When we were in the planning stages of the cruise we were discouraged by many people about taking a cruise down the Danube in November. We decided to go, and what an amazing trip we had.
The trip started for us in Prague. I had arranged to have a pick up at the airport and used Viator to book this. The driver was friendly, on time and the transfer was very smooth and uneventful.
We chose to do our own personal pre cruise in Prague for just over two days. The city is amazing and we chose to stay just off the main square in the old City. We hired private guide who I chose after doing a lot of research on line. She was with Whittmann Tours and had an amazing knowledge of the history of Prague and the events pre and post World War Two. Prague is an incredible city with lots of wonderful old buildings, in excellent condition and a very long and storied history. The receptionist at our hotel recommended a great evening out of chamber music in the old City being performed in one of the old Shul's. An evening to remember.
We also booked our own transfer from Prague to Vilshofen where the ship was going to depart from. Reading many commends from others on line, we chose Martin's Stich taxi Transfer. The driver again, was on time, and I had pre arranged to stop in Regensburg for a few hours. We did not have a guide there which in hindsight was a mistake. This is a wonderful small historic town, and not having a guide we missed a lot of what we should have seen. We arrived at the ship as planned.
The Amasonata was waiting for us, and we were meet by the incredible friendly and helpful staff. The next morning after a brief visit to Vilshohen we sailed for our first stop in Passau. Again a small town, were we had an interesting walking tour.
One of the things that AmaWaterways does so well is offering people the choice of walking tours at their own pace. Groups are divided using different colors to allow the guests to chose either a very active walker, a regular walker or a gentle walker. This is great for everyone, since it divides the groups by ability and does not put any one in a group the are uncomfortable in.
Next day it was a tour of Chesky Krumlov . What an amazing walled town. This was our only day of rain, and it really did not hinder anyone. WE spent hours inside the small town, had a great coffee and cake in a tiny coffee shop and took lots of pictures.
Melk Abbey was how we spent our morning on Day 4. In the afternoon we did the optional Bike Tour. The weather was cold, and our group consisted of only 8 riders. We had two guides, one in the front and one in the back. Both were locals and really took care of all of us. Riding through the Wachua Valley was just wonderful. Beautiful scenery and a unique way to see our surroundings. Again and excellent option offered by Ama. The riders were all experienced in that the they had ridden a bike before but anyone who was willing to ride could have coped. Weather, which was cold and overcast was more of an issue then the difficulty of the ride. Having bicycles available at the various places we stopped was wonderful. This is something I would highly recommend in the spring or summer. Its a unique way to see the countryside.
Since this was a wine cruise we visited many wineries and got to sample a variety of the local wines. We also had a wine expert on board, and most evenings he gave a talk about wine.
There were two more stops in smaller towns, before we got to Vienna. What a beautiful City. The City tour gave you an excellent overview, and then we stayed in town and did a lot more sight seeing and window shopping. We also went to the Christmas Market and made a lot of purchase of cookies, candy, chocolates etc. The evening had an option of either going to a classical concrete or a local pub. Everyone who went to either had a great time.
Last stop was Budapest. Sailing into the City in bright sunshine we got to see all the sights you see in the postcards and magazines. After a tour of the city, we had dinner and some local folk dancing and singing. An extremely pleasant evening. We chose to stay and extra day and hired a private guide for day of sight seeing. Well worth the extra time and money.
AmaWaterways really did a wonderful job. The meals were excellent, there was great entertainment, and the cruise director Moniker went out of her way to make sure everyone had every single request meet. The waiters, and housekeepers went out of their way to make the guest feel at home. Every request was meet with a smile. We have been on other River Boat Cruises, but this truly was by far the best. I was extremely concerned about going at this time of year. Yes, it was cold, and we did have a little rain, but this was never an issue.
The cabin was located on the Violin Deck. The lady who looked after us was extremely nice and helpful and remember our names after the first day. Only comment we would like to see in the cabin is a reading light on either side of the bed. They did have bedside lamps but it was difficult read with them. An LED light on each side would be an easy addition to the cabin.
This was out only day of rain. Tour was wonderful to this beautiful walled old City. We loved every minute of it
We had nit really heard a lot about the Abbey so it was a total surprise to hear the history and see the Abbey
We were a part of the rapid walkers group so we did a very extensive tour of the old Town. We then stayed in town where we had lunch and visited the Christmas Market
Gave us an excellent over view of the city. The evening sailing to see the "lights" was wonderful
This was our first day and we just did a short walking tour. This is a very small town with not to much to see in the middle of winter
We did a walk into the town on our own
We stopped for a wine visit and did not go to Bratislava