I had never been to Europe & had always wanted to go. A friend and I saw a 2 for 1 add for the Danube Cruise. We called Viking & booked; I was surprised at how easy it was. Our booking agent kept in contact with us for the entire 8 months to keep us up to date with everything. What was most impressive was how attentive the staff was from the very beginning (picking us up at the airport) to the very end, taking us back to the airport after an additional 3 day stay in Budapest (also all arranged by our agent). Our party of four turned into a party of 14, which also helped lift our spirits. Once on board, I was taken to my cabin; it was beautiful. We had a Veranda room with a balcony which I sat on every morning as I drank my tea. Sometimes it's just the little things that stand out...like a heated floor in the bathroom! It was so much more than just adequate, it was comfortable and well appointed. Room service was available, as well as laundry service.
I didn't know what to expect as far as dining was concerned, but I would soon discover that it was amazing. Regional selections were available each day as we traveled from Passau, Germany, through Austria, Slovakia to our final destination of Budapest, Hungary. They also had a menu with standard items that were always available. I highly recommend the private dining which each passenger will have the opportunity to book; I think the room will seat approximately 20-24 people.. This a five course meal cooked in front of you by the chef. It was wonderful, don't miss it!
Each stop had a variety of excursions, including at least 1 free option per port. I thoroughly enjoyed the walking tours, it gave you such a sense of history as you walked through each city. Did I mention with the Viking Longboats that you can literally walk off the boat & be in your port city in just a few steps? This was a welcome change from the larger ocean cruises where you sometimes have to get on a bus just to get out of a port. Each tour guide was able to give really interesting facts & details about the city we were touring, sometimes including some personal family history too. Another wonderful detail about each port was that it was almost always a night departure, which allows one to explore the city on their own, if they choose, and then wake up in a new city. Our final entry into Budapest was spectacular. Our captain timed it so we would arrive at night & see both sides of the river lit up in glorious bright colors; I can honestly say that this is one of the most breathtaking sights I have ever seen.
I must say a few words about the staff on board. They are remarkable. They will cater to your every wish and they somehow end up feeling like old friends before the cruise is over. The beauty of these Viking Longboats is that they only hold about 200 passengers. It is very easy for them to become familiar with each passenger. They never ceased to surprise me with their care & exemplary service.
This was a dream vacation and it is the amazing service from the Viking Var that made it possible. Don't miss out on an opportunity to experience the Cruising Life on a Viking Longboat. I just booked my next one on the Rhine!