasonably priced. What a welcome reprieve from the exorbitant cost increases in Western Europe. 


If you haven’t had the chance to visit Vienna…you should absolutely add it to the list!