I had extensively researched river cruises to determine if there would be one right for my husband and me. We are both 54 and, quite honestly, fairly active people. Although I was aware the average age was much higher, the draw for me was ... Read More
I had extensively researched river cruises to determine if there would be one right for my husband and me. We are both 54 and, quite honestly, fairly active people. Although I was aware the average age was much higher, the draw for me was the ability to see several countries without the hassle of packing and unpacking in different cities. I wanted something easy that didn’t require much thought. Even though I had read about the low and high water levels, and the possibility of there being some itinerary changes along the way, I still chose to book with Viking. There are many negative reviews regarding these itinerary changes but it often appears that people have not done their research ahead of time. If you know the possibility exists, you’re more apt to be able to “go with the flow” so to speak. In our family, our motto has always been, “it’s not really an adventure until you make your first u-turn”. As a result, we tend to fall in the “go with the flow” kind of crowd.
You can probably guess that this particular cruise required us to go with the flow. We chose the Romantic Danube cruise from Budapest to Nuremberg. After a great trip from Budapest to Passau, we received the one of the worst possible outcomes due to low water levels - not that we would be packing up and transferring to another ship, but that there were no remaining Viking ships available to transfer to further up the river. The last Viking ship had made it through the day before, otherwise we could have traded with them. As a result, at Passau, our boat was docked in a not so picturesque location for the last couple of days – in fact there were 3 Viking ships docked side by side. We were then transported each day to the last remaining excursion points – Regensburg and Nuremberg (Viking actually switched these two days – Nuremberg and then Regensburg). Some chose to stay behind and were allowed to return to Passau to spend the day. We travelled 3 hours by coach to Nuremberg. I enjoyed the scenery and my husband enjoyed the nap. Unfortunately, our day was shortened but we enjoyed lunch followed by the World War II excursion. We missed out on walking around Nuremberg but enjoyed the excursion. Two couples chose to end the cruise at that time – one due to health concerns with the traveling, one because “we paid for a river cruise”. Believe me, we were privy to this couple’s unhappiness as we returned to Passau.
Honestly, I’d do this again even if I knew how the last couple days would go. I would have booked the pre-extension in Budapest. Coming from Washington state, we did not arrive until 6:00 pm, just in time for the port talk and dinner. We missed out on exploring Budapest as the Panoramic Budapest tour was a drive through both sides on a Saturday morning - no traffic to slow us down - to view the buildings or take in one of the thermal baths.We enjoyed the Vienna "Up Close and Personal" excursion that was later added, allowing us to learn how to use the subway so we could continue to explore after the tour and return easily to the ship.We booked several optional excursions (1)The Heurigan Dinner was fun especially given the company we had to spend it with. (2) The Biking Tour at Krems to Durnstein and back was our favorite excursion, biking through vineyards and small towns and allowing us to explore the charming village of Durnstein. (3) Bavarian Beerfest - more than we expected, this was held on a farm where we received a tour of the facilities, ending with the tapping of the keg, pretzels, meats, spreads, and entertainment; (4) World War II - toured Courtroom 600 and then traveled to Zeppelin Field and the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rallying Grounds Museum- just wish we had had more time.
We did add the post extension to Prague. Highly recommend. We loved both the Panoramic Prague and Kutna Hora excursions. Lots and lots of time to explore. Just be sure to bring super comfy shoes!
We exchanged information with some wonderful people (meeting them and learning about their personal travels was one of the best parts of the trip) and saw some truly beautiful places. No regrets! Read Less