Viking’s Danube Waltz (3): Vienna

Viking’s Danube Waltz (3): Vienna

Vienna, Austria

con­tin­ued from part 2….

June 3: 

Schönbrunn Palace
Schön­brunn Palace

Viking’s cui­sine is gen­er­al­ly first-rate, high­ly var­ied, and the break­fasts lack noth­ing we could think of except the odd blintz. For exam­ple, there were three dif­fer­ent styles of yogurt, eggs any way you want them includ­ing cus­tom-made omelets, smoked salmon, fish, cheese, cold cuts, cham­pagne by the glass, a dozen or more vari­eties of bread and rolls, pas­try galore, all the usu­al things you find under hot plates, and every­thing of uni­form high qual­i­ty. For items you order from the table, like Eggs Bene­dict or pan­cakes, serv­ings are small, but this is a plus for two rea­sons: it gives you more room to try dif­fer­ent things, and if you want more of any­thing, a wait­er will hap­pi­ly bring you a sec­ond serving.

3d-ViennaGoogle Vien­na and you’ll find more than could pos­si­bly be doc­u­ment­ed here, so this report is con­fined to how Viking’s Danube Waltz han­dles a clas­sic city in one day, which takes some doing. If you want real­ly to immerse your­self in Vien­na, this isn’t the way. But if you’ve nev­er been there before, you will come away know­ing much about what to see next time.

Walking tour

Dock­ing in the morn­ing, you’re off on a half day com­bined coach and walk­ing tour. This is includ­ed in the basic pack­age. You vis­it the Ringstrasse, with its array of grand res­i­dences., It cir­cles the medieval Inner Stadt or Inner City. On the card are Hof­burg Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathe­dral and the State Opera House. There’s time for a ride in a horse-drawn fiak­er, but at 95 degrees on leather seats it didn’t appeal to many today.

Lunch was back on the ship, and was not rushed. At 2pm, we opt­ed for an add-on ($55 each) guid­ed tour of Maria Theresa’s baroque Schön­brunn Palace, an opu­lent struc­ture with lav­ish rooms and superb for­mal gar­dens. The guides spoke per­fect Eng­lish and were uni­form­ly excel­lent, which is to Viking’s cred­it: in June Vien­na is mobbed, with scores of tour groups in mul­ti­ple lan­guages. A minor quib­ble is that the walk­ing tours could be lim­it­ed to 15 or 20 instead of 30 or 35; although the audio ear­pieces are excel­lent, you do tend to get a herd complex.


Quick thinking crew

One of the more expen­sive but option­al extras was an evening con­cert. It was in “one of the city’s his­toric venues,” at €64 ($71). It also demon­strat­ed how fast Viking’s orga­niz­ers are on their feet. Half way to the des­ti­na­tion, they learned that for unknown rea­sons there would not be room for us. The coach­es deft­ly changed direc­tion with hard­ly any­body notic­ing. We end­ed up at a bril­liant con­cert with a 30-piece orches­tra, singers and dancers. We could sit any­where, includ­ing over­head box­es. It was a grand night of Mozart and Strauss, per­fect­ly per­formed. We only learned of this change of plans acci­den­tal­ly, giv­ing Viking high marks for the quick correction.

The ship depart­ed late from Vien­na. It was still cruis­ing in the morn­ing, for the most impres­sive ship­board view­ing on the itinerary.

Next: Durn­stein and Melke, Austria

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