After many failed attempts to book small to large groups on European River Cruises, we finally managed to reserve 5 cabins on the Viking Pride. The 7 night trip sailed from Nuremberg to Budapest over the Main-Danube Canal and Danube River. The group was composed of mostly experienced cruisers, although none of us had tried river cruising before this trip. Boarding was efficient with very pleasant and helpful staff. Early boarders were provided with a bus trip into Nuremberg for some bonus touring - a nice touch. Rooms were spacious, clean, and well organized with ample storage and comfortable beds. Free WiFi service (generally available in port only) was a bonus that made staying in touch with family at home both easy and inexpensive. The ship offers a couple of "all-inclusive" options that provide semi-unlimited alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks while onboard. More convenience than cost savings, the unlimited alcoholic drinks were priced at 300 euro per cabin and included all you care to drink house wines(six decent choices) or draft beer (one choice) and two cocktails per day. Cocktails were stingy with one carefully measured shot of alcohol per drink. Bar service was spotty with one server very friendly and accommodating while the other server was frequently absent from post and provided the minimum service required. Included tours at each port were quite good with well-informed local tour guides, wireless headsets, and easy walking. Usually just one or two hours in length, the tours allowed time for independent exploration, lunch, and shopping. Optional tours were reasonably priced.
The ship was spotless and well appointed. We were disappointed, though, to learn that the top deck would not be available for the first half of the trip. Low bridges require that all furniture, umbrellas, and railings are taken down until reaching the town of Passau. Scenery along the Main/Danube Canal was pretty mundane with factories, a few small towns, and occasional fishermen and sunbathers; nothing brochure worthy. Passing through the first few locks, which can raise and lower the ship more than 80 feet, was interesting. The next twenty or so locks were less so. No scenes here to make the next Viking brochure. Once in the Danube, though, scenery improved a bit with the hoped for villages and castles standing guard over the river.
Dining room food and service were quite disappointing. The food was generally bland and unseasoned, and the menus were mostly uninspired. Soups were salty, but with little flavor. Most seemed to be made from the same tasteless cream soup base with a few vegetables thrown in. Breakfast was a combination buffet and made-to-order served by a wait staff whose inattentiveness bordered on rude. When one guest asked for a couple sausages on her made-to-order eggs benedict, she was told "You can get them from the buffet." Wait staff serving coffee would frequently refuse to take food orders. Wait staff taking food orders would generally refuse to pour coffee ("The other server will be here shortly with coffee.") Airing our concerns directly to the Head Chef brought a look of surprise and disbelief. Chef Claimed that it was necessary to cook this way to please everyone on the ship and insisted that he had never heard a complaint before. His solution was to bring a plate of spices to our tables. The spices he provided were completely in appropriate for that evening's meal, but he tried. Having been on several ships with as many as ten times the number of passengers, the food on the Viking Pride ranks well below any of the others.
Mostly destroyed during the war, but rebuilt consistent with historical architecture, Nuremberg contains the tattered remains of the Third Reich. Some interesting, if not spectacular, buildings and churches.
More impressive, architecturally, than Nuremberg. In the midst of a downpour, we enjoyed excellent hand-tossed pizza and wine.
Good shopping in local bakeries, wurstmarts, and chocolate shops.
Wonderful village with beautiful Benedictine monastery at the top of the hill. Only disappointment was lack of time to spend in the village.
Bustling city with wonderful pastry shops and restaurants. Much to see. So little time. Easy travel by underground trains.
Highlight of the trip. Must see the old city, the Market, the river, the bridges, Parliament, churches, funicular