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17 Budapest Viking Eistla Cruise Reviews

We were celebrating a family event and wanted to experience something new. We wanted to visit multiple countries and explore new experiences. We've never cruised before so we chose the river as it's a smaller boat and not too ... Read More
We were celebrating a family event and wanted to experience something new. We wanted to visit multiple countries and explore new experiences. We've never cruised before so we chose the river as it's a smaller boat and not too intimidating. This cruise met all requirements as we visited 5 countries and toured multiple Christmas markets. We had a great time enjoying the local foods and customs. We typically plan and book our vacations on our own, so also having the itinerary pre-built made the trip relaxing. From the time we booked with Viking the communication and materials provided made everything quite simple and easy. They handled all our transfers flawlessly and check in was very simple. We had two cabins as we travelled with our teenage and adult children. The one advice on cabins is to book in the middle of the ship to avoid the engine noise. From the moment we stepped onto the ship, we were made to feel comfortable. The crew was outstanding, personable, accommodating, helpful to every detail. They truly are the stars of the cruise. The cabins were clean and new and the amenities just fine. The food was exceptional (always a bit much). It's amazing what they do on quality and quantity with such a small kitchen! Local foods were featured at all stops. The one advice for Viking is to provide local wines vs just the house brand. Tours were simple and overview driven. To go deeper, you have to plan ahead and book your own tour guide, but that said, it was just right. Being so close to city centers we finished the tours and headed back out to do what we wanted. We also decided to stay on an additional 3 days in Prague and that was worth it. What a great city and booking through Viking they handled all transfers and provided hotel staff to handle requests like dinner reservations. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We had previously cruised with Viking in April 2015 - that being the Tulips and Windmills cruise. The entire experience was so wonderful and such a joy that we decided on a Viking Christmas cruise. We love the ambiance of the River craft ... Read More
We had previously cruised with Viking in April 2015 - that being the Tulips and Windmills cruise. The entire experience was so wonderful and such a joy that we decided on a Viking Christmas cruise. We love the ambiance of the River craft and the personalized service that all guests receive (we did and assume all others did as well). The ships themselves are kept very neat and clean and the cabins also. While the cabins are a bit small, I can see that the public rooms benefit from the additional space. Nobody spends much time in their cabins other than to sleep and shower. The dining room offers a great variety of dishes and are beautifully presented by an always friendly wait staff. Again, the personalized service adds to the experience of everyone being made to feel special. The on board activities were a fun way to wind down after a day on shore seeing the wonderful sights and having a great experience. The piano in the lounge is always a nice touch as it adds to everyone's relaxation. The games (per se) in the lounge are fun and a good way to get conversations started. Service was outstanding as I mentioned previously. The food, the cabin amenities and the crew did an excellent job of making the experience so special. The ports and shore excursions were for the most part interesting and well thought out. The additional excursions were a job as well and were a delight. Would we cruise again with Viking? Indeed we would and while we know there are other river cruise lines, Viking has twice exceeded our expectations. Thanks for enriching our lives. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Wanted to cruise the Danube, see Budapest and Vienna. This cruise exceeded my expectations. The cities were beautiful. The guided tours were fantastic. Best of all, the ship, crew, meals and total experience were exquisite. Viking has ... Read More
Wanted to cruise the Danube, see Budapest and Vienna. This cruise exceeded my expectations. The cities were beautiful. The guided tours were fantastic. Best of all, the ship, crew, meals and total experience were exquisite. Viking has perfected the river cruise experience. Every detail, from arrival to departure, was well planned and executed. The only recommendation I would have is that the flights that were booked through Viking were not as well planned or efficient as the rest of the trip. I would suggest that more effort be placed on securing the best possible flights with the shortest possible layovers. Once we arrived in Budapest the experience truly began. We were amazed at the preparation of the staff, the excellence of the tour guides, and the attention to detail. The cabin was comfortable, clean, and very pleasant. We reserved a room with a balcony (veranda) and in retrospect would probably not pay for that upgrade again. We travelled in late November and the weather was cold (it snowed in two of our stops) and, therefore, we did not use the balcony. In warmer weather I'm sure it would have been better used. We loved our cruise director (named David I think) who was extremely knowledgeable, personable and witty. He truly made the on-board experience a lot of fun. We loved the ability to visit with the chef and tour the kitchen. We also took great advantage of the beer and wine that was available at meals - a great benefit! We can't wait to do another Viking cruise! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
My boyfriend and I learned more about Viking River Cruises from PBS (while watching Masterpiece, of course!) and were immediately interested in the the fact that we could go to Europe and unpack once and still see multiple cities. Being ... Read More
My boyfriend and I learned more about Viking River Cruises from PBS (while watching Masterpiece, of course!) and were immediately interested in the the fact that we could go to Europe and unpack once and still see multiple cities. Being that we are only in our early to mid-30s we were hesitant to book the cruise, thinking that it would be a bunch of old ladies in shalls and men in top-hats on the cruise. We booked the Danube Waltz European Holiday cruise and were excited at the prospect of seeing Europe for the holidays. We decided to sail over the Thanksgiving holiday and started our journey by extending it pre-trip in Budapest, Hungary. Upon landing in Budapest, we were greeted by the friendly faces of Viking's staff at the airport which helped us with our luggage and waited with us until our car came to whisk us away to our hotel. For the extra two days, we stayed at the magnificent Gresham Palace, Four Season Budapest. The hotel and its staff were amazing, so hospitable and accommodating. Our large and well-appointed room was on the fifth floor (the top floor of the hotel) and our private balcony overlooked the beautiful Chain Bridge, which connects Buda and Pest. The Viking guide, which was already waiting for us in the lobby of the Four Season, kindly waited for us while we checked in and made our way down from our room. She thoroughly went over the layout of Budapest as a city with a map, letting us know how public transportation worked, where popular sights to see were at, etc. At our request, she gave us a mini-tour of the surrounding neighborhood of our hotel and after dropping us back at our hotel, left us to explore the city by ourselves for the next two day. (Although she offered to meet with us each day and show us around her lovely city, as two men in their 30s, we opted to explore on our own.) What an amazing city Budapest is! It is very tourist friendly city (the American dollar is strong and the population is English-speaking) and very walkable. The day we were set to join our fellow shipmates aboard our Viking vessel, the same Viking guide which greeted us at our hotel on the first day, arrived with a van and driver to pick us up and drive us the 200 feet to the ship. We thought this was hilarious, since we could have walked it, but Viking doesn't let you down (all transfers are included...haha!). Upon our arrival on ship, we were warmly greeted by Viking's staff and being that we were younger than their traditional clientele, surprised them. Over the next 8 days we visited the lovely cities in our Danube Waltz itinerary. At each stop, the local Viking tour guides made each visit very special. Each city visit started with a 60-90 minute walking tour, led by very knowledgeable guides. Then we were allowed to explore and enjoy the wonderful cities on our own. I would suggest that prospective Viking travelers look into the additional shore activities, most of which are well-worth the money. The staff aboard the ship was attentive and always had smiles on their faces. The spacious cabins were cleaned daily and the turndown every night was a nice touch. Additionally, there was TONS of storage in each room. There were plenty of places to store your busy suitcases (at least in room 319 there was). While the food is very good and the Viking kitchen staff does a good job to change up the dining menus, I would suggest you attempt to eat as much as you can locally when on shore. This is all part of the experience and you are missing out if you decide not to. Once we finally reached our last port in Passau, Germany, it was hard to say goodbye to Europe and the Viking ship. You really do forget about days and current time when aboard the ship. On our departure date, we were driven 2 hours from Passau to Munich to board our flight back to the states. Our last interaction before we left Europe was a Viking guide who helped us with our luggage at the Munich airport and led us to the counter to check in. This was the best vacation I have ever taken. While this is not an inexpensive trip (this is not a trip for high school kids or spring breakers looking to get hammered), the value is in the ease, comfort and care of the Viking ships and the wonderful staff. We had an amazing trip and look forward to doing another one in the near future. Oh, and we didn't see any men in top hat on the cruise... Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I wanted a cruise of at least 2 weeks and a mixture of large cities and smaller towns. The churches, abbey, palaces and windmill interested me. The cost seemed reasonable. I had previously visited Vienna and Budapest and looked forward ... Read More
I wanted a cruise of at least 2 weeks and a mixture of large cities and smaller towns. The churches, abbey, palaces and windmill interested me. The cost seemed reasonable. I had previously visited Vienna and Budapest and looked forward to going back. The scenery was overwhelming; just sitting on the boat looking out the windows was worthwhile. The meals were fantastic, often with foods I had never sampled. Breakfast and lunch featured buffets, but there were also menu items which could be ordered. I enjoyed the unlimited wine at lunch and dinner. Often there were evening concerts or lectures. Classical music, opera, pop music, and folk music were offered. The staff went out of their way to provide excellent service. The Program Director was ever present to explain upcoming journeys and schedules and then accompanied us on all these trips. The waitstaff were marvelous. Melk Abbey was a highlight I often think about along with the many palaces. The various sites in Nurenberg were haunting and worth the cost. I loved all the sites in Bamberg and Passau. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Saw advertisements about Vicking River Cruises and thought it would be a wonderful experience. Selected the Grand European Cruise because of the many cities it stopped at. It was much better than I had hoped for. The tours and tour ... Read More
Saw advertisements about Vicking River Cruises and thought it would be a wonderful experience. Selected the Grand European Cruise because of the many cities it stopped at. It was much better than I had hoped for. The tours and tour guides were great. All of the tour guides were very knowledgeable about the history of the city that we were visiting. My wife had never traveled to Europe. She was amazed at the beauty of the counties and cities that we traveled thru. The food on the ship was excellent with a wide variety of items to choose from at each meal. The staff on the ship was fantastic and extremely helpful in fulfilling any request we made of them. We made many new friends on the cruise. It was an experience of a lifetime. We arrived in Budapest and was met at the airport by a Viking representative who saw that we and our luggage were escorted to the bus for the trip to the ship. From this point forward a Viking representative was always available to see that our every need and desire was handled in a very courteous and professional manner. Many nights before and after dinner we would go to the lounge to listen to the live music and enjoy the various entertainers that we brought on board. We ended our cruise in Amsterdam. When we arrived at the airport we again were met by a Viking representative who helped with boarding passes and making sure we were safely on our way home. Our two week cruise went by very quickly. We are planning our next cruise. 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
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
We booked our flight and cruise with Viking planning a river cruise starting in Budapest aboard the Bestla Ship.ending in Amsterdam. Alitia Airlines lost our luggage for 7 days. However the crew on Bestla ship was wonderful and ... Read More
We booked our flight and cruise with Viking planning a river cruise starting in Budapest aboard the Bestla Ship.ending in Amsterdam. Alitia Airlines lost our luggage for 7 days. However the crew on Bestla ship was wonderful and laundered our clothes and repeatedly tried to locate our luggage. After 7 days, we were told that the river was low and we must take a 3 hour bus drive to the twin ship Eistla. Upon boarding Eistla, I noticed the ship did not smell fresh. Entering our room there was a button on the floor, thought the vacuum missed it. Next morning was an early morning excursion, but our bathroom smelled . Thought all would be well later. Upon returning to room, smell was a disaster and the was a bubbling sound of foul gas coming from drain area of bathroom. Reported this and Captain for managing ship came. Asked immediately to be moved to another room. Was frightened for our health. She told me they had no other room. I was frantic. For the day we had no place to clean up or rest etc. At 9:30 p.m., we decided we need to check out the room. It smelled heavily of disinfectant. The same towels and bath mat were in the bathroom. There was disinfectant odor for three days. My husband had a sore throat on the last day of travel from ship. Had the ship management kept plumbing in order this would never had happened. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We joined the Viking Eistla in Budapest. First impressions were that this was a smart, well-designed and well-appointed ship and this proved to be so over the next 14 days. The vessel is comfortable and quiet, with good lighting and ... Read More
We joined the Viking Eistla in Budapest. First impressions were that this was a smart, well-designed and well-appointed ship and this proved to be so over the next 14 days. The vessel is comfortable and quiet, with good lighting and temperature control. Public areas are pleasant and airy, and the lounge had plenty of space except for the rare occasion (eg disembarkation information) when everybody tried to be there at once. An attractive feature was being able to choose to eat either in the main restaurant or in the Aquavit Terrace. The restaurant provided a wide range of food for all meals whereas the Aquavit offered a lighter buffet selection and was less formal. We enjoyed the Aquavit for continental breakfasts and light lunches. Excursions were very good on the whole. The locations were always splendid and the local guides excellent 9 times out of 10. I also greatly appreciated the punctuality of the arrangements - the ship moored and the tours set off at the predicted times. Free Wi-Fi was also appreciated and was generally available except when docked under large metal bridges etc. (which also affected TV reception). Connection speeds were reasonable. We obviously did not expect entertainment to be on a par with what large ocean cruise ships can provide, but the resident pianist and occasional other live music was good. The standard of housekeeping and cleanliness throughout the vessel was excellent. Finally, and most importantly, the service was outstanding - quite the best we have experienced in about 10 cruises. Everyone from the superb Hotel Director Jadranka down was friendly, helpful and efficient. This played a major part in ensuring that the trip exceeded our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
The 14 night Grand European cruise was our fourth VRC, and first over seven nights. We are familiar with the longship design and layout and thus reserved our usual "aquatic" class room. We still see no value in a upgraded room ... Read More
The 14 night Grand European cruise was our fourth VRC, and first over seven nights. We are familiar with the longship design and layout and thus reserved our usual "aquatic" class room. We still see no value in a upgraded room for these river cruises. The cabins are all virtually the same size (save for the suites) and balcony/room time is usually limited to napping or sleeping. The party is on deck or in the lounge - and these cruises are essentially one big house party. Consist was a bit older than last year's Bordeaux romp and less interested in the wines. The wine list therefore was lacking with the only reds available (aside from the house pours) being a Hungarian "Bull's Blood" blend, a German red (nuff said), a CA B-grade cabby, and a Valpolicella (best in class here). Also available (sometimes) were a right bank Bordeaux blend and a Barolo. I say sometimes because stock was limited. Wine lovers would be wise to shop early and often in port to take advantage if the no corkage policy aboard. Whites were similarly limited with no white burgundies or sancerres. Still we opted for the Silver package and made do with generous pours of Veuve Cliquot and the occasional post-dinner Cognac (Hennessy XO). The bar staff was superb: Kris behind the bar and Emilian were among the finest gentlemen we ever experienced. Big kudos as well for Aryan (Maitre 'd) for his excellent service with the wines. Dining was consistently good if not special. The chef was frequently seen and a gallery tour was offered. Dishes included a braised beef dish, osso bucca, veal (three different specialties with veal), chicken, and lamb shanks. A rib-eye steak was always available. Entree choices were the meat course, a daily seafood dish, and a pasta entree. I found the soups to be very good and not salty. All meals are available in the DR or in the lounge/terrace (less formal with less choices, but very popular). Breakfast is terrific! Coffee is plentiful but inconsistent with strength. A machine is always available for cappuccino outside the lounge (with cookies!). Order better expresso from the bar. Dining room service was uneven at first, but we settled into excellent service from the amazing Vanya with her million-watt smile, steady Mate, and lovely Judit. Rusty also seemed to get good reviews from fellow passengers. I would avoid the front left side of the DR on entry - just saying. The cabin was maintained with polish and promptness from Barbara. Front house staff was superb: Nina (Concierge), the aforementioned Aryan (Maitre 'd), the sweet and efficient Hotel Manager (name escapes me), and the Master of Ceremonies - the Program Director, David from the UK (and his evil twin Fritz) were all top-flight professionals. The ship was piloted by a well-drilled team led by a very young but hard-working Captain whom could frequently be seen working side-by-side with his staff painting, cleaning, etc. Viking is a growing (50% market share of River cruising) company - they also now own the familiar KD cruises along the Rhine. I think recent reviews in the general forums are completely unfair to paint this organization as unresponsive to customer service. Our fourth cruise with Viking reinforced our first impression as a five-star experience from Viking. Rumor has it that Viking is considering a Mississippi excursion, which we highly welcome. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We had only been on one cruise prior to this one and, frankly, were not greatly impressed. Too much sailing and not enough shore time were our conclusions. Everything we needed (coffee, drinks, snacks etc) cost extra and the shore ... Read More
We had only been on one cruise prior to this one and, frankly, were not greatly impressed. Too much sailing and not enough shore time were our conclusions. Everything we needed (coffee, drinks, snacks etc) cost extra and the shore excursions were extremely expensive. So we were most impressed with the Viking experience, with 24 hour coffee, beer and wine with meals, and the included tours which all gave us excellent experience of the local towns and cities. The additional tours were excellent value. Service on board was terrific; the Progam Manager was everywhere and available and helpful. All the staff fell over themselves to provide service above and beyond our expectations. Food was wonderful (we both gained 4 kg) and varied, and beautifully presented and served. Administration of our account, and the disembarkation process, were seamless. We left our Viking luggage tags on our suitcases, and on our next trip, a Viking rep. saw them in the airport and asked if he could help us! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
All inclusive cruising. The food was amazing, the Hungarian wine was delicious, the service was amazing. The waiters did an awesome job and some of them were quite entertaining and we felt like friends by time our cruise was over. The ... Read More
All inclusive cruising. The food was amazing, the Hungarian wine was delicious, the service was amazing. The waiters did an awesome job and some of them were quite entertaining and we felt like friends by time our cruise was over. The housekeeping staff did an excellent job of keeping our room clean. The entertainment was good, although we never saw all of it. The room for the entertainment could have been a little bit bigger to accommodate more guests. The shore excursions were good. It didn't take us too long before we decided to go out on our own to tour the cities. Some of the guided tours were quite slow (to accommodate those seniors who could not walk very fast), there was a lot of historical information which we soon found as information overload. Some of the tours we did enjoy. Our favourite times were exploring on our own, or with another couple, the old castles and other natural historic sites. We are not shoppers so we avoided that as much as possible. The ship was well laid out and appointed in lovely neutral tones, no complaints. All the staff were kind and extremely hard working and dedicated. We had a wonderful time and would definitely recommend this type of luxury cruising to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We took the Viking Grand European Tour from Budapest to Amsterdam and had a wonderful time. We put together a group of 7 cabins of friends so we always had someone we knew to talk with and do port excursions with, but the other guests on ... Read More
We took the Viking Grand European Tour from Budapest to Amsterdam and had a wonderful time. We put together a group of 7 cabins of friends so we always had someone we knew to talk with and do port excursions with, but the other guests on board were also very friendly and nice so we met new friends too. The ship size was perfect and the service superb! Embarkation was a snap and our cabin was very nice, we had a french balcony, but some of our group chose the rooms below with the half window and said they were nice and large and quiet. We are signed up for another Viking cruise next year, going from Munich and ending back in Budapest. We loved Budapest and wanted to see it again and spend more time there. Others from our group have signed up for other Viking cruises this year and next, so this cruise was a hit with everyone! The weather was a bit cool in early April, but the prices were also better at that time, and there were fewer tourist crowds to deal with. As far as shore excursions go, Bratislava was very interesting and our guide was witty and very knowledgeable. Our cruise next year goes back there and I hope it has not changed too much! Melk Abby was amazing, a must see, and the town of Cologne was lovely, people out for strolls and on blankets enjoying the spring sunshine. We recommend going into Budapest a day or 2 early to enjoy both sides of the river and poke around the markets nearby, lots to see and do within walking distance. The Marriott hotel on the river is excellent for pre cruise stays. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
13 of us took the Grand European from Budapest to Amsterdam on March 29, 2015. The cruise was wonderful. The Eistla fabublous. If you are lucky enough to have Florian as your chef you will eat well! We were cruising on Easter ... Read More
13 of us took the Grand European from Budapest to Amsterdam on March 29, 2015. The cruise was wonderful. The Eistla fabublous. If you are lucky enough to have Florian as your chef you will eat well! We were cruising on Easter Sunday. About 15-20 guest had inquired about arrival in Nuremberg in time for church services. David and Krista made arrangements for an unscheduled stop and a coach to take us into town. David walked us to the church. I was in a Catholic church with a German priest. I am Presbyterian, so really did not know what was going on, but was thrilled to be there. That Viking would go our of their way to see that the few of us that wanted to be in church on Easter Sunday, got to be there was wonderful. Their genuine caring also came thru when a fellow passenger fell in Wurzburg and had to be hospitalized. Their care for him and his wife was wonderful. I can't wait to take another Viking Cruise!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Viking Eistla Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.7
Family 1.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 4.0 4.3
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 3.0 4.4
Rates 4.0 N/A

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