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108 Budapest to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

Was assured in writing by Viking prior to the cruise that the Idun did not have water problems. I know that at least 2 rooms on the main deck had major flooding (one had soaked carpets on arrival) and many rooms with showers that backed ... Read More
Was assured in writing by Viking prior to the cruise that the Idun did not have water problems. I know that at least 2 rooms on the main deck had major flooding (one had soaked carpets on arrival) and many rooms with showers that backed up. 2 balconies were unusable due to standing water. Also was told by 2 different parties that the carpet outside the lounge was soaked at night (they went to the coffee bar in their stockings). I saw many signs of prior wet carpets, including major damage to the bar area. Be aware that the included excursions are mostly bus city tours where you drive by the "sights.". I asked Viking customer service about the Budapest tour prior to going because we were spending extra days there and wanted to visit (tour inside) some particular places on their included tour in that city. I was informed that we would explore and have plenty of time in those places, when in fact we just stayed on the bus and drove by. We were not able to visit these sights at all because they were sold out by the time we realized we would not be going there. Viking's priority in the included excursions is to get you back to the ship in time for lunch (this was explained to me). It is not the fault of the local guides who are on the bus with you, as all groups go to the same itinerary. Since Viking is paying for the buses, the guides and the audio boxes, I don't understand why they cannot have some worthwhile content in their included tours. The 2 optional excursions were great. I would not have booked with Viking if I had realized that we would not be visiting inside most of the sights that they list in their itinerary. Worst yet was that the ship had a broken propeller from the prior cruise and had to go into dry dock, which meant that we were bussed to Passau and Regensburg during the day. This was actually received by the passengers with little complaint. What was terrible was that the excursion staff, including the Cruise Director, left us all on the side of the dock without any of them being in the area to give us news when the ship did not arrive on schedule in Regensburg to pick us up. We wondered, "are we in the right place? Where is the excursion staff? How long are we going to be here, with little seating?". There were passengers who needed to have a place to sit; we all tried to sit on the grass or steps, or planter boxes. One person sat in dog poop on the grass, another stepped in it! It would have been so much more thoughtful and caring for them to let us wait at the sausage place, with picnic bench seating, than to have abandoned us. At dinner the Cruise Director gave us a chastising and snarky talk in which she said the Captain had nautical issues. I never heard any complaining about the Captain; the passengers had issues with the way this situation was handled by the CD. This is but one instance where the crew showed a very uncaring and unfriendly attitude. The food was very good, the service by the dining staff and room steward was good. The ports on the Grand European Tour were good. The ship obviously has some problems. The dining room has had some sound absorbing material added to the ceiling recently, but it is still loud and they need to do more. I cannot recommend Viking as a company because of their terrible customer service. They gave me inaccurate answers to my specific questions. If I had the correct information, I would have been prepared to lead our group of 4 on our own tours. They already had our money, paid in April before the bad Cruise Critic reviews, and we could not have backed out of the trip. We are people who love to cruise and see the world. We felt like we were just being bussed everywhere and given superficial tours and hardly any cultural or culinary experiences of the areas.Viking is more expensive than the ocean cruises we have taken, but because of the included tours, we thought it would be a reasonable value. Sad to say, this is not so. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Accommodation: Cabin was well equipped but there was little space to move around. Restaurant: was very cramped for space and poor acoustics made conversation almost impossible.There was barely sufficient space for 188 passengers.There ... Read More
Accommodation: Cabin was well equipped but there was little space to move around. Restaurant: was very cramped for space and poor acoustics made conversation almost impossible.There was barely sufficient space for 188 passengers.There was a mad rush to to the restaurant after breifings for next day, to get seat at a table with someone you knew, with a server who was good, big scramble for about six tables, people missed breifings to hold seats most nights. Food: Dinner Portions were small,(no mean), seconds were offered sometimes, but often the quality of the first portion was poor, lacked taste and/or was badly cooked and therefore declined. Lunch was often a buffet, adequate but when served on forward deck a scramble for both food ,cutlery, seating & tables especialy when Sun deck closes (5 Days Did you not Know!!)restarant was civilised at lunch times , no the food was no better. Breakfast seating was easier to find, food quality harder. one young chef tried valiantly to service the queue for fresh cooked breakfast, poor lad. There was a VERY noticable recycling of left over food. Service: With few exceptions restaurant service was rushed , offhand and gave you the feeling the staff wanted you out of the way, there was no conversation with waiting staff. One one occasion whilst eating my starter ,with glass of beer, side plate of bread, I was HANDED my main dish, He had nowhere to place it down ,neither did I !!!! Housemaid Quiet But Very Efficient!room was Spotlessly clean This overall was very very poor value for money. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Just back from a Danube River Cruise on the new Avalon Vista, we are disappointed by the poor overall experience that Avalon Waterways delivers. Budapest-Nuremberg. August 2012: We boarded the ship in Budapest and were very impressed ... Read More
Just back from a Danube River Cruise on the new Avalon Vista, we are disappointed by the poor overall experience that Avalon Waterways delivers. Budapest-Nuremberg. August 2012: We boarded the ship in Budapest and were very impressed by this new ship, having cruised a lot all around the world , and on many river cruises. The ship was docked next to the famous Chain Bridge, in the heart of Budapest, a short taxi ride from our hotel. It couldn't have been a better location. The ship itself is impressive for a river ship, beautifully designed, with sleek lines and a tasteful, modern decor. The main lounge is stunning, with panoramic floor to ceiling windows all around, and even better, there is an open deck lounge forward from where you can see everything. The Club Lounge located aft is also extremely nice and cosy, with drinks available at all times, but bad cookies. Our Stateroom, #208 was just fabulous, with the famous floor to ceiling sliding windows (really great), lots of space, great closets and drawers all around; better than on many large cruise ships, good lighting and large beds. The bathroom was especially great: Large, lovely decor with marble, good lighting, great L'Occitane amenities nicely replenished all along the cruise; and an extra large shower with a glass door and good water pressure. The best showers I have had in a long time. The Welcome couldn't have been nicer, with crew and staff extending a warm welcome and committed to make you feel welcome. Everything seemed perfect, ready for a great experience, but problems were lurking: Bedding: It turned out that the bedding looked much better than it was comfortable: If the sheets are made of nice cotton as advertised by Avalon: The pillows are made on 100% cheap synthetic fiber, hard like a rock, just like in the cheapest roadside motels along some remote highway. We asked for soft, feather pillows (or pillows made of natural fiber) only to be told by both the housekeeping manager and the front desk manager that none were available, and that there was nothing they could or would do about this. That was the first big disappointment. Giving it a try that first night; we developed quickly a pain in the neck and ended up the first night sleeping on folded bath towels! On a luxury ship! Fortunately, we have friends living in Vienna, the next stop on the cruise, and we called them immediately, asking them to lend us two good soft feather pillows (filled with 100% natural fiber) for the remainder of the cruise. Believe me, this was not a luxury or an indulgence. But we had to ship the pillows back at the end of the cruise at our own expense and disturb our friends. The duvet: Again Avalon touts its duvets. Unfortunately they are also made of synthetic of the cheapest kind. We had to take out the duvets out of the sheet and replace them by the blankets provided, which were also of a cheap quality (76% synthetic) but we had to make do with that. However this was not pleasant. Overall, the bedding was just not comfortable, and only our friends' pillows saved the day. Food: Overall the food was from mediocre to just plain bad, and this all along the cruise. If a good selection of breads was always available at breakfast, including all the famous german breads, and the small good individual rolls; they were never available at lunch or dinner where only puny, mediocre little slices of plain bread were available. The cookies were a complete disgrace: some were hard like a rock. I nearly broke a tooth on one, no kidding. They were especially bad and cheap in the Club Lounge. All this while we were crossing countries famous for their cookies, breads and good food! In fact, the food and the breads were so mediocre that we ended up looking for a bakery at each stop during the cruise, always finding one easily, and buying breads, cookies and cakes for dessert. Never done that before on any cruise! We also ate lunch or dinner ashore when we could, in order to have some good meals. Never done that before in my life! Only one lunch, touted as a "German Lunch" was decent and interesting with some local specialties; otherwise the food was so plain, so mediocre, so disconnected from what was all around us that it was shocking and meals became a real bore when they could have been a great experience as the service and the design of the restaurant itself were extremely nice. The salads and buffets were especially mediocre. This is a real shame, as Avalon could easily deliver a luxury experience as: -The layout and design of the ship is innovative, impressive, luxurious and even stunning. -The staff was extremely nice and helpful, always trying to make you welcome and comfortable (with what they had). Their training was impeccable, and they were providing great service at all times. -The Cruise Director was extremely good and nice, doing a great job at all times without fail. -The excursions were well organized, with interesting guides. However, considering Avalon prices, the food and the bedding are not acceptable. Overall, Avalon fails to deliver a good experience, and we are very disappointed. It was a relief to find a good bed and good food in Munich where we stayed after the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Had a fantastic time. One of the best cruises we have taken. The smaller, more intimate size was more relaxing, although the excursion were more demanding than we had expected. Will definitely recommend it to friends/relatives. Good ... Read More
Had a fantastic time. One of the best cruises we have taken. The smaller, more intimate size was more relaxing, although the excursion were more demanding than we had expected. Will definitely recommend it to friends/relatives. Good value for money spent. Crew excellent, knowledgeable, friendly. Food very good. Ship very comfortable, clean and accommodating. Asked for no. of ports visited, only went up to 8, we visited 14. Guided tours very good and educational. Suggest that maybe fewer ports would give us more time to explore more interesting cities/towns. Sometimes felt a bit rushed. Our pre-arranged before and after visits to Prague and Amsterdam were excellent with good hotels and guides. Suggest Amsterdam hotel be closer to downtown (believe there is a Hilton in Old Town). Airport transfers well arranged. Only real criticism is the cruise probably tried to accomplish too much, it would have been nice to spend more time enjoying the river scenery and castles as we drifted along the rivers/canals. Evening entertainment a bit lacking, but understandable considering the ship's size and lounge space. Let us know what you think of our cruise review. We have sent out about 22 emails (photos and captions) detailing our cruise to friends and relatives, with great response. Any interest in seeing them? Thanks again for a wonderful time. Henry N. Gates & John Richards. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
My wife and I took a Uniworld Rhine Cruise on the "River Beatrice" on 15-22 July 2012, from Budapest to Passau. We booked a suite, no. 407, for which we paid £3,299.00 each, less a small discount from our cruise agent. We ... Read More
My wife and I took a Uniworld Rhine Cruise on the "River Beatrice" on 15-22 July 2012, from Budapest to Passau. We booked a suite, no. 407, for which we paid £3,299.00 each, less a small discount from our cruise agent. We have the following comments:- The staff were exceptionally attentive and friendly. They can justly be congratulated for their service. It is a pity that Uniworld do not pay them sufficiently to avoid the necessity or expectation of gratuities. Most six-star Ocean Cruises state that their staff do not expect or accept gratuities as they are fully paid for their work and are happy to conduct it without any further payment from their guests. The price Uniworld charges per day is as much or more than a luxury six-star fully inclusive cruise by most American cruise lines, such as Seabourne, Regent Seven Seas, Silversea etc., for a comparable status suite, which should be an example to Uniworld. The tours were stated as inclusive for the "featured excursion", but the "irresistible optional excursions" were chargeable. This was not evident in the Titan Elegant River Cruises brochure, but was only apparent when our 2012 Cruise Companion and Shore Excursions booklet was received with our departure package. We booked a suite on the top "Rhine" deck, the most expensive, apart from the one Owners Suite. We therefore expected to enjoy excellent views whilst sailing and when at the ports. However, at most of the stops we were awakened to darkness, being overshadowed by another ship docked and tethered to us! This was shocking and a complete disappointment as it obliterated our views, gave us no privacy -- the windows of the adjacent ships looking directly into ours -- and any benefit of paying for a suite on the top deck was completely spoiled. Nowhere in the Cruise brochure, Cruise Companion or the itinerary details, shows any reference to this double docking and I consider this a clear misrepresentation by omission. All cruises I have been on show whether the ship is docked or anchored, with use of tenders for those ports. I would formally request a Notice of Complaint to the Uniworld Company for not stating in any of their descriptions, the possibility of double-docking and the consequent loss of privacy and views. the cruise was severely spoilt by this unexplained restriction of view from our "French Balcony". Had I been aware of this procedure I would not have chosen this particular cruise. Both my wife and I are extremely disappointed with the cruise and would not recommend Titan or Uniworld unless the possible situations will be fully explained in future publications. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
If you are considering a river cruise with Viking, you should be aware of certain things the cruise line does not tell you. 1. There is no compensation if the ship breaks down: We were unfortunate to take a 7-day Danube River cruise on ... Read More
If you are considering a river cruise with Viking, you should be aware of certain things the cruise line does not tell you. 1. There is no compensation if the ship breaks down: We were unfortunate to take a 7-day Danube River cruise on the Viking Odin from Budapest to Nuremberg. We sailed on June 16, 2012 Two days later the ship's propulsion system broke down slowing the ship so much that it could not make its advertized schedule for the duration of the cruise. Rather than docking in the remaining advertized ports (Passau, Regensburg and Nuremberg) the ship stopped short of each port and put everyone on buses for the day while the ship continued up river to make up time. The result was a bus tour instead of a cruise, although we did sleep on the ship each night. To make matters worse, the ship's water pump also failed one morning, so we all boarded the buses without the benefit of showers, bathing, etc. Also, the ships in-room entertainment system (TV and music) failed for several days. Finally, the only passenger elevator on the ship was out of service during the entire cruise. Since we did not get what we paid for, we politely asked Viking for a refund of some of our cruise fare. Viking flatly refused saying it was not their policy to provide refunds (even partial) for botched cruises. This policy is not mentioned in their brochure or passage contract. 2. Closed Passenger Areas: One of the features of the Viking Odin is the "Sun Deck," which is the top deck of the ship advertized as "360-degree view and shaded sitting area." Indeed there is one, and it makes up well over half of the common area of the ship, a nice feature. However, what Viking fails to tell you is that it will be closed for much of your cruise. This is no accident, on the Danube for instance, the Sun Deck is closed for about half the trip in order to allow the ship to clear low bridges. This "fact" is not mentioned by Viking in any of their literature. 3. Dining Restrictions: Viking Odin generally serves three meals a day, but only during very narrow hours. If you don't sit down within 10-15 minutes of the opening bell, you will miss the meal, and there is no buffet or room service whatsoever - not even a PB&J sandwich. Miss a meal, and you don't eat, period. Viking does not tell you this, instead they advertize that you can eat "when and where you like." Not true. If you are used to traditional cruise ship dining, you will be sorely disappointed. 4. Sub-Par Food: Yes, this is subjective but we were not alone in our opinion that the food was marginal, at best. The selections are very limited and poorly prepared. Airline meals are far better. Bottom line, if you have any prior cruise experience, Viking will be a disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
I was told river cruising would be different. Nobody told me how different. After 20+ ocean cruises we decided to try Viking based on recommendations from passengers on ocean cruises. Accommodations were small(not surprising), our cabin ... Read More
I was told river cruising would be different. Nobody told me how different. After 20+ ocean cruises we decided to try Viking based on recommendations from passengers on ocean cruises. Accommodations were small(not surprising), our cabin was 80% below the water line(again not surprising)and the cabin had a big screen Sony tv(very surprising). That would have been nice if there was anything worthwhile to watch or if the channels were in HD. No HD with a tv that size is like buying a Mercedes without wheels. But how much tv do you watch on vacation anyway? Let me say first that the entire crew on the Njord was very pleasant, enthusiastic, helpful and friendly. We had an 8 hour delay in Charlotte causing us to miss our connecting flight at Frankfurt but a call to the desk on the ship resulted in Viking sending a car to Budapest airport to pick us up at 11pm at their expense(we had purchased Viking's air & transfer package). A good start. But downhill from there. The concept of river cruising is light years from that of ocean cruising. Lack of space on the vessel, which must be built to fit the many canal locks the ship must pass through, precludes culinary variety and many types of activities. Yet we expected something to do aboard ship when the day's included excursion ended. There was a huge amount of downtime. A few lectures were scheduled but that wasn't enough to keep us or most other passengers engaged.What few activities they did have were all itinerary specific. Hungarian folk dancers, opera singers, a glass-blowing demonstration. Pretty boring. The best was the night they showed a slide presentation of Viking's other itineraries for the purpose of selling more cruises. More effort should have been put forward to involve the guests in active participation. It was almost as if they didn't think we could handle any excitement. We're old but we're not on life support yet. All this could have been forgiven if the food had been up to par. Most meat dishes were tasteless and unseasoned. Steak was an every night option on the dinner menu but the steaks I saw coming out of the kitchen were gray in color and apparently microwaved. At the money we paid for this vacation I was not going to order a microwaved steak. My wife ordered surf & turf one night. The "turf" consisted of a single small shrimp. Vanilla ice cream with blueberries? Two blueberries. Most of their soups were of the same milk- based liquid with some vegetable or another thrown in to make it mussel soup or mushroom soup or whatever. The pasta sauce was usually a white sauce called a cream sauce which I once again suspected was milk. They trotted this out about 4 or 5 times. They had a red pasta sauce once which I was certain came straight out of a jar. An osso buco another evening was inedible. The waiter told me, "You have to go to Italy to get good osso buco." I have had osso buco on many ocean cruise lines and have never been disappointed. In fairness there was a pretty tasty Hungarian goulash, a nice crab cake and a good spinach cannelloni entree along with some very good German sausages for lunch but on average the food was much too pedestrian for the price of passage. Bottom line, the poor food, dearth of activities and the overall subdued atmosphere will prevent us from going back to Viking or any other river cruise line for that matter. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
The weather was perfect for cruising down the Danube. We began this adventure in Budapest, then on to Slovakia, Vienna, and ending in Passau, Germany. The cities were breath-taking and our tours were nothing less than awesome. My only ... Read More
The weather was perfect for cruising down the Danube. We began this adventure in Budapest, then on to Slovakia, Vienna, and ending in Passau, Germany. The cities were breath-taking and our tours were nothing less than awesome. My only complaint was the Viking ship itself. Considering the cost of this journey, we were expecting a newer and more luxurious boat. Granted, I am accustomed to ocean liners and round the clock catering...so I was quite surprised when Viking fell oh so short in the satisfaction department. We knew the ship would be smaller but never anticipated such an old vessel. The food was quite awful, extremely salty to the point of where at the end of the week, my body was very swollen from excess sodium! There were no snacks after your dinner, so unless you managed to smuggle something into your room, or visited the bar for dry roasted peanuts...you went hungry until breakfast. Complimentary lemon water, coffee/tea was offered buffet style 24-7....but I can get that at a Motel 6. The dining staff also left much to be desired, I've gotten better service at McDonald's. One evening our waiter even became argumentative with a guest in our group ....an absolute no-no.. Entertainment was primarily a one-man show of a gentleman on a small, electric organ singing Elvis tunes....not something I want to go all the way to Europe for. Prior to booking this vacation, we had heard nothing but rave reviews about the Viking Line. We opted to write a letter of complaint only to be offered a small discount on our next trip....dream on!! Maybe we just had a bad experience or perhaps we're too particular? If it was just me I would say "very possible", but my opinion was shared by everyone in our party and others on board as well. I guess I'll stick to Royal Caribbean...I'd rather be treated like a Royal than a Viking any day. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010

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