We took the trip from Vienna to Bratislava by boat at the beginning of July. I booked the tickets on line, but from a bank statement noticed that I had booked two tickets twice, because on one attempt there was what I thought was an error message. I thought it would be easy to sort out when we went to pick up the tickets at their office by the boat landing stage. The woman behind the counter wasn't interested and insisted on printing off all four tickets, and said 'use the internet'. We thought we might be able to sell them on the day but the 9.00 boat wasn't busy, and people had bought tickets in advance. I don't expect to get my money back.
I had bought reserved seats for an extra 5 euros each so we had four on the first row, and thought at least we would have a good view. The journey is basically due east so the reward for the first four rows of paying extra is a greenhouse experience at this time of the morning, all the way to Bratislava. Row five and backwards is in shade. Before we set off there were people sitting on the outdoor seating on the upper deck who obviously thought they had the best seats. When the hydrofoil reaches the Danube proper it travels at speeds of up to 60 km an hour and even on a warm day its like sitting in a wind tunnel. Only the hardiest stayed on the upper deck.
The first stretch of the journey is along the canal which has little of interest along its banks, and that is even truer of the Danube itself. Both are brown. There are trees along the bank in a low lying landscape, with the odd barge or fishing hut being the only points of interest. The only scenic part is immediately before Bratislava. There is very little information on the boat, but someone comes round selling a tour of Bratislava.
The good thing for us was that we were staying at Marrol's Boutique Hotel, which I do highly recommend, and it is only 200 metres from the the Bratislava landing stage. Overall it is worth asking yourself whether it is worth paying a lot more than travelling by train, to spend an hour and 40 minutes ploughing along a boring stretch of river. If you do want to, book a place but don't reserve a seat in the first four rows. We were travelling by train on the rest of our holiday and saw a lot more of the country side than on the boat.
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