My partner and I flew from Edinburgh to Munich via Amsterdam on Sunday 4th May 2012. Right from the start the arrangements made by Viking River Cruise clicked into place. KLM fights were comfortable, only slight hitch was the timing of the change on onward outward flight at Amsterdam - it was a bit too tight changing aircraft due to size and distance from arrival to onward flight. We were met at Munich and taken by coach to Viking Legend, our temporary home for the next 9 nights.
First impression of the ship was good. It looked smart, neat and clean. Crew appeared to be very professional and friendly. Whilst we enjoyed a late buffet style lunch the crew were busy getting our baggage to our cabins and ensuring all was ready to hand over to us. Our holiday had started.
We stayed overnight at Passau and on Monday we had walking tour of the City of three Rivers. Local guide was excellent and set the standard for local guides on such city tours. Our cruise started om Monday afternoon as we set sail from Passau down the Danube. This would be the norm, on this cruise most of the sailing would be at night, I will admit I was a tad disappointed at this, I came to understand the reasoning -but I would have liked to have a cruise in the day. Our stops on the cruise were from Passau, Linz, Melk, Durnstein, Vienna, Bratislava then Budapest. Each stop had an inclusive walking tour plus extras. We took the extra tours in Vienna which consisted of a visit to Schnbrunn Palace and an Evening Concert. Whilst I enjoyed the Schnbrunn Palace tour, with the benefit of hindsight I would either suggest it is done in the morning rather than the afternoon giving the option to explore the gardens and have lunch there instead of returning to the ship. My big disappointment was the Concert - not the concert itself which was superb, never has 2 hours flown by so quickly. My disappointment was being told no photography allowed, yet on getting there I saw videoing and photography. Still I have the memories of a great concert.
If Vienna was the cultural highlight, then Budapest was the photographers highlight. The sailing into Budapest was at night but was a sight to see. The city and bridges were all lit up and the "Blue Danube" had turned to black and gold with the reflections, again a wonderful memory that will last me as long as I live.
To summarise and cut short an otherwise long feedback review.
Ship: Viking Legend.
Condition: excellent, clean, smart and comfortable. Bar/Lounge was comfortable with good view from windows.
Cabin - Standard class e was great, comfortable,clean and the shower was superb. The plumbing (vacuum) did make a bit of noise in use, but we soon got acclimatised to that.
Crew: very professional - in fact we hardly saw the sailing crew.
Hospitality Team. Bar staff/Waiting staff - excellent and friendly. The team that arranged the guided walks etc were great. The Tour Director and team were attentive and had arranged a good itinerary of visits and entertainment at night. All local guides were knowledgeable of their city and sites, providing good background and historical details.
Cruise. These cruises only give on a taste of the cities they stop at, but they also provide relaxation. Whilst the sailing was mostly at night, the day or afternoon cruising was relaxing.
Overall. I feel that this was value for money - especially the drinks package It allowed me to keep to a sensible budget re shipboard spending. A great atmosphere on board, you were made to feel welcome, it was your holiday and nothing was too much for the crew. Oh yes - the food, no I had not forgotten the food and still not forgotten the food. Superb does not do justice to the presentation and service nor to the taste.
Conclusion - would I go again? Yes, would I travel with Viking again? Yes In fact the day after I got home I booked fro a different river cruise with Viking next year.