We left Budapest on October 5th and after a relaxing day of cruising, we arrived in Vienna around dinner time on the 6th. We were very fortunate to be able to navigate this stretch of the river; I believe that some cruisers had to be ... Read More
We left Budapest on October 5th and after a relaxing day of cruising, we arrived in Vienna around dinner time on the 6th. We were very fortunate to be able to navigate this stretch of the river; I believe that some cruisers had to be bussed to Vienna the next week. We enjoyed a day and a half in Vienna and when we boarded the Expression around 8:00pm on the second night, we found a letter outlining modifications to our itinerary that were being made due to low water concerns.
In a nutshell, the changes (for the majority of passengers continuing on to Prague) were
1). Linz, Austria was substituted for Nuremberg
2). We were bused from Passau to Regensburg rather than cruising to Regensburg
3). We were bused to Prague from Passau not Nuremberg (same distance)
Passengers were free to disembark and would be given a pro rats refund based on the number of days left in the cruise; I do not believe anyone took this option. We were given 30 Euros cash for our lunch in Regensburg since we could not return to the boat. Also, when docked in Linz, we were given the option of complimentary full day excursions to either Salzburg or Cesky Kremlov. Any one who had already booked these excursions was given a full refund.
We felt that we were treated very fairly by Avalon for relatively minor changes in our itinerary and would recommend Avalon to others.
We had taken a 3 day Avalon cruise two years ago, so we skipped the included tours in Budapest, Vienna and Melk but heard good reviews from fellow passengers. We were very pleased with our docking locations - right in town. In Vienna, Linz, and Passau we could stroll back to town after dinner since we were either overnighting or sailing late at night.
Highlights of our trip were the Szenchenyi baths in Budapest, the Faust Cellars wine tasting in Budapest, a visit to a wine garden on the outskirts of the Vienna Woods, a Monet exhibit at the Albertina Museum in Vienna, high Mass at the Augustiner church in Vienna, sausage and beer at the Old Sausage Kitchen in Regensburg, and a tram to Postlingberg in Linz for spectacular views.
Our particular tour included 2 nights pre-cruise in Budapest and 3 nights post-cruise in Prague. The Sofitel Hotel in Budapest was great, located right at the Chain Bridge with beautiful views and an easy walk to Parliament, St Stephen's Basilica, the Central Market, etc. The included breakfast was very good. In Prague, we stayed at the Prague Hilton which I would not recommend, Location was poor; it was separated from main part of city by a major highway. The neighborhood was a bit "iffy" - we would not have been comfortable walking around at night. Fortunately taxis and Uber's were plentiful and quite reasonable. Also, when we arrived (about 2 hours before. check in) our luggage was unloaded from the bus and just sat outside the hotel for 2+ hours. When we finally were able to check in, we went outside and retrieved our luggage, but there was no security and anyone could have walked away with it.
Overall, it was an excellent trip. Food on the Expression was excellent; service was very attentive and the cruise director did a great job despite the challenges of last minute changes. Read Less