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2,311 Budapest to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

This was our first cruise and it was wonderful. Emerald took care of transport from the airport to our hotel then picked us up the next day for transfer to the ship. Once on board everything was perfect. Our cabin was modern, clean and ... Read More
This was our first cruise and it was wonderful. Emerald took care of transport from the airport to our hotel then picked us up the next day for transfer to the ship. Once on board everything was perfect. Our cabin was modern, clean and had everything we needed. The staff was polite and respectful. They saw to our every need. The food on the ship was extraordinary and quite plentiful. All tours were great and the guides were very informative. Unfortunately, because the water levels were low in the Danube, we had to switch ships. The staff made the transition as painless as possible and we were on our way. We would definitely go on another Emerald Cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Crew was good. Food on board average. Spent way too much time on buses. Extension not at all worth it. Hotels average. Food below average. One of the hotels was so bad you were reluctant to take your socks off at night. Extension meals ... Read More
Crew was good. Food on board average. Spent way too much time on buses. Extension not at all worth it. Hotels average. Food below average. One of the hotels was so bad you were reluctant to take your socks off at night. Extension meals were real bad. Extension tours were horrible. Over a hundred people per tour in Istanbul. Cruise itinerary not very interesting. Overall not at all worth it. Pay $500 a day per person on a high end ocean cruise and have a much better time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
OK, let me start with the topic that seems to be at the top of everyone else's list. Yes, we did have to change ships mid-cruise. We threw our stuff into the suitcases, went on the daily tour, and got back to an identical ship after ... Read More
OK, let me start with the topic that seems to be at the top of everyone else's list. Yes, we did have to change ships mid-cruise. We threw our stuff into the suitcases, went on the daily tour, and got back to an identical ship after the tour. The suitcases were in our room and ten minutes of unpacking later we were headed to the lounge with friends. Folks, Viking (or Avalon, or Taulk, or Uniworld) can't control the water level in the Danube. Based on the circumstances they encountered I thought George (our cruise director) did a magnificent job of making the transition as effortless and unobtrusive as possible. The ships (TOR and VAR) were wonderful for what they were intended to do. By that, I mean they're not ocean going cruise ships with casinos and movie theatres meant to help pass hour after hour of open ocean sailing. They were both immaculately maintained and the staff was friendly, helpful, and above all, available. The food selection was wonderful with a number of local dishes offered every evening together with good old American fare (prime rib, etc) for those less adventurous, and the service was excellent. Where Viking shines is the quality and variety of the shore excursions offered. The local guides they provide are amazing both in the depth of their knowledge and their ability to engage you in conversation to the point where you know they actually enjoy what they're doing and not just parroting a canned speel from a tour brochure. Over and above the standard tours, the wide variety of "elective" tours available pretty much guaranteed everyone the opportunity to pursue their particular interests. We opted for the supplemental 3 day Prague extension where they placed us into the Prague Sheraton Hotel which was an excellent choice as it was conveniently located and recently renovated. Again, I was amazed at the level of attentiveness Viking provided. In addition to multiple tour choices available there was a Viking Concierge to assist with everything from restaurant recommendations (and reservations) to suggestions regarding "must see" local attractions. One final point I can't stress enough is to what great lengths Viking went to provide a truly wonderful experience. Their attention to even the smallest details meant that we were free to relax and enjoy. Right down to the trip to Prague airport (at 3:30 AM!) for the flight home, they had a Viking assistant there to assist with the boarding passes and baggage check-in. Now that is exceptional service! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Overall delightful trip, excellent weather after a first rainy day, enjoyable side trips, mostly entertaining personable guides. Delicious food all meals. Veranda stateroom on port side had good views most of the time with room to sit on ... Read More
Overall delightful trip, excellent weather after a first rainy day, enjoyable side trips, mostly entertaining personable guides. Delicious food all meals. Veranda stateroom on port side had good views most of the time with room to sit on the porch and watch the scenery. Especially fun in the locks and Budapest at night. Embarkation Budapest airport to hotel (because boat was an hour and a half away with low water) bus dropped us a block from the hotel in rain and didn't offer any umbrellas. One of our party was walking with a walker so got soaked walking to the hotel. An auspicious start. Once on the boat we felt more welcomed. The boat shift, while unavoidable, was still a disappointment because we didn't learn of it until we had completely unpacked and made ourselves at home. At least giving us an inkling it was a possibility initially might have saved some trouble as we mightn't have unpacked so thoroughly. Changing crews dampened the "you're home" feeling for the last two days as we had entirely different staff who didn't know us nor seem as interested in trying to be friendly. (we started on the Tor and shifted to the Var). I suspect it may be that their portion of the tips would be less from us and changing over the ship twice as often was a lot of work for them--fresh bedding, cleaning, etc. The ships were identical in layout, however, so there was no learning curve on where things were. Layout was the same. Would like to see a small workout room opportunity on the boat--recumbent bike, treadmill, stairclimber maybe--because sometimes I just wanted to work up a sweat a little. The tours were nice but the pace was generally relaxed (good for most of our travel group) and with all the good food, more exercise would be nice. Free time in the villages gave some opportunity for brisk walks a couple of days, but not on the tours. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our first experience of a river cruise, having previously undertaken 2 ocean cruises (Western Med + Baltic & St Petersburg). We travelled on the Danube and visited some beautiful cities on the cruise, including Vienna, ... Read More
This was our first experience of a river cruise, having previously undertaken 2 ocean cruises (Western Med + Baltic & St Petersburg). We travelled on the Danube and visited some beautiful cities on the cruise, including Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. Chose Riviera as we have had positive experience of their city breaks. However, we were surprised (sorry if this causes offence) to find the average age of our fellow travellers to be around mid-70's, and some of the older travellers in their 80's limited to some extent with mobility problems. If you are around retirement age or under, it may be worth considering the companies with a higher ratio of US travellers as we noticed on neighbouring boats their average age appeared 50-60. Having dealt with that bit of ageism, I have to say there were many positives about this trip. Here are some of my thoughts about the differences on a river cruise to an ocean cruise; + More closely connected to passing scenery + Berths more likely to be right in the heart of a city for easy walking access + Much smaller vessel, so very easy to orient oneself to - Limited range of onboard activities - Smaller cabin size, although comfortable and well designed - Limited lounge facilities The dining standard was very good, but then our experience of ocean cruises dining was also excellent, and with more variety in terms of options. Hope that's of some use to anyone considering a river cruise, and apologies if it appears overly discriminatory to our more mature fellow passengers :-( Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Had never done a river cruise and wanted to experience one. Spent two nights in Prague prior to the cruise which went from Budapest to Amsterdam. Prague was a very interesting city. Particular highlights were the Charles Bridge and ... Read More
Had never done a river cruise and wanted to experience one. Spent two nights in Prague prior to the cruise which went from Budapest to Amsterdam. Prague was a very interesting city. Particular highlights were the Charles Bridge and the Astronomical Clock 2 nights in Budapest followed and eating out at a local restaurant, dining on goulash was an experience not to be missed. Attended an equestrian show about an hours drive out of Budapest. Fantastic horsemanship. Leaving Budapest at night on the first stage of our cruise was quite magical with the city lit up. Our cabin was very spacious and while there was a bit of a walk to the dining room and bar, was very close to the main deck with its games and outdoor seating. Bratislava was very interesting and very hot, surprisingly and the Astronomical clock was a feature. Amazing the number of Segways in the streets and main square. Had local delicacies for lunch and spent time at a British pub. Transport back to boat was reliable and regular. On to Vienna and amazing buildings. Attended opera recital. Magnificent. Had lunch at small café and again sampled the local favourite Sacha Torte. A number of German cities followed as we moved into the Rhine. Regensburg was one of the best with great history. Food was great with Bratwurst sausage and rolls a must. Cologne was also a highlight, especially the Cathedral and the night time Pub Crawl on a Friday night with a local guide. Drinking habits of the locals were interesting. All bars had a great food service as a part of them. Interesting that you could not get a beer without a place mat and there was only one brand at each of the bars as they were all micro breweries. On to Holland and the world heritage site at Kinderjik, before heading on to Amsterdam Canal cruise was the final act before flying back to New Zealand via Dubai. Major feature of the cruise itself was the fact that there were only 187 people on board, so over the 16 days we managed to meet most of them. Formed a great relations hip with 2 Canadian couples, an Australian couple and an American couple and are still communicating with them 6 months later. Many great memories and even the issue of having to change boats mid trip was handled in a masterly fashion by the two crews involved. Would recommend this cruise to anyone wanting to get a look at central Europe. There was a variety of activities at each port of call and plenty of entertainment on board at night. Great value for money and exemplary service. Most enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our first cruise of any description, so we decided on a week. We joined the ship at Budapest but because of low water in the Danube we had to move upstream, so didn't get to see anything a Budapest apart from an evening ... Read More
This was our first cruise of any description, so we decided on a week. We joined the ship at Budapest but because of low water in the Danube we had to move upstream, so didn't get to see anything a Budapest apart from an evening cruise downstream before turning round - although we did see what had inspired us - the Parliament Building - we were moored directly opposite. We stopped for two days in Vienna and explored there, but then we only got as far upstream as Passau, again because of low water levels. The ship, captain and crew could not be faulted. Our cabin was perfectly adequate, kept clean by our cabin steward, and morning tea served by our butler - luxury! A large walk=in shower with plenty of hot water. The amenities on board were plentiful, a good sized lounge/bar area which, I would think, could seat all the passengers at one go. The food was very good, always a nice selection on the buffet, or you could choose from the a la carte if there wasn't anything you fancied - which we did a couple of times. The passengers were mainly Canadian, Australian, American and a few English people, all very nice and pleasant. A variety of entertain was enjoyed in the lounge in the evenings - local dancers, etc. All in all we enjoyed our cruise, it was just a pity we didn't get up to Nuremberg as originally planned, but we were at the mercy of the water - no rain in Germany! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our 1st Uniworld cruise and we have been spoiled for any other line. From the time we boarded to the time we left in Bucharest we were treated like royalty. The offer of bicycles on day one set the tone, the staff anticipated ... Read More
This was our 1st Uniworld cruise and we have been spoiled for any other line. From the time we boarded to the time we left in Bucharest we were treated like royalty. The offer of bicycles on day one set the tone, the staff anticipated everything we could want. The food was wonderful and the tours were very well done, the guides spoke English beautifully. We did not have the best weather, but the crew & staff did a wonderful job of making our trip the best!! My husband and I enjoyed the small, but very well done fitness room as well as the daily yoga/stretch classes. The nightly entertainment was very nice, local entertainment groups and the onboard musician was very good. The all inclusiveness made the trip seamless with no guessing. My massages & facial were excellent. We have already booked another trip for spring 2016...can not wait!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Three days before leaving we received an email stating the Baldur would not make it to Budapest in time for our departure due to low water levels. We were to meet the Viking Magni. Upon our early arrival at the airport, we were met by ... Read More
Three days before leaving we received an email stating the Baldur would not make it to Budapest in time for our departure due to low water levels. We were to meet the Viking Magni. Upon our early arrival at the airport, we were met by Viking representatives and transported by van to the Magni. We were warmly welcomed aboard, and were surprised to hear that they knew we had an early flight and that our stateroom was ready! Our luggage was quickly brought to our room. The Magni crew was fantastic - always smiling and eager to help. Rebecca, the Hotel Manager; Rares, the Dining Room Manager; and especially Caitlyn, the Program Director, helped to make this a memorable experience. Special thanks to Radi, the Concierge, who went above and beyond doing double duty after Caitlyn was injured. Others who gave us superb service were Danisa, our room stewardess; Maurice, Cesar, Milo, Faye, and Blagoje in the dining room and Terrace. They seemed to anticipate our needs before we even asked. The excursions were well organized and very informative. The local guides were well versed and able and eager to answer all questions. The food was delicious. There was never a problem if you wanted to try something extra or swap an item. Chef George informed us of the menu each night prior to dinner and gave his recommendations. A highlight was a tour led by Chef George and Radi of the farmer's market in Vienna. Unfortunately, we did have to change ships after Passau. This meant one day taking a 1-1/2 hour bus ride to Regensburg, and the next day a three hour bus ride to Nuremberg. After our day in Nuremberg, we were brought to our new ship - the Baldur. The crew was on deck to greet us with chants of "Welcome Home". We were also greeted with warm towels and drinks. Our luggage was already in our stateroom waiting for us. Viking did its best to make this a seamless transition. As this was our first river cruise, we were not sure what to expect. Viking surpassed all our expectations. Looking forward to another cruise! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our first river cruise, and we were very pleased. The staff could not have been more pleasant and responsive..everyone was very friendly and helpful. The Cruise Director David Morgan, was very charming as well as conscientious. ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, and we were very pleased. The staff could not have been more pleasant and responsive..everyone was very friendly and helpful. The Cruise Director David Morgan, was very charming as well as conscientious. The food was outstanding...portions were not gigantic, which was good! The buffets were excellent for breakfast and lunch. The tours were interesting and well organized..and the ear pieces made sure you could hear the guides. The cabin, though small, was very well appointed with many places for storage, comfortable bedding, thick towels and upscale amenities. The entertainment at night was not the caliber of the big ships, but much more appropriate for this kind of cruise. And there were lectures about the ports visited, the locks, the boat itself, the Danube etc. We met many very nice people. All in all, a very positive experience! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
What a wonderful experience. We had taken a couple of 'big boat' cruises previously, but this smaller ship met our needs perfectly. I have MS and have become somewhat disabled over time, but the size of this ship was MUCH ... Read More
What a wonderful experience. We had taken a couple of 'big boat' cruises previously, but this smaller ship met our needs perfectly. I have MS and have become somewhat disabled over time, but the size of this ship was MUCH better for me. Cruise Director David Morgan did a splendid job of taking extra care to meet my needs while enhancing my enjoyment. I can't possibly thank him enough for all the thought he put into his plans for me. My wife went on most port excursions, and I did so as well, although I did so a bit differently. I was able to see the majestic sights, but not on extended walking tours. Being able to embark and disembark in only seconds definitely beats the alternative we experienced previously. Having a daily informational sheet left in our room the night before clarified all facets and activities for the next day's destination. Over the term of the cruise, we became familiar with all the staff along with numerous other passengers. The food was very good and incorporated regional tastes and varieties given the different locations we passed through. Each night's entertainment in the lounge area was quite enjoyable and appropriately sized for the limited amount of space available. I tried to find unfavorable issues and circumstances, but the immensely supportive staff and crew made us feel quite comfortable at ALL times. Thank you! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
As with many people who have already commented about the low-water situation, we also had to change boats/ships in the middle of the cruise. While inconvenient to have to pack and unpack mid-vacation, the crew handled it as well as they ... Read More
As with many people who have already commented about the low-water situation, we also had to change boats/ships in the middle of the cruise. While inconvenient to have to pack and unpack mid-vacation, the crew handled it as well as they could, and it's certainly no cause to give Viking such low reviews have some have chosen to do. I tip my had and extend kudos to the crew who obviously had to work extra hard and even longer hours to make this as convenient as possible for all. We did have a major disappointment, and that was with the night at the opera. Having experienced some "canned" ship entertainment elsewhere, my expectations for the evening were not very high, and I was correct. Viking should know better than to hire young American singers, put them on stage with minimal theater staging and scenery, with an orchestra who was conducted by the concert master (and therefore unable to obtain a balance between orchestra and singers), and have the audacity to advertise this as "opera in Vienna." Really really really bad!! Fortunately, Viking did not charge us for the opera as a way of making up for our having to change boats mid-cruise. We enjoyed the other excursions, however, especially those that provided for some free time in the various towns and locations. Ben, our program director, was superb. One of the best I've experienced throughout numerous (35+) cruises. Food was certainly adequate, and the service was very good. While I didn't always want to order from the main entree choices for the evening, I was very happy with the salmon that was available each night. Cabins are small, but when one realizes that the boats have to be able to navigate the numerous locks throughout the cruise, one can understand. I'm glad we did not opt for a balcony as I don't think we would have used it very much .. the French (faux) balcony choice was the right decision. Would I do it again? Definitely!! And it might be good to experience one of the other, smaller companies (Avalon, for example) just for comparison purposes. Viking has become a HUGE operation, and I'm wondering if it's becoming too large for their own good. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Very enjoyable, but sorry we had to switch boats along the way due to low water. Our first ship was a bit nicer than the Freya which we switched to on Wednesday. The Freya needed a few minor repairs - one coffee station was out of order, ... Read More
Very enjoyable, but sorry we had to switch boats along the way due to low water. Our first ship was a bit nicer than the Freya which we switched to on Wednesday. The Freya needed a few minor repairs - one coffee station was out of order, our closet light didn't work and a wire was hanging down. Ben, the cruise director was absolutely excellent. The tours were well executed if not tiring. Service on board the first ship (forget the name) was a tad better than the Freya. On the first boat we especially enjoyed the services of Ryan and Darwin at dinners. On the Freya, Peter and the young lady who served the drinks at dinner, were absolute delights! As far as the entertainment goes, the interactive games played in the lounge in later evening were a lot of fun. Ben and the staff did wonderful jobs. The transfers were trouble free and very convenient,. The choice of the Marriott on the Danube in Budapest was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My wife and I took a River Cruise on the Danube River from Budapest to Prague. This was our very first cruise and our overall experience was phenomenal. We boarded the boat, the Avalon Expression, in Budapest. The boat and our ... Read More
My wife and I took a River Cruise on the Danube River from Budapest to Prague. This was our very first cruise and our overall experience was phenomenal. We boarded the boat, the Avalon Expression, in Budapest. The boat and our Panorama Suite were excellent. The boat is well designed and organised with everything easy to locate and the room spacious (for this type of boat). The bathroom was a good size and modern. The organised tours and their guides are well worth going. All guides were professional and knowledgeable of the sites we visited. In all, the tours were more than enjoyable, they were educative as well. We visited places such as small towns, castles, cathedrals and a concentration camp. As well, we visited a number of museums that gave us an insight in the countries’ traditions / customs, as well as their histories. While the Danube water level was very low this year, the Avalon Expression was able to get through with some scraping of the bottom of the river. This being said, sailing on the Danube was very smooth and made it on time for every planned stop except for one time were we had to wait six hours for a lock to be repaired. Our Cruise Director, Robert was efficient and well organized. A couple of times, he was able to reorganized the schedule of a tour and its activities on short notice. As well, he was present and available all the time. He kept us well informed of the status of the cruise and activities. We credit him for a well run and managed tour. At the front desk, there was Jennifer. She was good-natured, professional, helpful and efficient. She took care very rapidly of some minor problems. One thing worth mentioning was the food. The food was just wonderful and varied. The Chef and his staff did an excellent job. It was like eating at a five stars’ restaurant at every meal. I will add all of the staff, including employees working in the dinning room, the lounge and doing the cleaning, were very friendly, polite, efficient. It showed that the were well trained to deal with guests. We were able to visit several countries, see great scenery, learn more about Europe and meet wonderful people. In all, a well worthy trip. I recommend this river cruise wholeheartly. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We are deeply disappointed in Viking. This was our first cruise with Viking and definitely our last. The cruise was not at all what we expected. We never felt the luxury they promote in their brochures and TV ads. Instead we paid a ... Read More
We are deeply disappointed in Viking. This was our first cruise with Viking and definitely our last. The cruise was not at all what we expected. We never felt the luxury they promote in their brochures and TV ads. Instead we paid a premium price of over $14,000 for two people and in exchange received substandard service and an exhausting and frustrating trip. We have traveled worldwide independently and were looking forward to being pampered in the lap of luxury with all our needs taken care of, no packing and up packing from city to city and upscale companion travelers. Instead we were herded through cities like cattle, kept to an aggressive time table if we wanted to see anything in port, forced to pack and unpack mid trip in order to change boats and accompanied by passengers who were for the most part unsophisticated retirees most of whom had saved up for this once in a life time trip for many years. Most of the cruising was done at night when you cannot see the beautiful idyllic settings advertised by Viking. We were often docked at unpleasant industrial sites. Luckily we were on a high floor and had our balcony level with asphalt. Those below us looked out on to a cement wall. No reason to sit out on the expensive balcony we splurged on. Instead of apologizing the staff made jokes about the view being modern art. In the daytime instead of being at the old city center, we were often far from the sites, due to so many other Viking boats in dock and were bused or walked long distances to the attractions often up many flights of stairs. Free time in ports was in most cases 1 hour, meaning you see very little and no time to shop. In many ports, the ships were stacked, boats next to each other next to the shoreline so you are literally looking into another person's cabin. No view from your room and sometimes none from the public spaces. The stateroom is uncomfortably small and cramped not to mention the unpleasant decor. The public spaces are beautifully designed but the staterooms were ignored, decorating with a prison cell gray color, tiny sinks and white bland tile. No softness anywhere. Stiff chair, horrid bed, backless stool at the desk, everything hard edged which forces you to leave your expensive room as frequently as possible. The art work throughout the boat is very acceptable but in the state room all we got was a stylized Viking framed logo to look at. Our bathroom on the first ship smelled of mildew but that was nothing compared to the many docks where the river smelled foul. I will spare you the details of the unpleasant toilet flush function on the Skadi ship. More importantly, Viking is not forthcoming with information when it concerns important issues. The ship administrators do not communicate enough with passengers. Their business model seems to be that passengers need not know anything until it is absolutely necessary and that Viking is never wrong, they do not apologize or admit to any wrong doing. Viking had experienced low river levels all summer, yet there was never a notice sent to us before we left regarding a change of boat or having to take buses. If we had received a notice we would have packed accordingly and been mentally prepared. Instead they told us one the day before, first that we were on a different ship and second that we needed to be bused to another ship mid cruise requiring us to pack and repack our bags. The change of ship required me to contact several local tour guides we had arranged on our own and notify them of the ship change, really annoying as the internet connections were so awful; my husband wasted hours trying to hook up a workable Internet. Viking attempted to make it up to us by having the crew on the deck with handmade signs saying welcome aboard, a free welcome drink and a free optional tour. None of this even began to make up for losing a quite morning sailing up the river, which is what was planned or spending an evening packing and an afternoon unpacking. We were put on a bus on a highway for over three hours with nothing of interest to see and a stop at a horrid gas station for a restroom break. Even though my bags were labeled and put out on time for the mid cruise ship change, Viking managed to lose one. When I reported it to three Viking employees, program director, hotel manager and desk manager, none apologized. Instead I was asked condescendingly if I really put it out, did I look in my closet, and then accused of not putting the proper luggage tag on my bag. In other words it was my fault, not Viking’s. Fortunately, as I didn’t trust them from the start, I took a picture of all my bags in the hall that morning, clearly showing all of my bags with the correct luggage tags. Only after seeing the photo did anyone attempt to locate the missing bag, which they ultimately did find. There were mechanical problems with the first boat. My husband and another passenger are engineers and noticed this almost from the time we boarded. Yet no communications about it. When someone asked the crew for an explanation for all the loud hammering and banging, they were told they weren’t allowed to say. For one day trip there were several busses and several Viking representatives. Instead of putting a Viking employee on each bus they choose to sit all together on one bus. Our bus was left unaccompanied with a German speaking driver and no one among the passengers who could communicate with him. Had there been an emergency I don’t know what we would have done. As it was, the driver delivered us to the wrong place forcing us to walk a very long distance and left on our own to find our ship, this after an already long day of walking. When we arrived at our ship, the bus with the Viking staff arrived right next to the ship. When I asked why we were dropped off so far away, when there was an obvious parking place closer, the Viking employee just shrugged his shoulders, said he didn’t know and walked away. No apology, no concern, not his problem, although he was the employee responsible for the day tour and the drivers. The vibrations of the ship, the noise of going through the locks and the ship bumping into the sides of the lock keeps you awake at night, not to mention the most uncomfortable bed I have ever slept in, which felt like a cement block. Ideally suited to the prison grey décor. I would estimate 80% of the passengers on our ship were sick mid-way through the cruise. Several needed to go to the local emergency room for breathing problems. The ship was so cold, even though we were sailing in Sept/Oct with outside temperatures in the 60’s, I asked the staff to turn down the AC in the lounge several times and they said they were unable to do it. The AC in the cabins can only be turned off when the balcony doors are open. Given that we were often stacked against another boat or the noise from the ship or the port was too loud or the smell too awful, we were forced to sleep in AC with no way to turn off the fan which is pointed directly to the head of the bed. We both developed very nasty head colds. The ship has no basic medications or hot water bottles or heating pads for passengers and so we were forced to spend valuable time in port searching for pharmacies to purchase OTC cold and sore throat medications, having to translate ingredients and find pharmacist who spoke English. The tipping suggestions in the cruise brochure recommended we leave over $400 per couple. We refused to tip that much. It was obvious that Viking pays lower salaries and gets away with it by promising the staff that high tip recommendations would be strongly suggested. We tipped individuals on staff that had provided service above and beyond the call of duty. We hated the constant staff interference at meals. We always felt rushed, the staff couldn’t wait to clear the table and get on with their other duties especially at lunch. They interrupted conversations and never asked the women for their orders first, just went around the table at their own convenience. When I waived one waitress away with my hand as she was constantly interrupting me during a conversation, offering wine, when I had already refused it, she made a rude gesture with her hand mimicking my brushing her aside. At several meals I asked for a drink multiple times, and waited more than 15 minutes for it to be served and on one occasion received the wrong drink. I asked a waiter for a menu three times the third time loudly thinking he might be deaf, and he shouted at me for raising my voice. While we had no complaints about the food the options were often limited especially if you wanted a light meal in the lounge. We ate mostly in the main dining room, however there are no tables for two and so you are forced to eat all meals with other passengers. Sometimes we just wanted to be alone and we felt we had nothing in common with the other passengers, many of them in large groups of friends or family, who sang drinking songs during diner. Dinner is scheduled from 7 to 9 but that does not mean you can walk in any time and be served. If you are not in the dining room at one minute before seven the only seats available are in the center of the room, not by a window. You really can only eat in the main dining room starting at 7 and ending at 9. This was too regimented for us. We thought, reading the schedule, we might be able to drop in any time between 7 and 9, not so. The after dinner entertainment was poor, local community theater groups and the lectures which were juvenile. On several nights they played games like I imagine they do in retirement communities. Several times the itinerary differed from the actual event. The captain’s dinner was listed for the Thursday evening but occurred on Wed three full days before the cruise ended. A glass blowing studio tour was promised in one port, something I was looking forward to but never materialized. When I mentioned it to the program director he spoke to me as if like I was an idiot and told me the studio was outside of town. Yet it was on the printed itinerary. He obviously had no knowledge of this, yet he was the program director. When we toured the kitchen we discovered that there were no dishwashers, that dishes were washed by hand. It was clear then why cups arrived at a freshly laid table with old lipstick stains on them and why so many of us were sick. Reading some of the other reviews I consider ourselves lucky. One ship had GI disorders among the passengers, another had half of their trip cancelled and a third missed Budapest all together, which we felt was a highlight. We were on new boats throughout and I understand the old ones are dreadful. Members of the Viking staff and local tour guides often commented on how quickly Viking is growing. Obviously they are experiencing growing pains. And if they are sitting fat and happy with all of their boats sold out then they are unlikely to pay careful attention to service and passenger complaints. No need to encourage passengers to be repeat customers when their waiting lists are already so long. I wrote this same review on the feedback form Viking provides passengers at the end of the cruise. I indicated that a senior customer service representative could phone me to discuss my concerns. I am writing this a week after we disembarked and no call yet. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We are cruise junkies but were looking for a very relaxed, small ship experience. The Viking team fulfilled all our expectations. We loved the way that we docked right in the center of each of the cities visited. Each evening, before ... Read More
We are cruise junkies but were looking for a very relaxed, small ship experience. The Viking team fulfilled all our expectations. We loved the way that we docked right in the center of each of the cities visited. Each evening, before dinner, all the passengers met in the lounge where the Cruise Director prepared us for the next day's port call and the Executive Chef talked about what he found in the market that day for the night's dinner. Lovely touch. Even when we had to switch ships at Passau (a frequent occurrence due to low water) Viking took us on an extended excursion for the day and then on to the new ship where our luggage was already waiting in the cabin. Viking made the change so smoothly that we had to look twice to make sure that we hadn't returned to the original ship. We enjoyed Viking River Cruises so much that we have now booked our next cruise with Viking Ocean Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We just returned on September 26, 2015 from our first Viking River Cruise on the Romantic Danube sailing. After many ocean cruise we wanted to try a river cruise on the Danube river with Viking River Cruises starting in Budapest and ... Read More
We just returned on September 26, 2015 from our first Viking River Cruise on the Romantic Danube sailing. After many ocean cruise we wanted to try a river cruise on the Danube river with Viking River Cruises starting in Budapest and ending in Nuremberg. Started on the Viking Njord and ended up on Viking Freya after mid cruise transfer due to low river levels. Overall a good experience as we saw a lot of beautiful scenery on this cruise. Viking does a nice job with their room accommodations, dining, and tours. It is certainly a lot more expensive than we are use too on ocean cruises but with only 180 some passengers you have fewer guest to spread the cost among. With unlimited free beer and wines at lunch and dinner, it was definitely a happy river boat. Because of the low rainfall this summer, the Danube river has for the last several months and more to months yet to come, been plagued by lower water levels keeping the Viking river boats from completely going to all their scheduled ports on the itinerary without interruption. As an alternative, Viking is using buses to move passengers from your original ship to another similar Viking ship thus necessitating an additional backing and unpacking. The bus ride for ours was a couple of hours from Passau to Regensburg where the river level was too low for our ship to pass. We talked to Viking River Cruises two days before our departure because of all the Refugee reports in many of the cities we would be visiting. They assured us everything was fine but no mention of low river levels and need to change ships mid voyage. We are disappointed the Viking River Cruise company was not more honest about this. Overall Ship We booked a lower level cabin and glad we did. It is a nice size and comfortable accommodations for two people. Glad we did not spend the extra money for a balcony as on all port days we were tied together with other Viking Ships so all you could see was the Viking Ship next to you. Airport Arrival. Viking Cruise representative met us at baggage claim in Budapest airport and took us and our luggage to the awaiting ship, a 20 minute drive. Lunch was ready and waiting for us. Boat Docks. Our Viking ship docked in center of town in Budapest. Easy to walk on/off. Vienna, a 10 minute bus ride or 5 minute subway was needed. Melk, 10 minute bus to Abbey Tour followed by a 10 minute walk to town Regensburg 10 minute walk to old town Nuremberg, 15 minute bus ride to old town. Docks in an industrial park Guided Walking Tours. A local guide provided good information and insights in each port. The Audio Headsets provided by Viking makes it easy to listen and follow these tours. Most tours began by a bus tour followed by a walking tour with varying degrees of walking difficulty. In Vienna, we did the Schonbrunn Palace on our own for $25 per person for subway from Stephenson to Schonbrunn/admission. Ship offered the same escorted by bus for $49 per person. Budapest First day a short 1 ½ guided walking tour was available followed by another hour or so for shopping and independent touring. Second day bus tour thru Buda and Pest. Budapest uses the Forint as its currency but everyone accepted EUROs so do not exchange your money for Forint. Following dinner a wonderful Budapest cruise on the Danube gave us an opportunity to see both Buda and Pest all light up at night time from our Viking ship. One of the best events to see on this cruise, not to be missed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Would not change any of the stops, tours, or length of time on the cruise! Ship & crew were great, as well as the Program Director! Changing ships at mid-cruise due to low water was even handled well! Our only two suggestions are to ... Read More
Would not change any of the stops, tours, or length of time on the cruise! Ship & crew were great, as well as the Program Director! Changing ships at mid-cruise due to low water was even handled well! Our only two suggestions are to have Name Tags for everyone ( with large print first names ) and to have enough seats in the lounge for the Program Director's Briefing for the next day. ( we always seemed to be 8-10 short! ). Great time and would sure do another tour again! We have recommended it to everyone! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Three months prior to our cruise, Viking was most gracious and accommodating with taking care of all our travel arrangements from LA to Budapest. After taking two spectacular European ocean cruises in the last 18 months, both my husband ... Read More
Three months prior to our cruise, Viking was most gracious and accommodating with taking care of all our travel arrangements from LA to Budapest. After taking two spectacular European ocean cruises in the last 18 months, both my husband and I were even more excited about this Viking River Cruise. We loved seeing the videos and hearing others who had experienced this cruise in the past, that is, until we heard in conversation from a complete stranger that the river was so low that they needed to switch ships and take rides on motor coaches to various destinations. I contacted our Viking agent to see where our cruise stood. She was "unaware" of the low level and put me on hold to check the conditions. She indicated though the river was slightly low the ships were still able to pass through the various stops. Of course there was nothing we could do at this point. We packed our bags and headed to the airport. To make a long story short, scheduled flights were delayed and upon arriving to Budapest one of two pieces of luggage was missing and no one was at the airport to pick us up which was an indication that no one was checking. After going back and forth by phone with the ship, we ended up taking a $25 cab arriving at 1:00AM. Unfortunately we missed our only chance to see Budapest. The ship's desk staff was pleasant and took charge of finding our luggage (three days later after spending $130.00 for clothes). We did enjoy the ship itself. It was clean and well taken care of. The working staff was extremely pleasant and accommodating. Our stateroom was comfortable. The meals were tasty and well presented. The tour guide at each stop was very good. They were well informed and had a good sense of humor. My biggest disappointment was how Viking handled parts of the river too low to cruise upon. Fact: The river was low weeks before our cruise left and Viking ships were unable to complete the cruise by river. It appeared that Viking management staff was instructed to deal with it and took the brunt of all the complaints. The captain never appeared to address the conditions with his 190 paid passengers. For example, it would have been helpful to hear from the captain why the various long ships had to line up side by side where we could only see the inside of another ship's stateroom and not the river. Or what plan is in place for the passengers once the ship could no longer move. It was always left to our program director to explain and make adjustments. If the captain is responsible for the safety and well being of his passengers, then it would behoove him to personally be candid with Viking's paid customers. Since the ship was unable to travel to Nurenberg, we took a three hour motor coach ride to Nurenberg where after our tour, we were put up in a hotel in order to catch an early flight. I am assuming that Viking Cruise line is a multi- billion dollar business.FYI One hour of free drinks for one evening is very poor compensation and in poor taste. If that's the best Viking can do for their customers then I, as well as others, will take our business elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
I clocked at least 9-10 hours more on a bus than I should have been. Viking should have given us a chance to cancel and/or rebook, as they knew well in advance that there had been no rain and the Danube was too low to travel on. Original ... Read More
I clocked at least 9-10 hours more on a bus than I should have been. Viking should have given us a chance to cancel and/or rebook, as they knew well in advance that there had been no rain and the Danube was too low to travel on. Original ship replaced by the Freya, and we even had to repack and change ships back to the Njord. I realize weather is out of their control, but they had to know about it well in advance because all the locals said it was the lowest water level in 40-50 years. Service and meals on the ship were very nice, but there were five lunches off of the boat where there was absolutely no choice of food. City tours very rushed. Would not do this again..too risky and too much of an ordeal...certainly not relaxing in the least. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This holiday started in Berlin and concluded in Amsterdam. My wife and I joined the AmaBella in Budapest after 7 days in Berlin and Prague (bus trip with APT as part of the 21 day tour). We had a cabin on Deck 3 which was a good size ... Read More
This holiday started in Berlin and concluded in Amsterdam. My wife and I joined the AmaBella in Budapest after 7 days in Berlin and Prague (bus trip with APT as part of the 21 day tour). We had a cabin on Deck 3 which was a good size and included a double bed, 2 chairs in the inside balcony + 2 chairs and small table on outside balcony. Bathroom was a little narrow but the shower and facilities were excellent. Cupboard space excellent. Laundry service was excellent. Food faultless for a river cruise catering for 161 people. Crew were always happy, helpful and experienced in meeting our every need. Cruise Director was very competent and helpful, organising things with care and precision and keeping us well informed. We really benefited from her experience. Shore excursions were interesting, especially the APT exclusives, Vienna Concert, Linz to Salsburg APT Train Journey and the visit to Namedy Castle on Day 18. Boarding and disembarkation were well orgainised and handled with care. This was our third European river cruise, the previous two were on Avalon Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our third time on AMA and the best cruise we have had with them. The crew was friendly and attentive to our every need. The cabin was standard but adequate for our clothing and normal traveling requirements. Thankfully the draft ... Read More
This was our third time on AMA and the best cruise we have had with them. The crew was friendly and attentive to our every need. The cabin was standard but adequate for our clothing and normal traveling requirements. Thankfully the draft on this vessel allowed us to go all the way on the Danube with the low water levels. We heard of several other ships that had to stop and bus their passengers. Ornulf was a knowledgeable, personable and fun person who was our cruise director including the pre stay in Budapest and the post stay in Prague. Adrian was the chef and provided excellent food for us. We rate it the best we have had in all our River and large ship cruises. David was the hotel manager and although new to AMA, he was very social and had all the groups humming along at peak efficiency. He was having his first performance review while we were sailing and hopefully he got the excellent rating that he deserves. We understand that next year this ship will be doing the new Bordeaux itinerary. I am not sure how much of the crew will go with the ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
I call it casual elegance and the staff left no stone unturned. Our every question and need was met with patience and a smile The food was a culinary delight. We cruised at night which meant early morning docking allowing us to ... Read More
I call it casual elegance and the staff left no stone unturned. Our every question and need was met with patience and a smile The food was a culinary delight. We cruised at night which meant early morning docking allowing us to begin our day sightseeing. Many land trips are included in the price..a real plus. Communication re: side trips were announced the first evening and one could sign up for trips for the whole week...another plus. Evening entertainment was fun and a wonderful pianist played during cocktail hour. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My husband and I have taken eleven ocean cruises since 2006. This was our first river cruise and it was recommended by my daughter's in-laws. What can I say? It exceeded ALL of our expectations in all areas: ship size, more ... Read More
My husband and I have taken eleven ocean cruises since 2006. This was our first river cruise and it was recommended by my daughter's in-laws. What can I say? It exceeded ALL of our expectations in all areas: ship size, more intimate number of fellow cruisers (158 vs. 3,000), tours, service, cleanliness and on and on. Our cruise manager, Karen Bies, did an outstanding job. She was at her desk from early morning to late evening (by late I mean 11 pm). The difference between her and ocean cruise managers is that they are only available for about four hours a day, if that. Karen was always available, she even joined us on several tours, she worked miracles when we decided to change tours at the last minute. Our captain was always visible, friendly, genuine. The food was excellent and it was representative of whatever town/city/country we were visiting on that day. Sailing along the coastline gave us a view and insight into each town's history and beauty. We made friends that we will probably have for a lifetime because of the intimacy and coziness of a small vessel. We felt like we were traveling with family and friends and we looked forward to what adventure each day, each tour would bring. We placed a deposit on a future river cruise and look so forward to traveling on AMA Waterways in the near future! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
From start to finish my husband & I thoroughly enjoyed our first river cruise on Amaprima. It was great to be able to get on the ship when we arrived & straight away we felt at home waiting in their lounge with lots of snacks ... Read More
From start to finish my husband & I thoroughly enjoyed our first river cruise on Amaprima. It was great to be able to get on the ship when we arrived & straight away we felt at home waiting in their lounge with lots of snacks available until our bags were brought to our cabin.. We were shown to our cabin which was small but with loads of drawers & hanging places for our clothes lovely shower & very comfortable queen bed. After we had unpacked we were introduced to our Captain & Staff. Later that night after a superb meal we went on a cruise to see Budapest alight it was such a magical experience & one we will never forget. All of our tours etc were very well organised & it was great to be able to take the gentle walks as my husband has some difficulty with walking Our two managers Karen & Gemma were amazing always around to see if everyone was ok & always smiling. We went on many amazing places along the Danube had great entertainment with the great traditional Viennese traditional evening...great fun also The Strauss & Mozart concert in Vienna was excellent & eventhough we paid for this it was well worth it. Breakfasts lunches & dinners all superb. We loved having the free dining & meeting & becoming friends with all nationalities. We would definitely go again with Amawaterways. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015

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