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Have you ever wanted to pinch yourself to see if you were having a dream? That is exactly how I felt when I arrived in Budapest, Hungary. While I had been to Europe on three previous occasions, this trip was vastly different. After forty ocean cruises, my Dad and I were embarking on our first Viking River Cruise adventure, aboard the beautiful Viking Ingvi longship. Although it wasn’t a dream, the storybook landscapes did resemble a fairy tale! From Hungary to Austria and Germany to the Netherlands, we listened to magnificent philharmonic orchestras, explored the inside of castles and windmills, and tasted delightful delicacies. If you want to feel like royalty, take the Grand European Tour with Viking River Cruises. They treat passengers like Kings and Queens! Before the sun went down on our first evening aboard the Ingvi, we enjoyed our first Viking River Cruise dinner experience. It was simply incredible. I chose the Hungarian Farmer’s Plate for my first course, the Hungarian Goulash for my second course, and Hungarian layer cake for my dessert. The perfect meal to eat while in Hungary (or in any other part of the globe – it was amazing). Following our marvelous meal, the Captain took the entire longship for a sightseeing cruise to see the lights of the city. Budapest is so beautiful at night, with all of the buildings lit up! What an incredible sight to see! On the second evening, the Captain held a welcome aboard party that evening as a prelude to dinner. My menu selections included the potato crusted mascarpone cheese with a truffle sabayon sauce for my first course, Chateaubriand with buttered vegetables, potatoes, and a béarnaise sauce for my entrée, and a strawberry sponge cake for dessert. It was the perfect way to end another perfect day. The ship became a family in virtually no time at all. The majority of crew members knew our names by the second day of the cruise. The Viking Ingvi Crew provided excellent service. From Csaba, the Bar Chef, to Krisztina, the Hotel Manager, and of course, Rob, the Program Director, Tamara, the Concierge, Vivijen, the Receptionist, Daniel, the Musician, Judit, Bar Waitress, and Bojana, the Maître D', all of the crew on board worked hard to ensure that our river cruise was nothing short of exceptional. Many others contributed to an phenomenal cruise as well. Their meticulous service is very much appreciated. Many of the crew members became friends over the course of our two-week sailing. As a little girl, I dreamed of going to Austria, home of The Sound of Music. Now, as a young woman, my wish was fulfilled. We spent three days in this beautiful country, beginning with a scenic sail through scenery that made me want to sing out, “The hills are alive…” Well, you get the picture. The first part of the day found us dining on delicious meals, watching an apple strudel demonstration, and viewing remarkable scenery. Following a wonderful meal and a delightful “day at river,” we sprung for the Mozart and Strauss Concert that evening. Sitting on the front row of Schubert Hall, I was captivated by the excellent musicianship and talent that exuded from the platform as the Vienna Residence Orchestra performed. To welcome us back on the ship, the chef prepared Goulash soup and fresh baked bread as a late night snack, which was the perfect way to conclude a delightful evening. Break out your lederhosen and dirndls! The first stop in Bavaria is Passau, Germany, home of the world’s largest cathedral pipe organ, boasting more than 17,000 pipes! Thanks to Viking, we were able to attend a concert to hear this monstrous musical instrument being played. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable, sharing a detailed history of the “Three Rivers City,” named for the three rivers that converge in Passau: the Danube, Inn, and Ilz Rivers. While Viking provides an excellent complimentary excursion in most ports, we chose to take the World War II tour in Nuremberg, Germany. As a Language Arts teacher, I am required to teach the Holocaust. Teaching this difficult subject becomes a little easier when I can share personal experiences with my students, such as touring Congress Hall and Courtroom 600, where the Nuremberg Trials were held. While this tour was quite the somber experience, our lovely tour guide has now become a dear friend. Fondly known as the glass blowing capital of the world, Wertheim is home to a multi-generational family of glass blowers, one of whom came on the ship to give a demonstration. It was always exciting to have local artisans and performers join us on the ship for quality entertainment. What a treat to be notified by the Viking Concierge that the Cologne Philharmonic Orchestra was holding a free concert that afternoon! It was one of the most enjoyable concerts we experienced on our Grand European Tour. One of the most exciting dinners on board was the Viking Taste of Germany Dinner menu, including roast leg of port, bratwurst, tiroler knödel, sauerkraut, knödel, Viennese schnitzel, roast chicken, grilled käsekrainer, potato salad, and much more! Throughout this Grand European Tour, there were moments when goose bumps covered my arms, tears filled my eyes, and my heart was overwhelmed with joy. While my diary entries were scattered, at best, I am certain I will never forget the places we explored, the remarkable experiences we shared, and the many strangers we now call friends. My first Viking River Cruise etched indelible memories in my mind and effectively tugged on my heartstrings as well. As we received our customs form on the flight home, the reality of returning to the “real world,” began to sink in. Yet I encouraged myself with this thought: all good things must come to an end, so new ones can begin. So now the only question that remains is: when will I set sail with Viking once again? I invite you to view my full photo log of our trip at http://www.jennifersjourneys.net/photolog.html. I am happy to answer any questions you have concerning Viking River Cruises or the destinations we visited. I would love to hear your recommendations for future travel plans as well! You may e-mail me at jennifer@jennifersjourneys.net.

A Storybook Summer: Our First Viking River Cruise Adventure

Viking Ingvi Cruise Review by jennifercampbell

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2016
  • Destination: Europe River
  • Cabin Type: French Balcony
Have you ever wanted to pinch yourself to see if you were having a dream? That is exactly how I felt when I arrived in Budapest, Hungary. While I had been to Europe on three previous occasions, this trip was vastly different. After forty ocean cruises, my Dad and I were embarking on our first Viking River Cruise adventure, aboard the beautiful Viking Ingvi longship. Although it wasn’t a dream, the storybook landscapes did resemble a fairy tale! From Hungary to Austria and Germany to the Netherlands, we listened to magnificent philharmonic orchestras, explored the inside of castles and windmills, and tasted delightful delicacies. If you want to feel like royalty, take the Grand European Tour with Viking River Cruises. They treat passengers like Kings and Queens!

Before the sun went down on our first evening aboard the Ingvi, we enjoyed our first Viking River Cruise dinner experience. It was simply incredible. I chose the Hungarian Farmer’s Plate for my first course, the Hungarian Goulash for my second course, and Hungarian layer cake for my dessert. The perfect meal to eat while in Hungary (or in any other part of the globe – it was amazing). Following our marvelous meal, the Captain took the entire longship for a sightseeing cruise to see the lights of the city. Budapest is so beautiful at night, with all of the buildings lit up! What an incredible sight to see!

On the second evening, the Captain held a welcome aboard party that evening as a prelude to dinner. My menu selections included the potato crusted mascarpone cheese with a truffle sabayon sauce for my first course, Chateaubriand with buttered vegetables, potatoes, and a béarnaise sauce for my entrée, and a strawberry sponge cake for dessert. It was the perfect way to end another perfect day.

The ship became a family in virtually no time at all. The majority of crew members knew our names by the second day of the cruise. The Viking Ingvi Crew provided excellent service. From Csaba, the Bar Chef, to Krisztina, the Hotel Manager, and of course, Rob, the Program Director, Tamara, the Concierge, Vivijen, the Receptionist, Daniel, the Musician, Judit, Bar Waitress, and Bojana, the Maître D', all of the crew on board worked hard to ensure that our river cruise was nothing short of exceptional. Many others contributed to an phenomenal cruise as well. Their meticulous service is very much appreciated. Many of the crew members became friends over the course of our two-week sailing.

As a little girl, I dreamed of going to Austria, home of The Sound of Music. Now, as a young woman, my wish was fulfilled. We spent three days in this beautiful country, beginning with a scenic sail through scenery that made me want to sing out, “The hills are alive…” Well, you get the picture. The first part of the day found us dining on delicious meals, watching an apple strudel demonstration, and viewing remarkable scenery.

Following a wonderful meal and a delightful “day at river,” we sprung for the Mozart and Strauss Concert that evening. Sitting on the front row of Schubert Hall, I was captivated by the excellent musicianship and talent that exuded from the platform as the Vienna Residence Orchestra performed. To welcome us back on the ship, the chef prepared Goulash soup and fresh baked bread as a late night snack, which was the perfect way to conclude a delightful evening.

Break out your lederhosen and dirndls! The first stop in Bavaria is Passau, Germany, home of the world’s largest cathedral pipe organ, boasting more than 17,000 pipes! Thanks to Viking, we were able to attend a concert to hear this monstrous musical instrument being played. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable, sharing a detailed history of the “Three Rivers City,” named for the three rivers that converge in Passau: the Danube, Inn, and Ilz Rivers.

While Viking provides an excellent complimentary excursion in most ports, we chose to take the World War II tour in Nuremberg, Germany. As a Language Arts teacher, I am required to teach the Holocaust. Teaching this difficult subject becomes a little easier when I can share personal experiences with my students, such as touring Congress Hall and Courtroom 600, where the Nuremberg Trials were held. While this tour was quite the somber experience, our lovely tour guide has now become a dear friend.

Fondly known as the glass blowing capital of the world, Wertheim is home to a multi-generational family of glass blowers, one of whom came on the ship to give a demonstration. It was always exciting to have local artisans and performers join us on the ship for quality entertainment.

What a treat to be notified by the Viking Concierge that the Cologne Philharmonic Orchestra was holding a free concert that afternoon! It was one of the most enjoyable concerts we experienced on our Grand European Tour.

One of the most exciting dinners on board was the Viking Taste of Germany Dinner menu, including roast leg of port, bratwurst, tiroler knödel, sauerkraut, knödel, Viennese schnitzel, roast chicken, grilled käsekrainer, potato salad, and much more!

Throughout this Grand European Tour, there were moments when goose bumps covered my arms, tears filled my eyes, and my heart was overwhelmed with joy. While my diary entries were scattered, at best, I am certain I will never forget the places we explored, the remarkable experiences we shared, and the many strangers we now call friends. My first Viking River Cruise etched indelible memories in my mind and effectively tugged on my heartstrings as well. As we received our customs form on the flight home, the reality of returning to the “real world,” began to sink in. Yet I encouraged myself with this thought: all good things must come to an end, so new ones can begin. So now the only question that remains is: when will I set sail with Viking once again?

I invite you to view my full photo log of our trip at http://www.jennifersjourneys.net/photolog.html. I am happy to answer any questions you have concerning Viking River Cruises or the destinations we visited. I would love to hear your recommendations for future travel plans as well! You may e-mail me at jennifer@jennifersjourneys.net.
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Cabin Review

French Balcony
Cabin D 234
Gorgeous! While smaller than an ocean cruiseliner, it was very adequate. The bathroom was roomy and had a heated floor. Complimentary bottled water, ice machine available for use 24/7 right in the hallway, and more. The French balcony was perfect, providing a way to take photos without a window glare. Looking forward to returning!
Middle Deck Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Budapest
    The moment we arrived in Budapest, we were given red carpet treatment. Greeted by the Viking representative at the airport, we were escorted to the shuttle which transported us to our five-star hotel situated along the Danube River. The pre-cruise extension package we purchased with Viking not only provided a home base at the Intercontinental Hotel in Budapest, but also a daily breakfast buffet at the hotel. This buffet had everything from an omelette station and an assortment of Hungarian specialties to fresh-baked pastries and an Asian section. Needless to say, breakfast was always a feast for the senses! The Intercontinental is within walking distance of many prominent sites, including the Chain Bridge, Buda Castle, and Shoes on the Danube. Albeit a solemn experience, a visit to the Shoes on the Danube is a chilling reminder of the inexplicable horrors of World War II. These sixty pairs of iron shoes are a memorial to honor the Jews who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen. Read more at http://jennifersjourneysblog.blogspot.com/2016/08/viking-river-cruise-grand-european-tour.html
    View All 351 Budapest Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Budapest Cruise Port Review
  • Walking Tour
    The fourth largest city in Germany, Cologne is home to the grand Cologne Cathedral, a massive structure which towers above the vast majority of buildings in this ancient city.

    What a treat to be notified by the Viking Concierge that the Cologne Philharmonic Orchestra was holding a free concert that afternoon! It was one of the most enjoyable concerts we experienced on our Grand European Tour. Read more at www.jennifersjourneys.net
    View All 125 Walking Tour Reviews
  • Koblenz
    While a trip to a medieval castle would typically be the high point of the day, the day once again soared to an even greater altitude. We experienced an exhilarating ride across the Rhine River via cable car to the top of the hill where the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress is located! Mere words cannot fully describe this experience. Read more at www.jennifersjourneys.net
    View All 149 Koblenz Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Koblenz Cruise Port Review
  • Melk Abbey
    Founded in 1089, Melk Abbey towers over the medieval town of Melk, Austria. This Benedictine abbey sits high upon a hill, offering a mesmerizing view of the Danube River as well as the surrounding hills, villages, and vineyards. Coupled with a meandering walk down the hill, through the old town, across the bridge, and through the woods, it definitely feels like you have stepped right into the pages of a storied fable!
    View All 166 Melk Abbey Reviews
  • Nuremberg
    While Viking provides an excellent complimentary excursion in most ports, we chose to take the World War II tour in Nuremberg, Germany. As a Language Arts teacher, I am required to teach the Holocaust. Teaching this difficult subject becomes a little easier when I can share personal experiences with my students, such as touring Congress Hall and Courtroom 600, where the Nuremberg Trials were held. While this tour was quite the somber experience, our lovely tour guide has now become a dear friend. Read more at: www.jennifersjourneys.net
    View All 497 Nuremberg Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Nuremberg Cruise Port Review
  • St. Stephen's Cathedral
    Break out your lederhosen and dirndls! The first stop in Bavaria is Passau, Germany, home of the world’s largest cathedral pipe organ, boasting more than 17,000 pipes! Thanks to Viking, we were able to attend a concert to hear this monstrous musical instrument being played. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable, sharing a detailed history of the “Three Rivers City,” named for the three rivers that converge in Passau: the Danube, Inn, and Ilz Rivers.
    View All 88 St. Stephen's Cathedral Reviews
  • Regensburg
    Home of the oldest bratwurst grill, Regensburg, Germany is a colorful town featuring a 12th century stone bridge that is 310 meters long with with 16 arches. The city center has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, considering the well-preserved medieval structures, such as the Gothic Regensburg Cathedral. Read more at: www.jennifersjourneys.net
    View All 496 Regensburg Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Regensburg Cruise Port Review
  • Vienna
    Following a wonderful meal and a delightful “day at river,” we sprung for the Mozart and Strauss Concert that evening. Sitting on the front row of Schubert Hall, I was captivated by the excellent musicianship and talent that exuded from the platform as the Vienna Residence Orchestra performed. To welcome us back on the ship, the chef prepared Goulash soup and fresh baked bread as a late night snack, which was the perfect way to conclude a delightful evening.
    View All 281 Vienna Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Vienna Cruise Port Review
  • Schonbrunn Palace
    Vienna, Austria is a city that needs no introduction. The moment we stepped off the ship, we ventured directly to the U-Bahn, navigating our way to the Schönbrunn Palace, a former imperial summer residence boasting 1,441 rooms. After touring 40 of these luxurious rooms, it was time to return to the city center where we explored many miles of historic sites. Read more at: http://jennifersjourneysblog.blogspot.com/2016/08/viking-river-cruise-grand-european-tour.html
    View All 143 Schonbrunn Palace Reviews
  • Walking Tour
    Soon we found our way to the Zum Schwarzen Kameel (The Black Camel). The Viennese schnitzel and potato salad, as well as the spaghetti Bolognese topped with micro greens, were culinary perfection. Of course, the Viennese cuisine served here should be renowned! This iconic restaurant has roots dating back to a delicatessen frequented by Ludwig van Beethoven himself!



    What better way to end the evening than with a concert featuring the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra? Sitting inside the Great Hall of the Wiener Konzerthaus, I felt as if I was royalty. How amazing it was to sit in box number one, row one, seats one and two! The best seats in the house complete with a view of the piano keys. The Vienna Symphonic Orchestra (Wiener Symphoniker) performed under the direction of conductor Robert Trevino. They played works by Peter Iljitsch Tschaikowsky, Franz Liszt, and Antonín Dvořák. From the first note until the last, it was an amazing evening of expert musical talent. Hearing this brilliant assembly of musicians perform was a dream come true!



    Just as I was soaring on cloud nine, the evening went to even greater heights. Atop the Wiener Riesenrad, or Riesenrad, a 212-foot tall Ferris wheel in Vienna, the view was spectacular! Riding one of the world's oldest operating Ferris wheels was the ideal way to end an absolutely dazzling day.
    View All 154 Walking Tour Reviews
  • Wurzburg
    The Viking walking tour of Würzburg, Germany featured a visit to the Würzburg Residence, a palace built in 1720. Since it was heavily damaged during World War II, restoration has been an on-going process since 1945. In 1981, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the most beautiful aspects of the palace is its enormous fresco in the formal reception room, which features scenes from four continents. The palace gardens are very ornate as well.
    View All 187 Wurzburg Cruise Port Reviews
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