By: Maya Keith, CTA & Senior Travel Consultant
Danube Waltz with Viking was my first cruise with Viking River Cruise, and it was everything I dreamt of and more. Sailing through the heart of Europe to unforgettable destinations in 4 countries with VIP access.
Let me introduce you to Viking Bragi – Welcome Aboard!
Day 1: Budapest, Hungary
Our taxi arrived at the docking port at noon. We were warmly greeted by Dan, our Program Director, who took care of our luggage, while we checked in to our French balcony cabin with an amazing view of the Buda side of Budapest and the Danube River.
Lunch was being served in the Aquavit Terrace, where we enjoyed an embarkation buffet. We went on an afternoon leisure walk through Budapest then followed by Cheese and wine tasting. Our welcome reception started at 5:30pm with drinks, then the welcome briefing, followed by dinner at 7pm and evening music entertainment.
Day 2: Budapest, Hungary
Full day of activities that included the Panoramic Budapest morning excursion then followed by the Budapest Castle Hill City Hike, of which I had the pleasure of taking both to really enjoy this amazing city. In the afternoon, the optional excursion was to the famous Széchenyi thermal bath.
An evening toast from Captain Oliver and Hotel Manager Dietmar welcoming us onboard followed by a briefing from the program director regarding tomorrow’s activities, and excursions.
We enjoyed spectacular views as we sailed on the Danube River at night with commentary from the bridge by Program Director Dan on the sun deck as we departed magnificent Budapest for Bratislava, Slovakia.
Day 3: Bratislava, Slovakia
We arrived in Bratislava around 2pm. The excursions for the day in Bratislava were the Panoramic Bratislava and Bratislava Walking tour; which I again combined both, for a busy afternoon. We had some time to do more sightseeing and some shopping on our own or return to the ship.
The evening was followed by a cocktail party for Viking past guests, port talk and at 7pm dinner was served in the restaurant or on the terrace. The evening ended with a night of live music; Slovak & Hungarian melodies. We departed Bratislava for Vienna Austria.
Day 4: Vienna, Austria
We arrived in Vienna around 6am. Vienna is “The City of Waltzes and home of Mozart’s magic flute”. Our group went on a Panoramic tour of Vienna where culture meets the Ringstrasse Hofburg Palace meets churches and coffee houses.
I signed up for the Paddle through the Danube Westlands excursion but was canceled due to high winds and instead took a tour of the Danube-Auen National Park.
A night isn’t over in Vienna without an excursion to Mozart & Strauss concert.
A late-night special snack was served: the delicious and famous East European Goulash soup. Everyone was back onboard by 10:45pm for departure to Krems, Austria.
Day 5: Krems, Austria
In the heart of Wachau Valley is a town surrounded by stepped Vineyards: Austria’s wine country; where Riesling and Veltliner wines come from.
The optional excursions to Göttweig Abbey was breathtaking. This monastery sits on top of a hill with a magnificent view of the Wachau Valley and the Danube. We watched a film that highlights the life of the monastery. Did you know the Monks grow apricots and grapes plus make and sell wine? Who knew!
We tasted some delicious sparkling apricot wine produced in the region, as well as several wines from their vineyards.
Day 6: Linz, Austria
This provincial capital of Upper Austria is famed for being a vibrant cultural center. A full day in Linz, with a visit to Cesky Krumlov across the border in the Czech Republic, was the favorite part of our day excursion. A bohemian quintessential fairytale town. A walking tour took us from the highest point to the castle hill, through the garden, the clock bridge and the upper and little castle, finishing in the town center.
We enjoyed the city during our free time for some more sightseeing, local food tasting and not to forget shopping. This fairy tale town was the highlight for us. We cast off at 10:30pm for Passau Germany.
Day 7: Passau, Germany
We arrived in Passau at 8am. Passau was a delightful surprise. In the old town, we toured the magnificent St. Stephen’s Cathedral which has the largest cathedral organ in the world. It’s distinctive onion-domed towers are visible from all over the city.
We opted for the Hike the Passau Hills excursion which incorporated a short tour of the old town. Crossing the Danube river, you will climb to Veste Oberhaus; the mighty 13th century fortress perched atop St. George’s Hill with a great view of the city and where two rivers meet – Danube meets Blue Danube river.
The magnificent St. Stephens Cathedral is home to the largest pipe organ in Europe and the largest organ in the world. Made of 17974 organ pipes, 233 stops and four carillons and each of the five separate organs have a unique tone. Wow!!
STAFF: And not to forget the Viking Cruises staff who were very helpful, resourceful and provided great customer service to all onboard Viking guests. Our cabin was cleaned twice a day, water replenished daily or as needed and a daily Viking program list was provided each day. Viking newspaper was available in the guest areas to keep us informed on the world news.
FOOD & DRINKS: Finally, my favorite part of traveling to different countries and trying local cuisines from five countries on this cruise. The food was great with many choices for any dietary request. You have the option of ordering room service, fine dining, buffet or casual dining. I enjoyed tasting local dishes and great wines when visiting each country.
Danube Waltz with Viking river cruise packs some very memorable destinations into an eight-day cruise itinerary that never felt rushed. It gave us an excellent sampling of each destination’s culture, language, the locals, architecture, history, local food and wines.
This Danube Waltz with Viking itinerary included five countries and six guided excursions plus extra optional excursion to discover more about each destination. I included two extra days in Budapest to really enjoy the city. I thoroughly enjoyed this tour, and highly recommend it with the Budapest and Prague extensions. There are so many options of touring these beautiful cities on pre- arrival and post -departure such as the hop on – hop off bus, tram or a concierge. This Danube Waltz with Viking cruise was amazing, and I cannot wait to travel with Viking again.
CTA & Senior Travel Consultant
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