Our 10-day AMA Legendary Danube cruise actually began in Prague, Czech Republic, where we spent 3 glorious days in this beautiful, historic and delicious city. At the Intercontinental Hotel, AMA had a desk set up for our cruise director Cherie Cooper to give us our information package, answer questions, and to help in any way she could over the next 3 days. My husband, sister-in-law, a friend and I made up our traveling party. The Intercontinental was extremely well located to walk to the Old Town Square (where there was always something going on), the Jewish Quarter, and even across the Charles Bridge to the Castle area. My husband and I had a room with a gorgeous view of the Vltava River. We had the first day to ourselves, which we spent walking all over the place until the lack of sleep from the overnight flight kicked in. After a nap we had a delicious dinner at nearby Kolkovna. The next morning we had an included city tour which took us across the Vltava by bus uphill to the Castle. We toured the Castle and surrounding area and then walked back downhill across the Charles Bridge to the Square. After the tour we had a delightful lunch at the lovely Art Nouveau Obecni dum (Municipal House). That night we had another delicious dinner near the Square at Mlejnice (we highly recommend!). The next day was free, which we once again spent walking our legs off until 5:00 at which point we treated ourselves to a very nice Wind Quintet concert in the Church of St. Nicholas in the Old Town Square before yet another delicious dinner at Staromacek just off the Square.
The next day we departed Prague by bus to Nuremberg, Germany, with a midday stop in the Czech Republic at Karlovy Vary, a charming spa town, that included a walking tour and then lunch on our own. The canal that runs through the middle of town is lined with places for an enjoyable lunch and bathroom break.
We arrived at the Amadante in the late afternoon and got settled in our room (embarkation was a breeze). Our room 209 was well located, nicely appointed, 170 sq. feet, French balcony, plenty of storage space, comfortable bed and lovely toiletries. My husband thought the bathroom was a bit tight. That evening we were welcomed by the Captain with a cocktail before dinner. The ladies were given a red rose which was perfect for the budvase in every stateroom.
The next morning we had an included city tour of the Nazi headquarters and parade field, the Old Nuremberg City Walls, Imperial Castle and Old Town before cruising on the Main Danube Canal toward Regensburg.
We had a morning walking tour of Regensburg, one of Germany's best preserved medieval cities. In the afternoon we walked around on our own, then rode bikes provided by the Amadante along the river and across the Stone Bridge.
The next day we chose to stay in Passau, Germany, rather than take the optional all-day tour to Salzburg. I wanted to see the huge St. Stephan's Cathedral organ with over 17,000 pipes and hoped to attend an organ concert after the walking tour. But alas we had to be back on the Amadante at 12:00, the same time as the ½ hour concert began. Anyway, we loved Passau, and especially the cruise down the Danube to Linz, Austria, which was beautiful and bucolic all the way. The Danube in this area is very twisty and relatively narrow. Lovely! And the Captain's favorite part of this itinerary he proclaimed! Once we arrived we had time for a bit of a walk around Linz before dinner.
The next day we had a guided tour of Melk's impressive Benedictine Abbey. Then we walked downhill to the Amadante through this charming town along a very narrow street filled with shops of all kinds, the best of which was a sausage and butcher shop. That afternoon we cruised through the lovely Wachau Valley dotted with castles. We didn't stop in Durnstein but were able to see the pretty blue and white church right on the water's edge.
Next came Vienna, where we had an included morning tour of this wonderful city. We opted for a tour of Schonbrunn Palace in the afternoon, which really spurred my interest in knowing more about the Habsburgs! One day in Vienna is just not enough!
We sailed into Budapest, Hungary, the next day and docked on the Buda side. We spent the morning walking on our own over the Chain Bridge to the Pest side of the city, around that area and back across the Elisabeth Bridge. After lunch we had an included tour of the Buda Castle and Fisherman's Bastion.
The next day our Danube adventure had come to an end and we flew home. (Disembarkation was also a breeze.)
Overall we had such a wonderful time. This was our first river cruise and we would definitely do it again. We feel you can't really compare it to an ocean cruise...they are different...apples and oranges. There is much more intimacy on the river cruise because of fewer passengers and only one lounge and one dining room. So getting to know a lot of people is almost impossible not to happen.
We thought the food was wonderful and definitely something for everyone. Breakfast was buffet with everything you can imagine in addition to omelets made to order. You could also order items from the table such as eggs benedict, poached eggs, oatmeal, etc. Lunch was an abundance of choices as well, from heavy entrees to lighter salads, soup, etc. Dinner always had a choice of 3 appetizers, 2 soups, 3 entrees, 3-4 desserts, as well as the usual standbys for people who didn't want anything on that day's menu, with excellent red and white wines flowing throughout.
We adored our Cruise Director, whom we first met at the hotel in Prague and stayed with us throughout the journey. Captain Tilstra was quite lively and friendly. My husband and I were honored with an invitation to sit at Captain Tilstra's table on the last evening along with six others. We were thrilled.
As for currency, Prague uses the Czech Koruna and Budapest the Hungarian Forint. Germany and Austria use the Euro. We got CK at the ATM at the airport to pay the cab fare to the hotel of 495CK (US$26). The hotel had an ATM for further needs. We never got HF because some places will take the Euro. The cab fare to the airport in Budapest was 25 Euros (no tip).
Everywhere we stopped was very walkable...lots of cobblestone streets, though, so good walking shoes are a necessity. The city tour guides were very good to excellent. We had mostly sunny weather in the 70's and low 80's, except for a couple of morning showers and a showery day in Vienna.
AMA provided us with a wonderful river cruise experience and we wouldn't hesitate to go with them again.