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First time on a river cruise and overall a good experience. Some areas need improvement, but overall we would do this again. This week long plus trip along the Danube - Budapest to Prague had been in the planning stages for more than a year. Expectations were very high and so in some sense aspects of this trip did not meet expectations given the reputation and reviews I had seen. Flight into Budapest was smooth and I understand that Viking has no control over delays in departures and arrivals, but after a long flight over we finally arrived in Budapest for the add on extension at the beginning of the trip. Smooth arrival process and met folks on the bus to the hotel that had the same outlook as we did for this cruise. The help desk at the Hotel Corinthia ( a very grand and old European Hotel) were available and willing to do what was necessary to make sure we were off to a good start. English was not an issue. After a couple of days in Budapest we were off to the boat. Boat was effectively new (2 years old I think) and what we expected. Rooms were clean, well maintained during the week and overall I had no issues with the facilities. When we were in dock, there generally was a sewer smell that detracted from the experience. Excursions were well planned and for the most part solid guide leaders - some better than others as you would expect. One particular German woman - a very strong German woman leading a tour in a small town at times admonished our group for talking and it felt like I was back in Catholic grade school - God forbid you speak out of turn, get out of line or do anything that disrupted her presentation. She continually laughed at her own jokes when no one else was laughing. On another excursion in Bratislava the guide we had was excellent - not overloading us with historical and cultural facts and able to interject some personal stories that made in more personal and less rehearsed. Overall the food was good. Some meals excellent - others good. Breakfast was your normal buffet, lunch highlighted certain lunches types and one always had the ability to order off a standard menu that was available each day. I ordered off the daily menu and for most lunches was disappointed. One one day when Reuben sandwiches were offered, I ordered and I am still looking for the corned beef - it appeared that the sandwich was a lot of bread, swiss cheese, sauce and slice of corned beef. Dinners were generally good - although potions on some meals were small and in those cases I had to order a second meal. One night that we had Sea Bass, the portion of fish that I had was consumed in 3 bites. Ordering a second meal was never a problem and the wait staff was always excellent. The Osso Bucco the last night was excellent and worthy of 5 stars. The one major complaint I had was with the internet service. We had been warned by Viking that the service was spotty, depending on location and satellite transmission strength. I was able to get far better internet service on my phone using my home Verizon provider than what the boat provided. My issue here is that when everything is 4 and 5 star quality why put a product out there that is at best 1 star. Either remove the internet from the boat or spend the money to upgrade the system as a 1 star internet detracts from an overall 4 and 5 star cruise.

A nice entry to river cruising

Viking Vilhjalm Cruise Review by Joe Sal

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2018
  • Destination: Europe
  • Cabin Type: Veranda Stateroom
First time on a river cruise and overall a good experience. Some areas need improvement, but overall we would do this again. This week long plus trip along the Danube - Budapest to Prague had been in the planning stages for more than a year. Expectations were very high and so in some sense aspects of this trip did not meet expectations given the reputation and reviews I had seen.

Flight into Budapest was smooth and I understand that Viking has no control over delays in departures and arrivals, but after a long flight over we finally arrived in Budapest for the add on extension at the beginning of the trip. Smooth arrival process and met folks on the bus to the hotel that had the same outlook as we did for this cruise. The help desk at the Hotel Corinthia ( a very grand and old European Hotel) were available and willing to do what was necessary to make sure we were off to a good start. English was not an issue. After a couple of days in Budapest we were off to the boat.

Boat was effectively new (2 years old I think) and what we expected. Rooms were clean, well maintained during the week and overall I had no issues with the facilities. When we were in dock, there generally was a sewer smell that detracted from the experience. Excursions were well planned and for the most part solid guide leaders - some better than others as you would expect. One particular German woman - a very strong German woman leading a tour in a small town at times admonished our group for talking and it felt like I was back in Catholic grade school - God forbid you speak out of turn, get out of line or do anything that disrupted her presentation. She continually laughed at her own jokes when no one else was laughing. On another excursion in Bratislava the guide we had was excellent - not overloading us with historical and cultural facts and able to interject some personal stories that made in more personal and less rehearsed.

Overall the food was good. Some meals excellent - others good. Breakfast was your normal buffet, lunch highlighted certain lunches types and one always had the ability to order off a standard menu that was available each day. I ordered off the daily menu and for most lunches was disappointed. One one day when Reuben sandwiches were offered, I ordered and I am still looking for the corned beef - it appeared that the sandwich was a lot of bread, swiss cheese, sauce and slice of corned beef.

Dinners were generally good - although potions on some meals were small and in those cases I had to order a second meal. One night that we had Sea Bass, the portion of fish that I had was consumed in 3 bites. Ordering a second meal was never a problem and the wait staff was always excellent. The Osso Bucco the last night was excellent and worthy of 5 stars.

The one major complaint I had was with the internet service. We had been warned by Viking that the service was spotty, depending on location and satellite transmission strength. I was able to get far better internet service on my phone using my home Verizon provider than what the boat provided. My issue here is that when everything is 4 and 5 star quality why put a product out there that is at best 1 star. Either remove the internet from the boat or spend the money to upgrade the system as a 1 star internet detracts from an overall 4 and 5 star cruise.
Joe Sal’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Veranda Stateroom
Cabin B 309
Tight room as you would expect. Clean room, and since all we did was sleep in the room - really no issues.
Middle Deck Balcony Cabins