We chose a river cruise because we have been on at least 20 ocean cruises and we wanted something different. For the most part we really had a nice time, notice I am not saying "GREAT" time.
The ship was beautiful, our cabin was clean and comfortable and the crew was wonderful. We enjoyed the smaller passenger count, we had 181 and only having two decks to really have to navigate was quite nice. On the flip side....we were the youngest passengers by 15-20 years and many of these people are quite slow. We had many walking tours, even though we were divided up in 4 groups, many of the "older" passengers could not keep up, hence it slowed the rest of us down. I really think they need to put the passengers in groups by giving them a walking test of some sort. The average age is 70-80, yes they are all well traveled people BUT they are in denial of their limitations. I wish Viking would market to younger people that are more active. We could have used some bikes on the boat to just take out at our leisure, as I know other river cruise lines do this. We missed not having a fitness center even though we walked everyday.
Everyday was so structured, you get up, eat breakfast, go to the buses, do the tour, come back and eat lunch and the afternoon may or may not be at your leisure. The best day was when we were actually cruising during the day to see the castles along the Rhine, it was so much more leisurely and we didn't feel rushed in the morning. The headset idea for hearing the guide is wonderful (if they work). That way if you lagged behind to take pictures, you could still hear what they were saying.
We had a wonderful cruise director, Tom, he kept us in stitches and was very organized. We had an excellent cabin steward, she kept our room spotless and with plenty of clean towels. The food on the cruise got better with each day, not sure why they did it that way but the dining room was understaffed. Many nights our ordered was taken by the maitre d, one night we didn't even get our meal until 9:00 and we entered the dining room at 7:00. A little short staffed in the dining room. No assigned tables so everyone herds into the dining room at the appointed time. The one nice thing is the portion sizes are quite a bit smaller than a normal cruise ship, the wine was free flowing but god forbid you want a beer at dinnertime...good luck. The buffet lunch upstairs is very nice but sitting at tiny tables with 4 people got to be just impossible. We would go on another, but not for another 20 years or so.