We did the precruise extension in Prague. Prague was probably my favorite place to see on this vacation. We stayed at the Imperial Art Deco which was a lovely hotel within easy walking distance to old town. The concierge was very helpful in finding places to have dinner. Our tour guide was Jana who was great.
One night we went to a restaurant called Ceruna Tabulka which was recommended by the concierge. It was a short walk from the Art Deco and was very quaint and charming. The food was great.
The next night we went to the magic black night theatre which was a fun cheap evening entertainment. Not what I expected as a great deal of vaudeville comedy was included. The black light segments were very nice. I don't know if I would go again but it was an experience.
The following night we had dinner at Kolkovne, a traditional Czech restaurant. The guys loved all the sausage and cabbage dishes. It was a little heavy for me so I had a risotto which was okay, not great.
One night we went to the Opera at the State Theatre and saw Carmen. The production was very good and the Theatre was beautiful.
Do walk to the Charles Bridge at night it is quite beautiful all light up and the view of the castle outstanding.
We walked through the Jewish Quarter, but it was a Saturday and everything was closed. Other than the tour of the castle and old town, we just walked all over the city and enjoyed the sights.
Our transfer to the ship in Passau was good and efficient. The cruise director Christine was wonderful and ran very well run tours at each stop. All our stops were on time and we had no trouble with the river water levels. Although on some of the previous cruises they did run into delays and problems with the Danube flooding. The weather was so so, we had some good days but overall it was cool and unfortunately foggy while cruising the Wachau Valley. We had some rain in Budapest in the morning but then was okay in afternoon. It has been a very unsettling summer there as far as weather was concerned.
The tour in Salzburg was dissappointing. We just walked from place to place with a lot of commentary from our tour guide but did not go into any venues and in fact the tour took up so much time that we were upable to do the fortress on our own. It was a full day tour driving from Linz to Salzburg and we either had time to stop for a bite to eat or tour the fortress and after walking and standing for long periods we chose to take a break. The few people who started to go up to the fortress only got halfway and were afraid they would run out of time and turned around.
The tour in Vienna was good and left plenty of time to do things on our own. We took a tour of the Imperial Apartments and the Sissi Museum which was good. Then we had time to go to a cafe and walk to a market after which we took the underground (metro) back to the ship. Very easy. We chose not to go to the concert but the people who did go enjoyed it very much.
We also had a half day tour to the Schonbrunn Palace which is beautiful. I wish we had more time to explore the grounds more. It really is a full day kind of place.
I'm jumping around a bit I know. Just writing things that come into my head as I go. The stop at Melk was beautiful, the Abbey outstanding. We walked back to the ship through the town which was very nice. I would advise anyone to not take the bus back.
Our stop at Durnstein included a tour of a winery which I enjoyed. It's not for everyone, but we had a nice wine tasting and tour of cellars which of course wound up at their store. The guide was knowledgeable and entertaining and also included a tour of the Chateau. We again walked through the town of Durnstein back to the ship. Another cute and charming town.
In Budapest we did the optional tour to the village of Szentendre. I was disappointed in the town. After seeing so many beautiful areas I guess I expected too much but it had great little shops which I enjoyed and purchased several items to bring home. Wonderful knits and boiled wool jackets for the ladies.
Overall we had a very good time. It was our first experience on a River Cruise and it is very different from the Med cruises we took in the Med and Baltics. More laid back and the average age of the passengers was older but I would do one again in the future. Oh and the food was wonderful on the River Beatrice, must not forget to mention that to the foodies.
Hope some of this was helpful as I have had great advice from reading cruise critic in the past and wanted to pay back a little.