We've received many Vikings brochures but never booked one. When the brochure for the Danube Waltz Cruise arrived we were fascinated; we'd long wanted to try a Vikings Cruise and this itinerary seemed perfect for us - and it was! We booked both the pre-excursion stay in Prague and the post-excursion stay in Budapest. We saw/did everything we possibly could during the 3 day stay in each city, immersed ourselves in their cultures, and fell in love with both of them. Our hotel in Prague, Art Nouveau Palace Hotel, is absolutely beautiful, in a fabulous central location and thus walkable to almost everything in Prague. The Vikings staff were with us from the time we got off the plane in Prague to the time we went through the Security as we left Budapest; the Vikings desks in each hotel were valuable resources. When we left Prague for the drive to Passau, a bus (one of 2) picked us up at the hotel for a 4 hour drive through the Czech and then the German country-sides and delivered us to Passau where we embarked the ship. The Hermod is a lovely ship, our cabin (109) was perfect and our cabin steward terrific. Food at every meal was delicious and beautifully presented and the wine excellent. The wait staff were professional, pro-active in taking our orders, and conscientious in making sure everything met our expectations.
The entire ship's staff was excellent - knowledgeable, thoughtful, caring, always responsive to any questions/requests, with the added plus of great senses of humor. Program Director Lee was truly outstanding; he did a great job with the programming, he interacted superbly with the guests, and always was interested in our feedback on shore excursions as well as our experiences on board. His descriptions of the views during our scenic cruise through the Wachau Valley were wonderful. The evening we sailed into Budapest at 10:00 pm, Monday, July 2, he made sure everyone knew to be on deck to see the magnificent lights of this beautiful city. Truly, is was an incredibly spectacular sight that took our breaths away! Not to be missed!
We found every port to be wonderful to have a chance to explore - to at least give us a taste of it, and the Vikings excursions we selected were all very good. We'd like to highlight a few that we especially treasured. Even in the rain, the Passau walking tour was very pretty and the organ concert in St. Stephen's Cathedral magnificent--to hear our wedding processional (Purcel's Trumpet Voluntary) played on that instrument was very moving. The scenic cruise through the Wachau Valley was incredibly lovely - and Lee's narration perfect without being intrusive. We thought the tour of the Wachau Valley Winery - the Morwald family's winery, was the best winery tour and tasting we have ever experienced! Our group was small, which made it more personable, our
Vikings guide fun, Erhard personally gave us the tour and was an absolute delight, and the 6 delicious wines we tasted were served in crystal glasses with generous pours, along with baskets of fresh bread. We bought 4 bottles!
We thoroughly enjoyed our Danube Waltz cruise. To put our experience in perspective, we have traveled extensively around the world and also have been on many ocean cruises including 2 transatlantics, a Mediterranean cruise, Alaskan, and many different Caribbean islands, and we're doing a Panama Canal cruise in March 2019. We would absolutely do another Vikings River cruise. But first, we actually booked (on board the ship) the British Isles Ocean Cruise for the spring of 2020 -- along with our dear friends with whom we were traveling. We are very much looking forward to that.
The cabin was small but everything was easily accessible. Although we had a limited view, it was fine because we weren't in our cabin very much. And, usually when we were in port, we were docked next to at least one other ship so any views from cabins with large windows/verandas were blocked.