After enjoying another wonderful breakfast at The Emblem Hotel in Prague, we started packing up all of our stuff for the journey to our riverboat, Avalon Vista. However, Avalon Vista is docked in Nuremberg, Germany, and we are in Prague! Most Avalon Vista guests booked their stay in Prague directly with Avalon, and spent two days at the Hilton Old Town Prague. To hitch a ride on the Avalon coach, we needed to get to the Hilton by noon. After checking out of The Emblem Hotel and saying goodbye to their friendly staff, we ordered an Uber ride to the Hilton Old Town. The cost for Uber was less than $7 US!
We arrived at The Hilton Old Town about 11:45, and none too early! Guests were already lined up to board the motor coaches and luggage was being loaded. We got on the last coach to Nuremberg and by noon, we were on our way.
It is cold and sunny when we leave Prague, but conditions soon worsened along the drive to Nuremberg. Clouds and a light rain took over the skies. The drive to Nuremberg takes about four hours, and for the first hour or so, a local guide narrated the journey, sharing with guests a bit of the region's history. There was one comfort stop along the way at a roadside gas station with a McDonald’s next door. Having skipped lunch today, we found McDonalds to be a perfect spot for some chicken strips and French fries!
The closer the coach got to Nuremberg, the more the weather deteriorated. Darker clouds appeared and the rain continued to fall. We arrived alongside Avalon Vista about 4:00pm.
The sun sets here around 4:30 in the afternoon, so it is already getting dark as we board. As we ste into the Reception area for the first time, we are greeted by a line of staff members welcoming us aboard.
As we enter the ship's lounge, we are offered a small refreshment of apple juice with sparkling water.
We relaxed in the ship's lounge for perhaps fifteen minutes before we were called to the desk to check in. Basically, check-in involves handing over passports (for 24 hours) and retrieving a stateroom key. An Avalon crew member takes our hand luggage and escorts us to our stateroom (323). Upon entering the stateroom, we notice that it is laid out like none other we have seen on a river cruise boat. The back wall is solid glass, part of which is a sliding door/window. The bed is angled so that you can lay in bed and look out the window. Pretty cool! There is a long desk along one wall next to the closet. Between the desk and the "wall of glass" is a small sofa and coffee table.
We will go into more detail about the stateroom in our final review but, for now, everything seems nice and comfy. The bathroom is small (typical of riverboats), but very efficiently designed with a generous shower stall. L'Occitane amenities are provided. About 30 minutes after we arrived in our stateroom, our luggage was delivered. We had just enough time to unpack before the 6:00pm briefing in the lounge.
At 6:00pm, we congregated in the lounge with the rest of our shipmates for our Welcome Aboard briefing. Our Cruise Director, Tony, greeted everyone and went over some of the basic information on safety and ship's policies. Soon, we were introduced to the Captain and Hotel Manager, each of whom introduced their senior staff members. Waiters circulated the lounge with trays of champagne and hors d' oeuvres. The Captain led us in a toast to a safe journey after which we were all invited to the Restaurant for dinner.
The four-course dinner menu consisted of a selection of salad, soup, main course and dessert. Our waiter, Robert, was very friendly and efficient. We found a table for two, of which there are only four in the entire dining room. Judging by the noise level in the dining room, it would appear that many of the other guests are traveling with friends or family or have made new friends, perhaps during their two pre-cruise days in Prague. Everyone appears to be having a great time, enjoying their meal and lively conversation. We will go into more detail on food and dining in our final review. Our meal took about 90 minutes so, by 8:30, we were one of the first to leave the restaurant. We stop by Reception to make reservations for The Bistro, an alternate multi-course dining option offered only three nights during this cruise. We are looking forward to experiencing The Bistro tomorrow night.
Tomorrow, we will explore Nuremberg on one of the ship's included excursions.