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My daughter and I chose the Danube Waltz river cruise on the Viking Wilhjalm because the dates coincided with our time off from work and the cruise included two cities - Budapest and Vienna - that we wanted to visit. From beginning to end every aspect of the cruise exceeded our expectations. Since Viking arranged our air travel one of their representatives greeted us at the Munich airport and escorted us to Passau, where our ship was docked. Upon arrival at the ship we were greeted warmly by the Hotel Manager (Julian) and the Maitre D' (Alex) who welcomed us aboard. Our cabin was not quite ready so we proceeded to the Upper Deck Lounge for a buffet lunch. By the time we had finished it our cabin was ready, and when we entered it we found our luggage in place along with two complimentary robe/slipper sets. Our cabin was on the main deck (water level) so it had a half-window, but we spent so little time there that we didn't feel deprived of scenery. The cabin was small but designed so efficiently that we never felt cramped. We showered, dressed, and slept there but spent most of our wake-time on board in the dining room, in the lounge, on the Aquavit Terrace, or on the upper deck. Dining options included both menu service and buffet service for breakfast and lunch and menu service for dinner. Food was plentiful and delicious, with a variety of offerings including typical American-style dishes as well as regional specialties and vegetarian dishes. Open seating for meals enabled us to meet and socialize with many other passengers. There was after-dinner entertainment scheduled each evening. Some programs were just for fun (for example, a Liars Club competition), and some had a cultural aspect (for example, a demonstration on how to make apple strudel and an anthology of Viennese music.) Before dinner each evening Joe, the Program Director, described the next day's shore excursions and gave us some insight into local customs and practices while offering suggestions for shopping, dining, and sightseeing. At each port of call there was at least one shore excursion and several optional excursions, all escorted by knowledgeable tour guides. There also was some free time for passengers to explore destinations on their own. We found our excursions to be enjoyable, informative, and well planned. I do wish we'd spent another day in Vienna, but I hope to return some day to see the sights we didn't have time to visit on this trip. We chose to spend an extra day in Budapest after the cruise was over. It was well worth it! I would be remiss if I didn't comment on the ship's personnel. Every crew member we encountered was professional and efficient but also warm and welcoming. For the duration of the cruise they truly made the ship a home away from home. We were sad to reach our journey's end and we look forward to someday taking another Viking cruise.

An Unforgettable Experience!

Viking Vilhjalm Cruise Review by Buona Festa

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Trip Details
My daughter and I chose the Danube Waltz river cruise on the Viking Wilhjalm because the dates coincided with our time off from work and the cruise included two cities - Budapest and Vienna - that we wanted to visit. From beginning to end every aspect of the cruise exceeded our expectations.

Since Viking arranged our air travel one of their representatives greeted us at the Munich airport and escorted us to Passau, where our ship was docked. Upon arrival at the ship we were greeted warmly by the Hotel Manager (Julian) and the Maitre D' (Alex) who welcomed us aboard. Our cabin was not quite ready so we proceeded to the Upper Deck Lounge for a buffet lunch. By the time we had finished it our cabin was ready, and when we entered it we found our luggage in place along with two complimentary robe/slipper sets.

Our cabin was on the main deck (water level) so it had a half-window, but we spent so little time there that we didn't feel deprived of scenery. The cabin was small but designed so efficiently that we never felt cramped. We showered, dressed, and slept there but spent most of our wake-time on board in the dining room, in the lounge, on the Aquavit Terrace, or on the upper deck.

Dining options included both menu service and buffet service for breakfast and lunch and menu service for dinner. Food was plentiful and delicious, with a variety of offerings including typical American-style dishes as well as regional specialties and vegetarian dishes. Open seating for meals enabled us to meet and socialize with many other passengers.

There was after-dinner entertainment scheduled each evening. Some programs were just for fun (for example, a Liars Club competition), and some had a cultural aspect (for example, a demonstration on how to make apple strudel and an anthology of Viennese music.) Before dinner each evening Joe, the Program Director, described the next day's shore excursions and gave us some insight into local customs and practices while offering suggestions for shopping, dining, and sightseeing.

At each port of call there was at least one shore excursion and several optional excursions, all escorted by knowledgeable tour guides. There also was some free time for passengers to explore destinations on their own. We found our excursions to be enjoyable, informative, and well planned. I do wish we'd spent another day in Vienna, but I hope to return some day to see the sights we didn't have time to visit on this trip. We chose to spend an extra day in Budapest after the cruise was over. It was well worth it!

I would be remiss if I didn't comment on the ship's personnel. Every crew member we encountered was professional and efficient but also warm and welcoming. For the duration of the cruise they truly made the ship a home away from home. We were sad to reach our journey's end and we look forward to someday taking another Viking cruise.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Bratislava
    Wonderful town with many interesting sights and a stark contrast between communist-era and non communist-era construction. After a guided tour that began with wet and wild weather on Castle Hill and ended with a walking tour that included the old town and the Bratislava Bronzes we spent free time in town before heading back to the ship. Suggestion: be prepared for high winds and stormy weather on Castle Hill, even when it's calm downhill.
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  • Durnstein (Krems)
    After our morning tour of Melk Abbey we sailed through the Wachau Valley to Durnstein. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous and the cruise itself very relaxing. Our Program Director pointed out places of interest along the way and even supplied good luck coins for us to toss at a shrine as we passed it. We also enjoyed the experience of traveling through a lock in daytime. Later in the day we took a stroll through the town of Durnstein, It's a small town, but lovely.
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  • Melk Abbey
    The Abbey is beautiful and well worth the trip. It's set high above town so we took a bus to get there. Some of our group took the bus back to the ship after we completed the tour, but others elected to walk back to get a close-up view of the town. After lunch we sailed through the Wachau Valley to Durnstein.
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  • Walking Tour
    Such a pretty, quaint town. I was particularly impressed with "flood alley" and the floodwater heights indicated on the town hall.
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  • Vienna
    We opted out of the Mozart and Strauss Concert and chose instead to experience the Austrian tradition of a Heurigen Evening. A Heurigen is a wine garden and tavern, similar to a beer garden. It was an evening filled with wine, food, and singing along with the accordionist and violinist who serenaded the guests. a great time was had by all, and the small group (14 of us) who participated became fast friends and stuck like glue for the rest of the cruise, It was the highlight of our cruise!
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  • City Tour
    We took a bus tour that included the Ringstrasse, followed by a walking tour and free time that we spent souvenir shopping and visiting a coffee house. There's so much to see and do in Vienna that it can't be accomplished in one day so, now that I've glimpsed the highlights and have been oriented to the city, I'd like to return some day for another visit.
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  • Schonbrunn Palace
    A limited number of rooms are open to the public, but the tour of Schonbrunn is not to be missed. It provides a glimpse into the history and lifestyle of the Habsburgs. Be sure to visit the gardens, too, if time allows.
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