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223 Budapest to Europe - All Cruise Reviews

Choose Scenic as previous experience was great & were celebrating a special anniversary.The entire experience from airport pickup, embarkation, tours, meals, entertainment to disembarkation, was well organized & looked after in a ... Read More
Choose Scenic as previous experience was great & were celebrating a special anniversary.The entire experience from airport pickup, embarkation, tours, meals, entertainment to disembarkation, was well organized & looked after in a top quality fashion. The all-inclusive nature of the cruise makes it far easier to enjoy all amenities without worrying about extra costs. The ship was immaculate, the cabin kept clean, the food was wonderful with lots of choices. The crew were very professional but friendly and set a high standard of service in all areas. The tours were well organized, very knowledgeable guides & took us to locations we wouldn't have gone on our our, but enjoyed. The buses used were top quality & departed & returned as scheduled. We make specific mention of our Cruise Director, Richard Gray. He worked tirelessly to make sure all details were covered off, was entertaining in his own right. We would highly recommend Scenic to all & will be traveling & river cruising with them again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our first European river cruise and I am so glad we chose Emerald. From the moment we stepped on board to the fond farewell, we were constantly amazed and delighted at the thoughtfulness and wonderful service provided by the ... Read More
This was our first European river cruise and I am so glad we chose Emerald. From the moment we stepped on board to the fond farewell, we were constantly amazed and delighted at the thoughtfulness and wonderful service provided by the staff. Nothing was too much trouble. Everywhere is spotless, food is fabulous and all public areas are welcoming with plenty of comfy seating. So many thoughtful touches, umbrella and walking sticks in the room, afternoon tea and late night snacks, free shuttle buses, fresh flowers on all tables, efficient listening devices for tours and bikes on board. Harry the Activity Director made everything seem fun and Balazs Cruise Director organised everything to run like clockwork, efficient but never regimented. Every day interesting inclusive tours were offered with options for the more active and the less active. Evening entertainment was fun and varied. Emerald Star seem to sense what the customer wants and go all out to provide it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was my second river cruise, with both being on Scenic. So my only basis for comparison is ocean cruises, of which I've had many. So some of my comments may be due to the nature of the product and its differences from ocean ... Read More
This was my second river cruise, with both being on Scenic. So my only basis for comparison is ocean cruises, of which I've had many. So some of my comments may be due to the nature of the product and its differences from ocean cruises. Embarkation. Even though we made our own air arrangements, Scenic met us at the airport and whisked us to the ship. There were about a dozen of us, and we were taken straight to the ship in Budapest, where the prior passengers were still disembarking. They made us comfortable in the lounge, and prioritized the cleaning of our cabins, so we were able to access them quite early. This gave us the opportunity to explore Budapest a bit on our own, after a light but satisfying lunch in the River Cafe. The location of the ship--directly across from the Parliament Building--made this exploration very easy. In other words, the embarkation experience was perfect. Crew. Simply outstanding. The Hotel Director, Cruise Director, and Food & Beverage Manager were very much present, and infused the entire ship with a sense of joy. The waiters and room attendants seemed to share this sense, and made the entire experience an enjoyable one. They all handled a major glitch (see below) well. I have to say, though, that I don't get the point of the butler. Ours introduced himself the first day and was never seen again until our final evening in Portabello (the specialty restaurant), where he waited table. Much less effectively than the regular waiters, but I suppose that's to be expected. When we tried to call him for one thing, his line was busy and did not go to voicemail. We flagged down our room attendant, who happily took care of that and all other room-related matters the whole time. The people next to us had an incident where their laundry came back wet. He said he'd take care of it, but never did. They wound up hanging things around their room to dry. Food. Inconsistent. Breakfasts were wonderful, with an omelet station, plenty of buffet choices, and a galley menu of hot dishes made to order. Lunch was the weak spot, with little variety on the buffet and sometimes unappealing galley choices. Though there was a superb vegetarian goulash one day, and the soups were generally very good. Dinners were a mixed bag. A few were outstanding. The rest not so much. Evening menu main courses usually included a meat or poultry, a fish dish, and a vegetarian dish. The vegetarian choices usually depended on cheese for protein. Fish was not their strong suit--most tasted overcooked and dry, though they did nicely with salmon and halibut. They did an excellent job with lamb, and with a seafood dish for the gala dinner toward the end of the cruise. Whether the food was good or not-so-good, the waiters were outstanding. You couldn't help but enjoy any meal because of them. Beverages. Alcohol flowed freely, and the choices of included spirits were very good. The wines poured each evening for dinner were usually based on the location of the ship. Some were to my taste, some were not, but the staff bent over backwards to find us wines we would like if we did not care for the featured pour. Entertainment. The Enrich evening was at Palais Lichtenstein in Vienna--a beautiful setting and a lovely concert. Well done. Sundowners were in the lounge on the ship. Rather a disappointment. Some local acts came on in a few ports, and were interesting and entertaining. The nightly musician, Mark, was a highlight. With an engaging personality, a beautiful singing voice, great piano skills, and a good sense of the crowd for his DJ'ing, he made the evenings come alive. I would take this cruise again just for Mark. Ship's facilities. Because we were sailing in mid-October, the Sun Deck was rarely an option due to chilly weather, so the lounge tended to become crowded. All the more so because this was definitely a partying group. Because the lounge was really the only viable public space, the ship felt claustrophobic at times. We did use the upper deck for viewing the illuminations in Budapest, or to watch the ship go through the locks, but few people stayed up there for long because of the chill, particularly when the ship was moving. The gym is tiny, but has a treadmill, elliptical, bike, and rowing machine, as well as a few weights, jammed in. There is a walking track on top deck, but passengers are asked not to use it before 8:00 am, since it is over people's cabins. The salt room is supposed to be good for respiratory and skin issues, but was rarely used. I did try to use it, but found the lounges uncomfortable and the strange lighting triggered a migraine. Excursions. These were generally good to outstanding. Most were not over-populated, so thus not obnoxious. Much depended on luck of the draw in terms of guides. All but one of my guides were outstanding, peppering their talks with stories and observations that made the sites come alive. Communication. This is Scenic's weak spot. Advance information about excursions is sparse, so we found ourselves trying to make plans with very little knowledge about what the excursions would really include. This was particularly frustrating for those who had some time in the embarkation city beforehand, as they didn't know what to leave for the excursion there and what to do because it wouldn't be included. Other than that, in the end the scarcity of information was not a problem, because the cruise director, JJ, did an excellent job of laying out onboard what the tours would be like, and was very flexible in letting people switch. In the end, I don't think anyone was shut out of a tour they wanted. Glitch. Of course there was a glitch. Not water levels this time. Instead, an unusually wide cargo vessel further along in the river had an accident and destroyed its propeller. The result was that it blocked the river, backing up river boats on either side that could not get past it. We were bound for Regensburg when this happened. So it became questionable how and whether we would get there, as Scenic was being told that it could be as long as a week before it could be moved. So, while JJ and his team struggled to find arrangements for us without knowing where we would wind up, we wandered. We tied up once in front of a manufacturing plant of some kind, and I watched during breakfast as someone who looked like a local official appeared to be ordering us out of there. Sure enough, minutes later the gangplank was taken back up and off we went again, in search of a place to dock. We spent much of one night and the next morning sailing backwards (an interesting challenge for Captain and crew) toward Passau, the last port we'd left. Indeed, we wound up docking back in the Passau region, in the place where we had last docked. We were then bussed to our Regensburg-based excursions. Because of the increased bus riding times (in fact, the Regensburg walking tour was supposed to have been a step-off-the-ship-and-you're-there tour), a lot of passengers opted to stay on the ship. In fact, the bus time was, at 90 minutes, an hour less than JJ had estimated. We had a very small group with a plethora of guides, and a wonderful day. The disappointment from all of this was that we missed Nuremberg, which we were supposed to tour after disembarkation there. But we had to disembark from Passau instead. Oddly, though, not a word was said about the missing Nuremberg tour. We were left to realize on our own that this would not happen. Post-cruise. We had taken Scenic's post-cruise extension to Prague, and were glad we did. We were bussed to the Marriott, which was in a great location within walking distance to the Old City, the Lesser City, and the New City. The hotel was standard Marriott, though with lots of noisy construction going on. Fortunately, the noise ended in the evening, so we only got about an hour of it each evening, though it did accompany breakfast a couple of days. The evening we arrived, we were taken for an orientation walk around the neighborhood. The next morning was an excellent walking tour, and then the guides made themselves available that afternoon and the next day to help us plan our free time. Our guide in Prague was superb, with great stories and histories to share. She also was good with restaurant recommendations and recommendations for shops for particular purposes. My only complaint was that the group was much too large--nearly 40 people per guide--so movement was hampered. We could hear well, though, thanks to walkie-talkies, and the guide was very skillful in making sure we were all there. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
For our 5th cruise with Viking (after Portugal, France, China and Med) we decided for our anniversary to explore the Central Europe on Viking LIF. Our expectations were very high, but the recent 2 weeks experience was absolutely ... Read More
For our 5th cruise with Viking (after Portugal, France, China and Med) we decided for our anniversary to explore the Central Europe on Viking LIF. Our expectations were very high, but the recent 2 weeks experience was absolutely terrific, far above all our previous cruises with Viking. The on board meals were wonderful but I will suggest the possibility to order half portion I hate food waste. All the staff in the restaurant they were above any expectations: outstanding service, especially Pol, George, Bogdan, Andri. The food was delicious and fresh, very well prepared and the lead Chef Michael was top notch. PERFECT! Kudos to Kristian, the restaurant manager for his attention, friendly attitude and the way how he manage my quite complicated dietary requests. The reception team was excellent. Sometimes we found the Hotel Director Josip a little bit arrogant, but maybe is a cultural thing. Susana, Johnny and Bart were very professional, efficient and gracious. Their smiles were contagious true sunshine between the raindrops One little glitch about our Silver package being in force mid-way through cruise. Great services remedied the problem of our enrollment post haste and all is well. Add more hook for clothing in state rooms both River and Ocean I am disappointed how some guests dressed for dinner in the dining room: shorts, flip flops, sweatshirts And finally, our cruise Director. What can I say? Sometimes I had the feeling the we have 4 or 5 of them on board because he was everywhere: in the morning on the sundeck explaining the scenery, during the tours popping out at every corner, in the afternoon with amazing infotainment type of lectures and after dinner organizing fantastic parties and game shows. Leonard was unbelievable, he made this trip so memorable, lovely person. Energetic, wealth of knowledge. He is a great addition to Viking. He is a gem and handled challenging issues (low water levels, changing in program, difficult guests) with professionalism and a sense of humor. Looking back to our experience on Viking LIF is clear that Leonard was the best thing on the cruise so much information, friendly, helpful. These people deserve a hand. Leonard made this trip awesome All the staff was exceptional. Leonard is worth his weight in gold I really enjoy the relaxed friendly atmosphere your staff are the best I have met after 10 years travelling, I only hope I stay well enough to travel with you again. Viking staff is the key to a wonderful experience Lif has Leonard and an outstanding crew from the top down. We felt well cared for, pampered and safe. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was my first river cruise and won’t be my last. Had a wonderful experience on the Scenic Crystal. Wonderful staff, great excursions, food was outstanding. We came with a group of 18. Couldn’t have been a better way to travel with ... Read More
This was my first river cruise and won’t be my last. Had a wonderful experience on the Scenic Crystal. Wonderful staff, great excursions, food was outstanding. We came with a group of 18. Couldn’t have been a better way to travel with this many people. We had 160 people on our boat but never felt crowded. Plenty of space to accommodate our group.They had such a nice variety of excursions. Always something for all interests. The staff saw to our every need. They all seemed to work together as a team . The food was very good. Loved that we had 2 nights with different dining experience’s outside of the normal dining room. Nice variety of entertainment . Also very happy with the way they timed everything. Never felt rushed or over scheduled but yet we saw and did so much. Very well organized and run operation. Loved that everything was included. No upgrades required. Thank You Scenic Crystal for a wonderful first River Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Our second cruise with AMA Waterways. We enjoyed our first cruise so much we decided to try a second. And, it met our expectations. Beautiful venue on the Danube, great stops and tours of the area. We also enjoyed the great service and ... Read More
Our second cruise with AMA Waterways. We enjoyed our first cruise so much we decided to try a second. And, it met our expectations. Beautiful venue on the Danube, great stops and tours of the area. We also enjoyed the great service and crew and our cruise manager made sure everything met everyone’s expectations and that everything went off without a hitch. Our start in Budapest gave us ample time to experience Hungary and its rich history. We very much enjoyed walking through the area along the Danube and into town for shopping and experiencing the local atmosphere. Our stop in Bratislava was very enjoyable and gave us the opportunity to experience a taste of Slovakia. Vienna and our other stops in Austria were very enjoyable, getting to experience the countryside and local crafts, food, wine and the opportunity to lean more of certain European history of the region. Our final stops in Germany and Ama’s Octoberfest was a great ending to our trip.We are looking forward to our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The most relaxing active vacation ever! Sounds strange but it’s true; active because there is often something going on or somewhere to be, relaxing because Scenic takes care of all the logistics. It truly was all inclusive; no tipping, ... Read More
The most relaxing active vacation ever! Sounds strange but it’s true; active because there is often something going on or somewhere to be, relaxing because Scenic takes care of all the logistics. It truly was all inclusive; no tipping, even on the airport transfers from/to home. Scenic bills itself as 5 star all-inclusive so we were disappointed to read in the information booklet that “if we received exceptional service” we were free to add a gratuity. Sorry, for what we paid, exceptional service was expected! 68 locks, 803 bridges so it’s definitely a worry about low/high water levels. We were very fortunate as a few days after we passed Passau ship swaps happened. Cabin 206 was perfectly situated, bed was very comfortable, roomy shower with rain head and hand held shower wands. Ample storage; everything was soft close (cupboards, drawers, cabinets, toilet seat). Very impressed with the number of outlets. Great lighting and mirrors make the cabin seem very spacious. We had a couple of minor things that needed attention and, within a half hour, the issues were resolved. Excellent service. The individual blankets had not been washed prior to our arrival so we made sure not to put them back in their zippered pouch so that our cabin steward was aware they had been used and needed cleaning. Our cabin steward was excellent – the best we’ve ever had. They make a big deal about your “butler” but, other than introducing herself the first day, we had no interaction with her at all. That being said, we didn’t have any need for the included services or they were provided by other individuals. Toiletries were great. Hair dryer, Nordic walking sticks, large umbrella, ear plugs, even a long handled shoe horn were provided. Undecided if the sun lounge was worth the additional cost; rafting and/or facing public areas often left us unable to enjoy it but it does make for a larger cabin. Breakfast and lunch buffets were excellent; lots of variety and the breads at lunch were awesome. The pastry chef was outstanding; apple turnovers, croissants and other breakfast pastries were light and flaky. I absolutely loved the butter machine which provided a fresh portion of butter at the touch of a button; definitely a hit with all guests. There are fresh made options available for both breakfast and lunch. Smoothies were tasteless as was the “flavoured” water served at the Late Riser Breakfast in the River Café. We had lunch served in River Café when we opted out of the excursion to Salzburg and, while the selection was fine, the food was lukewarm. The same situation with the Sun Deck BBQ. The warming trays just don’t do the job. They do not serve “fresh” milk and we normally drink milk at lunch and dinner. Opted not to visit Portobellos as we didn't like the menu (beef cheeks!) and we don't drink alcohol so the wine pairing wasn't of interest. Very small portions for dinner. Even by Canada Food Guide recommendations Scenic portions fall far below the minimum requirements. Vegetables and starch are almost non existent! My husband has a small appetite and TWICE he woke up hungry during the night; NEVER happened before in his 72 years! There are limited selections; two cold appetizer options, two hot appetizer options, one soup, one meat, one fish and one vegetarian. Fortunately they have “always available” options. Soups were “made with love” but would definitely benefit from being made with cream. They were watery despite being called “cream of”. My husband said the soup spoons were more like shovels and would come in handy digging in the garden. Meal descriptions left much to be desired and were often not an accurate depiction of what the meal really was. We only ordered room service once and the meal was delivered promptly and the food was piping hot. I have menus and pictures of the meals at: https://www.flickr.com/gp/22259946@N08/Fi6264 With the exception of one employee who twice refused to take an order for coffee in two different venues on two different days to two different people (he just pointed and said “self-serve”) everyone was friendly, efficient and eager to please. There was wonderful interaction between staff members and a very warm environment. Some great moves were witnessed on disco night! Our cruise director Richard (distant relation of Richard the Lionheart) was entertaining, knowledgeable and energetic. Miljenko, Restaurant Manager, was charming and always willing to assist with food concerns. Mario Alberto, Hotel Manager, was an absolute delight and ran the operations with a warm smile and a firm commitment to guest satisfaction. The reception staff were wonderful; always a ready smile and can do attitude. There were 148 guests; Australia, New Zealand, Canada, U.K., a few Americans and one couple from Curacao. It was a great group with everyone having an enjoyable time without any drunken behaviour in spite of the included alcohol. Unfortunately a few guests didn’t make use of the hand sanitizer, complimentary water, shampoo and shower gel and preferred “au naturale” to using deodorant. Opal Lounge had ample, comfortable seating but the very low black tables were a hazard at night as both a tripping issue and trying to find the surface to place your glass. I loved the glass straws! Being non-alcohol drinkers we would have appreciated frozen mocktails. Hot chocolate, teas and coffee available 24/7 in the Opal Lounge was excellent. We were pleased with the offered entertainment. We enjoyed listening to David; a talented musician. The excursions were well organized and stress free. We especially enjoyed the Palais Liechtenstein concert and we have NO interest in classical music. It was definitely an experience not to be missed as was the visit and feast at Marksburg Castle. The banquet is for everyone, the Castle Tour is definitely NOT for anyone with mobility issues or a fear of falling. We really enjoyed the high lock experience, it was so well done with dramatic music added! The highlight for us was sitting on the Sun Deck soaking in the passing scenery between Koblenz and Rudesheim. Life just doesn’t get any better than this. The Scenic Taylormade app was hit and miss on excursions but the City Guides and River View options were excellent. We would rate our experience a 10 but, value for money, 7-8. We’re glad we ticked this experience off our bucket list but with the high cost and the anxiety over water levels it’s not something we’ll do again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
An excellent cruise to enjoy. All facilities excellent. Staff excellent . This cruise is seriously tops. The staff were helpful and not over intrusive. It is difficult for staff to provide just the correct amount of ... Read More
An excellent cruise to enjoy. All facilities excellent. Staff excellent . This cruise is seriously tops. The staff were helpful and not over intrusive. It is difficult for staff to provide just the correct amount of friendliness without being invasive. The staff on board Emerald Dawn were excellent. They provided us with a wonderful experience. The organised programme was exciting, and very well planned and we were guided through the most interesting sights of all the cities and villages we were able access. Many of the activities required overseeing at a very high level and the Emerald Dawn staff and guides achieved this level unhesitatingly. The tour guides had extensive knowledge of their area and this was noticed by the passengers. Overall our time onboard the Emerald Dawn was amazing and we would seriously like the staff to be praised for the excellent presentation of the river trip onboard the Emerald Dawn Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This is our 4th Viking River Cruise, and we chose this itinerary because although we had visited much of Europe, we had never been to these cities. I was quite concerned before the trip regarding the water level on the Danube due to ... Read More
This is our 4th Viking River Cruise, and we chose this itinerary because although we had visited much of Europe, we had never been to these cities. I was quite concerned before the trip regarding the water level on the Danube due to problems last year, but there were no issues. We came to Budapest a couple of days early and did some touring on our own, including a fun up close and personal Tuk Tuk tour. The embarkation went smoothly and we had a nice but small balcony cabin. All of the staff were excellent, from our waiters to our steward and we went on many of the excursions, as we recognized we are unlikely to come this way again. The food was fine and entertainment minimal other than a Mozart and Strauss concert excursion in Vienna and a folklore dinner in Prague. The captain was everywhere saying hello to all the guests which I haven't seen on a cruise before. The highlight for all of us (we were traveling with son and dil) was the Prague extension which was far more interesting than we expected. The architecture is outstanding and the tours were interesting. My dil developed a toothache, and the host in Prague at our hotel actually arranged for an emergency dental appointment near the hotel and accompanied her to see the dentist helping to translate. We were very grateful for this service. I have absolutely no criticisms of this trip. However, without the Prague extension, I would have given it 4 circles as it wasn't as exciting as prior Viking trips which I attribute to the nature of these cities rather than any faults on Viking's part. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Scenic came highly recommended by our travel agent and she was spot on. From the pickup at our hotel in Amsterdam to our departure in Budapest, Scenic provided a first class experience. Our Cruise director made the trip exceptional with ... Read More
Scenic came highly recommended by our travel agent and she was spot on. From the pickup at our hotel in Amsterdam to our departure in Budapest, Scenic provided a first class experience. Our Cruise director made the trip exceptional with his knowledge of the ports we visited and his daily port talk. Our balcony cabin was spacious and well maintained throughout our cruise. The food was Michelin star quality, with quality rather than quantity being the rule of the day. His dinners echoed the regions we were passing through and there was a good variety of options on the menu to choose from. Unlike shows provided on large ocean going ships, the daily entertainment usually highlighted talent from the port we had just visited and there was an awesome pianist who provided entertainment throughout the trip. Would I recommend Scenic for those seeking a River cruise, without a moments hesitation. Although Scenic may be a bit expensive, I always believe you get what you pay for and I feel we got more than our monies worth on this trip. Kudos to Scenic for providing a memorable trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I had cruised with Avalon down the Rhine River 10 years ago, and was very pleased, so I thought I'd stay with the same company down the Danube. I was so lucky to get a double room cabin all to myself, as did my 2 other girlfriends ... Read More
I had cruised with Avalon down the Rhine River 10 years ago, and was very pleased, so I thought I'd stay with the same company down the Danube. I was so lucky to get a double room cabin all to myself, as did my 2 other girlfriends that I was traveling with. The first 5 singles that booked the cruise, did not have to pay the single supplement. Wow, that was a tremendous savings! The cruise was on the Envision, Avalon's brand new ship, and it was gorgeous. It was very quiet, we were midship on the second floor and I never knew anyone was next to, above, or below my cabin. Every single member of the crew, from the bus boy to the captain, were first rate. They went out of their way to make sure you were happy with your cruise. Hendrick, our cruise director, went out of his way to help and guide us 3 ladies, and he seemed to make himself available all the time - when did he sleep? The food was unbelievable - the presentation was amazing and of course it was so delicious - from breakfast to dinner. Wine at lunch and dinner was from the regions we were sailing through. It was a trip to remember - highly recommend it to all! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Best reviews, best TRUE all-inclusive, best dates, best location stops and tours, amazing cabin. The staff is second to none. BBQ on deck, personal service, incredible food and beverages, informative and small-town tours... we will ... Read More
Best reviews, best TRUE all-inclusive, best dates, best location stops and tours, amazing cabin. The staff is second to none. BBQ on deck, personal service, incredible food and beverages, informative and small-town tours... we will be back many time! The ship is amazing, clean and well laid-out. Amazing and varied gourmet meals, well organized tours to very special destinations. The staff attentiveness is second to none. I researched over 25 river cruise lines for the best... this was it. Cabin, although expensive, was spacious and provided an un-encumbered view of all sides of the ship...truly and amazing experience. Special surprises such as an on-board BBQ, nightly entertainment from local sources, private concerts in Palais Lichtenstein, concert pianists, world-class violinists, dancers, and musicians. The cruise director Yvonne is a treasure and the captain and his crew approachable, thoughtful and willing to go the extra mile to ensure a wonderful and life changing experience. We will be back! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We sailed the Passage to Eastern Europe with the added pre-extension in Prague. Overall Viking is very organized in terms of transporting you from place to place. Starting at the airport, there was a Viking Rep waiting for us. We were kept ... Read More
We sailed the Passage to Eastern Europe with the added pre-extension in Prague. Overall Viking is very organized in terms of transporting you from place to place. Starting at the airport, there was a Viking Rep waiting for us. We were kept waiting for another couple, who never showed, for an hour and a half. Here’s where some common sense should’ve kicked in. Maybe wait a half hour and then take us to the hotel. We were exhausted from a long flight and wanted to rest at the hotel. We were booked at the Corinthia, which is a wonderful hotel The room was a good size and very clean. They have three good restaurants and a lounge for late-night coffee or drinks. Breakfast was included and very good. They have a Viking Desk at the hotel which is convenient. They had signed us up for the city tour, which we opted out of, so they arranged transportation for us to join the food tour which we had signed up for. The tour was good with three restaurants and several dishes to try. Very little walking. We also did the Prague by Night tour which drove us through the city at night with some beautiful stops for amazing views of the city. They also had a complimentary shuttle to the Old Town from the hotel, which we took advantage of to explore on our own. To get to Budapest was an 8-hour or so bus ride. We stopped a couple of times for bathroom breaks and lunch. It was essentially a lost day. We stayed at the Hilton in the castle district, which is absolutely stunning. Check-in was less smooth with everyone crowding the desk to get a room key. At this point I had pulled a muscle in my calf and was unable to go on one of the tours. Beware: Once Viking has your money, YOU WILL NOT get it back. We were told no refund unless we paid $130 Euros for a doctor’s note. We were looking to get back $180 US. Having traveled several cruise lines, Viking is the only one who wouldn’t refund our money for missing an excursion. We paid $20K for the trip and they have lost a customer forever. I hope the $180 was worth it. Awful service. Budapest is stunningly gorgeous. We went on a few of the tours, which were part bus, part walking tours. After two nights, Viking takes you on a day tour and then finally to the ship. Getting on board is relatively easy as you just check-in at the front desk and relinquish your passport. They had a light lunch waiting for us and shortly after 3:00 we entered our cabin. The ship was in good shape, clean, and inviting. It’s color palette is blonde wood with beige furniture and accessories. Because it’s a river boat, the spaces are smaller and fewer. The largest spaces are the lounge, dining room, and top deck. We never had any issues finding a table or seating for lounging. At night there is a pianist/singer in the lounge. That’s about it for entertainment unless they bring in locals for dancing and other activities. The food is good. Each night they have a tasting menu based on the country you’re docked in. Everything we tried was very tasty. Dining times are rigid for each of the three meals. However, if you do miss a meal, the staff is extremely well trained and accommodating so you can likely get something if you ask. We traveled through Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. Most of the tours are around 4 hours and some combination of bus and walking. All of the guides talked about the wars and Communism, which was really interesting. We had two full-day tours the last two days. On one of the tours we drove out to Veliko Tărnovo for a bathroom break, coffee, and photo op. Then on to Arbanasi for a walking tour and lunch, and then back to the other village for an “hour+ of free time.” Why not just head back to the ship? Instead we arrived back with less than an hour to spare before dinner. It felt like they just wanted us to spend money in town. The next day we disembarked, en masse, in 100 degree heat to be driven around all day and kept away from the hotel until after 4:00. There were no other options but to be forced on to this tour to get us off the boat. So, it says 11 days, but you’re only on the boat for 7. This means some of your meals are on you in addition to what you’ve already paid for the cruise. Overall we saw some beautiful places that have not yet been commercialized. We learned a lot about this part of the world. We met some wonderful people and had some great food. There were a few things that did leave a bad impression, most notably the refusal to refund one of the excursions. We expect more for the high cost of the trip. For our next cruise, we’d select a company who understands that fully accommodating its customers means repeat business. Viking, unfortunately, doesn’t get that part. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We had the best time on our Danube cruise with AMA. The AMALea is a beautiful ship, but more importantly, the staff was just awesome. The service was so special, and everyone seemed to know what you wanted or remembered what you had ... Read More
We had the best time on our Danube cruise with AMA. The AMALea is a beautiful ship, but more importantly, the staff was just awesome. The service was so special, and everyone seemed to know what you wanted or remembered what you had before you even asked. We had just about perfect weather and no water issues. Our cruise director, Stephanie, was so much fun, always available and seemed to be everywhere. The captain was out and about as well, and the ship was immaculately maintained. Our room was category CA 325. with a French balcony. It was perfect for us. I did not feel we missed out by not having a full balcony, but I’m very happy we had the French one. The sliding window opened fully and it was nice to be able to see the countryside while sailing. We were rafted several times, but it really wasn’t an issue. The bathroom and amenities were very nice. The iPad that controlled the lighting and temperature wasn’t too difficult to figure out. The room temperature was very comfortable. The room is located near the rear of the ship, nearby the Chef’s Table restaurant. This turned out to be a really good location. There is a coffee machine in the Chef’s Table, so in the morning it was just a short walk for a cup of coffee or tea. You could also sit in the restaurant and enjoy your coffee usually alone as most people didn’t take advantage of this coffee maker. There is also stairs from the Chef’s Table to the sun deck, which we did not discover to the end of the cruise. It would have been a nice short cut to get on the upper deck. The food was outstanding. The pastries and bread were to die for. Wonderful fresh fruits, salads, hot, delicious soups. Lots of choices. The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant was a fun delicious experience. My only complaint about that is the acoustics in the room. It was a bit noisy, but everyone was just having so much fun. We also enjoyed light lunch in the lounge on occasion with soups, small sandwiches, salads and usually a hot entree as well. There was an ice cream social on the sun deck one afternoon. They make the ice cream and it was outstanding. Their wine selection was usually just delicious, local Austrian or German wines. There also was a California selection available. It was free flowing through lunch and dinner and you could top off before leaving the dining area to enjoy on deck, your cabin or lounge. Sip and Sail was a big hit with a cocktail of the day available along with wine or other listed cocktails. Bitburger beer on tap. Local entertainers were brought on board and there was a pianist who played and also dj’d In the evenings. The most fun was the Oktoberfest at the end of the cruise with an oomph band, dancers, singing and lots of beer and pretzels. It was a great end to a great cruise. Shore excursions ran smoothly and all of our tour guides were knowledgeable and entertaining. Our evening in Grein at the castle was very nice but be warned. The walk up to the castle is a hike. Uphill, lots of steps. They did supply a van for people with issues, but most walked. It is a workout. There were lots of fitness classes handled by a very fit trainer. People were enjoying working with him. The swimming pool was heated and getting good attendance after touring days. It was an enjoyable amenity to use. Sitting on the sun deck enjoying the scenery along the Danube was also a relaxing end to the day. So overall, we very much enjoyed our AMA experience, and would not hesitate to book a cruise with them again. It was a first rate experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This is our third cruise with Emerald. Did same cruise 3 years ago. Beautiful ship. Spacious and spotlessly clean cabins. Excellent service and choice of food and drinks. Very attentive and friendly staff. Interesting shore excursions ... Read More
This is our third cruise with Emerald. Did same cruise 3 years ago. Beautiful ship. Spacious and spotlessly clean cabins. Excellent service and choice of food and drinks. Very attentive and friendly staff. Interesting shore excursions every day. Good entertainment. Absolutely no problems or concerns. Definitely recommend. Daily information sheets and maps of each excursion. Cruise director very knowledgeable about places visited. Guided daily tours very informative regarding town and village histories. Comfortable coaches to same. No problem airport pick up and drop off. Emerald staff at airports to help. Lovely pool on board which converts to cinema during the evening. Free tea and coffee machines 24/7. Free wine beer and soft drinks with meals. Excellent selection of food at breakfast. Buffet or a la carte at lunch. A la carte for dinner with choice regional foods (5 course) or steak, chicken or fish if preferred. All in all an excellent cruise line. Definitely be visiting again. Thank you Emerald for yet again a wonderful 2 weeks. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Were not sure what to expect for our first River Cruise but we were certainly impressed from our airport arrival and transfer to our hotel a few days before the cruise. The transfer from the hotel to the ship, the crew, and cruise far ... Read More
Were not sure what to expect for our first River Cruise but we were certainly impressed from our airport arrival and transfer to our hotel a few days before the cruise. The transfer from the hotel to the ship, the crew, and cruise far exceeded our our expectations. The transfers to our hotel after and a few days later to the airport we expect we will have the same exceptional experience. Having 40+ Ocean Cruises under our belt we were not sure what to expect but are glad we did and will do another River Cruise again. And Scenic will be our choice. We could not have asked for a better learning or entertainment experience. The entertainment was from Classical to Country to Rock and Roll to A Disco Dance Party with the crew the night before. Again I cannot say how impressed with the Ship, Crew, Ports of call, excursions, food, and entertainment. Consider Scenic in your travel plans. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Expected luxury from start to finish, which we certainly paid for. Cruise from Budapest to Prague. We were very disappointed. Food was average to say the least. Dining room meals what we expect in an Aussie pub. Deserts were awful. Coffee ... Read More
Expected luxury from start to finish, which we certainly paid for. Cruise from Budapest to Prague. We were very disappointed. Food was average to say the least. Dining room meals what we expect in an Aussie pub. Deserts were awful. Coffee during day via a machine with a cookie or danish (at least I think that was what it was)! Accommodation was average, although beds were comfortable. Closets small, rooms were cleaned well, but no luxury whatsoever. Even toiletries had been downgraded from L’Occitane to Freya. Told we were welcomed back from tours with drink and something to eat; this happened once with pate on a cracker that was disgusting. Boats stacked along side each other in port, which meant when we opened our curtains to sit on our balcony, we stared straight into another boat’s guests’ room! We chose Viking over Scenic because we wanted special treatment, how naive! Did a survey for VIking at end of trip and never heard back - how surprising, they already had our money! Would not recommend Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
First ... a shout out to our wonderful “included” tour guides. We especially enjoyed Sylvia Seifert whose extended tour in Regensburg (including Jewish history and the Stumbling Stones Project) was spectacular. Another terrific guide ... Read More
First ... a shout out to our wonderful “included” tour guides. We especially enjoyed Sylvia Seifert whose extended tour in Regensburg (including Jewish history and the Stumbling Stones Project) was spectacular. Another terrific guide -whom we were with today in Cologne- was Ralph (sorry no last name). His knowledge of history was extensive. In a very brief period we learned so very much. Finally and sadly (sorry!!!) we cannot recall the name of our Wertheim guide, another terrific individual (woman in her 60s) who brought her home town to life -past and present. For example she told us that her husband was 5 years old when US tanks rolled through town at the end of WW2: an image he has never forgotten. She shared a great deal of her own life experience as well as history and both helped us get a true flavor for her river town. Food was outstanding. Thank you Marc!! My husband is a vegetarian and there were excellent options and the chefs also made special meals for him which were great. Note: no special milk products like soy, cashew or almond milk on board. The staff took exquisite care of us. They took care of everything. We have loved our cruise experience (we have one more day). I have 2 items to critique: I would have liked another day in each of the larger cities: Vienna and Cologne. Of course I knew the schedule in advance. I would like Viking to know this preference however and will put this on the evaluation they provide. We did the pre-extension in Budapest and so we did have more time there. The second item is that for a good part of the cruise - maybe half - the sundeck was closed due to very low bridges. This is something that I would have liked to know about in advance. It would not have stopped me from coming. Still, if one does not have a private balcony, not having access to the sundeck makes a difference. Last but not least this trip is great if you are very active (you can hike and bike), if you have limited mobility and need to be in a “gentle” tour group or if you are anywhere in between. We were told the average age was 68 with a range from 20s- 83. A terrific experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This is only the second cruise ever for my wife and me - our first was a brief ocean cruise from Florida to Bahamas on another major line, and we were not overly impressed. For years, though, we always wanted to try a river cruise, and ... Read More
This is only the second cruise ever for my wife and me - our first was a brief ocean cruise from Florida to Bahamas on another major line, and we were not overly impressed. For years, though, we always wanted to try a river cruise, and after years on Viking's mailing list, we decided to take the plunge. We are so glad we did - we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We took the Grand European Tour, a 15-day river voyage down the Danube and Rhine from Budapest to Amsterdam, and every aspect of our trip was enjoyable. Each port of call was a fascinating visit, including Vienna, Nuremburg, Cologne, and some less well-known cities and towns such as Melk and Wertheim. We visited 12 cities for at least a day each. (Amsterdam was our disembarkation point so we only saw it from the shuttlle bus to the airport.) Each stop had a tour included as part of the package, as well as a few optional tours for an additional fee. (The only optional tours we took were the evening concert in Vienna and the wine country tour in the Moselle Valley.) Our guides were all excellent, but we were particularly impressed with our guides in Regensburg and Wertheim, who gave us a "Jewish history" tour. Also, since we are both in our late 60's and my wife was nursing a sore knee and recovering from a rib injury, we appreciated and sometimes took advantage of the "gentle tour" options. The cruise experience was everything we hoped for and more. If you are expecting an over-the-top experience like on some ocean cruises, you may be disappointed. You won't find wall-to-wall 24-hour buffets, Broadway-style musical reviews, "formal nights", noisy casinos, infiinty pools or mini-water parks. What you will find is a quieter, more low-key experience. The boat is only four decks, three of which have staterooms and suites, and accommodates less than 200 passengers. Delicious food, including international cuisine, is served three times a day, either buffet-style or table service. Meals include soft drinks and beer or house wine. You can pay for an optional "silver spirits" package which provides unlimited beverages, but we didn't choose this because we are not big drinkers.There is nightly entertainment in the Aquavit Lounge - the "house band" was a talented duo on guitar and piano, and on two evenings some talented local classical singers and musicians came to serenade us. We also welcomed a funny, fascinating and informative local glassblower, and enjoyed a Beatles sing-along night, as well as trivia and game nights (our team won the trivia contest). My wife also celebrated a birthday on board - the staff brought her a delicious little cake and sang to her, and we returned to the stateroom to find a birthday card and balloons on our bed. We met many very nice fellow passengers, most of whom were in our age range, and most American, though some were from Canada, Australia, and other countries. The staff was, without exception, courteous, friendly, and very attentive, from the reception desk to the restaurant, lounge and staterooms. And one couldn't ask for a better cruise director than David - very organized, informative and personable. Our voyage was smooth and scenic, with lovely towns, castles, churches and vineyards along the way. (We found the system of canals and locks along the rivers and the way they operated to be almost as fascinating as the scenery along the banks). The best views could be found from the top sundeck, although access was limited at times because we traveled under some rather low bridges. We were worried early on that due to low water on the rivers, there was a chance we might have to disembark for part of the tour and be transported by bus, but Mother Nature was kind to us, and despite a hot, dry summer in Europe, there was enough recent rain to eliminate that possiblity. Our weather was generally quite good - a bit hot at the beginning, but more temperate through the rest of the trip with only two days we would describe as rainy. Our package included free airfare, and we were lucky to get nonstop flights to and from our home airport in Philadelphia. The Viking staff were very helpful getting us to and from our ship upon arrival and departure. All in all, we had a wonderful time, and we're already thinking about booking another Viking cruise in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
After watching the tv show cruising with Jane McDonald, we decided to give it a try, as she had an amazing time. The boat was amazing clean modern well kept, the food was fantastic breakfast, lunch and dinner great choice of food. ... Read More
After watching the tv show cruising with Jane McDonald, we decided to give it a try, as she had an amazing time. The boat was amazing clean modern well kept, the food was fantastic breakfast, lunch and dinner great choice of food. the service was great, polite friendly so well mannered nothing too much trouble very attentive . A lot of the trips where included, the guided tours where very informative, gave in site and place to visit, the guides where all local and very knowledgable. Very relaxing when cruising to out next destination Ideal for complete relaxation on board, we used the pool and sun deck On board services where great something for every one, the high light was being invited on the last night to join the captains table for dinner We defiantly recommend and would use emerald again would look to go on another emerald cruise at a different location Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
All the places I wanted to visit and didn't want to do it by road, multiple hotels etc. It was so lovely to unpack once at the beginning of the holiday and return to the same bed each evening. The cabin, and particularly the balcony, ... Read More
All the places I wanted to visit and didn't want to do it by road, multiple hotels etc. It was so lovely to unpack once at the beginning of the holiday and return to the same bed each evening. The cabin, and particularly the balcony, were beautiful. The cruise director, Hunor, and the crew of the Scenic Jade were amazing - they were incredibly attentive in every way. The food was extraordinarily good and we really enjoyed the excursions. Met lots of lovely people and hope to stay in touch with some of them. We were disappointed we couldn't spend more time on top of the ship as it was lovely to relax in the deck and lounge chairs while cruising through amazing scenery - pity that the so many bridges were built low. Grateful to the captain for ensuring we remained safe though! Looking forward to our next cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
From the moment we arrived, the driver waiting for us, made a very smooth transfer to the vessel. Can't say enough compliments of the entire crew, very polite , accommodating, responsive, kind, caring and very knowledgeable about ... Read More
From the moment we arrived, the driver waiting for us, made a very smooth transfer to the vessel. Can't say enough compliments of the entire crew, very polite , accommodating, responsive, kind, caring and very knowledgeable about the different ports, The ship was always immaculate, cabin super clean and always ready when we returned from any excursion. Dining was superb,quality and variety to please any of the 150 guests aboard, breakfast, lunch and dinners, good wines. The daily entertainment and I am including the Cruise director daily briefing were great, Once again I mentioned that the service from the entire crew was fantastic, first class. I was not going to single anyone,but, I would be remiss if I don't acknowledge two individuals that made my cruise such a pleasure, they are our servers Ana and Nemad, very charming and always ready with a beautiful smile. The ports visits and the guides for the excursion were outstanding, very knowledgeable about their cities and the sites we were visiting.And the special concert in Vienna was just beautiful.I do recommend this cruise to anyone and ,a bit bias , I would ask for the Scenic Jade, because their crew made it double a pleasure. Another suggestion is book the entire package including the flight, The Scenic Staff in the US knows how to make a comfortable 10 hour flight painless. I am planning another cruise with Scenic, this time to Southeast Asia. Again this cruise exceeded my expectations.Thank you Scenic, Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Viking River Cruise on “Embla:” Bucharest to Budapest w/ 3-nt Prague Add-On Overall: Terrible experience with Viking aboard their boat Embla due to major maintenance issues known to them before our cruise started. Half speed at ... Read More
Viking River Cruise on “Embla:” Bucharest to Budapest w/ 3-nt Prague Add-On Overall: Terrible experience with Viking aboard their boat Embla due to major maintenance issues known to them before our cruise started. Half speed at best; little to no air-conditioning with room temperatures ranging from the high 70s into the 90s. The dining room felt even hotter with everyone assembled. This was a boat maintenance issue, NOT a river problem. We did not have a river cruise; the boat stayed in Russe, Bulgaria for 3 days. Then we were on buses for the rest of the trip. No choice/options as to what we ate. Viking gave minimal refund and never answered my emails to Customer Relations and several senior management personnel. Specifics: Immediately after boarding we were informed that: • The boat would be going slower than normal because the river level was low and that caused the water to be warmer which had a negative effect on engine cooling. A crew member later told us that the boat had previously hit a submerged object and had to travel slow coming to Bucharest because of propulsion problems. We saw other longboats passing us (on the one day we “cruised” from Russe to Lom); the “warm” water did not affect them! We also saw tugboats pushing loaded barges which rode much lower in the river than our boat. – We were misled from beginning!! Viking was aware of problems with Embla before we even boarded. Viking could/should have told us in Bucharest that the ship could only sail at half speed and that we would not be able to make our ports on time. They could have offered to cancel our cruise, receive a full refund for the cruise and Prague portion, and given us one more night in a hotel in Bucharest to make travel arrangements. Instead, Viking elected to hide the problem and have us board a ship that could only travel at a very slow speed with 50% a/c capacity, and sent us to spend 3 days in the small town of Russe. • We should not open our balcony doors, especially during the evening & night, as the mosquitos were very bad. This was also the case on the open upper deck. Thus, outside air was not a solution for the 80-90 degree (F) temperatures in our staterooms. The first day in Russe we elected to stay on the boat and not walk into town. We went to the dining room for lunch and were told lunch would only be available in the small eating area in front of the lounge. This “meal” consisted of a buffet of soup, cocktail sandwiches, and Bulgarian meatloaf; not exactly what you expect on a cruise. The next day we were told that we could stay on the boat, but there would be no a/c for several hours. We opted to go on a 3-hr tour of the old and new city squares of Russe. Once on the tour we were told that we would be eating lunch in Russe after the tour. Following lunch, we were informed that we must not return to the boat. We would tour 3 museums, attend a piano recital (at least it was in an air-conditioned room) and then have dinner at the same restaurant where we had lunch. At both lunch and dinner we were given what they wanted us to eat; no menu to select from. Again, not what one expects when traveling on a cruise. The boat set sail from Russe after midnight that night. The next day (Saturday, 27 July) we cruised at a very slow speed all day. This is the day we were supposed to be “scenic cruising past the Iron Gates.” That is one of the reasons we selected this Viking itinerary; we wanted to see the Iron Gates – this did not happen! We had lunch and dinner in the dining room. There was no ice cream available for dessert at dinner; the chef said the freezer was turned off. We were told before dinner that we would be getting off the boat the next morning in Lom. We were told that we would be driven by buses to Belgrade and then to Budapest. Keep in mind, temperature in the staterooms was 80-90 defrees (F). The rest of the boat (lounge, dining room, etc.) was even hotter. Sun, 28 July: After sailing over 36 hours and not even getting to Viden, we boarded buses in Lom and less than 3 hours later stopped for lunch with a distant view of the Belogradchik Rocks. That’s as close as we got to them and the Fortress (tours touted in the Viking literature). The lunch was a small buffet, no “ordering from a menu.” After a 12-hour day on a bus we arrived at the hotel in Belgrade. We had dinner around 9pm (more than 9 hours after we had lunch). Mon, 29 July: Spent the day in Belgrade. Had lunch in Old Town and dinner at the hotel. Again, we did not get to order from a menu. Tues, 30 July: Departed Belgrade via bus. Had noticed on the internet that it was a 4-to-5 hr bus ride to Budapest. Instead, Viking bussed us through Croatia where we had lunch in various private homes. We did not choose this; Viking did. When given the option prior to the cruise to have meals in private homes, we declined. This is not something we preferred to do. We, once again, did not get to select our meal. We were not offered the choice of a 4 or 5 hour bus ride vice a 12 hour bus day! After arriving at the hotel in Budapest around 9pm we had another buffet dinner. Wed, 31 July: Following two 12-hr bus ride days, two of our party were in poor physical condition and could not attend the included “Panoramic Budapest” tour. We were not meeting the objectives we had when we selected this itinerary. Since two members of our group were not on the tour, they were not provided lunch by Viking; the rest of us ate, once again, what & where Viking prescribed. Thurs, 1 Aug: Spent the day recuperating at the hotel. Note: Since we arrived in Budapest a day earlier than planned, we could not stay at the InterContinental Hotel as originally planned. This hotel is very conveniently located to Old Town, the river, and most the popular tourist attractions. Instead we were assigned a hotel that was not within walking distance of the tourist areas. Fri, 2 Aug: Took a 9-hr bus ride to Prague. Had this been our first “bus day,” we would have been in much better physical condition upon arriving in Prague. As it was, taking this 9-hr ride after the previous two 12-hr bus days was too much. This whole trip was a miserable, painful, terrible experience. As disastrous as it was, the Embla Captain never addressed the passengers and apprised us of the situation; it was like he was hiding. We were not consulted about what we might have wanted; we were not given any options. It was strictly, “Do what Viking says!” This was supposed to be “the vacation of a lifetime.” When we planned it, we did not choose a bus tour of Eastern Europe. We have several reasons for NOT wanting to spend hours riding a bus. We did not get to enjoy any of the advantages of a cruise. The few days/nights we spent on Embla were extremely uncomfortable. We chose a balcony room, and upon boarding, were told not to open the balcony doors in the evenings or nights! We only had a few meals in the Embla dining room where we got to select our meal from a menu. The rest of the time we had no choice as to what we ate. We all ate more meals consisting of chicken and potatoes than we ever thought possible when on a “cruise vacation.” We spent $13,494 on this cruise (two were refunded a small amount since they used their frequent flyer miles for the air travel), four of us paid an additional $50 each so we could choose our airline flights and seats, and we paid various amounts (average was approximately $1000/couple due to differing age) for travel insurance. Each couple spent approximately $15,000 to spend a miserable two weeks on a poorly-functioning boat and a bus. We were unable to enjoy places like Budapest and Prague because Viking’s choices had us so exhausted and physically impaired. To make matters worse, Viking has refunded $3,999 and claims that is 50% of our cost. Viking can most likely justify this with some “creative accounting.” $4,000 per couple does not come close to compensating us for our expenditures and the pain and suffering we endured. If you do book Viking, I recommend that you ask for a maintenance record of the boat. Specifically, for Embla: ask for the maintenance they performed after July 28, 2019 in order to fix the problems that led to our ‘bus tour”. I would also ask for the exact cost breakdown that they show for the trip to be sent directly to you, not just the travel agent so you are aware how they are pricing it. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Our Scenic 5***** Tsar Cruise in 2017, from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, was so marvelous in every way that it inspired us to take the Scenic Pearl cruise and explore Gems of the Danube with Prague, from Budapest to Prague in 2019. ... Read More
Our Scenic 5***** Tsar Cruise in 2017, from Moscow to Saint Petersburg, was so marvelous in every way that it inspired us to take the Scenic Pearl cruise and explore Gems of the Danube with Prague, from Budapest to Prague in 2019. Unfortunately, we are not inspired anymore. We cannot call Gems of Danube a Five Star Cruise and we assigned the Stars as follows: Staff: The only aspect of the Gems of Danube that was 5***** star was the Pearl Cruise Manager and the entire staff. They could not have been better in any respect and with a great sense of humor. Food: Breakfast and Lunch were excellent. However, dinners definitely need a new chef. The one we had would be good for a 2** restaurant. Cabin with balcony: 3 ½ *** Much smaller than on the Russian Tsar. Two people could not pass each other, very small washroom space. Very narrow balcony. If you sat on the chair your back would be against the wall and your knees (if you are 5 to 5’3”) would be pressed against the outside railing. Daily Tours: 2 ½ to 3*** Absolutely no comparison to the Russian Tour in any way . Why? The emphasis of the Gems of the Danube tours is on the “Tailormade City Guide” devices. You are drilled on that every evening instead of having interesting lectures about the country you came to visit as we had on the Tsar. The Tsar Cruise city tours were thoroughly informative, at a leisurely pace and the guides were aware of every guest. The Gem tours were all about 3 ½ hours of marching through the city. The guides, except for the one in Regensburg who obviously cared, marched on explaining the surroundings not looking or caring about their group. If you stopped to take a photo or two, you had to run to catch up. Of course, we had our “tailormade” devices and could hear the guide two blocks away, but you had no idea what she was talking about. Some of the 3 ½ hour tours were spent on the bus and here you could view the “in depth city tour” through the bus window. The tour of the famous Belvedere Museum unfortunately allotted us time to see only Klimt’s paintings. It seems like the 5 *Scenic Tours were looking to economize on the Danube Gems with Prague. Passau and all the afternoons were your own responsibility. There was no Nuremberg. You were told to take the metro, tram, or shuttle and do your own exploring, which never happened in Russia. In Russia there were always guided programs for the afternoons and evening theatres. We thought that paying Scenic Tours Cruise for taking us to explore the Gems of the Danube with Prague would save us the job of planning the entire trip ourselves. Silly us. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I booked thru a tour company. Had never heard of this cruise line until then, this was an absolute amazing cruise. The ship is spotless, all the crew is very helpful and friendly. The food was amazing. The excursions were very good. ... Read More
I booked thru a tour company. Had never heard of this cruise line until then, this was an absolute amazing cruise. The ship is spotless, all the crew is very helpful and friendly. The food was amazing. The excursions were very good. Did not have to pay extra for most of them. At lunch and dinner you could have all the wine or beer you wanted to drink. They had a sip and sail every night with other drinks you could have. Our dining room girl Ayu was amazing. We tried to sit in her area every day for our three meals. It was nice to try the different ethnic foods. It was so much nicer than the bigger cruise lines. Only 164 passengers. It was easy to get off and on for the excursions. Used the pool one evening, it was very warm and relaxing. I would recommend this cruise to anyone, but not a cruise for children. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019

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