We chose the Magical Christmas markets to see Vienna, Salzburg, and Nürnberg, to enjoy some Christkindlmarkts, and to acquaint ourselves with river cruising.
Ama has work to do.
The cruise administration as we approached our travel date was disrupted by the Woolsey Fire in the San Fernando Valley, where Ama is headquartered. Ama needs better contingency plans if they are going to stay in the Valley. Fires in Calabasas, from my youth in Woodland Hills, are NOT uncommon.
We were impacted by the water levels of the Danube. Our cruise was shortened from Nürnberg to Vilshofen, and, after we boarded, to Passau. We missed one of the best Christkindlmarkts in all Europe. I recognize Ama is a hotelier, a restaraunteur, and a ship line, but they need better decisionmaking on how to make the traveller's experience the best possible. That includes leaving ship if need be.
The sailing plan? OMW. On Monday, for reasons known only to Ama, we left Vienna for Tulin. Guess what? Everything was closed. DUMB. Then, at 11 at night, we sailed back to Vienna to berth in the nest of ships again. Better to have spent another day in Vienna, and help us see more of that great city.
Speaking of bad calls, let's talk about Sunday. There were three ships abreast at Handelskai that morning. Three sets of busses, and no one on shore to direct us to which group of busses. We showed our color coded ticket, and the guide said "This is your bus." Welllllll .... no it wasn't. It was the bus of another ship to Bratislava. You need passports for that tour. Turned out a third of the people on that bus were from our ship, misdirected to it instead of the bus for the Eisenstadt tour.
It's late fall, early winter. It was raining most days, so the upper outdoor deck was unusable. The lounge was a hospitable place, with free coffee and tea at all hours. I discuss our cabin elsewhere.
The dining? Superb. An advantage Ama has over Windstar and their ocean sailings is the free wine and beer at mealtime. I liked that!
Service? Superb. Yes, I paid the expected crew's gratuity, and then some, but I also gave some to my cabin housekeeper and two of the waiters. They deserved it.
Vienna and Salzburg are grand cities, worthy of much more time than the cruise could provide. We will be back.
Overall, this COULD HAVE BEEN A FIVE BUBBLE CRUISE. The administrative and logistics decision cost it points.
The cabin is bloody small! It was worse that we spent four days nested at the Vienna Handelskai, so we could not open our curtains. At 170 sq feet the cabin is downright tiny, with low ceilings.
One bed seemed to have something under it, so we had to put our luggage under only one bed. That was tight for two bags.
The head was good, with a shower falling down from the roof. Water was generally hot.
Plenty of drinking water available. A fridge, but no minibar.
Our housekeeper was SUPERB. Over and above the gratuity in the final checkout, she was worth 20 Euros for herself!
Great, especially St Charles ChurchView All 179 Schonbrunn Palace Reviews
Superb. Good guides, great center city. Also, the side trip to Modensee!View All undefined undefined Reviews
Bypassed for low water. Only got here because this was our departure city.
Bypassed for low water
We arrived as our final port overnight Friday into Saturday. No excursions