Background: Experienced cruisers (40+, many lines), married, Mid 60's. First time River Cruise
General: As a first river cruise, I will try to report things unique to river cruises rather than compare to other lines or cruises. By far the best part of this cruise is the ports and scenery which has little to with Viking, I strongly recommend the 14 day Grand European Cruise over a 7 day itinerary. I is a better deal and you really need a few days to get into the culture/history and river experience.
Tours: These are all included on Viking and are excellent. Go to the onboard discussions each afternoon on the next stop. The personal headset equipment included are excellent, and are used on all tours.. The tours are probably the highlight of the trip and help explain the cost. Tourist crowds at all stops must be overwhelming during peak summer times.
Ship: It was brand new and very nice. Rivers really limit the ship size and space, but they make the most of it
Dress: Ignore anything they print or you read. Everyone is down dressed the whole time, including the captains party and dinner. Pack accordingly. Ladies, thank you for dressing up a little.
Food: Kitchens have to be small on these river boats which limits preparations. The food budget is good so the products are good, but not exceptional. Chef/cook was adequate, but do not expect the preparations you find on high end lines. Lunch gets a little boring after a while. The clientele age group means there are many diabetics on board, but the make no effort to accommodate this with sugar free or no sugar added desserts to speak of, and when they claims they have one it is high in fruit fructose. Put your request in when you register.
BEVERAGES: The wine that comes with lunch and dinner is some home brew of Viking. The red was drinkable. They will open your bottle at no cost at meals, so if you like wine, that is the way to go. The liquor package does not upgrade your wines much and you would have to drink all day to come out ahead cost wise with the package. The two beers available at meals is drinkable, but not anticipate a tasting experience. I would say the this area was the an overwhelming disappointment and not as advertised.
Staterooms: Very nicely done, but very small. Standard size room has no seating room at all. Balcony cabins of either type are about one oot wider which allows for one small chair next to the bed. Full balcony cabins gives you about 2 feet of width for 2 narrow chairs which would be nice in warm weather. No cabins are large enough you will want to spend time there unless you take one of the major suites in back, but you need to be Bill Gates or want people to think you are.
Entertainment: One or two nice evening shows brought on from shore. The facility for entertainment will not come close to holding all passengers and is very poor for entertainment purposes. Otherwise, there was a piano singer who was very average, but the entertainment is the itinerary.