My wife and I have cruise many times on ocean cruises but this is our first time on a river cruise. We chose Viking on the recommendation of our travel agent, and we definitely were not disappointed. We were on the VAR going from Basel, Switzerland down the Rhine to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, The itinerary is outstanding with some of the most spectacular scenery we have seen in our travels. With the exception of Amsterdam, we found the people at each port to be friendly and helpful. All of the guides (including Amsterdam) were excellent. We took and each of the included excursions and enjoyed them all. Viking's scheduling gives you plenty of free time in each port to explore on your own.
The VAR is one of the new Longships and it is a wonder. Our cabin (311) was a veranda cabin on the upper deck. The cabin is somewhat small but very well designed, maximizing the available space. There is plenty of storage, and even our very large suitcases fit under the bed. The bathroom is also small, with a single sink and shower. Again, the space was optimized, especially the shower. With 2 glass doors, egress is easy, and even my large girth had no trouble taking a comfortable shower. The veranda is smaller than those on ocean ships, but it was plenty large enough for the 2 of us to sit with a glass of wine and watch the amazing scenery go by.
While the ship does not have all of the "happenings" of an ocean cruiser, it fit our life style perfectly. The lounge is large and very comfortable. The Sun deck (top deck) is comfortable and provides a 360 degree view. The dining room is also perfect for this type of cruising, with open seating at every meal. We enjoyed eating with different people at the meals, always having the option to repeat with those we found particularly interesting. The food in both the dining room and the "lighter fare" in the Aquavit Terrace was well prepared, well presented, and delicious. The menu was varied and imaginative. While the choices were limited (1 white and 1 red), the house wines included with the cruise fare served at meals were very good, and at several meals they were the most expensive wines in the cellar.
And now for the best part of the trip - the crew. Without fail, each member of the crew was dedicated to making the trip better. The Program Director (Cruise Director Rene) was very hard working and made sure that he was involved started to finish. The lounge staff (Lazlo and his crew) were wonderful, making sure that everyone's needs were met.
Bottom line - we are making plans for a cruise with Viking next year!