Our first river cruise, and like many people we had been attracted by all the advertising Viking has done in the USA. However, a travel agent recommended AVALON and she was right. We chose the Legendary Danube with pre-cruise in Prague and then sailing from Nuremberg to Regensberg to Passau to Lintz to Melk to Vienna to Budapest. First of all, I think the conditions we experienced made this the perfect cruise. No rain, river-levels fine and wonderful sunshine the whole way. We stayed in the Intercontinental in Prague, only 5 minutes walk to the Old Town Square and right on the river. Prague is small and we walked everywhere. The first night we met our cruise director who stayed with us in the hotel and throughout the cruise. His name was Valentin Gheorghe and he was FANTASTIC: professional, organized, really funny and extremely caring of his party.
The bus trip on the 4th day to Nuremberg to meet AVALON IMPRESSION was 4 hours. The ship was docked alone on the Main-Danube canal and we boarded and were taken to our wonderful cabin. I have been on many ocean cruises and stayed in balcony cabins, but the Impression cabins and bathroom are so much nicer. I am glad we started in Nuremberg, because the scenery becomes more and more interesting as the trip progresses toward Budapest, it would not be quite as nice to end at Nuremberg in that rather industrial setting. The days are very busy on river cruises and you see so much, but you certainly cannot call it relaxing. That is fine, but I hadn't quite realized how "on the go" we would be. I loved every stop, but Vienna (although not on the Danube itself) was incredible. The underground from the ship to the city is really simple to use (honestly). Sailing into Budapest and also seeing the lights of the city at night will also be two things I won't forget.
I liked going through the locks, I loved the food on the ship and the crew were all so helpful and friendly. For entertainment we had a beer tasting night, a lecture on the Main-Danube canal, a trio of female musicians (2 violins and classical guitar), and two Bavarian musicians. There was also the crew show which was good, and the regular pianist each night. We were lucky that the European Football Championships were on and a crowd of us gathered in the aft lounge on three nights to watch matched including the final - a lot of fun. We met some great people and feel that our experience of river cruising could not be better. If we go on another I will definitely book with Avalon.
My last comment is about excursions: The included excursions are basically 90 minutes to 2 hours tours of the city, perhaps going into a cathedral. The quiet talking receivers were excellent and meant the guides could walk and talk. Guides were good, some were excellent. The optional excursions we took were also worth it and lived up to the descriptions, but I had carefully read reviews on these boards so I knew what to expect and which to chose and which to miss.
Lovely having the bed facing those glorious french windows. We spent one afternoon in the room watching the river as we sailed to Vienna. The bathroom has a wonderful tiled shower with plenty of room, a lovely wash-basin area and very good products. Extremely impressed with the cabin.
Prague has so much to see and is extremely walkable.
Took the tour to the rally grounds. Incredibly interesting, especially the document museum. We had a wonderful guide.
Very pretty, enjoyed the organ recital at noon (every day) and sausages at the old Wurt Haus
The guide was great and the Abbey well worth a visit.View All 62 Benedictine Abbey Reviews
Very easy to get into the city on the underground. Walked a lot and went up the cathedral south tower 373 steps for a view - disappointed that it was not outside at the top, but a room with small windows all round.Beautiful parks and buildings in this city.
Really an architectural tour but the highlight is the tour of the opera house. This was followed by coffee and cake at a local shop with a very ornate cafe.View All 353 City Tour Reviews