My boyfriend and I learned more about Viking River Cruises from PBS (while watching Masterpiece, of course!) and were immediately interested in the the fact that we could go to Europe and unpack once and still see multiple cities. Being that we are only in our early to mid-30s we were hesitant to book the cruise, thinking that it would be a bunch of old ladies in shalls and men in top-hats on the cruise.
We booked the Danube Waltz European Holiday cruise and were excited at the prospect of seeing Europe for the holidays. We decided to sail over the Thanksgiving holiday and started our journey by extending it pre-trip in Budapest, Hungary. Upon landing in Budapest, we were greeted by the friendly faces of Viking's staff at the airport which helped us with our luggage and waited with us until our car came to whisk us away to our hotel. For the extra two days, we stayed at the magnificent Gresham Palace, Four Season Budapest.
The hotel and its staff were amazing, so hospitable and accommodating. Our large and well-appointed room was on the fifth floor (the top floor of the hotel) and our private balcony overlooked the beautiful Chain Bridge, which connects Buda and Pest. The Viking guide, which was already waiting for us in the lobby of the Four Season, kindly waited for us while we checked in and made our way down from our room. She thoroughly went over the layout of Budapest as a city with a map, letting us know how public transportation worked, where popular sights to see were at, etc. At our request, she gave us a mini-tour of the surrounding neighborhood of our hotel and after dropping us back at our hotel, left us to explore the city by ourselves for the next two day. (Although she offered to meet with us each day and show us around her lovely city, as two men in their 30s, we opted to explore on our own.)