We wanted to take a river cruise and decided that a Christmas trip to visit the Christmas marts would be nice. While I'm not a cold weather person, I wanted the full European Christmas flavor, so decided that it would be worth it to bundle up on a daily basis. Though I did indeed bundle up, it was well worth it. It snowed in Passau and Linz, giving it wonderful flavor without being unbearable. It was cold outside everyday (was real glad that I did bring all the cold weather clothes - particularly underclothes - that I did), but it was bearable and made the ship that much more comforting. Coming back to hot chocolate and a warm atmosphere was great. The room was always comfortable and sleeping under the down comforters was sublime.
That warm European Christmas feeling was wonderful. No malls and shopping centers with people just intent on getting all their shopping done. People were out and enjoying themselves, shopping, but also gathering at the eat/drink spots at all the Christmas marts. Stopping in a Viennese cafe for an incredible pastry was luscious. I did all my Christmas shopping there (leave room in your suitcase if you want to do the same) and was so glad that I did.
The staff and all our guides were great. On-board ship, they couldn't do enough for everyone - without being overbearing. Our guides were nice, knowledgeable, and made every excursion special. The food was wonderful and you always had great choices. We sat without different passengers almost every meal, making it possible to meet many people with having the time to sit and enjoy their company. We were actually of just a few on the ship for whom this was a first trip - many had taken at least one other and many had taken many trips. I can fully understand why and we will definitely be taking a cruise again. It's the way to do it when time is a little bit limited but you want to see many places at an enjoyable pace. It's a lot of walking, I'll give you that, but it's up to the individual as to how much they want to do. You never feel pushed to do anything - it's all for your enjoyment.
When I first walked in, it seemed a bit small as I somewhat expected given that we had a regular stateroom. Given all the luggage that we brought, I thought that I wasn't even going to be able to keep one of my suitcases in the room, much less unpack. I was pleasantly surprised. Even with two of us, we were able to comfortably unpack everything and keep our suitcases out of sight, but reachable. Again, the bathroom seemed small, but we both had our stuff in there and were never cramped. Everything is obviously planned out very well and we were comfortable the entire time. The beds were very comfortable and we slept well. The shower was spectacular - I wish that I could've taken it home - great pressure and hot - like being in a spa. Thick warm towels and the robes that we had requested were great - thick and comfortable, real terry cloth. We were glad that that was something we didn't have to pack.
Beautiful cathedral. Crowded in the winter for the organ concert, so I can't imagine during the warmer months when there are even more tours. Get there early.View All 112 St. Stephen's Cathedral Reviews
Wonderful tour, walking through the snowfall. The guide was great and very knowledgeable about the town. Really enjoyed the extra activities like seeing the gingerbread ornament and advent wreath making.View All 218 Walking Tour Reviews
We had to make a decision since this was an all day tour to the Czech Republic, but we saw Linz on our own when we returned. The old town was absolutely beautiful and our guide was great. It's about a 90 minute bus ride from the ship, but it went quickly as we rode through beautiful countryside. No one minded.View All undefined undefined Reviews
We did not do the wine excursion, but went into town on our own. It's a beautiful town, but most shops and restaurants were closed until spring. We thought that that was a little unusual given the Christmas season and the town was decorated, but I guess there just wasn't enough business for many. We enjoyed the places that we did visit though and just enjoyed the walk through town seeing the lights and decorated buildings. We also did not make the trek up to the castle, though others did and they said that it wasn't that bad a walk (but I don't think I'd try it if I wasn't in pretty good shape).
Incredible monastery still in use today. There's a lot to it so there was a lot of walking. Be prepared to move very quickly. Even with only a couple of tours, given the time of year, we had to move quickly; I can only imagine during the warm weather cruise time. The walk down to the town and back to the ship is not as bad as it seems - a couple of miles downhill to the town and then straight to the ship.View All 182 Melk Abbey Reviews
We had a good bit of walking with our guide - who was great - and then we were off on our own. We got in a good deal of downtown Vienna, which is spectacular and only got in one Christmas mart, given the time. But we were able to do back after dinner for more visiting and shopping. Absolutely beautiful place!View All 183 Walking Tour Reviews
We took a bus tour to the castle (no way of walking there); however, it was not open to the public when we got there. The bus took us down to the old town and we walked through that with our guide (great again) to the small Christmas mart. We then walked back to the ship (about 10 mins. fast; 20 mins. slowly). Town is beautiful; lots of great shops and restaurants and interesting stories. The only downside was that, after the walking tour, we had less than a full hour on our own before we had to be back at the ship because it was departing. Definitely would have liked more time.
We took a bus tour through the city parts (the Pest side) and then up to the Castle District on the Buda side. Our guide (wonderful) walked us through the main part of the Castle district and then into the cathedral. After that we were on our own for almost two hours. Again, beautiful place and thoroughly enjoyed it. After taking the bus back to the ship and having lunch, we were on our own and ventured downtown to the market area. That was spectacular - wonderful shops and market places and we were able to get in two great Christmas marts as we walked from there to St. Stephens Cathedral, visiting it and the Christmas mart in front of it.View All 353 City Tour Reviews