Danube river cruise via Google Street View

There aren't many places the team behind Google Street View has not ventured.

Since the 2007 launch of its project to catalogue 360-degree panoramic images from locations around the world, Google has driven more than 10 million kilometres, visited 66 countries, been inside zoos and theme parks and travelled to both Antarctica and the Arctic.

Now, for the first time, "street view" panoramas on the Danube have been captured, providing inspirational fodder for anyone considering a river cruise. 

Last northern summer technicians from Google Maps partnered with US river-cruise operator Tauck, and its maritime partner Scylla AG, to mount one of Google's "Trekker" cameras to the forward deck of Tauck's 118-passenger rivership, MS Treasures.

Over the following days the Trekker captured imagery of the river as it wound through Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania.


This shallow, marshy, lower section of the 2887km-long river is not hugely scenic when compared with Austria's Wachau Valley further north, but highlights of the footage here include the imposing Bratislava Castle (Slovakia), the Chain Bridge and Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest (Hungary) and the Franciscan Monastery and Church of St Philip, in the Croatian city of Vukovar.

The rock sculpture of Decebalus, a 40-metre high carving of a king who fought Roman emperors for the independence of his country, is also captured in the panoramas, at the Iron Gates on the border of Romania and Serbia.

The Trekker creates a 360-degree panoramic view aided by 15 individually-angled lenses. The views captured by the lenses are then digitally stitched to create a full panorama.

Viewers can change their viewpoint up, down, left and right by moving their mouse – an effective tool for viewing the ship's interiors, as well as the scenery.

There are no "Hello Mum" moments. Tauck said ensuring the passenger experience wasn't impacted was a prerequisite for the project, so the camera was positioned in an area of the ship inaccessible to them.

For those keen to see inside a rivership, the Trekker also captured 360-degree views of the ms Treasures' Compass Rose dining room, Panorama Lounge and Sun Deck. Other scenes captured from on board span six countries, from Bratislava and Slovakia to Cernavoda in Romania, illustrating the diverse nature of a river-cruise holiday.

Tauck offers eight itineraries on the Danube. In 2016 the company will debut two new ships, the MS Grace (launching in April) and the MS Joy (launching in June), as well as a new itinerary along the Rhine.

The Telegraph, London