For me this cruise was going up memory lane. In 1952 I went from Passau to the Austro-Slovak border in my kajak. This time I went by Viking River Cruise from Budapest to Passau and didn't have to paddle, nor was there an entry check when I crossed from the American to the Russian occupation zones as it was in 1952.
The Viking "Donau Walzer" cruise was superb. First, there were only 182 passengers. Second, the accomodations were excellent, and the staff, all categories, was friendly, accomodating and very well trained. The land excursions were well planned but due to the large number of tourists - not related to the cruise - the city tours were tiring. For me and my wife it did not matterbecause we knew these cities and stop-overs as well as the guides, but some of our fellow passengers found the tours somewhat exhausting and to history and geography related. The tour director, Andrew,and his staff were excellent and most accommodating and the dining staff was superb. No taskwas too difficult for them. It appeared that they enjoyed their jobs.
While I am not a fan of cruises, I must admit that this cruise was most enjoyable. We met interesting people with whom we will stay in touch. The on-board entertainment - local talent who presented local music and favourites from Austrian operettas - was most enjoyable. A lecture on the history of the EU by a young lady was interesting and timely as we travelled through the EU member states. In summary: a most enjoyable excursion through some of Europe's most beautiful countryside and cities. We'll do it again, with Viking, someplace else! ThNK YOU!
VIKING PRESTIGE, CABIN 325: ADEQUATE SPACE FOR AN 8-DAY CRUISE; plenty of storage space, nice and comfortable beds, small but well-designed bathroom; large windows with good views;quiet atmosphere, good sound insulation. Excellent cabin service.
Nice bus tour of Budapest, short walking tour, excellent local guide. The other ports, Bratislava, Vienna, Dornstein, Melk, Salzburg and Passau are not listed on the drop-down menue. These tours were reasonable, but it was quite clear to me that when the guides discussed history and associated dates, the eyes of most of my fellow Americans glazed over. History and geography are not favorite subjects among Americans. Less emphasis on these areas and more introduction on who local people live would be more attractive to Americans.