Having enjoyed our first Viking cruise, some 6 months earlier (on the River Elbe), we were looking forward to an exciting itinerary from Budapest to Passau. We arrived at the ship and were shown to our expensive cabin with a French Balcony. We were surprised that the curtains were fully drawn (around noon on a sunny day) and immediately flung them open. To our surprise, the view that faced us was the balcony of another river boat (the Viking Freya) little more than 12 inches away! From then on, at every mooring, on every single day of the holiday, part or all of the time was spent with no view other than an adjoining boat. Apparently, this is the norm, with the various boats swapping places every 7 hours to make it 'fair' for all passengers. We would have called the policy, making it 'unfair' for all passengers at some point every day! Now, if you are someone who just uses a cabin for sleeping, then this is no real hardship (excuse the pun). However, we like to spend a fair amount of More
time in our cabin, (which is why we pay for an expensive one) and the situation made our cabin, completely unusable when adjacent to another cabin or the restaurant (on a couple of occasions) on another ship. Also on a couple of occasions, our boat was sandwiched between two other boats, so everyone suffered at the same time! If you are happy with all this then fine, but remember that the design of the cabins is such that the dressing table mirrors on each boat provide a perfect view from your cabin directly into the toilet of the adjoining ship's cabin AND vice-versa! Without going into too much detail, the sight of of a man on the toilet of his cabin on the adjoining boat made sure that we fully closed the toilet door on every occasion! However, we should not have to do this in our private cabin. This whole experience ruined the cruise for us, despite very much enjoying the excellent itinerary. It goes without saying that the problem never occurred on our earlier River Elbe cruise with the same company.
Now on to other matters, where, again compared to our earlier cruise, the food was generally poor. Some chefs have empathy with cooking fish (our preferred choice), but not so on our cruise! We were rarely able to eat the main course and indeed on the main 5 course meal, my wife had a tiny smoked salmon starter and a tiny piece of cheese for the final course, with nothing in-between. However, I managed the soup as well, so had 3 of the 5 courses! Generally, the meat eaters fared better, though at lunch we once had goulash, which turned out to be tough, dry and tasteless (and uneaten!). Interestingly, neither the Maître d', nor any waiter every enquired if there was a problem! Incidentally at least two of the waiters were 'over friendly' trying to 'force' you to drink or eat more. On one occasion, spare desserts were actually served to us and cajoled to eat them despite repeatedly saying no (we just left the table to escape). On a minor point, the white wine was also never cold and changing the subject, the WiFi was never good (even moored in a city) and generally only just usable. You have been warned! P.S. Oh! And don’t get us started on the absolute chaos between disembarkation and boarding the flight home! Less