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View Full Version : Just back! Imperial Cities


ppiew
09-10-2007, 03:39 PM
This isn't a 'trip report', just some of my PERSONAL viewpoints/observations from our recent trip. Yes, we liked it very much but after last years London/Paris ABD trip, I felt this was a notch or two lower.

One area that truly needs attention is the meal selections. I really think some better variety should be provided. Where ABD included lunch/dinner, it was invariably batter fried chicken and batter fried fish and batter fried schnitzel (veal or pork). My granddaughter ate pasta for 4 days running as the selection was not much. We had strudel for dessert most days and the kids all had ice cream. I just felt it really should be upgraded to a bit better cuisine choices. Now I will say that the buffet on night 1 in Vienna was outstanding! It was by far the best buffet I have ever seen with huge varieties of everything including a chocolate fountain which thrilled the kids! Everything tasted good too. Frankly, every meal after that went downhill.

On our final night, the food (again batter fried chicken) was served family style but wasn't hot at all - barely warm. The entertainment was OK at best. The venue was a Best Western dining room which was quite lavishly decorated in medieval decor and suited the entertainment.

The two video screens on the bus worked somewhat sporadically. Regulating sound was almost impossible. Many adults slept and several kids did too. People on the drivers side of the bus had a hard time even seeing the screen - especially those in the rear of the bus.

Prague was interesting, but packed with people - (think MK on Easter and you get the drift!). Apparently, according to the guides, it is like this all of the time! We tried to get across the Charles Bridge in the afternoon (free time on our only day in Prague_ but after literally PUSHING ourselves forward for 25 minutes we had only gotten to the middle of the bridge so we gave up and returned. We had a phenomenal view (after a 15 min walk on our own in the evening) of the Old Town and of the castle. Was Prague worth a 6 hour bus trip? In my view "no.' With so much more to see in Vienna and Salzburg, I think the time would have been better spent divided between those two cities. It seemed as though we gave up a whole day just to travel. There was so much more to see/do ie. Lipizzaner stallions, salt mine tours, crystal caves, Salzburg fortress, Hapsburg palace, Alps etc. (some of which we did on our own as it wasn't on the tour). Don't get me wrong - am I glad I saw Prague - YES, would I go back - No.

It seemed to me that the time in the cities could have been better spent and better allocated. Some of the attractions seemed to be 'second tier' selections, while very nice, there were many other things we would have preferred. When we did have free time, it was usually at 3PM and we had a tour group dinner in the evening, so it didn't leave much time to see the sights, shop, or whatever.

In the plus column - the guides were wonderful and worked incredibly hard. I do admire them very much. The photos they took and then distributed in the booklets to the kids was an exceptionally nice touch. Many of the tour stops were oriented towards the kids which was really nice and not available on other tours such as Tauck. Surprisingly, some of the stops for the kids were much enjoyed by the adults when they saw them too!

I don't know if this is a plus or minus - but the tour seemed more sedate than the London/Paris tour which had so very much to see jammed into it.

I have looked at next year itineraries, and have also looked at Tauck's. Haven't decided yet - this year it was automatically ABD after the super tour last year. Next year I will do further investigation as to me - this one was somewhat of a letdown. even though good in many respects.

disneytraveler
09-10-2007, 05:10 PM
Oh ppiew,
I hope ABD corrects these problems. I have selected this tour for next year.
I never been to Praque .Innsbrook , Austria only many years ago.

disneytraveler
09-10-2007, 05:13 PM
Oh ppiew,
I hope ABD corrects these problems. I have selected this tour for next year.
I never been to Praque .Innsbrook , Austria only many years ago. I am glad you enjoyed the trip. The description seems wonderful on ABD site.

ppiew
09-10-2007, 06:05 PM
We were in Vienna 2 days before the tour so we scheduled sites that we knew weren't on the tour. We saw the morning exercises at the Spanish Riding School with the Lipizzaners, we saw the Hapsburg Palace and the furnishing and china collections, we shopped (wow! great shopping everywhere - pricey, but sure was great even if to look!!), lunched in a cafe/bistro, had Sacher Tort at the Sacher (naturally!). The Vienna part of our ABD tour consisted of a day at Schonnbrunn Palace with tour, kids tried on clothes from centuries ago, saw a Marionette show plus backstage (great!), watched a strudel demo. We came back at night to the zoo and had dinner there (ABD dinner). The restaurant was a huge gazebo in the middle of the zoo. It was absolutely gorgeous! Food (again) just OK (chicken)- mind you I am NOT a fussy eater and will try most anything, it just all had such a sameness to it. The hotel in Vienna (Marriott) was very American and very nice (great beds/bedding) and is located in a reasonably convenient area of town. Huge breakfast buffets everyday with whatever your heart desires.

Another big plus - in both Salzburg and Prague we were preregistered at hotel so it was extremely convenient. Guides just passed out keys and we presented a credit card at reception whenever it was convenient during our stay. It is also great to have your bags waiting for you in your room in each city! Yeh!! I HATE schlepping baggage around! When we left each hotel they picked it up at 7 Am or so, therefore we needed to get up and get moving in the mornings!!!

disneytraveler
09-10-2007, 06:24 PM
We were in Vienna 2 days before the tour so we scheduled sites that we knew weren't on the tour. We saw the morning exercises at the Spanish Riding School with the Lipizzaners, we saw the Hapsburg Palace and the furnishing and china collections, we shopped (wow! great shopping everywhere - pricey, but sure was great even if to look!!), lunched in a cafe/bistro, had Sacher Tort at the Sacher (naturally!). The Vienna part of our ABD tour consisted of a day at Schonnbrunn Palace with tour, kids tried on clothes from centuries ago, saw a Marionette show plus backstage (great!), watched a strudel demo. We came back at night to the zoo and had dinner there (ABD dinner). The restaurant was a huge gazebo in the middle of the zoo. It was absolutely gorgeous! Food (again) just OK (chicken)- mind you I am NOT a fussy eater and will try most anything, it just all had such a sameness to it. The hotel in Vienna (Marriott) was very American and very nice (great beds/bedding) and is located in a reasonably convenient area of town. Huge breakfast buffets everyday with whatever your heart desires.

Another big plus - in both Salzburg and Prague we were preregistered at hotel so it was extremely convenient. Guides just passed out keys and we presented a credit card at reception whenever it was convenient during our stay. It is also great to have your bags waiting for you in your room in each city! Yeh!! I HATE schlepping baggage around! When we left each hotel they picked it up at 7 Am or so, therefore we needed to get up and get moving in the mornings!!!

Wow everything sounds nice.:) I did one of my trips back in the 80;s as solo
travel and had to carry my luggage. I did did lots of group travels with some nice companies. The ABD reps did tell me the hotels are in the center of the destinations. I just looked at Tauks tour of the same trip-they have some differences Hungary for day,1,2 and extra day in Prague. But for single travel
for the same days they want 3865.00:eek:

ga9497
09-10-2007, 08:28 PM
Thanks for the information
I hope you sent them a letter to let them know your feelings

ppiew
09-11-2007, 09:42 AM
I spoke with the guides during the tour, and with the ABD representatives when I came home. I tried not to do it in a 'complaining' way - just my observations and reflections about the tour.

Jynohn
09-11-2007, 10:38 AM
Thanks for posting your honest review, and for mentioning your concerns to Disney. This was one of the tours we were considering for next year, and after reading your thoughts, it makes my decision easier. I think we'll skip this one for now and we'll probably do Italy instead. Hopefully by the time we're ready to consider the Imperial Cities tour again, they will have worked out some of the kinks.

Thanks again!

LisaInNc
03-30-2008, 12:20 PM
I was thinking of this one too and after reading 2 bad reviews I am going to look at Spain or Italy now. Thanks so much for the honest info.

wdwsos
03-30-2008, 02:30 PM
ppiew, thanks so much for writing that up! I didn't feel like you were complaining, just sharing your thoughts.

Some questions and comments based on our trip last June:

-- If you are a meat/potatoes person, the food will make you very happy. :) I had a few clients/friends on the trip who said that it was their best food experience in three AbD trips -- they disliked Roma and La Costa Bella the most! I, like you, would have liked a bit more variety. We found a great restaurant in Vienna called the Purstner that I highly recommend -- very good food and wonderful atmosphere. We actually ate there twice. And believe me, on our extra night in Prague, we all went running to the TGIFridays to eat something other than schniztel!

-- Yes, that first night buffet was outstanding! We all agreed that it was the best meal of the trip. We all really liked all the breakfasts as well. Assuming the link works, does this look familiar? ;)

http://www.kodakgallery.com/PhotoView.jsp?UAUTOLOGIN_ID=30491378405&UV=927668145914_960488233605&collid=30491378405.373901092505.1206900565137&photoid=906941092505&folderid=0&view=1&page=1&sort_order=0&albumsperpag e=&navfolderid=2007


-- Your final night was in a Best Western dining room? We were actually in a castle, complete with knights and jesters, but the name is buried in my notes somewhere.

-- Prague. I loved Prague. I thought it was going to be the least favorite city, but it turned out to be my most. We didn't experience crowds at all, and were on the bridge both during the day and at dusk. Maybe we just got lucky! This was dusk:

http://www.kodakgallery.com/PhotoView.jsp?UAUTOLOGIN_ID=30491378405&UV=927668145914_960488233605&collid=30491378405.373901092505.1206900565137&photoid=602382092505&folderid=0&view=1&page=&sort_order=&albumsperpage= &navfolderid=2007

I should mention, however, that part of why I loved Prague was that my younger son was staying there after the tour, for a film program through the University of Miami. It was so good for me to see where he'd be living for the summer!

Also why I loved it is that I'm a (very) amateur photographer, and Prague is a photographer's dream!

You mentioned that you felt you gave up a day to get there. Does the tour still stop in Cesky Krumlov on the way?

-- I do agree that there's so much more to see and do in each city. I realized after Viva that I really needed to add on to the trip on both ends. On our first day in Vienna (pre-tour) we visited the magnificent Kunsthistorisches Museum, based on a recommendation of a friend who goes yearly. In the evenings, even after dinner, we'd all take off and walk and walk and explore on our own. On our extra day in Prague, we went back to St. Vitus Cathedral, because we only got to see the outside when visiting the day before. That was WELL worth going back for.

-- Did you do the salt mines on your own? I'd love details, if you wouldn't mind! On our tour, one of the families left before lunch at Hellbrunn to do that tour on their own, as there wasn't any other free time while there.

Thanks again for sharing!

Dotti

disneytraveler
03-30-2008, 04:16 PM
Thanks Dotti for your comments on this tour. I will taking it this summer.:goodvibes I wish i booked an extra day but i feel i would be lost on my own or not have enough to do or plan myself for the day.:confused3
Maybe after this tour and Viva last summer i will rethink on this .

Dolcevita2891
10-14-2008, 06:09 AM
I love Prague. In Prague there is lot of things to see and do. I am food lover as well and I always try search some good places and cheap to go for a Food: " U Basnika Panve" is traditional Czech food Restaurant it is located in Pargue 2, area called Vinohrady. Street called Trebizskeho ulice.