My overall rating for Viking is a 95 out of 100 but with no other river cruise to compare it too. That being said we were fairly worried about the water levels on the Danube prior to out departure of this trip.
We departed from Orlando on Dec 16Th with air booked through Viking Air. Although we took the scenic route from OIA to Detroit to Amsterdam to Budapest. All went well and all of our connections went as planed.
We arrived in Budapest airport and were greeted by Viking Prestige staff after retrieving our luggage and were loaded on buses to the ship. We were greeted on the ship with an abbreviated buffet lunch and were allowed to our room (123) one hour prior then stated @ 2:00 PM.
Our room was new and modern as compared with any ocean cruise that we had taken. We were on the bottom deck (the cheep seats) but the only difference was the size of the window compared with any other rooms with the exception of the suites.
Food was generally very good with the exception of a couple of meals that we didn't prefer and we ordered the optional ( standard) steak which was a very good option. Salad dressings were watered down and could use improving but the baked goods and breads were very good.
The crew was very good and service was for the most part exceptional. Our cabin steward was great and we did not have to ask for anything in the entire 11 days on the ship. The cruise director was fantastic and very entertaining. All cruise activities were well organized although limited as compared to ocean cruising.
The tours that were included were very good and the tour guides that were used were very informative and professional. We had a couple of guides that I would say were exceptional. The one optional tour we took was the Mozart Strauss Concert and I did not think it was a good value for the money! We thought it was to take place at a "Theater" with real acoustics etc. but it was not. Others that I talked to were disappointed with this tour as well!
The weather on the cruise was as expected during the winter months and the Christmas markets were very nice but we are not big shoppers. The food and wine at the markets were the highlight for me.Of course during Christmas day and eve, the markets and shops were either closed or closed early.
We met many wonderful people on the ship and found this type of cruising very intimate and a great way to meet new friends. Water levels were very low prior to leaving on our trip and towards the end of our trip our ship was having difficulty getting under some bridges do to high water levels( go Figure)! Obviously water levels change very quickly on the Danube. We also went through many "Locks" which was very interesting and different!
Our return trip home was from Nuremberg Germany to Paris to Atlanta to Orlando. Although very long we had no problems and all our connections went smoothly and with no loss of luggage.
This was a very good trip and I would highly recommend river cruising and I would highly recommend Viking.
Happy Sailing, Frank & Lynn