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Trip Report Hats off to Viking

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This was our second Viking cruise (first one was to Egypt two years ago), so we were aware of their standards of "care/service". They continued to impress on this Viking Grand European Cruise in September 2015 from Amsterdam to Budapest. We took advantage of the transfer process at the airport in Schipol (we were met on time and transported efficiently) and of an additional 2 days in Amsterdam, staying at the Renaissance Hotel. It was in a great location and the Viking staff were always available to assist in maximizing our experience in Amsterdam.

The Cruise itself met all expectations (and more). The "long ship" experience is great, with beautiful on-board surroundings. We tended to have breakfast and dinner in the Main Dining Room, and lunch on the Acquivit terrace.The meals were varied, with attention to vegetarian choices, and appropriate in size. The "regional" menu choices were great. The wine flowed! The Chef was always available and we gave many compliments, particularly to his soups. The "coffee station" with baking was a hit!

The shore excursions were really excellent, with use of local guides whose pride in their countries was evident. There was only one guide that did not meet Viking standards and we shared that with the Concierge (very helpful). What we really appreciated was the 'variation' in some of the excursions (e.g. walking tour in Budapest, church architecture). Also there was time for freelance visits to other sites in each city. We did not access the optional tours, but as this was a re-visit to Europe we did not have particular interest in these options. They appeared good, and there was no "hard-sell" like we experience on larger cruise ships.

The most critical issue for the cruise was the low water levels, and again Viking delivered! Our captain constantly monitored water levels, and through timing facilitated our trip flawlessly. We did not have to change boats, even though other Viking cruises did.

We would recommend this particular trip to anyone wanting to have a solid glimpse of Europe. My message...

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