“Disappointing cruise on Helvetia”
Cruise review of Viking Helvetia

nanniekitty47 Viking Helvetia 2 Disappointing cruise on Helvetia
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We sailed from Amsterdam at the end of March on the Helvetia - our first river cruise although we have been on various ocean cruises. Our cabin was very comfortable with a window just above the water level, which was fine for us. Our cabin was serviced twice daily by a lovely lady, Julia. On this particular ship there are some cabins with small French balconies, which are not big enough to sit on. Also, these more expensive cabins were the same size as ours - the only difference being that they were higher up on the ship - we were one floor down from the dining room and 2 floors down from the bar/lounge. We travelled in a party of 8, celebrating 2 ruby weddings. One of our party was a vegetarian and she was not catered for sufficiently, in spite of notifying the Viking Office previously. Otherwise, the European meals were of mixed standard, some being better than others. If you were a meat eater there was plenty of choice, with salmon, chicken and sirloin steak always available as alternatives to the main menu. I am primarily a fish eater - one night I had Butterfish, which was my best meal of the week. This is only our view, I guess others will find the food O.K. I didn't have cooked breakfast, but others in our party said these breakfasts were virtually cold, so this needs to be redressed. Dining service was poor; some evenings we didn't get away from the dining room until well after 9pm, having sat down at 7pm or earlier. The dining staff worked very hard and were very pleasant but seemed to be stressed an understaffed; also the Maitre d seemed to be at odds with his staff - this was the first week of cruising for the Helvetia so we did try to make allowances for this, but again this needs to be redressed for future cruisers. We went on some of the organised trips included in the price; these were adequate. The evening entertainment was variable, including a glass blowing demonstration, a French lady singer, a classical music event (enjoyable for me but not to the taste to some of our party) and a resident pianist, the latter being quite quite good and my personal favourite. To sum up, we thought this particular cruise wasn't very well managed, in particular the evening dining, vegetarian meal choices were poor and also we felt this river cruise was not as good value for money as our ocean cruises (P& O, Ocean Village and Cunard). Again, this is only our personal view.
Overall Ratings
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  • Value for Money

Cabin review: Deluxe Stateroom with Window

Cabin D106 comfortable with no engine noise and no vibration (unlike some of the more expensive cabins towards the rear of the ship). Water sounds could be heard as our cabin was just above the water line but this didn't bother us. There was enough closet space. Bathroom was small as on all cruise ships but same size as in other more expensive cabins and shower small but worked well. Could have done with a grab rail in shower perhaps. No tea/coffee making facility in cabins but 24 hour tea/coffee/hot chocolate etc. available from drinks machine two floors up from our cabin. Travel kettles can be used in cabins with suitable adaptor.
Published 04/22/13
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