This was our first river cruise. Surprisingly my husband & I were the only British people on the Xmas market river cruise tour - 80% USA, 20% Australia + some Canadians & NZ and occasional others. Avalon marketing in the UK must be lacking, because it was a very good trip, and very well organised.
We started with 2 nights in the Intercontinental, Prague. This is a good hotel, well located, though the grapefruit "juice" at the included breakfast tasted like unidentifiable sugar water, and the ship breakfast was much better. We did not eat any other meals there. The first day we walked round the surprisingly small Prague Xmas market in the Old Town Square, and had dinner there at restaurant Mincovna on the square - quite good food, very whitewashed décor.
The second day we enjoyed the included Avalon guided tour of the castle (only outside of all buildings) - the guide was good. 3 out of 5 of our daily local guides were funny and excellent, only the 2 in Nuremberg and Bamberg were rushed and a bit dull. We then chose to leave the guide and go round the Jewish synagogues, cemetery by ourselves - very interesting. That evening's meal (booked by us) was the best of the holiday, to La Veranda near the hotel - totally gourmet food in a lovely decorated room. Prague was very inexpensive all round.
On the 3rd day we all were bussed to Nuremberg to catch the river ship. We left around 12.45 pm and reached the ship around 5.00 pm. It was extremely well decorated and smart, and the staff were unfailingly smiling and welcoming.
We were lucky to meet some lovely friendly Americans to have dinner with each day - there are no tables for 2, so you have to talk to people when you share a table for each meal.
We were also lucky with the weather which was mostly sunny and not horribly cold. We had all day in Nuremberg, only the morning in Bamburg, all day in Wurzburg (though 90% of the ship only had the morning and paid 44 euros to be bussed to Rothenburg for a guided walk in the afternoon) and the afternoon in Miltenburg, a very sweet village - though their Xmas market was shut as midweek.
We were impressed by the efficiency of the private car to and from the airport at home. Only the transfer to the hotel from the airport in Prague (1.5 hours literally standing waiting for 4 other flights for us all to go on a coach) and to the airport from the ship at Frankfurt (coaches only every 2 hours for again around 4 - 5 flights, so we had 3 very dull hours sitting at Frankfurt airport - not a fun place) let the whole experience down - would have much preferred a series of taxis for us all both ways so did not eat into our holiday.
We believe Avalon is much cheaper for a very similar product than some other river cruise lines, and I would recommend it - but you do need to be happy to talk to people all day, as it is very much a group experience.
Very cold morning to be walking around up at castle, so did not hang around after the very good guided walk - got the Avalon bus back to hotel. Guide enjoyable.View All 26 Prague Castle Reviews
Guide less interesting but the city is fun, as had all day after that walk was over. We went into the Durer House - very interesting if you like his drawings, the Castle - a bit empty compared with others worldwide, but still interesting, and the Xmas market - absolutely packed with people!