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775 Viking River Basel Cruise Reviews

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 for an opportunity to spend more time in Paris and for the excursions to Auvers-Sur-Oise and the D-Day sites. The transportation strike in Paris interfered with our extension there, but the cruise itself was ... Read More
We chose this cruise for an opportunity to spend more time in Paris and for the excursions to Auvers-Sur-Oise and the D-Day sites. The transportation strike in Paris interfered with our extension there, but the cruise itself was wonderful. Viking handled the airport and ship transfers with perfection. The cabin and public spaces were beautiful as always, although we did find the bed rather uncomfortable. Our Program Director, Max, arranged a very moving wreath-laying ceremony at the American Cemetery in Normandy. He also was extremely helpful to us in re-booking tickets and transportation to an exhibit in Paris that we had missed because of the strike. The visit to Auvers-Sur-Oise in the footsteps of Van Gogh was most memorable. Seeing Van Gogh's tomb, side by side with his Brother's was quite touching. The excursion was complemented by the ship-board watercolor class and the very informative lecture on Impressionism. Service everywhere on the ship was prompt and gracious. The food was good, but not memorable. A live pianist provided pleasant background music in the lounge. On one occasion there were three delightful young opera singers. This was our 4th Viking cruise and we have already booked the next one. Read Less
Sail Date December 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
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 chose this cruise because we had been planning a river cruise for a fews years. Every time we booked one, my husband had an illness (a stroke for one thing) that prevented us from taking the trip. Last August we thought we would give ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had been planning a river cruise for a fews years. Every time we booked one, my husband had an illness (a stroke for one thing) that prevented us from taking the trip. Last August we thought we would give it one more chance and since the international airfare was free and the late fall trips were on sale, we booked it and we were finally able to take this wonderful trip. We stayed two days ahead of the trip in Basel, Switzerland to get acclimated to the time change and had a delightful stay in this charming city. We were able to board at noon on our sailing day and for those boarding early, we were served a very delicious lunch. Our cabin was quite comfortable with a king size bed, plenty of storage for luggage and clothes and while we did not have a balcony with seating, we had a floor to ceiling sliding window that we could open to look out. The ship itself was quite easy to navigate since it only has 4 levels, the top one being a walking deck and outdoor seating. There is an elevator between levels two and three. We were on the 3rd floor. The dining experience was excellent. Beer and wine are served with lunch and dinner and then there is a lounge on the 3rd floor where a lot of the guests would congregate for an evening cocktail and entertainment. While there is no casino, pool or spa on board, it was not missed. The cruise director always managed to find great local entertainment or games to play in the evening. She also provided a lot of great day time excursions. Viking always offers one free excursion in every port and then you may also get off the boat and simply walk directly into the charming cities. We particularly loved being able to tour a 13th century castle overlooking the Rhine River that is still completely intact. We also loved the windmill tours in The Netherlands and just sitting on the top deck for two hours seeing the beautiful vineyards and castles high up on the hillside as we went up the middle Rhine. A very relaxing trip where you can do as much, or as little, as you please. Understand, there are no medical facilities on board and while my husband did get sick, we managed and the staff did their best to help him. The staff is extremely kind and caring and went out of their way, even if that person was not someone who normally watched over your cabin. LOVED the food choices. There is a buffet you can select from or you can order off the menu. We never had a bad meal and enjoyed being able to sit wherever we wanted to. As far as tipping, you can pay ahead of time with a set percentage or you can wait til the end. It's just easier to do it ahead of time which is what we did. And if we had a crew member we particularly appreciated, we gave them extra tip at the end for going beyond. We would love to do another trip and highly recommend Viking. One more thing: For people that have motion sickness, there is NO movement since you are on a slow moving river. The Rhine River is one of the first people choose quite often because of the castles. You can't go wrong no matter what river you choose. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Amsterdam to Basal-what’s not to love?! We started with a precruise stay in Amsterdam. What a wonderful city. There is so much to do and see: the sobering Anne Frank house, the relaxing canal boat ride, the fabulous Rijks Museum. It is a ... Read More
Amsterdam to Basal-what’s not to love?! We started with a precruise stay in Amsterdam. What a wonderful city. There is so much to do and see: the sobering Anne Frank house, the relaxing canal boat ride, the fabulous Rijks Museum. It is a very walkable city or use the public transportation. The residents of the city are welcoming, friendly and very helpful. Our home for the next 8 days was lovely. As you board the ship, you are greeted by a member of the staff and escorted to your cabin. The cabins are nicely laid out and appointed. Love the heated bathroom floor! The staff on the Herja were attentive without being intrusive. It is so nice to have staff remember you want honey with your coffee, or prefer a glass of Rosé. The cabin steward was so kind and accommodating to our needs. Time spent relaxing on the aquavit terrace watching the world float by was time well spent. During the float down the middle Rhine we sat up top as our program director pointed out castle after castle. Renè always had such interesting facts to share. The included excursions were well guided with local residents. As the guide pointed out sights of interest, we noted where they were so we could come back and explore them in more detail during our free time. The evening were spent in the lounge area. Some evenings there are guest speakers on local customs or musical guests. The Herja also has a wonderful entertainer on board playing music to listen to, sing along with, or dance the night away. The food on the Herja was delightful. The omelet station at breakfast was very popular as omelets were made to your specifications. Lunch was relaxing with several selections. Dinner was a wonderful affair. Business casual dress and no assigned seating. The entrees were varied and highlighted fresh ingredients and local specialties. Traveling with Viking is educational, relaxing, and lovely. Would we go again? Absolutely! Read Less
Sail Date October 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
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
My friend invited me and although I never imagined going on a cruise till I was old I wasn't going to turn her down. This cruise converted me to taking another and another - it was fantastic. It exceeded all my expectaions. The food ... Read More
My friend invited me and although I never imagined going on a cruise till I was old I wasn't going to turn her down. This cruise converted me to taking another and another - it was fantastic. It exceeded all my expectaions. The food was 4 or 5 stars. The side trips were free or modestly priced and worth every penny. And, we were really lucky with the weather. Additionally as I am English I delayed my flight back and spent 3 weeks in England visiting life long friends while I was so far from Marin CA where I live. We spent most days docked an off the boat on side trips to interesting places except for when we sailed the Lorellei which is where the Rhine narrows as it flows between the rocky hills. this is the area of Wagner's "The Ring" is set in this opera. The evening entertainment was also fun and we met interesting people as dinner was served at tables of 6 - small enough for conversation and we sat with different groups each evening. 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
We choose this cruise through our AAA travel agent. We have been on the large cruise ships before and found them too noisy, too crowded, lots of children around. This was perfect for us, people around our age, loved the excursions. made ... Read More
We choose this cruise through our AAA travel agent. We have been on the large cruise ships before and found them too noisy, too crowded, lots of children around. This was perfect for us, people around our age, loved the excursions. made some great friendships. We saw our Captain almost every day and enjoyed seeing the wheelhouse. Our servers at mealtimes were so friendly and eager to please. We had easy access to the computers and plenty of books in the library to read when sitting out on the balcony. On all of excursions, we had excellent guides that were able to tell us about the areas that we were visiting. We probably could have used a little more time for shopping, but understand they all have schedules to keep. We did like the fact that we didn't have assigned seating so we were able to eat with the friends that we had met. We would recommend this trip to anyone, we so enjoyed it and it was so much fun. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This one-week cruise was excellent. The Sigrun was first put into service in March 2019. We booked this as a once in a lifetime trip and now we can’t wait to book another one. Viking sets the standard for river cruising in Europe. The ... Read More
This one-week cruise was excellent. The Sigrun was first put into service in March 2019. We booked this as a once in a lifetime trip and now we can’t wait to book another one. Viking sets the standard for river cruising in Europe. The staff, food, staterooms, and daily shore excursion exceeded all of our high expectations. It starts with the staff. They are extremely friendly and very responsive. They pleasantly greet every passenger every time they pass one around the ship. The restaurant and bar staff learned our names and preferred beverages within a day. There are many four- and five-star hotels in the U.S. and Europe that could learn the “Viking method” for treatment and accommodation of guests. We felt pampered every day aboard the ship. The staterooms may seem small, but they are marvels of design and functionality. The food was simply sensational. Each day’s menu included one page of regional entrees and another page of standard food. The head chef stopped by our table most evenings to chat and answer questions. The program director was very accommodating and informative. The lounge had different post-dinner activities most evenings. Every evening, we found a four-page newsletter in our room discussing the included and optional shore excursions for the next day. Viking has high standards for the local guides that lead the shore excursions and every one of these met or exceeded expectations. They all provided local insights and had great senses of humor. A highlight was visit to the ship’s bridge with the captain. There may be other river cruises in Europe, but none are better than Viking. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We wanted to cruise the Rhine we like Viking and giot a good deal. Food excellent ship very good crew very very good all the trips were good the guides very good . I did like the war time trip to the Culmor valley it was excellent the ... Read More
We wanted to cruise the Rhine we like Viking and giot a good deal. Food excellent ship very good crew very very good all the trips were good the guides very good . I did like the war time trip to the Culmor valley it was excellent the guide very knowledgeable. made me want to see the film which I bought when I got home. Of al the ships we have been on the Viking crew are definitely the best of all. transfers to and from airport very efficient and professional. . CABIN Clean and tidy what we expected. Dining food very good the drink service a bit slow on one of the tables we moved it improved after then Entertainment good especially the chef who sang he should have done a bit more. Service apart from the drinks on one occasion very good and friendly Ports very good and the trip down the Rhine valley while we saw the castles and had a commentary very good . Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Overall grade: B- It was a rocky start. Two months before the start of the river cruise, we received in the mail a personalized brochure from Viking, giving us a day-by-day breakdown of the schedule, excursions, ship information, etc. ... Read More
Overall grade: B- It was a rocky start. Two months before the start of the river cruise, we received in the mail a personalized brochure from Viking, giving us a day-by-day breakdown of the schedule, excursions, ship information, etc. It noted that at the start of the cruise in Basel, the ship could be departing from any of three different locations. Seeing as how there still were two months before the cruise, this wasn’t a huge concern. About two weeks before we were scheduled to leave, Viking sent us our cruise documents in a digital format. We printed everything, and again the departure information in Basel was the same. I assumed that eventually, Viking would let us know where to find the ship. Bad assumption on my part. For those cruise customers who are part of Viking’s pre-cruise extension, this is of no concern because you get on a bus at the hotel and it takes you to the ship. However, for those who make their own travel arrangements, you’re on your own. I suspect this probably isn’t a major problem in most cities where ships dock at the same area, but in this case, where there were three choices, it can be an arduous way to start a vacation. Luckily for my wife and I, there was a Viking desk in the hotel we stayed at the night before the start of the cruise and a Viking rep gave us the departure location. Others didn’t have it so easy. At dinner on our first night aboard, we met a couple who simply hailed a cab and told the driver to go to each of the locations, figuring they’d hit the right one eventually. So I wasn’t even on board yet and I was ready to give Viking an F. All in all, things went smoothly. Excursions: Pretty good, though we had one hiccup on one day when the ship had to go in for repairs after hitting another vessel in a lock two days earlier and sustaining a 4-foot gash in front. Cruisers had two options: stay on the ship while it went for repairs, or take a two-hour tour and then spend four hours on your own until the ship returned. Viking gave everyone a $25 onboard credit for the inconvenience. Excursions ran on time and were well planned with plenty of buses and organized procedures. Food: It’s not as good as the chef would have you believe. He spoke to passengers one night early in the week and said that evening’s special, a filet with a Roquefort sauce, was “amazing.” It was, IMHO, quite average. He used the same word, “amazing,” one day to describe the potato soup. In Cologne, we had the chance to have lunch in town; we tried the potato soup at a pub and THAT was fabulous – a gazillion times better than what we had onboard. For dinner on the final evening, the chef recommended a brisket entrée; that turned out to be a horrible choice; mine was undercooked by two hours and not even close to being done correctly. At the end of the week, there wasn’t anything we had that made us think, “Wish we had a chance to have that again.” Food grade: C- Overall service: Mostly good. Room attendants refreshed the room quickly. Service in the lounge was inconsistent. The bartender was outstanding; I gave him my room number once on the first day and that was the last time he asked for it. I have no idea how he did that with nearly 190 customers. Table service in the lounge was spotty. Sometimes there were more servers than customers; at other times, you had to go to the bar to get a drink because there were no servers. Dining room servers were pleasant. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have never cruised before because of getting seasick. When our travel agent told us about Viking we said sure. We found everything about Viking to be superb. From the moment we arrived at the Einar in Basel till the time we departed in ... Read More
We have never cruised before because of getting seasick. When our travel agent told us about Viking we said sure. We found everything about Viking to be superb. From the moment we arrived at the Einar in Basel till the time we departed in Amsterdam we had nothing less than an exceptional time. It started with the curbside drop-off of our luggage and ended with our luggage being taken to the departure area when we left the ship. The crew were very accommodating and friendly. The food was excellent and service impeccable.The entire crew, including deck hands, were always smiling and friendly. We always felt comfortable and never concerned with regards to safety. The reception desk handled our every need very efficiently and without undo concern. The ship overall was kept immaculate and our cabin was tended to multiple times a day. The tours we took for the most part were good. We are looking forward to the next cruise with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I don't like cruising. I get sea sick and I dislike the huge number of people on large cruise ships. This cruise had the benefit of a small boat with approximately 100 passengers, being on a river so no sea sickness and the ... Read More
I don't like cruising. I get sea sick and I dislike the huge number of people on large cruise ships. This cruise had the benefit of a small boat with approximately 100 passengers, being on a river so no sea sickness and the itinerary was perfect. My husband and I had never been to Germany and much of the trip was in Germany. Fantastic port and shore excursions and the ability to walk around on our own to explore. The service was the best we had ever experienced with attention to detail at maximum level. The crew were happy, friendly, helpful and personable. The program director was amazing. I learned a great deal of history on the trip and we saw several small cities and villages we would love to visit. The food was fantastic. We went through numerous locks along the way and considering the length of the *long boats* it was an amazing thing to watch and experience. We will definitely do another one and Viking will be our choice. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My younger sister researched and suggested my husband and I join in. Glad we did as our brother, sister-in-law and other sister and brother-in-law did too. Plus 3 other couples who are friends. This was the first time we all travelled ... Read More
My younger sister researched and suggested my husband and I join in. Glad we did as our brother, sister-in-law and other sister and brother-in-law did too. Plus 3 other couples who are friends. This was the first time we all travelled together. Amazing that all of our schedules meshed to go on the adventure. The itinerary allowed everyone to venture and do what they wanted. It was fun to gather in the evening and compare the day's experiences. I do not like large cruise ships. The Einar Longship was just the right size and the right amount of guests and staff. Excellent staff who were always watching out for the safety and comfort of guests. Very accommodating and helpful suggestions of the cities and sites visited. Everyone was well trained and professional. Dining & service are excellent. Enjoyed the regional choices and everyday selection. The kitchen prepared a special menu for my sister-in-law who is from the Philippines. It was enjoyable to have a choice to dine in the dining room or upstairs on the deck. There were plenty of options for planned excursions, self-exploring or to stay on board. Greatly enjoyed the walking tours. The guides were excellent. Also enjoyed the lecture on the history, economy & changes to modern Germany. Could have spent more time in Heidelberg. A special touch was allowing guests to board early and enjoy lunch. During disembarkation, guests who had late flights or tours could stay on board and enjoy the public areas. My husband and I enjoyed the Viking Longship Einar. We will consider another Viking Longship river cruise in the future. Basel was enjoyable and good embarkation city. We also spent 2 days in Lucerne prior to Basel which was fun. In hindsight would have liked the pre-cruise tour of Lake Como but a reason to return to explore. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I used to cruise on Viking River ships then I started going on the Viking Ocean cruises for the last four years, I decided to go back on a Viking River cruise, and I was interested in this tour since it included two nights in Zurich, ... Read More
I used to cruise on Viking River ships then I started going on the Viking Ocean cruises for the last four years, I decided to go back on a Viking River cruise, and I was interested in this tour since it included two nights in Zurich, Switzerland and two nights in Paris in hotels. This trip make the fifteen cruise on Viking River or Ocean ship. I was afraid the River trip would not be as good as the Ocean trip since the Ocean ship is larger and they have more activities and restaurants. I did not need to worry the food was still great, they had local entertainment at night, in addition to piano player, and excellent free shore excursions. I love the Quiet boxes, you can really hear the information about the places you are visiting. We got to meet some interesting people at dinner. All and all it was an excellent trip. We started off in Zurich At a Hotel, where Viking provided a free cruise on Lake Zurich, then Went to Basel old town then to Strasbourg, an enjoyable twon with Renaissance architecture. In Mainz, we visited the Gutenberg Museum showing the importance of the printing press, t, We then cruised on upper Rhine ,enjoying the view of castles on hillsides. We visited some small Germany towns Speyer, Koblenz and Cochem with cobblestones and great white wine. One tour even included free wine tasting and explanation of wine making from the owner. We switched to Moselle River and ended portion of River cruise and took bus to Paris, it was a long day since we visited Luxenbourg cemetery, where Patton is buried and other World War II American veterans, then on to old city of Luxemberg, and finally arriving in Paris just in time to hit heavy traffic. Next day we had morning bus tour of Paris ending at Notre Dame Catheral. In the afternoon we went on our own riding Metro to funicular to go to Sacred Heart. We walked around enjoying the view overlooking Paris. Cathedral was free so only cost was $9 euros for Metro and funicular. The metro was clearly marked you just have to know last stop to know which direction you want to go. Viking had offered a tour that covered the trip and I am sure one would get more information on the church but I was more interested in the overview. I used the money instead for a nice lunch to the left of the church and up the street there were numerous eating areas. When you are off the boat, and staying at the hotels only the breakfast is included I am looking forward to my next river cruise when Viking starts sailing on the Mississippi River, maybe 2021. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The beauty and the history was the leading factor. I chose Viking because of the stellar reviews. The food was not as elegant as I expected. I probably was looking for more of richness of the French since we did sail on a river in ... Read More
The beauty and the history was the leading factor. I chose Viking because of the stellar reviews. The food was not as elegant as I expected. I probably was looking for more of richness of the French since we did sail on a river in France. The wines were all in good taste and I did enjoy trying a new one with dinner each evening. The on shore excursions were great. The towns visited were extremely welcoming, clean and full of history. I do think that there should be more on ship choices in the evening. The local entertainment was great, but more movie choices in the passenger rooms would have been good. Although it may not be entirely possible, internet service was spotty. It would seem that there would be better internet service even while sailing since it is in inland waters. Overall, I would choose Viking and sail with you all again. The staff could not have been nicer and more accommodating. The small personal "I wish" list is small and overall the experience was wonderful. Thank you Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Four neighbor couples recommended a Viking cruise when I was considering a summer adventure. When I received a catalog for free airfare, I decided to book! I still had to pay extra being a solo traveler; so I reserved a lower cabin. I ... Read More
Four neighbor couples recommended a Viking cruise when I was considering a summer adventure. When I received a catalog for free airfare, I decided to book! I still had to pay extra being a solo traveler; so I reserved a lower cabin. I didn't book extra night(s) before or after the cruise. I used Viking Air Plus for $50 extra to reserve flights, convenient for me. I missed seeing Amsterdam because the ship docked at 2:30 am; and I had to leave for the airport at 5:30 am for an 8:00 am flight. I consider it a mistake that I didn't experience a beautiful city and museums. Onboard I felt amazingly pampered by the staff, in my cabin, in the restaurant where the waiters knew my name! I enjoyed delicious food every meal. I'm an early riser so dined alone in the Aquavit Terrace at 6:00 am. Lunch and dinner in the beautiful dining room, sharing a table with lovely people from different places. I liked the evening meeting to prepare us for the next day's tour. I didn't attend the late night games or music events. The daily included tours were well organized and led by knowledgeable guides. I didn't choose optional tours but enjoyed exploring on my own in free time. I loved the Rhine River for the barge traffic, 11 locks, and the castle viewing with excellent narration. I recognize the Viking tour as the world's best because of the exceptional service. It was not difficult traveling alone. Transfers to and from airports made me feel safe! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The “Middle Rhine” is a beautiful cruise, spectacular scenery and wonderful shore excursions. Departed as soon as as we landed in Basal and missed exploring that city. Our second Viking cruise and both were fabulous. Viking does ... Read More
The “Middle Rhine” is a beautiful cruise, spectacular scenery and wonderful shore excursions. Departed as soon as as we landed in Basal and missed exploring that city. Our second Viking cruise and both were fabulous. Viking does a great job of hiring great crew members that go out of their way to make your experience great. From Captain to Cabin Stewards, they were great. We enjoyed sitting on the top deck after dinner almost every night - taking in the wonderful sunsets and beautiful countryside. Didn’t know what to expect with an August cruise but the weather was great. The shore excursions were great, such beautiful and historic cities. The shore guides were knowledgeable and personalized each excursion. The windmills at Kinderdijk were unforgettable. Spent two extra days in Amsterdam and it was spectacular. We visited the Anne Frank House and it was a very moving experience. The art museums were amazing. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We've been talking about taking a river cruise for a long time and finally decided this was the time to go. So happy we did. So much nicer than the huge ships on other cruise lines. The ship was beautiful, the cabin was comfortable ... Read More
We've been talking about taking a river cruise for a long time and finally decided this was the time to go. So happy we did. So much nicer than the huge ships on other cruise lines. The ship was beautiful, the cabin was comfortable and the dining was wonderful. I always like to try new foods and was never disappointed in the quality. Also, the included excursions were really good and there were additional excursions to choose from. The entertainment was very good and the service was first-rate. We picked this cruise line because there were no small children, no rock climbing wall, no disco and no hard sell to buy jewelry or artwork. The staff, including the captain, were very warm and friendly and always there to help get whatever you needed. We will definitely do another cruise with Viking. It was the most relaxing cruise we've ever had and would recommend it to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My wife and I traveled with another couple. We chose the cruise because of the itinerary and because we were very happy with a previous Viking Cruise. The itinerary was excellent, though not as good as the Danube Waltz because it had ... Read More
My wife and I traveled with another couple. We chose the cruise because of the itinerary and because we were very happy with a previous Viking Cruise. The itinerary was excellent, though not as good as the Danube Waltz because it had more cities. Before we set sail in Basel, Viking provided a tour of the city that we didn't expect. That was a nice addition. We liked the included tours and the 2 optional tours we took. There weren't as much optional tours available for this tour. Embarkation went very smoothly. Our room was available early and lunch was provided for us. The ship was nice -- both the rooms and public areas. Of course, the rooms are small but that's to be expected. They were comfortable and kept clean. We enjoyed the balconies. The meals were uniformly excellent and the service was perfect. We had the same waiter at each meal. He knew our names and what we wanted and he fulfilled all our needs. We loved the fact that there were meals on the left side of the menu that were always available. So if we didn't like the special meals on the right, we had something to fall back on. The front desk personnel were friendly and helpful. Disembarkation was efficient. We hope to take another Viking cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
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