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girlsandpop

Questions before booking

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So, my dad (95 years old) is sending my sister and I on a Viking River Cruise that he took years ago and loved- Budapest to Amsterdam.

 

I have heard a couple of negative things that I want to address before I book.  

 

One person told me they were very disappointed because at each port they were a couple feet from a boat next to them.  They had no view except of another boat.

Someone else told me the water levels where so low it ended up to be a bus trip and not a river cruise at all.

 

Question: is there a month to cruise where these issues would be less likely to happen? 

Thank you!

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When ships are docked, they often are "rafted" which means that there maybe several ships docked next to each other. You then have to walk through all the ships to leave (which is easy as they are narrow). So when docked, it is definitely a possibility that you will only see the ship next to you when look out. When sailing, you have your view from your window. Though most like to be on the top of the deck where you can see views all around you, not just one side.

 

Fall is a time when when rivers can be low. Though you can run into an issue when rivers are too high also. I will let one of the locals address this issue.

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44 minutes ago, girlsandpop said:

One person told me they were very disappointed because at each port they were a couple feet from a boat next to them.  They had no view except of another boat.

 

What you are describing is rafting - it occurs only when docked at a port and is very common on the busy Danube. Rafting shouldn't be an issue unless you intend to spend your entire day in port aboard ship. It is a crapshoot where your ship will dock in any port on the river (the dock master assigns the ships - usually a function of their departure times). There is a higher frequency of rafting during the height of the tourist season.

Rafting does not bother us at all - we are off the ship exploring/touring when we are in port.

 

44 minutes ago, girlsandpop said:

Someone else told me the water levels where so low it ended up to be a bus trip and not a river cruise at all.

 

Generally, high water occurs in the spring & low water occurs in the heat of the summer (usually August - September). We last cruised the Danube to Budapest in October, 2018 - a year in which the Danube experienced record low water levels.  Many of the cruises (Viking among them) were unable to navigate the low water and resorted to bus trips - this was still an issue in October, 2018 (so, way beyond the usual low water months). Usually, the entire Danube is not affected - just parts are not navigable. Viking did a great deal of ship swapping in 2018 (ship swapping involves being bussed from one port to the next where you board a sister ship to continue your cruise).

In rare cases, the cruise is cancelled.

 

44 minutes ago, girlsandpop said:

Question: is there a month to cruise where these issues would be less likely to happen? 

 

Water levels are unpredictable & often times you may not find out that a particular stretch of the river is unnavigable until just a day or two beforehand. Unfortunately, low and high water conditions can exist and throw a wrench into you cruise expectations. If this is a real concern for you, river cruising may not be a good option for you. Although we were disappointed that we were bussed to one of our ports, we understood the possibility of low water and made the best of it. We still had a wonderful trip. Budapest and Vienna are two of our favorite cities!

 

 

Edited by dogs4fun

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Rafting happens all the time.......If you don't have to go in the summer, go in late spring or fall....October is glorious in Europe...I always tell people, if it doesn't rain the rivers are low....if the rivers are low, the boats don't go....plain and simple.....Enjoy your trip!

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May I also suggest (since you like to be prepared) that you read the stickies on the top of the main page, so you know and understand the difference between Ocean & River cruising.  As long as you know what to expect, then you can look at any thing that happens as an adventure, and not a problem. 

 

We tookt the attitude that we were going to have a good time or die...and started planning our next cruise on the flight home, we enjoyed it so much!

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There are some good river cruise books out there also. Maybe worth reading one or two before booking.

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