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2,321 Budapest to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

This was cruising for the totally gutless traveler. If you are totally new of overseas travel it might be good otherwise, no. EVERYTHING is totally scripted you are on a bus tour most days while your ship is "sailing through the ... Read More
This was cruising for the totally gutless traveler. If you are totally new of overseas travel it might be good otherwise, no. EVERYTHING is totally scripted you are on a bus tour most days while your ship is "sailing through the heart of Europe!" The planned activity level is really limited. If you have mobility issues, you might like it as they really cater to travelers with limited mobility. Didn't think the food was all that great. Most people wore jeans most of ht time I put on a dress for dinner the first night... and felt totally overdressed. I will say though that the staff were excellent. We ended up having to pack up and transfer to a different ship at the end of the first week due to low water. That had apparently been going on for months; however, we didn't find out we were not even on the ship we were originally scheduled on... until they sent an email the day before sailing. NEVER AGAIN! Don't get sucked in by there advertising! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
As always, the service and food on board the cruise was great. The fact that we had to swap ships was unavoidable but probably could have been handled better. We lost 1-2 days of river cruising and spent many hours on buses instead. Viking ... Read More
As always, the service and food on board the cruise was great. The fact that we had to swap ships was unavoidable but probably could have been handled better. We lost 1-2 days of river cruising and spent many hours on buses instead. Viking made good for it with a credit that I applied to our next Ocean Cruise. However, our stateroom was very small and no upgrades were available due to rescheduling passengers leaving from Amsterdam. The excursions were great but several were cut short due to the busing situation. Entertainment was great. Our cruise director Casper was a true renaissance man with a wealth of information and a great sense of humor. We are loyal fans of Viking and will continue to cruise with them even with these minor problems. The mark of a good company is how they make something good out of a bad situation. The crew bent over backwards to make the turmoil of the boat swap forgotten within the first day. Of course we will be back !! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We got to see lots of sights and had them explained by the guides. We were never left "in the lurch"; we were always taken care of. One of our party in a tour disappeared and the guide searched frantically until she found him- ... Read More
We got to see lots of sights and had them explained by the guides. We were never left "in the lurch"; we were always taken care of. One of our party in a tour disappeared and the guide searched frantically until she found him- already on the bus! Even when the ship was delayed in arriving at port while we were off touring, staff was able to make arrangements to keep the group happy with the delay by finding a place for us to wait and have a snack. The food was excellent on board ship and the staff was very attentive. The directions were through and easy to follow. We always had and idea of what came next. We did some pre- and post tours at Budapest and Nurenburg. These tours were also well done. The viking staff at the hotels was very good with their advice and we found lots of nice spots and resterants in both places. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Our trip on the Grand European tour from Budapest to Amsterdam was our first river cruise and set the standard for all future river cruises. We will do another with Viking because they could not have done a better job of communicating, ... Read More
Our trip on the Grand European tour from Budapest to Amsterdam was our first river cruise and set the standard for all future river cruises. We will do another with Viking because they could not have done a better job of communicating, assisting, arranging, preparing, and executing. Friendly, accommodating customer service was a hallmark of this cruise. If you needed money changed, they helped. If you missed a connection (which we didn't), they helped. On rainy days, golf-size umbrellas were available at the entrance, or if you forgot yours or had a small, size pocket one, you could avail yourself of the large size. At meals, the wait staff got to know our needs because we sat together every night in a particular place and had the same server. She knew who wanted decaf at the end of the meal and who was going to order ice cream with whatever dessert was on tap that night. Wine was poured in abundance throughout the meal, and they remained attentive to us throughout. If we wanted another drink from the bar, she would get it with a smile. It's those little customer service efforts that made this cruise so enjoyable. One issue - no workout room on the ship. Shore excursions were handled very professionally, and we learned so much from the local guides. We wanted to be in the same excursions as our new-found friends, and once we asked the desk to do that, it was arranged for all the other day trips we took. Even the nay-sayers (who complain about everything) were answered with a smile and a friendly tone. You really can't complain about water levels but some did anyway. We had to change ships mid-way and the transition from one ship to the other came off without a hitch. From the greeting at the Budapest airport to the adieu at the Amsterdam airport, it could not have been a better cruise (except for the weather and Viking didn't have control over that). Cannot wait for our next one! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Our second Viking River cruise Moscow to St Petersburg 5 years ago. Grand European cost was a good value, though late in year. Longboat was very well laid out. Should have gone earlier to Budapest and stayed longer, though have be to AMS ... Read More
Our second Viking River cruise Moscow to St Petersburg 5 years ago. Grand European cost was a good value, though late in year. Longboat was very well laid out. Should have gone earlier to Budapest and stayed longer, though have be to AMS twice before. Over all a great time. Departure at night from Budapest was spectacular. Did not have low water! Problem with Germans permitting landing for Nuremberg: Cruised on. Next day retraced optional tour which was opened to all at no cost and added special lunch. Did optional tour from another landing while 500 WW II bomb was cleared which had closed all river traffic. Staff was great. Entertainment good. Were in best shape after stairs and cobble stones! Able to drink our own wine we brought aboard. Had one couple doing their 6 VRC. A few with 5! VRC must be doing something well. Most were newbies and went with the flow. Flight over on Lufthansa great, United back no so much. Only disaster was at AMS airport. Confusion with VRC staff and bus driver. Staff told driver C 26 and left. Driver dropped us at Concourse B we had to walk to C 26, long lines United, late comers for another flight taken before us boarding at D 52 LONG walk. Some just made boarding. Captain to dishwasher great attitude and service. Not one grumpy Tourist, boat full of Travelers! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our first cruise and also our 40th wedding anniversary. The Viking personnel were amazing, and the service exceptional. Most of the land tours were excellent- with great guides. Food and service were fantastic. The ... Read More
This was our first cruise and also our 40th wedding anniversary. The Viking personnel were amazing, and the service exceptional. Most of the land tours were excellent- with great guides. Food and service were fantastic. The weather was overcast and rainy for the entire week, but the crew made the trip very special despite the weather. The rooftop seating was closed for at least half the trip- so exercise in the form of walking was limited. These are not huge ships, although they are very comfortable. The passenger totals are very reasonable - making it possible to recognize almost everyone on board, as well as almost all of the crew. Our cabin was extremely comfortable and was cleaned everytime we left the cabin. the thoughtfulness of the crew was exemplary. I travel with lot is books, and found several Viking bookmarks kindly placed by my reading stand. Meals were served promptly and beautifully- with wine, etc available constantly. The shipboard lectures were very informative and entertaining, too. The attitude of the crew was wonderful. They seemed to enjoy their jobs and the opportunities they had. This was a once in a lifetime trip for us and we appreciated the attentive staff. The Danube River levels were low at the time of our trip, but fortunately we just got by in terms of passage. Only once did the ship move ahead, and we caught up by tour bus, when the levels were low. Our veranda suite was spacious ,comfortable and clean. Everything was in perfect working order. I enjoyed the sitting area and was thankful that we had it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We chose this Viking cruise because it allowed us to see much of Europe We enjoyed each port and the scheduled tours.Everything was well organized and optional tours were available if desired. The cruise on the river and canals was ... Read More
We chose this Viking cruise because it allowed us to see much of Europe We enjoyed each port and the scheduled tours.Everything was well organized and optional tours were available if desired. The cruise on the river and canals was beautiful although a bit cool as it wasOct. The activities onboard were great. Educational presentations prepared us for the next port The meals were very good and always represented the country we were in The wait staff was exceptional and foresaw all our needs. They were very eager to plesae and would attempt to fillall requests. They were a source of entertainment in their own way We had to change ships as water level was low. This was very well handled and occurred without a hitch. We boarded the new ship and went directly to our cabin and found all of our belongings waiting We would definitely recommend this cruise Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
From the first moment of our trip, everything was wonderful. We received all the necessary information about the trip well in advance. We were met promptly at the airport and the Viking staff was friendly and helpful. Arriving at Viking ... Read More
From the first moment of our trip, everything was wonderful. We received all the necessary information about the trip well in advance. We were met promptly at the airport and the Viking staff was friendly and helpful. Arriving at Viking Aegir (VA) we found our bags in our stateroom along with information about the remainder of the day. The stateroom was nice with a queen size bed and amazingly enough storage for both our clothes and belongings. The bathroom was spotless and the shower was roomy. Appreciated the quality of the Villeroy and Boch fixtures. Throughout the entire cruise, our room and bath were kept very clean and our room staff member, Ria, was superb. All meals were beyond expectations. The breakfast and lunch buffets had something for everyone and, if not, there were menu items to choose. Dinner was always beautifully prepared with excellent daily choices as well as recurring options. The dining staff was attentive and after a couple of days could almost anticipate diner needs. There was casual dining on Level 3 for those who wanted a different option. The entire of VA was comfortable and accommodating. Our weather was not the best with rainy days and overcast skies and unpredicted cold, but we hardly noticed as we were busy with the sights and sounds of central Europe. The organization of the excursions was excellent and the guides were generally knowledgeable and willing to answer our questions. Florian in Werzberg was particularly good. We opted for 2 added excursions and were not disappointed. Although there were some alterations in the schedules due to river conditions, the staff and cruise director informed us continually about changes and options. We chose a second level stateroom, French balcony, and it was centrally located and quiet. We will choose a similar stateroom on our next Viking Cruise. Our cruise ended as smoothly as it began with our schedule for departure well communicated. Bags were handled by VA staff until our arrival at the airport. We arrived in ample time to check bags and arrive at our boarding gate. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our very first river cruise and we chose AMAwaterways based upon reviews and sailing dates and embarkation point. Aside from the weather - clouds or showers the entire trip - the cruise met our expectations and more. The cruise ... Read More
This was our very first river cruise and we chose AMAwaterways based upon reviews and sailing dates and embarkation point. Aside from the weather - clouds or showers the entire trip - the cruise met our expectations and more. The cruise manager was very accommodating and helpful. The staff very friendly and good at their tasks. The tours offered gave us a good feel for the people and towns we stopped at. The evening entertainment offered was very good and added to the enjoyment of the cruise. As said previously, the weather was lousy but we weren't going to let that spoil our first river cruise. If we choose to do another, we would certainly opt for AMA. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We boarded this vessel along with several other couples we know. We didn't pick the dates-- HUGE MISTAKE!!! We set sail in October and encountered rain, dreary gray skies and weather cold enough to make a few of the passengers ill. ... Read More
We boarded this vessel along with several other couples we know. We didn't pick the dates-- HUGE MISTAKE!!! We set sail in October and encountered rain, dreary gray skies and weather cold enough to make a few of the passengers ill. Pumps on the locks weren't working properly in some cases (not necessarily the ship's fault), but it did shorten excursions that day and even canceled at least one of them. Food was good but with so little to do who needed the calories?? Far too surface of a treatment for the towns visited, except in two cases. We had the better staterooms and to be honest they were very small but all river cruiser rooms are small and unimpressive. To do over again I would have never agreed to go on this cruise and I won't even think about another "river cruise". They are for the birds! The ill-fit and well-healed but nearly demented set should do fine on them! Tremendous waste of money, and this comes from a veteran independent European traveler! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We got to Budapest too late to do much of anything. The Danube River ( which Viking never tells you even when asked) was low which we now know is common. We were forced to change boats from the Tor to the Var and couldn't use top ... Read More
We got to Budapest too late to do much of anything. The Danube River ( which Viking never tells you even when asked) was low which we now know is common. We were forced to change boats from the Tor to the Var and couldn't use top deck most days. It was the best place to enjoy the scenery and relax and get some fresh air so very missed. Because of the low water this turned into packing, a long bus trip, and unpacking. The second boat,Var, was not as clean and the crew seemed tired...never really felt the service was the same. Lots of little requests were ignored...shampoo, coffee, wine and you felt like they were always ready for the clients to leave so they could get on with whatever they wanted to be doing. Others have said theirs turned into a bus trip so maybe we were better off with only being bused to the new ship and missinga part of the day. The tours were crowded but OK...never enough time to actually spend time really seeing the places. The organ concert was dry though the church was lovely...would have enjoyed seeing more of it and less of the funerial music. This was an anniversary trip and I have to say we were disappointed. Not ever going there again. Planning to go to Normandy and really hoping we get plenty of time at the beaches and a great guide. We are looking into other companies as Viking seems to be cutting corners and charging more...even some fees for side trips. This is not part of their advertising. Things that were included now have to be asked for in order to get. I was stung by something on the transfer bus and when I got to the ship I couldn't even get a tape for it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My wife and I travelled with scenic on the Crystal from Budapest to Amsterdam from October 15th 2015. This was our first river cruise with Scenic after recommendations from friends who did same cruise last year.This was also my first time ... Read More
My wife and I travelled with scenic on the Crystal from Budapest to Amsterdam from October 15th 2015. This was our first river cruise with Scenic after recommendations from friends who did same cruise last year.This was also my first time overseas. The service and attention to detail from day one was amazing.Although the weather was unseasonably cold it did not affect the trip in any way. I must admit my wife and I felt very special as did most of the other travellers because of the wonderful service of all the staff, from the cleaners to the skipper.We had a thoroughly amazing trip and I am sorry I left it so long to travel overseas and very glad we chose scenic. Finally I would like to especially thank two staff in particular, the first was Daniella, she was fantastic. Secondly, and most importantly was a beautiful young lady named Erika Bartos who served us most of the time we were in the bar or dining room. I must say I have never felt so comfortable on a holiday as this lady made us feel. She is a credit to Scenic and sets a standard that all can aspire to. Once again thank you to Scenic for a wonderful experience we will never forget and will definitely travel with your company again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We'd never been anywhere in Eastern Europe and wanted to see Budapest and some of the other places we've always heard of. The river connected all of them and was an easy way to get a glimpse. We arrived in Budapest by overnight ... Read More
We'd never been anywhere in Eastern Europe and wanted to see Budapest and some of the other places we've always heard of. The river connected all of them and was an easy way to get a glimpse. We arrived in Budapest by overnight train from Prague (not a Viking extension--on our own) and showed up at the pre-cruise hotel, the Hilton Budapest, at about 9:30 AM. Viking had two reps already at the welcome desk, so we could check in with them right then. They let us know about an afternoon walking tour, suggested that we check with the hotel to see if they had a room we could check into early (the hotel did), gave us some info on the neighborhood and we were on our way! Viking includes one tour each day of your trip and offers just a few optional excursions for extra cost, but only 10's of dollars, not 100's! We went on one of them and had a very enjoyable afternoon. After two nights at the Hilton, we were taken to the ship (a different one than scheduled, but identical). After lunch, we had the afternoon to run around on our own and got helpful advice from the ship's concierge. The ship sailed right after dinner and we were treated to the night-time river tour we had missed due to misty/rainy weather. Budapest at night is glorious! The ship was moored just downriver from the parliament building and cruised slowly upriver past it--beautiful. We had a wonderful view of Castle Hill as well. Each of the cruise stops included at least one included excursion and all were interesting. Some were in towns and cities, others out into the countryside, some were both. A couple of tours included lunch at a location other than the ship and all included at least one refreshment (and restroom) stop. Only complaint: almost too much to take in! Our stateroom (a french balcony) was small, but more than adequate and convenient. The bathroom had a very efficient design, so we had no problems there, either. Wi-Fi and satellite TV kept us in touch with the world when we wanted to be. Food served in the main dining room and in the Aquavit Terrace was very good with a good selection every meal. One could go through a buffet line or order off a menu in either venue. The Terrace selections were slightly more limited than the main dining room's. We had lunch up on the Terrace and dinner in the main dining room and were more than happy with both. Beer and wine (included) at both meals were welcomed, also. All in all, a great way to see a little bit of the world. We've already booked our next Viking rivercruise Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I always swore to never take a cruise, however several friends persuaded me otherwise. My biggest challenge when I returned was to find a "favorite" part of the trip. Every part of the vacation was magnificent. The ... Read More
I always swore to never take a cruise, however several friends persuaded me otherwise. My biggest challenge when I returned was to find a "favorite" part of the trip. Every part of the vacation was magnificent. The accommodations were superb, starting with the the people that ran the operation. Customer service for Viking obviously was the main priority. The food prep, from presentation to taste, I am still talking about. All of the meals had relevance to the country and city we were visiting, which I found amazing. Cabin's were very clean, information prior to tours extremely informative and the tour guides were so knowledgeable. I appreciated the size of the tours were broken down into easy group sizes. Entertainment was great in the evening. The expectation for the trip prior to leaving was "high", but Viking Legend even surpassed all my expectations. I was concerned about safety prior to leaving, but really had no issues during the entire cruise. I will definitely take another, but not certain where I will be going. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Weather was a little rainy and cool, but it didn't stop us from taking advantage of every tour/excursion available. This was our first trip along the Danube and the towns and scenery were wonderful. This is a great way to see a part ... Read More
Weather was a little rainy and cool, but it didn't stop us from taking advantage of every tour/excursion available. This was our first trip along the Danube and the towns and scenery were wonderful. This is a great way to see a part of Europe. The staff was very knowledgeable and helpful. Viking's guides in every location were interesting and friendly. I like their audio system so you can keep in touch with the guide but stop to look at something that catches your attention. Their tour "lollipops" make it easy to keep track of your guide. As mentioned in other reviews, the water levels were low and we did have to change ships. This was no problem and Viking handled everything. At least they have the ships available to make this type of transfer! We don't feel like a missed a thing. (It's was funny to us because 2 years ago we experienced a problem with water levels too high and we were unable to be on board through the locks! We were on buses between ports, but saw much more than we would have on ship and extra excursions also.) No one can control the weather! Our stateroom was clean, roomy and served our purposes entirely. Since we don't spend much time in our room, we did not feel the need for a more expensive cabin. Two comments: Dining room was a little loud and it was difficult to have conversations with fellow travelers. Although Viking furnishes large umbrellas as you exit ship, smaller collapsible umbrellas in each room would be nice - maybe as gift and would be good advertisement. Viking makes traveling easy - from pick-up at airport to arranging taxi at departure. They sure do take care of you! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our second river cruise with Uniworld. We found this trip to be as wonderful as our first. Our pre and post extensions were in two lovely hotels, the Corinthian in Budapest and the Imperial in Prague. The staff at both ... Read More
This was our second river cruise with Uniworld. We found this trip to be as wonderful as our first. Our pre and post extensions were in two lovely hotels, the Corinthian in Budapest and the Imperial in Prague. The staff at both couldn't have been more helpful and a great included breakfast at both. The River Beatrice was clean with a very helpful staff. For example, we found the European duvets to warm to sleep no problem. The bed was remade American style and solved the problem. Food was very good and offered many of the local dishes. Several nights had entertainment from the local community. Both enabled you to experience the culture of the area. The shore excursions were exceptional. The local guides wee knowledgeable and friendly and were happy to share their country with you. On this cruise two exceptional excursions, only available on Uniworld, were the cider farm and the saffron farm. Both showcased local life and people at its best. Definitely looking forward to our next Uniworld trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We chose to cruise the Danube River with Viking because we so enjoyed our experience cruising the Rhine River from Basel to Amsterdam in 2014. This cruise on the Danube did not disappoint, and we are looking forward to our third Viking ... Read More
We chose to cruise the Danube River with Viking because we so enjoyed our experience cruising the Rhine River from Basel to Amsterdam in 2014. This cruise on the Danube did not disappoint, and we are looking forward to our third Viking River Cruise which we have already booked from Paris to Prague in the fall of 2016. The best part of Viking river cruising for us is that we do not have to pack and unpack to get from hotel to hotel as we travel--our hotel travels with us from place to place, and we are able to get off the boat each day to explore and experience a new adventure with our very knowledgeable and capable guides. Our French balcony state room was perfect for us. Yes, it's small, but so cleverly designed that its size was not an issue. Plus, we actually spent most of our time engaged in activities outside of our room, which passengers who are truly getting the most out of their trip would be doing. The staff always did their best to make sure we had wonderful experiences each day with enticing choices to fill free time if we wished. The meals were well prepared, presented and served by congenial wait staff. Again, choices were more than adequate for a small boat, including where we wanted to eat, the Aquavite Terrace or the dining room. We have been more than happy to recommend Viking to our friends and acquaintances, many of whom have inquired about our experiences river cruising. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
The boat was only a year old, it was wonderful, the crew was great, the food was 'ok', but I didn't really know what to expect. They had the same breakfast every morning, which is fine for me, not like i was expecting ... Read More
The boat was only a year old, it was wonderful, the crew was great, the food was 'ok', but I didn't really know what to expect. They had the same breakfast every morning, which is fine for me, not like i was expecting escargot or roast duck for breakfast. Same for lunch. Dinner was OK, they usually had four main dishes respective of whatever country we were in, as well as the same four 'standby' dishes for every dinner: chicken breast, tenderloin, fish, caesar salad. They also offered whatever regional wines respective of where we were. Too bad I don't drink. The room was a normal room below deck, it was small (as expected), but it was fine. I am a stickler for a hot shower with LOTS of water pressure (as opposed to water dribbling out of a showerhead) and the shower did not disappoint, it was great - best I have ever had in 35 years of traveling - and this includes lots of Hiltons and Westins! If two are traveling, you really need 'packing cubes' such as what Amazon sells ($20-25US) you don't have a lot of room to move, you don't have the tablespace in your room for two large suitcases, so you need to be able to access your clothes, and these cubes are lifesavers. You set them in the drawers provided and put the suitcases in your closet. The cruise itself was very nice, we seldom-ever felt the boat move while underway, and the Captain and his crew did a marvelous job of docking every time - we never felt a thing. The ports of call were what you might expect when visiting basically communist countries: somewhat very old, out of date, and quite frankly not set up for 'tourists' at all. If you are expecting all ports to be awesome, this is not the cruise for you, but 'it is what it is' and that is not the fault of any cruise line, it's just that some countries are just not attuned to river tourism (yet), such as Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania. Once disembarked in some small ports it seemed they were just not attuned yet to tourism. Rousse, Vidin, Mohacs comes to mind. I will say every tour guide we had was AWESOME. One mistake we made was always sticking with the tour, we wish we had gone our own way once in awhile. Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria comes to mind. A very nice village. Aside from the cruise, let me tell you this: if you go on a tour on a tour bus, you will probably catch a cold (if others are sick also) - we did. While that may be normal, you won't find any cough drops in eastern Europe like the ones in the USA such as Hall's, Ricola or Luden's, they are not allowed (to be sold) there, so take a bag with you just in case. That's my .02 tip, cough drops and packing cubes. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This 14 day Viking River cruise was our first. We had taken 15 ocean cruises prior to this experience. As we encountered low water we did have to change vessels after week 1. The cruise line kept us informed, transferred us to a sister ... Read More
This 14 day Viking River cruise was our first. We had taken 15 ocean cruises prior to this experience. As we encountered low water we did have to change vessels after week 1. The cruise line kept us informed, transferred us to a sister ship where we had the exact room. We saw some extra countryside and enjoyed the restaurant Viking provided for us. The shore excursions were wonderful. The crew were all friendly and efficient. Our cruise director David and conceierge Nina were exceptional. The meals were very good and provided the opportunity to meet at least a dozen couples who were sharing the journey. We were impressed with how Viking takes passenger safety seriously. Regarding shore excursions, we were impressed with the consistent quality of the local guides and the options available regarding ones physical ability. Viking staff were easily found at our arrival to Amsterdam and Budapest. Disembarkation was much easier than ocean cruises. Onboard entertainment that we enjoyed most was from local musicians contracted by Viking. We thoroughly enjoyed our 14 day river cruise and look forward to taking another. A final note. We admire Viking for encouraging the use of local food and beverage sources. They have worked hard to build relationships with the communities they visit and that has a positive impact in Viking passengers Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Simply stated, this cruise was fabulous. We lived 3 years and Europe and are experienced European travelers, and this may have been one of the best trips ever! We began with misgivings. An email several days before stated that we ... Read More
Simply stated, this cruise was fabulous. We lived 3 years and Europe and are experienced European travelers, and this may have been one of the best trips ever! We began with misgivings. An email several days before stated that we might have to change ships mid-cruise due to low water on the Danube, and that the cruise might begin in Komarom, HU, with a bus into Budapest for a tour. Both turned out to be true, and both were handled exceptionally smoothly by the staff, and were no discomfort or inconvenience to the guests. We began the cruise on the Vidar, from Komarom to Passau, and finished with the Lofn, from Nuremberg to Amsterdam. We took our first Viking cruise last year; "Portraits of Southern France," and obviously liked it enough to book the "Grand European," from which we just returned. We can hardly think of anything, we didn't like a great deal, and really, possibly a couple of things were merely acceptable, and not exceptional. The ship is superbly designed. The staff was gracious, friendly, professional and efficient. The food was wonderful, unique, and beautifully served. The places we visited, and there were many, were interesting and with time to see them quite well. The local guides were incredible; many were academic art historians, professors, etc., and had exceptional knowledge of the places and what was interesting to see and do. Perhaps best of all were the cultural activities, on board and off. Wonderful concerts. Professionally delivered lectures by professors and the cruise staff. A delightful presentation by the ship's engineer. Wine and food presentations. Mieke B., our program director, presented a number of very polished lectures, and was superbly organized, efficient, and above all, made the cruise a great deal of fun! On the last day we asked her, as an Amsterdam resident, for a restaurant recommendation, van Baerle, which was warm, lovely food and drink, and casually elegant. My wife says, and I agree, that we would go on a trip with her as PD again, anywhere, anytime! I would recommend this cruise to anyone, without any hesitation whatever. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My husband and I are very seasoned travelers and had high expectations after watching Viking commercials and reading Cruise Critic reviews, most of which painted the Grand European tour and Viking as the trip of a lifetime. We booked a ... Read More
My husband and I are very seasoned travelers and had high expectations after watching Viking commercials and reading Cruise Critic reviews, most of which painted the Grand European tour and Viking as the trip of a lifetime. We booked a category B balcony cabin and arrived in Budapest full of anticipation for what we expected to be a high end, luxury river cruise. We were terribly disappointed. We fully understand that weather and river levels are totally beyond the control of anyone and so were prepared to accept variances with regard to the cruise departure point, schedule and even change of ship. Our first inkling that this was not a "high end" cruiseline was when speaking to some other cruise line passengers on board a flight from Frankfurt to Budapest who advised us that they had been contacted by their cruiseline days prior to departure advising them that due to low river levels, they would not depart from Budapest and as such if they decided to cancel, would be given a full refund. If, however, they elected to continue the cruise, they would be given a 50% credit toward a future cruise. Not so with Viking. We were not at any point told we would not be sailing from Budapest. We received an email prior to departing Canada, telling us that at some point during the cruise we would be changing ships and to meet in Budapest at the Sofitel Hotel Budapest on the scheduled departure day where we would be given further details. Luckily, we arrived in Budapest three days prior to the scheduled departure of our ship. This enabled us to tour this beautiful city at our leisure, which we did, both on the Hop On Hop Off and by private tour which we booked through our hotel. On our scheduled departure day, we took a taxi to the Sofitel and signed in with the Viking representative. We were told we could enjoy a cold lunch while we waited to board buses. We were not told at that point where we were being bused to. Lunch consisted of stale sandwiches and coffee in the basement of the hotel. We waited a couple of hours and then boarded one of Viking's buses for the two hour trip to Komarom. At this point our expectations were still high and we enjoyed the scenery as we passed through the country side to this small Hingarian village. The Viking Vidar was docked at the side of the Danube river where we had to walk along a muddy road to board. Initially, we were supposed to board the Lofn but were told we would "probably" have to change ships in Neuremburg where the Lofn would be waiting. We overnighted on board the Vidar in Komarom! Unbelievably, Viking bused those passengers who wanted to go on the expected walking tour the next day back to Budapest. I would have expected that rather than busing people back and forth on a two hour trip, Viking would have put us up in hotels, provided the included tours and just prior to departure on October 6th, then bused everyone to Komarom to pick up the ship. We elected not to be bused to Budapest the next day since we had already spent two full days touring Budapest. We spent the next dreary day going for walks in this little village and sitting around the ship with nothing to do. We both knew and accepted the fact that river cruises do not have the amenities that ocean cruises do. However, we did expect a level of service and food that clearly we did not get with Viking. It was very evident that many of the staff really didn't care to be there. Service was virtually non existent. Room service not available at all. Don't expect anyone to bring you a coffee. No, no, get it yourself at one of two machines located at the entrance to the lounge. Food was average at best. Viking made a huge deal every evening of having the chef speak about the meal planned for the evening. What a joke. Though presentation was good, the food did not live up to it. Again, we were very disappointed. The wine that was included with lunch and dinner was atrocious. It wouldn't have cost Viking very much to serve a little better. We were never introduced to our cabin stewards either on the Vidar or the Lofn and never actually met them until three days into each cruise segment. One evening my husband was having a shower prior to dinner and had no bath towels in our bathroom! I went to the desk to request our cabin steward bring towels and when he arrived, he did not apologize but asked "did I forget to leave towels in your room"! Not my idea of good service at all. Both Viking ships were new and beautiful. There is no doubt Viking did their homework in designing these ships. The cabins are very well laid out and the bathrooms the best we have encountered on any ships we have been on. Where Viking fell down was clearly at the service level and in delivery of the overall experience. Too little time in cities. Too much day time sailing. What's with optional tours? For the price all tours should be included. There should have been longer tour options and more for passengers in good physical shape. With younger "seniors" now taking river cruises, Viking needs to start offering tours at a brisker pace and even some hikes would have made a huge difference. The tour guides were all very knowledgeable and spoke excellent English. Where Viking again fell down was in having too large grouos. In Cologn we went on the pub crawl. It was a Saturday night, when many Germans head to the pubs to socialize. Our group of 14 was barely able to find a pub that could take us all. Groups of six would have been the right size. On one of our castle tours, we had a group of 45 and could not even fit in some of the rooms. How disappointing and ridiculous. We did end up changing ship in Neuremburg to the Viking Lofn which was the ship we were originally to have sailed on. This was handled fairly efficiently but the only reimbursement made for yet another inconvenience was a free tour. Since half the ship was sick with colds, including my husband, we were not able to go in any event. We are so disappointed that a long planned trip down these rivers from Budapest to Amsterdam was such a huge and expensive disappointment. If you want an average cruise at an expensive price, then choose Viking. I'm afraid Viking is not going to get another chance from us either on a river or the ocean. It's definitely the MacDonalds of cruising. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We enjoyed our cruise on the Viking Longships---two actually because of low water problems in the river systems during our October sailing. We were suppose to start and finish on the Lofn but actually only finished on it. However, Viking ... Read More
We enjoyed our cruise on the Viking Longships---two actually because of low water problems in the river systems during our October sailing. We were suppose to start and finish on the Lofn but actually only finished on it. However, Viking handled the required ship change as smoothly as anyone could have dreamed. Except for having to pack and unpack a little more than desired and to have had a few more long bus rides I don't think we had any ill effects. In addition Viking gave us a free excursion because of the difficulties. The food and drink onboard were of high quality and the free wine service was generous and prompt. Our Cruise Director went with us from ship to ship so that we had some type of continuity throughout. Both crews were fantastic and I can't remember any complaints worth mentioning. This was our first river cruise and my wife and I both liked it. We had previously visited some of the towns and cities along the way but enjoyed all and found the excursions to all be worthwhile. We signed up for only a few of the 'extra fee' excursions as we thought the free ones were excellent. I would have liked more tome onboard just cruising along the river but I think that's the nature of river cruising , at least in Europe where one has to cope with so many locks and daytime stops. Entertainment on board was minimal but fine with some cultural insights thrown in through lectures od local entertainers. All in all, I liked (as did my wife) our first river cruise and I was especially pleased with the entire Viking treatment. Indeed, I might have rated this higher than 4 stars but have so little past river cruising experience that I felt like I should hold back a little. However, Viking impressed me so much that we are planning an ocean cruise with them for 2017 (by that time we will have been on 18 ocean cruises and I'll have the experience to more accurately rank them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Our 14 night cruise on two Viking Longships, the Vidar and the Lofn, was really nice. Despite the very low river levels that required us to first board a ship, the Vidar, that we hadn't booked and doing that 40 miles or more from ... Read More
Our 14 night cruise on two Viking Longships, the Vidar and the Lofn, was really nice. Despite the very low river levels that required us to first board a ship, the Vidar, that we hadn't booked and doing that 40 miles or more from Budapest and then having to be bussed half way through the cruise to pick up our originally scheduled ship, the Lofn, we still had a great time. Viking handled the required ship transfer without a hitch. We did have to repack and then unpack again (not fun) and one didn't see a whole lot in the bus rides but the ships were identical and both spanking brand new. Both crews were great and our Tour Guide and her assistant changed ships with us so that there was some sense of continuity. In addition Viking gave us a free paid tour (a value of ~$138). The food was very good and the wine pouring was frequent and generous at lunch and dinner. While the entertainment was not spectacular I don't think many people take these cruises for elaborate nightly entertainment. The piano music before and after dinner was very pleasant and after spending many days ashore touring I would fall asleep during any longer shows. Another thing that surprised me was that there were many free tours so that we only invested in a few extra cost trips. All in all, a great trip and I would readily cruise again with Viking. Indeed being a frequent ocean cruiser (17 and counting) I'm looking forward to taking one of Viking's ocean cruises (perhaps to the Baltic) within the next couple years. If they do them half as well as they do river cruising I think it could be special. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Because of low water levels on the Danube, our trip was not up to our expectations. Avalon handled the situation very poorly. We called them before we left for the cruise and we were told that sailings were going as scheduled. They ... Read More
Because of low water levels on the Danube, our trip was not up to our expectations. Avalon handled the situation very poorly. We called them before we left for the cruise and we were told that sailings were going as scheduled. They actually knew at that time that other trips had been interrupted. Not only did we have to switch our boat once, but we had to pack up and move twice. From other reviews we were told that the Avalon crew was exceptional. We did not find that was the case. As a matter of fact, our cruise director had no personality at all. The crew was lacking smiles and I feel it may be because of the additional work that they had to do that week. We embarked in Budapest and attempted to sail to Vienna. After an hour and a half we were told by the river authorities that we had to turn around. We spent an additional 2 days on the boat in Budapest sailing nowhere. Avalon made another poor decision to sail the vessel into Hungry when they could've bussed us an hour and a half West. They did offer $500 refund and a free concert p/p. We feel that was totally inadequate. We were also unable to do some of the other extra excursions that we had paid for in advance and were hoping to do. Also, we never made it to Nuremberg. That was partially our choice because we did not want to spend a day bussing around for approximately nine hours! I would definitely think twice about doing another river cruise and certainly not with Avalon! I do have to mention that the boat was beautiful and the design of the rooms was lovely. Sorry we couldn't have spent more time sailing on the boat. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015

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