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Trip report for Christmas Market Cruise down the Danube

Well I have been home a week now from Europe. My jet lag caught up with me last Thursday. Still a little tired and have had no problems sleeping hard this past week. I went on a work related (cross-stitch group of 140 ladies and some spouses) on AmaWaterways Christmas market cruise down the Danube. It was so relaxing and job well done by the AmaWaterways group. I left out of Tulsa, OK thru Chicago to Frankfurt then to Prague. The flights were all on time and no issues at security points. I felt totally safe throughout the trip. The weather was cold but tolerable. For once, I took the appropriate warm clothes. Packed the correct amount of clothes, worn everything twice and one item 3 times. Washed my under garments on the boat.

Our adventure started out in Prague, Czech. Stayed at Old Town Hilton, very nice hotel. Visited the Christmas market in Old town. The evening before heading to Germany, most of us in the group attended a Folklore dance/dinner in Prague. They took us on a city bus/walking tour of Prague up to the Prague castle, then walking back to old town. Monday November 30, we hopped on our 3 or 4 buses to Nuremburg, Germany. Dropped us off at a small market. Spent the night on boat in Nuremburg. Next morning was our City bus/walking tour and off to the larger Market for shopping. While we were out, the boat cruised down to the Roth port. Then that evening we headed to Regensburg. The next morning we had the usual city tour (walking) of Regensburg. The boat was docked where we could walk into the city without being on a bus. This was nice because you could come and go as you wish for the day. I really liked this city. The markets were awesome, good food, drinks etc. I veered off on my own and into St Peters Cathedral. What a beautiful church!. The second market in Regensburg was at the Thurn und Taxis Palace in the courtyard. I think this was one of the best Christmas markets. Found a lot of treasures here. Very quaint and decorated stalls of goodies to purchase. Back to the boat and headed off to Passau. Your choice the next day was a tour of Passau and Christmas markets or a side trip to Salzburg, then meeting up with the boat at Linz. Most of us chose Salzburg. Bus/walking tour of Salzburg, seeing some Sound of Music sights and then to more markets. They had several areas of markets throughout the city in their city squares. Headed now onto Linz. We arrived around 6:30pm and had only about 1 1/2hr at the most at this market. It was small but quaint and crowded. A lot of locals out visiting and drinking the mulled wine with their friends.

Back to our home on the boat and set sail down the river again heading to Melk (no markets but toured Melk Abbey) then to Vienna. Another token city/bus tour of Vienna and more and more Christmas markets (about 3 here). The main one was gorgeous lit up at night. I think this one was the most beautiful at nighttime. I did not find anything special at Vienna. Some choices of tours and events at our stay in Vienna were a Mozart concert and a visit to the Schonbrunn Palace. I did not partake in any of those events. I enjoyed just staying on the boat resting and visiting. Our last trip down the Danube was heading off to Budapest. This was an exciting and bustling place. Tour bus/walking on Bud and Pest sides. Illuminating cruise down the river seeing all their buildings and parliament lit up at night was just breathtaking. Their main Christmas market was a pretty good one. Lots of hand made items. Some of us in the group stayed a few more days in Budapest. Had a Hungarian Goulash cooking class one day. Then headed back home. In recap..... this was an awesome trip. Loved the river boat cruising. It was small group of people and got to know others and staff. Excellent food all week. Excellent food in the Christmas markets. Lots of shopping but I can say that I got burned out of shopping by the end of our adventure.

Posted by
920 posts

Continue- The only downside for me was the lack of time to visit more museums, cathedrals etc. I love history and this trip did not allow for more time. It was basically a the "Christmas Market" theme trip. But I truly had a great time. Our next adventure is with cross-stitching shin-dig is June 2017. They are planning on a river boat cruise on the Rhone river in France. Something to look forward too.


Posted by
1965 posts

Thanks for the report! Can you say a little more detail about the weather, temperatures, and appropriate clothes? Was it damp? Breezy? Frost in the mornings?
I've seen the big cruise boats on the Rhone at several cities along the way; amazing how they manage to navigate the tighter sections.

Posted by
9929 posts

Terrific report! I am sorry I missed it when you first posted. I went back looking because I am thinking of the new RS Munich/Salz/Vienna tour in Nov/Dec so wanted to see what your experience was. I wondered if you would get sick of markets!

I, too, am curious about the weather...not that anything will be the same next year!

You flew the Friday or Sat after Thnx, right? Would you recommend that time frame for a flight? I have not flown on or near the Thanksgiving holiday in years so wasn't sure how crowded it might be on the Friday.


Posted by
920 posts

Hi Pam - I forgot to come back to answer some questions. Been really busy with work, etc. The weather was gloomy and overcast most of the time. I think we only had one sunny warm 50 degree day. Otherwise, just cold. 35-40 degrees most days. Tolerable for me as long as you had a scrarf, gloves, coat, hat.

I am not a shop-aholic but the markets were fun and got the ornaments and gifts that I needed for everyone. But I did get sick of the markets by the end of the week. I loved Nuremburg, Regensburg, Linz market. Think I bought the best things there. Salzburg was and nice city but did not find much at the markets. Same with Vienna. When we got to Budapest, I was about shopped out, but they had some wonderful handmade jewelry, pottery, etc....

I flew out Friday after Thanksgiving and returned Dec. 9. The travel traffic was light (I thought). Airports were not a bit crowded. Had ease going thru the airports, etc. So no problems going thru security or customs.

we had some city walking tours in all our cities and then rest of afternoon were at the markets. Generally located in their town square areas. Unfortunately, we did not get time to go into museums or cathedrals like we would on a RS tour. You probably could have done that on your own on our trip but then you would not get time for the markets.

I think that new tour would be a good one.

Our city tour of Salzburg went by lots of Sound of Music venues. I enjoyed that!!! Because I love sound of music.

hope this helps.


Posted by
725 posts

Thank you so much for your review, Kim!

I was all set on planning a Christmas market river cruise in the winter of 2017......then along came the new Best of Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna tour.......I love the traveling philosophy of a RS tour so I was sold!

We will fly out the friday after Thanksgiving as well, unless we find some remarkable airfare flying out Thanksgiving evening. We will stay a few days after the tour but will probably leave Vienna and head back in to Germany. I'm going to have to do a lot of planning/reading to figure out how to best spend those 3 nights post tour. I'm not terribly familiar with train schedules and the logistics.

I wanted to add that I have a scrapbooking friend who lives in Broken Arrow. I spent a lot of time cross-stitching in my earlier years. Your trip sounds like a lot of fun, especially given you were spending it with folks with a common interest!

Posted by
920 posts

Hi Kathy - hope you have fun. I see you are from St. Louis... We go up there about every summer. We are St Louis Cardinal fans. I also scrapbook. I am right now is the process of doing this cruise scrapbook. I have everything put on my pages, just need to go back a journal the events for the books and embellish the pages. You will have to PM me your friends name. I possibly may know her. I used to work for BA schools (retired, yippee!).

Hope you have fun on your trip.