I'm on my return flight from an absolutely perfect eight-day cruise on the Rhine on the Viking Ingvi, and I couldn't wait to write a review. I cannot get over how perfect everything was. The Viking agent took care of my flight, the cruise itself, hotel, airport transfers both ways--and everything turned out as it was supposed to.
Each port was a new experience and I learned something new in each one (the Black Forest is only called as such because of the extreme darkness from the thick trees, and Petit France in Strasbourg was named as such not from a romantic notion but because it was a hospital area and many were treated there in the 1600s for the "French disease"--guess what that is--). Highlights included Marksburg Castle, in which we were given a fine education about medieval times; Rudesheim, in which we had an optional tour of the music box museum--which I took, and what a fabulous place! (link: More
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187345-d546947-Reviews-Siegfried_s_Mechanisches_Musikkabinett-Ruedesheim_am_Rhein_Hesse.html), and going up in a windmill at Kinderdijk (watch your head). Also, I loved buying 4711 Cologne in Cologne!
In the meantime, there were a few good enjoyable on-board activities--I liked the Dutch Customs one before we hit our final destination in Amsterdam--but it was even more pleasant to drift by castles, towns, interesting industry, cows, swans--sigh. I saw a town called Spay, which I had to photograph, because I'm involved in spay/neuter efforts. I enjoyed these sights everywhere--in my cabin (I had a French balcony with a window that slid open and a rail were I could hang up clothing I rinsed in the sink--I did lose a pair of Spanx, so be forewarned. No doubt a salmon is wearing them); on the sundeck, or in the very comfortable Aquavit Terrace, where I brought breakfast.
I haven't mentioned the boat itself! We were lucky to be on the newest one, the Ingvi. Clean as a whistle, with a staff that bent over backward to help and actually seemed to like the guests! A few of them were Ana and Ursula at the front desk, a lovely lady whose name I forget but who's from Portugal--she booked Amsterdam reservations for me at the Anne Frank House and the Rijks Museum; the head of housekeeping, who managed to get espresso stains out of a brand-new white blouse I'd bought in Strasbourg (for a price, of course, but hey; Andreaa, my room attendant, who not only kept the room in order but also left me a bookmark when she saw books on the desk I was provided--little touches; Boris, the energetic and entertaining program director; and Jefferson, our server, who was a hoot. I also made friends with people at my table--I was traveling alone, but met great people. The passengers were not what I was used to on a cruise, i.e., no screeching, running, noisy children and no partying idiots who smoked on the private balconies and kept you up all night.
Oh--the food! My heavens. The breakfast buffet had everything you could imagine (lox, ready-made omelettes), and they made their own jam and very delicious yogurt onboard. They also had an herb garden on the sundeck). They had special nights, of course--the only criticism I had--if you can call it that--is that I don't eat meat or poultry and wound up eating mainly sauerkraut on German Night, but that was the only problem.
And I use a CPAP machine. I happened to mention it, and there was a huge bottle of distilled water left in the cabin.
I was ready to book my next Viking cruise the minute my sandaled feet hit the deck, and the feeling remained throughout the cruise. Less
Lovely little room, a bit tight, but good for its purposes. Comfy bed and very clean. The shower mechanisms were a bit complicated until I figured it out, and then it seemed the only way to go--one faucet is for water and the other for heat. The floors, including the bathroom, are wood--felt good on feet and easy to keep clean. Only thing I didn't like--and it was minor, sort of--was that the toilet paper dispenser was built into the wall like a tissue dispenser, and I kept losing the pulling end. Luckily, there was another roll in the room!