I wrote about my trip on the Viking Magni for part of my river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. For the second half of the trip we were transferred to the Viking Baldur, our originally scheduled ship. The transfer was apparently due to ... Read More
I wrote about my trip on the Viking Magni for part of my river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. For the second half of the trip we were transferred to the Viking Baldur, our originally scheduled ship. The transfer was apparently due to low water levels after a dry summer.
My experience on the Baldur was different.
The hotel manager on the Magni was definitely more hands on and more personable and as a result the ship had a more welcoming feel. On the Magni, there were some special touches and the staff was more personable and more attentive (except the chef and maids who were wonderful on both ships). On the Magni, we were often greeted with a treat as we returned from excursions and an appertif as we entered the dining room. Also, on the Magni, when returning to the ship and before meals we were offered a spray of hand disinfectant by the manager as we entered the dining room. The Magni manager made more of an effort to get to know his guests by name and he was often in evidence around the ship. The ship had a welcoming feel.
The pianist on the Baldur had a better repertoire of music, much more relevant to the audience he played for. Many people danced! We enjoyed the post dinner activities in the lounge; trivia, etc.
The glass worker who visited the Baldur (visits all ships?) was excellent and entertaining. I bought several items. However he had a very, very severe body odor problem and the smell filled the lounge. I am sensitive to odors and I could barely stay in the lounge.
On each ship, our maid was terrific. She was personable and friendly. The room was straightened and/or cleaned 2 to 3 or even 4 times a day! Basically every time we left the cabin, it had been straightened when we returned. If we took a nap, the bed had been remade when we returned. If we then came back and showered before dinner, the room had been straightened again when we returned later. We left an individual, very big tip for the maid!
The lounge staff was not as attentive on the Baldur as it was on the Magni. They often did not approach us in the lounge to ask for an order or a re-order. They were not as friendly as on the Magni. We felt a personal connection with those on the Magni! The Baldur staff was overall more business-like. The dining staff was also not as attentive. One staff member was even defensive and seemed upset when asked for service. He was very loud and silly when making announcements. To be fair, he meant to be funny and many guests enjoyed him.
wThe trip manager for both our ships, Kaitlyn, was good but often sounded as though she were talking to a classroom of high school or younger students.
As on the Magni, the chef was very personable. Both chefs were exceptionally accommodating to my friend who accompanied us and cannot have gluten or yeast, even going off the boat daily to get special products and making special treats for her! Both chefs visited the dining room nightly to check in with guests.
The ships were virtually identical and we were assigned the same cabin on each.
In our Baldur cabin, the AC had to be repaired, the closet door slid closed continuously while we tried to use it. It had to be propped open. The light in the closet stayed on when it was closed. The toilet seat's "slow close" was broken. Not a big deal really, unless you're used to the one on the previous ship and end up waking up your spouse in the middle of the night when the lid slams shut!
As on the Magni, most of the food was average. Many thought it was great but I think people tended to be charitable so as not to offend the chefs and staff.
On both ships, the shore excursions were mostly good to great and the guides were mostly good to very good. One guide, however, refused to slow her pace when requested to do so twice and at least one couple had to leave the tour she led. Another very young guide did not seem well-informed. The meal of sausage and sauerkraut and mashed potatoes was terrible (both ships) on an optional all-day excursion in Amsterdam; sausage was truly tasteless and dry with an odd texture. Sauerkraut was mushy and sweet, not sour at all. Mashed potatoes tasted like they came out of a box. Beer was good.
The Mozart-Strauss concert excursion in Vienna was wonderful (both ships have this excursion).
On both ships the shore excursion meals were not really appetizing to me with the exception of the "Sound of Music" dinner and concert. Good food, great entertainment.
We enjoyed all of the ports, especially Amsterdam and Kinderdijke, Miltenberg, Rothenburg, Bamberg, Krems, Regensburg, Passau and Vienna. Budapest was the port I had looked forward to the most but the shore excursion was lacking. Hungary is still very like a Soviet Block country. I would've liked to have learned more. We did some touring on our own on the post trip extension there. The Terror Museum was amazingly impactful and eye-opening. The Fisherman's Bastion was cool but the restaurant staff there was rude, slow and inattentive. We were cold and continuously asked to have the door closed, but the staff kept leaving it open on purpose. The church by the hotel was very beautiful and we were able to climb to the second level and tour the towers. I enjoyed the shopping.
The Hilton Hotel room for the extension was big and comfortable. The view was fabulous. The staff was often aloof except for the concierge and the lounge staff, although the lounge service was slow. The hotel dining room staff cordial. The Speiz restaurant across the street was very good.
The museums and churches I especially enjo yed, in addition to the Terror Museum in Budapest, were the Van Gogh Museum and The Rijks in Amsterdam, The Belvedere(Klimt) and the Kunsthistorisches in Vienna, the Dom Cathedral in Regensburg and in Passau, the Natural History Museum in Vienna.
Overall, I'd say the Magni manager was more hands on and as a result the ship and staff were better.
The ship announcements were way too loud in the cabin.
There were many more enjoyable towns, sights, museums than I can list here!
Overall, I'd highly recommend this cruise. Read Less