I ate a quick breakfast from the sumptuous buffet and was on the bus by 8 am. Like most river cruise lines, Viking uses the audiovox machines and you keep them in your cabin in the charger. They certainly help you hear the tour guide more easily! Passengers are not assigned groups, so you can easily change buses or walking groups each day. One group is the "slow walking" group, which sees everything, but at a slower pace. The ship has a system with little tags and numbers in bowls on the reception desk (e.g. I picked a tag with #4, so I was on bus 4 in Budapest). Helps keep the 188 passengers evenly spread out.
The bus and walking tour was almost identical to the one I had done three times before, but each guide always has a different story, plus I can't remember everything anyway. We saw the Parliament from the outside before driving up Andrassy Boulevard past the Opera House to Heroes' Square, where we had 10 minutes to make photos before reboarding the bus and riding by the thermal spa where my friend Maggie and I had bobbed around with the locals (Szechenyi Baths), and then by the Great Synagogue of Budapest, the second largest synagogue in the world (after the one in New York City) before crossing the Danube to the Buda side and stopping at the Danube overlook near the Liberation Monument and then riding a little while further to take a walking tour of the Matthias Church and Fishermen's Bastion area. We had an hour of free time before reboarding the bus at 11:15 for the hour's ride to meet up with the ship at Visegrad. The Viking Prestige had left its docking spot near the Chain Bridge in Budapest at about 8:30 and made her way upstream towards Austria and waited for us at this small town. This enabled the ship to reach Vienna at about 8:30 the next morning.
After getting back at the ship, I ate lunch (salad bar and some type of yummy Hungarian dessert) and then chatted with some of my travelers while watching the river scenery. We sailed by the huge Esztergom Basilica, which is the tallest building in Hungary. We could see the church for miles before we actually slid by it on the river. The afternoon passed by quickly, and I went to the Viennese coffee lesson and apple strudel tasting, followed by joining some folks outside in the shade in the Aquavit Lounge for some wine. The first thing I knew, it was time to get ready for the Captain's night party. It was very nice, although not as formal as some I've seen, nor as extravagant food. The two main dishes were a turbot fish and roasted turkey.
After dinner, we sat at the table and chatted for a long time before going to the "Growing up in Communist Slovakia" presentation by Marek and some Slovakian dancing. The next morning we would be in Vienna.
Danube River Cruise on the Viking Prestige
- Embarkation in Budapest
- Morning Tour of Budapest
- A Day in Vienna
- Cruising the Wachau Valley
- Afternoon in Melk
- A Day in Passau
- Morning in Regensburg
- Weltenburg Abbey and the Danube Gorge
- Nuremberg - Medieval and World War II City