Second European river cruise on Viking. First cruise was with a group of 8 on the Rhine in May, 2015 and river was too high to actually cruise. Got bussed to several locations on the itinerary and then moved from the boat to a hotel for the remainder of the trip. Received a voucher from Viking because of those issues and the group booked the Romantic Danube cruise starting in Prague and ending in Budapest.
I opted for the Explorer Suite for the Danube cruise because business class airfare was included in the price of the suite. Our first boat was the Bestla and the suite was nice and well furnished. Seemed like it was going to be a very nice trip, until the engines started and we began to cruise. Noise level is high and slight vibration of the cabin when boat is underway. There was a barge accident on the river on day 3 and we ended up having to transfer to a different boat on day 5 (after more bus trips) for the remaining 3 days of the cruise.
We transferred to the Njord, which is apparently a year or 2 older than the Bestla. Room was not nearly as nicely furnished as the cabin on the Beslta, but the bed and pillows were awful. The worst part however is that when the boat got underway, the noise level was so high you could not hardly talk in the cabin and the vibration of the engines was felt on the bed and everywhere in the cabin. The walls, table, and ceiling rattled the whole time the boat was underway. The last night the boat was docked in Budapest, but no sleep on nights 1 and 2 on the Njord.
Can't say that I slept all that well on the Bestla, but there was a night and day difference between the levels of discomfort in the respective cabins.
Spoke to the hotel manager on the Njord who admitted that Explorer Suites are loud and do have a lot of vibration when the boat is underway. He suggested the Vernada Suites on the 3rd deck -- which are much smaller, but do have a separate sitting area -- if you want a bigger room option. The are mid to front on the 3rd deck and the noise is apparently a lot less.
Not sure I'm going back on a river cruise after the 2 experiences that I had this year and last.
Bestla Explorer Suite: room was well appointed and nice upon arrival. Thought it was going to be a nice trip. Once the boat got underway, the engine noise is loud and there is some vibration form the engine. Bed was reasonably comfortable and balconies were nice.
Njord Explorer Suite: room was not nearly as well appointed, bed and pillows were absolutely awful (and no one seemed to care about getting us more pillows). The worst parts however are the noise level and vibration when the boat is underway -- very high on this boat. Everything vibrates -- including the walls, windows, ceiling, and bed!
Would strongly recommend the Explorer Suite -- very poor value for the price.