Glad to land on the maiden voyage of one of Viking's vaunted long ships for this 14 day journey from Amsterdam to Budapest. Even happier to be upgraded from below decks, you know, to mid decks, perhaps because of AC problems with the original room. Whatever, am happy for the upgrade, for I spend a good third of my time watching the river go by from my French sliding doors, wide open. Another third in the bow watching the riverine world go by. Another third sleeping.
The Rhine from its meeting with the North sea upstream is magnificent and not to be missed by boat, much less a luxury river cruiser with fair to decent breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Can't drink free at breakfast, but lunch and dinner, wine and beer, no problem. Nice.
Kane, the program director, fantastic. Wine visits to the Wachau, done. Mineral baths in Budapest, done. Yet we were TOO often, including in Vienna, docked absolutely side by side with one or TWO other Viking ships. This was too much. The stink. The lack of light. The lack of access to the water. Nasty. Not acceptable.
Amusing was when we ran aground early on in the Danube. Thank god for the local river police and a fine-looking Dutch barge captain who bailed us out. I still wonder about the fate of our poor captain. We were never told the tale of how it happened, and we should have been told. It was easy enough to imagine, however, and it is just a good thing we all were safe.
We missed some excursions because of the grounding, including Passau. So I will make sure the next time I book Viking that Viking makes good on that.