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Everything Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe" - Budapest to Bucharest


Peregrina651
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Be prepared: If you are doing an extension in Prague, you will need 100HUF or 50 cents euro for the bathrooms at one of the stops on transfer day. You can break a small denomination HUF or € in a change machine by the bathroom turnstile. If you don't have HUF or €, there is a small shack outside the rest stop doing currency exchange. A 1€ coin will do for two people since the turnstile makes change. Take the turnstile receipt and use it to pay for lunch or a purchase in the mini-mart.

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I'm in love with Prague; another day there would have been great. The day we arrived, we wondered around in the late afternoon, walking from the Hilton Probezni as far as the Old Town Square and back with a stop for dinner at a Viking suggested restaurant called Kolkovna Celnice. Art Nouveau is in the air--and on the buildings.

 

Viking staffs a desk in the lower lobby from 7am-7pm daily. When we arrived, we were all checked and handed our keys by the Viking rep.

 

Day 2 we started out the day with Viking's included tour to the Castle District and Old Town. We abandoned the group as they left the Castle District and remained the rest of the day wandering around the confines of the Castle. The highlight of the day was the couple of hours we spent at Lobkowicz Palace. We did this on our own and spent a heck of a lot less than it would have cost us to do the optional tour with Viking. We started with lunch on the cafe terrace with a lovely view of the river and city below us. We opted not to do the concert but were able to hear the music as we wondered through the palace/museum. The audio guide is included with the admission ticket and is narrated by William Lobkowicz. When we finally tired of wondering around the area, we hopped in a cab and headed home. (Find a cab out the Lion Gate where there is more traffic.)

 

After dinner in the hotel, we took a 'sunset' cruise on the Vlotava River; the timing was right and the sun set during the 8pm cruise. At 11€ pp + cab fare, it was a great way to spend the evening and see the city from a different perspective.

 

Day 3 we wondered from the hotel into the Josefov Quarter and then to the Old Town Square and the Mucha Museum managing to see the Charles Bridge, the Astronomical Clock and a lunch stop. We stopped at Cafe Imperial for early dinner on our way back to the hotel. Another on the Viking suggested list. Good choice.

 

Day 4 -- the only rain of the trip --transfer day to Budapest. Left at 8 am arrived before 4pm. One stop at a KFC to use the toilets and another stop around noon for lunch; these are the toilets where you have to pay. Lunch was self-serve--sandwiches or hot dishes. Hotel check-in was a bit chaotic since there were two buses arriving from Budapest along with others who were coming in from the airport. Viking maintains a desk in the lobby. Our room, as was that of most others on the cruise, was river view--and oh what a view it was!

 

We ate at PestBuda, just down the street from the hotel. I'll go back to Budapest just for the view from the room and dinner at PestBuda.

Edited by Peregrina651
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Let me remind you all not to do what I did. :o

 

We were sitting in the airport restaurant eating lunch before our flight when I suddenly remembered that I had never called the banks and credit card company to let them know that we would be away. What a way to start our trip!

 

Well, at least I remembered while we still in Boston. :eek:

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Let me remind you all not to do what I did. :o

 

We were sitting in the airport restaurant eating lunch before our flight when I suddenly remembered that I had never called the banks and credit card company to let them know that we would be away. What a way to start our trip!

 

Well, at least I remembered while we still in Boston. :eek:

 

Good news is you only do that ONCE!!!! :D

Edited by Hydrokitty
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I have a word doc called "contacts" that I update for every trip. It includes (once updated) the contacts for our TA, airline, cruise line, hotels, car rental, etc. for that trip; next page has complete details for each credit/debit card we are bringing with us (with a notation when I notified the bank about the trip!); then our health info including US insurance, trip insurance, blood types, and Medjet membership. I keep a print-out in the room safe and the file is (password protected) on my laptop. I print it out the day before the trip, which gives me that last-minute doublecheck that I did notify the banks. [Am I Type-A or what? ;)]

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I have a word doc called "contacts" that I update for every trip. It includes (once updated) the contacts for our TA, airline, cruise line, hotels, car rental, etc. for that trip; next page has complete details for each credit/debit card we are bringing with us (with a notation when I notified the bank about the trip!); then our health info including US insurance, trip insurance, blood types, and Medjet membership. I keep a print-out in the room safe and the file is (password protected) on my laptop. I print it out the day before the trip, which gives me that last-minute doublecheck that I did notify the banks. [Am I Type-A or what? ;)]

 

Definitely Type A......and that's a good thing!!! I keep the same thing on my kindle in a site marked as a big white cross on a red square. It's not password protected so in an emergency anyone can access my current meds, medical history, dr's name, address and phone # and contact info for my DH and kids. Then I keep our passports, plane and reservation confirmation numbers, and credit card info in a seperate site that is password protected (with a totally different password than everything else) Then I have photocopies (1 for each of us and 1 for daughter at home) of all our credit cards (front & back) passports and itinerary, and medical info, which we each carry in our suitcases. It really paid off when I forgot to call the bank and my card was declined. I was able to call the card company with their international collect # and get approval for my rather substantial purchase!! I think most of us on CC are Type A's......well organized with a touch of control freakiness that many times keeps us out of trouble and insures successful travel. :D

Edited by Hydrokitty
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I have a word doc called "contacts" that I update for every trip. ]

 

Aw, heck, JB! I'm lucky if I remember to put photocopies of our passports onto a thumb-drive and stick in in my electronics bag. No more paper print-outs, either. PDFs. I figure that if I'm in a police station or a consulate that they are going to have a computer that can read my little USB drive and get whatever info I have there. I'm just trying to pack lighter and take less clutter. I think I had more paper in my suitcase than clothing --and almost as much paper as electronics--on this trip!

 

That said, thank you, JB. I'm in the process of organizing a document with all the stuff on it you have mentioned so I have it for all my future travels. I should have done it ages ago.

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For über-efficiency, I also keep a copy of the "all-my-trip-info-in-one-PDF-file" on Dropbox so if the USB is lost (egads!), I have it safely in the cloud for accessing from anywhere there is a connection.

 

P.S. I do *not* organize my spice cupboard or hubby's sock drawer; it's just a travel Type A thing ;)

Edited by Ukalady
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For über-efficiency, I also keep a copy of the "all-my-trip-info-in-one-PDF-file" on Dropbox so if the USB is lost (egads!), I have it safely in the cloud for accessing from anywhere there is a connection.

 

P.S. I do *not* organize my spice cupboard or hubby's sock drawer; it's just a travel Type A thing ;)

 

Spices are alphabetical, socks by color. You are a poseur -- turn in your Type A card immediately!

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I figure that if I'm in a police station or a consulate that they are going to have a computer that can read my little USB drive and get whatever info I have there.

 

Are you familiar with the Inspector Montalbano mystery series? If all Italian police station front desks are staffed by someone like Catarella (in the early episodes, when he is simply a buffoon), I would be very leery of where they would try to insert your thumb drive. ;)

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Are you familiar with the Inspector Montalbano mystery series? If all Italian police station front desks are staffed by someone like Catarella (in the early episodes, when he is simply a buffoon), I would be very leery of where they would try to insert your thumb drive. ;)

 

LOL but it's TV and I can laugh at it. Fortunately, it has has nothing to do with reality (just like the internet).

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Spices are alphabetical, socks by color. You are a poseur -- turn in your Type A card immediately!

 

Thanks for starting my day off with a BIG laugh!!! :D

 

My spices are alphabetical but it's hands off DH's sock drawer!! That's HIS problem...

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220px-TRS_connector.JPG

 

In Prague, the Quietvoxes that we were given to use for the half-day tour had standard jacks but silly me, I left my earbuds in the room. So I was stuck with using the useless left-eared headphone that Viking routinely hands out. I tried to use it but soon gave up; it was just too uncomfortable to use as a right-earred device. We did however go out and buy a headset for DH in Prague in expectation that when we got to Budapest and to the ship that those headsets would also have the standard jack. ($11 in the Samsung store in the Palladium Mall on Republic Square).

 

In Budapest, I remembered to grab my earbuds only to find that these receivers had the dedicated jacks for the headsets and you could only use the headset that was handed out with the receiver. I didn't even bother to take one; one less thing to have to carry.

 

Then, when we got to our cabin on the ATLA, the headsets that were waiting for us were also of the dedicated jack variety. I talked with the front desk to see if right-earred headsets were available but there where none. My receiver never left cabin.

 

The ship did have an induction coil for use by those with hearing aids (that counts me out; I don't wear a hearing aid). I didn't see anyone else using the induction coil though there were a few people who could have; I don't think anyone knew that they were available.

 

pro_light_and_sound_quietvox_a4_825995369.jpg

 

 

VIKING, WAKE UP PLEASE!! I've been complaining about these headset for five years now. If you can have standard jacks in Prague, why can't you have them in other places?????

Edited by Peregrina651
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Yes, but we have a night in Bucharest and so no one will actually be going from the airport to the ship unless they have trouble with their flights and arrive late for the start of the trip. We will have to make the 2 hour drive between Bucharest and Guirgu, but at least it won't be after a long plane ride and it will be as part of the itinerary.

 

 

 

When you depart the ship in Guirgu, you are on a large motorcoach that includes a tour guide. They will give you a tour of the area, and there are stops in Bucharest (a lovely park with authentic historic homesites) and a stop for lunch and a walking tour of the old town/Parliament (you choose--we opted for the old town. Parliament is a big ugly 80s building with a lot of empty rooms and missing light bulbs) and you don't get to your hotel til around 3-4PM. It's a full day of sightseeing.

 

If you are starting in Bucharest, expect the same itinerary in reverse.

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When you depart the ship in Guirgu, you are on a large motorcoach that includes a tour guide. They will give you a tour of the area, and there are stops in Bucharest (a lovely park with authentic historic homesites) and a stop for lunch and a walking tour of the old town/Parliament (you choose--we opted for the old town. Parliament is a big ugly 80s building with a lot of empty rooms and missing light bulbs) and you don't get to your hotel til around 3-4PM. It's a full day of sightseeing.

 

If you are starting in Bucharest, expect the same itinerary in reverse.

 

We toured the People's Palace (Parliament) and it was fascinating. It's one of the largest buildings in the world and is visible from space!! I found interior to be beautiful, no missing lightbulbs, but lots of steps. I would have liked to have had more time in Bucharest however, since the bus tour of the city only made me want to get out and walk around.!! Beautiful city.

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Hello Hydrokitty--been following your postings about the Viking Star as a future passenger--very interesting. My wife and I will be on a Danube cruise this summer and have booked the local food/walking tour which has gotten rave reviews. Was wondering if you have any other great tips on Budapest restaurants? Thanks, and keep the wonderful and helpful comments coming!

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Hello Hydrokitty--been following your postings about the Viking Star as a future passenger--very interesting. My wife and I will be on a Danube cruise this summer and have booked the local food/walking tour which has gotten rave reviews. Was wondering if you have any other great tips on Budapest restaurants? Thanks, and keep the wonderful and helpful comments coming!

 

I've never done a food tour but I've heard nothing but wonderful things about them. I really don't have any favorite restaurants to recommend in Budapest or anywhere else (except for St. Petersburg). DH and I aren't foodies and we're easily pleased. We tend to try small local restaurants that are located wherever we happen to be when we notice we're hungry! The farmer's market has wonderful foods you can try while walking around or sitting, and it's easy walking distance from the dock. Which cruise are you doing on the Danube? Our first river cruise was Amsterdam to Budapest and thus began our love affair with Budapest! We're on Vantage in August from Amsterdam to Basel. I've never traveled with Viking and from what I've read about their customer service, I think I'll stick with Vantage for rivers and Celebrity for oceans! Wherever you eat, try the goulosh!!!

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Hi--great advice about the "small, local restaurants" as you usually find this is where the local people eat and you won't go wrong. Plus you get a better chance to experience some local culture-which is our main goal as well. Gotta get us some goulash! We have only been on 2 river cruises--both with Uniworld and both were fantastic! We are going to try the Danube with Scenic on their new Jasper--we'll see. We are also easily please with cruising as they are fancy delivery systems getting us to many wonderful sights we would probably never see otherwise. We do like to spend a few days pre- & post- on our own and possibly rent a car to tour some of the nearby countryside and backroads.

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Hi--great advice about the "small, local restaurants" as you usually find this is where the local people eat and you won't go wrong. Plus you get a better chance to experience some local culture-which is our main goal as well. Gotta get us some goulash! We have only been on 2 river cruises--both with Uniworld and both were fantastic! We are going to try the Danube with Scenic on their new Jasper--we'll see. We are also easily please with cruising as they are fancy delivery systems getting us to many wonderful sights we would probably never see otherwise. We do like to spend a few days pre- & post- on our own and possibly rent a car to tour some of the nearby countryside and backroads.

 

Yah, we've done that on several of our trips but we usually pay for the pre-post trip excursions. We're not as young or adventurous as we used to be. We did Jordan post trip in Egypt; Brussels pre-trip on Holland and tulips; Kiev on Russia, which was amazing and breaks my heart now; and Prague on Black Sea. When we lived in London we were younger and ore agile and we went all over on the trains.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello,

We are booked on the Atla April 15 2016 Budapest to Bucharest. I can't find a specific Roll Call for that cruise, so am posting here.

 

We (two) will DIY 3 nights in Prague and one night in Bratislava pre-cruise and have booked a 3 day Transylvania tour post-cruise. Would be happy to have another couple or two join us for Transylvania, and possibly coordinate on the front end too. If interested, please email me at dickosman at gmail dot com.

 

Glad to see so much information about the Passage to Eastern Europe her on this forum. It will be most helpful.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello again,

This is a good find for our discussion. What sort of things are you most interested in? Would you like me to list likes/dislikes, respond to item-by-item questions, or a combination of both?

I'll be happy to share our experience with you to an extent with which you're happy.

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