Our first river cruise, Passau to Budapest aboard the Hermod. Overall very pleased with the cruise. We did the pre-cruise in Prague, everything was well organized by Viking. The tree days gave us time to adjust to the time change before boarding the boat. The Viking included excursions in Prague and on the boat were top-notch, their fleet of buses were noteworthy for cleanliness and comfort.
Our embarkation was about as simple as could be...walk on the boat, our bags where at the room within minutes. Unlike Ocean cruising I didn’t see any security, no photo ID’s, no scanners of bags, all which led to a little uneasiness.
The first organized event was the welcome to the ship by our cruise director, Sonia. She was tops in her communication and organizational skills. Kept us well informed and herded us to our various excursions.
The biggest disappointment with the cruise for me was the evening meal. Once the pre-brief for the next day was complete at 7:00 PM it was a mass rush to dinner. There is only one dining room, and it was a scramble for the tables, no assigned seating, no escort by the Matre D, or staff...just grab a seat. Kind of throwback to College dining facility. “Smart Casual” was largely ignored given the preponderance of jeans, jeans in my book is not smart casual. The food was tasty, the choices descent, the service good.
The included tours by Viking were well done and varied, walking tours, organ concerts, excursions to sites out of town. A lot of history, was a bit tired of history by the end of the cruise for my liking but the area we cruised is history so it should be expected. A few sections of the river were very beautiful and the timing was such that they were done in the daylight. Enjoyed the Mozart concert in Vienna.
Onboard entertainment was slim, only one venue. They brought some area entertainers onboard that were a nice break from the resident piano player.
Overall well done for Viking. Most of the travelers were in their 60’s and 70’s, not quite as old as I feared, the walking tours were slow paced. I would do another Viking but prefer the amenities offered on an ocean cruise over the river cruise.
Small but very functional, great showers. Liked the French balcony over the veranda balcony.