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14 Night Europe Cruise from Budapest

14 Night Europe Cruise from Budapest

Viking Modi
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Viking Modi

Viking Modi - Viking River Cruises

Sails Europe's Rhine and Danube

Tours and most drinks included in price

Real balcony cabins; a rarity in river cruising

Cruise Reviews

1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Just returned from 14-day Amsterdam to Budapest with 3-day Prague extension. I've done a lot of cruising, so was really looking forward to Viking's "superior" experience, and was really disappointed. The ships' ... Read More
Just returned from 14-day Amsterdam to Budapest with 3-day Prague extension. I've done a lot of cruising, so was really looking forward to Viking's "superior" experience, and was really disappointed. The ships' crews were great. FYI, if you're on the Modi or Skirnir, there's a broken lock on the Main, and they'll give you 48 hours notice on an "unfortunately" announcement about switching ships (we docked at Nuremberg, toured, and were bused 3 hours to Regensburg, where we boarded the Modi with a new crew, same room, etc.). Transfer was handled smoothly, but they've been doing this since lock broke on June 5th - they should be more up front about it. Before I booked the 3-day Prague extension, I read that Viking promised train transfer, but used people. When I booked, I was assured we would transfer by train. Not true - was a 9 hour coach ride, which the onboard guide told me they'd been doing for 5 years. Also - that's your whole first day. We got in at 5 p.m. and were exhausted. Hotel about 2 mi out of old town Prague, so long walk. For what we paid for that extension ($699 per person), I could have put us on train for the 2.5 hr ride, and a closer hotel, at half the price tag. Again, my main gripe is the build-in dishonesty about the company. The stops on this itinerary were all great, and local guides were usually pretty good. Service on Skirnir was mediocre, but food was great. When we switched to Modi, service was excellent, but food was mediocre and we started skipping meals. Do not use their add-on "flight concierge" service. We paid for it, to get window/seats together, and to avoid the east coast airports. Flights changed 7 or 8 times (airlines and/or connecting cities). When I went to check in, I had to pay Delta and additional $54 for a window seat because flight concierge completely doesn't keep up on your reservation and preferences once they make the original booking. Not worth it. Last complaint is about the almost daily reminders from our tour director that we could tip extra for excellent service. We pre-paid the $20/day per person gratuities so we didn't have to worry about it. But the daily hustling and reminders from Wez were tacky and uncomfortable. I thought that was really unprofessional for a supposed "luxury" company. We know we can tip extra for great help (and we did) - but the daily harangues were off-putting. My sense is that regardless of what Viking promises, all these river cruises are basically the same level of service/food/experience. Go with a more economical line, and be wary of extensions. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Backgound: My wife (57) and I (60) travelled the Passage to Eastern Europe itinerary (Bucharest-Budapest) on the Viking Modi in April. While seasoned ocean cruise travelers, this was our first river cruise and inaugural trip with Viking. ... Read More
Backgound: My wife (57) and I (60) travelled the Passage to Eastern Europe itinerary (Bucharest-Budapest) on the Viking Modi in April. While seasoned ocean cruise travelers, this was our first river cruise and inaugural trip with Viking. Eastern Europe appealed to us as neither had been to the five countries of the itinerary. We were both in the military stationed in Germany during the late 80s and were prohibited to take vacations behind the Iron Curtain. So this was an opportunity to see some of the old vestiges of communism and how these new democratic countries were integrating into the rest of Europe. Notes: Day 1 Bucharest Romania: Viking arranged flight from Tampa to Bucharest was on Lufthansa with a connection in Frankfurt. We were met at Bucharest airport by a Viking rep with bottled water and towelette. There was somewhat of a duffle bag drag in Bucharest Airport due to configuration of airport and where the bus could park. The check in at Sheraton Bucharest at 1800 was smooth and room was on quiet side of hotel. There was a lack of dinner recommendations by Viking rep but we found a nice crepe restaurant close by that was open on Sunday night. Many guests just ate in the hotel restaurant or the Pizza Hut next door. Day 2 Bucharest/Giurgu Romania: Nice breakfast buffet in hotel. Luggage out by 0730, had stateroom tags on bags as they were delivered to our room on the Modi in Giurgu. At 0900 boarded buses for city tour, visit to the Parliament Palace and the Village Museum. Highlight was the Parliament Palace (second to the Pentagon as the largest admin building in the world and a lot nicer inside than the 5 sided one). Parliament tour was by government guide and was outstanding as we had access to the main rooms and halls of the Palace, no restrictions on video or photos. Village Museum represented historic houses/churches from the three regions of Romania. The tour was interesting but light rain put a damper on this outdoor activity. Local ladies had a table with painted eggs for sale that were a popular buy for our tour group. After the Village tour we went to a local restaurant (Pescarus), for the included 4 course lunch (cabbage Salad, vegetable soup, beef stew over potatoes, apple strudel). Good hearty food on a rainy day. After lunch we drove 90 mins to Giurgu and boarded the Modi. Check in was smooth and the luggage was awaiting in the stateroom. Welcome briefing, safety drill and port talk was that evening. After dinner we sailed across the river to Russe, Bulgaria Day 3 Russe Bulgaria: Russe was our tour departure point to Arbanasi and Veliko Tarnovo. Great tour guide covered a lot of Bulgarian history/culture during our 90 minute bus ride. Stopped at a hotel for tea and restroom break. Tour of Arbanasi included an ottoman style house, church and shop to sample local liqueurs. Included 4 course lunch in at the Izvora (cucumber/tomato/goat cheese salad, vegetable soup, chicken clay pot dish, desert). Highly recommend the desert (yogurt with honey and walnuts). After lunch we drove to Veliko Tarnovo. Were given free time to either shop in town or walk the Tsarevets Fortress grounds. We chose the fortress and walked to the top of the hill and into the Patriarchal Church. Dating to the 12th century, this strategic fortress is one of two highly fortified hills that protected Bulgarian rulers living on the site in the tsar’s palace. Today it provides great views of the town and countryside. Upon departure from Veliko Tarnovo we drove to Svistov where the Modi had moved up river to meet us. That evening we sailed to Vidin. Day 4 Vidin Bulgaria: Vidin was our departure point for Belogradchik Rocks and Fortress. After bus tour of Vidin it was a 90 minute drive to Belogradchik which included a hotel stop for coffee and cookies. Fortress included rock formations that you could climb through a series of stairs. Luckily it was a sunny dry day as rocks have moss covering and would have been difficult footing if wet. We had one hour on site and it was one hour back to ship. After lunch on the ship we walked down to the Baba Vida Fortress in Vidin. Back on the ship there was a sponsored afternoon talk with two girl high school students and a show by children's dance group. Departure at 1800. Day 5 Cruise through Iron Gate: Set clocks back one hour. Went through one lock during night and one during day. Very windy going into the gorge between the Carpathian and Balkan Mountains. Passed the Viking Alta heading downriver. Went by the stone monument to Dacian King Decebalus and the monastery. Took a tour of the wheelhouse, loved all the electronics. Afternoon tea in the lounge with Apple Strudel making session. Lounge talk about other Viking cruises with $200 for $100 credit offer on future cruises. Day 6 Belgrade Serbia: Arrived at 0600 in Belgrade and tour start 0830. Had to have passports when off boat. 4 hour tour included: city tour, crypt visit to St. Sava church, one hour in pedestrian zone (Knez Mihailova) for shopping and walking tour of Kalemegdan Fortress. After lunch onboard, walked up to pedestrian zone in afternoon for more shopping. Late afternoon was a fascinating guest lecture on Serbia-history and today. Dinner was Balkan food either served or buffet. Serbian folklore band and dancing after dinner was great. 2300 left Belgrade for Vukovar. Day 7 Vukovar Croatia: Morning cruising, walked on sun deck. Croatian Tamburica Band played before lunch and was great. After lunch and docking there was a bus tour of Vukovar. Signs of the 1990s conflict where evident as the town was the epicenter of the Serb/Croatian war. Toured the fortress in Osijek which is now used for academic and commercial purposes. Visited church and heard young lady sing. In small groups we visited houses in Imish. We visited a house where the lady had a cake making business, weren't we lucky. After a great conversation with our host we headed back to the ship. Day 8 Kalocsa and Puszta Hungary: Early morning passport check on board as we entered Hungary at Mohacs. Morning cruising included a movie on the European Union. 1230 docked in Kalocsa. 1330 Tour of town included a visit to the Assumption Cathedral in Holy Trinity Square for a organ recital. After we drove 20 minutes into the country side to Puszta where the Hungarian cowboys (csikos) put on a show of horsemanship. Make sure you visit the animal stables to see the horses. They also have a breed of pig (Mangalica) that has curly wool like sheep and sheep (Racka) that have antelope style spiral horns. That night we had a final farewell talk as we sailed to Budapest. Day 9 Budapest: Luggage outside stateroom by 0830 as it will be delivered directly to the hotel. Close out ship accounts. Vacate stateroom by 0830 and await 0930 tour of Budapest. Tour of city with stop on Buda side at Fisherman's Bastion and tour of Matthias Church. After is a visit to the Central Market and free time for shopping and to have lunch on own. 1530 check-in to hotel which was the Radisson Blu Beke Hotel in Pest. This is my only true criticism of the trip. As much as Viking got right, I can't believe they picked this hotel. When we originally got our itinerary they listed the Hilton on Buda side as our hotel which got rave reviews. We then got an email saying they changed our hotel to the Radisson. The issue with the Radisson is that it has been under renovation for the last 5 months and this had to be known to Viking when they made the switch of hotels. Many of us were on the second floor of the Radisson with jackhammering occurring on the floor below. The vibration would rattle your teeth. We were in one of the renovated rooms which the cable went out the first night and the shower pressure would decrease as you made the water hotter. So obviously some bugs to work out in the rooms that have already been renovated. Went out for a city walk late afternoon to get out of hotel. Walked to the Parliament, along the Danube, over the Chain Bridge and back and through Liberty Square. Nice evening. Day 10 Budapest: Breakfast in makeshift ball room as café under construction. Got out of hotel early before renovation worked started. Bought 24 hour transportation pass and rode tram and bus up to Buda Hill. Had Fisherman's Bastion free of crowds, took great pictures. Went to Harry Houdini's Museum as he was originally from Budapest. Took bus down to Pest side and start of Deák Ferenc utra and Vaci utra which are the pedestrian shopping streets. Revisited the Central Market for some souvenirs. Took the Metro back to a stop close to the hotel. Day 11 Trip Home: Baggage placed outside of hotel room at 0945 for trip to airport at 1030. Bus to airport was uneventful. Budapest is a modern airport with a nice food court. Lufthansa flight was Budapest-Munich-Newark. Then United to Tampa. Arrived home after midnight and was glad to find my bed. Cruise tips: - Stick with the included tours since you paid for them; unless of course there is a culinary or wine tour that you must do. We found all the included tours went to great locations with very knowledgeable guides that spoke good English. Utilization of the QuietVox system allows space to spread out the tour group. We recommend tipping the bus drivers/local guides if you enjoyed the tour. - Local currency. Each of the five countries visited retains its own currency even if they are members of the European Union. We did not ATM withdrawal or exchange for any Levs, Kuna or Forints. We found all the tourist shops/restaurants either took credit cards, euros and in some cases dollars. We tipped the local guides in Euros. - We found the food on the cruise to be of higher quality than experienced on Princess or Holland America cruises of the past. There was always a three course selection of local cuisine available for dinner and we would recommend you consider this first. Service was outstanding as there was never a long wait time to be served or in between courses. Most of our meals were taken in the dining room. We had one dinner and two lunches on the Aquavit Terrace. This was attributed to the outside seating was only open one afternoon due to the weather and inside seating is rather limited. - Your passports are secured by guest services upon arrival on the ship and you receive them back at the end of the cruise. The only time we were required to have them was getting off the ship in Belgrade Serbia for the day. There is also a passport photo check with immigration officials on board when you cross into Hungary as you are entering the Shengren Area of the EU. - This is an enrichment cruise and the on-board entertainment is reflective of that. We found the local musical groups/dance tropes to be very talented. The lecture by the university professor in Belgrade was not to be missed. As well the reflections of "growing up behind the Iron Curtain" by the cruise director Nikolay and hotel manger Frank were entertaining and informative. Nice father and daughter duo that provided nightly music. - Viking is very cognizant of the age demographic of its guests and this is reflective in the opportunities for utilization of restrooms on the tours. While most restrooms on the cruise tours are free, the restrooms in Budapest are not. Both at the Matthias Church/Fisherman's Bastion site and the Central Market Place there is a 1 Euro charge to use the restroom. Therefore, best to have some change available to use the loo. Overall is was a fantastic cruise and hopefully you will get a chance to experience it too. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have been on 70+ ocean cruises and decided to try a river cruise due to the ports of call and the positive reports we had from friends on their Viking experience. Maybe we didn't do enough homework, but this trip was a total ... Read More
We have been on 70+ ocean cruises and decided to try a river cruise due to the ports of call and the positive reports we had from friends on their Viking experience. Maybe we didn't do enough homework, but this trip was a total disappointment. We booked the Explorer Suite for the Passages to Eastern Europe cruise (It was a special occasion). We also booked our business class air with Viking. Viking did an excellent job communicating before and during the trip. We were impressed with their detail and excellent information. -Transfers: We had private transfers because we were in the Explorer Suite. They were timely and professional. -Budapest Hotel: There were many people checking in at the same time at the Bucharest Intercontinental. It was quite disorganized. We waited in line for a long time and were finally assigned a room. It was in a bad location and even though we offered to pay an upgrade for a "river view" room, we were told there were none available. The hotel was very nice, in a great location, and the breakfast was the best of any during the entire trip. It was a great beginning and then we boarded to boat. -Suite: The Explorer Suite was disappointing in that it was so noisy (it sits above the engines) we couldn't leave the windows open and there was terrible vibration whenever the boat was moving. The amenities were nice including having laundry done within a day and very neatly folded and returned. While room service for breakfast was included, there really is no place to eat except to lean over the little table. We knew the rooms are not comparable to ocean liners, but we thought that 445 square feet would make for a comfortable experience. The suite is long and narrow and not very easy to maneuver.... though I know it is quite large in comparison to the regular cabins on Viking Long Ships. -Food: I don't know if it was because of where we were sailing or the chef, but the food was poor to satisfactory. There was nothing good --not even the local specials. We found the dining room service to be just OK-- nothing special-- nor did they attempt to be accommodating. The bar tenders were great! Excursions: Our bad... we did not expect to have such long bus trips. Several days included being on the bus from 8:30 am until 7:00 pm. The busses were cramped and not comfortable. The local guides were excellent; the Viking guides were not. Most cities were too far away to go and explore on your own. We should have done better research. We included the post-cruise extension to Transylvania. We spent almost the entire 3 days on a bus, arriving late in the evening to the hotels. Enrichment: The local performers and lecturers were mediocre at best. Fellow Passengers: Maybe this was unusual, but this boat was filled with the most unfriendly people we have experienced. There was little laughter or conversation. People were pushy getting to be first on the bus each day (they wanted a special seat and there was no seat rotation) and people rushed into the dining room to save their favorite table and pushed and shoved. Rarely did anyone even say hello as you passed in the corridor or greet you with a hello or good morning. Very strange. Poor attention to illness: On day 2 of the cruise many people became ill with a flu/cold virus. People were coughing everywhere and you could see how sick they were. We got the crud on day 3. I was running a fever and literally spent 3 days in bed. Viking did NOTHING to accommodate the ill passengers, even though there were at least 50+ sick passengers. We knew there was no medical center on this little boat, but there wasn't even any cough syrup or cough drops to purchase. One passenger was at the front desk asking for assistance and the answer was, we can arrange to have a taxi take you into the town, but it will be at your own expense. Couldn't they even go to a pharmacy and pick up some cough medicine when the boat and busses were like being in a sanitarium for TB patients? Shame on the Viking crew. Hotel in Bucharest: The Raddison Blu was a nice "convention type" hotel. Some will read this review and assume that because we became ill, our trip was spoiled and we were therefore disappointed. I assure you this was not the case. It was not the illness that spoiled the trip, it was the Viking experience. We acknowledge that perhaps we are not meant to take river cruises and perhaps a different itinerary, other than Eastern Europe would be different. Read Less
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