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  #1  
Old July 9th, 2014, 01:26 AM
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Default AMAPrima Prague to Budapest

Well, here it is as promised, a live mini trip report. I will try to keep up as we go along. please excuse typos, spelling and grammar errors !
We started out in Prague as a DIY pre-cruise stay. We spent two nights at the Hilton Old Town, which is the same hotel used by AMA for this trip. There were also groups from Viking and Vantage. We booked directly and got a very low rate that included breakfast. (It was a non refundable package rate) The hotel was perfect, centrally located, clean, spacious and very comfy. The breakfast buffet was fantastic! We also ate lunch and snacks in the lounge and the food was excellent. Every server and staff person we met went above and beyond in making our stay pleasant. We used the public shuttle , Cedaz, from the airport to the city center. It stops virtually right outside the hotel and runs every half hour, costing approximately $7.50 usd. The metro is a few steps away and Old Town is a quick walk. I highly recommend Hilton Old Town.
We all had severe jet lag this time and spent the first afternoon napping! (This has never happened to me before - did not sleep a wink on the flight,)
We booked a private guide for the day and did an extensive, and quite demanding walking tour of the city (including a couple of short jaunts on the efficient public transportation system). I was absolutely blown away by Prague and wish we had spent more time there. Way too much to see in one day, could have easily spent a week. We were only able to get an overview of this gorgeous place. We had a lovely lunch near the abbey on the top of the castle hill and wandered down through the palace grounds, gardens and vineyards. It was very warm and uncomfortable. I could spend an entire thread on our day, but want to catch up.......
We had dinner at the Imperial Cafe - every dish was excellent, as was the service (not to mention the incredible decor). For two of us, with apos and a couple glasses of wine, around $60 used (including a tip).

We did the AMA transfer to Vilshofen, with a stop in Regensburg. Regensburg is a lovely little town. The famous stone bridge is undergoing extensive renovation. If you have been to other small European towns such ad Talinn or San Gimgnano, you will not be overly impressed, but it was a fun break. AMA provided local guides for a quick 45 minute walking tour. A gentle walkers option was offered. We had lunch on our own, the famous sausages, kraut and beer by the bridge.

I need to get off to breakfast, so will spend time later to tell you about this fantastic ship and our welcome aboard.

Two things to share now: it rained hard yesterday noon and evening - plenty of water in the Danube today . The forecast today is high 50s (from high 80s in Prague, to chilly wet temps today).

So much fun to be in Germany last night during World Cup. We could hear the cheers and horns blasting from the crowds while docked in Vilshofen!

Feel free to ask any questions, I will try to get to them. The Wi-if onboard is greatly appreciated.
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Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean, Spain Italy
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Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
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Last edited by sippican; July 9th, 2014 at 01:30 AM.
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  #2  
Old July 9th, 2014, 04:38 AM
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Thank you for taking us along.
Bon voyage!
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  #3  
Old July 9th, 2014, 05:13 AM
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It is still raining, hard!
We did a very short walking tour of Vilshofen - in the rain. It is really very chilly, many stayed onboard. With a fleece and solid windbreaker, we were still cool, not what we expected in July, The church is not to be missed, one of the most unusual I have seen.

About the AMAPrima: this is our first river cruise so I have nothing to compare. We did tons or research before choosing AMA and so far all 14 in our group have been very impressed. (3 have river cruised on Viking) She is a gorgeous ship, clean modern interior, lots of glass. We have not explored the upper deck yet due to the weather. All crew smiling and helpful (except at the omelet station - in honor of a Seinfield episode, we have affectionately dubbed him "the breakfast ****"!
Our cabin is small (twin balcony category, Violin Deck). We do love the twin balcony, but will determine later if the outside space is worth the loss of interior space, and we'll see how much we use it. I did enjoy just stepping out this morning under cover to take in the air and the view. The closet is large for hanging garments, but there is limited space for other clothing items. We did manage to stow everything somewhere (and had trouble finding things this am ) plenty of space under the bed for luggage. The large pull-out wooden bin is awkward to pull out. Although the bed seemed a little harder than we like, we slept like rocks. Well-stocked bathroom, hot shower, good pressure. Dinner was great last evening! Wonderful food and service.
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Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas - Southern Carib.
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Norwegian Sun - Baltics, Copenhagen, St Petersburg
Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean, Spain Italy
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Old July 9th, 2014, 04:45 PM
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in honor of a Seinfield episode, we have affectionately dubbed him "the breakfast ****"!

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Old July 9th, 2014, 05:02 PM
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Thank you so much for posting. Happy to hear all is going well and hopefully the rain will not be a problem in the ports. Does AMA then do more of a bus tour with less walking to compensate for the weather?

I was interested in your comments about the Hilton Old Town because we too are staying there and booked their prepaid rate as it was quite a savings over the other rates offered. Also liked your comment about the Imperial Cafe as it is on our list.

I have been wondering about the stop in Regensburg and just what we might have in store there so glad you included that part.

Did you enjoy the Octoberfest performance (I believe AMA offers this on all their cruises when in Vilshofen) and how was the tour there? I haven't found much info in Vilshofen so have no idea what to expect there.

Looking forward to your future posts as time allows.
Sharon
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Old July 9th, 2014, 10:21 PM
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Glad to hear that you are enjoying the trip, so far. Sorry the weather is so chilly...very unusual for July, it seems. We had a couple of cool mornings in May...but not what I would call uncomfortable.
Keep us posted.
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  #7  
Old July 9th, 2014, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purduemom1 View Post
Thank you so much for posting. Happy to hear all is going well and hopefully the rain will not be a problem in the ports. Does AMA then do more of a bus tour with less walking to compensate for the weather?

Did you enjoy the Octoberfest performance (I believe AMA offers this on all their cruises when in Vilshofen) and how was the tour there? I haven't found much info in Vilshofen so have no idea what to expect there.

Looking forward to your future posts as time allows.
Sharon
No added bus transportation for rain. Plenty of umbrellas available onboard. The nature of the small villages pretty much rules out motorized transportation, the streets are narrow and cobbled. We have been docked very close to the towns.
Octoberfest is very touristy but enjoyable. A small "oompah" band, the local young beer queen and four folk dancers. It is short and sweet, held in a tent on the dock. Beer and pretzels. A fun way to be welcomed and start the trip. Really not much to see in Vilshofen. The church is unique and lovely.There is an abbey that is an uphill walk - we did not venture up there, heard a few did. It is a good place to pick up anything you may have forgotten to bring, fair selection of stores. Many bought warmer and/or waterproof jackets.
Sharon, you will love this trip!
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AMAPrima - Danube, Prague to Budapest
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas - Southern Carib.
Carnival Imagination - Western Carib.
Carnival Valor - Southern Carib.
Norwegian Sun - Baltics, Copenhagen, St Petersburg
Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean, Spain Italy
Celebrity Millenium - Alaska
Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
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  #8  
Old July 10th, 2014, 12:28 AM
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Yesterday, after a very rainy and cold start in Vilshofen, we sailed to Passau. We were delayed at a lock and arrived two and one half hours behind schedule. It was our first lock and fascinating to experience. We initially docked under a bridge where that was barely inches from the top deck. They moved it to a different dock later.The local guides were waiting for us. We went with the "active walkers" group. Basically they move faster and finish earlier, allowing for extra free time. We do have a member of our party who had surgery prior to the trip, and the gentle walkers group has been wonderful for her! There is also a moderate group. We enjoyed our time in Passau. Our guide was great (friends did not enjoy their guide, stating she was "mean"!) St Stephen's Cathedral is gorgeous (I seem to be using that word a lot)! They were setting it up for an evening concert. They are many photo opportunities in town. I suggest you take time to wander and explore. Anyone visiting may want to research the possibilities for tickets to concerts in advance. I really wish we had. The ship leaves after 11:00 pm, so it would be possible to attend an evening event. It is a short walk to the docking area.
Dinner was once again fantastic! There was entertainment in the lounge - "Sounds of Austria", two lovely singers and a gentleman that accompanied them. Unfortunately, in spite of a gentle reminder from our Cruise Director about being respectful, there were a few guests who persisted in talking and laughing during this wonderful performance. So disrespectful and rude that some guests got up and left. I do wish the CD had stayed to monitor the situation. Sadly, these same guests did the same thing during a tour earlier. Makes one wonder why they even attended
A few random notes -
Your passports will be collected as you board, and you may get them back the following day.
All tour choices for the week needed to be passed in last evening. Our CD, Kriss, hosted an informative cruise overview that answered most questions about the choices.
If you wish to dine in the Chef's Table restaurant, reserve early to get your preferred day.
You must take a boarding card from the Reception Desk each time you leave the ship, and hand it in when you return.
It is important to read the Daily Cruiser each evening. It is a source of great information, for instance,we learned we must have passports for our selected tour today.
The drink station in the Main Lounge is open 24/7. Nice selection, including teas, cafe latte, and more. No artificial sweeteners other than the pink (wish I had brought Equal or Splenda.
In out twin balcony cabin, the french balcony doors only open about 18" total in the middle, but of course we can step out on the regular balcony. Our friends have a regular french balcony and their doors open completely, sliding into the wall. Hmmmmm, still nor sure which we prefer.

I slept poorly last night due to an AC unit that "croaked" with every movement of the ship (will see if it can be addressed today). But there was a benefit to being wide-eyed at 4:00 AM: we passed through a massive lock, huge! I got some great pics from our balcony. We are sailing through some lovely countryside and small villages on our way to Linz - and I am gloating in the knowledge that my cruise companions are missing out. I am sure I will be exhausted later.
Again, I apologize for errors. The internet is spotty and very slow, so editing is time consuming.
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AMAPrima - Danube, Prague to Budapest
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas - Southern Carib.
Carnival Imagination - Western Carib.
Carnival Valor - Southern Carib.
Norwegian Sun - Baltics, Copenhagen, St Petersburg
Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean, Spain Italy
Celebrity Millenium - Alaska
Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
Royal Caribbean Nordic Prince - Bermuda
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  #9  
Old July 10th, 2014, 12:35 AM
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purduemom1 purduemom1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sippican View Post
No added bus transportation for rain. Plenty of umbrellas available onboard. The nature of the small villages pretty much rules out motorized transportation, the streets are narrow and cobbled. We have been docked very close to the towns.
Octoberfest is very touristy but enjoyable. A small "oompah" band, the local young beer queen and four folk dancers. It is short and sweet, held in a tent on the dock. Beer and pretzels. A fun way to be welcomed and start the trip. Really not much to see in Vilshofen. The church is unique and lovely.There is an abbey that is an uphill walk - we did not venture up there, heard a few did. It is a good place to pick up anything you may have forgotten to bring, fair selection of stores. Many bought warmer and/or waterproof jackets.
Sharon, you will love this trip!
Thanks once again for answering my questions. You have certainly helped me out with info over the past weeks We are really looking forward to this cruise so very happy to read your great comments. I hope the weather improves as you continue but it seems as if you aren't letting the rain and cool temps get in the way of your enjoyment.
Sharon
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  #10  
Old July 10th, 2014, 10:16 AM
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Thanks for the review! Is your twin balcony a BB/BA or an AB/AA? We have a BB category room booked. Also glad you mentioned the artificial sweetener, my husband is a T1 diabetic so we will bring some Truvia or Equal with us.

Will you be posting any photos? I would love to see some detailed shots of the ship and cabin.

Enjoy the rest of your trip!
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Old July 10th, 2014, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purduemom1 View Post
I have been wondering about the stop in Regensburg and just what we might have in store there so glad you included that part.
Not trying to hijack the thread, but I thought I might chime in here.

Regensburg is a wonderful little town dating back to Roman times.

Not to be missed in the Wurstkuchl - a restaurant that is 100's of years old and has the best homemade sausage, sauerkraut and mustard. They will show it to you on your tour, but go back later to eat.

http://www.wurstkuchl.de/tavern.html

And, for us, one of the highlights of our entire trip was the Thurn und Taxis Palace. A real gem. Have a beer across the street in their brewery.

http://www.thurnundtaxis.de/en/intro/
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  #12  
Old July 10th, 2014, 12:46 PM
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Sippican. I'm not sure when you left the US but am wondering if you know about the new security rule for pax flying from Europe(and the Middle East) directly to the US? If you have any electronics including cell phones, you will be asked to turn them on so they can be sure they are working items and not shells that could be used in bomb making. Most people would have their items charged on arrival at the airport but may overlook an item they don't intend to use until they are home. Also I wonder about all those who left the US before this was announced and for whatever reason are not aware of the changes.

Happy cruising
Sharon
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Old July 10th, 2014, 08:17 PM
jojocmcla jojocmcla is offline
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So glad to hear that you're enjoying your cruise as much as we enjoyed ours in May...basically same itinerary, except we boarded in Nuremburg.
St. Stephen's in Passau was beautiful. I'm an organist; so I was thrilled to see the largest pipe organ in the world.
Guess you're on to Vienna....have fun!
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Old July 11th, 2014, 12:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cary Cruiser View Post
Not trying to hijack the thread, but I thought I might chime in here.

Regensburg is a wonderful little town dating back to Roman times.

Not to be missed in the Wurstkuchl - a restaurant that is 100's of years old and has the best homemade sausage, sauerkraut and mustard. They will show it to you on your tour, but go back later to eat.

http://www.wurstkuchl.de/tavern.html

And, for us, one of the highlights of our entire trip was the Thurn und Taxis Palace. A real gem. Have a beer across the street in their brewery.

http://www.thurnundtaxis.de/en/intro/
We did eat there . It was mobbed and it took us a bit of time to understand that we must sit to eat (not easy to find a table). So we ended up going through the take out line to get just sausage and kraut on a bun. We were disappointed to not have the plate with six and kraut or the beer. The mustard is so good! Others told us they serve the same things at the inside restaurant along the side so that might be worth a try! (There are restrooms in there too.)
Sadly, we had very limited time, and needed to choose between lunch or another activity, so Thurn and Taxis was not an option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by purduemom1 View Post
Sippican. I'm not sure when you left the US but am wondering if you know about the new security rule for pax flying from Europe(and the Middle East) directly to the US? If you have any electronics including cell phones, you will be asked to turn them on so they can be sure they are working items and not shells that could be used in bomb making. Most people would have their items charged on arrival at the airport but may overlook an item they don't intend to use until they are home. Also I wonder about all those who left the US before this was announced and for whatever reason are not aware of the changes.

Happy cruising
Sharon
Thank you. Yes, we have heard through our adult children back home. We are all planning to have our electronics fully charged when departing. I am hoping they notify others onboard who may not be aware,
A friend's daughter reported huge back ups at the Amsterdam airport. She was asked to completely power up and down each device two times.
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Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean, Spain Italy
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Old July 11th, 2014, 01:02 AM
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Long lines...I figured that would be the case.....atleast until they get this new screening procedure down. Twice for each item, wow, that would make for long lines
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Old July 11th, 2014, 05:48 PM
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We had a very full day yesterday. We started out with a walking your of Linz in the morning. Our guide was exceptional. For the most part our walking tours have been reasonably sized. Along with the audio headsets, we find them quite adequate as introductory tours. They are short and sweet. It was a brief walk from the dock to the city, and we found Linz to be an interesting contrast between the new and the old.
Following lunch we chose the tour to Cesky Krumlov. (There were many options this day including a full day to Salzburg, a half-day to Salzburg, the Austrian Lake District or Cesky Krumlov.) We thoroughly enjoyed our time in this unique city, so very different from anyplace we've visited. Our friends took the full-day to Salzburg and were very disappointed to not see the church featured in the Sound of a Music (it was supposed to be part of their itinerary). Other than that, all were happy with their day. The weather remained chilly and damp. We have worn light fleece and wind/rain proof jackets each day.
We dined at the speciality restaurant, Chef's Table/Erlebnis. Guests should be aware this is a fixed menu. All 14 of us gave it two thumbs up! Wonderful experience from start to finish, superb food and service.
We heard the string trio in the lounge was fantastic, but we were just too tired to stay up.

A couple of observations:
Dress has been very casual, even for dining. Truthfully, there is little time to change for dinner some nights. Very few dresses or skirts on the ladies,
Specialty dining was smart casual - no ties, a few button down shirts, mostly collared golf shirts, pants or capris and a top for the ladies.
The tours and transportation are very well-organized!
The Captain is highly visible and very congenial.
If you have a food allergy, advocate for your needs. As requested, the ship had been notified prior to the trip of a severe food allergy. I asked about a menu item yesterday, and was told they do not use the ingredient in question at all on the ship. Today, it was served in a dish and luckily noticed before consumption. I think at times language barriers may cause some confusion about what is in a dish so it's worth taking extra precautions.
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AMAPrima - Danube, Prague to Budapest
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas - Southern Carib.
Carnival Imagination - Western Carib.
Carnival Valor - Southern Carib.
Norwegian Sun - Baltics, Copenhagen, St Petersburg
Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean, Spain Italy
Celebrity Millenium - Alaska
Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
Royal Caribbean Nordic Prince - Bermuda
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Old July 11th, 2014, 06:45 PM
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I just found this thread, and am loving your posts as they bring back very find memories of our 2 Danube cruises with AMA (one from each direction). We loved Cesky Krumlov too. And I really wish there would have been an organ concert at st. Stephens one of the times we were there, but no such luck.
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Old July 11th, 2014, 06:58 PM
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Thanks for another interesting and informative review of your trip. I wondered how the day would be scheduled because we want to go to Cesky Krumlov but I'd like to see Linz too. Glad I won't have to choose. Enjoy!
Sharon
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Old July 13th, 2014, 01:36 AM
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I have a bit of catching up to do. We have been so incredibly busy, with not a moment to spare. Also, the internet can be very spotty while cruising and it can be frustrating to have a post almost complete, then everything disappears into a black hole as you sink into a lock. (You need to log onto the service from your personal device each time you use it, the units in the cabins are more dependable.)
Melk - we took the buses provided by AMA up to the abbey, there we we met by an Abbey guide for a tour. The history of this little town is fascinating and the Abbey itself sits like a giant sentinel high above the small village, dominating the landscape (depending on your cruising direction, the views of Melk from the river are wonderful as you approach, or depart). There is an archeological dig going on in a courtyard as they recently discovered evidence of a Bronze Age settlement during some grounds work. Interesting tour; not to be missed library (where photos are not allowed) and church. I walked back down to the ship through the village, happening upon a brass concert in the square. It is an easy walk, but be aware that the dock is another 15 minutes or so past the shop area.
We sailed from Melk to Krems in the afternoon. This stretch of the Danube is as you might picture in your dreams: Castles, abbeys, vineyards and more unique churches than you can imagine. It is the Wachau Valley region. It was raining during the start or the sail, but we were determined to be on the top deck, so with rain gear, umbrellas and the cozy fleece blankets supplied in our cabins, we camped out! Our CD provided an informative narration of the sights and the crew served refreshments. It did clear a bit and this was truly a highlight of the journey - be sure to have your cameras charged.
Durnstein/Krems - from Krems we were bussed to Durnstein for a brief tour of that village. It begins to sound repetitive, but this is yet another charming small town with a rich heritage, surrounded by the vineyards of the region. We were given a bit of free time to shop or have a drink. (This is the pattern of the AMA tours - walking your or 45 min to 1 1/2 hours, free time of a short duration.) a few people ventured up to the castle ruins where Richard the Lionhearted is said to have been imprisoned - steep, challenging pathway.
In the evening many participated in the wine tasting at a winery in Krems, it was a very short bus ride from the docking area. We thoroughly enjoyed the multi-media presentation during the tour, and were provided four varieties to sample.
It was an exhausting day!
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AMAPrima - Danube, Prague to Budapest
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas - Southern Carib.
Carnival Imagination - Western Carib.
Carnival Valor - Southern Carib.
Norwegian Sun - Baltics, Copenhagen, St Petersburg
Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean, Spain Italy
Celebrity Millenium - Alaska
Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
Royal Caribbean Nordic Prince - Bermuda
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  #20  
Old July 13th, 2014, 10:27 AM
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sippican sippican is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: White Mts, NH - Gulf Coast, FL
Posts: 1,836
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Vienna - The sun finally showed up for our visit to this beautiful city. We signed up for the Limited Edition walking tour, Hidden Vienna. I made this decision after research on the city, knowing that we would have the rest of the entire day to DIY. The walking tour was very interesting and provided insights into the history and culture of Vienna and its citizens. After seeing the back alleys and passageways, I think I could wander Vienna for days on end. After the tour, most returned to the ship for the palace trip; we stayed in town independently. We indulged in a Sacher Torte at the famous hotel where it got its name. Sorry to say, it did not live up to its reputation: nothing more than a dry hunk of cake with frosting IMHO. Anyway, it was fun, and we can cross that off our bucket list. We then followed portions of Rick Steves's audio tours, as well as buying tickets for the yellow and green HOHO bus around the Ringstrasse. This way we were able to select the sights important to us. We ate weiners from a street stand - with bread, not in it, and mustard, just like the locals. After tons of walking, we used the metro to get back to the station nearest to the dock; not too difficult to do, but be sure you get clear directions from the ship and/or your guide, and know where to walk after getting off. It is comparable to a city system such as Boston or NY. You can also get back by taxi if you are not comfortable DIY. Most were going to the evening Mozart Concert and they had an early dinner, those of us staying behind ate later and enjoyed a great relaxing time in the lounge. Cruisemates gave rave reviews of both the Schonbrunn Palace trip and the Mozart concert at night. We are very pleased that we decided to DIY in the city as that is what we love to do.
Tips: Great Restrooms on the lower floor (escalator down) of the large Swarovski store, they are free, modern and clean. Plan to visit the catacombs in the cathedral, or ride to the top of the tower; I wish we had planned ahead to do this. Do your research - there is so much to do and see you must pick and choose your priorities. One morning tour simply cannot even begin to scratch the surface.
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Past Cruises:
AMAPrima - Danube, Prague to Budapest
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas - Southern Carib.
Carnival Imagination - Western Carib.
Carnival Valor - Southern Carib.
Norwegian Sun - Baltics, Copenhagen, St Petersburg
Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean, Spain Italy
Celebrity Millenium - Alaska
Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
Royal Caribbean Nordic Prince - Bermuda
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