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Danube River Cruise with Viking

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Dec 29th, 2017, 01:50 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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Danube River Cruise with Viking

My wife and I are taking an 8 day Viking River Cruise on the Danube River departing from Budapest (1.5 days here before departure) and traveling on the Danube with a stop in the Slovak Republic, 3 stops in Austria (Vienna, Melk, and Linz) , and a final destination of Passua Germany. We travel in 2018 starting on May 29th flying out of Boston on Lufthansa. My wife and I are both retired and this will be our first trip to Europe and our first river cruise (actually our first aboard ship cruise). In the past, we have traveled frequently to Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Florida.

There are shore excursions at each stop and we have signed up for most of those available. We do have about a 1/2 day of free time in Budapest and we're looking for suggestions on what to see/do for that 1/2 day. We are wondering if others have taken this particular cruise and what your experience was like...both aboard ship (food, staff, accommodations, etc.), the land excursions (likes, dislikes and why), and reports of any issues with transfers. And certainly we would appreciate any other comments and suggestions about your experience with Viking and this particular cruise.

Thank you in advance to all who may respond.
NH_Traveler is offline  
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Dec 30th, 2017, 08:43 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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We took this Viking cruise years ago. Interesring stops along the river. There were no bus excursions, only walking tours of the cities and towns where we docked were included. We liked that style. You could walk to the ship at any time during the day if you wished as the ship was tied up next to town center except in Vienna. There was a metro station near the Vienna port so it was convenient to get around. The towns all had enough to see and do and we enjoyed having our lunches there independently in small local places.. Passau was especially nice. Study the itinerary closely before taking a bus trip away from the river. Several of our friends and family members took this cruise (separately) from our recommendation and all of them disliked the river cruise due to the constant bus trips. We had no idea they had added bus trips. If you know in advance that there will be bus trips, it will different than our experience but something you expect and hopefully will enjoy. I wonder why they changed an enjoyable itinerary.
We have taken other river cruises too, our favorite was the Mekong through Cambodia and Vietnam with AMAWaterways. Also enjoyed Russia with Viking too, no bus trips there either when we went.
On our cruise no toiletries were provided by Viking but I understand they now provide them. We were all running around the towns buying shampoo with German labels..
In Budapest, go up to the Buda side to visit St. Stephen’s Basilica and the Fishetman’s Bastion. Beautiful views of the city from this high perch. There was a wonderful bakery nearby where we bought amazing poppyseed and apricot pastries.
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Dec 31st, 2017, 09:25 AM
  #3
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HappyTrvlr...Thank you very much for your response, comments, and advice. We will check the itinerarys very closely as you suggested. We too, don't want to spend a lot of time traveling on buses to get to a destination. Great tip.
And also, thank you for the suggestion regarding the side trip in Budapest.
NH_Traveler is offline  
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Jan 9th, 2018, 07:08 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
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NH..We are scheduled to take this Viking cruise in reverse in April 2019...please report back after your cruise. I love that the day trips are included in the cost, and that beer and wine are also included in the cost. Looking very forward to this particular trip.
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Jan 14th, 2018, 03:42 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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You will be spoiled by the small size of the river ship, not a bad thing. We did the same itinerary, but with Vantage, in December 2017 for the Christmas Markets. Happy Trvlr is right on with the Buda suggestion. At the port, we walked over The Széchenyi Chain Bridge and stopped into the Gellert thermal bathhouse. There was an organized trip to St. Stephen's and the Fisherman's Bastion, gorgeous views of Budapest. Vienna had tour buses available at the port to get into the city, but a few intrepid travelers used city buslines to get around and ventured beyond the city proper. The buses were available to return to the ship for lunch/dinner, but we found enjoying local establishments more enjoyable. Vantage had optional trips to sign up for in Vienna, watching the Lippizaner stallions warm up, an evening concert at Kursalon Music Hall. At Linz, we had an option to take a longer bus tour into Salzburg, which we thoroughly enjoyed, a daytrip. Most of the other stops were easily explored on foot. Passau is charming, make sure to stop in for a cuckoo clock making demonstration. I looked online ahead of time at our destination stops and made notes of 3-4 places of interest, which helped. A mix of independent exploring and guided tours was perfect for us. The tourguides provide individual "whisper boxes" (receivers w earpiece) to communicate, which made it easy to take in the history and sights at the same time, no need to be scampering after a guide to get the story. Honestly, you'll just enjoy the strolling on cobblestones and soaking up the beautiful ambiance of each port.
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