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We sailed on a 14-day Grand European Tour from Amsterdam to Budapest. We used an air package from Viking and the flights as well as transfer were good. Unfortunately due to low water levels in the rivers, parts of the cruise turned into expensive bus tours. We were on the Eistla from Amsterdam to Nuremburg where we were transferred to the Bestla which was docked in Passau. The Nuremburg day was a long bus day where we had a tour of Nuremburg, then a group lunch and finally about a 3 hour hour bus ride from Nuremburg to Passau. So, for those who wanted to see Regensburg the next day, it involved about an 1-1/2 hour bus ride back along the stretch of river we could not sail and of course, another 1-1/2 to get back to the Bestla. The portion of the river we did not get to cruise had some of the biggest locks and viaducts. Then, when we got to Vienna we found that we would not be able to sail to Budapest, so we would not get to experience what we thought would be one of the highlights of the cruise - sailing into Budapest at night. Instead, the bus tour continued. Those who wanted to see Bratislava had a 1-1/2 bus ride to the city and another 1-1/2 ride back to Vienna. The Budapest day was a 10-hour bus marathon with a 4-hour bus ride to Vienna, a 2-hour lunch, a 2-hour bus "tour" of Budapest where we did not get to go into anything and then about a 1-1/2 hour bus ride to the Viking Ve which was docked "near" Budapest, if you consider 100 kilometers away as being near. The final morning was a 2-hour bus ride to the Budapest airport because of where we we docked. A big problem was a lack of communications during the cruise and Viking's seeming lack of concern for passenger enjoyment and convenience. In commercials and print ads Viking presents itself as being upscale, but that was not the case. The captain's welcome aboard dinner was pretty funny as the surf and turf consisted of a nice piece of tenderloin and one medium shrimp - must have been a bad day for shrimping. In general the food and service was about what you would expect on any mainstream cruise line - nothing special and the lunches were pretty bleak. The room was small but functional. Snacks between meals were lacking - there was a coffee machine and cookies and maybe some fruit during the day, but if you were hungry between lunch and dinner, there was not much to munch on. The shining star of the cruise was the concierge, Tamara. If you wanted a straight answer about anything or needed assistance, she was always eager to help. We could understand that there was nothing Viking could do about water levels, but their customer service was not upscale as commercials would have you believe. When considering a river cruise, our advice would be caveat emptor.

Commercials don't match reality.

Viking Eistla Cruise Review by lj77346

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We sailed on a 14-day Grand European Tour from Amsterdam to Budapest. We used an air package from Viking and the flights as well as transfer were good.

Unfortunately due to low water levels in the rivers, parts of the cruise turned into expensive bus tours. We were on the Eistla from Amsterdam to Nuremburg where we were transferred to the Bestla which was docked in Passau. The Nuremburg day was a long bus day where we had a tour of Nuremburg, then a group lunch and finally about a 3 hour hour bus ride from Nuremburg to Passau. So, for those who wanted to see Regensburg the next day, it involved about an 1-1/2 hour bus ride back along the stretch of river we could not sail and of course, another 1-1/2 to get back to the Bestla.

The portion of the river we did not get to cruise had some of the biggest locks and viaducts. Then, when we got to Vienna we found that we would not be able to sail to Budapest, so we would not get to experience what we thought would be one of the highlights of the cruise - sailing into Budapest at night. Instead, the bus tour continued. Those who wanted to see Bratislava had a 1-1/2 bus ride to the city and another 1-1/2 ride back to Vienna. The Budapest day was a 10-hour bus marathon with a 4-hour bus ride to Vienna, a 2-hour lunch, a 2-hour bus "tour" of Budapest where we did not get to go into anything and then about a 1-1/2 hour bus ride to the Viking Ve which was docked "near" Budapest, if you consider 100 kilometers away as being near. The final morning was a 2-hour bus ride to the Budapest airport because of where we we docked.

A big problem was a lack of communications during the cruise and Viking's seeming lack of concern for passenger enjoyment and convenience. In commercials and print ads Viking presents itself as being upscale, but that was not the case. The captain's welcome aboard dinner was pretty funny as the surf and turf consisted of a nice piece of tenderloin and one medium shrimp - must have been a bad day for shrimping. In general the food and service was about what you would expect on any mainstream cruise line - nothing special and the lunches were pretty bleak. The room was small but functional. Snacks between meals were lacking - there was a coffee machine and cookies and maybe some fruit during the day, but if you were hungry between lunch and dinner, there was not much to munch on.

The shining star of the cruise was the concierge, Tamara. If you wanted a straight answer about anything or needed assistance, she was always eager to help. We could understand that there was nothing Viking could do about water levels, but their customer service was not upscale as commercials would have you believe. When considering a river cruise, our advice would be caveat emptor.
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