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1,144 Basel to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

We flew into Zurich, Switzerland for the first 2 nights on our own and had a driver transport us to Basel, Switzerland where the AmaStella was waiting. We were told you could check in early and leave luggage but actually check ... Read More
We flew into Zurich, Switzerland for the first 2 nights on our own and had a driver transport us to Basel, Switzerland where the AmaStella was waiting. We were told you could check in early and leave luggage but actually check wasn't until 3:00. We arrived at 1:00 and were greeted with by Jessie the Crew Manager and 2 guys taking our luggage and inviting us in. They had a lite lunch ready for us to eat while our rooms were still getting ready. We were on top level for rooms I believe the AB. We had a inside and outside balcony which made our room feel a lot bigger. The size was good and the bathroom was decent size for the room and everything was clean and spotless. Our daily service by Melina was impeccable. She was super nice and we loved her!!!! We loved the food and everyone was extremely nice at all times and willing to help if something was needed. The service in dining was always fantastic as well as all the food options. We especially loved Vlad who was our wine server every night and our bartender in the lounge after dinner. He always had a smile! In fact, everyone always had a smile! The excursions were good, could not complain, except on last day in Amsterdam our guide was always trying to be funny and it came across very caddy. We didn't care for his style at all, would have done better walk around on our own and take pictures, which is all my daughter wanted to do anyway. One night we had a trio of classical men and they were fantastic and another night Poppy field, a husband and wife combo singing the latest tunes and oldies to dance to, We have never done a cruise of any kind and I was a little worried. But it was fantastic and the best vacation we have every done. We are from the states so we loved the history and sights on all the excursions. It made it more special by being Christmas on the Rhine, so everything was decorated, even on the boat. Which made it festive and fun. I have to say the people on this boat really made this trip so good. Jessie was our crew manager and cannot say enough things about her. She was absolutely the best and felt like a family member when we had to leave her. Hands down would do again and have already told every one we know to do this cruise!!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I was a reluctant river cruiser, but timing was right so we booked the Christmas cruise to give it a try. I can't say enough good things about the ship or the experience. My first surprise was on boarding - I couldn't get over ... Read More
I was a reluctant river cruiser, but timing was right so we booked the Christmas cruise to give it a try. I can't say enough good things about the ship or the experience. My first surprise was on boarding - I couldn't get over the elegance of this ship. The public rooms are well designed and maintained. Check-in was a breeze, took about 5 minutes - enough time to begin to sip on the welcoming drink they provided while the process was completed. We had one of the "smaller" suites, and it too was elegant and more than adequate space for the amount of time spent in the room. The quality and variety of the meals was perfect - not a lot of options at dinner, but what was served was consistently very good to excellent. We also liked being able to show up whenever within dining hours and sit where we wanted. Entertainment was limited - naturally - but good nonetheless with our entertainment director/piano player. The private concert in Strasbourg Cathedral was special. The staff was amazing. Too many people to thank, but special mention to Peter the bartender, Juris who oversaw the restaurant with incredible attention to detail, and Milo who was on the restaurant staff and took good care of us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our third Viking River cruise(Danube followed by China in 2012) which we booked to travel the Rhine at Christmas Markets time.The ship,cabins,excursion buses,guides,all met our expectations when compared to our previous Viking ... Read More
This was our third Viking River cruise(Danube followed by China in 2012) which we booked to travel the Rhine at Christmas Markets time.The ship,cabins,excursion buses,guides,all met our expectations when compared to our previous Viking cruises but the food service was much below the level we had come to expect. The lunch and dinner menus lacked variety,the soups mostly cream based seldom arrived at our table HOT, several waiters were slow to take our orders or follow up during dinner service.The breakfast buffet was excellent. It seems that adding a Viking ocean cruise fleet and rapid expansion of the river fleet since our 2012 China cruise has not been matched by a system to hire,train and coach staff that could maintain the food service quality Viking was justly proud of. The towns and cities visited were first time stops for us and the Christmas preparations made were very extensive and colorful.We would certainly recommend a Christmas markets tour of Germany and France Vancouver Island cruiser Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We took the Paris to the Swiss Alps cruise in reverse from December 11-22, 2019 starting in Zurich. Viking has partnered with Marriott Hotels for accommodation pre- and post-cruise. The Hotel Renaissance is in the Technopark of low-rise ... Read More
We took the Paris to the Swiss Alps cruise in reverse from December 11-22, 2019 starting in Zurich. Viking has partnered with Marriott Hotels for accommodation pre- and post-cruise. The Hotel Renaissance is in the Technopark of low-rise buildings, but Tram #4 (blue) one block over runs to the old town. A day pass costs 8 Euro per person. Viking offered an orientation walk of the hotel area at 5:30 PM which is fine in summer but in December darkness comes early and lighting is poor. Some passengers purchased the day-long Highlights of the Swiss Alps optional excursion at $400, but it turned back due to heavy snow in the Alps. Instead of giving passengers a refund, Viking tried to offer an on-board ship credit. There is little to buy and how much can you drink? Just refund the money. Its basic public relations. After a bus ride to Basel and a convoluted walking tour around town pointedly trying to avoid the Christmas Market, we boarded Viking Alsvin at the St Johann Dock by walking down a long set of concrete stairs to the gangway. Note there is a lot of walking on this cruise so get yourself into condition before arriving. Alsvin is one of the newer additions to the Viking fleet all of which follow the same design template. That said, engine noise was louder than on the other six Viking river ships on which we have sailed and Alsvin would ‘shudder’ occasionally while underway. Our cabin 332 was filled with a king bed so we had to walk sideways around it. The bathroom was tiny but had all the necessities plus a heated floor. Twice the toilet wouldn’t flush but a maintenance guy cam promptly to fix it. Channel 9 on the TV is the bow cam for a view of where we were going should it be too to stand cold outside. Food service in the restaurant was okay but it took longer to get meals out of the galley and there were fewer serving staff on the floor than on previous Viking cruises. The first morning there was nobody at the omelette station and a slab of smoked salmon had not been sliced. Staff showed up later. Near the end of the cruise in Trier, they ran out of Coke and peanut butter and had to scramble to get some locally. Between Basel and Strasbourg, Viking Alsvin bumped into side walls of some locks and the jerky movement could be felt on board. No explanation from Captain Adam Buczkowski why this kept happening. Before Trier, the ship hit the wall of a lock with a loud ‘bang’ and enough force to jolt the ship and rattle glasses in the restaurant. Again, no explanation. I have never had this happen on any of my previous six Viking river cruises nor on any cruises with Avalon or Uniworld. Stops at Speyer and Mainz filled in sites I had wanted to see but while the Gutenberg Museum was closed on Monday, it was open to Viking passengers. Problem weas, their gift shop was not open. They could have made a tidy profit even after paying a salary and utilities but, so be it. Viewing the protected manuscripts is difficult in a crowd of people so go online to the Museum’s website where some exhibits are displayed. With the exception of transiting the Wachau Valley, there was very little commentary about the passing scenery on this cruise. Not even a separate TV channel with info. We cruised under an immense bridge then we drove on it to Luxembourg, but it was never identified by Viking staff. I found it is called the Hochmoselbrücke, literally the High Moselle Bridge, but it would be handy if Viking could identify local landmarks for passengers. Also, daily Port Talk briefings by Program Director Bojan Bozic lacked any details about walking from the ship to buses, for example, the multiple series of steps at Kehl for the Strasbourg tour and an alternative incline pathway. Finding our guides for excursions was often chaotic especially with other boats in port. Perhaps because this was the holiday season and some guides were not ‘regulars’ English language skills were challenging. When leaving Alsvin for excursions we had to pick up and return a guide number/letter card plus a little piece of paper stating our name, cabin and excursion so a manual tally could be made to determine if everyone was back on board. Why, for heaven’s sake, could we not tap our cabin card on exit and re-entry as is done on other ships? Technology works, Viking people. Also, Viking needs to acknowledge that on a cruise during the pre-Christmas season many passengers come to visit the little Christmas Markets along the Rhine and Moselle. Yet there was barely any Christmas music, classical or commercial, played on board. When I asked Reception why not, the woman behind the counter said, “it is not on our playlist”. I recommended the playlist be revised. The next day, I heard “Here Comes Santa Claus”. Once! Water was high in the Moselle and Viking’s large ship could not pass under some bridges even with its retractable wheelhouse fully lowered. Other smaller boats could make it. So, we double docked alongside Viking Eir and spent an extra day in Koblenz waiting for water levels to drop. A two-days-in-one combination bus tour of Cochem and Trier was set up. At 8:15 AM some Alsvin passengers boarded buses in Koblenz to Cohem and Trier completely bypassing Bernkastel located between these two towns. There was no commentary on the bus about the passing Moselle Valley. We arrived in Cochem for a flash tour of downtown and the reconstructed Reichsburg Castle. We were told, “you will have a little time in the square on your own.” No, we did not. Rush back on the bus for the hour plus ride to Trier. Certainly, no time to find a store selling the mustard which Bojan said was an authentic Cochem souvenir. Also lacking was a drive around Trier to see the Roman Amphitheatre and Roman Baths. We got off at the old town and marched directly to a restaurant near the Cathedral where we were scheduled to blow two hours at a three-course, sit-down lunch. I left, got a map and did my own tour. Come on. Most of us have sufficient reserves to get by on a snack of water and a granola bar when time is tight. And there is lots of food at the Christmas Market. We left at dusk and drove back to the ship in the dark. The next day we did sail up the Moselle to Bernkastel where we docked for a few hours before sailing to Trier for disembarkation. At 8:30 AM four buses took all Viking Alsvin passengers from Trier to Paris. This being the last cruise of the season, most crew left too and Alsvin would be taken to Cologne for off-season maintenance. While you can tip individuals for exceptional service, Viking Cruises reduces their wage costs by automatically billing 15 Euro per person per day in gratuities to be settled before disembarkation and divvyed up among crew doing the work for which they were hired. That’s about $200 per cabin per cruise. A nice chunk of change. This practice artificially lowers the advertised price of Viking cruises because other cruise lines take an honest approach and include basic onboard tips in their listed prices. Caveat Emptor. But before Paris there was a stop at the American Cemetery and Memorial at Haram and a walking excursion around old Luxembourg City then the long bus ride to our Paris hotel. On the bus, tour director Bojan finally decided to provide some not useful commentary by telling us about things off the motorway which we could not see such as Reims Cathedral (hidden by roadside berms and hi-voltage transmission towers), champagne vineyards (somewhere off in the distance, maybe), and Euro Disney (out of sight on the right) as we finally approached Paris. At 4:00 PM he got a call from the Marriott Opera Hotel asking where we were. After nine plus hours enroute, we finally arrived at 6:00 PM. The location of this hotel on Boulevard Haussmann is great within walking distance of many attractions. This Paris to the Swiss Alps Viking river cruise was not up to the quality of previous ones. I prefer river cruises to ocean cruises because distances are shorter, docks are close to sites and shore scenery is interesting. However, in 2017 we tried an ocean cruise from Barcelona to Rome on Viking Star with Captain Rune Lokling. The ship and amenities were excellent but along the way our cautious Captain Lokling decided he could not dock at Marseille, a natural harbor since medieval times, so no excursions. Instead he went further east to Toulon, home port of the French Navy Mediterranean fleet. We sailed in under sunny skies with calm water. I took photos. Then the white pilot boat departed, and we sailed out again. No excursions. Two hours later our captain finally announced bad weather prevented docking. No Way! So, we bobbed around at sea for a day with nothing to do. Next, the tender returning from St. Tropez hit the hull with enough force to break a window and toilets on board Viking Star did not flush for two hours one afternoon. I complained to Viking customer service in California. They denied any problems, but Viking Star now has a different captain. Maybe Viking Alsvin should too. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise due to the Switzerland extension before hand and the great reviews of Scenic. The extension was amazing. We eventually got on the Scenic Opal in Basal and began our cruise down the Rhine. The ship was perfect. Very ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the Switzerland extension before hand and the great reviews of Scenic. The extension was amazing. We eventually got on the Scenic Opal in Basal and began our cruise down the Rhine. The ship was perfect. Very clean, modern, and welcoming. The cruise director (Andreea) was waiting to welcome us aboard and was always available to answer any question or solve any problem. We were escorted to our cabin by Milanka (Mila) the ship masseuse and fitness coach. The Hotel manager (Georgi) was very friendly and always checking to see if we were happy. The Captain of the ship was very approachable and always happy to answer any questions. He allowed any passenger to visit his wheelhouse at any time to see how the ship was operated. Our butler (Ratko) made sure we were always happy and cared for. The young lady that did our housekeeping (Timea) was outstanding. Our room was always perfectly clean and inviting. We had the Royal Panoramic Suite. It was fit for royalty. The size of the suite was very nice and the wrap around windows and large balcony was perfect to viewing the sites as we made our way down river. We slept like babies on the large king size bed and the large walk in shower was perfect for us. All the meals were exceptional. The thing that made the cruise stand out for us was the crew. From the Captain to the Hotel Manage, to the cruise director, to the lowest sailor on deck we never passed a crew member that did not say hello and ask if we were happy and could they do anything for us. We really hated for the cruise to end. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Very disappointed in this Christmas river cruise. Very disappointed in the ship. 2 Christmas trees and small table ornaments on the tables does not make a themed Christmas cruise. We saw other companies ships that had Christmas lights and ... Read More
Very disappointed in this Christmas river cruise. Very disappointed in the ship. 2 Christmas trees and small table ornaments on the tables does not make a themed Christmas cruise. We saw other companies ships that had Christmas lights and decorated balconies on the top decks that looked amazing. Some of the markets we stopped at were only average and the one village and market that was amazing (from previous experience) we got in too late to see it. Maybe we could have had a Christmas dinner towards the end of "the Christmas cruise". Just a thought. The food onboard was very average and the breakfast buffet was usually cold. Didn't compare even to Evergreen which is the cheaper sister company. Scenic also seems to have forgotten their roots and appear to cater to a particular group instead of everyone equally. Having travelled on the rivers before with different companys this one was found to be lacking. Wouldn't travel with Scenic again. Save your money and go Evergreen or APT for luxury. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We enjoyed the Avalon Romantic Rhine Cruise for our anniversary four year ago and tried the Christmas Market cruise on the Danube two years ago. We enjoyed both so much we did the Avalon Rhine Christmas Market cruise in December 2019. ... Read More
We enjoyed the Avalon Romantic Rhine Cruise for our anniversary four year ago and tried the Christmas Market cruise on the Danube two years ago. We enjoyed both so much we did the Avalon Rhine Christmas Market cruise in December 2019. The ship itself is beautiful. The crew was very professional and nice. We reserve the same cabin category on each cruise so we know what we are getting and are never let down, The food was wonderful and , as usual, would reflect the local cuisine. Even though it was December we still had excursions and enjoyed them. Having done some of them in the summer and then again in the winter gave them a whole new experience. We were pleasantly surprised to have one of our excursion guides again from prior trips. We would definitely cruise on Avalon again.We look forward to taking another cruise next year if not sooner. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Friends of ours asked if we would like to go on a river cruise with them. Having never been on one, and not a fan of being on a ship with thousands of people, I was a little hesitant. However, when I found how many we would be cruising ... Read More
Friends of ours asked if we would like to go on a river cruise with them. Having never been on one, and not a fan of being on a ship with thousands of people, I was a little hesitant. However, when I found how many we would be cruising with on this ship, I said yes....and I'm glad I did. The staff was amazing. The minute we arrived, even before stepping on the ship, the staff made us feel special. THE FOOD! The food was delicious with our waiter Sasha taking the best care of us. The entertainment fun, the excursions were amazing, and the staterooms were beautiful. Everyday, our cabin looked like it never had been slept in. Cruise Director Tony was great keeping us up to date on the itinerary and yoga with Milan was relaxing! I would go again in a heartbeat! Thank you all for a wonderful time!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The short cruise & itinerary fit our schedule. We’ve been on 35+ ocean cruises. This was our first river cruise. Very expensive. But it included everything, unlimited bottled water in room, fresh orchid in room, fruit delivery, free ... Read More
The short cruise & itinerary fit our schedule. We’ve been on 35+ ocean cruises. This was our first river cruise. Very expensive. But it included everything, unlimited bottled water in room, fresh orchid in room, fruit delivery, free excursions at every port, free fleet of bikes to use at every port, hot tub on the top deck, panoramic view sliding glass doors in room, small gymnasium, unlimited alcohol and soft drinks during all meals, mimosas for breakfast, free WiFi, etc. The ship, glass, windows, chrome were all super clean, as well as the tour buses used. One of the waiters hesitated when I asked for second appetizer and dessert during dinner but others didn’t blink an eye. One of the excursions led to just a lone gift shop but the long drive there and back was scenic, it would have been better if they drove us to an actual village in the Black Forest instead. Yes we would river cruise with Avalon again if we decided to go on another river cruise, but I think price & itinerary are more important than the actual cruise line especially since it seems all cruise lines are decent enough these days. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was our very first cruise and chose it because it was short (time wise) and the boat small (people wise). We would definitely sign up for another cruise as it is a great way to see multiple places that we probably wouldn’t see if ... Read More
This was our very first cruise and chose it because it was short (time wise) and the boat small (people wise). We would definitely sign up for another cruise as it is a great way to see multiple places that we probably wouldn’t see if traveling by land. Regarding this cruise in particular, Basel, Colmar, Strasbourg, Heidelberg & Speyer were absolutely beautiful! We are considering a Danube cruise next and can only hope the staff is as on point as on the Visionary. They were AWESOME!! I was not sure how the food was going to be....and had set my expectations low.....but was pleasantly surprised by both the quality and quantity. The only downfall is those big panoramic windows become somewhat useless as all the sailing is done at night. But if you want to see the Christmas markets along the Rhine (and so much more) in style, then this is the cruise for you!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My husband and I were excited to sail on Sigrun by Viking River Cruises. We booked our Voyage in 2017 to sail in Fall 2019. We paid for a French Balcony room but were disappointed extremely when we were given a room on the bottom. I.m a ... Read More
My husband and I were excited to sail on Sigrun by Viking River Cruises. We booked our Voyage in 2017 to sail in Fall 2019. We paid for a French Balcony room but were disappointed extremely when we were given a room on the bottom. I.m a vegetarian and asked the Ship Chef if there will be any vegetarian option on the ship. He assured me that each meal has a vegetarian dish. So there was no option or choice for a vegetarian guest. And to my surprise, the understanding of a vege. meal for the Sigrun Staff was completely different than what I believe in. To my surprise the first vegetarian dish was a vegetarian soup made from/in Beef Broth. I can't stand the smell of beef, and for a Hindu, eating beef is a sin. The second experience was with Cesar Salad which consisted Ham on top. The staff on the ship was so reluctant to make any accomodation or adjustments to my choice. I asked for a grilled cheese sandwich for a meal one day but I was told that it can't be done since its not part of the menu. I asked for only asparagus for one dinner. Asparagus was being served with a meat dish. The server refused to serve only the asparagus to me. I basically ate bread and butter for most of the meals. The chef was being kind to make me a curry dish with a day before's leftover grilled vegetables. He mixed the tomato sauce and some water to make me a curry. I felt highly humiliated to see my special meal made from leftover food. When I went to share my negative experience to Ship Manager, Michael, he walked away without listening to me. I said I will write about it, he replied rudely, "Go for it" I don't know if I can ever go back with Viking or can advice anyone to sail with them, especially my vegetarian friends. Just to let you know that this was my fifth sailing experience and one of the worst one. My husband bought the special Silver Spirits Package, and none of the bottle served matched the list of menu listed on the Wine Menu. The positive points were: Most of the crew members, Cleaning Lady for our cabin, Bar Lady, The Radison Blu hotel in Amsterdam. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My first River Cruise and while I always thought this was for the old, not with AMA Waterways. I have cruised many ocean voyages but thought I would try this. I was so happy I did that I cannot wait to see where I want AMA to take me ... Read More
My first River Cruise and while I always thought this was for the old, not with AMA Waterways. I have cruised many ocean voyages but thought I would try this. I was so happy I did that I cannot wait to see where I want AMA to take me again. No lines, no pushing or waiting. When we arrived at the time requested, we were the only people there, they took our luggage and walked us from the dock right to our room. Our room was beautiful we did have a balcony and even in the month of November we used it multiple times a day. What I loved was you had a choice of excursions, this was included in the price, wine/beer choices with all meals, included. The service and meals were amazing. No one trying to sell you something, or loud announcements . The stops were great, we chose the walking tours, you could bike through Europe if you choose or even hike through the Black Forest. The tours ran smooth and it was wonderful, you were greeted when you cam back with some beverages and warm towels. I know many want to know about night life, well there was some, you were able to talk with your fellow cruisers and they had music. While there is no casino, water slides or skating rinks on board. The social time with people was great. The ship was absolutely beautiful. The service , I even had 2 massages and my hair done with very reasonable pricing (much more affordable than the large cruise lines) I know that some River Cruise Companies are not the same, do not compare this with some of the other companies that may Market themselves. AMA Waterways is the best river cruise company out there. You will not regret it. I cannot wait to book again. Thank You AMA!!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We were so fortunate to vacation on the Viking Einar. From the moment we were picked up at the airport in Basel to our departure in Amsterdam we were treated as royalty. Every member of the staff was excellent. It was the norm for staff ... Read More
We were so fortunate to vacation on the Viking Einar. From the moment we were picked up at the airport in Basel to our departure in Amsterdam we were treated as royalty. Every member of the staff was excellent. It was the norm for staff members to greet us with a smile and a hello. The cruise director was excellent. She was always prepared and saw to it that all the passengers were having a good time and all their needs were met. The Einar is a new Viking ship and the design is beautiful, with tasteful decor throughout the ship. We stayed in a French Balcony room. Though the room was small, there was enough storage space and the warm bathroom floor was a nice touch. We enjoyed our meals in both the main dining room and at the Acquivit Terrace. The dining staff was very attentive and there was a variety of choices on the menu. The wine and beer served during meal time was a nice touch. It was very interesting to dine with different people throughout the cruise. The evening entertainment in the lounge was always pleasant. I enjoyed when we had local musicians perform as the evening's entertainment. The ship's pianist was excellent and he read what the passengers enjoyed. A highlight of our vacation was the wonderful tours we went on. Each of our tour guides were excellent and we learned so much. We especially enjoyed a food tasting tour in Strasburg, France. It was amazing to see all the castles along the Rhine, as we cruised. The cruise director's commentary as we sailed, made the experience more meaningful. Each tour was well planned and the quiet-vox which each passenger used, was most helpful. We enjoyed visiting the monastery, Kloster Eberbach, where we toured, had a wine tasting and enjoyed dinner. Touring the windmills in the Netherlands was also a touring high point. Each tour we went on was excellent and gave us much information. We have sailed Viking River cruises a number of times and I look forward to sailing with them again. I highly recommend this itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We arrived at the Zurich airport after visiting friends in Zurich and the connection was perfect. We were sent to the bus to await the rest of the guests arriving that morning. The bus was clean and very comfortable (wish plane seats ... Read More
We arrived at the Zurich airport after visiting friends in Zurich and the connection was perfect. We were sent to the bus to await the rest of the guests arriving that morning. The bus was clean and very comfortable (wish plane seats were that comfortable). Once we arrived at the ship, we were escorted to the lounge where there were refreshments and a comfortable place to just relax. We were able to meet some of the passengers that would be traveling with us and had the opportunity to explore Basel if we wanted. I also love their new system of check in - check out. Great way to do it and it was quite efficient. Thank you for coming up with a better plan for this process. Our room was well appointed and easy to store all our belongings - plenty of storage for us. I love the large glass window and the bed facing outward - came in very handy during the week while we were cruising to be able to just sit on the bed and enjoy the scenery - GREAT concept. Food was very good and wait staff was enjoyable - always engaging no matter where we sat (we usually try to move around the dining room to experience different wait staff and they did not disappoint). Even with a gluten allergy, the staff and head waiter were always VERY attentive and made sure there were special gluten free extras. One especially enjoyable delight was the gluten free croissant that was made fresh and available for breakfast. Perfect! We were on the north bound tour which does allow for a few "extra" ports because of the current. The excursions were great and very informative. Tour guides were very knowledgeable and I am always amazed with the information they have in their heads - no notecards or cheat sheets - I couldn't do that. We also took the Jewish Heritage tour in Cologne and it was fabulous! If you have already been to Cologne, I would definitely do this tour (if you have never been there, do the Cologne city tour). This was a fabulous trip - the castles were amazing (we have done the Rhine southbound as well and I think the view of the castles was a little better northbound). I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone who wants to know more about this area of .Europe and to see the castles and villages. Although there is also its share of industrial - the northbound trip you were sailing through those areas more in the evenings so didn't ruin your views. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was a Rhine wine cruise and we sailed with another couple. We had Juliet balcony suites that were, for a cruise ship, roomy. Everything is included in this package, so need to worry about drinks during lunch or dinner, excursions ... Read More
This was a Rhine wine cruise and we sailed with another couple. We had Juliet balcony suites that were, for a cruise ship, roomy. Everything is included in this package, so need to worry about drinks during lunch or dinner, excursions are included, special dining, cocktail hour, and all meals and snacks. The crew was pleasant, thoughtful, and attentive. The cleaning staff was discrete and timely. It rained quite a bit during our trip, and the crew had umbrella's available for guests. The excursions were varied and fun. At one point, my husband was the only one scheduled for a tour - a hike, and they still held the tour. He went off with the tour guide and had a fabulous time. The food was varied and delicious. The main course reflected the region we were sailing through, there were options for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free eaters. I highly recommend traveling with Amawaterways. I look forward to sailing with them again. The entertainment was basically non existent, there was a piano trio one night. There were several evening excursions. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I chose this cruise because I've never been on a river cruise and I've never cruised with crystal. The itinerary interested me very much and I was not disappointed. My cabin was wonderful. I was in cabin 215, a deluxe suite. ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I've never been on a river cruise and I've never cruised with crystal. The itinerary interested me very much and I was not disappointed. My cabin was wonderful. I was in cabin 215, a deluxe suite. the butler was incredible. he was friendly, professional and seemed to anticipate my every need. i was well taken care of. the entire crew is trained perfectly. they all called me by my name the first night of dinner. how they learned it so fast is beyond me. the entire crew is friendly, professional, eager to please and very thoughtful of my preferences. even the bartender remembered what i liked to drink! tour managers were terrific and all the tours were handled very professionally and the tour guides were spectacular. they made the tours personal with lots of their own family stories about the places we were visiting. the coach drivers were friendly and drove very safely. i guess i've left off the most important thing: the fooooooooood. wow! what a fabulous dining experience every meal but the dinners were especially incredible. if there is such a thing as 10 star michelin, then crystal has managed to have it on the ship. and when i was driven to the airport in amsterdam, a crystal rep met me at the coach and walked me to british airways and made sure i was checked in for the flight properly. then they walked me to security and made sure i got through ok. of course, they could not go through security with me, i thought this service was really wonderful and very unexpected. i guess that's why i booked a danube christmas market cruise on the mahler for dec. 2020 which i'm looking forward to very much. Crystal is really special and they are my cruise line of choice from now on. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I can't think of anything Viking could have done to make this cruise any better. I have cruised many times but this was my first Viking cruise and first river cruise. The food was outstanding in every way. Quality and presentation ... Read More
I can't think of anything Viking could have done to make this cruise any better. I have cruised many times but this was my first Viking cruise and first river cruise. The food was outstanding in every way. Quality and presentation every meal. We had a Veranda A cabin. Yes it is quite small but well designed for storage. Quality bath products are used. All tours went out on time and every guide we had was very knowledgeable and personable. The entertainment was exceptional as well. Excellent piano player who played at lunch as well as in the evening. One night there was a husband and wife singer and piano player as well as a night of classical music. Of course it is not like the entertainment on a larger luxury liner but I didn't expect that so I wasn't disappointed. We did the Rhine river from Basel to Amsterdam. Wonderful little towns and cities. Great docking location. The cruise director Renee was superb at his job as was the staff. We had a great waiter Ivan. He made suggestions on what to order and took good care of us. I would highly recommend Viking and would like to go on the Danube next. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Previous experience with gate one was excellent!This was our third trip.We were not dissapointed excellent food amazing service!Great guides with a super itenery all came together for an excellent cruise.Saw many wonderful sights and very ... Read More
Previous experience with gate one was excellent!This was our third trip.We were not dissapointed excellent food amazing service!Great guides with a super itenery all came together for an excellent cruise.Saw many wonderful sights and very diverse shore excursions.Gate one did not dissapoint as always great value.The crew were so helpful and attentive you could not ask for any better treatment than we received.The land hotels were also first rate.Lake cumo was particularly beautiful as was mount Pilatus.Also our time in Amsterdam was very lovely with so much to see and do!Highly recommend this cruise.Of particular note was the food on this vessel the Chef and his team treated us to an amazing array of local cuisine always served up piping hot and in a very timely manner,was very impressed by the servers who remembered us by name and our likes and dislikes!Great job cusps to the whole staff on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We had previously taken a cruise with Avalon of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. We loved travelling through the Rhine gorge, so we took the Basel to Amsterdam cruise. This not only gave use a portion of the Rhine and cities in Switzerland, ... Read More
We had previously taken a cruise with Avalon of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. We loved travelling through the Rhine gorge, so we took the Basel to Amsterdam cruise. This not only gave use a portion of the Rhine and cities in Switzerland, France and Germany we hade not visited before, but also took us again through the beautiful Rhine gorge with its magnificent scenery. We were not disappointed. The ship is amazing, with its French Balcony suite rooms, with the beds all facing the glass walls of the room, which slide open when the weather is permitting. The food and service were better than what we had on former cruises, which I thought would be impossible to match. The shore excursions were very interesting, informative and were worth the time. The extra excursions that we paid for were extraordinary and worth every penny spent. I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone interested in a magnificent experience of the Rhine River. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Cruise on the Rhine was average at best. Nothing bad but nothing outstanding either. Very disappointed that Viking does not believe in having bikes on board for guests to use. We have used these on other cruise lines and it was one of the ... Read More
Cruise on the Rhine was average at best. Nothing bad but nothing outstanding either. Very disappointed that Viking does not believe in having bikes on board for guests to use. We have used these on other cruise lines and it was one of the highlights of our trips. No fitness facilities on board either. Also Viking seemed to dock at a facilities in a lot of the ports that required taking a shuttle into town which was a major disappointment. One of the nice things about a river cruise is being able to walk right off the ship and into town. This was possible in Koblenz and Cologne but for the majority of ports we were outside of town. On the plus side the staff and service were excellent. Food was very good. Wine was excellent. All public areas very clean. Coffee and cookie area was a nice bonus. Morning spent viewing castles while cruising the river was superb. Cruise director was entertaining. Free access to Wifi/Internet was appreciated compared to an ocean cruise where it is an extra cost. Excursions were well organized. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was my first River Cruise. Stayed in Zurich one night before trip and took the train to Basel for embarkation. Wonderful crew that was always ready to help , cruise director was always on top of everything, the excursions were ... Read More
This was my first River Cruise. Stayed in Zurich one night before trip and took the train to Basel for embarkation. Wonderful crew that was always ready to help , cruise director was always on top of everything, the excursions were planned very well and went smoothly. We were in a deluxe cabin (AA) and the room was very nice. Cabin did have strange smell at certain times. Not sure why. Food was good. Everyone goes to dinner at same time which was nice way to meet different people. Drinks were better. Entertainment was nice but not my style. Disembarkation was smooth. We stayed and extra night in Amsterdam and cruise director had a taxi ready to take us to hotel. I would highly recommend. I hope to go on another River cruise as I prefer the smaller boat and less people to an larger ocean cruise any day ! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Our Avalon Rhine River cruise from Basel to Amsterdam was taken in late October 2019. The cruise was pleasant with no real negatives, but also without any exceptional experiences or excursions. The cruise is marketed as an 8 day ... Read More
Our Avalon Rhine River cruise from Basel to Amsterdam was taken in late October 2019. The cruise was pleasant with no real negatives, but also without any exceptional experiences or excursions. The cruise is marketed as an 8 day cruise, but there are 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 7 dinners included, so its a 7 day cruise at best. The last 24 hours are spent docked in Amsterdam, so you are effectively paying $1000 for one night in a small Amsterdam hotel room with a meal plan for two people. By comparison, we spent $250 a night for an entire floor of a canal house in a 9.8 out of 10 rated location for our other four nights in Amsterdam, and that includes a large breakfast We didn't spend close to $750 a day on meals or canal cruises on any of the other 4 days. We probably spent that collectively for the entire 4 days, and that includes $230 for two I Am City Cards for "free" admission to the most popular Amsterdam museums (except Anne Frank House bought two months in advance) and "free" public transportation and canal cruises. Our Category A cabin was excellent and is reviewed separately. We went with Avalon instead of Viking because the meals were supposedly better. The meals were good, but definitely not a culinary experience, so don't expect to be wowed. Across the entire staff, the onboard service was excellent. Embarkation was also a breeze. I would recommend going downstream from Basel to Amsterdam as you get between points quicker (17 hours Cologne to Amsterdam vs. 24 hours the other direction) and with less engine noise. On ship entertainment was limited to the same lounge singer every night, plus one night with three classical musicians (very enjoyable), and another night with a local band (average). Included excursions with local guides were informative, sometimes humorous, but not exceptional in any way. My expectation is that the Avalon river cruise experience is on par with cruises provided by other comparably priced cruise lines. But I think they are all expensive relative to a land tour option covering comparable sites. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We had never been on a river cruise. Yes, we had done multiple ocean cruises in the Caribbean and even Alaska, but never a river cruise. So we thought we would splurge and do it! We booked airline arrangements through Avalon and ... Read More
We had never been on a river cruise. Yes, we had done multiple ocean cruises in the Caribbean and even Alaska, but never a river cruise. So we thought we would splurge and do it! We booked airline arrangements through Avalon and planned for an extra day in case of airline problems - a good decision. We arrived in Zurich at 8:30pm and walked to the hotel at the airport where arrangements had been made. Raddisson Blu is a great place to stay. We were picked up the next morning by an Avalon representative and taken to the ship to check in and start our first excursion. The Visionary was spotless and there was a nice lunch buffet ready for us when we arrived. For every excursion there were receivers (we were given headsets and a lavaliere for the receiver at check in) that were color-coded for each excursion so that you could hear the guide. Avalon also had bottles of water available (at no extra charge). Upon return from the excursion they took the receivers in exchange for a warm, damp washcloth and a glass of juice or flavored water. Our cabin, which had the floor to ceiling glass sliding doors, was wonderful. There was so much storage space - cabinets, closet - and twenty clothes hangers in the closet! It was easy to unpack and settle in. The bathrooms had color coded towels - brown and white - so you didn't have to worry about who used which towel. (Even the room keys were color coded - blue and white.) Our room also had a potted orchid! A really nice touch, as well as two large bottles of water with glasses and the water was replenished as often as necessary (again, no extra charge). The dining room was nice and well laid out. Fresh flowers were on each table. There was wine and beer available for lunch and dinner - again, no charge, unless you desired a mixed drink or beer or wine that was not on the menu for the meal. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style with a variety of foods available. Always two soups to choose from, various greens and salads, assorted breads, and a wide variety of main dishes/meats. Special note regarding the meals: The first day on board the chef met with anybody who had special dietary needs (such as gluten-free, whatever) and they insured that you were served what was on your diet on the cruise. There were options for less formal dining in the main lounge for lunch and dinner - same menu but less options. We did not partake of that except on the first day at lunch, since that was all that was available. There was also a tea every afternoon at 4 with tea, of course, coffee, and cookies and pastries. Every morning there was a stretching/exercising class and I participated in most of them. Very few passengers did, however. Of the 138 passengers less than 10 showed up on any day. There was also a small gym on the lower level with weights, mats, a treadmill, two exercise bikes, available for use. Towels and bottles of water were also available there. My husband and I did not go to any of the entertainment or shows as we are early to bed types and the shows generally started about 9pm or later. There was a pianist in the main lounge that played during lunch and happy hour. He was quite good with a range from classical to modern. Service on board was excellent. The community rooms were always clean and the lounge on the third deck had a coffee maker with 8 or 9 choices and hot water with assorted teas as well as a stash of pastries and cookies to munch on when you were hungry (three good meals a day - how could you be hungry?). Most of the shore excursions were included in the cost of the cruise. We paid for three that were reasonably priced. The excursions had good English-speaking guides who were quite knowledgeable about their tour. The guides were personable and gave more than just a cursory explanation or description. The ports were ports! Some were "downtown" and some were a little out of the way but transportation was provided. Some of the excursions were biking trips (with a sack lunch included) and hiking trips. Bikes and Nordic trekking poles were provided. We are already planning our next cruise in 2021 or 2022. Again we will do Avalon. The ships are smaller (we parked next to a Viking Cruise ship and it was quite bigger), and with smaller ships you get to know the staff on a more personal level. We had our favorite servers in the dining room and tried to make sure we sat where they served. On a side note: The Visionary has an elevator for those who have limited mobility. They also make arrangements for those who are slow walkers to have a special tour that goes at a slower pace. There were no passengers in wheelchairs on the cruise, but there were several who used walkers or who were slower in walking than the majority. Age range for this cruise I would guess would be mid-fifties and up. There may have been a couple that were younger, but not many. Most seemed to be retirement age, or at least near retirement age. Overall, we were exceedingly pleased with our Avalon cruise, and are looking forward to our next one! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Just finished my 1st river cruise. Firstly, I will give you my opinion, and then my journal. This trip for me was a great success, beyond my expectation because it fullfilled my preconceived experience what a European adventure should ... Read More
Just finished my 1st river cruise. Firstly, I will give you my opinion, and then my journal. This trip for me was a great success, beyond my expectation because it fullfilled my preconceived experience what a European adventure should be like. I have had many ocean cruises, mostly Alaska, Panama canal, Hawaii, and Carribean Islands. River cruiseship is very unlike an ocean cruiseship. To be blunt, river cruiseship is a motel on water compare to the ocean one. However, unlike the ocean cruise, they don't just put you in port and one has to plan his own thing. Viking did an excellent job on their included excursions. Great guides who provided excellent and interesting facts on each city. This is one of my major fulfilments, I learned alot from the places I had visited. It is much more fullfilling to see beautiful archititures and then learn many facts behind it. It is not a relaxing cruise, but a positive one, because there was so much to take in each day. By the end of the day, I had to go straight to bed to recover for next day activities; so therefore, I did not had time to listen the ship's piano player and singer, Blondi (not the one who sang "call me", but he did hum a few bar for me} whom had an amazing voice. I had to apologize to him for not be able to attend his performances because I was so tired. He was a past opera performer and a very friendly person. The overall trip cost more than the ocean cruise, but for me, the excitement was also much more. I am already planning for the next one, most likely to Russia where there is a rich history and requires an expert guides to give me the facts. The journey: From October 13 to 20th, we sailed on Viking Kara from Basel to Amsterdam. Starting from Vancouver, B.C..it took almost twenty fours hours to get to the Basel airport at 6pm in the evening. A Viking bus took us to the ship and the Captain was at the dock greeting us. As soon as we were all aboard, the ship started to leave. We did not have any time to see Basel as it was already dark. Other guests tell us that most shops were closed in Basel on Sunday and not much else was mentioned about its scenic sites. Breisach, Germany: we arrived there during the night. We did not do the optional tour to Black Forest because, where we are from, we have many forests, waterfall, and rivers. It was a long bus ride and I heard it was very tourist commericalized on Cuckoo clocks and glass blowing. Instead, we took a walk to the church up the hill. a very pleasant morning walk and a good panoramic view of the surrounding. We found the walk around the town was very pleasurable and a good way to experience an old fashion European small town. An excellent start for the trip. Colmar. France: an optional tour recommended to us by our agent. Very good advice. Beautiful sights and lots to see. Highly recommended. Strasbourg, France, another amazing city, very European but unlike Colmar. Big cathedral. The walking tour started from near the Petite France area and walk to Notre Dame Cathedral,a beautiful structure, more so than the one in Paris. Then we were on our own. The area is located about two miles aways from the ship and shuttle buses were available for guests to return to the ship in the afternoon for lunch(I tip my hat to Viking for their plannings). For the rest of the afternoon, a free shuttle bus was also available back to the town. We chose to walk around the dock and ended up walking across the bridge near the University of Strasbourg. Nearby, there was a nice church which we were able to go inside and enjoyed its ambience. Actually, if we walked further, we could have reach the Cathedral again. Heidelberg, Germany: Our ship was dock in Mannheim and Heidelberg is about one hour ride by shuttle. I got out in the morning to do some jogging and from across our dock was a city all lite up, it was dark in the October morning, and provided me with some good photos. Heidelberg is a pretty town and the castle is on top of the hill which one could view it from the town centre. The castle tour was very interesting. Later on, we had a hour or two on our own to tour the town which was also very pleasant. There was a large Christmas store which, even for me, was worth to a look around. Rudesheim,Germany: we arrived there in the afternoon 5pm and half of the shops were still open, but not the Seigfried Mechanial music museum which I had planned to visit. I walked beyond the end of streets into the vineyard area. It offered a nice panoramic view of the river and its surrounding. Check direction with Google maps. Next morning was the castle cruising. It started not far from Rudesheim, and then castles every ten minutes for few hours. A very interesting section of the cruise. At the last quarter of the cruise, I had to go inside the ship for a break to digest all those I had just experienced. Koblenz, Germany and Marksberg castle excursion: Again, another interesting trip. A bit of walking on uneven ground. Make sure to wear proper shoes. Cologne, Germany: from the dock, it was actually faster to walk to the Cathedral than take the shuttle due to the bridge nearby the dock was for walking and the train only. However, shuttles were still available for guest to ride back to the town center. Again a very interesting walking tour in the morning. Bruhl Palace,Frances: an optional tour. The most ornate palace I had visited. The decor was breathtaking. Amsterdam, Netherland in the morning. I went for a walk very early before the embarking. One thing that I was impressed was the ship's program director, it was his last morning on the ship and as he was moving on to another job with Viking, yet, he was at the exit and asked me if everything was ok and did I need help. Rotterdam, Netherland. if you could, plan a day trip to this amazing city. The train ride is one hour and scenic. I did a walking circuit starting from the Central station, to the shopping district, Lijnbaan, then to the bridge (the Swan) then walk along the waterfront to Markthal. It was Tuesday and a big street market provided good shopping for various items and foods. A lot of people, beware of pickpocket. Great city. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My family recently took a Viking cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. Our group was made up of myself and my fiance (28 + 27), my parents (55 + 57), and my Grampie (79). We decided on this cruise because it had been a trip my Grampie had wanted ... Read More
My family recently took a Viking cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. Our group was made up of myself and my fiance (28 + 27), my parents (55 + 57), and my Grampie (79). We decided on this cruise because it had been a trip my Grampie had wanted to take for years, and we wanted to make sure he got to take it. Generally, this kind of vacation would not be what my fiance and I or my parents would choose for ourselves. We prefer to spend more time in each city, do less tours, get to know the area, etc. My parents prefer to relax and not really explore. However, we all got something out of this trip that we didn't expect and honestly loved it! My fiance and I were well and beyond the youngest people on the ship, and these tours truly were not designed with our age group in mind - so if you're around our age, I would suggest looking elsewhere unless you're traveling with family. My Grampie loved the pace of the trip and only got tired/sore because we dragged him on a full-day walking tour in Strasbourg, which the rest of us loved but he probably could have done without. The fact that the itinerary was set meant that there was no tension or bickering about what we each wanted to do each day. We never had to worry about what cafes were open for breakfast, where we could stop for lunch, etc - meals were all planned on the shi[ and the food was good. We also loved that we only had to unpack once and that we got used to our stateroom; very different from packing up a bag in every city. I really enjoyed this aspect of the trip. The tours were well planned. Actually, everything was well planned. We never had to wait around, never felt stressed out, it was all 100% smooth. This is RARE when traveling and it was much appreciated. It's good to note that the itinerary is really organized to be fully guided. If you're looking to go off on your own and explore the city while the group tours around, please keep in mind that this could be VERY hard in some areas. On our itinerary, we had a few days where we could get off the boat on foot and explore - Cologne and Koblenz. We had an entire day and evening in Cologne and we were able to break away from the planned tours and explore the city ourselves on foot. We found local spots to eat and shop, and it was the best day of our trip. In other areas, like Colmar, you basically cannot get to the city from the ship unless you book an excursion through Viking. My mom and fiance and I did that, and we were able to get a good history lesson on the bus ride into Colmar. When we got there we ditched the tour guide (she wasn't pleased about this) and explored the city without the damn earpiece in our ear. Heidelberg is another stop that requires you to do the planned excursion in order to see the city. We were able to talk to the program director about what we wanted to get out of the trip, but he pretty much (kindly) told us upfront that we would be better off just going along with the plan. He was right - we surrendered to the planned tours and relaxed into the pace. The ship was nice, it only ever felt crowded during the "port talks" when everyone crowded into the lounge before dinner to hear about the next day. But the information was very valuable so I always squished in. The dinner is good, the wine and beer pour freely at lunch and dinner, and you can always top up your glass at the end of the meal to have an after dinner drink without having to pay at the bar. When it came to alcohol we were glad that we did not get the silver package (the all-inclusive drinking package) as we would have had to spend essentially 30$ a day per person to make it worth it, and at the end of the trip, we didn't come close to that. The house wine and beer are local and enjoyable, and you can always opt to pay for one or two drinks from the bar if you want something different. There also is no corckage fee, so if you want to bring a bottle of wine into the lounge that you bought when touring around, they will open and pour it for you!! Same goes for beer, or bottles of scotch, anything. The bottom line: this trip was well planned and comfortable, and did feel like a luxury experience. However, if you're under 40, this trip is probably not for you unless you're travelling with older family members. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019

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