Everything exceeded our expectations. The brochures, TV advertising, and information received beforehand was very helpful and accurately portrayed what the trip would be about. Especially appreciated by us, first time cruisers.
Cities were beautiful and individual tour guides were excellent. Particularly appreciated the remote audio "listening devices" the guides used on each tour. Couldn't help but notice that most of the other tour groups (not Viking) had to huddle around their guide, who was shouting the information, hoping to be heard by his audience. We got several envious looks from these other groups.
Loved the difference in the scenery as we cruised down the Danube, but of course, the beautiful rolling hills, vineyards and small towns on the river bands were the tops. It was very cold and drizzeled the first two days of the trip (Budapest, Bratislava) - high of 39 degrees fahrenheit, so wore every layer of clothihng we could find. Expected warmer temperatures (50's and 60's) but realize the temperature fluctuates greatly this time of year. Noticed that the other passengers did not come prepared for this cold weather as well. Just packing gloves, a warm scarf and a hat would have helped, "just in case".
Tour Guide, Anthony Papandreas, was terrific - on top of everything, experienced, extremely knowledgable, and did a great job of catering to each passenger's needs. Not always an easy task with 130+ "semi-demanding" passengers.
Special Note: My husband and I both have difficulty walking distances and with stairs. Didn't realize the amount of walking involved in the city tours when we signed up for the cruise. First few tours were really a challenge and we had a difficult time keeping up. I'm afraid we were concentrating more on just getting there than seeing the sights.
By the third stop (Vienna) they offered a more "leisurely" walking tour which wasn't very leisurely at all. We, as well as other passengers kept telling the guide to slow down, which he ignored. After that experience, we decided to try to arrange private van tours with a private guide with little or no walking.
This was the best thing we ever did! The concierge (Suzie) was extremely accommodating, arranged for 2-3 hr. riding tours with a driver and guide. These guides were actually better than the regular tour guides, were very personable and shared a wealth of information about the lifestyle, culture and locals in addition to the tour sites. We definitely saw more this way, weren't stressed, had great photo ops we might not have seen otherwise, and the added price was very reasonable! The vans/cabs held up to 4 passengers plus the guide and driver, and because we had 2 others join us on each private tour, it was about $30.00 - $40.00 per person plus a small tip for driver and tour guide, as we would have paid with the walking tours as well. The best part of these private tours was avoiding the stress, discomfort, and
embarrassment of trying to keep up with around 20 other people.
Although I realize that Viking does not "cater" to these private tours, I think it would be a great optional addition to offer to those "walking impaired". Of course for an additonal fee.
One last note -- Appreciated that we took the 3 day extension in Prague - beautiful city, easy to get around (via cab rented at the Hilton Hotel). We were fortunate enough to be there for the Easter Market in the Old Town Square (4/12 - 4/27). Like an old time festival - food, souveniers, entertainment, etc. A highlight of our trip.