The trip was great, one of the best of our lives. From the time we landed in Budapest through our departure from Amsterdam, everything was first class! Food was varied - local fare and standard American food - and was delicious. The various staff, whether dining, housekeeping, front desk, trips guides, etc., were first class!
The ports were individual and provided, to this passenger, a panoramic and personal presentation of that city’s culture and peoples. WWII highlighted many of the talks and walks. I felt that this was important as most of our guides were too young to remember the. Many of them did remember their city’s recovery.
Our program director, Marek, was the best! He always was “on” when he met passengers on or off the ship. His personality and warmth made everything, including ship transfer, work out for everyone. DON’T EVER LET HIM GO! Cheers also go out to Hristian, our room attendant. Always cheerful and ALWAYS wanting to please.
Traveling with friends provided sharing time. I kept a journal, as I do for all our trips, and shared our adventures with family and friends at home.
My only problem was during the second week of the trip. Because of the many low bridges, Internet reception was not good. I am sure that will change with techonology.
Again, BEST TRIP OF OUR LIVES!
Craig and Carolyn Thomson
The cruise was planned for this time of year so that we could visit the Christmas markets in the cities on our itinerary as well as visiting the sites in each city. The planned tours were very good and the tour guides were fabulous. The route and destinations were each unique and well worth visiting. When we cruise, we normally select a balcony room. For this trip, we chose a French balcony since we didn't think we would be sitting outside in December. Due to our selection, the rooms on the ship were a little smaller than we thought. In addition, the food was OK but I would have thought that Viking would have provided more of a selection of local foods from the cities/countries we visited. Also, there was not much to do after dinner with limited entertainment on the ship.
It's hard to choose the best part of this cruise because all of it was superb. We've been on many large ship cruises before but, for our next one, wanted to do a river cruise. Our first Viking cruise was for one week in France. We enjoyed it so much we decided to do the two week Grand European cruise.
I would recommend finding alternative flight reservations other than what Viking assigns. We had a 26 hour return flight from Amsterdam (Amsterdam to Madrid, Madrid to Chicago, Chicago to Denver) It really ruined the trip because it was such an unpleasant ending. We made reservations 14 months in advance and this was the flight reservation they gave us!!!
I loved the extra excursion we purchased in Budapest - "The Best of Budapest and Thermal Bath" Most memorable day!!
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