We began with a 3-day extension in Prague, one of our favorite cities, so we could
show it off to friends who had never been there before. Once again, we were amazed to find incredible architectural venues we had not previously explored. Prague is bursting with 18th and 19th century architecture, beautifully preserved and restored. It is also a place to hear incredibly good classical music at very good prices. If you are a shopper, go for the rubies and Bohemian glass.
Leaving Prague by bus, we journeyed to Budapest, about a 6-hour drive as I recall (it was a bit longer than expected). Wish we had had more time to see Budapest. The gorgeous Parliament building is closed on Mon., our only day there. We'll be going back to see more of Budapest in the future.
I'm not going to detail all the highlights of the cruise, but I will simply say that there were many. Our guides were all extremely knowledgeable,and all spoke with very clear diction. The Viking guides use a system with an audio transmitter and headphones, so it is easy to hear and understand their presentations. I was ill and missed the excursion covering the Nazi war trials in Nuremberg (they actually visited the courtroom where the trials were held because we were there on a Mon. and the courts were not in session), but my wife and our 4 friends said it was very worthwhile for anyone interested in the history of WWII.
Another very nice compliment to the Viking cruise experience is the fact that you are allowed to buy wines (or any other beverages)in the local ports and bring them onboard at no charge. This was a great and inexpensive way to enjoy the various German and Austrian wines with meals and I must say we were able to find much better wine than the wine served complimentary by Viking with the meals.
I am not easily impressed with service, but Viking's was truly outstanding and I would recommend this cruise very strongly to anyone who enjoys traveling, exploring other cultures, and world history.
I should probably mention, also, that we found our fellow cruisers to be a very amiable mix of Europeans, Canadians, Asians, South Americans, and fellow Americans. This afforded us another opportunity, which we very much appreciated, to learn about different cultures.