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This was our 6th Viking River Cruise (our 8th river cruise). Overall, this was another very good trip. Everything went smoothly; all the flights, connections, transfers, etc (all done through Viking). Since this was the first cruise of the season, the crew was refreshed and the ship sparkled. Unfortunately, we only spent 7 nights (6 days) on the ship, and I guess I didn't pay attention to that when I booked the cruise. It passed too quickly and we all would have preferred a couple more days on the ship. The pre-cruise time in Budapest and then post-cruise excursion in Bucharest were great. Romania was the big surprise of the trip! Bucharest is so European!! This was such an interesting itinerary. All the stops were formerly Communist countries. It was so interesting to learn how they've changed since the late 1980s/early 1990s. Budapest and Bucharest were very modern and had an "European feel;" Serbia and Bulgaria much less so. Other reviewers have complained that there was nothing to see at some of the ports. That isn't true; we "saw" what life is like in some of these places and the effects of a struggling economy. The tour guides were very honest in their assessments about the impact of the end of Communist rule and each country's efforts towards promoting free markets and democracy. They admitted that some people were still nostalgic for Communism! Since this was our 6th cruise, we're pretty familiar with the Viking offering. So, perhaps the novelty has worn off, but there was just "something" about this trip that didn't measure up to previous Viking sailings. This time, passengers, both North American and European, showed up on excursions and to dinner in shorts, sweats, and flip flops. Some were dressed more appropriately for a trip to the beach than to visit a church or historic site! And almost no one dressed for the farewell dinner (by "dressed," I mean a button down shirt for men and a nice blouse and slacks for women). I was astonished by how many people were sloppily attired even for the farewell dinner! My husband and I don't like to dress - and we shy away from formal dinners on the ocean cruises - but even we make a little special effort for the farewell dinner on Viking. Viking doesn't publish in advance the arrival or departure times for each port, making it impossible to arrange private tours in lieu of the included Viking excursion. The included excursions were all good, and all the guides knowledgeable, but there was a little bit of a "herd mentality" getting 40+ people on and off each of the tour buses at each stop. Potential Viking customers who don't like this aspect of group travel should take notice. For both the pre-cruise time in Budapest, and the post-cuise time in Bucharest, we did avail ourselves of smaller tours. In Budapest, we did a "free tour" (most cities now have them) and it was excellent. In Bucharest, we did the Viking post-cruise excursion which included an overnight trip to Transylvania. It was good, but not great, and other passengers who did a private tour instead seemed to have a better experience. In Bucharest, we also did a paid Tours by Locals, and our guide Alina was fantastic! (www.wheninbucharest.com). The food was delicious!! Service was friendly and impeccable. We will be taking our first Viking Ocean cruise in October, so it will be interesting to see how the Viking "model" translates to an ocean cruise setting.

A very interesting itinerary!

Viking Lif Cruise Review by Arling2nGal

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2017
  • Destination: Europe River
  • Cabin Type: French Balcony Superior
This was our 6th Viking River Cruise (our 8th river cruise). Overall, this was another very good trip. Everything went smoothly; all the flights, connections, transfers, etc (all done through Viking). Since this was the first cruise of the season, the crew was refreshed and the ship sparkled. Unfortunately, we only spent 7 nights (6 days) on the ship, and I guess I didn't pay attention to that when I booked the cruise. It passed too quickly and we all would have preferred a couple more days on the ship. The pre-cruise time in Budapest and then post-cruise excursion in Bucharest were great. Romania was the big surprise of the trip! Bucharest is so European!!

This was such an interesting itinerary. All the stops were formerly Communist countries. It was so interesting to learn how they've changed since the late 1980s/early 1990s. Budapest and Bucharest were very modern and had an "European feel;" Serbia and Bulgaria much less so. Other reviewers have complained that there was nothing to see at some of the ports. That isn't true; we "saw" what life is like in some of these places and the effects of a struggling economy. The tour guides were very honest in their assessments about the impact of the end of Communist rule and each country's efforts towards promoting free markets and democracy. They admitted that some people were still nostalgic for Communism!

Since this was our 6th cruise, we're pretty familiar with the Viking offering. So, perhaps the novelty has worn off, but there was just "something" about this trip that didn't measure up to previous Viking sailings. This time, passengers, both North American and European, showed up on excursions and to dinner in shorts, sweats, and flip flops. Some were dressed more appropriately for a trip to the beach than to visit a church or historic site! And almost no one dressed for the farewell dinner (by "dressed," I mean a button down shirt for men and a nice blouse and slacks for women). I was astonished by how many people were sloppily attired even for the farewell dinner! My husband and I don't like to dress - and we shy away from formal dinners on the ocean cruises - but even we make a little special effort for the farewell dinner on Viking.

Viking doesn't publish in advance the arrival or departure times for each port, making it impossible to arrange private tours in lieu of the included Viking excursion. The included excursions were all good, and all the guides knowledgeable, but there was a little bit of a "herd mentality" getting 40+ people on and off each of the tour buses at each stop. Potential Viking customers who don't like this aspect of group travel should take notice.

For both the pre-cruise time in Budapest, and the post-cuise time in Bucharest, we did avail ourselves of smaller tours. In Budapest, we did a "free tour" (most cities now have them) and it was excellent. In Bucharest, we did the Viking post-cruise excursion which included an overnight trip to Transylvania. It was good, but not great, and other passengers who did a private tour instead seemed to have a better experience. In Bucharest, we also did a paid Tours by Locals, and our guide Alina was fantastic! (www.wheninbucharest.com).

The food was delicious!! Service was friendly and impeccable.

We will be taking our first Viking Ocean cruise in October, so it will be interesting to see how the Viking "model" translates to an ocean cruise setting.
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Cabin Review

French Balcony Superior
Cabin C 330
The cabin was small, but very functional. There was a place for everything. The bathroom was great; even had a glass shower door and heated floors! I was tempted to get a suite, but held off. There is a little more room in a suite. Maybe next time....
Upper Deck Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins