I wanted to give you an update of our experiences on the Arosa Bella cruise on the Danube. Let me start out that there were 5 of us traveling in 3 cabins. We are all in our late 40's-early 50's. We got a text the night before the cruise was to start while we were in Munich that the locks were down in Slovakia and the boat could not get to Passau so we would be bussed to the boat in Hungary. This ended up to be a 6 hour bus ride to Komaron, Hungary. We were not happy at all with the way they handled the lock closure. When we got to Passau as we were instructed, the Hotel Director, Michael was unwilling to speak with us to explain what was going on because we spoke English. To quote him "I will only speak to the German guests now, you can wait." Now keep in mind we are in a strange country where we don't speak the language. Dozens of people are milling around trying to find out what was going on and many were mad that they had not been contacted. We were not mad, but did want to understand what they were saying. We were lucky in that about 20 minutes after standing there, a person that was going on the cruise that spoke English finally translated for us. He told us to tag our bags and put them on the bus and just to get on the bus. The Hotel Director kept telling us to wait even after I called the cruise line contact that had called me about the change and she promised to call Michael to have him talk to us. I saw her call him and heard him answer and he then still chose to ignore us. If it wasn't for a very nice German man that had lived in Fort Lee, NJ for a time, we would have had no idea what to do or where to go until they decided to talk to us.
On the cruise itself many times we felt a burden to the cruise line because we spoke English. Because of the change in itinerary they did give a lovely tour in Budapest in English that we were not expecting. What we didn't realize was if we didn't take the German tour we would not be allowed off the ship in Melk & Krems. We ended up taking the German tour because we wanted to get off the ship, but in Esztergom we almost had the same problem, but I forced the to call us a cab to take us to Basilica. That information would have been helpful before we went so we were prepared. I had originally had some tours planned but due to the change in itinerary we had to cancel them.
We did have a great waiter every night who spoke English and got us an English menu every night. The ship itself was lovely. The passengers were friendly even though many did not speak English. Food was generally good with only a few times that there was little to eat for my husband since the gluten allergy. They had a hard time understanding the gluten allergy depending on which chef was there as some did not speak any English and could not tell my husband what foods were safe and what weren't. The itinerary was great and we loved that we were overnight in Vienna and Budapest. Wifi didn't really work well so I wouldn't tout it much. We had a full drink package so all our drinks were included. This was great and not something I was used to on a cruise. We had lots of great local wines and schnapps. The cabin was comfortable and clean and very well kept. We loved being up on deck as we went through the locks on the return trip.