I keep meaning to post a review of our Grand European Tour on the Viking Modi and the Viking Skirnir - we had a ship swap - but I've only just gotten around to doing it.
Unlike so many reviewers, we had a splendid cruise - simply fabulous - despite the water level issues, bus rides and the ship swap (we only had one). I'd been reading about the drought situation and the water levels since they started around June 2018, so I had an idea of what to expect. Seems like a lot of people don't know that Viking posts updates on their website, since so many were surprised about the situation. I kept checking frequently, so again I knew what to expect. This was our second Viking river cruise, and we knew Viking would do their best - and in our opinion they did,.
I was glad that we were able to board the Modi in Budapest. There was some question at the time whether we could sail from that port. We did have to leave that night, instead of the next day, but we were treated to the spectacular nighttime sail with all the lights.
We had to bus back to Budapest if you wanted to do the tour. It wasn't a bad ride and the buses are comfortable. Our guide was great. The bonus from this was extra time in Vienna, which was lovely. I got to ride the World's Largest Ferris Wheel - something I might not have had time for.
We were able to sail all the way to Passau, then had to do Regensburg by bus. I was going to skip it and just stay with the ship - which was an option, but everyone in the group of people we had become friendly with were going, so we went. In the rain. And had a wonderful day, despite it. We had to pack up that night, but they had let us know this was a distinct possibility when we boarded. Anthony, our Program Director - who is an absolute GEM - also told us that was what likely would happen. I'd brought packing cubes. Only unpacked half our clothes into packing cubes in the drawers. I zipped them up, plopped them in the suitcases and was set to go.
The bus ride to Nuremburg was so much more pleasant than I'd anticipated. The Modi crew was able to move the ship in the morning so we could be closer to the buses (it was raining) and a little closer to Nuremberg. On the bus we had water and cookies, crossword and suduku puzzles if you wanted. The guide pointed things of interest out, but didn't talk the whole way so people napped. I was too busy looking out the window. And we were riding on the Autobahn! We stopped once at a rest stop. There was a shop where you could get a snack, a beer, a magazine or a cup of coffee. Before we knew it we were pulling up alongside the Skirnir in time for lunch!
The rest of our cruise went as planned and we had a great time. It was cold and windy in the Rhine Gorge, so the crew brought up blankets, hot chocolate and coffee with some warming ingredients like Bailey's and Amaretto!
The crew of both ships were fabulous, though we liked the Modi crew a bit better. Oddly enough I spoke with someone who started on the Skirnir and switched to our ship in the same swap. She liked the Skirnir crew better. Anthony our Program Director was simply marvelous! He was funny, going constantly with a smile on his face like the Enegizer Bunny. He's a keeper, Viking!
Unlike other recent reviewers, we liked the food a lot. We thought most dishes were quite good and often went with the local specialties. Again the Modi gets a few more points than the Skirnir, but perhaps it's just a comparison thing. The food was just as good and tasty as it was on our Rhine cruise in 2016.
We really enjoyed the local talent and the trivia games in the lounge after dinner. We're not big show people, so the local entertainment was just fine, and actually very entertaining.
I noticed references to the rafting of ships in port. We had a Veranda room and had no problem with it. When you are in port, you are mostly off the ship anyway. The only docking area that bothered me was the one in Cologne. I don't know where we were, but we rode slowly through some high walled canals to get there and then we had to climb a steep embankment to get to where the buses were. On our Rhine cruise we were out by the Zoo Bridge and this was even further away. I'd hoped to see Cologne lit up at night.
We would absolutely do this cruise again, despite the hitches. Travel is an adventure and that's the way we look at it. We really, genuinely had a wonderful, fantastic trip from start to finish.
We loved this cabin location on our Rhine cruise in 2016, so we chose it again. It was great. No noise, bit roomier than the French Balcony and lower level rooms. We like that bit of extra space, storage and the chair between the bed and the door. We do use the balcony for popping out in the morning to take photos and to watch the lock transits.
Because we had to leave early this was a bit shorter than planned, but very nice and we had a great guide
This was a bus and walking tour with free time. It was nicely balanced, but I'm glad we had extra time in Vienna on our own the day before
We had such a great time. It was a show, not just a concert. There was music, dancing and general fun!
The Abbey is gorgeous. I wish we'd had more time and I would have liked to take photos, but the Abbey doesn't allow it
The organ concert was wonderful
Our guide was very good and we got to see a lot of the town before heading to St Stephen's for the organ concert
We did the Art Tour in Nuremberg and it was not what I expected from the description which mentioned the Monuments Men, but it was extremely interesting, We also did a walking tour of the city and it was also very nice, with some free time in the market square
We did a walking tour of Regensburg in the rain, so that literally put a damper on things. I'd love to go back and see it without the liquid sunshine. Our lunch that Viking arranged for was very good.
One of my favorite stops. It's fascinating, quaint, and charming. Our guide was excellent and we really enjoyed this stop
We did the Rothenburg optional tour and it was fabulous. What a lovely town. Again Viking included a lunch with this tour and it was very good. The restaurant was right in a very picturesque part of the town.
We had time for a tour of the Residence when we got back to Wurzburg
We did Marksburg Castle on our Rhine Cruise, so we decided to do this one - mostly for the views. The guide was very entertaining and played the role of a British Spy - in costume. Another rain dampened day, but we enjoyed it nonetheless
We did the walking tour even though we had done it on our Rhine Cruise. It was completely different so we were glad we did.
We ate lunch at Fruh on our own, then took a tram/train thing to the Chocolate Museum - again on our own.