A European river cruise in December?

The cruise program director on the Viking Vili quipped, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” Temperatures hovered in the 30s and 40s on our December cruise down the Danube, but it was still warmer than back home in suburban Chicago. In Vienna, I lucked out with a 54-degree day and ditched my puffy coat. December can be a cheaper time to travel. Air and cruise fares dip below those in peak summer season …

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Final Review of the Danube Waltz Cruise on the Viking Vilhjalm

The last morning on the Danube Waltz cruise came very early. Our departure point, the Munich Airport, requires a drive of about two hours. Viking sent us off with a pre-sunrise breakfast for those leaving in the wee hours. Our luggage was waiting on the dock, so we were reassured that ours would be loaded on the bus. Once at the airport, we made our way back to the states filled with memories of a cruise that …

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Passau, Germany: Three River City

ABOARD THE VIKING VILJHAM-The morning we arrived in Passau, I was suffering from allergies. Perhaps the beautiful flowering trees had upset my equilibrium. Rarely sick, I was sneezing like crazy, felt rotten and decided to spend the morning in bed. Beyond what I could see of the charming, colorful houses lining the river banks, John, and Wikipedia got the assignment to report on Passau. According to Wikipedia, “Passau, a German city on the Austrian border, lies at …

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Cesky Krumlov: Fantasy Town on the Vltava River

ABOARD THE VIKING VILJHAM– Today’s adventure takes us to Cesky Krumlov, slightly more than an hour and a half away from Linz, Austria where we are docked. Cesky Krumlov rates just a small and meek dot on the map of the Czech Republic – – politically inconsequential.  But she’s a mighty tourist cauldron, simmering a mixture of Medieval, Renaissance, baroque and rococo in a rich pilsner beer broth. And the kettle bubbles over. I first visited Cesky …

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Exploring the Wachau Valley on the Viking Vilhjalm river ship

ABOARD THE VIKING VILHJALM — Early in the morning, my Viking Longship arrived in Krems, a small Austrian village on the banks of the Danube. Red roofs, a bulbous turret and a yellow clock tower rising above the town greeted us. Viking cruises offers an exclusive visit to the Benedictine Abbey of Göttweig, a working monastery that’s been in existence for more than 900 years. The monks live, work and worship from a hilltop overlooking postcard-pretty Wachau …

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Vienna: Hapsburgs, Lipizzaners, Mozart and Strauss

ABOARD THE VIKING VILHJALM — The Hapsburgs ruled the Austro Hungarian Empire from Vienna using their fortune to build Baroque palaces, churches and museums across the city. Those buildings form the core of what is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Vienna’s rich history and culture continue to dance —like its famous waltzes — sweeping you in and maintaining your interest. My Viking Danube cruise provided a day with many opportunities to touch and taste the capital of …

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Bratislava: Exploring behind the former Iron Curtain

ABOARD THE VIKING VILHJALM — The Viking Viljhalm cruise makes a stop in Bratislava, Slovakia, a country where people now travel freely. Until the early 1990’s, Slovakia was part of Czechoslovakia and under communist rule, closed off to the world behind the “Iron Curtain.” Bratislava, the capital city, lies at the strategic crossroads between Budapest and Vienna. In the 10th century, it was part of the Kingdom of Hungary. In 1536, what is now called Bratislava became …

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Budapest: Exploring the Pearl of the Danube

ABOARD THE VIKING VILHJALM — Budapest has well earned its nickname of the “ Pearl of the Danube.”  The Danube River waltzes through the city core, dividing the old city on the west – – Buda – – and its younger sibling – – Pest – – on the opposite bank. Viking justly named its river cruise the Danube Waltz, accentuating the river’s music with a daily complimentary tour and a variety of optional excursions. I started with …

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Arrival in Budapest for the Viking Danube Waltz Cruise

ABOARD THE VIKING VILHJALM — Overnight flights leave most travelers tired and groggy, a feeling I experienced upon arrival in Budapest. Clearing customs quickly, my travel partner and I met the Viking Cruise representatives at the baggage claim exit. They escorted us to a bus that delivered the group directly to the Viking Viljhalm docked on the Danube River. The mighty waterway, famous for the Straus Waltz, splits the enchanting capital of Hungary with Buda on one …

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Viking River Cruises present the Danube Waltz

My cruise from Budapest, Hungary to Passau, Germany will pass through four European countries over eight days, with six included guided excursions. I’ll take a non-stop flight from Philadelphia to Budapest, and then embark on the Viking Vilhjalm, a Viking Longship with streamlined Scandinavian design and understated elegance. My home for the next eight days will include a 205 square foot Veranda Stateroom with a floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door opening to a full-size veranda.  It also includes …

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