Having experienced ocean cruising in North America, my wife and I wanted a unique cruise experience and chose a European river cruise. After much research, Viking appeared to be the best option for us as we wanted a luxury cruise experience spanning our stateroom, meals, excursions, and customer service. In short, Viking met and in some areas even exceeded our expectations.
Since we had visited Amsterdam several times previously, we chose the Budapest to Amsterdam itinerary which allowed us to embark on the ship and visit Budapest while docked. The proximity of the dock and the city is easy walking distance and allowed us to freely leave and return to the ship as we pleased. This was true for many of the ports we visited on this itinerary and made the experience even better given the flexibility provided.
My wife and I went on all included excursions and decided to use our free time before or after each excursion to visit other sites or just enjoy the city we were in. My of our shipmates chose the optional excursions and most spoke highly of them.
The Baldur long ship we were on was very well maintained and looked as though it has just been commissioned a few months prior. This includes the staterooms which are comfortably appointed, lounge and dinning areas, and upper deck. During our cruise, we had approx. 185 people onboard and rarely felt encumbered in hallways or dinning areas.
Our itinerary (Budapest to Amsterdam), provided so many beautiful sites as we cruised up the Danube and Rhine rivers. It seemed that every day, we saw several historic towns and nearby castles. Many of the castles were located high atop hillsides, so if your camera supports a telephoto lens, I would recommend bringing one on the trip. I used a 200-400 mm lens and found it to be very helpful when attempting close-up shots.
The food served during all meals was both delicious and of high quality. Dinning in the restaurant provided the broadest range of foods to eat, however, the Aquavit restaurant at the front of the ship offers an open air experience that is hard to beat during good weather. My wife and I enjoyed many evening meals at the bow of the boat eating shrimp and steak while enjoying our favorite drink as we cruised smoothly up river into a beautiful sunset.
For all of the research we did, my wife and I didn't consider the average passenger age might be onboard the ship. While this is never an issue on a large ocean cruise it might be for some on a smaller cruise ship with only 190 people onboard. So, for those interested, the average age on our ship was around 65 years of age, which could vary based on itinerary and time of the year. While my were younger in age (about 15 years), we found our shipmates to be engaging and enjoying life on a daily basis.
Our room was very comfortable and well appointed overall. The bathroom was spacious, as was the shower as well.
A side note: having 2 separate rooms allowed one of us to wake early and let the other sleep. For those who have a partner who snores, the suite is a great way to allow you and your partner the option to sleep in each room for a better night sleep when needed. The deviding door between the 2 rooms is truly sound proof and the couch is actually quite comfortable to sleep on. I can personally attest to this!
Beautiful city and tour pointed out highlights
Tour covered main sites in the cityView All 183 Walking Tour Reviews
Tour covered the history of the Abbey, which was beautiful and very well maintained.View All 182 Melk Abbey Reviews
Covered highlights of the city.
The walking tour was nice and allowed my wife and I to investigate the city on our own.
Great city with many WWII historical sites.
Quaint city with many fun places to eat and people watch.
Good wine and many fun places to eat.
Good tour of castle.