We sailed on Viking Freya for the Heart of Germany Christmas Market cruise with the two day Cologne extension the week prior to Christmas. This was our fifth Viking River cruise but first on a Longship. If you have a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit, enjoy exploring medieval towns and castles and the comfort of a beautiful well-run ship supplemented by delicious food and a great crew, then this trip is for you. Our journey to Nuremberg via Amsterdam and return from Frankfurt with two day extension in Cologne booked through Viking went without a hitch.
The crew led by Captain Rosen Nedkov, Program Director Mieke Bakker and hotel manager Roy Schumacher, were friendly and helpful throughout the trip. Our cabin attendant Elena was efficient and kept our cabin spotless and stocked daily. Chef George Pereira provided some excellent culinary delights throughout the day and our dining room waiters Rado and Petar were efficient and never bothered by the requests made by our table. We enjoyed a lighter dinner one evening in the Aquavit Terrace and found it provided a nice option after a long day that had included a full lunch while touring.
We had a balcony cabin and never rafted or “double docked” throughout the journey. You could tell a lot of attention to detail was paid when designing these cabins. We had plenty of storage space, a large safe, and the bathroom while small had great lighting and plenty of space at sink level as well as below for toiletry items. From Nuremburg to Frankfurt we went through 38 locks and being on the balcony provided a different perspective during the journey as well as a nice place to sit and watch the scenery on a sunny day when temps were not too cold.
All excursions were included on this trip (no optional tours offered) and all were on large, clean buses with restrooms. Regular tours as well as tours for those who enjoyed a more leisurely pace were offered. All of the local guides we were paired up with were excellent, and our shipmates were very cooperative in being on the bus at the appointed time to continue to our next destination.
Onboard entertainment included several local musicians, a very entertaining glass blowing demonstration by a local artist, and various talks on local topics throughout the cruise.
We booked the post-cruise extension to Cologne through Viking and enjoyed it immensely. Markus, our guide for Cologne met us on the ship in Frankfurt, rode with us on the two hour journey to Cologne, gave us a great walking tour upon arrival in Cologne and was available for several hours in the morning and afternoon at the hotel which was the Marriott Cologne. The hotel is in a great location for see the city of Cologne and the seven Christmas markets the city offered.