Vienna Danube Cruises in Winter, Christmas and New Year’s Eve

City sightseeing cruises, Christmas and New Year’s Eve party sail on the Danube (Donau) in Vienna (Wien) during December and the advent season.

DDSG Blue Danube
© DDSG Blue Danube / Dieter Lampl

DDSG offers sightseeing cruises on the Danube River from Vienna on all winter days with special excursions and even multiple-day cruises during the advent Christmas market period. Brunch, lunch, dinner and Christmas theme cruises are frequent during most of December. Silvester party cruises welcome the New Year to Wien while partying on the Donau. Twin-City Liner cruises to Bratislava, excursion tours to the Wachau, Melk and other sights near Vienna, as well as multiple-day cruises, operate mostly during the advent period. Conveniently for tourists, some boats still depart after Christmas too but in January, February and March Danube river cruises are mostly limited to Vienna city sightseeing cruises.

City Sightseeing Cruises on the Danube in Vienna

Classic city panorama cruises depart at least four times daily for 75-minute sightseeing cruises on the Danube Canal in central Vienna. The Donaukanal is the Danube Canal that follows the medieval flow of the Danube slightly east of the old city – centuries ago the main flow of the river was redirected to flow straight to the east of Vienna. This cruise route is basically from Schwedenplatz to the Nußdorf Sluice Gate and back.

Food and drinks are available on all boats but these city panorama excursions are not the tradition meal or event cruises. Advance reservations are not required for individuals.

Meal and Advent Event Cruises on the Donau from Wien

A variety of meal and advent cruises are possible on the Danube from Vienna mostly during the advent period. A few cruises are also available in November, around Valentine’s Day in February, St Patrick’s Day in March, Easter and of course New Year’s Eve. From April the cruise schedule is again much busier.

Brunch and lunch Danube cruises are mostly on advent Saturdays and Sundays with dinner, live music and theme cruises operating also on weeknights.

These cruises are typically around three hours long and leaves the Danube Canal to cruise on the main stream too. Many of these cruises depart from the Reichsbrücke stop that is on the Danube River itself rather than from Schwedenplatz on the Danube Canal.

Meals and some drinks are usually included in the cruise ticket fare. Advance reservations are usually required.

New Year’s Eve Silvester Party Boat Cruises in Vienna

MS Vindobona
© DDSG / Dieter Lampl

Silvester party cruises on New Year’s Eve are very popular in most German-speaking countries with major river cruise boat operations. In Vienna, DDSG sends five boats out for New Year’s party cruises.

Most of the Sylvester party cruises depart from the Reichsbrücke around 20:00 and return just after midnight with the party onboard continuing until around 3:00. These cruises usually include five-course gala buffets, live music and some drinks.

Shorter Silvester party cruises depart from the Schwedenplatz stop and allow revelers to continue the New Year’s party in the old town after the cruise.

An alternative to the boat cruise is the New Year’s Eve Gala at the city hall or classical music concert in the Kursalon.

Danube Excursions from Vienna

Several day-trip excursion tours are offered from Vienna to other Danube Valley towns. Some excursions are by boat only but some use bus transportation one way. Buffet meals are often included during the cruise section of these day trips.

During the advent season, popular destinations are other towns and sights with famous Christmas markets such as Melk, Aggstein, Schloss Hof, Stift Göttweig and Dürnstein in the Wachau.

Twin City Liner Cruises between Vienna and Bratislava

The Twin City Liner is a catamaran that provides fast transportation from Vienna to Bratislava – traveling time is 75 minutes, which is hardly slower than the train or bus.

During the advent season, the boat cruise to Bratislava is available on weekends with mid-morning departures from Vienna and the return from Bratislava in the early evening. Sailings are more frequent during the warmer months of the year.

Multi-Day Advent Cruises on the Danube

In recent years, advent riverboat cruises have become very popular with many cruise lines offering departures on the Danube from Vienna. DDSG’s Primadonna Catamaran is a good alternative to more pricey companies mostly selling in English-speaking markets.

Prices for these three-night cruises start as low as €300 and commonly include all meals and a few excursion tours. The cruise stops at Vienna, Bratislava, Krems, Melk, Engelshartszell and Linz – all venues with famous Christmas markets.

DDGS Danube Cruise Departure Points in Vienna

DDSG uses two main departure points for cruises on the Danube – use the U-Bahn train to travel between these landings if necessary:

  • DDGS Danube sightseeing cruises depart mostly from Schwedenplatz on the Danube Canal. Schwedenplatz is an U-Bahn stop on lines U1 and U4 but also within easy walking distance from most of the old town.
  • Longer DDGS event cruises often depart from the Reichsbrücke bridge on the main stream of the Danube River. The closest metro stop is Vorgartenstrasse on the U1.

Tickets are available directly from DDSG or from a variety of resellers such as Get Your Guide.

Vienna has many Christmas markets that generally operate during the advent period but some start earlier in November with a few continuing past Christmas and occasionally into early January.

Henk Bekker in armor

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance travel writer with over 20 years of experience writing online. He is particularly interested in history, art, and culture. He has lived most of his adult life in Germany, Switzerland, and Denmark. In addition to, he also owns a travel website on the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland and maintains statistical websites on car sales and classic car auction prices. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Development Finance from the University of London.

European Traveler
Lake Geneva
Best-Selling Cars
Classic Car Auctions