Our Viking River Cruise Grand European Tour: Day 1 – Budapest
So, bags packed and ready some European river cruising; we strolled across Budapest’s iconic Chain Bridge to where the Viking Bragi, our riverboat hotel for the next two weeks, awaited us. Even though we had arrived a little early (well we were excited!!!), we were able to check into our stateroom immediately. The rooms aren’t huge but well designed with plenty of storage space, so much to my excitement, we were actually able to unpack fully – believe me, that doesn’t happen on many of our adventures. We also have a pleasant verandah where hopefully it will be warm enough to relax on, but then again, there is always the huge sun deck upstairs.
After unpacking, we headed down to the Aquavit Terrace for a light lunch – salad, soup, sandwiches, a rather odd chocolate mousse and a glass of wine or two. There were a couple of welcome walks on offer this afternoon to familiarise yourself with the city, but as we had been here for a few days already, we politely declined. However, according to our ‘Viking Daily’ newsletter, the cheese, and wine tasting starts in five minutes, we don’t want to miss that…
So, a few cheesy nibbles and glasses of wine later, we find ourselves sitting in the lounge chatting with other guests. The majority of passengers are American, many have cruised before on Viking, and everyone seems keen to meet and make new friends. The way the lounge and dining sitting is set up encourages everyone to socialise. I have to be honest; I was expecting the passengers to be a lot older. Ok, while we didn’t see any 18 to 30-year-olds, we certainly didn’t feel out of place either.
Just after 6 PM, the charismatic Kane, the ship’s Program Director gave the welcome briefing, and then it was time for dinner. We joined a table of eight and looked over the menu. After oohing and aahing about the other specials, Rainbow Trout and Vegetable Halloumi Kebabs, being in Budapest, we opted for, of course, for Hungarian Goulash. After we stuffed ourselves silly, we went for a nightcap and watched some Hungarian dancers and singers in the lounge.
Well-designed cabins (more on that later)
Very friendly staff
Great Hungarian Goulash
Signing up for the Silver Spirits Beverage Package allows unlimited premium drinks and wines all the day is probably worth the extra cost!
WiFi in our cabin isn’t strong (but in fairness, they do warn you about that)
Chocolate mousse at lunch was a bit weird.
360-degree view of Budapest from atop the Viking Bragi in port