Viking Cruises came highly recommended to me by my friends in several different groups, so it was easy to select the Danube River cruise with my companion. The recommendation was warranted! Two things impressed me right off, Viking's attention to detail right down to the small stuff (like good design of cabins, things many guests might not even notice) and Viking's corporate culture, always welcoming and accommodating. It was great to have staff address me by name by the second or third day. Impressive!
I especially appreciated the open table seating at meals, as it was a great opportunity to meet new guests every time we sat down for meals. And a little humble humor here, no other guest was "stuck" with me for a whole week!
Viking River Cruises are a great way to travel with little worry about arrangements. From arrival greeting (at the airport and longboat), to shore excursions at each port, to not having to pack and unpack along the way, to Viking staff confirming my return air travel and providing easy transfer to my departing airport.
On this trip, my favorite port was Passau, Germany. Just the right size bowl of porridge, not too big and not too small, to explore more in depth. An opportunity to self tour for a little deeper cultural immersion should one make the effort as I choose to do when I travel.
I also enjoyed my extension in Prague, Czech Republic. Yes, I took the panoramic tour to familiarize myself, though my greatest pleasure was going off-line by myself, away from the crowds, the shops and the more touristy spots to engage with citizens of the Czech Republic on a deeper level. Amazing what you can discover this way!
I'll not hesitate to recommend Viking River Cruises to all my friends whenever cruising comes up in conversation. Thanks, Viking.
Cabins, by necessity are compact. What makes Viking Jarl's cabins so good is good design. Everything has a place, especially in the bathrooms with excellent lighting and functionality. Here's an example: just outside the shower, the common wall is angled just so slightly from the shower-head wall so that the nose of the toilet is angled away from the lavatory sink to provide extra clearance. It's a little detail that matters. Lighting throughout the cabin is very good, with reading lights above each bed. Another design thing, the ceiling once past the entry is higher, giving a feeling of spaciousness in a small area.
I especially liked Pest for its city activity. Buda was also nice.
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Passau was my favorite port of call. Just the right size "porridge", not too big and not too small. Spent the entire day there exploring the various neighborhoods. Talked with the citizens, and the many artists in residence.
Explored not only the main attractions (where everyone goes) but also the side streets and neighborhoods.