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twincheryl

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

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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.


[quote name='twincheryl']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.[/quote]

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.

[quote name='twincheryl']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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[quote name='Mark_T']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.[/QUOTE]



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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[quote name='polabear']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.[/QUOTE]



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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[quote name='polabear']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. :)[/QUOTE]



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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[quote name='Xport']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![/QUOTE]



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).

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

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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[quote name='robertmartha']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 ?;)[/QUOTE]



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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[quote name='English Voyager']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).



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



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.[/QUOTE]



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


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[quote name='Mark_T']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.[/quote]

Yes they have "always available" familiar menu items and yes, the menus are posted in advance outside the dining room.

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I've soooo enjoyed your review! We are currently on AMAStella, the sailing immediately after yours. It's been fun comparing notes as we've sailed in the opposite direction, from Nuremburg to Budapest.

Only difference so far seems to be the make-up of guests. We believe only 18-20% are younger (under 50), with only 3-4 children on board. For our first river cruise, we've been very impressed with all facets of this experience, and truly adore and appreciate our Cruise Manager on this sailing -- John.

This morning we awoke to surprises in our shoes left out overnight. Great fun! Today we are in Melk, leaving for Vienna later this afternoon.

Thanks again for your detailed report! Your day to day accounts have been so helpful! (We didn't know about the sundaes, either!) ;)

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[quote name='TravlGrl']I've soooo enjoyed your review! We are currently on AMAStella, the sailing immediately after yours. It's been fun comparing notes as we've sailed in the opposite direction, from Nuremburg to Budapest.

Only difference so far seems to be the make-up of guests. We believe only 18-20% are younger (under 50), with only 3-4 children on board. For our first river cruise, we've been very impressed with all facets of this experience, and truly adore and appreciate our Cruise Manager on this sailing -- John.

This morning we awoke to surprises in our shoes left out overnight. Great fun! Today we are in Melk, leaving for Vienna later this afternoon.

Thanks again for your detailed report! Your day to day accounts have been so helpful! (We didn't know about the sundaes, either!) ;)

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk[/QUOTE]



Thanks! Hope you have a wonderful time. Can’t imagine what there would be for kids to do... since we had ZERO on our cruise. Yes, we were so surprised how many younger adults there were.

We found out that our Cruise Manager was staying with the group that was doing the extension to Prague and then he was going home for the break between “cruise seasons” which would start again in March. Not sure if they all do that...? All the servers and other crew will be going home soon as well. I think they said two more weeks.

Eat a few cookies and sundaes for me!


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[quote name='twincheryl']We found out that our [B]Cruise Manager was staying with the group that was doing the extension[/B] to Prague and then he was going home for the break between “cruise seasons” which would start again in March. Not sure if they all do that...?[/quote]

That is AMA's practice -- it makes a really smooth transition because you're already familiar with this CM (and vice versa).

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[quote name='Host Jazzbeau']That is AMA's practice -- it makes a really smooth transition because you're already familiar with this CM (and vice versa).[/QUOTE]



Another reason to love AmaWaterways!


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We were in port with you several times and wistfully gazed at AmaStella from our boat. We missed AMA's wealth of included excursions, evening entertainment and quality of CM and staff overall.

Next year we are on AmaStella for the markets and already looking forward to it!

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Oh my!! Which ship were you on?

We just got back home as we flew from Budapest to Paris and explored Paris for several days. As I said earlier, we have taken 2 Viking ocean cruises and we could not have been more pleased, so when we saw they were booked for their Christmas Market Cruise we researched and stumbled onto AmaWaterways who we had never heard of! Didn't really know what to expect but the cruise specialist we worked with was over the top fabulous and all of our communications with him bode well for a good decision. The cruise on the AmaStella was more than we had hoped for. We are hooked. It was seamless as far as logistics, day to day activities - couldn't say more about how well run the ship was and how hospitable and warm the staff was and ship was festively decorated and so much fun to spend the holiday on.

I'm already jealous that you will be getting to go again next year!!!

Should anyone have any specific questions I would be so happy to answer them. When I was getting ready to go on this cruise there was so very little that i could find on forums about AmaWaterways. There were a lot of questions i had for people who had been on this cruise lines and specifically the Christmas Markets one. So I'd love to share details and answer questions for others.

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Oh and also you are so right...the number of INCLUDED excursions we had on AmaStella were amazing!!!! And every time we had one there would be accommodation for the "level" of walker you are. Sometimes there was a guide for gentle walkers, normal walkers AND active walkers. The quality of the tour buses and guides was excellent. Again, we just could not have been more pleasantly surprised.

I must say, we often spoke amongst ourselves on the ship about how we felt maybe the highest quality of management of life on board the ship had a great deal to do with our Cruise Director John Riley. My oh my there are hardly words praiseworthy enough to explain this man. I told our cruise specialist I wish Ama could clone this man!

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