Sail Date: August 2014
We just got back from our Grand European Tour from August 10 - 24 starting in Budapest. I think it was a good decision to begin in Budapest because we had almost 2 complete days to enjoy the city. We arrived at 10AM and were in our cabin ... Read More
We just got back from our Grand European Tour from August 10 - 24 starting in Budapest. I think it was a good decision to begin in Budapest because we had almost 2 complete days to enjoy the city. We arrived at 10AM and were in our cabin at noon. At the end of the cruise we might have been too exhausted to appreciate this beautiful city, am only sorry we didn't arrive a couple of days early. The weather was quite warm, almost 90F, but after Budapest the temperature dropped considerably and it was chilly with little sun and rain in several places. I think the itinerary was excellent and each city or town was different and had its special charm. The places I enjoyed the most were Budapest, Vienna, Regensburg and Bamburg. The only places that disappointed were Wurzburg and Cologne. probably because I expected more. Viking does an excellent job of balancing the itinerary so that there are early starts on tours interspersed with later starts on others. The tour guides were very knowledgeable, informative, and personable. However, after a few tours it is hard not to confuse one place with another and maintain interest. I am a history lover and a former educator, but I did find myself getting "toured out." That was my problem, definitely not Viking's. The service provided was outstanding in all respects. Kudos to the entire staff who work hard to accommodate you. Jazmina in the restaurant and Johnny on the Aquavit Terrace were wonderful, as well as our stewardess, Michaela. The stateroom was tiny, but well laid out so with a little organization two people can manage to fit. Unfortunately, my husband fell ill and missed several days of the cruise and I was tempted to take a blanket and sleep in the lounge. Being on the lowest deck was fine, especially since in several ports there are ships stacked next to each other and there is no view. The food was hit or miss. Breakfast was very good, Norwegian smoked salmon daily with bagels and yummy pastries were part of the offerings. We rarely had lunch, and dinner good be quite good but also quite lacking. The chef tries to make very sophisticated dishes that at times did not work. The only incident that was annoying was at the end of the cruise. We had a 10:10 AM departure from Amsterdam and we had been scheduled to depart the ship at 6AM. Viking refused to change anyone's departure time so with another couple we asked for a mini van to go to the airport. Constantin, the concierge, said it would cost 45 euros for the four of us (not for each couple). I had him repeat this several times to make sure there was no confusion, but when we got to the airport after dropping off the other couple at KLM we proceeded to United, where when paying the driver he wanted $70 euros. We refused to pay the difference and since the transfer had been arranged by Viking and this was the taxi company they always use we told the cabby to complain to the Baldur. We did report this to the Viking representative at the airport and also called the company yesterday to tell them about it. Now why did I say "not my cup of tea"? This was our first river cruise and have only done two ocean cruises to Alaska and to the Mediterranean years ago on what was Renaissance and is now Oceania. We have always traveled to Europe independently organizing the itineraries on our own and having done the river cruise we realize that group travel is not for us, it is too regimented as far as meals, tours, etc. Planning a European trip requires a lot of exhaustive research, but that is definitely our preference. Having said that, I would definitely recommend Viking and this itinerary to anyone who wants to do a river cruise and leave the planning to others. Last, but not least, we were fortunately in that there were no problems with water levels or lock break downs which seems to be a fairly common occurrence. This was causing me a lot of stress before the trip worrying about whether our cruise would turn into a bus tour, another reason why I would not repeat this experience. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
We choose the Grand European Tour which was a voyage lasting 14 days and departing on August 24, 2014, from Viking River Cruises for that it offered the best itinerary to visit 5 countries on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers (Netherlands, ... Read More
We choose the Grand European Tour which was a voyage lasting 14 days and departing on August 24, 2014, from Viking River Cruises for that it offered the best itinerary to visit 5 countries on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers (Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary), for the extensions to Amsterdam and to Prague and for the small size of Baldur ship (190 passengers). We enjoyed very much our cruise : the ports of call were well selected, the shore excursions were well organized, the ship was new (2013) and had top notch facilities and services, the staff was friendly and helpful and the cabin was a good size, modern and comfortable. The transfer with Viking was fast from hotel to the ship so we boarded at 14:15 and after showing our passports at the reception, we were directed to our Balcony Room (# 331). The luggage came fastly after the arrival in our room. The stateroom was exactly as expected : a very comfortable bed, a large window door giving on the balcony with a table and 2 chairs. It is compact but convenient and we had enough room to store all our things. The bathroom was small but efficient with good smelling Occitane toiletries. The shower stall with glass windows was the best and largest shower we had in a cruise. We visited Kinderdijk, Cologne, Koblenz, Miltenberg, Wurzburg, Rothenburg (which was an optional tour), Bamberg, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passsau, Melk, Krems (for an optional wine tour), Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. We strongly suggest Viking cruises to change the itinerary in the future: 2 days are required in Vienna instead of Melk where we saw only the Abbaye. In fact, Vienna is a very beautiful and large city that we were rushed to visit (city tour in the morning, Schonbrunn Palace in the afternoon and Music Concert in the evening). Moreover, upon return of our afternoon tour, our ship was not docked and we had to wait 45 minutes because the captain decided to wait another Viking ship. We missed time for preparation and had dinner very fast before our concert. We felt having not be respected as customers and considered this event as a lack of coordination. Food in the restaurants was remarkable. The menu at the main dining room varied each evening and was wonderful. Many options for the appetizers, soups and salads, main entrees (beef filet, New York steak, salmon, tuna, duck, lamb, pasta, chicken, salads, vegetarian plates…) and desserts were available. We went two nights at the Aquavit Terrace but the menu was limited to 6 choices : burger, salads, pasta. The breakfast served at the restaurant was excellent : omelette, scrambled, fried or benedict eggs, french toast, pancakes, regular coffee, fresh orange juice, a large selection of bread and pastries, cereals, oatmeal, a good variety of fruits (pineapple, orange, watermelon, etc.), yogurt, cold meats, cheese, etc. Now the bad things : the wine service was very poor. We were served every lunch or dinner the same red and white wine coming from the vintage Morwald owned by Viking. This house wine was a very basic table wine even if served generously. However, we visited Morwald Winery on the optional tour and tasted other excellent wines that should be added to the wine service on the ship. The other thing we hated was to eat every evening at a table of 6 people and at the exact same time 7:00 o’clock, as well for breakfast and lunch. Therefore, we had no intimacy and no flexibility for meals during the cruise like other ocean cruises. The service was excellent everywhere on the ship. Every member of personnel said hello and was smiling. In the restaurants, the service was very attentive, friendly and efficient. The room was cleaned twice a day. The check out was well planned and we disembarked at 8:15 AM and we were transferred to Prague by bus for a journey of 8 hours. Overall, it was a fabulous cruise, with remarkable service, gourmet food and attractive destinations. We recommend Viking Cruises for a river cruise but you must like being all the time with many people especially during meals.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
This was "the" family vacation of a lifetime - My wife and I took both daughters/husbands/significant others for a sojourn from Amsterdam to Budapest. Wonderful 2 weeks filled with relaxation, scenery, Viking hospitality, ... Read More
This was "the" family vacation of a lifetime - My wife and I took both daughters/husbands/significant others for a sojourn from Amsterdam to Budapest. Wonderful 2 weeks filled with relaxation, scenery, Viking hospitality, history, food and beer. This was our first time on the Longships and they proved to be a delight in every regard. Cabin space roomier than older Viking ships. Common areas delightfully open and airy. All in all a superbly designed boat. Half way on the trip, while along the Main/Danube canal, we were informed of a low water situation that precluded passage through and that we needed to trade ships with one on the other side of the problem. We were asked to pack, place our bags outside in the AM and then proceeded to take our daily tour. When we returned we switched from the Magdi to the Baldur - same stateroom, same program director, but different staff. And while we were sad to lose the friendships we made with the staff on the Magdi, the Baldur staff was just as delightful and just as proficient. The change was painless and the cruise continued without further changes. I find the Viking formula to be delightful. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
"Baldur was the god of light and joy". This ship was aptly named. My sister and I felt full of joy as we cruised along the rivers from Budapest to Amsterdam. We were so comfortable and so well looked after by Niko, Igor, Korana, ... Read More
"Baldur was the god of light and joy". This ship was aptly named. My sister and I felt full of joy as we cruised along the rivers from Budapest to Amsterdam. We were so comfortable and so well looked after by Niko, Igor, Korana, Victoria, chef Alexander, and all the rest of the crew including Roberta, Roy, Johnny, Edwin, that we felt special and spoilt. The shore excursions were well planned and we were able to do as much or as little as we wanted. We were disappointed with the Kinderdijk tour and would rather have had a tour of Amsterdam. All onboard entertainment was great and there were some wonderful special entertainers at times (e.g. the glassblower, the opera singers and the gypsy musicians). The food was excellent and abundant and dining on the Acquavit Terrace was wonderful. This was a first river cruise experience, in a word, it was "magical" Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
This was our first Viking River cruise and we were so impressed with absolutely everything. Our Veranda A room was so comfortable and we loved the views as we cruised the rivers from Budapest to Amsterdam. The staff was outstanding! We ... Read More
This was our first Viking River cruise and we were so impressed with absolutely everything. Our Veranda A room was so comfortable and we loved the views as we cruised the rivers from Budapest to Amsterdam. The staff was outstanding! We never wanted for anything! The tours and all of the local tour guides were wonderful. The daily pace was just perfect. The meals on the ship were delicious and we enjoyed our times off the ship when we visited several local restaurants (usually recommended by our tour guides). We were very pleased with the audio devices we had for our tours which meant we all could hear what the guide was saying without all being on top of each other. All of the UNESCO sites were amazing on this trip - loved all that we saw and learned. The entire staff of the Baldur were so wonderful. Our stateroom was always just perfect and we loved getting to know our young room steward Jeffsy. She took great care of us the entire voyage. The end of our cruise came two days early when I received word that my sister had suffered a major heart attack and was in critical condition in Louisville, KY. Our cruise director, Korana and concierge Victoria immediately went to work on getting my husband and I off the ship and onto a flight from Frankfurt back to the states. It was the middle of the night back in the U.S. where my travel agent was and so we were unable to get in touch with her. Korana and the Viking crew were so caring and made all of our arrangements for us and we did get back home the very next day. We had not used Viking to make our travel arrangements but that did not make any difference when it came to helping us get back to the states. I can never say enough about all of the Viking personnel and hope we can soon take another Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
My friend and I cruised from Budapest to Amsterdam on the Viking Baldur. I cannot recommend it highly enough. The crew was fantastic, the food was amazing, the ship was only 9 months old and state of the art. We had a Veranda Stateroom and ... Read More
My friend and I cruised from Budapest to Amsterdam on the Viking Baldur. I cannot recommend it highly enough. The crew was fantastic, the food was amazing, the ship was only 9 months old and state of the art. We had a Veranda Stateroom and it was a well designed cabin with loads of storage. The tours were well organized and the tour guides were all very knowledgeable. Amenities on the ship were great, 24 hour coffee/tea stations (2 of them), a library, computers and free WiFi access throughout the ship. We were thoroughly spoilt, pampered and entertained. Nothing was too much trouble, a very happy place to spend 2 weeks watching Europe glide by. Highly recommend Viking, and in particular, the Baldur, for a fabulous cruise. This is a relaxing way to travel!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2014
We enjoyed the cruise immensely. We have had about 6 previous ocean cruises on big ships and couldn't believe how much more comfortable the smaller ride was. There were quite a few times that we wished we could have had more time in ... Read More
We enjoyed the cruise immensely. We have had about 6 previous ocean cruises on big ships and couldn't believe how much more comfortable the smaller ride was. There were quite a few times that we wished we could have had more time in port, i.e. overnight, etc., but recognize that would either extend the cruise or cut out some of the days in other ports. Everything about the cabin was good, the meals were good and once we found how we wanted to relax on board, that was good. We were disappointed at the lack of time available to sit up on top and enjoy cruising during the days from up there. Also could have used some public addressing of things as we went by to let us know where we were and what we were passing....know that others would probably preferred the silence, but not us! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
Just home from our Rhine Cruise on Viking Baldur. First vacation that I cannot find one negative thing to say. The longships are absolutely beautiful, our Explorer Suite was fantastic, with every amenity possible. We left our patio doors ... Read More
Just home from our Rhine Cruise on Viking Baldur. First vacation that I cannot find one negative thing to say. The longships are absolutely beautiful, our Explorer Suite was fantastic, with every amenity possible. We left our patio doors open each night, the weather was unseasonably warm, plus afforded us great views when we were going thru the locks. We sat on our back balcony every night before bed. No engine noise just the gentle sound of the water. We were extremely pleased with all the meals. Contrary to other reviews we found the menu offered numerous choices for every pallet and portion sizes more than adequate. The Grilled New York Steak and Caesar Salad should not be missed. Our compliments to the Chef and his staff for a job well done, especially the Captains Farewell Dinner. The bar and restaurant staff are friendly, accommodating and efficient. The Spirits Package is certainly well worth the cost, and the Wine List provided numerous regional varieties. Housekeeping maintains a spotless ship. We loved the turn down service, special treats and cute towel sculptures. Towels were changed out twice daily and the bathrooms cleaned as well. We prefer to do our own exploring as the tours are not our thing. Ships dock close to most towns so we had nice walks everyday. The small towns were the best, with quaint buildings and streets, cafes and pubs. Excellent shopping venues for high end clothing and shoes. "Christmas Markets" were fine for people watching and local culinary specialties, but that was it. Not into trinkets. The hotel manager, Claudia Gonzales, was constantly about and interacting with her guests. She obviously loves her job and her staff, and it shows. Thank You Viking for a Magnificent Holiday. 10 out of 10 Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
This was our first Viking cruise on one of their new ships going south on the Rhine River for the for the 2013 Christmas markets. We were two couples traveling together as we have for many years. I will first start off with the negatives: ... Read More
This was our first Viking cruise on one of their new ships going south on the Rhine River for the for the 2013 Christmas markets. We were two couples traveling together as we have for many years. I will first start off with the negatives: When we first boarded the ship our stomachs did flip-flops from the overwhelmingly bad smell coming from somewhere along the side. The smell seemed to come and go throughout the next few days. I was told they were having a sewerage problem. No kidding! During the ensuing days I would estimate that perhaps half of the passengers got sick as did members of the crew. On one evening, two thirds of the dinner meals were served. Three of the four of us got sick. On the last day of the cruise we got a one page disclaimer letter from Viking but have received no further contact from them. The French balcony rooms we booked were easily the smallest accommodations I'd ever seen. Evening entertainment consists, for the most part of a singer/pianist. Keep in mind that the shore excursions involve a guided tour after which you have an hour or so to explore a given city. Transportation to and from the city may be miles away and the last available Viking bus is at 4-5 PM. You have time for dinner but thereafter there is nothing to do. Between our two couples we have perhaps 30 ocean cruises under our belts and we've never had a problem with illness or the like. Before I forget, let me mention the throngs of people that attend the Christmas markets, something I simply did not anticipate. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2013
Travelled with Uniworld on the French rivers Saone and Rhone 18 months ago - first river cruise, countless ocean cruises, mostly small ships - and loved every minute. However, when offered two for one and free airfare on the Viking Grand ... Read More
Travelled with Uniworld on the French rivers Saone and Rhone 18 months ago - first river cruise, countless ocean cruises, mostly small ships - and loved every minute. However, when offered two for one and free airfare on the Viking Grand European from Amsterdam to Budapest, we couldn't say no. So we went with some trepidation, both because we suspected no other line could match Uniworld, but also due to the risk of late October weather and ports we didn't find quite as interesting as Burgundy and Provence. I won’t bore with details, just the primary minuses and plusses, minuses first because they were few: • Too much busing to suit me, not Viking’s fault, just a function of the itinerary. One of the things I loved about the Uniworld/Provence trip was the ship was docked in the center of the towns at all ports, so it we could walk on and off the ship as we pleased. This time, only half of the ports allowed such freedom; the rest required a shuttle or subway ride which makes taking a break in the middle of the day difficult. • Having passed through two major wine producing regions, I would have really enjoyed a couple of wine pairing dinners as done by Uniworld, a real highlight of that cruise. Viking has a relationship with its own vineyard which produced the reds and whites included at meals, both very nice, but I think this is a missed opportunity. • Even for a river cruiser, the cabin was tiny. I would have loved just one small chair tucked in a corner somewhere. • No robes. • No map of our progress readily available. • Beverage service was slow (maybe fewer staff than needed), although this improved as the days went on. OK, I stand by my minuses but admit they are nitpicky especially considering the positives: • The Baldur is only two months old and gleamed. • The staff were incredibly eager to please from the captain all the way to housekeeping. They constantly had ready smiles and were always asking how they could help. The cruise director, Luk, was funny, knowledgeable, helpful and entertaining, worth the price of the cruise alone, but unfortunately ours was his last voyage. • The food was really, really good, even excellent some nights, and I am a tough critic. It constantly amazed me how Karl-Heinz and his staff could produce such high quality cuisine for 180 people all sitting down at the same time, night after night. Never once was the meat overcooked or dried out. I had chicken one night, which I rarely order, just to test them, and it was juicy and flavorful, just right. They also covered all the bases as far as variety is concerned: lamb, duck, steak, pork, chicken, a number of different seafoods, etc, etc, all cooked with interesting sauces and sides. Karl-Heinz even took those interested on a tour and tasting in the Viennese open air market and offered a tour of his spotless galley. The Uniworld food was wonderful (we were in France, after all) but Viking managed to match them. • Most of all, the Viking service was outstanding. We usually do our own pre-cruise, get-over-the-jet-lag three days, but for a number of reasons, opted to try the Viking version in Amsterdam. It was a pleasure to be met at the airport and led by the hand to the hotel and a nap. Even better was having our own private transfer to the Budapest airport (no lumping all the morning and all the afternoon flight folks into two big groups for Viking; we arrived at the airport exactly 2 hours before our flight and were therefore able to enjoy ourselves on board ship for a few more hours rather than more time hanging around the airport). And, at the airport, there was a Viking rep waiting to direct us the appropriate line and get us through as quickly as possible. He even walked us to security. This mirrored the staff on board. Can’t say enough about their organization and eagerness to please as well as their expertise. Many of the ports were wonderful, but they are the same for any line, and I suspect the local guides are the same as well. We do not chose a trip based on the entertainment, but the passenger talent show and a couple of silly game nights were fun. We also enjoyed watching a couple of movies in the cabin although it would have been fun to have a few that were itinerary based. I could say a lot more and will be happy to answer any questions, especially while the trip is fresh in my mind. In my opinion, you cannot go wrong with the Viking Baldur.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
Background: Experienced cruisers (40+, many lines), married, Mid 60's. First time River Cruise General: As a first river cruise, I will try to report things unique to river cruises rather than compare to other lines or cruises. By ... Read More
Background: Experienced cruisers (40+, many lines), married, Mid 60's. First time River Cruise General: As a first river cruise, I will try to report things unique to river cruises rather than compare to other lines or cruises. By far the best part of this cruise is the ports and scenery which has little to with Viking, I strongly recommend the 14 day Grand European Cruise over a 7 day itinerary. I is a better deal and you really need a few days to get into the culture/history and river experience. Tours: These are all included on Viking and are excellent. Go to the onboard discussions each afternoon on the next stop. The personal headset equipment included are excellent, and are used on all tours.. The tours are probably the highlight of the trip and help explain the cost. Tourist crowds at all stops must be overwhelming during peak summer times. Ship: It was brand new and very nice. Rivers really limit the ship size and space, but they make the most of it Dress: Ignore anything they print or you read. Everyone is down dressed the whole time, including the captains party and dinner. Pack accordingly. Ladies, thank you for dressing up a little. Food: Kitchens have to be small on these river boats which limits preparations. The food budget is good so the products are good, but not exceptional. Chef/cook was adequate, but do not expect the preparations you find on high end lines. Lunch gets a little boring after a while. The clientele age group means there are many diabetics on board, but the make no effort to accommodate this with sugar free or no sugar added desserts to speak of, and when they claims they have one it is high in fruit fructose. Put your request in when you register. BEVERAGES: The wine that comes with lunch and dinner is some home brew of Viking. The red was drinkable. They will open your bottle at no cost at meals, so if you like wine, that is the way to go. The liquor package does not upgrade your wines much and you would have to drink all day to come out ahead cost wise with the package. The two beers available at meals is drinkable, but not anticipate a tasting experience. I would say the this area was the an overwhelming disappointment and not as advertised. Staterooms: Very nicely done, but very small. Standard size room has no seating room at all. Balcony cabins of either type are about one oot wider which allows for one small chair next to the bed. Full balcony cabins gives you about 2 feet of width for 2 narrow chairs which would be nice in warm weather. No cabins are large enough you will want to spend time there unless you take one of the major suites in back, but you need to be Bill Gates or want people to think you are. Entertainment: One or two nice evening shows brought on from shore. The facility for entertainment will not come close to holding all passengers and is very poor for entertainment purposes. Otherwise, there was a piano singer who was very average, but the entertainment is the itinerary.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2013
When we booked we didn't know that we would be on the maiden voyage, so a shiny new ship awaited us. Although a few kinks it was a fabulous 2 weeks. I'd move in forever. I'm sure by now the service at dinner has improved as ... Read More
When we booked we didn't know that we would be on the maiden voyage, so a shiny new ship awaited us. Although a few kinks it was a fabulous 2 weeks. I'd move in forever. I'm sure by now the service at dinner has improved as nobody had worked together prior to our sailing. The food at all meals was quite good. Far superior to ocean cruises we have previously taken. All staff from bar to reception to room steward were exceptional. Hotel manager, as he's called, referred us to a small off the beaten track restaurant for dinner one night in his home city, then made us dinner reservations and arranged a taxi. Private balcony. REAL BALCONY to view castle after vineyard after castle. Oh my! And, incidentally, great included tours as well. But I could have just stayed on board and been just as happy. Loved every minute. Read Less
Viking Baldur Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 1.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 3.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 N/A

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