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Viking River Cruise from Bucharest to Budapest plus Prague

Jasper, Indiana
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Viking River Cruise from Bucharest to Budapest plus Prague

We are thinking about this trip.

What have others thought about Viking as well as the ports of call on this trip?

We have not done a river cruise before and we are interested in this area.

Thanks for any help and advise.

Westerville, Ohio
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1. Re: Viking River Cruise from Bucharest to Budapest plus Prague

Susan - go over to cruisecritic.com under river cruise and you will find a number of folks who have taken this trip on various lines. It is very different from the other countries and trips in that there are many areas that have experienced civil unrest which has hindered their ability to progess out of many years of communist rule. We did this trip in 2011, Passau to Bucharest, and unlike the floods that are happening now we had low water tables but manages to complete the trip.

Wirral, England
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2. Re: Viking River Cruise from Bucharest to Budapest plus Prague

We did Viking Bucharest to Budapest with 1 day in a Hotel in Bucharest and 2 nights in a hotel in Budapest in early April 2012. We were put in Hilton hotels which were excellent, with a river view in Budapest. It was a tight schedule with not a lot of free time. That was not really to our liking, but I think we would have preferred that if we had travelled a long way to get there, (we are British). We booked as the cruise went on sale the previous May and booked the lowest grade of cabin at a very good price. The cabin was fine, but they are using a different boat now.

In Vukovar we skipped the trip and spent the day at leisure in Vukovar and relaxed for a while on deck and we are sure we did the right thing. The trip was to yet another church etc and people were not happy with that trip. We saw things in Vukovar that other preople did not and did not spend wasted time on a coach. Apart from that, the cruise was excellent, with some really ineresting, non toursity places visited, (which would not be easily visited independently), and time at leisure in the evening in Belgrade, which was great - we had a meal out there.

Budapest was a bit of a shock though after the rest of the itinerary, as there were groups of tourists and river boats everywhere - we had been used to there just being our boat and just few other tour groups in Bucharest.

Overall an itinerary well worth doing. I have never heard of any civil unrest in anywhere we visited and I am pretty sure there has never been any, but the area was part of the eastern European Block, which was under communist rule until the Berlin wall came down. Also there was a war between areas of the former Yugoslavia when Tito died. He had held the areas together during his time as president of Yugoslavia which was a very popular holiday venue from the UK prior to the war and the Berlin wall coming down as it was much more liberal than the other Eastern Block countries. We had a couple of excellent beach holidays in Adriatic Croatia about 12 years ago (after the war). People there did not want to talk about the war, but the places visited on the Danube seemed to want to keep their memories of the war. It is certainly a safe area to visit now though.

Jasper, Indiana
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3. Re: Viking River Cruise from Bucharest to Budapest plus Prague

Thanks for you information. We appreciate the effort it takes to give info to others.

We have a week to decide to get the two for one deal. You mentioned you did the lowest cabin fare. Did that matter when moving on the river as for as comfort and enjoyment? Or we're you on the deck and that was fine?

Thanks again

Wirral, England
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4. Re: Viking River Cruise from Bucharest to Budapest plus Prague

Movement on the river is usually overnight. We had the bottom deck quite near the front. It is a river cruise, so you do not get the pitching that you do at sea as the river is quite calm waters. Hence no obvious movement. The two higher decks had juliette balconies with floor to ceiling windows. but we only had two large portholes which did not go lower than waist height. The windows were very big so there was no difficulty veiwing the outside but they did not open. The bottom of the windows were very near the water level and the wash from the front could go slightly above the bottom of the window. We had no issues sleeping below water level without opening windows and do not consider the extra cost worthwhile, but some people may do so. The more expensive cabins also have better beds - ours were quite thin mattresses and fixed twin beds rather than convertable to double. Viking have such a tight schedule that you will spend very little time in the cabin other than when asleep. On one occasion we had just boarded the boat and had to go to a briefing - then were told we had 10 minutes to dress for the captains welcome party (a shower would have been nice) - get the picture!!

The boat we were on was Viking Primadonna, which was older than the current ships (may be possible to find an old entry if you use google). The general principle on pricing will be similar though. The rear of the ship may have engine noise, but I am not completly sure about that. lower deck cabins at the rear of ocean going cruise ships can be very noisy with a lot of vibration. Newer boats tend to be better though.

The very cheap cabins tend sell out very quickly during the previous May when they go on sale. I have been told they always have some cheap cabins to allow them to offer a good 'lead in' price in adverts, the other cabins on our deck were identical but only the front few were the lowest price. I have tracked prices and later deals never seem to match up. If you miss a good deal one year, Viking will let you know when any cruise you are interested in comes on sale for the following year.

Just one other thought, both Bucharest and Budapest were very nice and would be good for an extended stay if you are arranging your own flight and can get another night or two in a hotel reasonably. Meals do not have to cost much - but the castle area (uphill) in Budapest is not cheap at night - buses are cheap though. Viking pre and post cruise stays are extortionately priced - but are well spoken of by people who can afford them.

Happy cruising,

Barbara

Edited: 25 June 2013, 08:38
Jasper, Indiana
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5. Re: Viking River Cruise from Bucharest to Budapest plus Prague

Thanks again for your thorough help. Happy Travels.

vancouver
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6. Re: Viking River Cruise from Bucharest to Budapest plus Prague

Hi - we are off on this trip with the Viking Aegir this May with a Prague extension. Would love to hear how it worked out for you. Any tips/tricks/things to watch for? Thanks!

Wirral, England
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7. Re: Viking River Cruise from Bucharest to Budapest plus Prague

The tip we would give is to consider if you really want to go on all those intensive trips to see yet another church etc. Talk to the cruise guides about that though, as they will give you anidea of what is most worth seeing. As I said in a previous post we really enjoyed our day in Vukovar at leisure and some free time on the deck of an almost deserted boat. The trip done that day was not popular - cannot remember the details. Then again as europeans we can see highly decorated churches etc on many holidays without travelling too far.

Bucharest and it's trips must not be missed and other things we saw were well worth while - just not at our normal holiday pace. There where a lot of North Americans onboard who did appreciate that though, so we are a bit different in that respect.

Our Viking cruise ended with a couple of days in Budapest, which we took leisurely and just enjoyed the atmosphere most of the time, but again we will probably pop back for a few days sometime to 'do' more of the tourist sites etc. in Budapest - the spas sound interesting.

We spent a few days in Prague a number of years ago and enjoyed it a lot. We prefer to do the research before we arrive and sightsee independently, but Viking guides do give a lot of information if that is your thing and if you want to 'see everything' that is the way to do it.

If you do explore independantly and go off to restaurants etc. do remember this is Eastern Europe so leave valuables and expensive jewellery behind and keep your money somewhere safe. English was widely spoken and prices vary a lot, but the more upmarket tourist places were a lot more expensive than we expected. The better experiences from our point of view were in the more everyday cafes where the locals visited - much better experience of a foreign country and the people were pleasant. We stayed ashore to eat in Belgrade which is a busy town and thoroughlyenjoyed ourselves - just a shame we had to be back onboard for about 10pm. The Viking ship did not have a fancy dress code, so presentable smart casual clothes are ideal - it is a tight schedule that makes it difficult to have time to shower before dinner at times, which we do much prefer on holiday.

vancouver
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8. Re: Viking River Cruise from Bucharest to Budapest plus Prague

Thanks so much for your very helpful response. Good advice about tours. We will take it to heart. We like to keep quite busy and we do prefer to explore on our own but also reognize guides often know places we don't even with research. We generally do private tours when we travel so can accomodate for our particular interests but love anything historical so this trip may work well. We just got back from SA and Antarctic most of which was scheduled and it worked out well for us. Thanks again for your advice - much appreciated!

Leeds, United...
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9. Re: Viking River Cruise from Bucharest to Budapest plus Prague

The first four days were so boring.If you like sitting in a coach for two hours,followed by a visit to a church you will just love it.Lack of evening entertainment apart for a pianist & the same old songs for the first half of the cruise.On the penultimate day the guide on our coach asked if we had all had a wonderful cruise.The silence was deafening.Many people, unsolicited, told me they would not go with Viking again.

Lewes, Delaware
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10. Re: Viking River Cruise from Bucharest to Budapest plus Prague

We just completed this trip and had very mixed reactions. The boat (Viking Aegir) was comfortable and the staff were wonderful. Food was excellent. The tours off the boat were not so good. We felt like cattle being herded on and off buses to events which were quite banal and long bus rides through cities & towns with not terribly interesting commentary by guides. One especially horrible day (Croatia) took us to a tawdry "Nino's country house" peddling cheap souvenirs and dreadful wine. Some activities on the boat were better and children's dancing in Bulgaria and the Gypsy Band on the last night were actually fun. These countries in Eastern Europe are fascinating and not easy to visit, so the Viking itinerary makes the transportation convenient at least. Unfortunately, because Viking does not publish the disembarkation schedule at each stop in advance, it is difficult to prearrange tours privately which could have been more rewarding.