We took an older version of this trip 10 years ago. At that time the main trip was from Vilshofen, Germany to Budapest , with an optional pre-trip in Munich and an optional post-trip to Prague. We did the Prague post-trip. A few hotel days in Budapest were a part of the main trip. This will be testing our memory, but we'll try. I have been going back through old trips trying to do blog style trip reports to bring back memories, but I haven't gone back that far yet. We'll see how my memory is. Here goes nothing.
Based on the date, I assume that you are going Prague to Budapest with no Prague pre-trip.
We did not stay in the Don Giovani, as it was full. We stayed in a hotel, that I don't remember the name of, that was right outside of the old walled city,near Wenceslas Square, and it was a wonderful location, but I can't tell you anything about the Don Giovani and its environs. We never took the subway or any other public transportation due to our location. The old town is amazing, not only did WWII leave it largely unscathed, but the communist era was also very kind to it. The communists tended not to go into urban renewal, as we know it, but to build ugly high rises on the outskirts. The view of all of the spires from across the river in the Castle District is amazing. To watch the Astronomical Clock, you can stand in the crowds in the square, being watchful for pickpockets, sit in a sidewalk cafe having something to eat and drink, or, when we were there, our PD took us upstairs to an ice cream parlor across the street, where we had delicious ice cream and saw the show at eye level and no crowding sitting at tables at the window. The Sychrove Castle optional tour was not offered when we were there. This was a post-trip extension, which usual has more free time. Charrm of the Czech countryside was also not offered. We did do a tour of the Jewish section, the Jewish Museum and the Jewish Cemetery with an excellent local guide. It was quite revealing of the Hitler days. We also had a museum visit, lecture and walking tour conducted by a university professor on the 50s uprising when the communist tanks rolled in. One evening we took in a Don Giovani puppet show that was supposed to be very good, but don't waste your money. If you have never been to Prague and can still do it., I would try to add the pre-trip extension. It is a wonderful city.
We don’t really remember anything about Linz, and our ship was the River Symphony, which I don’t think they have anymore. We have sailed on the Aria for the Great Rivers of Europe and loved it.
Our tour of Salzburg was an optional as I remember it, with a fairly long bus ride from the river, rejoining the ship at a different stop. It was at least 3 hours of bus time total, and the buses, at that time, could not get very close to the heart of the city, so there was probably ½ walk in each direction, taking time from our time in the city. The lunch then was not that good. In hindsight, we wished that we had skipped it and grabbed something on the run, giving us more time on our own. It was a charming city.
We don’t remember Durnstein.
Melk Abbey was not on our itinerary on this trip, but we visited it on The Great Riveres of Europe. It was well worth the time.
In Vienna, unlike most other cities on this cruise, you do not dock in the city center. Here is a MAP showing the relative locations of the docking area, the nearest Ubahn station and the center of the city. It is not a long walk, and the PDs should instruct you on how to get around. The tours of Vienna are excellent, but it is also an easy city to get around, and your time is short, so you have to decide how you want to spend your time and what is a high priority. When we were there, I seem to remember that they ran a shuttle bus from the pier for some of the time.
In Bratislava, the kindergarten we visited was in the ugly communist era section of the city, but it gave a very interesting view to their education and child care system. Being 10 years later, I’m sure much has changed. The old part of the city, near where we docked was fairy tail beautiful with all sorts of handcrafts available for sale.
In Budapest, we disembarked immediately and checked into a hotel near the opera house, so we’re not sure where you will dock. It may be on either bank and you should be right in the heart of the city. It is a shame that you will be there such a short time. We were there 3 nights, but you will get time in Prague, which we would not have gotten without the extension.
We would be glad to answer further questions, as they will prompt our memories. We are away from home until after you leave, so we don’t have access to any of our files or photos to jog our memories, but we do have limited internet and Skype access.
Hopefully someone else will reply and fill in the gaps from a more recent version of this trip and correct some of our faulty memories.
Jack and Ann