We chose this cruise to experience the European Christmas markets. I love the charm and magic of Christmas decorations and the stores and restaurant displays did not disappoint.
Pre-Cruise: We arrived in Prague for two days prior to embarkation to allow us to adjust to the time change/travel fatigue. We stayed at the same hotel as others doing the full three day pre-cruise Prague package. This was helpful for the bus ride to Nuremberg, the port of embarkation. Upon check-in at the hotel I was directed to the table where the cruise director, Kata, greeted us. We did our own thing in Prague and enjoyed our time there.
Shore Excursions: The scheduled excursions always include professional tour guides arranged by Amawaterways and all were all very knowledgeable. Each stateroom has two "receivers" for you to hear the tour guides speak on the tours. These receivers were of better quality than those I have used on other European tours.
If your itinerary has you visiting Christmas markets on a weekend - be ready for large crowds. We chose several food/drink focused excursion options not associated with Christmas markets and were very pleased. One afternoon I took the gingerbread cookie decorating class. The cookies were baked by the staff and we were provided icing to decorate.
One day we opted to stay on the ship while it changed ports, rather than taking a bus ride to a castle. It was a very relaxing and enjoyable afternoon. Those who opted for the castle tour were also pleased with their selection.
We found we enjoyed the smaller cities and markets the most, with Regensberg our favorite. We had snow flurries one day in Melk - which added to the charm and Christmas spirit.
Food: The first night's dinner was excellent. Unfortunately, the other meals were not as special. I attribute this to trying to feed 150-160 people at the same time. If you are not interested in the main courses being offered, there is always a beef, chicken and vegetarian option to choose from. You will never go hungry.
Entertainment: We are not big on on-board entertainment, but found the violin players to be really enjoyable. We had the option of adding a Chechen-themed dinner and dancing entertainment in Prague but chose not to based on personal preference and prior experiences.
Currency: We had three currencies to deal with on the cruise. Prior to the trip we went to a local currency exchange and got Korunas, Euros and Forints in amounts we thought we would spend in those locations. We did have some money left over to exchange upon our return, but found it very convenient to have local currencies at hand.
Packing: The on-board laundry service which was around $15 Euros for five shirts, five pairs of underwear, a couple pairs of socks and two pairs of jeans. Next time we will pack less and do laundry more.
Security: The Christmas markets in large cities always had a police presence in and around the market. The more crowded the market, the more likely for theft. No one we knew had anything stolen, but one couple felt their backpack being unzipped in Budapest and were able to turn and stop the thief. Also, be aware of bike lanes and don't wander into them.
We had a great time and really enjoyed ourselves. I would recommend this cruise and the cruise line.
Cabin: Our cabin was in the BB category and adequate for two adults. The ship was not at capacity and they offered upgrades for available categories at a 50% savings upon embarkation. We did not upgrade, but I would upgrade to the next cabin level on future cruises to give us a little more room between the bed and the computer area.
We visited the Christmas market, did a bus tour of city sites and participated in a beer tasting excursion.
Our favorite city. Very quaint with beautiful architecture.
Very interesting city walking tour. Had time for shopping for gifts.
Lots to see. Enjoyed the extra day we added.View All 353 City Tour Reviews