ABOARD THE VIKING GULLVEIG – After a very long flight from Atlanta, we arrived in Munich, where we were met by a very welcoming staff in red jackets from Viking Cruise Lines. First impressions are important and I have to say, from that very first meeting at Munich Airport, we were very pleased by the efficiency and service we received.
There were about 30 of arriving on the same flight and after we had collected our bags, we boarded a very comfortable bus for the nearly two hour drive to Passau, where we boarded our ship to embark on the Danube Waltz cruise.
The day before we left the US we received an email advising us that instead of traveling on the Viking Baldur, we were being switched to the Gullveig, because due to the low water levels on the Danube, the Baldur couldn’t reach Passau. The change was seamless and the ships are identical. Apparently, this is a regular occurrence on these trips because the level of the Danube fluctuates.
The Adventure Begins
Fortunately, our cabin was ready, so we were able to unpack and settle in before going to the very comfortable glass-enclosed Aquavit Terrace for what was listed as a “light lunch,” which consisted of soup, some of the best Paninis I’ve ever tasted, pasta and chocolate mousse for dessert.
A short nap was de rigueur to recover for not having slept all night after which, we attended the welcome cocktail, where we were given an overview of the ship, its activities, tours etc. before going into the main dining room for open seating dining, which is at 7 p.m. Lighter fare is served in the Aquavit Terrace at the same time.
The wonderful thing about open seating dining is that you get to meet a lot of interesting people throughout the voyage. We ended up with four very nice dining companions – a mother-daughter duo from Pittsburgh – and a couple from California, whom we accompanied into Passau later to explore the small town.
Ship Offers Stellar Services
As we all know, often the best things in life come in small packages and Viking Gullveig is no exception. Since I’m used to ocean liners, I like to think of this as a wonderful “petit ship.”
Right now it’s decked out for Christmas and it looks especially festive.
Launched in 2014, it has four decks with 95 outside staterooms – 39 of which have verandas -hotel-style beds, a private bathroom (with heated floor and adjustable temperature control), roomy closets and storage space, a safe, flat-panel TV and premium bath products.
The main dining room – described as “casual, yet elegant” – is encased by large windows, as is the Aquavit Terrace – at the ship’s bow – with floor to ceiling panoramic windows and a menu featuring “regional specialties and contemporary cuisine.”
So far, everything we’ve eaten has been outstanding.
The ship also offers complimentary WiFi – although it’s understandably slow and spotty, because as the staff tells us, it’s used by everyone else along the Danube.
In Norse mythology, Gullveig is a powerful seer, who has a passion for gold. We were told to appeal to her for a safe journey and good weather.
So far, she seems to be listening!