We were looking for a great river cruise experience but it was a total disappointment. We had many ocean experience and because we saw the good reviews on Viking river cruise so decided to try the river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. What a big mistake!
First, the cruise ship had absolutely no facilities except one lounge and one dining room which are extremely small and the décor was very ordinary. The food was lousy. The menu was extremely small. There are only 3 options every night, a vegetarian, meat or fish entrée. I had fishes 4 times. The names of the fishes were different every time but it was the same fish. Two of them were sea bass, halibut. The other two had some exotic names. I know exactly what sea bass and halibut taste and look like but what was served was definitely what they claimed to be. How can they serve the same fish but told us different names!
We experience lot keepers strike after the first few days. Because of that, the cruise ships along the river were all back up and our cruise had to park in some remote terminal. We ended up spending 4 hours each day on the buses. The bus drivers didn't even know the way around to the remote terminal and had to stop along the way and ask for directions along the way. We were only given an hour or less free time at the cities we visited.
One thing we didn't know was by regulation, the cruise ship cannot discharge the waste to the river. I suspect because at the remote terminal, they were not able to discharge the waste, The lavatory and the shower were clot up most of the time because the drain was extremely slow due to all the waste built up. I was standing in a pool of water in the shower and it took me half an hour to wash my face because the water would not drain.
There was absolutely no program to speak of. The only program they had was a pianist every night. Occasionally the cruise ship would bring some one from the shore to play music or to dance except the dance floor was only 10' x 10' square. The dancer was dancing at the same spot which was so boring. The quality of entertainers were low quality.
You would think one can go on the deck to get a nice view of the river except they closed the deck most of the time. The employees had to lower all the rails and collapse the furniture so the ship can pass under the bridges. On top of that, there were about 69 lots along the entire river. Almost every couple of hour or so we passed through the lot. It took almost an hour to get through each one and all we could see were the concrete walls on both sides.
We toured their kitchen. I could not believe my eyes. The kitchen was only slightly bigger than my home kitchen. There are hardly any cooking equipment in there. When we asked the chef, the answer was they put the food in the oven or the microwave. The food was prepared in advance and heated up and garnished to appear good. No wonder the food had no taste. For the whole trip, most of the time we were eating sausages of different types. We were expecting some good food but very much disappointed.
Although we had lot keepers' strike but the management did nothing to resolve the problem. While we were still on the river, we heard that other cruise ships were able to booked the guests into hotels so that the guest could visit the cities instead of busing them every day for hours. Our program director kept telling us he was waiting for the corporate office to tell him what to do. The only compensation we got while we were on the river a free drink for one night. Who cares! Originally, we booked the extra excursion to concert at Vienna which cost around $70 each which we gladly pay. But because of the lot problem, the management decided to treat us to the concert for free. The problem was in place of the nice concert, they took us to a tiny little chamber music with a tiny stage and the seating were packed so close together that we were rubbing elbows with the ones next to us. Even though it was free but it was cheap. When we visited the Vienna, we saw the ancient dress up orchestra was only $18 Euro per person.
For the money we paid for the Viking cruise, we could have cruise with Crystals and had a good time but instead we had the worse cruise experience.