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Full Disclosure: We were on both the Viking Atla (which was supposed to be our ship originally) and the Viking Jarl due to a ship swap mid-cruise. I may leave reviews for both ships. We flew Lufthansa through Viking Air (we did the custom air so that we could choose our flights). The flights were smooth and efficient, as were the transfers from the airport to hotel and vice-versa. We did a 2-night pre-cruise extension in Nuremberg and a 2-night post-cruise extension in Budapest. Although we booked these via Viking, we went off on our own instead of participating in the included city tours. We stayed at the Le Meridien Grand Hotel in Nuremberg and the Hilton Budapest (Buda Hill) in Budapest. We had rooms with fantastic views at both hotels (especially in Budapest, where the view of Fisherman's Bastion, the Parliament Building, and the Danube was breathtaking). Our view at the Grand Hotel was that of the old city. The Le Meridien Grand Hotel was fantastic - the service was superb. The included breakfast was the most sumptuous that we had on the trip. I would return for the bread and jam (all homemade) alone. The hotel also had some special perks for Viking guests, among them, welcome gifts, snacks, and a crafted coffee drink (like cappuccino/espresso) or tea per day. The hotel was right across the street from the Nuremberg train station – which was perfect for us. We took the high-speed ICE train the next day into Munich and met our private guide for an excursion to Berchtesgaden/Salzburg. This was a fantastic introduction to our trip and gave us an interesting perspective on German culture. Since we arranged this trip on our own, I won’t go into detail here, but we greatly recommend it. The next day, we were supposed to transfer to our ship after breakfast – but since we planned another excursion on our own, we sent our bags ahead of us. The Viking Host was very helpful and gave us directions to the Nuremberg Harbour, where the Jarl was docked. This proved essential when we returned from our private excursion (to Dachau – very powerful). The first part of our river voyage was on the Viking Jarl (identical to the Atla save for artwork). We embarked later than most guests, so we missed the original orientation and dinner. We arrived around 8 p.m. and were met by the Maitre D’ (Jelko) who introduced himself and made sure that we were taken care of. We ate that night in the Aquavit Lounge (which we mostly had to ourselves). The staff of the ships are the stars of Viking Cruises – as much as and sometimes more so than the sights and the rivers themselves. Everyone on the both the Atal and the Jarl went out of their way to ensure that we were happy. All requests were fulfilled promptly, and often anticipated. Our wait staff pampered us. It was very hard to leave the staff of the Jarl mid-stream. The staff of the Atla did their best to pick up where the Jarl’s staff left off. They, too tried to please us in every way – we had less time to get to know them, but they, too, were exceptional. Our Program Director (Terry) and our Concierge (Kremena) were the only staff members to come over with us to the Atla. They both deserve high accolades. We needed to swap ships on Day 5 (Thursday, Oct. 29) of our cruise due to the low water between Regensburg and Passau. Both ship crews handled the swap efficiently. We did have a 3.5 hour (including a half hour rest stop) bus trip from Regensburg to Kelheim – but it allowed me to catch up on some much needed sleep. We also got to experience an autobahn rest stop that puts the US versions to shame. The restaurant at the stop was quite extensive! To compensate us for the ship swap, we were offered multiple options (full or half day in Passau with lunch, full day in Munich with lunch), plus comped premium beverages, comped musical excursion in Vienna. We completed the scenic sail of the Wachau Valley between Kelheim and Melk on a small day excursion boat (with lunch included). After the sail, we finally boarded the Atla. We were welcomed onboard with hot punch, music, and welcome signs. Our bags were in our cabins, AND our extra pillows, robes, and slipper preferences were pre-arranged without our request. One of the most fun excursions we did was a trip to the farmer’s market in Vienna with the chef. I don’t know if this is offered on every cruise. Our small group had a private wine and cheese tasting in the market. Just fabulous! We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary onboard the Atla at the farewell dinner on Sat. night. Viking sent a delicious cake to our table – the Maitre D from the Jarl had sent word of our anniversary over to the Atla and surprised us! After the cruise, we stayed in Budapest for 2 days. We recommend visiting one of the many thermal baths. Our Viking Host helped us arrange for a private tour of the Jewish Quarter, which was quite illuminating and worthwhile. My only wish (aside from wanting higher water levels so that we could cruise without a ship swap) was for more leisure time in Vienna. It was a wonderful vacation and I would gladly cruise with Viking again.

Viking Romantic Danube Delivers

Viking Atla Cruise Review by ProFun1

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2015
  • Destination: Europe River
  • Cabin Type: Veranda Stateroom
Full Disclosure: We were on both the Viking Atla (which was supposed to be our ship originally) and the Viking Jarl due to a ship swap mid-cruise. I may leave reviews for both ships.

We flew Lufthansa through Viking Air (we did the custom air so that we could choose our flights). The flights were smooth and efficient, as were the transfers from the airport to hotel and vice-versa. We did a 2-night pre-cruise extension in Nuremberg and a 2-night post-cruise extension in Budapest. Although we booked these via Viking, we went off on our own instead of participating in the included city tours. We stayed at the Le Meridien Grand Hotel in Nuremberg and the Hilton Budapest (Buda Hill) in Budapest. We had rooms with fantastic views at both hotels (especially in Budapest, where the view of Fisherman's Bastion, the Parliament Building, and the Danube was breathtaking). Our view at the Grand Hotel was that of the old city. The Le Meridien Grand Hotel was fantastic - the service was superb. The included breakfast was the most sumptuous that we had on the trip. I would return for the bread and jam (all homemade) alone. The hotel also had some special perks for Viking guests, among them, welcome gifts, snacks, and a crafted coffee drink (like cappuccino/espresso) or tea per day.

The hotel was right across the street from the Nuremberg train station – which was perfect for us. We took the high-speed ICE train the next day into Munich and met our private guide for an excursion to Berchtesgaden/Salzburg. This was a fantastic introduction to our trip and gave us an interesting perspective on German culture. Since we arranged this trip on our own, I won’t go into detail here, but we greatly recommend it. The next day, we were supposed to transfer to our ship after breakfast – but since we planned another excursion on our own, we sent our bags ahead of us. The Viking Host was very helpful and gave us directions to the Nuremberg Harbour, where the Jarl was docked. This proved essential when we returned from our private excursion (to Dachau – very powerful).

The first part of our river voyage was on the Viking Jarl (identical to the Atla save for artwork). We embarked later than most guests, so we missed the original orientation and dinner. We arrived around 8 p.m. and were met by the Maitre D’ (Jelko) who introduced himself and made sure that we were taken care of. We ate that night in the Aquavit Lounge (which we mostly had to ourselves). The staff of the ships are the stars of Viking Cruises – as much as and sometimes more so than the sights and the rivers themselves. Everyone on the both the Atal and the Jarl went out of their way to ensure that we were happy. All requests were fulfilled promptly, and often anticipated. Our wait staff pampered us. It was very hard to leave the staff of the Jarl mid-stream. The staff of the Atla did their best to pick up where the Jarl’s staff left off. They, too tried to please us in every way – we had less time to get to know them, but they, too, were exceptional. Our Program Director (Terry) and our Concierge (Kremena) were the only staff members to come over with us to the Atla. They both deserve high accolades.

We needed to swap ships on Day 5 (Thursday, Oct. 29) of our cruise due to the low water between Regensburg and Passau. Both ship crews handled the swap efficiently. We did have a 3.5 hour (including a half hour rest stop) bus trip from Regensburg to Kelheim – but it allowed me to catch up on some much needed sleep. We also got to experience an autobahn rest stop that puts the US versions to shame. The restaurant at the stop was quite extensive! To compensate us for the ship swap, we were offered multiple options (full or half day in Passau with lunch, full day in Munich with lunch), plus comped premium beverages, comped musical excursion in Vienna. We completed the scenic sail of the Wachau Valley between Kelheim and Melk on a small day excursion boat (with lunch included). After the sail, we finally boarded the Atla. We were welcomed onboard with hot punch, music, and welcome signs. Our bags were in our cabins, AND our extra pillows, robes, and slipper preferences were pre-arranged without our request.

One of the most fun excursions we did was a trip to the farmer’s market in Vienna with the chef. I don’t know if this is offered on every cruise. Our small group had a private wine and cheese tasting in the market. Just fabulous!

We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary onboard the Atla at the farewell dinner on Sat. night. Viking sent a delicious cake to our table – the Maitre D from the Jarl had sent word of our anniversary over to the Atla and surprised us!

After the cruise, we stayed in Budapest for 2 days. We recommend visiting one of the many thermal baths. Our Viking Host helped us arrange for a private tour of the Jewish Quarter, which was quite illuminating and worthwhile.

My only wish (aside from wanting higher water levels so that we could cruise without a ship swap) was for more leisure time in Vienna. It was a wonderful vacation and I would gladly cruise with Viking again.
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Cabin Review

Veranda Stateroom
Cabin B 231
Cabin design was excellent - functional and attractive. Great attention to detail (such as the multi-position reading lights in the headboard) and copious storage space. The bathroom was very small, but well laid out. Heated floor was delightful. Shower water pressure was great. Loved the L'Occitane bath amenities. Lots of US (as opposed to European) style plugs and at least one USB port (handy for charging electronics/phones). Loved the Veranda. Actually go to use it, since the weather was beautiful (sunny and a little nippy). In the Atla, one of the wall sockets was broken - it was repaired very quickly after we reported it.
Middle Deck Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Jewish Quarter Tour and Gellert Baths
    Great "Grand" tour of the Jewish Quarter - lasted @ 3.5 hours. Visited the Dohany Synagogue and memorial museum. Also toured another beautiful, Sephardic style temple.
    We visited the Gellert Spa on our own. This is an elegant spa with lots of mosaics and pyro-granite sculptures. There are over 11 pools including 5 thermal pools and an indoor swimming pool. In warmer months, there is an outdoor wave pool. There is at least one outdoor thermal pool. This is a fun scene for locals and tourists alike. We rented changing cabins that are unlocked with a watch-like device. We also rented towels and slippers (wish we brought our own). Hubby's towel was stolen - this added to my amusement, but not hubby's. We soaked in at least 5 pools of varying temps (from 27 - 40 degrees Celsius - top temp of 104 F). We left relaxed and refreshed.
    View All 13,598 Jewish Quarter Tour and Gellert Baths Reviews
  • City Tour
    Nice overview of this city. You can really tell how grand it was in it's heyday. You can also see the vestiges of the long communist regime. Many buildings and structures are not maintained. Lots of beautiful architecture, especially in Buda in the castle district. Love the concept of Ruin pubs - art experiences in old and or dilapidated buildings - a good re-purposing.
    View All 307 City Tour Reviews
  • Melk Abbey
    Although the Abbey was gorgeous and our guide was very good, this was our least favorite excursion of the tour. My husband felt the emphasis was too religious.
    The Abbey and church are fine examples of the Gothic style. The Abbey has a wonderful museum with many artifacts. The grounds are lovely and the Abbey has a magnificent view of the the surrounding town and the Danube
    View All 169 Melk Abbey Reviews
  • Wachau Valley Tour
    A scenic sail through the Wachau Valley is what the Viking Romantic Danube cruise is all about! In addition to the rustic castle ruins, spectacular churches, and pretty vinyards, we had the bonus of the autumn leaves in full fall glory. Delightful!
    View All 18 Wachau Valley Tour Reviews
  • Nuremberg
    We took the WWII tour with Viking. We were so glad that this tour was offered because hubby is a huge history buff and we thought we would have to do this tour on our own. Guide (Ann) was excellent. We went to the rally grounds, Zeppelin field, Collesium, Documentation center (museum), and the Palace of Justice (Courtroom) where the war crime trials were held. We did a 2-night pre-cruise extension where we visited Berchtesgaden and Dachau on our own. We highly recommend that as well. We would have liked a little more time to explore the old walled city on our own, but since we used our pre cruise time for more lengthy excursions, we weren't able to do so. Perhaps we'll return at some point for a Christmas Market.
    View All 546 Nuremberg Cruise Port Reviews
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  • St. Stephen's Cathedral
    St. Stephen's Cathedral is an excellent example of a baroque style church. It houses the second largest cathedral organ in the world (and the largest in Europe). The organ concert was interesting. I was amazed at the range of sounds the organ produced. The organist was superb. The pieces played included a (typical) Bach fugue, some liturgical music, and some modern tone poems. While we're glad we attended the concert, hubby and I were reminded why we don't generally enjoy organ music. ;-)
    View All 93 St. Stephen's Cathedral Reviews
  • Walking Tour
    Passau is charming. We opted for a full day in Passau (one of the options given as compensation for a ship swap). In the morning, we did the walking tour ending with an organ concert at St. Stephens Cathedral. Passau has a fascinating history - constantly doing battle with the waters of the Danube (and losing).
    We had lunch on Viking at a local hotel - it was one of the highlights of the trip. A great meal and fun.
    I bought tons of chocolate in Passau. I highly recommend the Grindl Chocolate Factory near St. Stephen's. Especially the "trinkschocolade" (hot chocolate.
    View All 197 Walking Tour Reviews
  • Regensburg
    A very beautiful, medieval city on the Danube with a rich history. Our walking tour guide was very knowledgeable. We loved walking through the narrow, cobblestone streets viewing remnants of architecture that dates to Roman times. We did the extension that included the Jewish history of the city. We did this tour in the afternoon, because we took the optional excursion to the Weltenburg Abbey in the morning. The trip to the Abbey was fun because it included a daytime sail through the Danube Narrows, which are quite scenic (and set the stage for the Wachau Valley sail later on in the trip). The Abbey itself is quite lovely (and ornate). Hubby enjoyed great non-alcoholic beer throughout our cruise. I had the real stuff - try the "dunkel" (dark) beer if you imbibe.
    View All 539 Regensburg Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Regensburg Cruise Port Review
  • Walking Tour
    Bus tour overview first, then a walking tour. I loved Vienna. This is a city I could live in. We viewed the Hapsburg Palace, the stables that house the Lippenzaner horses, and walked through Stephenplatz. Our excellent guide pointed out some examples of Art Noveau and Bauhaus architecture. We had some free time to sit in a cafe - which is the thing I wanted most to do on the whole trip. I wanted more leisure time in this fascinating, grand city.
    View All 163 Walking Tour Reviews