We began our tour with two nights in Prague in the Czech Republic. We had a walking tour on the first day. We asked Balosch, our cruise director, for a dining suggestion for a restaurant for dinner and he gave us an excellent one that featured wonderful Czech food. We stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel in Prague as part of the cruise package. It was comfortable, the breakfast was excellent, and it was centrally located.
We then drove to Nuremberg where we boarded the ship. Using Nuremberg as a port was a bit of a challenge since it's not really suited to as many ships as it handles. There is only a rough single lane road and it is used by all of the cruise buses. Sometimes a bus that is entering must back up quite a way to allow another ship to leave.
The ship was beautifully decorated for Christmas. The staff was very welcoming and tried to accommodate all requests. We found the beds to be quite hard and many other passengers felt the same way. We asked for a foam topper to make the beds more comfortable. Our cabin steward changed out the room in no time.
We found the cabins to be small. They were supposed to be 170 square feet, but when my husband marked them off they were quite a bit smaller. Since it was winter, we had quite a few bulky clothes. There were not enough hangers to accommodate our clothes and the storage was inadequate. A few hooks on the wall for coats would have freed up some closet space.
Breakfast was quite good and you had the choice of ordering from the menu or going to the buffet. Because of the tight space, it was a bit of a crush to go through the buffet, but once we got the timing right, it was fine. Lunch was also either from the menu or a buffet.
Dinner was adequate, but nothing really was outstanding. Considering the price of the ticket we did expect a little higher quality in the food. The wine was free flowing, however, and always was local vintages.
Erlebnis, the specialty restaurant, was a real treat. It accommodates 24 people and is a chef's table experience. The chef greets you and explains the courses that are available. You can actually see him work while you are dining. We were able to dine here twice and each time was a treat for the eyes and the mouth.
Several times local entertainers were brought on board. They were always excellent.
Many times we were greeted at the ship after a day of shopping and sightseeing with a lovely glass of mulled wine. Really hit the spot after being thoroughly chilled by the cold weather.
Several times, other ships were tied up to our ships so we had to exit our ship by walking through the other ships. From our cabin we were also able to see the cabins of the other ship. From what we could see of the cabins and public areas of the other ships, the Amabella ship was comparable.
The stops on our trip (Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau/Salzburg, Melk/Vienna, and Budapest) were all excellent. Most of the time you could walk off the ship and into the town. The ship always provided maps and personnel to answer any questions as you left the ship. The walking tours were excellent and you are provided with audio devices so that you could hear everything the tour director was saying.
Our cruise director gave a commentary on the one day that we spent just cruising. Since everyone has a sliding glass door, it was very enjoyable to sit by the window sipping mulled wine and seeing the world go by.
All in all, it was a terrific trip and the problems we encountered were minor in nature and easily addressed.