Magnificent Europe - APT Amsterdam - Budapest October 2017

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Meg 50
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Magnificent Europe - APT Amsterdam - Budapest October 2017

Post by Meg 50 » 01 Nov 2017, 14:38

Magnificent Europe Cruise – APT – Amsterdam- Budapest
Departure Day minus one:
Packed – one huge ( approx. 23Kg) case, plus 2 small wheelie hand luggage cases

Sunday October 15 - Day 1
Up at 6.25am. Taxi to Heathrow arrived 7.25. Driver ignored the warning gantries about probs on the M4.....so we sat for 20 mins thereon. Driver very stressed – “anxiety makes me nauseous.” Arrived terminal 5 at pam. Checked. Decided not to buy Hungarian Florints, but to wait and see how many we need. By 9.30 all complete, then sit and sit people watching – til 10.55 gate announced. 11.05 board. 11.45 leave.20 mins taxiing, 40 mins flight, 20 mins taxiing at Schipol.
Long walk to baggage hall. Why is our luggage always last?
Coach to ship –Amaverde - including another road closure ( Amsterdam Marathon).
Cabin miles along the corridor.
Folder of info about itinerary, tours’ booking forms etc. unpacked. Also contains dressing gowns and slippers, lanyard for doorkey. Magnetic name badges came with tickets…
Walls only magnetic on corners unlike Ocean ships
Went to lounge for cuppa ( no kettles in cabins) explored ship.
Door key took some persuading to work (operator error).

Safety talk/ general info / meet the team/ port talk before dinner.
151passengers
99 x Oz
45 x UK
4 x NZ
1 x Malaysian,
1 x Canadian,
1 x US

Dinner – full order taken (starter, soup, main and dessert) at start.
All drinks included
Dinner with 2 NZs
Coffee in lounge

Was asked, “Do the crew sleep on board? I know they do on Sea cruises, but this is a river….”

Monday October 16 – Day 2
Up at silly o’clock for 8.30 departure of tours. Chris to canals, M to supervise the movement of the ship to a new dock. Sailed to Wijk bij Duurstede where the tour rejoined the ship.
A shame there was no option for independent exploration of Amsterdam
From there thro’ lock into the Rhine canal
Captain’s welcome reception before dinner.
Dinner with Italian Aussies
Today’s quote: “It’ll be good to go to Bonn now the wall is down” “Sorry, that’s Berlin…”
M was up all night in the loo every 20 mins from 2am…. (either the change of diet, last night’s crab cake, or ( most likely, the soft cheese)

Tuesday October 17 – Day 3
Cologne – either walking tour of Cologne and bus to Bonn, or bus to Bonn, then walking tour.
OH to Bonn. M stayed onboard nursing dodgy tum.
Trips back by lunch. Had minute lunch, then watched the Rhine valley float by.
Docked for night at Andernach - Dinner at Namedy Castle. M didn’t go, had dinner in the lounge with 3 others (plus one had room service dinner). OH had good time

Wednesday October 18 – Day 4
A quiet night – the engines didn’t start until 5.30ish.
Sailed thro’ Rhine Gorge – past the Lorelei to Rudesheim
Foggy first thing, but cleared as the sun came out mid-morning. Chilly on top deck which was best vantage point. Ship provides blankets with sleeves for the less hardy.
Also Rudesheim coffee – a bit like a brandy floater
Arrived Rudesheim at 1.30pm. Took land train to the Music Museum. Loads of mechanical instruments – pianos, organs, organs, violins, music boxes etc.
Could have taken train back, but preferred to walk. Stuck at level crossing as 3 trains went thro’ – one passenger, plus 2 l-o-ong goods trains.
Others could go to the Gondola ride to above the town.

Thursday October 19 – Day 5
The day started with a glass blowing demo in the lounge – while we cruised to Miltenberg. |There was a ‘treasure hunt’ – a list of questions to find out the answers from the tour guides…. \we did our own thing. Fave thing? The ‘pissing men’ statue outside the public loos! We had 1.5 hours before had to be back onboard- treasure hunters were bussed to Freundenberg.

After dinner we teamed up with the Italian Aussies to form the Britalianoz music quiz team

Friday October 20 – Day 6

Wurzburg. OH went on trip to the Residenz (Prince Bishops). M explored town. After lunch both did more exploring including a bridge full of bishop/saint/prince statues

Saturday October 21 – Day 7
Bamberg. Watched, and videoed the lock operations (68 in total on trip). ln afternoon OH did bus trip to town. M decided to keep an elderly lady company onboard
Singer entertainer in evening

Sunday October 22 – Day 8
Nuremburg. OH took the day off from tours – and the town was too far to walk, so we ambled along the river bank
Lecture about locks on the Main Danube canal in afternoon. Mega deep locks – 82ft! At 5pm we crossed the European watershed….. downhill from here on!
After dinner entertainment – an ‘oompah‘ band

Monday October 23 – Day 9
Regensburg. We set off with map to diy the town. Including find a department store for some shopping.
After lunch we did the ‘wheelhouse tour’ Fascinating

Tuesday October 24 – Day 10
Passau, Salzburg/ Linz
OH went off on the 8am coach for the Imperator train to Salzburg, and on the Linz while M stayed onboard to sail all the way.
Were late sailing cos the german police were onboard checking passports and visas.
The scenery was wonderful – Autumn colours exquisite. Lunch in state in the lounge – with 2 others.
Arrived Linz 5.15, OH back at 6.45

Wednesday October 25 – Day 11
Melk/Durnstein
OH did the Abbey tour (unimpressed at the wealth of the community – very glitzy), M did the town. Still haven’t found out who Barwig Bear is (other than a sculpture in the park).
After lunch we waved off the brave 30 or so people who were cycling to Durnstein. We sailed.
Durnstein Castle was where Blondin found Richard the Lionheart imprisoned. Had time to explore the town

Thursday October 26 – Day 12

Vienna day1. OH on walking tour – difficult cos it was a public holiday and many roads/ sights shut ( including RingStrasse). M to Prater and the Ferris wheel.
After lunch we crossed the bridge to the Danube Island. Very hot day. Early dinner at 5.30. Desserts after the concert!
Concert at Lichtenstein Palace – Chamber Orchestra plus girls’ choir

Friday October 27 – Day 13
Vienna Day 2 OH to Schonnbrunn. M declined cos not enough time allowed for the bits she wanted to see (the gardens). In the event it poured with rain at that point , so very little garden seen at all as everyone ran for the bus!
M explored on foot – keeping an eye on the grey skies.
Had intended to metro into town in the afternoon, but still teeming, so played scrabble instead!
Disembarkation briefing
Captain’s farewell dinner (M avoided the soft cheese canapes this time….)
Sailed through Bratislava during dinner.
Crew entertainment – seemed mainly the hotel manager on electric guitar, so we didn’t stay til the end

Saturday October 28 – Day 14
Budapest Day 1. Arrived mid-morning.
Announcement that you can go to the market this morning, then after lunch there’s a coach/walking tour. OH decided he’d done enough tours/ castle/palaces/burgs and he was coming with me and the map.
Did market in the morning, then walked to Parliament in afternoon. Past the Shoe memorial. Said memorial wasn’t included in the organised trip much to the annoyance those I told about it….

Hungarian folkloric music/dancing before dinner, then lighted sail-by after dinner

Sunday October 29– Day 15
Budapest Day 2
Raining heavily. We were off ship by 10 on way to airport.
Flight an hour late taking off cos too windy to load luggage. In the end we left it behind. It arrived home via a courier 2 days later.
Hadn’t booked a taxi from Heathrow. Initially were going to get the X 26 bus, but cos now only hand luggage, decided to go by tube ( rejected initially cos too many steps in the stations. Bad move – the bus would have been better – less crowded

APT pros and cons
Name badges for all – a brilliant idea
Lanyards for all on which we could hang our door keys. Many tucked their trip tickets in it too
Excellent maps in all ports

BUT………Very few diy possibilities
Last edited by Meg 50 on 01 Nov 2017, 14:43, edited 1 time in total.
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GillD46
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Re: Magnificent Europe - APT Amsterdam - Budapest October 2017

Post by GillD46 » 01 Nov 2017, 21:22

Thanks for posting an interesting review. So overall yes, or no.
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Meg 50
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Re: Magnificent Europe - APT Amsterdam - Budapest October 2017

Post by Meg 50 » 02 Nov 2017, 09:49

A bit like the curate's egg. River cruising is great - the organisation,, hotel facilities were great.

But it was a bit too busy for us.

Our previous river cruises there was more opportunities for diy.

2 weeks is a long time on a river cruise - we were castle/burg ed out by the end - reaching saturation point.
Sometimes what was needed was time to soak up the scenery and the autumn colours.

It might be that APT is aimed at the Oz market and they want to cram in as much as possible in the 6 or so weeks they are in Europe
Last edited by Meg 50 on 02 Nov 2017, 09:54, edited 1 time in total.
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CaroleF
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Re: Magnificent Europe - APT Amsterdam - Budapest October 2017

Post by CaroleF » 02 Nov 2017, 11:46

An interesting read, thank you for posting. I have thought that river cruises were not for me because I can't walk too far and most of the tours seem to be walking tours of one kind or another. Your review seems to confirm that so I think we'll stick to Ocean Cruising.

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Meg 50
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Re: Magnificent Europe - APT Amsterdam - Budapest October 2017

Post by Meg 50 » 02 Nov 2017, 11:59

yes, mostly they were walking round towns. Free time at the end, or get the bus back. But not for the less mobile -unless you stay onboard and enjoy the scenery
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Gill W
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Re: Magnificent Europe - APT Amsterdam - Budapest October 2017

Post by Gill W » 03 Nov 2017, 14:37

I did the Nuremburg to Budapest part with Viking in 2014, and really enjoyed it. I felt it was just right for a week, but for two weeks it might have been a bit intensive with ports every day.

I hope to do a Rhine cruise one day.

Thanks for posting your report
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Re: Magnificent Europe - APT Amsterdam - Budapest October 2017

Post by Manoverboard » 03 Nov 2017, 15:29

We were trained on umpteen coaching dawn to dusk type tours of between 19 and 23 days so we would have loved to do your trip ... had we not already been to all those places. We enjoy DIY on the Sea Cruises but are entirely happy being whooshed about every day on the Riverboat Cruises but I have no idea why that would be.

Thanks for posting the report Meg and yes, in our experience, the Antipodeans do have a high regard for APT.

:wave:

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