Trip Report! ABD Danube River Cruise w/Prague Add-on !!UPDATED!! 9/17/17 Re-posted all the Photos!!

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
So here it is, my Trip Report for the 3rd sailing of the inaugural season of the ABD Danube River Cruise, July 21st – 28th, followed by the Prague Add-on. This was the West-bound itinerary, starting in Budapest, Hungary, and ending in Vilshofen, Germany. It also included the post-cruise Prague add-on. I’m going to do a complete Trip Report, so I’m sorry if there’s overlap with @calypso726’s fabulous Trip Report.

Pre-day in Budapest:


I arrived in Budapest the day prior to the start of the ABD, in order to leave time for flight issues and getting over jetlag. That was an excellent choice, as I was *very* jetlagged, plus the fact that Air France, oops, left my checked bag in Paris, and didn’t deliver it until the next morning! I was *VERY* grateful to have the extra day, and to be able to sleep in! I received the pre-night in Budapest as a perk for being a return customer who booked within the first few weeks after they announced the River cruises. (I actually booked within days!)

After arriving in Budapest, and making it through immigration, I went to retrieve my checked bag. All sorts of bags came out, but when they stopped the belt without mine coming out, and then CLOSED THE DOORS TO THE BELT, I knew I was in trouble. Fortunately, it’s all computerized, and the luggage folks knew right off the bat that they’d left it in Paris, and told me it would be on the next flight out. It didn’t arrive by the time I collapsed at 10:30pm, but when I called concierge the next morning at 8am, they had it, and brought it right up. Crisis averted.

It’s a testament to how exhausted I was, that I apparently took no photos of the room at the Budapest Marriott Hotel. It's usually the first thing I do. It was a very ordinary room; comfortable, and large for Europe, but nothing special. It was, however, very well located right on the river front. I unpacked a bit of what I had in my carry-on, cleaned up, and then went out in search of some lunch.

This is one of the first sights I saw on my wandering up the waterfront looking for food.

The glorious Buda Castle and Palace complex on top of the hill on the Buda side of the city.



I was hungry, but my stomach was upset from the flight so I settled on an outdoors café just down from the Marriott, and had a bowl of goulash soup, and some extremely yummy pistachio ice cream. The ice cream was so yummy, and so hit the spot that I got a second scoop, this time of walnut ice cream. Also luscious!

This is the view of the Castle from the café, along with a young Puck-ish statue that was quite the draw for tourist photographs.





I decided to do some walking, which is, in general, the best way for me to work off jetlag.

I saw several more pieces of artwork on the walkway.



And passed some beautiful buildings and flowers.



I decided to head across the Chain bridge to check out the Castle area. It was a *gorgeous* day; very sunny and not particularly hot or humid.

There were loads of people on the bridge, but it wasn’t too crowded.





I couldn’t remember if we were going to do the Castle as a part of the ABD, so I decided to just walk around it rather than try to go inside. I walked through a *LONG* tunnel that goes under the hill. I then took some climbing up some stairs that looked way less steep than they were. I suppose I could have taken the funicular, but by the time I realized that, I figured I might as well keep walking





It’s quite a lovely complex, although they were doing some road construction around the backside that wasn’t terribly picturesque.

Rather than circle all the way around and re-cross the River at the Chain Bridge, I decided to head for the white Elisabeth Bridge I could see not *that* far off. It’s named after Austria’s Empress Elisabeth (also known as Sisi) who was very well loved in Hungary. Anyways, it *wasn’t* that far off, but I found that actually getting to the base of it to where I could access the walkway across it was far more complex than it should have been. I began to despair that I was going to have to backtrack all the way to the Chain Bridge, but I finally found my way there, and crossed back over the Danube. As you can see from this picture, it actually ends up pretty close to the Marriott (the green building sort of in the middle of the photo). I was *really* glad I'd purchased 2 bottles of water before attempting this walk!



As I was crossing the River, I saw the long stretch of River boats, docked along the river. They were parked 2-deep. There had to be at least a dozen of them! Apparently the folks on the “outside” boat have to walk across the “inside” boat to get to theirs. Kind of strange, but it appeared to be pretty common. Fortunately, we only had to do that once on this trip.



I then got my first glimpse of the lovely AmaViola, our ship for the River Cruise.



I was very happy how close the dock was to the Marriott. I figured I’d drop off my luggage with the Guides at noon the next day, and then make my own way down to the ship in time for all aboard. (For full disclosure here, I found out I was very much mistaken. I mentioned this plan to one of the Adventure Guides when I checked in with them the next morning, and was informed that that was where the ship docked *before* the Illuminations cruise, but afterwards it was docked very far down the river in another area altogether. I’m glad I mentioned it to him, or I could have been in a world of trouble later that day!!)

Anyways, I finished walking back to the Marriott, through what appears to be a trendy shopping area. It, of course, has a fancy-shmancy McDonald’s there!





The unattractive but well-located Budapest Marriott Hotel.



The view from my room at the Budapest Marriott Hotel. Not bad, and that’s the Elisabeth Bridge on the left.



I had made non-committed plans with a few other DISers to meet for dinner in the lobby of the Marriott at 6:30. I printed up a little sign that said “Adventures by Disney”, but realized I really should have printed something that said “DISBoards”. I saw Deb Wills there, who was travelling on the same cruise with a group of around 20 folks. As I was chatting with her and a few others from her group, @pandw (a wife & husband) showed up. They’d come in with @Eeyore18 and her family, who were understandably too pooped to join us, and @Carolann4 & her group also bowed out due to exhaustion. I was amazed I was still conscious, but determined to stay up as late as possible to combat the jetlag. The 3 of us had a lovely dinner at the restaurant at the Marriott. I had some Goulash again, and some paprika chicken, I believe. PandW had a special they’d seen on the room service menu which included those same things plus a glass of wine and some lovely strudel. It was a very pleasant dinner, and the start of a lovely friendship with these 2 folks, who I definitely plan to keep in touch with!

After dinner, we retired up to our rooms. As I was puttering around my room, I glanced out the window, and noticed that the buildings on the riverfront were all lit up. As the weather was absolutely gorgeous at this point, I decided to go out & stroll along the Riverfront for a bit, and take some photos of the buildings. It was really lovely. There were tons of people out, doing the same thing, and it felt totally safe. I was really happy at how safe and beautiful it was!







You could see dozens of riverboats out on the river, cruising past the lit-up Castle. I imagine the AmaViola was out there somewhere, although I didn’t specifically see her.

I loved this guy playing water-filled glasses.



I finally headed back to my room at a very respectable 10:30pm, and headed to bed. Tomorrow the ABD begins!!
 
Last edited:

Cousin Orville

Inventor of Air Cooling
Joined
Aug 27, 2000
Budapest is a lovely city. It sounds like you did quite a bit of walking. That water glass guy is something else. Very cool!
 

carpenta

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Yea!!!!! Whopppie!!!!! Can't wait Sayhello for your next review.....Thanks and am on the edge of my seat. Let my jealousy begin!
 
  • sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Budapest is a lovely city. It sounds like you did quite a bit of walking. That water glass guy is something else. Very cool!
    I really, really loved Budapest. Great city!! I *did* do a lot of walking. But I love when I get a chance to do that!

    Sayhello
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Your video works! I'm living vicariously thru you. We had to cancel our river cruise for this summer. :(
    Thanks for the feedback on the video. I have a weird thing going on where I can't follow links that I post on the DIS. :confused3 I've reported it, hopefully they'll figure it out.

    Glad I can give you a vicarious vacation!

    Sayhello
     
  • tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    Lovely start! I'm excited to read about your adventure. I loved Calypso's report and have definitely decided that I need to do a river cruise. I'll probably start with the Rhine cruise, but this one is also appealing. Maybe I can make one of them a Holiday Cruise :-) Thanks for taking the time to do a TR. I know they are time consuming, but they are so incredibly helpful (albeit hurtful to the wallet) ;-)
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Lovely start! I'm excited to read about your adventure. I loved Calypso's report and have definitely decided that I need to do a river cruise. I'll probably start with the Rhine cruise, but this one is also appealing. Maybe I can make one of them a Holiday Cruise :-) Thanks for taking the time to do a TR. I know they are time consuming, but they are so incredibly helpful (albeit hurtful to the wallet) ;-)
    ABD in general is dangerous to the wallet! Very addictive! :)

    Sayhello
     

    tink1970

    DCL Platinum
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2012
    Thanks! We don't get into Budapest until very late the pm before our river cruise begins so now at least I'm seen some of the city ;)
     

    McPackers

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 12, 2009
    Question: how did you handle the local currency? I'm taking this cruise soon and money has me perplexed. I usually carry a little bit of local currency for small items. Most counties use the Euro but not Hungary and Czech (I'm doing the Prague extension).
     
  • sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    With Hungary, I mostly used my credit card. But when I tried to buy a bottle of water from a stand, it became obvious I needed some local currency, so I went to the nearby ATM, and pulled out enough cash to buy a few items. For the Czech Republic, I was going to try to get some cash in the local currency for Czesky Krumlov, but one of the Guides told me that they all have to accept euros also, since they are a part of the EU, so I didn't bother to get any crowns. Whether I could have done the same in Hungary, I don't know, but I think it's likely I could have.

    For the rest of the countries, I had a little over 150 euros left over from another trip, and that served me just fine for places that didn't take credit cards, or I was buying something small, or was in a hurry.

    ATMs are usually the best way to get cash. But I like to have at least a bit of the local currency when I fly into a country for "just in case".

    Sayhello
     
    Last edited:

    McPackers

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 12, 2009
    Thanks! always good to have some first hand knowledge. Looking forward to the rest of your trip report.

    With Hungary, I mostly used my credit card. But when I tried to buy a bottle of water from a stand, it became obvious I needed some local currency, so I went to the nearby ATM, and pulled out enough cash to buy a few items. For the Czech Republic, I was going to try to get some cash in the local currency for Czesky Krumlov, but one of the Guides told me that they all have to accept euros also, since they are a part of the EU, so I didn't bother to get any crowns. Whether I could have done the same in Hungary, I don't know, but I think it's likely I could have.

    For the rest of the countries, I had a little over 150 euros left over from another trip, and that served me just fine for places that didn't take credit cards, or I was buying something small, or was in a hurry.

    ATMs are usually the best way to get cash. But I like to have at least a bit of the local currency when I fly into a country for "just in case".

    Sayhello
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Thanks! We don't get into Budapest until very late the pm before our river cruise begins so now at least I'm seen some of the city ;)
    You should have time to do a bit of sight-seeing the next morning (the last bus to the ship is at 3pm). I encourage you to do so -- there's a lot within easy walking distance of the Marriott! And you do get to see the city at night the first night of the cruise! :)

    But I'm glad to give you some glimpses of such a beautiful city!! There will be more in the next installment!

    Sayhello
     

    Carolann4

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Aug 13, 2010
    Agree with Sayhello, Walking around Budapest prior to our 7/21 embarkation on the AmaViola helped orient us to Budapest, see some lovely sights and shake off some jetlag :sunny: . Also agree we used our credit card, or Euros primarily, never exchanged for Hungarian currency ( although we did get some in change for small purchases). Love the photos Sayhello, great shots!!
     

    Cousin Orville

    Inventor of Air Cooling
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2000
    Did they show you the baths in Budapest? We didn't go in, because we had our young kids with us, but that was something else to see! I really enjoyed our time in Budapest - it was a very pleasant surprise.
     

    TXTransplant

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 28, 2012
    I'm looking forward to reading more about Budapest. I have a friend who is moving there very soon, and she has already invited us to visit her next summer (which had me looking at the ABD river cruise). It's going to be just about impossible to do both Europe and Hawaii next summer, though!
     

    tink1970

    DCL Platinum
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2012
    Thanks so much for the link! Now my parents and brother can see what we'll be up to over the holidays (nanny nanny boo boo). The pictures were not as good as yours but appreciated the number of ones they had of the ship. Nice to see it before we board it :)
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Thanks so much for the link! Now my parents and brother can see what we'll be up to over the holidays (nanny nanny boo boo). The pictures were not as good as yours but appreciated the number of ones they had of the ship. Nice to see it before we board it :)
    I agree. I realized I didn't take nearly enough photos of the ship! It's gorgeous!

    Sayhello
     




    Connect

    Disney News and Updates





    SUBSCRIBE TO OUR DAILY EMAIL
    Subscribe and never miss out on Disney News, Deals and Updates.






    Top