For 4 days at the end of March I was very fortunate to sail on the Viking Ve for a short cruise from Vienna to Budapest. As soon as I stepped on board I was greeted by natural light from all angles and a fabulous view of the river Danube and I had only just entered the reception area!
The décor on the ship was completely to my taste, it was quite Scandinavian with lots of light woods and it provided a simple yet elegant and luxurious feel. The emphasis is very much on bringing the outside in and you really do feel that wherever you may be on the ship.
Even though I was sailing in late March the sun shone brightly throughout which enabled me to make use of the fantastic sun-deck for the scenic daytime cruising. However my favourite part of the outside space was the amazing Aquavit terrace, a quiet part of the ship at the rear where you could sit and enjoy a drink or even have a light lunch if you preferred not to visit the main restaurant. It was always very quiet and for me a lovely escape.
Food and Service
It’s very difficult to have a ‘favourite’ part when the whole trip exceeds all your expectations… For me though the food and service in the restaurant was absolutely incredible and will live long in the memory.
I enjoy my food and like to try new things but even if your tastes are more limited there would always be something for you to eat. Depending on which port we were visiting they would have all the local delicacies available for you to try, it made the restaurant feel very authentic and the freshness of the ingredients was exceptional, I can honestly say every meal was amazing!
Vienna – The City of Music
In terms of our itinerary we started off in the ‘City of Music’ Vienna, a stunning place steeped in history and visually magnificent. It’s known as the one of the world’s greatest centres of art, music and architecture and within minutes of exploring the city it’s easy to see why! In the evening I was given the opportunity to watch my first ever operatic concert with the music of Mozart and Strauss and despite having reservations about it being to my taste I was wowed by the performance. The musicians, singers and dancers put on an unbelievable show and it was a fitting end to my time in Vienna.
On day two we visited the Slovakian capital of Bratislava and we took a lovely walking tour of the charming Old Town. It’s a fascinating place full of elegant mansions along cobbled streets but despite this it feels a little bit left in the past… This rustic feel however was fantastic to see especially in comparison to the grandeur of Vienna. Everything was really accessible and we comfortably saw the main highlights of the city during our time there. The real highlight of today though was the evening sail into Budapest, the city’s lights danced on the Danube and the buildings glowed dramatically, the Hungarian Parliament Building and Chain Bridge uniting it all as the dramatic centrepiece.
On day three and our final day we got the pleasure to explore Budapest, an enchanting capital that straddles the banks of the Danube. With historic and traditional Buda on one side and modern and cosmopolitan Pest on the other it was clear to see why Budapest is one of Europe’s most rewarding cities. Viking also has an unbeatable landing spot right next to the iconic Chain Bridge so you couldn’t be any closer to the action. A morning coach and walking tour of both sides of city was then followed by a trip to the Gellert Thermal Baths, a long soak and time to reflect on what had been a truly unforgettable trip from start to finish.