We recently cruised the Danube River on the Viking Hermod riverboat. This was our second river cruise with Viking, having cruised on the Rhine River in June of 2018. Overall, while we greatly enjoyed the trip, we both felt that some aspects of the trip were below the level of what we experienced last year.
We booked this cruise a few months before the sailing and the only cabins remaining were standard rooms on the main deck with a (non-opening) picture window. Last year, we had a French balcony with a sliding door, which we could open. We had no complaints about this year's room. After spending a week in the standard cabin, I do not feel that the extra cost for one of the other types of rooms is worth it. On several days, we were docked alongside another Viking (and one Ama) ship, so a balcony would have been of no use. We did notice slightly more vibration and noise on this level of the ship while it was moving, but not enough to disturb us.
As far as where we think the cruise did not live up to last year's, we did not think that the quality (and choices offered) of the dinners were overall as good as last year. Most were good, but a few missed the mark. Additionally, the number of passengers that were on each of the included tours seemed to be higher than what we had on last year's cruise. It may be that Viking is utilizing fewer guides for the same number of passengers. To be fair, all of the guides that we had, with one exception, were excellent.
One other complaint was that our room not ready on the first day until 4:00 pm, despite arriving in Budapest at 9:00 am after traveling all night. Since Viking arranged the flights, they knew what time we would be arriving on the ship. I would have expected that the rooms for early arriving passengers would be the first ones ready.
On thing that has not changed is the excellent service offered by the Viking staff. Our cabin was cleaned twice per day and was sparking clean when Katarina finished with it. We ate most of our dinners on the Aquavit Terrace and had great service from Andrea and Robert. These two also served as the primary bartenders and were excellent.
We enjoyed all of the ports on the itinerary, especially Budapest and Vienna. We took advantage of all of the included tours, plus two optional ones - the Hungarian Horsemen in Budapest and the Mozart and Strauss Concert in Vienna.
One comment on the average age of the passengers. We are 66 and 62 years old and consider ourselves very active. I would guess that the average age on this year's trip was significantly higher than last year's cruise. Perhaps it is due to traveling in September vs. our prior trip in June.
Perfectly fine, even without a veranda or the ability to open the window.