My husband and I are veteran ocean cruisers, but this was our first time on a river. There were many differences, most of them wonderful--in fact, we enjoyed our Amadolce experience so much, we were reluctant to turn in our keys! The reception upon arrival was overwhelmingly friendly with a personal escort to our room. No time consuming stops to check in and pull out our credit cards for the drink packages and heavy sell spa services. Our luggage arrived in minutes instead of hours, and we were immediately free to explore the boat, which to our amusement, took about 15 minutes. After all of the 140 or so passengers came aboard, there was an entertaining safety talk and general orientation from the captain and cruise manager and soon we were sailing down the Danube with the beautiful lights of Budapest reflected in our wake.
We enjoyed our first dinner aboard that evening as well as all of the food offerings on the cruise but I do have one and only criticism that prevented me from giving the experience a full five stars. I have a blood sugar issue and I did mention it in advance during the online check in well before the sail date. I requested sugar free desserts, all available in variety and abundance on ocean ship lines. I was disappointed in that regard on this cruise, mostly contenting myself with one flavor of SF ice cream and a few small mousse treats. Adding some SF cookies to the afternoon tea or some SF puddings or pastries would be an easy thing to do, and not terribly expensive, especially since people in my situation also limit or refrain from wine and other alcohol.
The ports visited on this cruise were a good mix of large cities and smaller towns. After living in Europe for two years, my husband and I have developed an appreciation for the latter with their slower pace and quirky monuments. The excursions were all wonderful and handled well with an amazing ease of selection. We especially liked choosing between the active, regular and slow paced groups. The limited option tours were perfect and worth the cost, especially the Mozart/Strauss concert and Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, and the day trip to Salzburg. The guides all knew their stuff and were enthusiastic about their particular city. They did a great job of describing the history and culture in each area and their stories entertained us and inspired our imaginations.
Unlike our ocean cruise experiences where 2000 or more people wandered the ship in anonymity, the much smaller group on the Amadolce gave us the chance to see the same friendly faces each day and and get to know them a little. The same was true for the ship's crew, all of whom had a kind word or smile to offer. The very much loved Cruise Manager became ill halfway through the trip and was temporarily replaced by another very enthusiastic, professional woman who, with the support of the crew, did a seamless job of serving the passengers.
My husband and I tended to wander back to our cabin after dinner on most evenings, so we didn't participate in a lot of the lounge entertainment. It was plentiful though with a skilled musician on board and acts from local areas invited in. We enjoyed an all too brief performance by Lindsay Hamilton, a former London West End actress and singer who amazed us with her talent.
As a physical structure, the boat was exquisitely cared for and maintained. This became even more evident to us as we were among the few remaining passengers on board while awaiting our transfer to the airport at the end of the trip. We saw every surface of the cabins cleaned, including the air duct screens, the upholstery on every piece of public area furniture was brushed and vacuumed and the windows were all shined and polished. Fresh flower arrangements arrived and were decoratively placed and new potted herbs were unpacked and taken to the kitchen. A tempting tray of sandwiches for the new passengers appeared on the long buffet table, and it was all we could do to resist the urge to rush to the front desk and beg to have our cabin back and continue on down the river. This cruise is worth a repeat.
Pleasantly decorated with surprising amount of storage room for its size. Cleaned to perfection every day with turndown service in the evenings. Caught off guard a couple of times to open the curtains to find another boat rafted onto the side. We understand that this is the way of river boats. We looked forward to most evenings where we could lie in our bed and see the stars and the lit church steeples in small villages as we floated by.
We had two days on our own to explore Budapest before boarding the ship. A lovely city to wander, especially at night!
Slovakia, another checkmark for us and a great tour. Interesting iron curtain history and some fun, quirky statues and monuments.
Stunning palace and well worth the time. Learned a lot about the Hapsburg history.View All 179 Schonbrunn Palace Reviews
Vienna has beautiful, graceful architecture and it's a must see on any trip!View All 183 Walking Tour Reviews
My husband did the wine tasting and he enjoyed it very much. I did the shopping and exploring in this small lovely town and we were both happy.View All 17 Winetasting in Krems Reviews
Don't miss this one!! Utterly awe inspiring with well done tour displays and media presentation. Very good tour guide gives you an appreciation for the incredible history of this place. It's still in use today as a school and monastery.View All 182 Melk Abbey Reviews
I'm giving this tour experience a Five for the guide's knowledge and professionalism, but I wish that he (and other tour guides in Salzburg) would reconcile themselves to the fact that there are still people who love The Sound of Music. Yes, we know it's an old movie, but you still make money from tourists wanting to see the gazebo, church, and other notable spots, so smile and take them there without rolling your eyes. Thank you. :-)View All undefined undefined Reviews
I wanted to live here. Home of Oscar Schindler, a 900 year old bridge, a salt museum and a collection of old towers that earned the town the name of "Medieval Manhattan".
A little like Epcot. Buildings destroyed in WWII and rebuilt with the same materials. You know you're not looking at the originals though and that is sad. War is sad.
Forced to fill in field to submit the rest. Did not see Linz. But did day trip to Salzburg as described above.