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twincheryl

Christmas Markets on the Danube - AmaStella 12/6-13, 2017

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Excitement abounds as we leave for our Christmas Markets cruise on AmaStella... Dec 6 - 13, 2017. Feel free to ask questions and I will try to find an answer.

 

We flew San Diego to San Francisco, then to Munich and on to Budapest. All went very smoothly. We were in Business class and that definitely makes things more comfortable. We buy our airfare very early and have had good luck getting lower fares that way. Booked direct with Lufthansa... Service on LH was excellent! I have never seen so many FAs on one plane. As was expected, I did not sleep on the overnight flight... but that’s just me. The plane was nice and quiet and dark, but I can’t ever make sleep happen... and not taking medication, so that’s that. I have survived a night without sleep many times and will do so again!

 

For those who have a stop in Munich... we arrived at Terminal 2 and also left from that terminal, although at the other end. It was a bit of a walk but nothing more than any other large airport. We were worried about passport control lines after reading some reports... and we had just over an hour connection. One of the benefits of being first off the plane is that you are closer to the front of the passport line! Was very quick... no other security screening for us as we stayed in the same terminal. No problem making the flight.

 

We stayed at the Hilton Budapest in the castle district. Beautiful hotel, fairly small rooms as seems common in Europe. Very walkable area. We had prearranged transport via email with Alajos Pulai... budapestairportaxi.com.

 

DAY ONE

Dropped luggage off at the AmaStella around noon and then took the free Ama shuttle to the area by the Sofitel (which may be where people stayed if they purchased from Ama?)... then a bit of walking around... to the Central Market and around one of the Christmas markets. Back to the ship via the free shuttle at 3pm.

 

From noon until 3 there was some kind of food in the lounge in case you were hungry... then they brought trays of desserts for “tea”. A wonderful coffee/latte/hot chocolate machine was constantly available and made excellent beverages! Seems like the bartender was always available in case you wanted a drink as well.

 

One word about cabins... they are a bit smaller than regular ocean liner cabins. I feel like there is very little storage in the bathrooms and by the vanity. I am in a french balcony cabin by myself and have no idea how two people would handle this... lol

 

At 6pm there was a gathering in the lounge for all passengers. Nice to see a very wide age range in passengers. I’d say that at least a third of passenger are under 50. Several staff members were introduced and spoke, including the Captain, who did the safety briefing. A delightful gentleman, you can tell that he cares about his passengers and their safety. This lasted an hour and then we went to dinner.

 

Earlier in the day, I had an issue with my stateroom tv remote and had someone come fix it. This guy asked if we would like to go to the Chef’s Table dinner that night and we decided to try it. All passengers are invited to this complimentary dinner in a beautiful, small dining room. This is a “tasting” menu where they bring you several courses of a pre-defined menu... beautifully plated, and interesting combinations. Wine flowed freely and they insisted on refilling the glasses of my companions, even when they asked them not to. Haha... As with just about every ship we’ve ever been on, they are very worried if you don’t eat everything... they think there is something wrong and do everything in their power to make it right. A little rant about this follows...

 

Dinner is at 7pm. I have stomach issues if I eat too much close to bedtime, so I prefer to eat a small dinner before 6pm or so. Since this meal was to finish quite a bit later, I ate just a small amount of each course... which was all excellent! Of course, upon clearing the plates, one of the servers always made some kind of comment about how little I was eating. Near the end, I made a firm but polite request that I didn’t care for dessert. I moved the cutlery to the top of the placemat and the server moved it back to the sides... we did dance this several times. Then he brought the plate of dessert, I put my hands on the placemat and said, “no thank you”, but that was not enough for him. He set the plate down anyway, made a comment about me trying it, and walked away. While I am an older woman and can get over it, I found this embarrassing and unnecessary. I sat with the full plate of desserts in front of me while my companions ate theirs. In my opinion, when a guest makes it clear that they do not want something - like more wine or food - this should be respected.

 

After dinner we changed into warmer clothes and went up to the sun deck for the Illuminations Cruise. The lights are absolutely stunning and it was worth being a little cold for half an hour!

 

Since we were still catching up on sleep from our journey, we retired to our cabins around 10:30, which is still late for me...lol. There was more food in the lounge if you didn’t get enough at dinner!

 

 

 

 

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Twincheryl - thanks for posting - will be following along as well!

Were you happy with the prearranged transport in Budapest? I have to book transport from the ship to Budapest airport after our sailing in a few weeks and was looking for a service.

 

thanks again -

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Twincheryl - thanks for posting - will be following along as well!

 

Were you happy with the prearranged transport in Budapest? I have to book transport from the ship to Budapest airport after our sailing in a few weeks and was looking for a service.

 

 

 

thanks again -

 

 

 

Yes, the gentleman who came was an associate of the guy that arranges things. In one of his emails he said that if he is unable to come because of another commitment, he would send someone that he trusts and that he knows will provide good service. We were picked up in a larger yellow taxi and had nice conversation to the hotel. He does prefer cash in euros and will quote you a price based on the size of vehicle you need. Would use him again!

 

 

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Twincheryl, you can order half portions for dinner. My husband and I often do that. The portions are just a little larger than half, just enough for us.

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DAY TWO

 

Today was an included excursion to Budapest, since the ship stayed overnight in this port. We walked around extensively yesterday so decided to stay onboard as the ship sailed to Esztergom and will meet the excursion bus there. A crystal clear day... wonderful sailing down the Danube and watching the scenery.

 

We went to the dining room around 8:30am and it was almost empty because the tour left at 8:45am. There was a nice selection of bread and pastries and some other buffet warmers with eggs, sausage, pancakes, etc. Also an omelette station, although that seemed very slow. You could also order off the menu... a small selection of items including waffle, eggs benedict, and a couple other things.

 

The lounge has early risers breakfast selection of pastries from 6-7am and late risers from 9-10am. Pastries, a toaster and breads, butter, jelly, etc. There is food of some sort in the lounge for most of the day.

 

Surprised by a lovely gift in the cabin when we returned from breakfast. Won’t spoil it for those who haven’t sailed yet.

 

We so enjoyed watching the scenery as we sailed. Picked up the excursion people at a quick stop in Esztergom and continued sailing towards Vienna. I wish we could have stopped there for an hour or so. It looked like a quaint little town. If you spent a day or two in Budapest and saw the sights, I highly suggest staying aboard the almost empty ship to see scenery that you will not see in town!

 

Light lunch in the lounge (with piano player) and regular lunch in the dining room at 1:30pm. Much of the same offerings but added Pho station in MDR and larger salad bar. As with every meal - beer, wine, and sodas are complimentary.

 

At 3:30 there was a presentation by Uwe, the Cruise Manager. He went over the excursions for the rest of the cruise and selections for various days were discussed. Papers were left in the cabins yesterday so that we can turn in the choices and they can order transportation. “Tea” was presented in the lounge around 4pm... desserts and some savory items were set out.

 

Internet has been good most of the time. Enough to check email and Facebook but not good for streaming. Could not get this post to upload until after several tries.

 

At 6pm there was a Christmas tree decorating time, but we did not attend.

 

Dinner time was 7pm today. As always, many choices and way too much food for me. Portions are on the small side, thankfully, and as on ocean cruises you certainly don’t have to have something from every course. Fortunately, our server tonite did not question my lite meal choices! It is a lovely dining room and the food was excellent, although much fancier than what we usually eat.

 

We finished dinner about 8:30pm and came back to the cabins to just chill out. Tonite around 9:15pm we began going through the first of the locks that we will traverse during our journey. Very cool to watch as the water rises many, many feet.

 

We are finding the lounge rather cool and are happy to wear a fleece or sweater there. By contrast, the dining room has been very warm the two times we’ve been there. Good idea to dress in layers.

 

Just like all the other “new” cruises we have taken, it seems like it takes a few days to get used to the schedule, decide where you like to sit in the lounge and dining room, etc. We’ll be in the swing of things by the end of the day tomorrow, I’m sure... it looks to be our busiest day.

 

 

 

 

 

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Twincheryl - thanks for posting. Sounds like you are enjoying! How are the temps outside?

 

 

 

Bob

 

 

 

robertmartha (Bob)... It’s pretty chilly outside... low to mid 30’s most of the day. Today was the first day we had rain. We were hoping it would get cold enough to snow so that we Californians could enjoy that! Looks like that might happen before our cruise is over...

 

We read everything we could about layers, SmartWool socks, jackets, boots... and it was excellent advice. The only parts that were cold were our noses... and we could pull up a scarf if needed.

 

 

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Day 3

 

Woke up to an interesting sight... a wall about 2 inches from the window. We had gone through a lock last night, but our side of the ship wasn’t that close to the wall. Amazing how they get that close... and also how high the lock was to the top.

 

We’re in Vienna today. First tour left at 9am this morning. We visited two different Christmas markets. Optional tours went to Salzburg or the Schönbrunn Palace. We were back on the ship around 1pm. Had a little lunch and then headed back out to the afternoon tour to two more Christmas markets. They are very different in atmosphere and products being sold. It was rainy this afternoon so a bit less enjoyable than the morning. An optional bike tour left when we did... I bet that was really cold and wet!

 

A tip from our travels today... every public restroom we went to required 50 euros to enter. Of course, if you ate or drank at a restaurant they allowed you to use the restroom free of charge. Even the restrooms in the train stations required payment.

 

Also for those accustomed to ocean cruising... we have a key card to get into the cabin that is also used to sign in and out for excursions. They really have an easy system... and the QuietVox ear bud system makes it very easy to hear the guide when you are walking around.

 

Because of evening excursions in Vienna, dinner started at 5:45pm. We were excited for an earlier dinner! There was a small salad bar and a couple of warmers with veggies and potatoes, but the chef’s specialty was Schnitzel. You could order pork or chicken. There was also a fish dish on the menu... no doubt you could also order one of the items that is available every day. Dessert was buffet style as well.

 

We heard that there will be more substantial food in the lounge after 10pm for those returning from evening excursions... but we will likely be in bed. The included excursion tonite at 7pm was a return to one of the Christmas markets we went to this morning, and another one. Since it’s still raining, we’re going to stay onboard. Optional excursion (extra cost) included a trip to the symphony.

 

Melk is tomorrow’s port... we sail in that direction at 11:30pm tonite.

 

 

 

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Thank you so much for your live review. We board AMAStella as you're departing.

 

I also have fun stomach issues and eat lightly most evenings because of it, and have experienced the same scenario you described. Now I'll just be more prepared to deliver my polite, "No, thank you". :)

 

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Thank you so much for your live review. We board AMAStella as you're departing.

 

I also have fun stomach issues and eat lightly most evenings because of it, and have experienced the same scenario you described. Now I'll just be more prepared to deliver my polite, "No, thank you". :)

 

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I finally had to have a private conversation with the server because the same thing happened in the lounge the following day. He kept bringing me desserts even though I kept saying “no thanks”. This has not happened in the main dining room. When you say no more wine or whatever they respect that!

 

 

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Thank you so much for these detailed posts. Just wondering if you heard about the Budapest tour the day you stayed on the boat. We will have a few days in Budapest before boarding and just wondering if they were on a bus all day or got off to do sites? We like the idea of staying on the boat to watch the sites go by...

also did you bring euros with you - if so - how much ? Do they exchange $ on the boat?

Thanks again for all the updates

 

 

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Thank you so much for these detailed posts. Just wondering if you heard about the Budapest tour the day you stayed on the boat. We will have a few days in Budapest before boarding and just wondering if they were on a bus all day or got off to do sites? We like the idea of staying on the boat to watch the sites go by...

also did you bring euros with you - if so - how much ? Do they exchange $ on the boat?

Thanks again for all the updates

 

 

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We spoke to some people that did the Budapest morning tour. They didn’t feel like it was too much time on the bus. Went up to the castle district, which is about 30 minutes with traffic and then they had plenty of time to walk around. Then they went to the Christmas Market and had a good amount of time there.

 

In my opinion so far, there is more than enough time at each location. Last night at Schoonbrun Palace we had almost too much time. We did enjoy some amazing strudel and cream cake at the cafe right in the square and still stood around under cover for about 20 minutes before the bus came back to get us.

 

 

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Do they change euros on the boat?

 

 

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Are you meaning can you buy euros from them with US dollars?

 

 

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Day 4

 

Arrived to the dock in Melk around 8am. What a magical looking place! The tour of Melk Abbey left at 8:45am and was just a short bus ride away. It was quite windy this morning and we did a bit of standing out in the courtyard of the Abbey before our tour guide arrived to meet us. Inside it was a mix of warm spaces and areas that were quite chilly. No need to take off coats and scarves inside. We are not big history buffs so much of the tour was a little boring to us... haha... but the tour ended inside the church sanctuary and that made it all worthwhile. Absolutely amazing architecture and just beautiful.

 

My wishes came true as we left the Abbey tour and walked back to the port area through a delightful little shopping area... maybe 15-20 minute walk. IT STARTED SNOWING! For those of us from So. Calif. it was magical and worth being a little bit cold. You could have taken the bus back if you chose to.

 

All aboard time was around 1:00pm and we sailed toward Passau. Gorgeous scenery along the way.

 

One of my concerns about sailing on a small ship was that we would constantly be involved in small talk with others onboard because of the close proximity. This was definitely not an issue. The lounge is set up in small seating areas with a few chairs and various size couches in little groups, as well as several tables with chairs around them. While we became familiar with the faces of people on the ship, it was very common to see the same people sitting together or by themselves reading, playing cards/games, talking, etc. We were very happy in a corner of the lounge reading, crocheting, or just watching the scenery go by. It appeared that you could easily sit near some people you wanted to talk to and strike up a conversation if you wanted to.

 

We are loving the “light lunch” in the lounge, although we don’t see anything light about it. Salad bar, chicken ceasar wraps, pasta with cream sauce, tomato soup, and breads today. Also a pumpkin pie tart and some warm kugel type dessert and the ever changing assortment of cookies. SO GOOD!

 

While we were eating we got to see what it is like to go thru a lock from higher in the ship. From cabin level it is just a block wall outside your window, but higher in the ship it’s really interesting to see the water and ship rise.

 

I bet this Wachau Valley is even more beautiful when the trees are green and full. Passing by with snow flurries was still a sight to see!

 

At 6:45pm, the Cruise Manager, Uwe, spoke about tomorrow’s excursions. Apparently about 60% of passengers will take the optional full day trip to Salzburg. The rest of us can take the bus tour or walk into Passau. After the little talk, the Captain was introduced and toasted... then we went to dinner.

 

This being the Captain’s Dinner, many people were a bit more dressed up. The chef’s recommendation tonite was steak and prawns... very good and, as always, too much food for me!

 

Tonite we put a shoe in the hallway and see if St. Nicholas leaves us a treat.

 

 

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Yes - can you exchange dollars for euros on the ship. Trying to figure out how many euros to bring from home as I know we have to pay the driver who is picking us up in Budapest in euros but trying to figure out the rest. Assuming the Xmas market vendors prefer cash...

 

 

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twincheryl, I am so enjoying following your posts. Our first river cruise was on the Danube, Passau to Budapest, in June 2010, and we were hooked. We have booked a 2018 Christmas to New Years cruise, also Passau to Budapest, and hope we get snow, too! We're in the Los Angeles area where it's 83 degrees today, with 6 forest fires burning in San Diego to Ventura

 

CC readers - can anyone comment on how slick the cobblestones might get in winter - does the rain often turn to ice?

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Thanks so much for this travel report! We board AmaStella in Nuremburg on the 13th. It's great to have an idea of what to expect and only those who have actually made the trip can offer up the little extra tidbits. We have only been on Viking Ocean cruises and it was not as intimate of course as the river cruise will be. I"ve been a little concerned about a river cruise where you are a lot more cozy and we aren't fond of a lot of mingling. Good to know there are spaces where you can have your own personal space. The other thing i'm wondering about is the dinner experience. How long are the dinners? By the end of the day I'm looking forward to down time where I can relax - I like having the option on the ocean cruises of going down to the buffet and making it a quick meal. But I'm up for the adventure and so looking forward to it!!

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The other thing i'm wondering about is the dinner experience. How long are the dinners? By the end of the day I'm looking forward to down time where I can relax - I like having the option on the ocean cruises of going down to the buffet and making it a quick meal. But I'm up for the adventure and so looking forward to it!!

 

AMA is known for, and proud of, their fine dining reputation. Dinner is dining, not eating. The Chef's Table even more so. There is no buffet or even casual evening dining venue [like Viking's Aquavit Terrace] But since river cruises don't have the kind of evening entertainment that ocean cruises do, there is time available for dinner to become an occasion in itself. It's not stuffy, BTW, just a nicely-spaced progression of courses of really good food -- so it can be, if you approach it this way, 'down time where you can relax.' IMHO most of those who don't enjoy their first river cruise have tried to force it into a pre-concieved pigeonhole based on their earlier ocean cruises or independent travel. Go with the flow, and you will have a much more enjoyable cruise [as your last sentence implies you plan to do :)]

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twincheryl, I am so enjoying following your posts. Our first river cruise was on the Danube, Passau to Budapest, in June 2010, and we were hooked. We have booked a 2018 Christmas to New Years cruise, also Passau to Budapest, and hope we get snow, too! We're in the Los Angeles area where it's 83 degrees today, with 6 forest fires burning in San Diego to Ventura

 

CC readers - can anyone comment on how slick the cobblestones might get in winter - does the rain often turn to ice?

 

 

 

We are just a bit south of you in Carlsbad. The fires look horrible!

 

We did not find the cobblestones to be slippery when we were walking yesterday. It is about 25 F right now as we pull into Passau, so we’ll find out if it’s icy pretty soon.

 

 

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Thank you for your reviews to date. They are so useful for people like us you will have our first river cruise - also on Ama and on that route- next summer.

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Day 5

 

Arrived in Passau around 8 am after a night of many locks. We were surprised to raft next to a Uniworld ship... opened my curtains and looked upon people sitting in the dining room eating breakfast.

 

Since they said about 60% of the ship was leaving on the Salzburg excursion, we decided to go to breakfast after the rush.

 

Around 9am we walked across the sun deck of our ship - onto their sun deck, down the ramp and to the pedestrian walkway by the docks. It was a short walk over to St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Xmas Market. We wanted to hear the big organ at the cathedral so we sat thru a few minutes of Mass in German so that we could hear it. Amazing!

 

The Christmas Market wasn’t open yet, so we strolled through a wonderful shopping area (that was closed because it’s Sunday),and through the quaint little streets back to the Xmas Market. This one had a lot of food but not too many ornaments and other holiday items.

 

We had found a 45 minute river cruise online before we left and decided it might be a good thing to do for an hour since it was a clear, sunny morning. Right down the dock area from AmaStella. For 9 euros each, it was perfect. Warm, enclosed boat... not crowded, they served lots of different beverages. We saw some sights that we wouldn’t have seen walking around.

 

Since there were so few passengers on board, lunch was served only in the dining room. Usual salad bar and a whole salmon, cold cuts, and ordering off the menu. My sister and I shared the breaded fish sandwich and it was excellent! Not huge... also got some steak fries which were really hot and very good. Will definitely try that again.

 

Weather report said snow about 3:30 so we headed back out to see if we could again experience the joy of walking in the snow without having to live in it. Well, we walked around for an hour and came back to the ship... only to have a mini blizzard start about an hour later. Oh well, it was just as pretty where we sat, nice and warm!

 

I think I have had more hot chocolate and cookies this week than for the past 10 years combined. That coffee/hot chocolate machine makes the best drinks in a flash!

 

Before dinner we were serenaded by a trio who played violins and classical guitar. They were very talented and were followed by the Cruise Manager giving a description of tomorrow’s excursions.

 

Dinner tonite was french inspired. A few words about the food... I am not an adventurous eater and am finding that I appreciate the various food options of the larger ocean ships. While I am certainly not going hungry, I find myself ordering dinners that are not within my comfort zone. Some people really enjoy this... but I would prefer some buffet items or maybe a lasagna, baked chicken, or something more familiar occasionally. I don’t need beet foam or other weird stuff adorning my food.

 

Sorry we haven’t made it to the 10:30pm food offering and activities in the lounge. My guess is that it is very lively in there. Quite a few groups of laughing, fun loving folks onboard!

 

Tomorrow is Regenberg... hope the rain forecast is wrong.

 

 

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Firstly, thanks so much for the daily reviews, although we will be traveling next year with APT, it will of course be on an AMA ship so your thoughts and comments are still most welcome.

 

 

Dinner tonite was french inspired. A few words about the food... I am not an adventurous eater and am finding that I appreciate the various food options of the larger ocean ships. While I am certainly not going hungry, I find myself ordering dinners that are not within my comfort zone. Some people really enjoy this... but I would prefer some buffet items or maybe a lasagna, baked chicken, or something more familiar occasionally. I don’t need beet foam or other weird stuff adorning my food.

 

I can understand your sensitivity to the style of menus as the food is one of the distinguishing features of AMA and while it is what attracts us, I can understand that it is not what everyone is looking for.

 

Are there not items on the 'Always available' side of the menu that might work to give you some relieve from the normal cuisine?

 

I'd also have thought it was worth a quiet word with someone to ask if they could accommodate you with something more basic on occasions?

 

I imagine the menus are available early enough for you to spot the days when nothing much appeals and request a simple alternative on those occasions.

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On my first visit to a Christmas market here in Düsseldorf, I was surprised how much of it was about the food and drink, and not the shopping. I was going to recommend that if you have time in your schedule, you have "dinner" at one, because honestly, there's something really neat about walking around and eating bratwurst or krakauer (polish sausage) on a roll and drinking a glühwein. Also, in my area, they have reibekuchen, which are potato pancakes, but so much better. The inside is more mashed potato consistency, but the outside is ever so crispy.

 

Crepes and waffles are also very popular here, but I really like the filled pretzels. Well, I love all pretzels :)

 

If you see a booth or a hut for Käthe Wohlfart, I highly recommend visiting. It's probably the closest to what I originally expected the christmas markets to be - tons of made in germany ornaments and other christmas things.

 

Day 5

 

[snip]

The Christmas Market wasn’t open yet, so we strolled through a wonderful shopping area (that was closed because it’s Sunday),and through the quaint little streets back to the Xmas Market. This one had a lot of food but not too many ornaments and other holiday items.

 

[snip]

 

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Firstly, thanks so much for the daily reviews, although we will be traveling next year with APT, it will of course be on an AMA ship so your thoughts and comments are still most welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can understand your sensitivity to the style of menus as the food is one of the distinguishing features of AMA and while it is what attracts us, I can understand that it is not what everyone is looking for.

 

 

 

Are there not items on the 'Always available' side of the menu that might work to give you some relieve from the normal cuisine?

 

 

 

I'd also have thought it was worth a quiet word with someone to ask if they could accommodate you with something more basic on occasions?

 

 

 

I imagine the menus are available early enough for you to spot the days when nothing much appeals and request a simple alternative on those occasions.

 

 

 

Well... I have certainly not gone hungry yet. Haha. Just wanted to comment about the difference between ocean and river cruise food. Loved the fish sandwich and fried yesterday so will try something else from the always available menu today. Those must be the items for the picky eaters! I could live on the daily cookies for sure...

 

 

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On my first visit to a Christmas market here in Düsseldorf, I was surprised how much of it was about the food and drink, and not the shopping. I was going to recommend that if you have time in your schedule, you have "dinner" at one, because honestly, there's something really neat about walking around and eating bratwurst or krakauer (polish sausage) on a roll and drinking a glühwein. Also, in my area, they have reibekuchen, which are potato pancakes, but so much better. The inside is more mashed potato consistency, but the outside is ever so crispy.

 

 

 

Crepes and waffles are also very popular here, but I really like the filled pretzels. Well, I love all pretzels :)

 

 

 

If you see a booth or a hut for Käthe Wohlfart, I highly recommend visiting. It's probably the closest to what I originally expected the christmas markets to be - tons of made in germany ornaments and other christmas things.

 

 

 

We are preparing to get off in Regensberg. Will definitely look for some of those yummy sounding goodies!

 

 

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I forgot to mention that at least here in Düsseldorf, each glühwein stand will have its own mug design. You pay a deposit of 2 to 3 euros, which you get back if you return the mug. Some of the mugs can be really cute, and its fine to take it. I usually eye what others are drinking out before I decided where to order. :)

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I forgot to mention that at least here in Düsseldorf, each glühwein stand will have its own mug design. You pay a deposit of 2 to 3 euros, which you get back if you return the mug. Some of the mugs can be really cute, and its fine to take it. I usually eye what others are drinking out before I decided where to order. :)

 

 

 

We already found those a few ports ago! The ship provided a coupon for a free gluhwein and cup at the first Christmas Market in Budapest... very nice!

 

 

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Day 6

 

Regensberg was our port for today. This is another port within walking distance. A guided walking tour was offered for gentle, regular, and active walkers at 11am.

 

Prior to arriving in port, the Cruise Manager provided a talk about disembarkation. Included was information about paying your final bill. This can be paid by cash or credit card, which was to be registered earlier in the cruise.

 

Transfers are individualized depending on flight times. You can request a taxi be summoned for you. Two hours are recommended at the airport in Nuremberg. Breakfast is available regardless of what time you need to leave. The first departure is 3:45a and last departure of our passengers is 6pm so those people will be able to stay onboard until then. They just need to vacate their cabin by 9am. There is a posted list of departure times for people to check. Suitcases that you want Ama to handle will need a luggage tag that is provided and luggage will be put out 30 min before departure and will be loaded to the appropriate mode of transport.

 

If you made your own arrangements for transfer, you still get a luggage tag and they will help load luggage onto vehicles.

 

Taxi to NEU airport is around 35 euros for sedan... an extra 7.5 euros for a minivan. Taxis are metered so may be more or less depending on traffic.

 

Those departing to 2 day extension to Prague will leave at 9am via bus.

 

You can print boarding passes from the cabin computer and it prints at the desk of the hotel manager.

 

Next was discussion of tipping. Envelopes are for suggested 12 euros per person, per day for crew, but you can put gratuities on a credit card via filling out a form at the front desk. Another envelope is provided for tip for Cruise Manager. Paperwork in cabin suggests 3 euros per day per person for Cruise Manager. This may also be added to a credit card.

 

We docked around 10:30am and headed out walking independently right after the bus tour left at 11am. Again, all three levels of walking were available. The ground was a bit slushy but we lucked out and had no rain all day. Regensberg has several small Christmas Markets and a delightful shopping district. We returned to the ship around 12:45, had lunch and got ready for the afternoon excursion.

 

Oh my... why have I not discovered the sundaes in the dining room at lunch? They scoop the ice cream and you put on the toppings... then they add fresh whipped cream. Yummy! This would have changed my opinion of the food way earlier in the cruise... LOL

 

Not to be missed is the Thurn and Taxis Christmas Market. It was a short 10 minute bus ride and Ama paid the entrance fee. Lovely, very large market with interesting items for sale and a huge number of food and drink stands.

 

Before dinner we had a mini concert provided by four gentlemen who were members of the Regensburg boys choir in their youth. What beautiful voices they had! Then Cruise Manager, Uwe, spoke a bit about our last port - Nuremburg. Hard to believe tomorrow will be our last day...

 

 

 

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I'm enjoying your commentary!

 

After nearly forty ocean cruises, I completed my first two river cruises this summer--also with AMA; first was aboard AmaStella from Vilshofen to Budapest on the Danube; second was aboard AmaSonata from Basel to Amsterdam on the Rhine--and am enjoying the opportunity to relive my AMA and Danube experiences through your eyes... Uwe was Cruise Manager while I was aboard AmaStella too; I found him to be personable, professional, and knowledgeable with strong commitment to guest satisfaction and excellent cruise orchestration skills [as was true of his colleague, Agnes; Cruise Manager while I was aboard AmaSonata]...

 

I was thoroughly impressed by AMA--they were a perfect choice for me--and am currently considering future itineraries with them... Despite my aversion to cold weather, your comments--along with those of another recent AMA Christmas Markets cruiser--might just influence my decision...

 

Many thanks!

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twincheryl,

 

I've enjoyed following your trip report! Love hearing about the excursions, the food, and the details. I'd wondered about transfers and tipping, thanks for your help, and enjoy the remaining cruise.

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I'm enjoying your commentary!

 

After nearly forty ocean cruises, I completed my first two river cruises this summer--also with AMA; first was aboard AmaStella from Vilshofen to Budapest on the Danube; second was aboard AmaSonata from Basel to Amsterdam on the Rhine--and am enjoying the opportunity to relive my AMA and Danube experiences through your eyes... Uwe was Cruise Manager while I was aboard AmaStella too; I found him to be personable, professional, and knowledgeable with strong commitment to guest satisfaction and excellent cruise orchestration skills [as was true of his colleague, Agnes; Cruise Manager while I was aboard AmaSonata]...

 

I was thoroughly impressed by AMA--they were a perfect choice for me--and am currently considering future itineraries with them... Despite my aversion to cold weather, your comments--along with those of another recent AMA Christmas Markets cruiser--might just influence my decision...

 

Many thanks!

 

 

 

I would agree with all of your comments about Uwe and encourage you to try a Christmas Markets cruise. We are from S. California and certainly have very little experience with this cold weather. Through research on CC I feel we were very prepared for the cold weather and were never uncomfortable, even being outside for hours at a time. I have a feeling that things may have been different if it was pouring rain all day, but we were very lucky. The snow was a magical experience! Ama was also the perfect choice for our first river cruise experience.

 

 

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Day 7

 

What an interesting night... we had 16 locks to go thru before we arrived in Nuremberg, and we must have passed thru at least half of them during the night. A bit of a jolt many times...

 

Since we didn’t arrive in port until after lunch, it was a lazy morning on board, but with many things going on. 10am in the lounge - Continental Divide cocktail (complimentary) and a guest lecturer presentation on the Main Danube Canal. 11:15am - beer, sausage, and music in the lounge.

12:30pm Bavarian lunch in the dining room and light lunch in the lounge.

 

Nuremberg city tour and optional “Franconian Specialties” tour both left at 1:30pm and returned at 6pm. I went on the city tour and my companions did the other tour which included beer tasting, sausage tasting, and gingerbread... both tours ended at the Frankfurt Christmas Market, deemed one of the largest. In my opinion, it was a bit too long at the market, but maybe some people are more into shopping than we are. It was REALLY crowded.

 

The Captain’s Farewell Cocktail get together was at 6:45pm in the lounge and the entire crew was present. We really enjoyed our waiter, Heri, in the dining room. Such a personable guy!

 

Dinner was later than normal - 7:30pm - followed by a guest entertainer, Lindsay Hamilton, in the lounge. As usual, we did not make it to see that!

 

As I read in another earlier thread, it is too bad that they have not figured out how to handle the smoking situation. The main smoking area is at the back of the ship up on the sun deck. But when it is cold or that area is closed due to low bridges they move the smoking area to the front of the ship and it is accessible thru the sliding door at the front of the lounge. Not only does the constant opening of the door let in frigid air, the smoke also wafts into the lounge. We had a group of smokers that were constantly going in and out!

 

Final thoughts... it is great to always be close to your cabin. Never a worry about forgetting something or going back to use the restroom. We did miss having various places on the ship to sit and watch the scenery. I imagine it would be wonderful to sit up on the sun deck in warm weather and that might solve that issue. Loved being close to the water and able to see outside all the time. Getting on and off the ship was so easy! Wonderful to have a refrigerator in the cabin and bottled water replenished daily. Still wish there were choices of dinner times. We also wondered if it might be good to have two choices of return times from excursions... some may lime more free time, and some less time.

 

Our taxi leaves for the airport at 8:30am tomorrow morning, so that will end our wonderful adventure... AmaWaterways was a great overall experience for our first river cruise!

 

 

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twincheryl,

 

Thank you for your posting your comments on your river cruise.

 

The German Christmas Markets are certainly an enjoyable experience.

 

Nuremberg's Christmas Market is one of the oldest in Germany, and is noted for it's ginger bread (lebkuchen).

 

http://www.christkindlesmarkt.de/en/your-visit/food-drinks/nuremberg-gingerbread-a-symbol-of-the-season-1.2373619

 

I still remember one snowy Christmas arriving with our group at our hotel, on the outskirts of Nuremberg, which partly comprised a 400 year old farm house in front of which was a cobbled courtyard on which was an open fire heating a large container of gluhwein.

 

It set us up for a very memorable holiday.

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twincheryl

 

Thank you again for all your posts and sharing your cruise with us!.

Will try to do the same for you and all the followers on these boards - will be on the Serena with a few different ports.

 

Safe travels and a Happy, Healthy and adventurous 2018! Maybe another river cruise in your future ?;)

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twincheryl

 

 

 

Thank you again for all your posts and sharing your cruise with us!.

 

Will try to do the same for you and all the followers on these boards - will be on the Serena with a few different ports.

 

 

 

Safe travels and a Happy, Healthy and adventurous 2018! Maybe another river cruise in your future ?;)

 

 

 

Thank you! Not looking forward to the long journey home, but it is part of being able to enjoy this part of the world... Anxious to follow along with you! Yes, I believe we will try another river cruise... maybe Tulip Time?

 

 

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twincheryl,

 

 

 

Thank you for your posting your comments on your river cruise.

 

 

 

The German Christmas Markets are certainly an enjoyable experience.

 

 

 

Nuremberg's Christmas Market is one of the oldest in Germany, and is noted for it's ginger bread (lebkuchen).

 

 

 

http://www.christkindlesmarkt.de/en/your-visit/food-drinks/nuremberg-gingerbread-a-symbol-of-the-season-1.2373619

 

 

 

I still remember one snowy Christmas arriving with our group at our hotel, on the outskirts of Nuremberg, which partly comprised a 400 year old farm house in front of which was a cobbled courtyard on which was an open fire heating a large container of gluhwein.

 

 

 

It set us up for a very memorable holiday.

 

 

 

It will truly be a holiday we won’t forget!

 

 

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