Sail along the magical Danube in the company of some of the world’s most inspiring writers - in association with The Henley Literary Festival

Book by 30 April 2022 and save £900 per person*

We are thrilled to announce our very first Literary Festival on Water. Departing in October 2022, this unique eight-day river cruise on the Danube will lead you on an unforgettable voyage along one of Europe's great rivers. Sailing in style on an Emerald Cruises Star-Ship, you will enjoy an exciting range of talks, interviews, book signings and Q&As on board with famous and inspiring writers.

Created in partnership with the popular Henley Literary Festival, this unique holiday promises the chance to enjoy fantastic food, wine and beautiful views as you explore some of central Europe's greatest cities, including Vienna and Budapest, while rubbing shoulders with some of our favourite personalities from the world of books.

Meet famous writers

Rub shoulders with journalists, broadcasters and authors during the fantastic on-board literary festival and hear talks from the likes of Dame Jenni Murray, Ruth Jones, Kate Mosse, Louis de Bernières and Joanna Trollope.

Your Emerald Cruises Star-Ship

Your elegant Emerald Cruises Star-Ship has everything on board to make your trip truly unforgettable. Staffed by an attentive and highly trained crew, the ship's excellent amenities include spacious cabins, stylish restaurants offering outstanding cuisine, a sun deck, putting green, fitness centre and heated swimming pool, which turns into an open-air cinema on selected evenings.

See the sights of the Danube

During this wonderful voyage along the Danube you'll have plenty of time to discover two of Europe's great capitals: Vienna, famous for its art, culture and local culinary specialties (including its delicious patisseries) and the historic city of Budapest, known for its magnificent buildings such as the Hungarian Parliament Building and Buda Castle. Along the way, there will be so much more to enjoy, including guided walks, gourmet tastings and other on-shore excursions, plus the chance to discover the atmospheric old towns of Passau and Linz, the breathtaking 900-year-old abbey at Melk, and the stunning natural beauty of the UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley.

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Your expert guests

Dame Jenni Murray
Journalist and broadcaster

One of Britain's best-loved and most respected broadcasters, Jenni Murray has been presenting Radio 4's Woman's Hour for more than 30 years. Jeni is also the author of several popular books, including A History of Britain in 21 Women.

Louis de Bernières

The brilliant author and poet has written numerous internationally acclaimed and award-winning novels. His best-known work is Captain Corelli's Mandolin, which won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Novel in 1994 and was adapted into a major Hollywood film starring Nicolas Cage and Penélope Cruz.

Joanna Trollope

Joanna Trollope OBE is the author of seventeen highly acclaimed bestselling novels such as A Village Affair, The Choir and The Rector's Wife. Trollope has written a number of historical novels, many under the pseudonym Caroline Harvey.

Gaby Huddart
GH’s editor-in-chief

You will also be joined by Good Housekeeping's editor Gaby Huddart, who will be hosting a drinks reception and special GH Centenary dinner, interviewing some of our special guests and giving her own insights into how she and her team creates Britain's most popular women's magazine.

Kate Mosse

Kate Mosse is a number one international bestselling novelist, playwright and non-fiction writer. Her works include the multimillion-selling Languedoc Trilogy (Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel), an acclaimed collection of short stories, The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales and The Sunday Times No.1 bestseller, The Burning Chambers. Her most recent novel, The City of Tears, is a breath-taking novel of revenge, persecution and loss, sweeping from Paris and Chartres to the City of Tears itself - the great refugee city of Amsterdam. In June 2013 Kate was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to literature.

Ruth Jones
TV writer and author

Ruth Jones is best known for her award-winning television writing, most notably BBC One's Gavin and Stacey, which she co-wrote with James Corden and in which she played the incorrigible Nessa Jenkins. The most recent Christmas Day special of Gavin and Stacey gained national critical acclaim, drawing an audience of over 18 million, winning a BAFTA for TV moment of the year and a National Television Award for Impact, and gaining an RTS nomination for Ruth's performance. Ruth also created and co-wrote Sky One's Stella, which ran for six series. As well as being Bafta-nominated for her role as the eponymous Stella, Ruth has starred in several other television comedies and dramas. Her debut novel, Never Greener, has sold over a quarter of a million copies, and was chosen as WHSmith Fiction Book of the Year 2018. Us Three, Ruth's second novel, was a Sunday Times bestseller in hardback.

Price includes

  • Cruise for eight days on an Emerald Cruises Star-Ship.
  • Return flights, transfers (to and from ship) and all meals, plus wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner.
  • Meet some of the world's leading writers and presenters, including Dame Jenni Murray, Kate Mosse, Joanna Trollope, Ruth Jones and Louis de Bernières.
  • Listen to private talks, interviews and Q&As.
  • Enjoy a drinks reception and special GH Centenary dinner hosted by GH editor Gaby Huddart.
  • Receive a complimentary copy of GH's latest cookbook.**
  • Visit fantastic destinations, including Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava, Linz and Passau.
  • Experience a range of excursions from guided walks to gourmet tastings.


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  1. Days
    Budapest, Hungary

    Welcome to the "Pearl of the Danube". You will be met at the airport and transferred to the contemporary surrounds of your Emerald Cruises Star-Ship, where your friendly captain and crew will be waiting to welcome you to the Literary Festival on the Danube. Join inspiring writers handpicked by Henley Literature Festival and enjoy talks, interviews, signings, Q&A sessions and more.

    On your first evening on board, join your fellow guests for a traditional Hungarian dinner followed by an onboard folklore performance.

    The next day, you'll explore Budapest's cobbled medieval quarter , as you embark on a coach tour through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city centre. Your guide will highlight a number of architectural wonders from across the ages, enabling you to follow a journey from Budapest's Roman beginnings to the addition of ornate Romanesque and Baroque architecture in the centuries that followed.

    If you are feeling more active, then you may instead choose to hike to Buda Hill. The surrounding area has been rebuilt several times, most recently following the air raids of WWII. Some 18th-century Baroque houses still stand, best explored from the medieval paths and alleyways in the area around Buda Castle.

    A hike to Buda Hill

    Included Excursion
    A guided coach tour of Budapest

    Running order of literary events tbc

    Meals - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  2. Day
    Bratislava, Slovakia

    Relax on board as you sail into the capital of Slovakia this morning. This graceful nation of leafy avenues became an independent country in 1993 and, since then, Bratislava has flourished as a new capital and made a name for itself as a cultural centre where different styles of music are as readily celebrated as the region's medieval past. The romantic cobblestone lanes that weave through the city are yours to explore with your local guide, as you enjoy a walking tour of the ancient town centre, including the Slovak National Theatre and a range of Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings.

    Alternatively, embark on a guided hike to Bratislava Castle, a landmark steeped in legends that looks as though it came from the pages of a child's fairytale. This striking building has been rebuilt several times over the last millennia, most recently in a Renaissance style.

    Local Slovakian entertainment on board

    A guided hike to Bratislava Castle

    Included Excursion
    A walking tour of Bratislava

    Running order of literary events tbc

    Meals - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  3. Day
    Vienna, Austria

    Sweeping boulevards and world-famous art exhibitions welcome you to Vienna, the birthplace of revolutionary breakthroughs in the fields of music and psychology. The city perfectly encapsulates the opulence of the Habsburg Monarchy and their ornate Baroque palaces, some of which you will be able to see during your guided coach tour of the Ringstrasse, followed by a walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city centre and its surrounding classical architectural styles, evidence of the melting pot of artistic influences that existed here at the turn of the 20th century.

    If you are feeling more active, then perhaps choose to explore on two wheels, cycling along the river to the Danube Island.

    A bike tour in Vienna

    Included Excursion
    A guided tour of Vienna

    Tastes of Vienna (supplement applies)

    Viennese evening concert (supplement applies)

    Running order of literary events tbc

    Meals - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  4. Day
    Durnstein and Melk
    Melk, Austria

    Effortlessly suspended in time, Dürnstein is one of the most frequented parts of the Wachau wine region, where the delightful warm weather creates the perfect setting for viticulture. Today, you can choose to hike the ruins of Dürnstein Castle, where a delightful panoramic view of the surrounding medieval villages, rows of vines in beautifully arranged vineyards and a forested backdrop is certain to delight.

    Later, sail through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Wachau Valley, passing medieval villages, terraced vineyards and areas of natural beauty. When you arrive in Melk, enjoy a guided tour of Melk Abbey, originally a lavish castle that was gifted to Benedictine monks during the 11th century. This opulent Baroque building is home to some of the most important collections of medieval manuscripts in the world.

    A guided bike ride along the Danube river

    A guided hike to Dürnstein Castle

    Included Excursion
    A tour of Melk Abbey

    Visit to Schallaburg castle (supplement applies)

    Vineyards hike and tasting in Weissenkirchen (supplement applies)

    Running order of literary events tbc

    Meals - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  5. Day
    Linz for Ceský Krumlov
    Linz, Austria

    This morning, your Star-Ship will dock in Linz and you will be transferred by coach to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed centre of Ceský Krumlov, a town built around a 13th-century castle. Join your local guide to traverse a labyrinth of winding cobblestone streets, passing the colourful façades of buildings that highlight different time periods as you learn about how they have survived the test of time thanks to the regions peaceful past. The town surrounds the national heritage site that is Ceský Krumlov Castle, and your guided tour will include the 15th-century St. Vitus' Church and a number of delightful High Gothic façades.

    A guided tour of Ceský Krumlov

    Running order of literary events tbc

    Meals - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  6. Day
    Passau, Germany

    Narrow cobblestone streets and the aroma of freshly baked gingerbread welcome you to Passau, a town nestled on the confluence of three of Europe's main waterways. This important historic trading centre borders Austria, and a distinctive blend of cultures can be found here.

    Your local guide will take you on a sightseeing tour of the town, touching on its distinctive historic buildings, including the Baroque St. Stephen's Cathedral with its ornate columns and arches and the Altes Rathaus, or Town Hall, a collection of eight historic patrician houses that were built between the 14th and 15th centuries.

    A hike to Veste Oberhaus

    Included Excursion
    A guided tour of Passau

    Bavaria Live (extra expense)

    Running order of literary events tbc

    Meals - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  7. Day
    Disembark in Passau
    Passau, Germany

    After breakfast, it's time to disembark the Star-Ship for your transfer to the airport, taking memories of ancient libraries and Europe's iconic skylines with you.

    Meals - Breakfast


Emerald Cruises Star-Ships

Cruise ship

These sleek and stylish cruise ships offer guests an unforgettable experience along some of Europe and Asia's most beautiful waterways

With their chic and contemporary design, Emerald Star-Ships provide a comfortable and luxurious setting for any journey. There's plenty to keep you busy, from enjoying the fantastic vistas on the Sun Deck, to catching a film in the on-board evening cinema. Most Emerald Star-Ships also feature a heated indoor pool with retractable roof.

After a day exploring the sights, grab a pre-dinner drink and retire to the open-air terrace. There's a number of à la carte resturants on-board and after enjoying your evening meal you can retreat to the privacy of your cabin, or mingle with fellow travellers in the spacious public areas. The highly-trained and attentive crew will ensure you enjoy every aspect of your Emerald Cruises experience.


  • Spacious staterooms and suites
  • Indoor Heated Pool with retractable roof on most ships
  • Evening cinema
  • Complimentary speciality tea and coffee
  • Sun Deck with seating area and walking track
  • Putting Green
  • Fully equipped fitness centre
  • Wellness Area
  • Hairdresser
  • Dedicated cruise director
  • Al fresco dining & BBQ area


There are 4 suite and stateroom grades on board Emerald Cruises' Star-Ships: Emerald Staterooms, Emerald Panorama Balcony Suite, Grand Balcony Suite, Owner's One-Bedroom Suite. These state-of-the-art cabins include an en-suite bathroom, hotel-style bed, complimentary Wi-Fi and a TV.

Brought to you by

Emerald Cruises
This tour is operated solely by Emerald Cruises
Emerald Cruises offers classic river cruises on board spacious, modern ships - its award-winning, state-of-the-art fleet is the newest in Europe.

To view Emerald Cruises’ supplier’s terms and conditions click here.

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Call now to book 01615162277