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Friday, December 18, 2015

Preparing for a Danube Waltz

Viking Longships are the perfect way to tour Europe

It's funny how a song can transport you in time. I grew up being treated to blasts of Austrian composer Johann Strauss' music every Sunday, courtesy of my father who was a huge fan of classical music. To this day, when I hear those waltzes, I wax nostalgic about my long-gone parents.

So, when I had the chance to sail Viking River Cruise's "Danube Waltz," on board the Viking Gullveig I didn't hesitate. No stranger to ocean cruises I'd never experienced a river cruise so this proved to be a true adventure.

The chance to visit Europe in December and be able to explore new countries and visit the legendary Christmas markets was an added incentive - as if I needed one! 

We sailed on Viking Gullveig on Saturday for seven days, from Passau, Germany to Budapest, Hungary with my daughter Kimberly - a destination wedding planner who's always on the lookout for new and wonderful places to suggest to her brides. 

We were met at Munich airport by a Viking representative and taken on a nearly two-hour drive to Passau, where we embarked on our comfortable ship.

The seven-day itinerary called for a day in Passau, followed by stops in Linz, Salzburg, Melk, Durnstein and Vienna in Austria; Bratislava, Slovakia and Budapest, Hungary. Palaces, castles, abbeys, a visit to Mozart's birthplace and many other enticing sights were along the way.

The longship Gullveig has four decks with 95 outside staterooms - 39 of which have verandas - hotel-style beds, a private bathroom, roomy closets and storage space, a safe and amenities including flat-panel TVs and premium bath products.

In Norse mythology Gullveig was a seer.

The restaurant, described as "casual, yet elegant," features floor to ceiling panoramic windows and dishes up "regional specialties and contemporary cuisine."

The Aquavit Terrace offers outdoor seating at the bow of the ship - although I wasn't sure if the December weather would allow such outings - but the sun deck, putting green and walking track would definitely make up for it.

The Library and Observation Lounge offered quiet places to listen to soft piano music while watching Europe's riverbanks glide by.

A host of onboard activities included hands-on demonstrations, cooking classes, local tastings and much more.

An optional Strauss concert was offered in an historic venue in Vienna, where the composer was born in 1825. I had to check that out. 

After all, Strauss is what motivated me to embark on the Viking Gullveig's Danube Waltz itinerary!


  1. I recently cruised with the Viking Star around the Mediterranean Sea. A river cruise is definitely on my wish list for 2016.

    1. Thanks for checking in! This river cruise was one of the best trips I've ever been on. I'm a total convert and highly recommend them to everyone.

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