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Eastern Europe with River Cruise: Slovenia the Star

Eastern Europe with River Cruise: Slovenia the Star

Old Jan 8th, 2019, 12:32 PM
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Barefootbeach - same ship - Ama Magna

Great pictures
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Old Jan 8th, 2019, 12:35 PM
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The bathroom.


Bed


Sitting area with french balcony


Top deck pool
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Old Jan 8th, 2019, 12:38 PM
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patandhank, Thanks!
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Old Jan 8th, 2019, 12:41 PM
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View of Ober Vesterhaus


View of AmaLea from Ober Vesterhaus


View of confluence of rivers
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Old Jan 8th, 2019, 02:02 PM
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Love your photos! You have a good eye for composition.
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Old Jan 8th, 2019, 02:22 PM
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Thank you, KarenWoo!
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Old Jan 9th, 2019, 02:45 AM
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Barefootbeach - I just realized we are on different ships although they will probably be pretty similar.

Really enjoying the report!
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Old Jan 9th, 2019, 04:31 AM
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patandhank...Magma ...another new ship in 2019...you'll love that! With you going north, I'd get a cabin on the starboard side and hope for the best.
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Old Jan 9th, 2019, 12:15 PM
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barefootbeach, your river cruise sounds not dissimilar to the one I went on a few years ago on the Rhone, with Riviera travel. It was well organised with good guides and plenty of excellent food. No swimming pool though! Though we didn't suffer from boats mooring up along side us too much, the boat's itinerary changed quite a lot because of high water so we had to moor up outside towns instead of in the centre and some of the excursions involved longer drives than they should have done. But it was still a lot of fun and I haven't ruled out doing another one, hence my interest in your experiences.

Lovely pictures - not too big at all. keep it coming.
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Old Jan 9th, 2019, 12:22 PM
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Thanks annhig...river cruising is certainly a pleasant and easy way to travel.
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Old Jan 9th, 2019, 12:33 PM
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Day 9: Linz, Austria

We enjoyed a brief view of Danube scenery until we docked at Linz. Then, the dreaded Rafting. We have a walking city tour of Linz, grab an early lunch, then board a bus for an all afternoon excursion to the Salzkammergut region…the Alpine Lake District. Decades ago we had driven and stayed over in this gorgeous region, but now we must be satisfied with a quick jaunt. The bus was very comfortable and our guide is very good. We drive along the sides of several lakes and have time in Mondsee to go inside the Sound of Music church where Maria got married and Wolfgangsee to walk around the tourist shops and have a drink on a terrace overlooking this stunning mountain lake. It’s so hot, I wish we could go for a swim and stay longer.

Day 10: Weissenkirchen, Wachau Valley, Austria

Today we cruised through the prettiest stretch of the Danube, but the weather didn’t cooperate for photos turning cloudy, windy & cool. In the afternoon, we had a walking tour of the charming town of Durnstein, where we had stayed previously, and shopping only yielded a jar of their famed Apricot (Marille) jam. A tour of the Melk Abbey followed with an excellent guide.
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Old Jan 9th, 2019, 01:02 PM
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Cruising through the Wachau Valley


Maria's Wedding Church from Sound of Music


Wolfgangsee


Wolfgangsee


Durnstein


Danube view from Durnstein
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Old Jan 9th, 2019, 01:15 PM
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Day 11: Vienna

Although we have stayed in Vienna in the past, I had an ambitious touring schedule for us that included some quality shopping. We began with the ship’s city tour, which bussed us around the Ringstrasse for an overview of all the baroque buildings. Then, when they dropped us at the Albertina Museum for a walking tour, we left the group to tour the museum which had an interesting art collection and a wonderful photography exhibit. From here, we walked to the Hofburg Castle complex and toured the Sisi Museum and Imperial Apartments. So far so good, but now the restaurant I had wanted to lunch at was back near the Albertina and didn’t want to double back. Instead we walked into the shopping district and got an outside table at a famous cafe. This was a bad experience as we waited over an hour for our food and then when questioned, was told it would take another half hour for the schnitzel. Think they forgot to submit the order. So, just ended up with a salad and piece of cake which wasted about two hours of precious time. Didn’t help that I was starting to feel miserable from the onslaught of a cold. Didn’t see any good shops and didn’t feel like walking around more so just headed back to the ship.

Day 12: Bratislava, Slovakia

Another sunny day as we cruised into this cute little town. Chose another city walking tour with a very funny guide. Not much to see in the town or good shops, but we stopped for an aperol spritz and cake. Tonight is the Captain’s Dinner and we hope he doesn’t talk.
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Old Jan 9th, 2019, 01:19 PM
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Enroute to Bratislava


The castle at Bratislava


Bratislava


Bratislava


This is what rafting looks like. To get off the ship, you need to walk through the lobby of the other ship...or vice versa.
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Old Jan 9th, 2019, 02:00 PM
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Approaching Budapest...the Buda castle side.


Inside St. Mathias church


Wedding crashers


Hungarian dancers


The Illumination Cruise


The Parliament Building on Illumination Cruise
Day 13: Budapest, Hungary

We started with a city tour on a bus but the day was cool and rainy. We got to tour the City Market and Mathias Church and climb it’s Belvedere, but the views were dismal due to the weather. Ducked into a popular cafe nearby, Ruzworm, and tried their famous cream cake. I didn’t care for it but DH did. The cappuccino was lukewarm, as usual so far. Back to the ship for lunch, and then we just walked and walked. Watched a wedding party as they left the church…always enjoy that. Pre-dinner entertainment were two Hungarian dancing couples and an excellent violinist. After dinner, was the Illumination Cruise along the waterfront which was spectacular, although chilly from the top deck.

Day 14: Budapest, Hotel Moments

An easy disembarkation, compared to ocean cruises, and a driver from our hotel
was waiting for us. The hotel is located on a lovely shopping street, Andrassy Avenue. We set off to tour the Great Synagogue but the lines were ridiculous so kept walking to the National Museum, which our guide had told us yesterday had a fascinating world news photographers exhibit that had just opened. Had a bit of a wait but nothing like the lines that had formed by the time we left. The photos were extraordinary but some were so graphic I couldn’t look at them. Also toured the Budapest History area, especially that covered the Nazis and Soviets…all housed in a magnificent building. Stopped to sample the Hungarian version of goulash for lunch, good, but I preferred the thicker Czech version.

It’s a cloudy day and Budapest feels darker and dirtier and larger than Prague. We try to use the metro but it’s closed for repairs and get on a bus but off too quickly…hard to tell when to exit. We walked a ways to get to the Holocaust Museum, which is the best thing we’ve seen so far…very modern, well done and educational about the roots of anti-semitism.

On the way back, we stop to tour the Great Synagogue but it closed at 2p for the Jewish Holidays….again?! Missed our chance to see it so should have waited in that line.

Our comfortable, modern room is on the top, 4th floor and we look out over the treetops down to the shopping street. Dinner is a brisk, cold walk to an authentic Hungarian bistro, Bock Bistro, that is very good.
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Old Jan 9th, 2019, 02:11 PM
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Hotel Moments, Budapest
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Old Jan 10th, 2019, 05:43 AM
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I forgot to mention a few things about the cruise. First, all the cabin controls are operated from an I-pad on wall and we consistently had to call because our a/c wouldn't work properly and it took several attempts and people to fix it.
Secondly, the river levels were extremely shallow due to the excessive heat last summer and we were lucky to be able to cruise to Budapest on that last leg. The Viking passengers had to be bussed and we heard of several other instances where the entire cruise was cancelled (on Viking). Apparently, the AmaLea had a shallower draft.
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Old Jan 10th, 2019, 06:36 AM
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So did you ever use the onboard bikes?

I confess I have some trepidation about taking the cruise as like you I normally prefer driving land trips with cute inns. But DH really wants to do this river cruise so the compromise is we do the cruise and I get to do some driving in Transylvania beforehand.
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Old Jan 10th, 2019, 07:37 AM
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This report sounds like a testament for independent traveling (and for doing research prior to traveling, so that one doesn't walk a long ways to see a treasured site that's closed).
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Old Jan 10th, 2019, 08:47 AM
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patandhank, I had intended to book the biking in the Wachau shore excursion, but when I found out it was 20 miles, I declined. Then, I was going to take the afternoon excursion outside Vienna, but ended up sick. So, no, never did get to use those. BTW, they don't let you sign up for biking excursions in advance....they want you to discuss with cruise director to make sure you're up to it. You could just take out the bike on your own but we were too busy. It was nice bookending a week of independent travel in Czech Republic and a week driving through Slovenia around the cruise. Made for a nice change in the middle. Read great things about driving in Transylvania.
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