Just came back from our first river cruise. We had done many ocean cruise but this was a first for us and it was wonderful. We started our Grand European Tour in Amsterdam. As soon as we got to the ship we felt that we did not have a care in the world, the program Director, Edna, was in charge and would solve any problem. Our cabin was on the first floor, small window, but just beautiful. Of course the fact that the ship is new helps, but a lot of attention to details was already apparent : heated ceramic floor in the bathroom, lovely toiletries (L' Occitane), bottled water etc. I do not travel light and there was just enough space for my stuff.
We visited the ship and saw on the second floor the dining room, guest relation desk, concierge desk. On the third floor : lounge, terrace, library and snack area ( cookies, coffee and tea). The top deck was where you found the captain, terrace, herb garden, putting green and shuffleboard. It was very small compared to ocean liners More
but the show was the scenery on both sides of the ship !!
The food was excellent, the best I have ever had on a cruise ship, and it also reflected the region we visited. There was good wine and beer with lunch and dinner, and an extended choice of dishes every meal. For lunch, there was also a buffet in the lounge area, same for breakfast. One evening we had a buffet in the galley highlighting every Austrian specialty you can think of.
On ocean cruiseships, lunch tends to be repetitious, mainly buffet but on the Idi it was different and good everyday.
The staff is limited (55 for 180 passengers) but the service was friendly and excellent at all time. Everybody was treated the same , no discrimination in regard to the amount spent for your cabin.... Everything was included, no nickel and diming..... always treated like royalty.
There were a few minimal problems with the level of water on the rivers but all the problems were resolved to the best of their hability and without any stress for the clients, always with a smile. We had to wait awhile near Regensburg for the ship, well, we were treated to beer and wine at the local biergarten.
The people on the ship were Americans and Canadians and everyone was pleasant and happy and everybody loved the staff and the cruise itinerary.
The only things I missed from the Ocean Liners were the pool after a day out and the show after dinner. The entertainment was limited, we had a few entertainers at 3 ports but the other evenings it was quiet : some conferences, a not so good piano-bar, room for improvement there.
The excursions were mostly included and the quality of the guides were very good. It was also very different each day and not monotonous. Walking tours, bus tours, concerts, visit of castles, churches etc. Tony, the concierge, was always available to arrange special activities if you wanted something different and excellent at his job.
I would not hesitate to recommend Viking, it is a wonderful company but you have to be aware that there are some risks that there might be changes on river cruises such as too much or not enough water, problems with locks etc but it is worth the chance. we will go again ! Less