Beautiful cruise: Viking Tor Cruise Review by Klwag
Overall Member Rating
Destination: Europe - River Cruise
We are not new travelers to Europe, but are new to river cruising. This was a trip we looked forward to for more than a year. My husband and I and another couple arrived on a flight into Zurich and were met by a pleasant Viking rep, then transferred to Lucerne for our ore cruise extension. Rooms were not yet ready so the hotel stored our luggage and we went off on the planned walking tour. It was very informative and ended in old town. We found an outdoor cafe for lunch, walked a bit, then returned to the hotel hoping the rooms would be ready. They were not. After an all night flight by 3 pm people hit the proverbial wall, and thankfully the Viking rep intervened, but we were not pleased with the hotel's attitude. If you plan a pre cruise (or post cruise) extension, do yourselves a favor and upgrade your rooms. We didn't think of this until we were More on the cruise, but i contacted our travel agent and she upgraded our rooms for the Amsterdam post cruise extension, which made us much happier. Otherwise, the hotel was not at all special.
Viking is highly organized so embarkation is effortless. You walk on the ship, identify yourself, receive your key cards and are whisked off to your cabins. We stayed in a veranda suite (304) and it was wonderful. Compared to big cruise ships everything is smaller on a river cruise ship, but the suites are lovely, well appointed (l'Occitane bath products), fresh flowers, fruit and champagne, and extremely attentive service. Verandas are small but a lovely place to perch and admire the scenery.
We were among the younger members of the passengers at 48, but fellow travelers were interesting, friendly, and as happy to be on board as we were. Staff is very eager to please and bend over backwards to get to know you and your favorite beverage, etc... Not one ever seemed to be in a bad mood. They made the trip even more fun with their suggestions and stories.
Mornings begin with a fantastic breakfast buffet - if you leave hungry it's not their fault. Morning excursions are highly organized and interesting. Guides were all, without exception, fun, interesting, and humorous. Comfy walking shoes are a must - and walking is a must if for no other reason than to burn off the calories you're bound to consume. We didn't opt for the extra excursions because we four enjoyed exploring the towns on our own each afternoon. Returning to the ship, we freshened up, joined new friends in the lounge for cocktails, listened to the talk about the next day, and then headed to the dining room for one great dinner after the other. Each cruise features a themed night - on our Rhine Getaway it was called 'Taste of Germany,' which included not only a wonderful meal but also a chance to tour the kitchen and meet the crew who works so hard to create their tasty dishes. Folksy entertainment was a bit kitschy but we loved it. Our friends were celebrating their wedding anniversary and a beautiful cake was brought to them. Several birthdays were also celebrated on board - great fun.
We did purchase the beverage package, even though wine and soft drinks are free at meal times. If you prefer specific brands or wines it truly is worth it.
Viking goes to great effort to bring on board local entertainment and on our cruise, even a glass blower who amazed us with his skill. The cruise staff offer fun games in the lounge at night, too - you'd be amazed how much fun a game of scattergories can get - and how hysterical.
Another note on the attentiveness of staff: the day we cruised through the area with the castles was a bit chilly, so out came blankets for anyone needing or wanting one, then hot chocolate with incredible whipped cream. The bar is open all day long as well as two coffee stations with pastries on the morning and cookies in the afternoon. I refuse to admit to the amount of weight I managed to put on, but hope to have it off soon!
Debarkation is also extremely efficient. Staff who brought your drinks may well be hauling your suitcases - everyone pitches in. Guests settle their bills the night before debarkation which was easy, then we stepped off the ship and were whisked away to our post cruise extension.
We are fans of sea cruising, but now also fans of river cruising. Unpacking just one time (not counting the extensions) is a wonderful way to see Europe, and river scenery is truly spectacular. Looking forward to sailing with Viking again. Less
Cabin review: Veranda suite304
Veranda suites are wonderful - we loved ours. The larger side and extra amenities were, to us, worth it. We typically choose suites when cruising and were very happy with this one. Loved being just steps from the lounge and stairway to the dining room and exits off the ship, too.