On the Danube: Locks and a Viking Breakfast

Lock door closing behind us

Waking up in a Lock

The program director’s voice crackled through the loud speakers early the next morning. Our ship had quietly left Budapest last night, and we were traveling through our first and largest lock. Kane told us that if we wanted to observe how the lock process worked, to hurry outside and watch from the decks. We quickly climbed the stairs to the top deck, just in time to see the lock’s gate shut behind us, enclosing the Gefjon in the chamber. Then the chamber began to fill with water.  When the water level reached the top of the walls, (as you can see, a significant increase in elevation) the opposite gate opened and our ship motored out of the lock chamber to continue its journey up the Danube River.

Viking Gefjon enclosed in the lock chamber

Locks are used for raising and lowering vessels along the river to accommodate varying water levels. They make it possible for our ship to traverse through the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers, on our journey from Budapest all the way to Amsterdam.  This is the first of 67 locks we will pass through on our journey.  The Gefjon will be raised 1000 feet to the highest level in Austria and then lowered along the Rhine 1200 feet as we head to Amsterdam.

Moving out of the lock at the new water level

Most of the locks are traversed at night, while we are asleep. Many are very small, with only inches of clearance on each side of the ship. Even with skilled navigation though, it is sometimes hard to avoid being jostled awake at nights during these transitions.

Breakfast on the Viking Gefjon

Time For Breakfast!

After this early morning diversion, it was time to head downstairs to the dining room for breakfast. The Gefjon offers three types of “all you can eat” options. The buffet includes assorted fresh fruit, oatmeal and muesli along with their toppings, smoked salmon also with topping choices, baked goods and kippers. For heartier breakfasts, there are casseroles, sausages and other meat choices. You can also head to the omelet station to choose cheeses, ham, bacon, and vegetables to be cooked into your omelet. You can also order as much as you wish off a menu for items such as pancakes, and bacon and egg platters. Hot drinks and fruit juices are also available. There are enough choices to satisfy every eating preference; vegan, cholesterol conscious, heavy full breakfast eaters as well as my “I want to try everything” tendencies.

Lots of meat choices for breakfast on the Viking Gefjon
A variety of baked good s for breakfast on the Viking Gefjon
Yogurts, oatmeal, muesli offered for breakfast on the Viking Gefjon
Sausages and meats offered for breakfast on the Viking Gefjon
Smoked Salmon and toppings for breakfast on the Viking Gefjon

We leave the country of Hungary and head up the Danube to Austria, towards the next port of call of Vienna. But It’s a long journey and we won’t arrive until late in the day, so we will spend most of this day cruising along the Danube River, enjoying the scenery.

Lounging along the Danube

Next up: Vienna, Austria!!

If you haven’t started at the beginning of this Viking River Cruise, click here to start the journey!!

See the Biltmore At Christmastime!


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  1. So pretty and educational. Good job. Bob

    1. Dr. Bob, Thank you!! I think locks are fascinating and they made the trip through 3 rivers and 4 countries possible!!Thank you again for reading my blog!

  2. Thank you so much for river cruise adventure blog! Your pictures and accompanying text are very informative. We are doing this same cruise in 2022, although in the reverse direction starting in Amsterdam on the sister-ship “Ve”.

    1. Bob, thank you so much for reading my blog! You are absolutely going to love this cruise and Viking as well, if you have never cruised with them before. Please feel free to ask me any questions about it. Blogging about this helps us to relive the experience!!

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