We arrived in Budapest two days before departing on our Viking cruise. With the help of a Viking representative in our hotel, the Marriott, my friend and I were able to use the Big Bus to get off and on at locations that we knew we would ... Read More
We arrived in Budapest two days before departing on our Viking cruise. With the help of a Viking representative in our hotel, the Marriott, my friend and I were able to use the Big Bus to get off and on at locations that we knew we would not see on the first day or second day of our guided cruise tour. We discovered numerous small cafes to leisurely enjoy the food for a meal, coffee, and / or a snack. Don't miss going to the Hospital in the Cave on the Buda side of the Danube.
We were able to board our cruise ship, the Wilhelm, with no trouble, being greeted by several of the crew members. who, by the way, remembered our names starting right then and for the rest of the cruise. Our cabin had a balcony, on which we had our pastries and cappuccino each morning. The room was an adequate size considering how little time we spent there.
I have been on Ocean and Sea cruises where the number of passengers seemed overwhelming. On the Viking River Cruise, the small number of passengers (171) meant that one could at least recognize almost everyone on our ship. Stopping to take photos when on guided tours sometimes separated us from our group. However, being able to recognize a familiar face, quickly got us back on track. It was also easy to make conversation with others with whom you sat relaxing or at a meal because they were recognizable. I also loved the idea of taking a trip without children who were crying, complaining, or lost. I truly enjoyed being "the child" as I experienced the wonders of the sites, the food, the locals, and the culture of the countries we visited.
We loved the variety of foods served both in the dining room and in the Aquavit. The dress for each was fairly as dressy or causal as one felt like being. The chef was on hand for all meals - I especially liked being shown the kitchen on a tour he gave. The chef also guided a group to the market one day for a shopping and tasting tour. Great fun :)
Each of the ports offered a variety of activities on land - either guided tours or time to spend on your own exploring. The ship's staff were involved in some of the tours, and if someone decided not to get off for either of these, the remaining staff saw to ones needs / wishes with food, discussions. There were also demonstrations on board as well as cultural entertainment in the evening after dinner. The singing, dancing, and music were examples of what the country we were visiting offered as their traditions. The audience - us - was encouraged to join in. The staff dressed in traditional German attire one afternoon and evening, much to the delight of us all :)
The activities included tours that were included as part of our package as well as a number of extra ones. This included a night at the opera in Vienna - the singers and orchestra were outstanding and was another "must see". Our tour guides offered a regular and a slower pace groupings - which was a great advantage to many of us.
The staff members were friends while they performed their duties - calling us by name, remembering what we liked to drink, our menu preferences, reminding some of us of our departure times (I'm always late), greeting us everywhere on the ship with a smile and questions about our day. They also took photos for us - I hate doing selfies :) I hated to say good-bye, and I hope to see some of them again on another Viking River Cruise. Read Less