Once in the Viking bubble we felt loved, cared for, and safe during these trying times of Covid. The 2-3 days prior to travel were where we felt the stress and anxiety of covid testing. Finding a PCR test in the US with a turn around time less than 72 hours was the concern. As Budapest required a test to be taken 72 hours PRIOR TO ARRIVAL into Hungary, yet no where could we find a testing center that would guarantee our results PRIOR TO DEPARTURE. This is extremely important to the story as if we did not have our results 24 hours prior to our departure, Vikings requirement to cancel, we could possibly EAT the cost of this trip. So we were on the phone more than once with Viking explaining our situation and our concerns. When we still had no results 5 minutes prior to the 24 hour time bomb once again we were on the phone with Viking discussing our options. They were AMAZING!!! They noted all conversations in their notes and promised that they would do everything to make this trip happen or to transfer us to another trip. They didn't need to make that promise but trusting them we moved forward and did not cancel. So what happened!? As Viking wanted to make sure we were negative, we went out and got local antigen tests hoping the airlines would allow us at least a departure from our local city to the Atlanta. They were negative and they at least gave us comfort the PCRs would be too. Within 18 hours of our trip departure we finally got our negative PCR tests. We were good to go!! We arrived at the airport and had a conversation with the Delta agent who informed us that if we had arrived with only an antigen test they would not have allowed us to step foot on the plane. She also stated that she hated the policies because they made her the bad guy and she understood the extra 6 hours flying to Atlanta and sitting there waiting for our outbound plane would and could have been just what we needed if the tests were more delayed. Well so much for removing stress. We shared our PCR tests and our trip began. WE WERE ECSTATIC!!!! NOW NONE OF THIS WAS VIKINGS PROBLEM. With each country having their own rules Viking had to defer to their decisions. I just wish the process had been less stressful.
Next step, GET INTO THE VIKING BUBBLE!!! Upon arrival in Budapest our transport from the airport to the hotel was efficient and fast. We arrived at the Intercontinental for checkin, it was efficient and fast, so long as you could show that that damn C19 test was taken 72 hours PRIOR TO YOUR ARRIVAL!! OURS WAS but many people missed that in the Hungary stated rules. I am still unsure why Viking became the police in this requirement as no one even cared when we arrived at the airport. Everyone was allowed to enter the country. However, since we had followed the rules we were good to go and did not need to submit to an additional PCR test upon arrival. We waited maybe 2 hours for our room, a hotel issues but not bad as it was noon and the stated check in is typically 3 or 4pm. We went to the grocery store as Viking watched our luggage. We walked around and dusted off the flight cobwebs only to return and have full access to our room. Once we got settled we were back downstairs hunting food ideas and needed that arrival cocktail!
The following morning we were off on our walking tour in the rain! We were the ONLY 2 on this walking tour and so our tour guide made adjustments to our desires and needs. We walked 6-7 miles that day and hit every highlight as promised with the best attention to a tour we have ever had. Of course we were prepared for the rain and cold so no complaints as we finally made it back to the hotel by 3pm! What an amazing day in Budapest! Take the walking tour if you are able as many guests typically are not able so the attention can be the best you will ever receive.