My friend and I planned and anticipated our trip on the Viking Odin for more than a year. We even booked an extra two days at the beginning in Budapest and stayed the Hilton in the Castle District. The Hotel was magnificent and the young people working for Viking, who were situated in the lobby, were extremely helpful. They recommended a museum "Hospital in the Rocks" which was fascinating. In addition, I asked for goulash and violins, and we were sent to a marvelous restaurant within walking distance of the hotel. Breakfasts were included and were delicious. Our view was like the Viking commercial...there was the Hungarian Parliament right out our window.
We boarded the Odin on July 3. Our room was excellent; more comfortable than I had imagined. The staff was very pleasant and helpful. Tours were planned for each port. Being a teacher I sometimes felt as if I was on a daily field trip. We passed in our cabin keys and were assigned a group. With our "quiet boxes" around our necks we followed our guides through the ports on city tours.
Early in our trip there were problems with the power. Lights were on auxiliary power, and the toilets did not flush. Wish we were immediately told of this. The problem was fixed, but occurred again. Technicians were brought in to be sure all was repaired. Minor glitches did occur again but did not impact the comfort of the passengers for the most part, but sometimes the air conditioning did not work well in the dining room.
Our program director Lucia and concierge Victoria were terrific. Lucia was everywhere making sure all of us were enjoying our excursions. Lucia not only took care of our daily travels, but she also took care of all the medical situations. I looked forward to her daily talks about the next day's events and her "Wonderful good morning" to start the day.
The lock workers strike kept us in Regensburg for an extra day, and prevented us from cruising to Nuremburg. We were bused there but really didn't have the leisure time promised to tour the city. I would have loved to have been able to visit with some friends who live there, but I was unable to because we had to get to the bus to return to the ship. Luckily we were able to get through the locks and cruised the next day.
Another glitch was that we were a day late at Wertheim and arrived on Sunday and most of the shops were not open. The lock strike also caused us to be a day late in Cologne. The unfortunate situation there was that the ship docked in abandoned industrial area. In order to get to the buses, we had to walk across uneven potholed area. One of the passengers fell and hurt himself. Thankfully he was able to continue the tour. Our group had to wait for the bus for 15 minutes under a noisy bridge. Some seedy characters were sitting on the wall nearby. One decided to relieve himself as we walked by. I wondered why our captain did not dock our ship in tandem with the other longship on the opposite side of the river. We went to the Chocolate Museum, and as we walked with our purchases back to the Cathedral area, we "longing" looked at the Viking Longship docked next to it. We could see our ship on the other side of the river.
The captain did a wonderful job safely sailing us along the rivers, but the scheduling of buses and excursions was done by the Program Director Lucia and Victoria with the help of their staff. Housekeeping kept our rooms clean and comfortable. Chef Thomas and his staff fed us well. The waitstaff was excellent. I loved the afternoon cookies!
Meeting new people and sitting on the Aquivit Terrace or on top were wonderful. I don't know the last time that I felt so relaxed. I especially enjoyed cruising the Rhine, standing on the top deck and looking around each bend for another castle. Although I didn't see a windmill, the trip was wonderful, and I look forward to another as soon as possible. Next summer, the south of France? Maybe.