We travelled on Viking 3 years ago and our friends have heard all the stories. 2 of them asked if we wanted to go again with them from Budapest to Amsterdam and there was no hesitation, we accepted. Our only problem was getting to ... Read More
We travelled on Viking 3 years ago and our friends have heard all the stories. 2 of them asked if we wanted to go again with them from Budapest to Amsterdam and there was no hesitation, we accepted. Our only problem was getting to Budapest, we were delayed leaving by 2 hours due to weather, and so missed our connection but we were rebooked on 2 new connections and arrived only 4 hours later than scheduled, though our luggage didn’t make it. No problem, the front desk was on it, I was on it from another angle and by morning we had our bags. The crew was fantastic. They got us robes, slippers, and toiletries as we didn’t know if/when the bags would show up. They also threw in free laundry while the bags were missing, though we didn’t need it in the end.
Viking cabins are small, even the “larger” cabins, but that's OK because you are not in there except to sleep, change clothes, and shower. The lounge and sun deck are where most time is spent when on board and are more than adequate for the 190 or so guests on a full cruise. We had 178 on ours, which included a crew from Discovery Channel doing a show on our ship, to be aired in the fall. We were on the top deck of rooms and had a balcony, barely wide enough for a chair but still useable.
We tried to sit at the same table every night or close by so that our wait staff could get to know us, and they did. Always friendly, efficient, and eager to get something for us. The food was very good and reasonable portions, though our chef tended to make dry cakes and other baked desserts. A fellow passenger mentioned it to him and he ignored her, blamed it on the recipes, yeah right. The bartenders in the lounge were also excellent. The waiters in the lounge were mixed. One lady and one guy were good but the others were hit or miss, frequently miss. Get to know your bartenders, you might find free wine/beer times with lunch and dinner get extended a bit and if you get them to join in late night dancing, they can be really fun and generous on your next pour of a drink at the bar.
I usually don’t go for a lot of the entertainment, but it wasn’t bad and several local entertainers were brought on to give us local tastes in music or activities.
There was a free walking tour included at every stop, which we found adequate. Our friends did some extra excursions that they enjoyed, but one of them was 4 hours each way on a bus so it was a long day for them whereas we relaxed after our walk and enjoyed the scenery and the quiet.
We booked the trip a year in advance, and did get a more expensive room, but it was worth it. Breaking it down to a daily cost and remembering that our air fare was included, it wasn't that bad for a 2 week cruise that included excursions, food and some drinks, travel to each port, and hotel all on 1 ship.
We each got a $100 voucher for another cruise, which turns into a $200 on board credit when we use it. No expiration date, transferable or refundable. You can’t go wrong.
Also, nobody under 18 on board, so it's quieter than some cruises we have been on.
My favorite? Cruising the Wachau Valley and the Rhine with all the castles, almost a new castle around every curve on the Rhine.
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