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Any suggestions or advice on Viking "Passage to Eastern Europe" river trip?

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Particularly, if anyone has done either the pre or post extension that includes Bucharest and Transylvania. If done as pre-cruise, it seems that there is one night in Bucharest, then one night in Brasov, then back to Bucharest again for one night. That's ok, but alot of moving around. If done as a post extension, however, it looks like it might be the one night in Brasov first, then 2 consecutive nights in Bucharest. Not certain though since the descriptions aren't clear. I'll run this by a Viking rep but thought someone here might know. The itinerary on this trip looks really nice. We've never been east of Budapest so would like to see more than our AMS-BUD trip offered. 

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Last year we did the Viking River "Passage to Eastern Europe" as part of our Bucharest-Amsterdam  trip.  The Bucharest-Budapest was a totally different trip that the Budapest-Amsterdam leg.  We moved from the poorest areas of Europe (Romania, Bulgaria and the Balkan countries to the most affluent.  Since we started in Bucharest we arrived two days early and toured Bucharest on our own, we did no excursions.  There is a lot to see aside from the one day tour offered by Viking.  We enjoyed the Passage to Eastern Europe.  PM if you have questions.

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Posted (edited)

Suggest you look at the Passage to Eastern Europe Roll Call forum; there is a lot of info there and people posting live as they do the trip. (link below)

 

I'm on this cruise in June but I am not taking either extension package but the standard cruise includes 2 nights in a hotel in Budapest and one night in a Bucharest hotel on the BUD>BUC route

 

 

Edited by pontac

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We loved the cruise. I regret that we did not add more time in Bucharest. The one day with the ship was not enough and it left very little time for exploring on our own.

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Greetings!


Just back from this itinerary (home last Friday) and we LOVED it.


As pontac linked to above, there is a ton of info on the thread in the Roll Call section.

 

If you have a specific question that I can answer, please let me know.

 

Jeff

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Hi Jeff...did you do either of the Viking extensions? That's the main thing I have questions about. 

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1 hour ago, gretschwhtfalcon said:

Hi Jeff...did you do either of the Viking extensions? That's the main thing I have questions about. 

Hello! 

 

We we did the cruise from Budapest to Bucharest, and then did the trip extension to Transylvania. 

 

LOVED it! 

 

Please ask away 🙂

 

 

Jeff

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Posted (edited)

Jeff...ok....tell me how this extension worked. If I'm correct, I'm betting that you had one night in Brasov, then two consecutive nights at Bucharest?  What concerns me is that doing the cruise in reverse seems to result in the extension being broken up- 1 night in Bucharest, then the one night in Brasov, then back again to Bucharest ...a bit of extra moving about. The reason this trip interests us is that over the years we considered an Amsterdam to the Black Sea cruise (with Tauck) but then the scheduling dates and just the length of it seemed a bit much, so we opted to  do AMS-BUD, and really enjoyed it, but now would still like to do the other part continuing east. 

 

We're looking at various trips that would make use of the voucher we got from Viking. (We were on the 3/14 Sky sailing that was evacuated by helicopter). 

Edited by gretschwhtfalcon

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8 hours ago, gretschwhtfalcon said:

Jeff...ok....tell me how this extension worked. If I'm correct, I'm betting that you had one night in Brasov, then two consecutive nights at Bucharest?  What concerns me is that doing the cruise in reverse seems to result in the extension being broken up- 1 night in Bucharest, then the one night in Brasov, then back again to Bucharest ...a bit of extra moving about. The reason this trip interests us is that over the years we considered an Amsterdam to the Black Sea cruise (with Tauck) but then the scheduling dates and just the length of it seemed a bit much, so we opted to  do AMS-BUD, and really enjoyed it, but now would still like to do the other part continuing east. 

 

We're looking at various trips that would make use of the voucher we got from Viking. (We were on the 3/14 Sky sailing that was evacuated by helicopter). 

Hello again.

 

Once we disembarked from the ship in Giurgiu, we were taken to Bucharest for our tour of the city, village museum, lunch, and then inside the Parliament. You had the option of Parliament, or Old Town walking tour - both included lunch and the village museum. After Parliament, we were taken to our hotel for the night. The trip to Transylvania left the next morning. We headed to Bran Castle on the first day, overnighted in Braşov, then toured Peles Castle the next morning before heading back to Bucharest. The order of castles may vary depending on time of year. We did Peles second since it was still during their Winter schedule, and they were closed on the first day. You will then come back to the same hotel in Bucharest, which is nice as they let you leave luggage there so you don’t have to schlep all of it to Transylvania. We then had a full free day in Bucharest, early bedtime, then very early wake up for our transfer to the airport.

 

We thought the schedule was ideal, as it gave you extra free time to see what you want in Bucharest. Would have loved a bit more free time in Braşov, but you still get a good feel of it for the time that you’re there.

 

If you’re considering this trip extension, please beware that it sells out far in advance. We booked our “Passage” cruise plus extension one year in advance.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Jeff

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Posted (edited)

Jeff..still a bit confused. So you're saying you could leave luggage in your room at Bucharest while you were overnighting in Brasov? And then...what...returned to the same room in Bucharest for the 3rd evening? I'm sure it worked out fine, but not crazy about having to split up luggage and have just an overnight bag for the one night in Brasov. Just sounds a bit much. As we get older, I'm starting to think the simpler the better!  I was hoping they'd do 1 night in Brasov, then 2 consecutive. As you mentioned, it may depend on what is available when. 

 

Just read through some of the roll call...your description of the one evening where you had high wind and waves went right through me like a knife. I think the events of March 23 on the Sky will have some permanent lasting effects on us. It'll be interesting to see what happens the next time we cruise (north atlantic) in the fall and how we react to any adverse sailing conditions. Could determine the future of cruising for us I suppose. Saw a movie recently that had footage of a hurricane in FL - did not have a good reaction to that either. It just takes me right back to the bomb cyclone we experienced in Hustadvika. 

Edited by gretschwhtfalcon

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6 hours ago, gretschwhtfalcon said:

Jeff..still a bit confused. So you're saying you could leave luggage in your room at Bucharest while you were overnighting in Brasov? And then...what...returned to the same room in Bucharest for the 3rd evening? I'm sure it worked out fine, but not crazy about having to split up luggage and have just an overnight bag for the one night in Brasov. Just sounds a bit much. As we get older, I'm starting to think the simpler the better!  I was hoping they'd do 1 night in Brasov, then 2 consecutive. As you mentioned, it may depend on what is available when.  

 

They gave us the option to leave whatever we didn’t want to take, but you could bring everything if you wanted. You check out of the hotel in Bucharest after the first night and they put your bag in storage (if you want). You then have your night in Braşov and then come back to the same hotel in Bucharest and then check in again for your two additional nights. Mind you, check in consisted of them handing you an envelope with your room keys. For us it was nicely done, and once we walked into our new room in Bucharest, the bags we left behind were waiting for us in the room.

 

Regarding the waves, it was extreme for a river cruise (been on five now and have never felt anything like it) but nothing compared to what you experienced! We felt it more since we were in the lower level rooms. Regardless, it was an unusual weather event, and I doubt that this sort of thing is very common. We never felt unsafe, mind you.

 

Jeff

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Posted (edited)

Hi again Jeff...I appreciate you taking all this time to explain, but also know you enjoy doing so 🙂  Now it seems, though, like you're referring to 4 nights total. I looked again at the extension and it says 3 nights. I'll have to look into this further. Still not crazy about the Bucharest hotel 'holding luggage' during the day/night in Brasov. On our river trip - when arriving in Budapest at the end of the journey -  the hotel indicated the luggage would be securely locked up while we were out for the day and it turned out everything was simply in what really appeared to be an unguarded room. People weren't even given tags, etc. so anybody off the street could have probably gotten any pieces of luggage they wanted.  Not that it was likely to happen but were still surprised at the lack of security regarding peoples' suitcases. Makes no sense to me why they can't do this extension by either 1) doing the single night in Brasov first then the two nights in Bucharest or 2) do the two nights in Bucharest first, then the day/night in Brasov, then transfer back over to Bucharest airport at the end. Splitting it up just seems a bit cumbersome. I don't care for it and yet doing the Transylvania part really seems like something one shouldn't pass up. Have to chat with the agents a bit on this and see what they tell me. It's not that I mind hotel hopping - quite the opposite - since we love car trips and moving from place to place. But, I do not care for (and try to avoid whenever possible) back-tracking. I plan enough time at one place to see what we want and then move on to the next place. The way you describe this extension really seems like back-tracking rather than finishing up the first stop completely then doing the second.

 

Yes, I'm sure the waves and wind were not what the Sky experienced but still, your mentioning an 'unusual weather event' is a bit scary also since in the wake of climate change and global warming (I'm a firm believer) it seems many different 'unusual' events are happening more and more worldwide - tornados springing up in places that never had them before, increasingly violent hurricanes, and so forth. There were two of these "bomb cyclones" here in the US shortly after we got home from Norway. A bit unnerving since you never know when the next one of these "superstorms" will develop in regions that perhaps previously never experienced anything of the sort. 

 

Thanks so much again. This trip is certainly a strong possibility to use our Sky travel vouchers. See how things go, first of all, with our fall cruise in the North Atlantic. It'll be a bit of an experiment to see how we deal with any sort of bad weather. 3/23 was certainly one of those life changing events that may well have some lasting effects, especially when it comes to future cruising. Saw a movie the other day that had footage of a hurricane in FL. Seeing those big waves and hearing all the wind was most unsettling and left me just a bit shaky. Hopefully more of a short rather than longterm aftereffect of the Norway incident. Time will tell I suppose. 

Edited by gretschwhtfalcon

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Just a couple more notes 🙂

 

The first night in Bucharest is actually part of the cruise, so the night in Brasov is actually the first night of the extension.

 

We were staying in Bucharest at the JW Marriott Grand Hotel (VERY nice!), and they stored our luggage in a locked room near the check in area.

 

Again - you have the option to take all of your items with you.

 

If you decide to do this itinerary - PLEASE don't miss Transylvania! It was a very striking part of Europe, and not to be missed.

 

Agree re: Climate Change, and it's getting to be a tad scary regarding weather patterns, etc. I've noticed that air turbulence is happening more frequently as well. Scary stuff!

 

Jeff

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for clarifying...thought the extension was only 3 nights. 

 

I'm being too grumpy about all this!! 🙂  Will definitely do the extension...absolutely!  If we could manage being a 'refugee' for a few nights in Norway with hardly anything other than what we we had with us on Saturday morning the 23rd (although they took us shopping at a mall the next day to buy things), I believe that hotel hop between Bucharest and Brasov should be easy enough!

 

Change of subject...Have you ever done any of the China trips with Viking? That is one of the other options I'm considering. I read good (actually lots of good) but also some things that put me off a bit from going over there. Always wanted to though. 

Edited by gretschwhtfalcon

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Well...I should have looked at your signature!!! Saw you have the Emerald booked for next year. 

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If you really want to have the extension as you describe, you would have to switch to AMA.  Their 2020 "Gems of Southeast Europe" itinerary from Budapest to Giurgiu includes an optional extension of 2 nights in Brasov followed by 2 nights in Bucharest.

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Thanks Jazzbeau...good suggestion, except that we're aiming towards using vouchers from the 3/14 Sky sailing, and so are looking at Viking trips only. Appreciate the idea though. 

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