We chose this cruise because we wanted to experience cruising first hand for the first time. We really enjoyed the whole trip. The ship's crew, including the restaurant and bar staff, were very keen to please (without being ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to experience cruising first hand for the first time. We really enjoyed the whole trip. The ship's crew, including the restaurant and bar staff, were very keen to please (without being overbearing) and really added many positive aspects to the cruising experience. The senior staff on the ship were very accommodating and helpful with advice on shore excursions.
We chose the staterooms on the lowest deck, and were pleasantly surprised to not hear much in the way of engine noise. The stateroom was plenty big enough, and well appointed, with a comfortable bed and plenty of storage room. However, we might consider moving up a floor next time (and there WILL be a next time!) just because the view out the window is a little limited.
The ship itself was beautiful; very modern, and again well appointed. Lots of interesting books in the library, plenty of room to stretch out on the deck, and, even though it is a relatively small ship, there was plenty of opportunity for privacy or socializing, depending on which you might prefer on any given day.
The daily briefings and presentations were a "can't miss" attraction. Not only did Mircea keep us entertained and informed, but the company brought in local craftspeople or academics to show us things like glassblowing or German history, sociology and geography.
Every shore excursion was great, entertaining and educational, and although we seemed to cover a lot of ground, we didn't feel rushed at all. I would have preferred a little more time in Vienna, Nuremberg and Cologne, but it gave me some ideas for future trips. Highlights included Budapest, downtown Vienna, Passau, Wertheim, Cologne, Nuremberg and Amsterdam, although I would hasten to add there was no place on the entire trip that we did not enjoy. However, by the time we left Wertheim, I think we were a little tired of Austro-Hungarian Empire stuff - not the history, so much, but just shocked at the level of corruption and inbreeding that occurred in the Hapsburg family. Special mention must be made of a tremendous guide that we had in Wertheim (Rudi), who was able to provide us with a first-hand experience of what it was like to be part of a family deeply connected with the SS, but not to understand until age 14 just how brutal the Nazi regime really was. He really brought the experience of our Wertheim tour to life for us.
Service in the bar and restaurants was top notch and the quality of the meals was outstanding. The staff were very flexible if there were any special requests for dietary restrictions.
We were happy to hook up with a really wonderful group of very experienced cruisers, who walked us through expectations and helped us a lot. These fine folks will remain lifelong friends, because we had a great deal in common.
Would I go again? Absolutely! We will keep our bags packed, so we can leave at short notice! Thanks, Viking! Read Less