Having previously taken the Volga cruise, this was the second Viking river cruise for my daughter and I. This trip was chosen for my love of classical music and the fact that I had never before visited Budapest. Vienna is known both as the center of classical music and Imperial Europe (Hapsburg Empire). The Danube: History and music. a wonderful duo.
The cruise started out on a high note, good connection from arrival flight, comfortable cabin, good food and on-board performance by four talented singers performing arias from popular operas.
The cruise greatly deteriorated from that point on becoming trivial and mundane. In Vienna, "City of Music", home to Mozart, Bach, Brahms, Mahler, Strauss and one time capital of the Austria Hungarian Empire, emphasis was given to it's being the site for the movie "Sound of Music". City tours were reminiscent of the play/movie "If It's Tuesday it Must be Belgium" a gaggle of fifty or so shipmates dutifully following the red banner. No visit to the Vienna opera house, but an excursion could be made to the BMW factory.
To be fair, there was an excellent lunch with good entertainment, performers singing-what else-songs from "The Sound of Music" and a very good concert was provided that evening. However, the ambiance of the concert was somewhat lessened by the atmosphere of a high school gym with folded seats.
It was the priorities: "Sound of Music" over the music for which Vienna is famous, BMW factory over the Vienna opera house, no reflection on the importance of Vienna's place in European history that was, to me, very disappointing.
The rest of the cruise on-board entertainment continued in the same direction; no reflection of the reason for being on the Danube, although there was one example of the making of strudel. No "Blue Danube Waltz", but repeated playing of popular 1950's music. I am on a Danube cruise, not at my high school prom!
My daughter and I spent a few day in Budapest and both saw and learned more about that city on our own than from any of the shore tours conducted by Viking.
On the bright side, the boat itself was quite enjoyable. The staff was exceptional. Accommodations clean and comfortable. Food very satisfactory and contact and association with the other passengers very rewarding (BREXIT and Trump made for great conversation.)
Small but well laid out. Clean and comfortable. Well serviced.
We stayed extra days in Budapest and conducted out own tours.
Not fond of group tours consisting of too many tourists following an overwhelmed guide. Personal interests and priorities are usually not met.
It is difficult to conduct a short/hurried tour for a fairly large and diverse group with varied interests. The Viking shore tours reflected all of the problems of trying to accommodate the majority at the expense of the individual.