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Sail Date: March 2019
The pluses of the river trip are in the title But what spoiled it: • It was like being in an old people’s home, and I am 70! Slow on board, slow on tours. • When I give way to people in corridors or on stairs I expect a thank ... Read More
The pluses of the river trip are in the title But what spoiled it: • It was like being in an old people’s home, and I am 70! Slow on board, slow on tours. • When I give way to people in corridors or on stairs I expect a thank you or smile. So often not. • The first few days a few coughs and sneezes, by day 4 heaps and many (men mostly) not covering up when they sneeze. My wife during week two spent 4 days in the cabin!! As cold unable to escape on deck in the fresh air. • APT need to understand that one poor staff member can spoil it for the other 99% great staff. In our case for me it was 4 of the more senior staff. Hotel Manager, Supervisor of cabins, and Butlers completely ignored me when I passed them. Maybe because I was only from level one. • Boat needs more public toilets and bigger gym. Never again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
October 13th 2018: apt river cruise amersterdam-budapest- 15 nights ama venita. “A glorified bus trip with a gruelling schedule” This apt river cruise should never have left amsterdam. Low levels of water, and continuing good ... Read More
October 13th 2018: apt river cruise amersterdam-budapest- 15 nights ama venita. “A glorified bus trip with a gruelling schedule” This apt river cruise should never have left amsterdam. Low levels of water, and continuing good weather forecasts meant the cruise was doomed for problems, and APT camouflaged the issue, well knowing the cruise schedule was going to be significantly affected Apt river cruising -5 freedom principles applies-, none of which occurred on this journey-, began on saturday october 13th, with the ama venita boarded by 164 passengers. the ama venita was replaced by the ama- reina at engelhartszell on saturday 20 october near (passau) during this cruise journey. On the 2nd day of the voyage the first schedule change occurred, with a diversion to nijmegen, then onto to cologne. At cologne, we were advised the ship could not proceed further, and it would be impossible to sail through the rhine gorge. The schedule would change with 36 hours at dusseldorf, with passengers then to disembark, travel by bus to frankfurt (overnight hotel), procced by bus the next day to nuremburg (hotel overnight) and then re-board a new vessel at the passau area, and the normal cruise schedule 7 days into the cruise to re-commence. However on boarding the new vessel at engelhartszell, moored for 36hrs, we were informed it was impossible to cruise from vienna to budapest, so again all would disembark at conclusion of vienna component, bus to budapest (hotel again overnight) and the cruise end. Re the above new excursions replaced, most of the advertised ones, and one of the Premier events Candle light Dinner at Namedy Castle, became a luncheon visit, while en-route to Frankfurt the journey began on a positive note, picked up at the airport by an apt agent, and whisked to the riverside in a lovely modern vehicle. We had paid for a P+ room on the 2nd level, with inside and outside balcony, room service and Porter attention The first twinge of disappointment was noting the ship was parked between a numbers of others, a theme which was to apply from that day on. When in port (which was most of the time the apt boat was normally sandwiched between others, affording no balcony or view age opportunity, effectively negating any reasonable opportunity to observe the world from ones balcony). When i say the view was impeded i am talking about a vessel as big as or bigger than our boat, within 12 inches of the viewing windows, and if this did not occur, the view was replaced by a concrete or similar wharf view. Once on board, (our first dinner aboard) was served, while seated in the ships dining room, a large river boat, completely obstructed any views of the water. This issue is very significant, and from this experience and some post event research on the internet, if one is contemplating a river cruise, don’t bother to take a premium cabin, just not worth it, day 2 freedom of choice touring took place as planned. very pleasant. That evening we were advised the ships schedule was to be changed with a detour to nijmegen and then onto cologne. Day 3 Nijmegen Day 4 Cologne Advised that the boat could not cruise past cologne, there would be no full rhine cruise, and passengers would have to depart the ship at cologne, being bused to frankfurt (hotel overnight), and then bused again to nuremberg (hotel overnight) then to re-board a new vessel at engelhartszell. Note this cruise ended with 10 pack/unpack components, 3 nights in hotels , long bus trips, new schedules and largely amended freedom of choice excursion options. Once on board the new boat, advised unable to cruise the vienna to budapest leg and would complete the cruise by bus and overnight hotel. The changes in schedule, excursions, all detailed in the “Daily Cruiser” are in my possession showing a litany of changes, amendments, turning this trip into a glorified bus tour, with a punishing schedule SHIP FACILITIES Cabin 207: our room with an inside/outside balcony was very pleasant with an excellent bathroom. Free internet and one’s own computer was a very nice touch, but reception marginal and affected significantly when parked amongst other boats, a frequent occurrence. Room service and porter availability, took some sorting out, with all calls through reception in the first instance, and reception was not always clear that they were talking to a customer with room service and butler privileges. Apt needs to spell out the detail of what room service and butler service is, and for the reception desk to clearly identify the call has or does not have those privileges. GYM A nice boutique gym, but the television components of the equipment monitor, are starting to play up, and this component needs to be maintained by apt at regular intervals. Nobody aboard knew what to do about rectifying that issue. DINING The promised 2nd dining option italian fare served in the bella cucina restaurant did not exist. This requires a specific explanation. The verde dining restaurant served breakfast, lunch and dinner, part buffet at breakfast and lunch with main course order options, and the evening, 5 course menu options. the food and service was sound, similar to large ship traditional dining cruising without the width of choice. The upstairs’ river bistro lounge, offered a mini version of the lunch and evening menu downstairs, café style snacks available at set times. Pleasant, but very time restrictive. Chefs table (28 guests) was excellent, similar in standard to specialist dining options on big ship cruising. Room service: available to guests in the premier rooms. The continental breakfast options were very limited, but with request, items like some fruit were added, but nothing cooked was available. In the evening room service dining was available from the verde dining main menu. ON BOARD DRINKS The selection of available no cost wines, cocktails etc. Was excellent, and generous proportions. I am wine versed, and thought apt did an excellent job in this area. SUN DECK Large and pleasant area, but due to the schedule issues, very rarely used. STAFF No issues. Enthusiastic bar staff, waiter service geared to groups but over all a solid standard. Reception was adequate, room attendant’s service excellent, and once butler service clarified and identified, competent. HEALTH The focus on noro virus and similar ailments on big cruise ships was not a feature of this cruise. While there was the usual hand cleansing equipment, there was little attention in the daily newsletter or shipboard announcements, and no staff member, reinforcing the need to clean hands etc. At meal times or food events. The cruise was severely affected with many suffering from a cough and throat virus. A very senior couple embarked with severe symptoms of flu and there appeared to be little effort to have them quarantined or similar in their cabin. This is a difficult area to police, but I would recommend APT pay more attention to this Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
This was the third cruise we have done with AMA. We love the service, quality and professionalism shown by all its employees. This year our cruise couldn't complete the journey to Basel due to low water. Instead they took us to ... Read More
This was the third cruise we have done with AMA. We love the service, quality and professionalism shown by all its employees. This year our cruise couldn't complete the journey to Basel due to low water. Instead they took us to various cities usually done on their April/May Tulip time cruise which was absolutely fine with us since we hadn't seen any of those countries. On top of that AMA has offered us credit for 100% of the cost of the cruise and we have 3 years to take another cruise. We cant say enough about how great this company is to deal with. They went out of their way to keep everyone happy and it was an absolute pleasure to travel with them. Our Cruise director Elia was superb, held up well under very difficult circumstances , was always gracious, pleasant and accommodating. We highly recommend travelling with AMA if you want to river cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Saw it advertised on TV, it looked amazing and it was. We could not believe how organised and professional the staff, crew and Tour Director were.We loved every minute of our 15 days on board. We also made some good friends in that short ... Read More
Saw it advertised on TV, it looked amazing and it was. We could not believe how organised and professional the staff, crew and Tour Director were.We loved every minute of our 15 days on board. We also made some good friends in that short time. The tours were great and very informative. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and in some cases very entertaining, they all obviously loved their job. they were articulate and their information on the history of places was first class. My wife and I enjoyed the relaxed feeling that applied either on board our ship or touring the many stops that we visited along the way from Budapest to Amsterdam. The onboard entertainment was first class with the resident pianist and then various artists who came aboard the ship to delight both my wife and myself and the other 154 passengers that were on our cruise. Well done APT. We will certainly recommend this cruise to our family and friends. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I was expecting a 5 star luxury river cruise similar to a Seaborne ocean cruise. How wrong was I. River cruising is similar to bus touring. There is very little time to do your own thing as you have to leave the ship to join a coach ... Read More
I was expecting a 5 star luxury river cruise similar to a Seaborne ocean cruise. How wrong was I. River cruising is similar to bus touring. There is very little time to do your own thing as you have to leave the ship to join a coach which takes you to whichever town you are going to. You do a quick tour, maybe 1.5 hours and then back on the coach to the ship. Dining is very crowded. There is only 1 restaurant and everyone goes at the same time. There is no outdoor barbecue area and so every night you are in the dining room at 7pm. There is a “Chef’s Restaurant “ which caters for about 20 guests but although it is really promoted as being fantastic, it is good, at best. There is no alcohol in your mini bar and no champagne on arrival. It is very basic. The rooms are very nice and the staff ensure they are cleaned well. The Tour Director dies the job of at least 2 people - I have never seen anyone with so much responsibility or so much to do. She really needed an assistant. My husband and I are currently aboard AMABELLA and yes, we are enjoying our holiday but we thought it would be much better. Originally, we were on AMAVERDI and have just had to swap ships. During the first 5 days virtually every passenger was sick with a gastric/vomiting bug. We were not surprised as the dining is very cramped. With 151 passengers helping themselves to a buffet with no covering, what do you expect? I think the ship designers need to undertake a course on Food Safety so they understand how bacteria is spread. One passenger vomited on the dining room floor at Namedy Castle. It was a serious problem. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
My husband and I travelled on the AmaBella on the Amsterdam/Budapest route on the 11 May. With respect, I vehemently disagree with some earlier comments (but I acknowledge that everyone’s entitled to their opinions). This was the first ... Read More
My husband and I travelled on the AmaBella on the Amsterdam/Budapest route on the 11 May. With respect, I vehemently disagree with some earlier comments (but I acknowledge that everyone’s entitled to their opinions). This was the first river cruise for us and won’t be the last. We felt this cruise was seamless with absolutely nothing to complain about. Our Tour Director, Emese, was competent, affable and accommodating. I don’t think she ever slept. She was always at the whim of the passengers organising their on shore tours with the utmost efficiency, and appeasing those passengers who consistently whinge; this woman was the ultimate professional. All tours were very well co-ordinated with great guides, full of enthusiasm and wit. Entertainment was organised on most nights which we found enjoyable. We even got the opportunity to dance on most occasions. The food was always tasty and well presented, in particular the Chef’s Table, in which each passenger had the opportunity to attend on two occasions, for a 5-course dinner in a gorgeous room at the aft of the ship. I am gluten intolerant and all my needs were attended to and catered for. There was a “Gluten Free Corner” set up in the dining room as well as the lounge upstairs, and all restaurant and bar staff were acquainted with all the needs of those passengers with dietary requirements. Hand sanitising was enforced at all times before and after dinner and on the return of onshore excursions. The restaurant was divided into two areas. My husband and myself sat on the so called NOISY side, whereas others elected to dine on the “quiet” side. We loved the jokes, the antics, the high 5’s etc from the happy waiters. We are Aussies and we loved every minute of this camaraderie between the crew and passengers and hence, applaud APT for allowing this. Most of our Australian cohorts on board couldn’t get over how happy the crew were; their enthusiasm was infectious. Cabin details are outlined below. Some reviews mentioned noise emanating from the upper deck and while sailing through the lochs during the night, we never heard a sound or felt any impact......maybe we were just lucky. We were entitled to Butler Service but we didn’t need it as we used to go to the lounge for tea/coffe which was available 24/7. Although he did bring us hor d’oeuvres (gluten free of course) each afternoon. The one bag of free laundry per week was a bonus. Most of the passengers were Australian, a few New Zealanders and a hand full of British. We became friendly with an English couple who had the time of their lives; they couldn’t get over how much fun the Australians were. The three Gold Signature Experiences are not to be missed, namely, the visit to Namedy Castle in Andernach, Germany, a private concert at the Lichtenstein Palace, Vienna and a ride on the Majestic Imperator train from Passau to Salzburg for the day and then onto Linz, to join up with the ship. The age of the passengers varied, mostly 55-75, but I should mention there were some super fit people in this age group who did the 34km bike ride from Melk to Durnstein and two other excursions that required the use of bicycles. In relation to the onshore tours, there was a fast paced group (red group). My husband and I always joined the regular group (green, yellow or blue) as we are photo-taking junkies with cameras. Lots of passengers were using their IPhone and IPad cameras. Those that had mobility issues were catered for and well looked after (pink group). We also had a young couple on their honeymoon who appeared to be having fun with us oldies. In conclusion, I would happily go on another river cruise just to take in the magnificent sights I missed. We were kept busy (by choice) the whole time, we never missed a tour, we never stopped but we loved it. If you go with an open mind, go with the flow, and embrace anything and everything that is on offer, you will have a ball, just like my husband and I did. Congratulations APT, you never disappoint. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We have only experienced ocean cruises previously so river cruising was all new to us. We decided to combine this with a cruise to places we had not seen previously as well and we were not disappointed (although there are vast differences ... Read More
We have only experienced ocean cruises previously so river cruising was all new to us. We decided to combine this with a cruise to places we had not seen previously as well and we were not disappointed (although there are vast differences between river and ocean cruising). The organisation was perfect - we were collected at the airport, driven to the ship and made welcome, even though we were early. We had the option of staying in the lounge until we could officially board or explore the city (map and brief explanation provided). At cruise end, we were transported back to the airport. The time taken to embark and disembark was minimal and well conducted, even to the stage of personally being introduced to our cabin attendant. River ships seem to be consistent in size, due to the width of the locks, the available height under bridges and the legislated length. All meals were served in the dining area with a speciality restaurant (Chef's table) and small snacks always as an alternative in the lounge. The quality of the meals was excellent although there is always one person who thinks the meals on some other ship were better (and this was on day 1) so I put this down to a case of someone trying to prove they have been on other ships/cruises. With the meals, there is always some consistency of items but the main courses change daily as do the soups and starters. There is also a consistent standard always available main course for both lunch and dinner. One could not go hungry as there was heaps to eat. River cruising does not offer the opportunity of stage shows nor does it allow for large groups of artists. Because of this, the nightly entertainment is usually one to four people performing for a single show - the quality improved as the cruise went on, the final performers being of very good quality. The resident pianist was average but certainly tried to include everyone. Service was personable and always of an excellent level - could not fault anyone of the staff. Met the captain in the wheelhouse and he explained the workings to us all - a very personable man who took the time to be pleasant whenever he met with anyone. Cruise director did a very good job as did most guides on the excursions. The shore excursions were mostly good, the concert at the palace in Vienna being exceptional. Laundry was prompt and efficient. My only criticism is that on occasions the excursion guides and the cruise director do not have English as a first language and, as a result, some of their presentations tend to be monotonous. Some of the guides also tried to provide too much information. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Highs - Excursions - The daily excursions were great. Well organised with great guides. - Royal Collection - Three highlight tours - Namedy Castle, Majestic Imperator Train to Salzburg and a night of classical music in ... Read More
Highs - Excursions - The daily excursions were great. Well organised with great guides. - Royal Collection - Three highlight tours - Namedy Castle, Majestic Imperator Train to Salzburg and a night of classical music in Vienna. All superb. - Service - The service of the staff in the dining rooms, reception and our rooms were wonderful. All very friendly and helpful. Just ok - The food was plentiful but certainly not to the standard we expected. Selection of beers and wines was surprisingly limited. There were only two beers and they ran out of the one I liked early in the cruise. Despite stopping at a port each day and being told each night they would get the beer tomorrow, it took nearly a week before they got additional stock. Lows - Service - bar staff - it became obvious it was the last cruise of the year and they were tired. At times you felt you were a bother to them. - Entertainment - It was a real mixed bag but average overall - Dining - It looks like their are two different restaurants but in reality they are the same and offer the same food. We were a couple and as you couldn't reserve a table found it difficult at times finding a seat with out upsetting people. There were many larger groups who wanted to sit in the same seats every day, breakfast lunch and dinner. You certainly got the message if you sat in someones seat. - Public Areas - too small for a full cruise. People had to sit on arms of chairs at times. I have little doubt the majority of people on the cruise loved it. I think it depends on age and expectations. We felt that whilst enjoyable there were too many let downs to call it Luxury also considering the price. And please APT don't have you cruise directors tell all and sundry that tips are looked after by APT and if we felt we got good service to could tip. We paid for the staffs tips in our price. It certainly created and expectation to further tip the staff. I'm happy to tip good service but only once. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our first river cruise so first for other novices I was surprised to find: The wall aren't metal so my magnetic clips and hooks went back in the suitcase There is no movement - even at full tilt it was impossible to ... Read More
This was our first river cruise so first for other novices I was surprised to find: The wall aren't metal so my magnetic clips and hooks went back in the suitcase There is no movement - even at full tilt it was impossible to tell that we were on the water. In total DH and I travel about 3 months a year, DIY tours, luxury tours, Ocean Cruises, short breaks …. this was the best vacation experience we have ever had - we thoroughly enjoyed just about every aspect of the trip. Cabin We had a cabin on the lower deck with a super comfy bed, plenty of space (though lacking in draws) and a great shower, our view was pretty special too Attention to detail seemed to be real priority for APT so though there was only one European, one Aussie and one UK socket in the room - it came with 3 way European extension cable and assurances that adapters were available from reception. The AC worked in a way that many 5 star hotels could learn from - set the temperature and that is what you got. Bottled water was replaced in the fridge and on the dresser daily, robes, slippers and night time chocolates all standard. Food Breakfast was served in the dining room for two hours each morning. Fruit, cereal, cold meat, cheese, yogurt, smoked salmon, bread, pastries, scrambled eggs, bacon, beans, were from the buffet, fried eggs and omelettes from the egg guy and poached egg, oatmeal and eggs Benedict ordered at the table. The variety and quality of the fresh fruit especially was outstanding. Lunch you had the choice of either a variety of heavy snacks (sandwiches, cheese, soup) in the lounge or a up to four course meal in the dining room. We usually went to the dining room and enjoyed every meal, though did learn to stay away from the freely flowing wine and decadent dessert so early in the day. Dinner Each meal in the dining room consisted of a choice of two or three appetisers, two soups, a meat, fish and vegetarian selection for main courses and three desserts. There were also the always available options of chicken breast, salmon and a couple of others. The wine served at dinner was excellent (especially the whites as were were traveling through a region which specialised in white wine) The wine from the bar and at lunch was fine but not great. Over the 14 days we had maybe one meal in the main dining room which was OK - all the rest were outstanding. The food was much better than on the last luxury ocean cruise line we sailed with. The Chef was one of the highlights of the trip when I complimented him on the quality of the cheese he made me a special dish of Stilton (may favourite) cheese, covered in chocolate - which sounds odd but was amazing. There was a specialty restaurant which was free of charge but needed reservations. This had a single menu for the first week and another for the second week. Some guests were very impressed but our experience was the room was crowded and lacked atmosphere, the welcome drink was some horrid water melon concoction, the sorbet was warm, the meat was cold and the service poor. All the food looked really impressive but we felt we had missed a great meal in the MDR so cancelled our second booking. There was also afternoon tea and late night snacks served in the lounge but really we did not feel the need. Public Spaces In the dining room is a mix of two, four and six seat tables there were always seats available though a little shuffling was needed to manoeuvre around as there was not a great deal of space between tables. Likewise in the lounge there were enough seats but it was sometimes hard to get a good view of what was going on when a lecture or demonstration was going on. Outside the top deck was closed for 4 days as we navigated the locks and low bridges between Rudesheim and Regensburg. There was still outside seats in front of the wheelhouse but the pool and walking track were off limits. In October most of the Australians on board decided that it was to chilly to be out for long so there was plenty of space, I can imagine in warm weather the limited open air space could be a negative. Experiences: Three Experiences were included on this trip and each was truly a memorable occasion. Dinner at the private home of Princess Heide von Hohenzollern was much more than a lovely meal in a stunning location were were encouraged to tour the castle, look at the books and sit on the sofas. Rather than a coach to transport us to Salzburg a copy of the Austrian Imperial family train was ours for the journey. Champagne was served as we wandered amongst the luxurious furniture and polished wood. On the return journey, singers moved from coach to coach with music from the Magic Flute and Sound of Music. Finally we were treated to a Champagne reception at the stunning privately owned Liechtenstein City Palace in Vienna followed by a stunning concert. We were told we would have three royal experiences but actually we had three experiences where we were treated like royalty. Tours At each stop there was included excursions often a walking tour with excellent local guides using Quitevoxes. This was the first time we had encountered these devices and they are truly wonderful. A party of 25 suddenly become just you and the guide as every word they say is clear even when you have wondered off across the street to take pictures or are separated by Amsterdam’s traffic. Some times a bus and walking tour were combined and on six days there was a choice of two or three excursions to choose from. CD Bartel had clearly mastered the art of cloning as he appeared to accompany each of the, up to, six different groups each day. Bicycles were also available to explore the area. The information provided at the end of each day was much more than a schedule of the next days arrangements. It included wonderful information on the history, politics, agriculture, wines and food of the regions we passed through. Included Bartel, our Cruise Director, told us at the beginning of the trip that the only money we needed for the next two weeks was a few 50c coins for the public toilets and he was basically right. Tips - included; excursions - included; sparkling wine at breakfast - included; wine and beer with lunch and dinner - included; drinks from the bar 9am till late - included; tour of the wheelhouse by the captain - included. Before and after Before the cruise I was like a three year old at Christmas as I unpacked the goody bag from APT. Two really sturdy rucksacks with clever small bags which unzipped from them. Quality luggage tags, a document folder for our passports, laundry bags and magnetic name tags. Having been forced to wear ID for work I was at first sceptical about wearing a name tag (first name only) but most people chose to wear them through out the trip and they added to the experience, if you see someone’s name written down you remember it far better - by the end we were so used to them that we almost travelled home in ours. At the end of the cruise you are not kicked of the ship at 8.30 like on cruise ships - at 9am, cabins have to be vacated but you can stay on the ship until 2.30pm have some soup, and leave when you wish. We had arranged our own post cruise extension but still APT arranged a taxi for us at the time we requested and helped us with our luggage - really A Personal Touch. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Departure Day minus one: Packed – one huge ( approx. 23Kg) case, plus 2 small wheelie hand luggage cases Sunday October 15 - Day 1 Up at 6.25am. Taxi to Heathrow arrived 7.25. Driver ignored the warning gantries about probs on ... Read More
Departure Day minus one: Packed – one huge ( approx. 23Kg) case, plus 2 small wheelie hand luggage cases Sunday October 15 - Day 1 Up at 6.25am. Taxi to Heathrow arrived 7.25. Driver ignored the warning gantries about probs on the M4.....so we sat for 20 mins thereon. Driver very stressed – “anxiety makes me nauseous.” Arrived terminal 5 at pam. Checked. Decided not to buy Hungarian Florints, but to wait and see how many we need. By 9.30 all complete, then sit and sit people watching – til 10.55 gate announced. 11.05 board. 11.45 leave.20 mins taxiing, 40 mins flight, 20 mins taxiing at Schipol. Long walk to baggage hall. Why is our luggage always last? Coach to ship - the Amaverde – including another road closure ( Amsterdam Marathon). Cabin miles along the corridor. Folder of info about itinerary, tours’ booking forms etc. unpacked. Also contains dressing gowns and slippers, lanyard for doorkey. Magnetic name badges came with tickets… Walls only magnetic on corners unlike Ocean ships Went to lounge for cuppa ( no kettles in cabins) explored ship. Door key took some persuading to work (operator error). Safety talk/ general info / meet the team/ port talk before dinner. 151passengers 99 x Oz 45 x UK 4 x NZ 1 x Malaysian, 1 x Canadian, 1 x US Dinner – full order taken (starter, soup, main and dessert) at start. All drinks included Dinner with 2 NZs Coffee in lounge Was asked, “Do the crew sleep on board? I know they do on Sea cruises, but this is a river….” Monday October 16 – Day 2 Up at silly o’clock for 8.30 departure of tours. Chris to canals, M to supervise the movement of the ship to a new dock. Sailed to Wijk bij Duurstede where the tour rejoined the ship. A shame there was no option for independent exploration of Amsterdam From there thro’ lock into the Rhine canal Captain’s welcome reception before dinner. Dinner with Italian Aussies Today’s quote: “It’ll be good to go to Bonn now the wall is down” “Sorry, that’s Berlin…” M was up all night in the loo every 20 mins from 2am…. (either the change of diet, last night’s crab cake, or ( most likely, the soft cheese) Tuesday October 17 – Day 3 Cologne – either walking tour of Cologne and bus to Bonn, or bus to Bonn, then walking tour. OH to Bonn. M stayed onboard nursing dodgy tum. Trips back by lunch. Had minute lunch, then watched the Rhine valley float by. Docked for night at Andernach - Dinner at Namedy Castle. M didn’t go, had dinner in the lounge with 3 others (plus one had room service dinner). OH had good time Wednesday October 18 – Day 4 A quiet night – the engines didn’t start until 5.30ish. Sailed thro’ Rhine Gorge – past the Lorelei to Rudesheim Foggy first thing, but cleared as the sun came out mid-morning. Chilly on top deck which was best vantage point. Ship provides blankets with sleeves for the less hardy. Also Rudesheim coffee – a bit like a brandy floater Arrived Rudesheim at 1.30pm. Took land train to the Music Museum. Loads of mechanical instruments – pianos, organs, organs, violins, music boxes etc. Could have taken train back, but preferred to walk. Stuck at level crossing as 3 trains went thro’ – one passenger, plus 2 l-o-ong goods trains. Others could go to the Gondola ride to above the town. Thursday October 19 – Day 5 The day started with a glass blowing demo in the lounge – while we cruised to Miltenberg. There was a ‘treasure hunt’ – a list of questions to find out the answers from the tour guides…. \we did our own thing. Fave thing? The ‘pissing men’ statue outside the public loos! We had 1.5 hours before had to be back onboard- treasure hunters were bussed to Freundenberg. After dinner we teamed up with the Italian Aussies to form the Britalianoz music quiz team Friday October 20 – Day 6 Wurzburg. OH went on trip to the Residenz (Prince Bishops). M explored town. After lunch both did more exploring including a bridge full of bishop/saint/prince statues Saturday October 21 – Day 7 Bamberg. Watched, and videoed the lock operations (68 in total on trip). ln afternoon OH did bus trip to town. M decided to keep an elderly lady company onboard Singer entertainer in evening Sunday October 22 – Day 8 Nuremburg. OH took the day off from tours – and the town was too far to walk, so we ambled along the river bank Lecture about locks on the Main Danube canal in afternoon. Mega deep locks – 82ft! At 5pm we crossed the European watershed….. downhill from here on! After dinner entertainment – an ‘oompah‘ band Monday October 23 – Day 9 Regensburg. We set off with map to diy the town. Including find a department store for some shopping. After lunch we did the ‘wheelhouse tour’ Fascinating Tuesday October 24 – Day 10 Passau, Salzburg/ Linz OH went off on the 8am coach for the Imperator train to Salzburg, and on the Linz while M stayed onboard to sail all the way. Were late sailing cos the german police were onboard checking passports and visas. The scenery was wonderful – Autumn colours exquisite. Lunch in state in the lounge – with 2 others. Arrived Linz 5.15, OH back at 6.45 Wednesday October 25 – Day 11 Melk/Durnstein OH did the Abbey tour (unimpressed at the wealth of the community – very glitzy), M did the town. Still haven’t found out who Barwig Bear is (other than a sculpture in the park). After lunch we waved off the brave 30 or so people who were cycling to Durnstein. We sailed. Durnstein Castle was where Blondin found Richard the Lionheart imprisoned. Had time to explore the town Thursday October 26 – Day 12 Vienna day1. OH on walking tour – difficult cos it was a public holiday and many roads/ sights shut ( including RingStrasse). M to Prater and the Ferris wheel. After lunch we crossed the bridge to the Danube Island. Very hot day. Early dinner at 5.30. Desserts after the concert! Concert at Lichtenstein Palace – Chamber Orchestra plus girls’ choir Friday October 27 – Day 13 Vienna Day 2 OH to Schonnbrunn. M declined cos not enough time allowed for the bits she wanted to see (the gardens). In the event it poured with rain at that point , so very little garden seen at all as everyone ran for the bus! M explored on foot - after watching the Lippizaner introductory talk – keeping an eye on the grey skies. Had intended to metro into town in the afternoon, but still teeming, so played scrabble instead! Disembarkation briefing Captain’s farewell dinner (M avoided the soft cheese canapes this time….) Sailed through Bratislava during dinner. Crew entertainment – seemed mainly the hotel manager on electric guitar, so we didn’t stay til the end Saturday October 28 – Day 14 Budapest Day 1. Arrived mid-morning. Announcement that you can go to the market this morning, then after lunch there’s a coach/walking tour. OH decided he’d done enough tours/ castle/palaces/burgs and he was coming with me and the map. Did market in the morning, then walked to Parliament in afternoon. Past the Shoe memorial. Said memorial wasn’t included in the organised trip much to the annoyance those I told about it…. Hungarian folkloric music/dancing before dinner, then lighted sail-by after dinner Sunday October 29– Day 15 Budapest Day 2 Raining heavily. We were off ship by 10 on way to airport. Flight an hour late taking off cos too windy to load luggage. In the end we left it behind. It arrived home via a courier 2 days later. Hadn’t booked a taxi from Heathrow. Initially were going to get the X 26 bus, but cos now only hand luggage, decided to go by tube ( rejected initially cos too many steps in the stations. Bad move – the bus would have been better – less crowded APT pros and cons Name badges for all – a brilliant idea Lanyards for all on which we could hang our door keys. Many tucked their trip tickets in it too Excellent maps in all ports BUT………Very few diy possibilities Read Less
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