After 3 years (sigh) I finally finished writing up the Viking River Cruise we took in 2012, from Amsterdam to Budapest. I enjoyed it thoroughly, but I have some comments on the experience that I’d like to share.
Walking: Don’t do one of these cruises unless you can handle walking several miles a day over unpredictably rough ground, or if you have trouble walking distances in heat. Some cities are well paved, some have cobblestones, and some places aren’t paved at all. I wore a pedometer, and my records show I walked 3-4 miles most days, a few times more than 4. One day in Amsterdam I walked almost 8 miles. If this kind of walking daunts you, you should not take the walking tours – they’re optional, but if you don’t take them, you basically just sit on the boat. If you do take the walking tours, don’t count on having a lot of free time to explore on your own. On several occasions we had time to explore a place only because the boat was stuck in line at a lock and was late picking us up.
Weather: Be prepared for hot, muggy weather. The farther into the European continent you get, the hotter it gets in summer; the rivers we were on carry enough water to make the weather very humid but not enough to make it cool. The interior cities can get into the 90s. Of course, it could also be cool and rainy. You never know.