The flight to Budapest was a pain as we had long layovers in the US and then Germany on our way to Budapest..... once there, we were forced to stay in a hotel as the river locks were damaged and the boat unable to meet us in Budapest.... HOWEVER.... Vantage put us up at the 5 star International on the Danube and accommodations were outstanding as were the local sightseeing trips they provided. We then bussed to Vienna, a longish ride... and the rest of the trip was on the first class River Splendor... an outstanding ship with an outstanding crew who did everything possible to make our trip a genuine success. The staterooms were quite nice and the showers were large enough for real comfort... and I am a big guy! ( 6'2" and 310 Lbs!) The beds were comfortable, the stateroom balcony was a treat, and the ship accommodations just top of the line. The chef was amazing as were the meals presented from the grand breakfast buffet to the great choices offered for lunches and excellent 5 course dinners. The wait staff outstanding as well always friendly and looking for ways to help make the trip a success. My wife required a gluten free diet and the maitre'de came to her at every lunch and dinner to help her elect what she could enjoy and then saw to it that it was prepared and served just right!
The side trips were well planned and executed taking the ages and experiences of the gusts into the planning for speed and coverage of every item with good advice for those like me who could not walk long distances..... and with experienced information for each ability group that made the side trips informational and enjoyable. The shipboard experience with demonstrations and lectures was also informative and enjoyable. Loved the top deck cruising sitting in a lounge chair watching the wonderful countryside glide by.... and the friendliness of those that we passed who always waved "hello" to us....
I confess that I would return in a minute to take this trip again! But there is so much more of the world to see..... and we are booked on another Vantage trip to Portugal and Spain departing in about 8 weeks.... the big decision now is... Where next??? likely another Vantage trip!
We had a main deck cabin on the same level as the dining room, about half way down the corridor... about 325 I believe. The cabin was roomy and well appointed with great temperature contro, a very roomy closet and very roomy bathroom with all accommodations including a rather large shower with a perfect temperature control shower! The stewards were there every morning to make up the rooms as soon as we departed for breakfast, and again in the afternoon turning down the beds and leaving a great selection of European chocolates for us! Loved the balcony window . Just wish they had the ability to receive FOX news rather than CNN ... ( HINT! )
We were not exactly thrilled with the Cologne port of call..... while the river front area was OK.... there were parts of the city that appeared somewhat untidy as compared to what we had noted up to this point. The Cathedral was a grand sight.... but also quite dirty as well as extremely crowded. The area nearby was full of Muslim "style" population and truth be told, I felt somewhat uncomfortable. We walked at our own thru the town area for about 1/2 mile and was pleased to return to the bus to get back to the boat. Not listed to review were two MUST SEE cities... Bamberg and Rudesheim..... I must return to both these cities to spend some quality time here!
We visited both Buda and Pest from our River front hotel. Found out the Danube is never blue.... usually a muddy brown! The city was exotic to me as it was something I had only seen in history books and movies over my 75 years. It was so interesting seeing the old buildings and hearing of the history of the city and the people. It was a city that beckons us to plan a second trip to spend some independent time there and to be able to roam a bit . The strolls along the Danube were a great memory as was the view of the castle at night from our vantage point in the Intercontinental Hotel.View All 353 City Tour Reviews
The city of Vienna is a magical city with so much to offer the visitor. Our brief excursion only lit a fire in me to be able to someday return to really spend some time as a photographer to enjoy the ancient acrchitecture , enjoy the music more, and taste the food as a native might enjoy a meal.View All 169 City Tour Reviews
We were finally introduced to our ship, the River Splendor in Vienna... all 432 feet of it! As a base of operations, it was superior. We bussed to the Palace... a place that boggles the mind as I can recall seeing pictures of this in history books as a child.... not at age 75, I was actually there! It is a magnificent structure and a treat to visit, but very crowded. I was able to enjoy the rear gardens as well as the front courtyard most of all.... the opulent interior was harder to enjoy due to the crowds of young locals also visiting there.View All 179 Schonbrunn Palace Reviews