Great cruise but a valuable day in Vienna lost to shoddy planning
David Youles | June 1, 2023 | Saga River Cruises | Amadeus Provence
The hotel in Vienna proved to be just right for us being quiet and well placed for the botanic gardens and the Belvedere Palace.
Our reps in Vienna lacked a real grip on basic organisational skills and the simple things like giving us their contact phone numbers and detailed, clear briefing notes could easily be rectified in future. We avoided most of the excursions but were forced to follow our luggage around the Vienna Woods on the final day before embarking on the Spirit of Danube. With pouring rain and temperatures hovering around Baltic levels this felt, in a fellow passenger’s words like a “punishment “ On arrival at Baden everyone was told to leave the coaches and walk through a series of dull streets only to arrive at a very average town centre and were given free time to investigate more washed out streets. As we returned we then drove off through beautiful countryside to a free coach park that had pay as you go toilets and a gift shop for the attached monastery which consisted of a quadrangle and chapel. By about 1.30 we were given a cup of coffee and a piece of cake. The meagre rations were consumed while we waited and waited to get on the bus. This was the only food we were given between breakfast and embarkation on the vessel at about 17.00. If you rely on meal breaks to take medication bear this in mind.
Any goodwill amongst the passengers then dissolved on being told that we should expect delays getting into Vienna as the next day was a religious holiday and traffic was going to be heavy. I would expect our rep to have planned for this and not left us nursing the paltry piece of cake and coffee for 2 hours. To quote another traveller “what was plan B ”
In future I would avoid the city break aspect of this holiday and make my own arrangements. In balance though the musical night out was a real treat and I would highly recommend it.
The cruise was just perfect, the boat being new, sparkled and the crew made for exemplary hospitality. We avoided the excursions during the cruise making our own way through each of the places that we docked with ease with the exception of the final day in Budapest which was a big improvement on the final day in Vienna.
If Saga had offered options on the final day in Vienna such as a taxi to the boat with a free day in the city or a good lunch in Vienna and not insisted on us following our luggage around the wet, foggy and foodless countryside this review would have had a very different story to tell. I hope that Saga take this feedback as an opportunity to learn and rectify things for the September cruise
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