River Christmas Markets Cruise
Part 1 : Munich, Bavaria and the
A Photo Journal of the 2007 Travel
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Our 2007 cruise started
with an optional pre-cruise tour in Munich and through Bavaria
then up to Nuremberg where we joined our ship, the
Part 1 of a four part Photo
Journal of the 2007 Travel Insider Christmas Markets Tour.
Click the links for other pages in this series.
: Munich, Bavaria and the Amadagio
Part 2 :
Along the Danube in Germany
Part 3 :
Part 4 :
Hungary, Slovakia and The Czech Republic
Partially for my own pleasure and memories, and of course,
partially to help you understand what to expect on a
Christmas Markets cruise, here's a 'photo journal' of
memories from my 2007 cruise along the Danube from Nuremberg
to Budapest, with pre-cruise touring in Bavaria and
post-cruise touring in the Czech Republic.
I've tried to make this different to a typical travelogue by
concentrating on sights and impressions that are either
quirky or of particular interest to Christmas Market
I hope it may encourage you to come join me on one of these
cruises. After reading through these remembrances and
perusing the images, I hope you'll better understand why it
is that these cruises (and 2012 will be my fifth Christmas
cruise!) are my absolute favorite of all the many different
cruises I do.
Chances are you'll enjoy one of these enchanting cruises
Click here for details of
the amazing bargain prices now available for the 2012 Christmas
Photojournal Part 1 - Munich,
Bavaria, and the Ship
Note - the small images below
can all be clicked on and this will open a larger image,
sometimes showing more of the picture, too, in a new
window. Simply close the window after enjoying the image
to return back to this page.
Precruise - Munich
The first of many mugs of Gluhwein (a warmed up spiced wine
mixture - great for the cool days and evenings) at the
Munich Christmas markets on our first evening in town.
Christmas gifts and trinkets and decorations galore in the
many marketplace stalls
One of the recurring themes of this cruise was how so much
of what we were experiencing felt like it was coming from a
children's fairy tale, or in some other way, it felt like
archetypal Christmas scenes quite unlike what I experience
in Seattle. One such example was this outdoor night
skating rink in the center of Munich.
The famous Augustiner restaurant (spanning both the left and
right buildings in this picture) in central Munich where we
had a group dinner - good food and great beer.
Munich is a compact and easily experienced city. The
main railway station is close to the very center of the
city, and many hotels are close to the railway station,
allowing you to walk from the train to your hotel, and from
your hotel into the city.
It has a lovely main Christmas market in the square in front
of its Town Hall.
Munich also has a much larger
airport than Nuremberg - if you're flying in or out of
Nuremberg, you might choose to fly to Munich instead, then
take the train between Munich and Nuremberg - a quick and
easy 1¾ hour journey.
Pre-cruise Bavarian Coach
A view out the coach window across fields that were
sometimes snowy and to the mountains not far away, as we
traveled south into Bavaria and almost to the Austrian
From the outside, this appears to be a fairly ordinary
church building. But - please go in, and be prepared
for the stunning rococo beauty inside Wieskirche, now a
World Heritage site.
A stunningly beautiful and wonderfully airy and light rococo
interior in excellent condition make Wieskirche a 'must
visit' if you're in Bavaria.
And then, slowly emerging from the mist, we saw
Neuschwanstein, the best known of Mad King Ludwig's castles.
I've deliberately chosen to show this unclear image rather
than Photoshop it to make it clear, because it captures most
accurately the mystery and magic of this castle as it
appeared out of the mist in the distance ahead. I
think it is nicer this way than starkly defined on a bright
Directly across from Neuschwanstein is another castle -
Hohenschwangau, built by Ludwig's father, Maximilian II.
Ludwig lived most of his life here.
If you're traveling down to see either of these two castles,
consider allowing enough time to see both.
A special bonus for people doing the Munich pre-tour option
in 2007 was our day of touring down into southern Bavaria
before then driving north up to Nuremberg to meet our ship,
We had wonderful winter weather,
with some occasional light snow, giving gorgeous vistas with
fresh white snow around us and on the lovely hills and
The two main destinations for the day
are shown in the images on the left.
At the end of the day, the coach
arrived in Nuremberg where we rendezvoused with our ship.
The ship had kindly delayed its schedule for the rest of the
afternoon/evening to allow for our late arrival after our
full day of touring.
And then, once aboard and settled
into our cabins, we got all kitted up and went to enjoy the
Captain's Welcome Cocktail Reception.
On Board the Amadagio (and
Me with another souvenir mug of Gluhwein in hand (I ended
the cruise with 15 different souvenir mugs to take home),
the Amadagio, and
Christine, Group Sales Manager from Amawaterways' Head
Office in Los Angeles.
ship, the Amalegro,
which we swapped to in Linz due to the Danube being
impassable with high waters.
Okay, so this might not be the highlight of your stay on an
Amawaterways vessel, but it definitely is one of the
highlights for me! In room computers, and free
Gorgeous teak flooring in the Aft lounge and wrap around
windows on three sides make this one of my favorite places
on board. It was also the location of our two
exclusive Travel Insider cocktail parties.
The main reception area on board the
Amalegro. To the left (port)
is the shop, and to the right the entrance to the main
lounge and bar areas (visible in the larger image if you
click the small image).
The ships were very festively decorated inside, and
extending the Christmas theme still further, one night we
were told to leave shoes outside our cabins, in which we
found gifts the next morning.
Note on the right of this picture of
Amadagio's lobby is
an elevator - a popular option for passengers who found the
stairs not so convenient.
The interior of the ships is open and airy and light.
You can see the upper corridor for A cabins and junior
suites and the lower corridor for B and C cabins both
leading from the lobby area in this picture, D & E cabins
are a further deck down.
One of my favorite parts of the
Amalegro - its bar!
Here's a picture of the beds - all cabins can be configured
either with a King size bed or two twin beds.
The Amawaterways boats have amazing showers. Three
different shower heads, great water pressure, and push
button controls for where water comes from.
Being a young company, Amawaterways is blessed with
nearly new ships. Their oldest vessel, the
launched in 2006, so at the time of writing it is barely two
Their ships are all very similar, with only minor design
tweaks between each one.
The cabins are all the same size (a roomy 170 sq ft) and
with the same amenities, the only difference being the
cabins on the middle and upper decks have floor to ceiling
windows and sliding doors onto 'French balconies', whereas
the bottom deck cabins have smaller regular windows.
The public areas on board - two lounges, the restaurant, the
outside decks, a shop, fitness center, beauty salon, and
other sundry areas - are all finished to a very high
standard and the general ambience is relaxed while exuding
an aura of quality.
It is not possible to show in the photos one of the finest
features of all the Amawaterways ships - their wonderful
crews. These people are friendly, hard-working, well
trained, and a delight to interact with. They add
enormously to the pleasure of the cruise.
They are generally young people in their 20s, and seem to
come in large part from Hungary or other Eastern European
countries. They all speak good English.
We had an unusual experience on our cruise. Due to
heavy rains, the Danube was at a moderately high level - so
high, in fact, that none of the river cruisers could pass
under a bridge that was between Passau and Linz. Some
ships from other cruise lines had been tied up on either
side of the bridge for many days, bussing their passengers
to and from each day's sightseeing (to the dismay and
disappointment of the passengers).
Amawaterways had a more positive solution. It had two
ships doing mirror image cruises - our ship was going from
Nuremberg to Budapest, and a second ship was going in the
So they simply swapped us from one ship to another, and it
happened without us being at all inconvenienced, because on
our day trip to Salzburg, we went from Passau (and the
the morning to Salzburg, and then to Linz (and the
Because the ships are almost identical, we all ended up in
the same cabin numbers as we'd had before. It was a
fun experience and everyone was very thankful to be with
Amawaterways rather than one of the other cruiselines.
Part 1 of a four part Photo Journal of the 2007 Travel Insider
Christmas Markets Tour. Click the links for other pages in
Part 1 :
Munich, Bavaria and the Amadagio
Part 2 : Along
the Danube in Germany
Part 3 :
Part 4 :
Hungary, Slovakia and The Czech Republic
If this makes you wish to join us for the 2012
Christmas Markets Cruise
along the Danube (and so it should), then have we got good
news for you.
All cabins are now on sale at special reduced prices, giving you
a massive $1000 per person saving. Prices are now available
as low as $1399 per person for the cruise (after $1000 saving,
plus $100 Past Passenger discount). Port charges of $147
Click here for the full
details of this cruise and the booking form to confirm your
26 Sep 2008, last update
14 May 2014