Friday, February 27, 2015

Janet’s Viking River Cruise - Danube Waltz

Advisor Janet Hardin sailed with Viking River Cruises in November last year, the start of the Christmas Market season. Read her recap of this fabulous trip & contact or your Sanders Travel Advisor to book your next cruise!

My daughter and I loved our Viking River Cruise experience and had a great time exploring so much of Europe by ease of a river cruise! We enjoyed exquisite meals, exceptional service and met great companions on board. We also saw historic sights and breathtaking views that we will always remember! It was a wonderful trip to share together filled with great memories and lots of fun! Here is the route our cruise took:

Day 1: Our river cruise started in Budapest, the beautiful capital of Hungary. After arriving at the airport, we were seamlessly transferred to the ship by Viking River Cruise staff. Once on board there was plenty of time to unpack, relax and begin exploring. That evening we enjoyed a traditional Hungarian dinner and set course along the river..

Day 2: On this morning, we had a guided tour of the highlights in Budapest including Pest’s National Opera House and historic Heroes’ Square. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch aboard the ship and then had the afternoon free to explore the city. Back on board that evening we enjoyed a welcome reception and dinner, and then sailed on to Slovakia.

Day 3: We arrived in Bratislava, Slovakia in the afternoon after a morning on board the ship. We took a bus and walking tour of Slovakia’s capital and enjoyed the the guides narratives as they brought history to life. The highlights included the medieval Town Hall complex at Michael’s Tower, a baroque Jesuit Church and Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral. We enjoyed another delicious dinner aboard and a last walk around the city before a late departure.

Day 4: After arriving in Vienna, Austria we toured the amazing capital city including the world-famous Vienna Opera House. Gorgeous! Here the Christmas Markets were just opening and we spent the afternoon shopping. After dinner Viking hosted a concert on board with local musicians featuring compositions by Mozart and Strauss. The music was performed with a Viennese orchestra and was beautiful!

Day 5: In the morning we docked at the Wachau Valley town of Durnstein, Austria and explored with the guidance of the Program Director.  After lunch aboard, we visited the 900-year-old abbey at Melk, Austria. The walls and ceilings were incredible, as was the library’s medieval manuscript collection, but our favorite was the magnificent spiral staircase. After our adventures we boarded the ship again and cruised through dinner.

Day 6: We arrived in Linz, Austria in the morning and set off for an all-day excursion to the Austrian city of Salzburg. There we saw many of the locations where the Sound of Music was filled. We also shopped in the Christmas Markets here as well. After our long day, we returned to the ship for the Captain's farewell reception and dinner. We enjoyed "toasting out memories" with out newfound friends and had a late departure for Germany.

Day 7: In the morning we arrived in Passau, Germany where we took a walking tour of the town and saw many churches. Passau is known as the "City of Three Rivers" at the confluence of the Danube, Ilz, and Inn Rivers. We enjoyed a guided walking tour that showed us many highlights of the city, including seeing Europe's largest pipe organ.

Day 8: After breakfast we departed for the Munich airport for our flight home. Again Viking seamlessly transferred us. We were said to say goodbye as we had really bonded with the staff and other guests on board, but have since kept in touch with a couple good friends we made.

Overall, the Viking River Cruise experience offered a great way to see four countries in a short amount of time with exceptional service on board. We loved getting to know the Program Director and having his personal expertise when exploring new cities. Viking River Crusies are a great option for those wanting history, relaxation and exceptional service!