Passage to Eastern Europe - We arrived!

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#1
Ontario, Canada
2,733 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Hi everyone -

Just arrived this afternoon in Bucharest to start our cruise... First cruise with Viking - although 6th river cruise overall. I know there are a number of people taking this cruise later this year, so thought I should post along the way. Of course, this hinges on WiFi - and my ability to function with a new tablet!

DH and I were wondering how Viking would know we had arrived (own air, therefore own transfers) but there were 2 people at a table in the lobby.

It was funny when we exited the Arrivals area at the airport.... We have our Viking tags on our luggage and 2 lovely young women (from Viking) tried to snatch us up when they saw the tags... We had to explain we had our own transport booked!

Very pleased with the transport - have posted about that over in the Roll Call section as this thread is really meant to be about our Viking experience.

The hotel is great.... Free WiFi that is easy to connect to. Will be walking around a bit and looking for somewhere to eat dinner....

Think that is all for now... Will try to post again tomorrow after we get to the boat.

Fran
#2
Coastal NC
3,222 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Have fun, Fran. Look forward to reading your posts.

Sharon
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Sharon

Viking, Portraits of Southern France. 2006
Uniworld, Castles Along the Rhine, 2007
Gate 1, Thanksgiving Cruise, 2007
AMA Waterways, Portugal on the Douro, 2008
Grand Circle: Romance of the Rhine and Mosel, 2010
Viking Emerald, China's Cultural Delights. 3/28/2011
Grand Circle: Old World Prague and the Blue Danube. September 7, 2011.
Viking Spirit, Paris to Normandy. 12/11/11.
Grand Circle's [i]Essence of the Elbe: 5/27/12/ to 6/11/12
Grand Circle Russia Revealed with pretrip to Helsinki and Tallinn , 2012. .
Viking Sun, Treasures of the Rhine. Nov 11, 2012.
AMACerto, Istanbul to Budapest. May 30, 2013.
Uniworld River Queen, Classic Christmas Markets, Nuremberg to Frankfurt. Dec 5, 2013.
Vantage Travel, Croatian Odyssey & Venice with Lake Bled, Slovenia pretrip. M/Y Harmony G
Grand Circle, Burma and the Irrawaddy, Thailand and Cambodia. Nov 25, 2014. RV Paukan 2012.
Grand Circle: Spain's Northern Coast & the Bay of Biscay. 4/30/2015 to 5/21/2015. Ship: Corinthian
AMAWaterways: Magnificent Europe. Aug 30 to Sept 14, 2015. AMACerto. Budapest to Amsterdam
Vantage: The Peruvian Amazon and Machu Picchu. 3/12/2016. Post trip to Lake Titicaca. Ship: RV Amazon Discovery
Grand Circle: Grand Baltic Sea Voyage. . 7/30/2016 to 8/15/2016. Ship: Corinthian
Viking: Castles & Legends. Munich to Budapest. 12/5/16 to 12/16/16. Viking Ve.
Viking Sky: Mediterranean Getaway, Rome to Barcelona, 2/25/17 to 3/4/17.

Grand Circle: Maritime Jewels of the British Isles. 7/23/17. Ship: Corinthian
Avalon Affinity: Burgundy & Provence with London, 10/2/17
Viking RA: Pharaohs & Pyramids. March 8, 2018
#3
Ontario, Canada
2,733 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Well... Figured I had better post to update on a very interesting Friday night in front of the Radisson....

Lots of activity.... Don't wear any clothing that identifies you as a tourist, as you will be targeted by filthy children begging. We had to be very firm when we went out for dinner as they followed us down the street.

There is a group of people hanging out in front of the hotel. We have a room overlooking the street, so it has been interesting. There are 2 girls that walk up and down in front of the hotel - stopping to visit with a man who has been sitting there for a while. They don't appear to be working girls, but every now and then they make a bee line for a single man walking by.

Then there is the girl in the bright coral strapless party dress who got out of a cab in front of the hotel. There is casino right next door - so thought she might be going in there. But, she walked over to the line of taxis out front and got right into the front seat of one,,,, and there she sits - right by the guy in blue hanging out with the other 2 girls. Interesting area.... Don't know that I'd want to be put alone by myself at night in this area. :-)

Anyway - just wanted to share our Friday night entertainment.

Fran

BTW - there are LOTS of ATMs in this area. Our driver today suggested we use ATMs associated with banks... And there are lots in this area. We went to one around the corner away from the begging children
#4
372 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by franski
be targeted by filthy children begging.
Be very carefull with them. While you talk to any of them others will pickpocket your money.
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AT SEA: 16 cruises
RIVER:
2011 -- Viking Sun 'Rhine Getaway'
2012 -- Viking Primadonna 'Passage to Eastern Europe'
2013 -- Viking Odin 'Tulips & Windmills'
2013 -- Viking Lomonosov 'Footsteps of the Cossacks'
2013 -- Viking Spirit 'Paris & the Heart of Normandy'
2014 -- Viking Schumann 'Elegant Elbe'
2014 -- AMA Waterways 'Melodies of the Danube'
2014 -- Viking Hemming 'Portugal's River of Gold'
2015 -- American Eagle 'Lower Mississippi'
2016 -- Viking Forseti 'Chateaux, Rivers & Wine'
2016 -- Mekong Navigator 'Mekong River Cruise with Saigon & Siem Reap'
------- Next Up -----

------- Email me here: [email protected]
#6
Knoxville, TN
170 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Hi Fran,

Glad to hear you made it safely. Sounds like it's gotten off to an "interesting" start!! Hope you have a great time and look forward to reading your posts.

Tim
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#7
Tasmania, Australia
654 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Hi Fran
Hope you have a fantastic trip. Stay safe where you are, interesting to hear all your friday observations.
Following your trip with interest, we had planned on doing Bucharest to Budapest next year, well until we booked France
Looking forward to your posts ,
Deb
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Avalon Panorama, Magnificent Europe, Budapest to Amsterdam August 15 -29th 2012
Avalon Scenery, Grand France , Cote D'Azur to Paris, 30th June - 8th July 2014
Avalon Creativity, Grand France, Paris-Normandy Beaches-Paris, 8th - 15th July 2014
HAL Oosterdam, Mediterranean Dream , Venice to Rome , 17th -29th June 2016
#8
NW Ohio
8,184 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
Fran, you are off to an interesting start indeed! Guess I will make use of our neck and waist wallets when we do the same cruise next year. Thx for the tip on the ATM's. Enjoy!

Becki
#9
Phoenix
622 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Hi Fran,
I will also be following your adventure closely. We are scheduled on the Embla from Budapest to Bucharest in August, and it is our first river cruise.
We will be spending a week in Romania at the end, doing some touring, so I am extremely interested in your opinions and what to expect in Bucharest.
Have a great trip!
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ciao for now, travelinjudy


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#10
2,472 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
Hi Fran, glad to see you made it safely to Budapest--one of my favorite cities. You certainly are haveing some interesting experiences. Even tho we have no plans for the part of Europe, your reports are alwasy soooo interesting. Pat
#11
Ontario
82 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Hi Fran, I am really looking forward to hearing all about your journey as it is one of our possibles for 2014. I know I need to book soon to get what I want. I did the Danube last year with Scenic and they are my first choice for 2014, however, having had to cancel a preregistration because they no longer offered the date I wanted, I decided to wait until their full book came out to see how that was.
As a result I would be so interested in a compassion between the two company as I know you have travelled with Scenic.
Have a great trip and thank you for keeping us all informed while you travel.
Mary
#12
Ontario, Canada
2,733 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Well - I must say I am very impressed with our experiences so far....

Up this am - and down to breakfast before starting off on our city tour. It was the start of a long day.

Although the brochure indicated that we would arrive in Giurgiu just after lunch, in actuality we arrived around 5. Not a big deal, however, as we aren't docked close to Giurgiu... so nothing to see in this area. Very much just a docking area.

In the morning, our 1st stop was the Musuem Village. Our guide - Bohgdan - walked with us for a while and talked about the different architectural styles in the buildings there before we had about 35 minutes of free time. Lots of artisans there - and most will take both RON or Euros. They had chimney cakes - so were very excited!!! If you have any RON, best to spend them there - not lots of other places to spend them - so we now have Romanian money that we can't spend elsewhere.

We actually drove back and forth across town a number of times... We passed by the Radisson Blu at least 4 times after we checked out. We also went to The People's House (site of Parliament....) and the Patriarch Church before going to the restaurant for lunch. Lunch was late - and was a huge meal - so definitely wasn't hungry by the time we sat down for dinner tonight. But, it was a fun experience... good food, and entertainment by local dancers.

I was very impressed with our guide. When we were at the Patriarch Church, one gentleman on our bus commented that he felt he may have left his blazer in his room at the Radisson. The jacket appeared by the time we arrived for lunch.

Check in was VERY quick and painless. They had the entire passenger list to check in, and there was very little waiting. The room is good (will post separately, and try to take a few pictures....) and the staircases are well lit and easy to climb.

George is our Cruise Manager - and he is a hoot. He had the group in stitches during the port talk. The entire crew seems to work as a team and there seems to be a genuine commeraderie. The person who is identified as "our" housekeeper knocked on the door to introduce herself, and ask if we needed anything.

Anyway - don't want to continue on.... so will post again tomorrow.

Fran

P.S. There were some questions about the noise level in the dining room. The ceiling looks a bit low - so wonder if they have added some noise buffetting materials. The dining room was loud - but no more than on other cruises.
#13
Florida
19,299 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Have a great cruise ..
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#14
Ontario, Canada
2,733 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Hi there -

We are in Rm 117 - Aquarium Class - and I did promise to post about the cabin.

It is not as large as some that we have travelled in (I think it is about 150 sq ft) but is well set up.

The bathroom door is a slider - so you don't lose space with a swinging door. There are 2 shelves - open - below the counter, so lots of space to store toothbrush, toiletries etc. The shower has a glass door, and although I was leary about the size as it seems small, it is quite spacious (I am not a size 6 - so like spacious.... ) The controls in the shower are easy to figure out. Reasonable water pressure.

The closet doors are also sliders. The left side has hangers - the right side has shelves/safe. The depth seems a bit shallow for the hangers, but we just end up turning things a bit sideways and they all fit.

There are also 4 drawers beside the bar fridge.

There is not a lot of space beside the bed on either side - but it is enough to get in and out of bed. There is a small night table on each side. There is a small stool under the counter - but if you pull it out you could not walk by the end of the bed. Lots of room underneath the bed for suitcases.

The window is high - probably one of the highest we have encountered in Aquarium Class. I am 5'6", and can only see the water when standing on my tip toes. The window is set back (ie: there is a ledge) and perhaps this affects my ability to see out.

The curtains are just for show - as there is a roller blind on the window. So - you can roll the blind up a bit and get some morning sun, and still have privacy.

Now - I must admit that there are some odd noises down there. Not really sure what they are - ? pipes ? machinery. Not enought to disturb me - but I am not a light sleeper. Noise from the corridor is pretty much non-existant.

There are 220 v plugs on either side of the bed - and a 110 v underneath the TV. No alarm clock - so I ask for a wake up call. The phone is NOT on the bedside table, so need to get up and answer it when it rings!!!

I think that it it for now. I will try to get some pictures and post.

Please feel free to ask any questions.

Fran
#15
Texas USA
1,516 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Originally posted by franski
Hi there -

We are in Rm 117 - Aquarium Class - and I did promise to post about the cabin.

Fran
Thanks for the cabin report Fran! It sounds very doable for us. Also - glad to hear they may have made some improvements to the acoustics in the dining room. Have they come up with a solution to the crowding in the lounge area?
Julie
#16
Ontario, Canada
2,733 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by SeaTheWorldBySea
Thanks for the cabin report Fran! It sounds very doable for us. Also - glad to hear they may have made some improvements to the acoustics in the dining room. Have they come up with a solution to the crowding in the lounge area?
Julie
It is very crowded for the port talk - but haven't been soon a river cruise yet that has a big enough lounge.

One thing that does help is the ability to bring in chairs from the Aquavit Lounge. Had a game night tonight and we had the main lounge totally rearranged... Lots of work for the staff to do once we all left.

Fran
#17
Ontario, Canada
2,733 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
It has been unseasonably warm here... 30+ Celcius... And most people are saying they didn't pack for this. But we are all surviving.

The dining room tends to be on the cooler side so that helps. One issue with the warm weather is the bugs.... LOTS of mosquitoes out now - and some did find their way into the dining room.

Went to Belogradchick today. We went to the fortress, and I did manage to climb up to the 2nd level. Lots went right up. If you want any souvenirs here, they only take cash...

Viking has been doing a great job at keeping up fed and hydrated. Some of the areas are a fairly long bus ride, so they always build in a WC Stop, and some tea/coffee/water. Sometimes it seems as if there are too many stops, but I am pleased they do build that into the excursion time.

There are also bottles of water by the exit door in the morning so you can pick one up as you leave.

Tomorrow is our sailing day... So we get to sleep in AND get to turn the clocks back an hour. Those of you sailing from Budapest will lose an hour sleep on the way down.

Truly enjoying the trip - and meeting some great people. Quite a few repeat Viking customers... Haven't met anyone yet who knew about Cruise Critic.

Fran
#18
Texas USA
1,516 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Thanks for your posts Fran! We booked our aquarium class cabin today - for Sept. 2014. We'll have cabin #118.

Does Viking have diet soda? How about cappuccinos, lattes - any kind of specialty coffees? Herb or flavored tea? Are their sodas canned or fountain? Not important questions - just curious if you have the time.

Julie

Just had a thought - if you see your neighbors in 118 could you ask them if their cabin is mostly quiet?
#19
Vancouver Island, Canada
639 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
I just got off the Viking Odin on April 2nd. We were in cabin 115 and I never heard any noise at all. Cabin 117 is next to it so I wonder where the noise is coming from.
I looked at the diagram and can't see anything there except other cabins.
#20
NW Ohio
8,184 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
Originally posted by SeaTheWorldBySea
Thanks for your posts Fran! We booked our aquarium class cabin today - for Sept. 2014. We'll have cabin #118.

Does Viking have diet soda? How about cappuccinos, lattes - any kind of specialty coffees? Herb or flavored tea? Are their sodas canned or fountain? Not important questions - just curious if you have the time.

Julie

Just had a thought - if you see your neighbors in 118 could you ask them if their cabin is mostly quiet?
Julie,
From my experience last year on the Idun, Viking does serve Diet Coke, which is complimentary at lunch and dinner, and is available at the bar lounge as well for purchase. As far as coffees and teas, there is a 24/7 self-serve beverage station outside the lounge on the longships, which offers several selections of coffees, as well as hot water for teas and hot chocolate is also a selection. There was a nice selection of both herbal and flavored tea bags at this station, and also is offered in the dining room, although here you may have to ask for your favorite, if you don't see it on the table. The beverage station also offers a choice of still or bubbly water.
I also purchased a few bottles of diet soda in our various ports as we went along to keep in our cabin fridge, as this is my "morning coffee". ;-)

Hope this helps.
Becki