Our Viking Danube Waltz cruise started April 7 in Budapest. This was only the second week of cruising on the brand new Viking Odin.
Ports of call included Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Linz (where we got off for a day trip to Salzburg,) Durnstein, Melk, and Passau, plus we did the three-day Prague post-cruise excursion. We thoroughly enjoyed the itinerary! This was our first trip to Central/Eastern Europe. We found the each of our stops to be very interesting and educational.
Included with the Viking cruise was a guided tour of most of the ports where we stopped (in Durnstein we were on our own.) Each of the tours was quite good, but we appreciated some of the tour guides more than others. One of the things we most enjoyed was the beauty of the churches we visited in most every stop. The abbey in Melk was phenomenal, but the cathedral in Passau was also beautiful. Prague was also extremely interesting, especially Prague Castle. We were in Prague at Easter, and the Easter market was fun.
The ship experience was very good. After about the second day, we felt we knew most of the ship's staff from our daily interaction. Everyone worked hard to please the guests. Our activities director was great! We found the food to be quite good and looked forward to the meals. We met many of the passengers and enjoyed the time we spent with them on the ship and the tours/excursions. Since the ship was new, everything was in excellent condition.
We were concerned about the possibility of cold weather with an April 7 departure, but the weather was quite good. We had only a little rain, and in general, the early April temperatures were quite nice; cool, but nice.
The one downside to us was the fact that most of our cruising was done at night so that we would be at the next port the following morning. We cruised during the day only one day, when we visited Durnstein and Melk. We found it really enjoyable to cruise past the many small towns on that daytime cruise, and it turns out that the weather was probably the best day we had while on the ship, allowing us to watch the scenery from the top of the ship, while we had German foot and free beer!
We will definitely do the European river cruises again. In fact, we've already booked our next one for 2013!