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Budapest Illumination Cruises No Longer a Given on River Sailings

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I noticed it had been dropped from Avalon...thanks for the confirmation.  I have been looking at going on a local line for the tour.

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Posted (edited)

Awww that’s a shame. The illumination cruise was my favorite thing of the Danube Cruise. Good thinking @Daisi for taking it on your own. If you’re getting it from Viator did you notice that they’re running an ad here on Cruise Critic for ten percent off? Code July 10

Edited by Got2Cruise

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Thanks @Got2Cruise, however we won't be sailing until 2020...I tend to uh...overplan a bit.:)  

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We were in Budapest on the Scenic Jade on 6/23 for the last night of our Amsterdam to Budapest cruise. (We had been originally booked on the Jewel but had a ship swap to the Jade due to a broken lock.) Anyway, at dinner on the last night we were discussing the tragic accident between the Viking ship and the tourist boat that had occurred a month prior. Our waiter heard us talking and weighed in with his own thoughts about the matter. One thing he said was that the river boat captains were unwilling to do the nighttime illuminations cruises because of the arrest of the Viking captain.  I have no idea how accurate that was but thought I’d mention it.

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Received our documents for our upcoming AMALea cruise.  In the booklet it says due to recent events AMA has made the decision to suspend the illumination cruise in Budapest until further notice.   Very disappointing but understandable.  I’m hoping they provide access to one of the local illumination tours. 

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We were treated to the illumination sail by the night of Jan. 1 of this year as the Uniworld SS Maria Theresa was repositioned from its dock in the city center to the dock downriver past the Parliament Building for disembarkation the next day. Spectacular. Now we feel very lucky to have experienced it.

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There is something here  that just doesn't compute. 

 

The change in river regulations that banned turning around in front of Parliment was made in January according to the article and have since been lifted.

The collision occurred in May. 

The article is datelined July.

When did the cruise lines stop doing the illuminations cruises?

 

I distinctly recall in 2017 cruising up river well beyond Parliment, actually beyond the swim venue for the FINA World Championships, before turning. We then cruised downriver to the vicinity of the Market before making our turn for the return.

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Lucky enough to do this twice, once arriving in Budapest with Viking, once departing with Vantage.

 

It was beautiful both times, but considering the circumstances, an understandable decision.  To a non-boater, it looks very crowded on the river, and as fast as the current can be, problematic.

 

If future cruises have the time, there are plenty of the small boats you could try on your own, they aren't that expensive.  I would think that some of the 'fancier' lines would include this, as it is such a great experience.

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We were on Avalon ending in Budapest, and our cruise director had said we'd be doing an illumination cruise on the evening of our overnight before disembarkation.  She came back later in the day and said that we wouldn't be doing it after all, not sure if it was Avalon's decision or the Captain's.  We made plans to do it on our own during the week of our post cruise stay, but the weather was terrible for it so we nixed it.  That was the night of the horrible accident, and we realized just how heavily trafficked that part of the river is.  

 

 

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9 hours ago, CPT Trips said:

There is something here  that just doesn't compute. 

 

The change in river regulations that banned turning around in front of Parliment was made in January according to the article and have since been lifted.

The collision occurred in May. 

The article is datelined July.

When did the cruise lines stop doing the illuminations cruises?

 

The collision occurred on May 29. The Viking captain was ordered to be arrested on June 1. I was in Budapest on June 23 when our Scenic waiter said the captains of the longships were refusing to do the illuminations cruises. That narrows it down.

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We sailed Deggendorf to Bucharest on Avalon June 20 to July 3.

As we were sailing down river, but docked facing up river, turning around was always necessary. 

We left Budapest in the evening, sailed up river past Margaret Island (passing the illuminated Parliament) and turned around. The cruise director provided narration .

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The first time we cruised with Scenic we started from Budapest and actually left our mooring just after dinner so basically did the cruise by default. The second time we cruised in the evening after arriving and mooring during the day, this was the end of the cruise so a special event and a superb experience. The final decision about where and when the boat moves and travels is the Captains regardless of what the company wants, his or hers expertise is the final arbiter. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Budapest authorities effectively caused all evening cruises to be stopped so how we did it during our first cruise could be seen incorporated in more of the cruise companies agendas. I completely understand why the Viking captain was arrested he was in complete charge of the vessel. CA

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11 hours ago, CPT Trips said:

There is something here  that just doesn't compute. 

 

The change in river regulations that banned turning around in front of Parliment was made in January according to the article and have since been lifted.

The collision occurred in May. 

The article is datelined July.

When did the cruise lines stop doing the illuminations cruises?

 

 

I noticed on the 2019 Avalon cruises it wasn't listed under excursions for Budapest.  I was thinking that maybe it was one of the extras you found out about when you did your booking and could book additional excursions.  Now I'm guessing that they just didn't provide them.  It was something we really wished to do, and as we will be having extra days in Budapest, I was planning on going then.  Figured if we saw it 2x, no problem, if we missed it....:(

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12 hours ago, Canal archive said:

The final decision about where and when the boat moves and travels is the Captains regardless of what the company wants, his or hers expertise is the final arbiter.

 

When we were on our river cruise last year (September, low water) we were told by our captain that the river authorities fully control both the Danube and the Rhine rivers, and captains are told when and where to arrive, berth, and depart.  

 

We did the Budapest illuminations cruise, a trip highlight.  Our ship was docked at the downstream end of Budapest, during dinner we cruised slowly upstream to Margit Island.  Then around 9pm, after dinner, we slowly drifted downstream enjoying the lights and reflections.    

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This is true but if a captain feels that a manoeuvre requested puts his or her ship and passengers in danger he or she can refuse to carry it out. CA

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Fortunately it is possible to see both sides of the river beautifully illuminated without a cruise.

Easy and a delight to walk along the river pathways and cross the many bridges if you so desire. Public transport especially the old yellow tram that runs to parliament and along the Danube is also nice to do day or night. 

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Posted (edited)

Fear not - one can still book a candlelit (illumination) dinner cruise (or sans dinner) on Legenda (their dock is very close to where Viking ships dock). We booked the dinner cruise in November and it was great!

https://legenda.hu/en

 

Edited by dogs4fun

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4 hours ago, dogs4fun said:

Fear not - one can still book a candlelit (illumination) dinner cruise (or sans dinner) on Legenda (their dock is very close to where Viking ships dock). We booked the dinner cruise in November and it was great!

https://legenda.hu/en

 

 

This is the company we are looking at.  We won't go for the dinner cruise as I have food allergies, but I'm still a bit worried about taking public transit from the hotel & back.  I know it's probably safe, but we don't live in a city, and not used to being out without a car at night.  

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45 minutes ago, Daisi said:

 

This is the company we are looking at.  We won't go for the dinner cruise as I have food allergies, but I'm still a bit worried about taking public transit from the hotel & back.  I know it's probably safe, but we don't live in a city, and not used to being out without a car at night.  

We used public transportation in Budapest as we stayed for a week. The metro & trams are perfectly safe - even used the bus twice. Check the location of your hotel in relation to the dock - you can easily find the quickest route to/from your hotel. Taxi is also an option.

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19 minutes ago, dogs4fun said:

We used public transportation in Budapest as we stayed for a week. The metro & trams are perfectly safe - even used the bus twice. Check the location of your hotel in relation to the dock - you can easily find the quickest route to/from your hotel. Taxi is also an option.

 

 

Oh, I'm sure it's perfectly safe,  I've been on TripAdvisor's site for Budapest bothering them about routes etc.  Just when you live in a very rurral area where there is no public transit, you tend to be more cautious...  

 

I had been thinking of getting passes for the Hop on Hop off buss', but they talked me into using the public transit.  We used it in Amsterdam - first time we had ever been on a tram or bus.  It's just getting used to being out of our comfort zone...:)

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Can understand caution/confusion with public transport in a new place, however in many European cities it is very user friendly and efficient.

We have used hop on buses once on our 1st trip to Paris a long time ago.

We found it ok but have not used them anyway else, even though they seem to be global.

Each to their own of course but traffic jams and generally slow or long waits at bus stops, and the cost, we avoid.

I know the staff selling the product on the streets have to make a living and I sympathise with them.

Last trip to Budapest in December we had a conversation with a young man selling tickets he was from Yemen.

 

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I read about this in our newspapers last week here in Melbourne, Australia.

 

Apparently it is nothing to do with the cruise ship captains or lines, but a new rule brought in by the powers that be in Budapest, due to overcrowding on the rivers.

 

I can't understand how Crystal can still be doing it if what I read was true.

 

We are going to Budapest by train after taking a Rhine Cruise, so were always planning on doing our own thing with Legenda.  They appear to get excellent reviews.

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7 hours ago, pully8 said:

Can understand caution/confusion with public transport in a new place, however in many European cities it is very user friendly and efficient.

We have used hop on buses once on our 1st trip to Paris a long time ago.

We found it ok but have not used them anyway else, even though they seem to be global.

Each to their own of course but traffic jams and generally slow or long waits at bus stops, and the cost, we avoid.

I know the staff selling the product on the streets have to make a living and I sympathise with them.

Last trip to Budapest in December we had a conversation with a young man selling tickets he was from Yemen.

 

Totally agree with this. We did a HOHO once and never again. Too slow and costly. We enjoy using public transportation in a new place because it's cheap and also it gives you a glimpse of the locals going about their everyday lives. If you're nervous you can usually find info online about how it works in that city, or even a helpful YouTube video. For us, usually the biggest issue is figuring out where the stop is. We've been known to get on trams or buses going the wrong way, lol. Also taxis in Budapest were quite reasonably priced.

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