1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Europe River Cruises
  4. Europe River Cruise Reviews

189 Bucharest to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

This was my fourth river cruise but first on Avalon - the itinerary and sailing dates were what we wanted. We went to Bucharest three days early to explore and are very glad that we did. There is a lot to see in Bucharest and very good ... Read More
This was my fourth river cruise but first on Avalon - the itinerary and sailing dates were what we wanted. We went to Bucharest three days early to explore and are very glad that we did. There is a lot to see in Bucharest and very good food. Our accommodations on the escorted, managed part of the tour were very nice and the Cruise Director was very helpful as were the staff on the ship. The staff that made the cruise - they were efficient, competent, friendly with great senses of humor. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly - a well oiled machine. My cabin was spacious and well appointed. A few things that could have been better: Dinners took between 2 - 2.5 hours. For people like me who normally eat early that was an issue. The food came out fairly fast to begin with but by the time we got to the main course, it was usually 1.75 hours later. I rarely stayed for dessert which often was served after 9 PM - most of the offerings were not worth the calories for me. Occasionally they would have a bistro dinner in the lounge, but not all menu choices were available. Menus for both venues were clearly posted so one could decide whether to go to the dining room ahead of time. Breakfast and lunch buffets were better and they also had a bistro lunch in the lounge which we took advantage of frequently - for both portion control and to save time. I love salt, but in several cases, the food was extremely salty - several of the soups in particular. The food was presented very nicely but in some cases had little flavor. They will not give you any rare meat. They serve meat at medium or well done, but in most cases the fish mains were nicely cooked and tasty. There wasn't a lot of on board entertainment like I had seen on other river cruises where there would live entertainment from the local area almost every night. So that made going to bed early very attractive and supported the 8 AM starts. Also the sights, excursions etc, were not as interesting as other river cruises (castles, wineries etc) further up the Danube etc, but what there was, the Cruise Director pointed out and gave us some history about the area which was quite interesting and informative. Most of our local guides were good, a few meriting extra tips. Some people underestimated the strenuousness of the excursions. It took almost a week before a "gentle walking" group was formed. And then several people who might have enjoyed the "gentle walking" better than climbing 275 uneven rock steps did not join the "gentle walking group" I am not sure what can be done about this, but people who have to use the lift on the ship and who have difficulty on the gang plank might thing whether 275 uneven rock steps at a regular walking pace is a good idea. The good news is that the ship waited for us and despite the low water level was able to keep to our schedule. Kudos to the Captain. I killed a fly on my cabin mirror which stayed there smashed on the mirror for 6 days. I told the front desk staff during disembarkation in the hopes that it would be removed before the next guest occupied the room. Other than that my room was straightened every day and I got fresh towels every 5 days. I really liked the lighting in the bathroom as it also served as a great night light and the storage space in my cabin was more than adequate with plenty of hangers, shelves and drawers. We had a variety of nationalities on board so that made for interesting conversations and perspectives. I plan on keeping in touch with a few of my fellow passengers and will consider going with Avalon again on a different ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our first Viking cruise; we have cruised other lines all over the world but not a river cruise. Overall it was a good cruise BUT....some things were disappointing. We had a cabin with a French balcony. It was a small cabin; the ... Read More
This was our first Viking cruise; we have cruised other lines all over the world but not a river cruise. Overall it was a good cruise BUT....some things were disappointing. We had a cabin with a French balcony. It was a small cabin; the space between the bed (on both sides) was about as minimal as it could be. We had a stool; no chair. The bathroom was small and anyone more than average would have some problems with the shower. We realize that river cruising ships do not have the space of ocean ships but it was very tight. Storage space was adequate. Free wifi worked pretty well in most ports. Food was fine although the 'free' wine included at meals was not very good. there were adequate food choices.. Public areas on the ship were okay although if everyone was in the lounge it was very loud. Excursions were extremely variable. Almost all the local guides were excellent but way too much time on the buses. We realize that not every port has things to see/do close to the ship. But the 5 hour (RT) ride to basically see one church was definitely not worth it. We would have preferred more free time in ports to see/do on our own. It was a bit too sedentary a trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Although we had traveled with Gate 1 previously on land (India and Nepal and Romania just prior to this sailing) we had no firm idea what to expect from them on a river cruise. All we knew is that they were considerably less expensive ... Read More
Although we had traveled with Gate 1 previously on land (India and Nepal and Romania just prior to this sailing) we had no firm idea what to expect from them on a river cruise. All we knew is that they were considerably less expensive than the "name" brands like Viking, AMA, Avalon (in some cases barely half the cost). We were totally impressed. Although this was our first river cruise we've been on over 85 ocean cruises from 7 days to 35 days, on mainstream and luxury brands alike. The ship is very nicely decorated, has adequate public spaces for the pax load (133 on our sailing) even a small fitness center. Food was way better than expected. Lots of local focus--Bulgarian dishes when there, a Hungarian night, etc. Service top notch. Wine and beer included with dinner but not lunch (which differentiates it from e.g. Viking, but not worth the extra price). A draft beer and a white wine at lunch ran a total of 8 Euros when we ordered that during one lunch. The Cruise Director, George, from Romania was everything you could ask for in that position and much more. Did 2 extremely interesting enrichment lectures, highlighted by one on the EU, for whom he works in the off season. Personable, knowledgeable and very approachable. The rest of the staff was friendly and more than capable in their positions. Stateroom spotless, restaurant and bar service perfect. Ended the cruise with absolutely nothing but compliments and no complaints. So happy that we decided to take a chance on Gate 1 instead of dishing out lots more money for one of the legacy river cruise brands. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
this was a make-up cruise from last year's low water cancellation town tour guide at St Gheorghe was worthless, just walked the dirt roads and said "this is the post office", "this is the school". She never ... Read More
this was a make-up cruise from last year's low water cancellation town tour guide at St Gheorghe was worthless, just walked the dirt roads and said "this is the post office", "this is the school". She never told us that the town was a summer destination for city folks or anything else. it would have been nice to tour the Sturgeon caviar factory. of the 300+ species of birds in the World Heritage site we saw 2. on board the wines were very good andf paired well with the lunch and dinner selections. I'm glad that the individual servings have declined in quantity while maintaining quality -kudos to the chef. suggested tipping, especially to the tour director, is out of line with the effort he put forth. Tipping should be for service above and beyond the expected. Not for just doing your job. the town of Pecs was the best tour of the cruise, and the best local guide. He did go above and beyond what was expected, and made sure that everyone on the tour had a great visit to his town. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
After 6 cruises on the big ships we decided for our anniversary to try a river cruise with Viking (we’ve done already 2 Viking cruises on the ocean). The cruise from Bucharest to Budapest sounded very interesting and we decided to try ... Read More
After 6 cruises on the big ships we decided for our anniversary to try a river cruise with Viking (we’ve done already 2 Viking cruises on the ocean). The cruise from Bucharest to Budapest sounded very interesting and we decided to try despite the fact that our friends from Atlanta got a better quote for the same cruise and the same cabin. The ship was Viking LIF and the entire experience made us to started to look more in to river cruise for our future holidays. Here are some suggestion and impression from our trip in eastern Europe Bucharest – a beautiful city where the communism left plenty of marks. We loved the food and the architecture and, as a suggestion, maybe in the future Viking will organise a stay longer than one night. Excellent hotel and very well organised transfers. Ruse – despite the fact that the journey to Arbanassii was quite long the excursion was amazing giving as the chance to learn about the history of this country (we didn’t have any idea about how old Bulgaria is). Great lunch and fantastic place to visit. Maybe the guides can be less ridged and less “primary school teacher”-like Vidin – a very poor city but the trip to the mountains was amazing. Was great that the cruise director “forced” us to go and ignore the information about difficulty of the excursion. Was worth it and you don’t miss the breath-taking views with plenty of things to do if you don’t climb the rocks. Sailing day – the landscape is fantastic, and the information offered by the cruise director made us feel like in a Discovery documentary. We loved the new excursions introduced by Viking in a local village, an areological site and a fortress. The children invited on board were amazing despite the fact that the moderator of the conversation was trying hard to take over the entire conversation. Belgrade – we would love to stay longer. What an amazing city! We strongly recommend the visit to the opera and a lunch on your own to a restaurant close to the ship with no name …just “?” (our Cruise Director was so right to recommend this place) Vukovar – the visit to a Croatian family was fantastic and a real eye-opener. Maybe Viking can do something about the “rush feeling” of that day…we would like to explore more. Kalocsa – the horse farm was an interesting and authentic experience. If you want to buy paprika do it here is far much cheaper and better quality than the one in Budapest. The small shop close to the ship has excellent prices and they all speak English. Budapest – we’ve been to Budapest before but was a pleasure to visit it again. The hotel was a nice decent one, the tours were interesting but for us, Budapest was the end of our cruise so we were sad to leave Viking LIF. The staff on Viking LIF was absolutely amazing and nothing was too much for them. Joy our room stewardess was a real “JOY” smiling, helpful and very well organised making our cabin impeccable every day. In the restaurant the manager Kristian was very helpful and friendly providing an excellent service with a lot of care and attention. Alin in the bar, great and very professional, learned in the first day our favourite G&T and we enjoyed every moment spent in the lounge. We fall in love with the reception team especially with Susanna very friendly and always ready to help. But the top of this extraordinary team was our Cruise Director Leonard. He was working around the clock, almost 24 hours daily with the same passion, enthusiasm and professionalism. Was obvious that he is in love with his job and every meeting before dinner was a mixture of practical information, facts traditions and stories put together with a unique charisma and sense of humour. After the first day, was hard to find a place for his presentation in the lounge. Every night after dinner Leonard had a surprise for the passengers: lectures (the one about Dracula was as good as a real History Channel documentary and his story about Ceausescu time was heart-breaking), games (so much fun in the music quiz) and an amazing Disco party with music and dance until early hours in the morning. With brilliant organisational skills everything planned by him went perfect even if sometimes you can see the struggle behind. Honestly if Viking will tell me that Leonard will be our next cruise director I will book a cruise even on the river behind our house! After on week on Viking LIF I understand why Viking is the best and the only option to travel in comfort. Thank you Viking, thank you Lif, thank you Leonard! See you soon! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
For our 5th cruise with Viking (2 river cruises + 2 ocean cruises) we decided to take the 3 weeks trip from Amsterdam to Budapest on Viking Lif. We absolutely love the ship and we were lucky enough to don’t have any problems with the ... Read More
For our 5th cruise with Viking (2 river cruises + 2 ocean cruises) we decided to take the 3 weeks trip from Amsterdam to Budapest on Viking Lif. We absolutely love the ship and we were lucky enough to don’t have any problems with the water levels. Viking is for sure the best choice if you like river cruises: the level of hospitality, attention to details, organisation and the wide range of options are only couple of reason why Viking is always our first choice. In Budapest some of the crew change, and this is the main reason why I decided to post this review. Maybe Viking should pay more attention to consistency, especially when you think about the staff on board. After 3 weeks on board Viking LIF and 2 different staff we had the feeling that we travelled with two different companies. And that was more obvious at the level of the “key players” on board. And here are couple of reasons why we had this feeling Hotel director From Amsterdam we had Johnny a young Romanian with a lot of passion and dedication for his job. Nothing was to much for him and he was always there to assist passengers and his own colleagues. Always smiling and knowledgeable Johnny was a very pleasant presence for our first two weeks on board. Unfortunately for us in Budapest his place was taken by Joseph who, maybe because he is working in this business for too long (and he didn’t miss the opportunity to remind us every time) he was pretty bored, not at all approachable and quite arrogant. We missed Johnny so much in the last week of our cruise. Capitan For the first two weeks we hand a young Capitan and I must apologise for not remembering his name. The only time when we saw him was late in the evening, in the bar when he was drinking with one of his colleagues or a younger female passenger. We never had the chance to speak with him, which surprise us a lot thinking about our previous experience with Viking. In Budapest an amazing Dutch Skipper, Anna, join the ship and the story was completely different: he was always very polite and ready to answer all our questions. His presentation about the ship with the Cruise Director was very interesting and entertaining at the same time. When we had the chance to visit the bridge for the second time it was a completely different experience than in the previous week as he made us feeling welcome and accommodating all our questions and requests. Restaurant manager Martina was our first restaurant manager and she was very sweet despite the fact that she wasn’t very efficient. She was trying hard but couple of times she confused our diets and she was getting very stressed time to time. But we loved her. In Budapest her place was taken by Christian who was obviously that had more experience than Martina. His manners were at the level of a 5* restaurant, his solving problems abilities were amazing, and he always seemed to be calm and in control. Even if the restaurant was busy he always found time for a little chat. Cruise Director This was, maybe, the biggest surprise. For the first two weeks we had as a Cruise Director Sonya, a very pleasant girl from Serbia who was trying her best to be in line with our expectations. The only issue was her big personality, her inability to listen and her quite messy organizational skills. Especially in days with a lot of excursions and tours she got very agitated, getting in a very defensive mood with everybody around. We stopped asking her question after couple of abrupt answers! Sonya seemed to know her job but she always gave us the feeling that she just wanted to tick a box and run “behind the scenes” away from passengers and questions. In Budapest Leonard took over…literally took over. His personality, his knowledge, his energy and passion and his ability to be everywhere, anytime with the same smile and willingness to help made up for the entire trip. We never meet such an approachable, kind, genuine and hard-working Cruise Director in any of our cruises, both on the river and on the ocean. We wished to have Leonard for the entire 3 weeks: he created in 7 days memories for an entire lifetime. Maybe Viking will look for the future in to how different personalities fit the job profile and try to eliminate this differences which can impact the entire experience of a cruise. For sure we will be back. But can we have Anna, Christian, Johnny and Leonard with us? Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Every step of the way on this Danube River Cruise with Avalon was beyond expectations. They managed everything effortlessly (which we all know isn't easy but they brought perfection to managing everything). From meeting us at the ... Read More
Every step of the way on this Danube River Cruise with Avalon was beyond expectations. They managed everything effortlessly (which we all know isn't easy but they brought perfection to managing everything). From meeting us at the airport, transporting us to the hotel, to the ship and at the end, the same process in reverse was flawless. The ship was beautiful, functional and spotless. Cabin attendants were so personable, friendly and efficient. The food service rated the highest of any cruise we've been on--which total seven. Excellent quality, wide variety of choices, everything was fresh, delicious and appealing. Food service personnel = 10+ regarding attention to serving guests, professionalism, personable, courteous. Entertainment was great, lively, fun, so enjoyable to just sit and listen or to join in with dancing, singing, etc. The ports and shore excursions were the best we've experienced in all of our other cruises. The excursion guides elevated the experience because of their expertise, knowledge, personalities, communication skills, etc., etc. Our tour director was absolutely excellent -- an extraordinary personality, professional, knowledgeable, helpful and entertaining on top of everything. We are already looking at another Avalon cruise for 2020 and plan to book it in a few weeks. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We just finished a disappointing Russia River Cruise with Viking and we were looking forward to a newer Long Ship, the type we have been on before. Due to low water, the ship couldn't meet us in Bucharest, so we had a long bus ride ... Read More
We just finished a disappointing Russia River Cruise with Viking and we were looking forward to a newer Long Ship, the type we have been on before. Due to low water, the ship couldn't meet us in Bucharest, so we had a long bus ride to get to the ship. When we arrived, we found out that they had a generator breakdown and installed a temporary one on the top of the ship. Yes, you guessed it, almost right on top of our Stateroom 303. Besides the noise and the diesel fumes, we were never able to enjoy our Veranda. At least with the door closed the cabin we were able to sleep, unlike our experience on the Russia Cruise. Also this ship had a strong septic smell. We were disappointed that none of the ports that we docked at had towns that we could just get off the ship and explore the town on our own. We were bussed everywhere. Some people might like that but I like to tour on my own without a guide in my ear for hours on end. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My wife and I chose to do a long river cruise for our first river cruise experience, thinking we would want to make one airplane ride to Europe and take in as much as possible. Vantage offered a 23 day river cruise with a 5 day land pre ... Read More
My wife and I chose to do a long river cruise for our first river cruise experience, thinking we would want to make one airplane ride to Europe and take in as much as possible. Vantage offered a 23 day river cruise with a 5 day land pre cruise extension in Romania. We did not know what to expect since it was our first river cruise after many ocean cruises and, there were few reviews of Vantage. It turned out to be a good choice and we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. We were originally scheduled to travel in 2018 but the cruise was cancelled due to low river levels. Vantage offered us some incentives to re book with them for 2019 and we are glad we chose to do so. From the moment we landed in Bucharest, we were well taken care of by our land portion director and guide. All guided tours in 7 countries and 23 cities and towns were well organized and informative. When the scheduled arrival times were delayed due to busy lock passages, the guided tours were altered and some even added so that we could visit the sites that were scheduled but not visited due to a shortage of time. Specifically, in Nuremburg, our cruise director arranged for a special bus to take us to the Dokumentation center and wait for us for two hours while we went through the exhibits. Renata was the best cruise director I have ever encountered and if she is on your cruise, count yourself fortunate. 28 days is the longest my wife and I have been away on holiday but this voyage was well worth it, Vantage met all of our needs and although there were a few minor, blips, they were nothing of consequence. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My husband and I had been planning a wonderful birthday celebration for him, so we decided on Viking. We had heard from many friends on how superb and excellent it was to travel with Viking. This was not our first cruise as we have done ... Read More
My husband and I had been planning a wonderful birthday celebration for him, so we decided on Viking. We had heard from many friends on how superb and excellent it was to travel with Viking. This was not our first cruise as we have done several cruises at least 1 every 2 years, fortunately enough with other very high-end lines - Oceania and Regent Seven Seas. We are lucky enough that we can afford high-end cruise liners so we thought Viking would be in the same category as our past cruise experiences! We booked the Eastern European cruise from Bucharest to Budapest from Aug 21-28, 2019. Boy were we SO wrong!!! I am currently sitting in my hotel room on August 25, in Sofia, Bulgaria writing this review, we have been here since August 23. The reason I am writing this today and posting to all different websites instead of communicated directly with Viking is because we have already tried that. We had an extremely unsatisfying phone conversation with Viking customer service when we arrived in Sofia, Bulgaria after disembarking. The lady on the phone was quite rude and dismissive of our issues. She was unwilling to admit any fault with Viking Cruises or their services and told us that we “chose to leave” therefore, there was no compensation for our dissatisfaction and that we should of purchase travel insurance. Really? Based on how we have been treated so far, we would not consider another Viking Cruise. We are on the younger side of their demographic, are active on social media, and have a wide circle of friends. If this is how we are treated, I cannot imagine how they dealt with the very elder members of the cruise. This is how are travel story began: We literately got on the ship on August 21 and disembarked and left on August 23 (being my husband's birthday)- two days into our cruise! The last thing you want to do is pack again when you have only spent 1 night on a ship. But it was such an awful and uncomfortable experience and my husband was so unhappy, we made the decision to leave the ship and told the ship's hotel director that we were disembarking on the next port of call (Vidin, which by the way, the ship did not stop there, but instead we made it to Lum as the ship had some issues getting to Vidin! - not surprise, as we were late the day before arriving to the first port of call Russe, Bulgaria to pick up the majority of the passengers who got off for their tours in a different location). Just think to have to decide to either deal with this awful experience for another 5 nights or cut your losses and leave ship, we chose the latter. We had to at least close the day of his 60th birthday in a place we would be more comfortable at. To start, we arrived on Saturday, August 17 in Bucharest from the US as we wanted to spend a couple of days on our own touring the city. We are not big on group tours and prefer doing our own thing (this is another big problem if you travel with Viking but will fill you in on that part of the story later). We were told to speak to our local Viking contact at the Sheraton Bucharest hotel - where we were staying as part of their 1 day pre-cruise land offer (and at least it is a very nice hotel, and since I hold Platinum status with them, we were upgraded to a lovely suite). Pre-cruise meeting August 20th in the evening – Sheraton Hotel: The Viking person there told us to have our luggage out by 7:30 am on August 21 and to meet in the lobby by 9 am. She indicated that there would be a scenic tour through the city on our way to a location for lunch and then a bus ride to the ship. What we were not told or even offered, especially for those guests that had already been in the city for days prior to cruising, was given an option to go straight to the ship from the hotel. August 21, ship boarding day, what really happened: Stop 1 - they bused us around the city again and took us to Old town (our 5th time there, remember, we arrived on August 17th!), then wanted to give us a walking tour of Old town, why??? We told them we had already been there 5 other times, so instead my husband and I sat around some bank building steps for almost 2 hours while the rest of the guest did their so called "tour" what a waste! At this time of day (9 am) all of Old Town restaurants are closed and only some coffee shops were open, we just had breakfast at the hotel as instructed! We sat around from 9 to 11:30 am! I asked Diani (or Dina) our very confused tour guide on bus 14, if there was a better option for us that we could meet them at the restaurant, she actually threatened and said that if we did not arrive at the restaurant, we would have to take a private car to the ship and that was about 1 hour and 45 minutes ride, so my husband and I decided to tag along. Old town tour is done thankfully, and now they tell us we are going to the Parliament building for a 10-minute picture stop and finishing up at the Museum of the Villages before lunch. Stop 2 - We crossed through town again, and saw the same scenery, the arch, the revolution square, heard the same stories and finally arrived at the Parliament location again and after 10 minutes those that got off for “picture moments” got back on the bus, where the tour guide and her very valuable assistant proceeded to do a head count and appeared that they were short 1 person as she stated that we were originally 37 on our bus (#14) and now we were 36. She then told us that we could not leave until such person was found and asked us if we knew this person? How could we know such person as we just all boarded 2 hours ago, none of us have even met, let alone know all the passengers on board? She didn't even know if we were looking for a man or woman. After an almost 45-minute wait in the parking lot, they finally gave up and we headed to the Museum of the villages tour. Stop 3 – Museum of Villages - What a dump, The is and old, mosquito infested open air museum that has the different house structures of Romania within its compound, we were forced to be there for 2 hours, so again we tried to find a decent place to sit while we waited for our 2 pm departure. We sat in an un air-conditioning hut where they Come to find out, that during this tour, the tour guide's quiet head sets and microphone were not working so no one could hear her talking about this 'wonderful museum'. Again, my husband and I do not like group tours, and we made this clear to the agent when we booked our cruise directly with Viking, he told us we could also do our own thing, really? Stop 4 – LUNCH - So now we are down to lunch, oh boy, it was at Pescarus by a local lake (why not Hard Rock cafe next door, at least the building is nicer, and they have real a/c and great food). The tour guide made it sound that this was an exceptional high-end restaurant with wonderful local food. This restaurant reminded us of an old 70 diner in Vegas, the food was some type of composition of lots of onions with some 3 pieces of meat, potatoes and bread, with some side salad. Wine, water and if you only asked beer, as they didn't voluntarily offered beer or told us it was included in our meal. My husband had already gone to the bar and paid for his as we didn't know it was also included. This was lunch – nursing home cafeteria!!! Oh, and some local folkloric dancing was provided for entertainment. Guys this is what you call luxury travel and superb top of the line service, read your advertisement, it is a SCAM, total SCAM!!! Then finally we are off to the ship, almost 2 hours into the drive, the tour guide's information about Romania is focused on that people have their own gardens, grow their own vegetables and fruits, and have cows, chicken, and pigs in their lands, and indicates "to the left you will see some cows, to the right you will see how gypsies live. Coming to the right again are more cows and some chickens"? Really... ok so we finally arrive the ship.... Finally, on board - Room was quite small, but appeared comfortable at least, we had room 323 on the highest level with a Veranda (never got to use it). The ship has NO WOW factor, it is small, clean, but small. Our room had a mini bar but of course empty why would they want to even fill it up with sodas, juice and beer for you, like most "LUXURY" cruises do when you pay such a high-price, of course not, we are just cattle and their job is to hurry you up to the next port of call get you off the ship and put you on another awesome tour for the day, give you some petty lunch and bring you back for dinner. We could see this coming. We had a decent dinner and some drinks at the bar and called it a night, we could not get much sleep as people were walking above our room, since we were on the top floor above us was the walking track! There is a taped paper sign by the railing asking guest that as a "curtesy not to walk between the hours of 10 pm to 7 am" did they see, read or listen, no! So between toilet flushes (oh yes, they have some type of vacuum system that is so loud, you can hear everyone’s flushes all night long - remember, the majority of passengers on this ship were over 70, I think we were the youngest, so they go to the restroom a LOT! And the guest walking above our room, we probably got 4 hours of sleep, but we thought when they all get off the boat tomorrow, we can relax and enjoy the ship and sleep in -- not! We were told that for those that were not going on tours in Russe, Bulgaria the next morning, they could lower their room speaker’s volume so you would not be disturbed! Right!!! 7:45 am a loud speaker wakes us up, literately we both jumped out of bed, as they had to announce the departing time for tours!!! We tried to reduce the speaker volume, and were unsuccessful as it was broken, so we knew now that sleeping in would not be an option for the next days. We decided to try and go to bed once again after everyone got off the boat and this is where the real meal plan begins. You see they offer breakfast from 7-9, because they don't expect any one to remain on the ship, why would they bother to extend breakfast time to maybe 10:30 for those that do want to stay onboard. All luxury ships provide some type of meal service throughout and 24 hours. This ship does not offer ROOM SERVICE, so you are screwed. You must eat at hours told, if not, you will end up like us with no breakfast or lunch for our first full day on board. By the time I got up on the first day of cruising (Aug 22), we both missed out on breakfast, tough luck! They had some breads and cold cuts, but forget some nice eggs or omelet, bowl of cereal or warm toast. We decided to stay on board to see how the experience would be as we had decided not to join any of the "free tours" based on our pre-cruise tour experience we could see the quality and decided to just get off where we could at each port of call and do our own thing (of course we didn't get to do that as we permanently got off the next day!). 1st full and last day on board - here it goes, we have no real breakfast, for lunch we both napped again and by the time we woke up we had missed the light lunch they sat out for the maybe 12 passengers that stayed on board. So, we ate what was left before they picked up by 2 pm. My husband likes to smoke his cigars, and proceeded after lunch to go to the upper deck to have one and enjoy the river view, to his amazement, they had removed all shading in the designated "smoking" area at the back of the ship, he literately sat in the withering sun at 90 degrees F trying to enjoy his cigar, he could not and just got up and we ended up spending the remaining of the day in the a/c lounge area. There is absolutely no wait service in the upper deck. If you want to get a drink, you must go down to the bar and order one. You are on your own. By this time my husband was so fed up with how the services are on board and the limited staff that is available we were so disenchanted that I only wanted to be off this ship! So, this is how the meals program works, breakfast is 7-9 am, lunch 12-2 pm, however, the restaurant is not open for those days where everyone or the majority of passengers our off on tours. So, the only day that lunch would even be available in the restaurant is the 24th as it was the only "Sailing day" to "enjoy the luxuries of this ship" a joke. Dinner starts at 7 pm as per their program sent to us. Not true, on the ship we were told that if you did not make it past 7:20 pm in the restaurant, most likely you would miss out on your appetizer, and if you got there by 7:45 pm you would might not get your main course, so of course everyone like cattle, herd over to the restaurant right at 7 pm! What a joke, where is the luxury in this, the comfort, why work on your time vs. ours! We are paying for this service it is not a nursing home, but we sure felt like it! We were so disgusted with this that we didn't even put in our dinner order we went back to our room and discussed our options, we decided to cut this trip short and leave! Didn't care where, just leave! I spoke with the Hotel director on board and explained that we were so disenchanted with this whole experience we just wanted off the boat. We left August 23 at 9 am to never, ever turn back. We ended up having to pay for a driver to take us to Sofia, Bulgaria $200 Euros. Booked a room at the Hilton in Sofia for 5 nights and booked two one-way plane tickets $1500 K to take us from Sofia to Budapest on the 28th as we already have the 2 post days in Budapest booked with Viking. We don't head home until the 1st of Sept so it would of cost us a lot of money to change our first-class seats back to the US for an earlier departure, plus Budapest has been on our bucket list for a long time. So, to summarize our experience, if you are looking for true luxurious travel, with all the comforts of high-end cruising VIKING IS NOT, again NOT FOR YOU! Our advice, please do your research, I failed to do this, and we relied on what people we knew that travel like us had shared! I didn't bother to read reviews, or investigate further, since their pricing and advertising is similar to those true luxury lines, we didn't think twice on booking. However, lessons learned, from now on it does not matter how experience travelers we are, we will always check. I am so upset about this, this cost us over $15,000 K, we could have done a beautiful resort in Hawaii or a luxury pent-house cruise in the Caribbean for this price, but no, we chose Viking due to their misleading, false advertising. As I initially stated, I called their customer service number once we arrived at Sofia, Bulgaria to ensure that they would NOT cancel our hotel in Budapest as it was part of the package and to also request a partial refund for such an awful experience. They lady on the phone proceeded to tell me that we didn't buy trip insurance and therefore, we were not owned anything back! As we chose to leave, no lady, you gave us plenty of reasons to leave that is the big difference!! We didn't buy trip insurance, why would we, we are both healthy and had every intention to make this trip, it is my husband’s 60th. She told me that if we would have purchased it, there would have been a partial refund. NOT TRUE, their trip insurance does not refund you for dissatisfied services only for the following as per their brochures: CANCEL FOR ANY REASON WAIVER DETAILS What We Will Do: Under the “Cancel For Any Reason” Waiver, we will waive our cancellation penalties and reimburse you in cash or travel vouchers (depending on the reason for cancellation) for the nonrefundable portion of your Viking trip cost, provided that you cancel before your scheduled departure. We will also waive any additional fees you would otherwise incur for a change in your per person occupancy rate if a person booked to travel with you cancels his or her trip and you do not cancel your trip. How You Are Reimbursed: If you cancel for one of the “Specified Reasons” listed in the Protection Plan document, we will reimburse you in cash. If you cancel for any other reason, we will reimburse you with a travel voucher that can be used for future voyages with us. The maximum amount covered under this “Cancel For Any Reason” Waiver is the cost of the travel arrangements provided by Viking Cruises. TRIP INTERRUPTION AND DELAYED ARRIVAL - Provides You with a reimbursement for the unused prepaid, non-refundable Payments or Deposits for Your land or water Travel Arrangements for Your Trip, plus the additional airfare cost to return home, if Your Trip is interrupted for a covered reason. MISSED CONNECTION - Provides You with a reimbursement for the unused portions of Your land or water Travel Arrangements, plus the additional costs to join Your trip, if Your arrival at the Trip destination is delayed for 3 hours or more for a covered reason. TRAVEL DELAY - Assists with additional travel expenses incurred when You are delayed at least 12 hours due to a covered reason. In the event of a covered delay, You will be reimbursed for additional expenses for hotels, meals, and transportation. AIR FLIGHT ONLY ACCIDENTAL DEATH & DISMEMBERMENT - Provides coverage up to the maximum benefit payable for loss of life, limb or sight resulting from an Accidental Injury. MEDICAL EXPENSE/EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE - Provides Medical Expense benefits for a covered Sickness or Injury incurred while on Your Trip. When required, We will evacuate You to the nearest qualified hospital and will then return You home when You are safe to travel. POLITICAL OR SECURITY EVACUATION - Provides coverage for all reasonable evacuation expenses incurred for Your transportation to the nearest safe haven, if You must leave Your Trip for a covered Political or Security Event. Evacuation must occur within 10 days of any Political or Security Event. BAGGAGE & PERSONAL EFFECTS - Provides reimbursement when Your baggage or personal belongings are damaged, lost or stolen during Your Trip. Personal belongings include such things as loss of luggage, jewelry, passports or travel visas. Ms. Viking Customer service or better yet, Mr. Hagen (CEO and President of Viking) tell me where you would reimburse me if we were unsatisfied with your services if we would have even opted to buy your so called “travel Insurance” oh but yes, another scam. Things to know, the main drive of Viking is to sell you tours, to get you off their ships like cattle herding as they now don't have to entertain you with drinks and meals on board. They put you on buses and bus you around and give you nice bottles of “warm” water and some type of lunch meal, then bus you back to their ship and feed you again to put you back to sleep in your corral and do this all over the next day. I call Viking a low-class glamping service, that really is what they are. There is absolutely no way to reach out to those higher up in the Viking organization, but one wonders if they are possibly well aware of these selling methods and activities. It is all about driving profit. I feel that as a consumer is my right to advocate for us travelers, and if publishing my review throughout all travel sites will have my voice heard, I will do until I have someone in the Viking organization try and appease this situation with us and reimburse us partially for such a disappointing and disastrous experience. I will also be disputing this with my credit card company. Also, anyone would be so kind, please share this review. Again, thank you for taking the time to read my review and feel free in reaching out to us, united we have a bigger voice. August 25, 2019 Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My husband and I have taken many many cruises, but never a river cruise. This cruise on Viking was hands down the worst we have ever taken. In fact, it was the worst vacation we have been on - period. Our room was extremely tiny and at ... Read More
My husband and I have taken many many cruises, but never a river cruise. This cruise on Viking was hands down the worst we have ever taken. In fact, it was the worst vacation we have been on - period. Our room was extremely tiny and at times, smelled like a sewer. There were unusual loud gurgling sounds coming intermittently from the hallway, which we have never heard before. We had heard that the food was really great and the service was supposed to be, as well. Neither was true. The food was just ok and the service was mediocre, with many of the crew being trainees. Wine and beer were included in the price, but ONLY at dinnertime. There was nothing much to do in the way of entertainment and the lounge was bare bones and was the only game in town. However, the REAL PROBLEM was that on the second day of the cruise, the generator completely broke down and proved to be unfixable. Our room was 88 degrees. After telling the 187 passengers on board that a technician was on the way, that proved to be a lie and everyone had to leave the ship, get on 5 buses, never to return to the ship. A CRUISELESS CRUISE. We had a 12-hour bus ride - not new buses, uncomfortable, from Bulgaria to Belgrade, then a 10-hour bus ride from Belgrade to Budapest. Finally, we took an 8-hour bus ride to Prague. A veritable nightmare. To put the icing on the cake, the steering column on the bus was falling off and there were no tools to fix it, so a crew member took his belt off and tied the steering column to the bus on a curvy, cliffside road. In spite of this, they offered 50% off of the cruise, but were so petty that they would not include the two-night stay in the hotel, which they said amounted to $900 because technically, that was not part of the "cruise." We had purchased insurance through Viking and they would not cover even one cent of it. So, why purchase insurance which was $1200? Viking was not cooperative and did not handle this well, from beginning to end. I would never go on another Viking cruise of any kind. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I don't know where to begin with this review. Before we started the cruise we understood that low water levels may sometimes affect the itinerary so we were prepared for that. What we were not prepared for is what actually did ... Read More
I don't know where to begin with this review. Before we started the cruise we understood that low water levels may sometimes affect the itinerary so we were prepared for that. What we were not prepared for is what actually did happen. From the time we boarded the Embla to the time we got off the buses in Budapest the trip was a disaster. Viking knew before we ever boarded the ship that it was broke but wanted us to board so they could still get their money for the cruise. We could tell something was not right when we went to our room and the a/c was not working properly and all the other passengers were complaining about it as well and the common areas were just plain hot. We departed that night at 11pm and literally crossed the river and docked again. We were then informed that the boat had a generator problem and they were bringing in a technician to repair the problem. After 2 days stuck there with no a/c or toilets we finally attempted to sail further. The ship made it 1 day and traveled only a short way so we docked again in a small town where we were put on buses and bused to Belgrade a 12 hour bus trip with just 2 stops. 1 bathroom break and 1 stop for lunch. The toilet on our bus was broke and backed up making our bus smell awful. By the time we reached Belgrade it was after 9pm and they offered a buffet dinner at 9pm at night. After 2 nights and 5 buffet meals later we were again loaded on buses and this time it was 13 hours on a bus to get us to Budapest. During the trip one of the buses broke down and one of the Viking crew members used his belt to make a temporary repair. Our bus was leaking very bad during a rain storm and a passenger actually used a umbrella to stay somewhat dry. We finally arrived in Budapest after 9pm and again they served us a buffet dinner late at night. The next 2 days were again all buffet style meals that you can get at Golden Corral. We were told by a Viking represenative that we would be contacted by Viking shortly after we arrived home. That did not happen. They just refunded a portion of the cruise only amount back into our bank account without ever discussing this with us. The amount was not even close to what we actually paid for the cruise and when I called customer service he explained that it was for the river portion only because we were provided the hotels precruise and post cruise. We were refunded 50% of the river portion and a 25% discount on a future cruise. Why would we ever consider a future cruise. Ridicoulous. The representative told me Viking considered this a very fair offer but they would up the 25% discount to 35% for us if we signed a disclosure agreement to keep our mouths shut. Vikng from start to finish was never honest with us and could care less about the safety of the passengers. They knew from the very beginning the ship had issues and we should not have ever boarded the ship. We never received a safety drill prior to sailing which we only did 1 day of. When we returned home we reseached the Viking Embla and saw that on a previous cruise in June just before our cruise the ship had been involved in a accident that damaged the generator. The same problem we had which apparently never was fixed properly. This cruise was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime and we had heard many good things about Viking in the past but they apparently now only care more about the money than the safety and experience their passengers receive. My wife and I have been on many Ocean cruises, some good and some great but this trip was a disaster from start to finish and beyond. If Viking had done the right thing and refunded us 100% of the cost of the cruise we would have absolutely considered cruising with them again. If you are one of the lucky ones who had a great cruise with Viking congratulations but if you happen to be one of the ones that the cruise turns into a disaster do not expect Viking customer service to do the right thing. Beware. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We shared this information with Viking. Nothing significant was done. We booked through and they have also been advocating for our group (3 couples). Customer service at Viking is not empowered to do anything. A decision was made ... Read More
We shared this information with Viking. Nothing significant was done. We booked through and they have also been advocating for our group (3 couples). Customer service at Viking is not empowered to do anything. A decision was made “by Executive”, that provided 50% of our “cruise fare” as a refund. Unfortunately, there is no backup or detail on any billing to indicate what “Cruise Fare” is. It looks like they inflate the shoreside hotel prices in order to reduce their exposure on the refund. No proper explanation is given. After many phone calls, they reluctantly agreed to increase the voucher on future cruises to 35% from 25%. Why would we ever cruise with Viking again?? No Value in that. The reluctantly refunded our prepaid drinks package, but refused to refund prepaid onboard gratuities. We were only on the vessel for 2 days…. Cruise critic readers – read on and beware. There are many choices on river cruises. Many are much better than Viking. As you can read from other passengers the much touted Viking Experience we see on PBS is largely a marketing myth. I wanted to share our experiences with Viking on this cruise. We are experienced ocean cruisers (approximately 10 cruises on 3 lines – Princess, NCL and RCCL) and had looked forward to the change to a river cruise. We booked this event with two other couples with whom we frequently travel. Being subscribers to our local PBS affiliate, we were very impressed with Vikings promotions around Masterpiece Theater and eagerly anticipated a wonderful experience. We would describe ourselves as active seniors, still working, but nearing retirement age. I believe we tend to be relaxed travelers and we fully understand that occasionally issues can and do arise when travelling. Further, we have never felt the need to write to any of our other cruise hosts before. However, simply filling out your survey forms would not be enough to express our feelings on this cruise. The following feedback may help Viking in the future. Please read it carefully. Unfortunately, this is a competitive business and at this point we do not envision we will be joining your company - river or ocean on any future cruises. Booking and travel to Embla We were very pleased with the booking process, materials received, outbound flights, the arrival process, hotel and tours in Bucharest on the first day. Everything was handled well; Viking personnel were helpful and courteous. Checking in to Embla The port facility at Juju in Romania was very rudimentary with a steep gangway. Passengers lined up in a very clumsy, poorly managed serpentine line in the main reception area. It was the poorest reception we have ever experienced. Check in was very slow. There was no seating available for those who could not stand for long periods. No refreshments were offered. Benchmark Princess if you want to understand best practice in this area. In addition, security at the dock was non-existent. We never felt unsafe, but there was nothing to deter anyone from Boarding Embla. Ship and Stateroom We really liked the design and layout of the Embla. There was very good use of space, well thought out. Our stateroom was clean and comfortable and our cabin steward, Helen was fine. As compared to ocean cruises, it was apparent at check in and on the first day that Embla is very short staffed. The normal short meeting and greeting with key members like cabin staff did not occur. We were surprised that robes and slippers were not available in the staterooms. This is a normal offering among premium cruise lines and was missed. Dining and Lounge Again – short staffed. There were too few waiters. Drinks had to be carried from the bar due to insufficient bar staff. Bar staff courtesy was wide ranging. One was outstanding, the others bordered on rude and with no sense of urgency. Again, this was far below expectations. The food quality was quite good and the waiter, Executive Chef, and the Maitre D’ were outstanding. They were personable and engaging. We travelled with a gluten free friend and the Maitre D' went out of his way to be helpful. These crew members deserve special recognition. However, it was clear that our waiter, had little assistance and too many tables to attend to. During several meals we had to ask 2 and 3 times for service (coffee, wine, dessert). Frustrations We learned from your Program Director , and several other crew members, that Embla had been experiencing diminished power on the downriver journey to Bucharest. As the Danube has about a 3-knot current, this was less of a factor down bound, but a significant hindrance when travelling upriver. By day 2 it became obvious that there were significant problems effecting travel speed and air conditioning. Knowing this before embarkation would have been preferable and had Viking been communicative and transparent the frustration and stress levels would have been more manageable. We also understand that Embla was sailing without a key officer – Hotel Manager. Compounding this situation was the fact that the Captain has very limited English skills. This left the entire communication responsibility to the Cruise Director. One, very dedicated, hard-working person trying to appease 180 plus passengers who were growing more frustrated by the hour. The Cruise Director worked diligently to assist passengers and create optional logistics for this cruise. She was not or could not be as transparent as we feel the situation required. In addition, required safety drills never occurred. There appeared to be a cooling system modification arranged on the rear deck of Embla. Frankly, Viking chose to sail an unsafe, non-seaworthy vessel. Among our group, we have great empathy for the Cruise Director. It was clear to us that she was not sufficiently empowered or informed and was left to largely “wing it”. We are sure that somewhere at Viking, there were persons assisting. We feel strongly, however, that Viking needs an emergency management plan and contingency plans. Ideally, it would have helped if senior representatives of Viking were dispatched immediately to Embla simply to help communicate and assist passengers. Again – one person cannot do this. The bus tours we went on were generally good, but on Wednesday, the tour was extended three times in order to keep people off the ship. It wasn’t until a passenger on the bus demanded to be taken back to the ship that we were informed there was no power on the ship and that everyone was taken off. We should have been continually informed of the condition of and on the ship. We felt like hostages, shuttled around to whatever facility in Russe, Bulgaria could accommodate our numbers. We were subjected to a short piano recital in a musty, poorly air-conditioned house. The talent level was adequate, but the piano was severely out of tune. There were insufficient chairs to sit on and the air was full of dust. It should also be noted that we were provided with the same meal – cucumber and tomato salad, vegetable soup, and meat stew for both lunch and dinner two days in a row. We were served lunch and dinner in the same restaurant that day and it had no toilets, just holes in the floor. This was not acceptable given the age of the many of the travelers and their physical limitations. When we finally returned and sailed that evening, it was clear that Embla was not making enough speed. Despite this, nothing was said to passengers until almost 18 hours later. At that point the trip was turned into a hastily arranged bus trip to Belgrade, Serbia (almost 10 hours). We received a letter in our stateroom as we prepared to board the busses to Belgrade Basically, it said, don’t ask about compensation, a basic don’t call us, we will call you response…. This was hardly reassuring given Vikings performance up to that point. Of course, we did receive our bill and an insistence that we settle it before getting on the bus. Fellow passengers were not charged for their bar bills, but nothing was said to those of us that had purchased the beverage package about receiving a refund. This approach appeared to be quite one sided. We have experienced an unfortunate weather delay on another cruise line (Princess). As it was safety related, the Captain chose to stay in port for 3 days. It was an unfortunate, but unavoidable decision. Even though Princess had zero actual culpability for the weather, the entire crew sprang into action, arranging tours, entertainment etc. Most importantly, a very generous compensation offer was received before we departed. By being proactive, Princess turned a difficult situation into a customer loyalty generator. We immediately booked another cruise and have booked several others since that time. We had hoped to develop a similar loyalty relationship with Viking. Moving off Embla was relatively efficient, at the expense of service in the dining room. Tables were not cleared, and it was a mess. We were served on dirty tablecloths and not given napkins. On the epic journey to Serbia, the bus had to detour because of closed roads and stop at a small petrol station (2 stalls) for a rest stop. To say this was disorganized would be a gross understatement. A better option would have been to cancel the trip day 1 and arrange everyone safe onward passage home from Bucharest or assist in making alternate travel plans. The trip to Belgrade was uneventful but long. Lunch was an adequate but uninteresting buffet. Having arrived in Belgrade we checked into the Hyatt Regency. The check in was efficient and fast and the rooms were quite nice. The dinner buffet and the breakfast for the next two days were at best mediocre. As seasoned business travelers, we would rate the food as basic convention food. On the first night each diner was restricted to a single glass of wine or beer of modest quality. Viking made no effort to provide the type of dining experience or entertainment that we would expect on Embla. Any additional drinks or food we wanted we paid for out of pocket despite having the Viking beverage package. The tour of Belgrade was well done and the lunch at Two Deer’s restaurant was very good. As mentioned, this was followed by a mediocre dinner without any effort to entertain or accommodate the guests. Our fellow traveler with the gluten intolerance was at this point left to fend for herself. The bus trip to Budapest was long and arduous. Over 3 hours were wasted at border crossings. The busses had no WIFI and no electrical connection points. For people travelling who had a need to keep in touch with work or relatives back home, this situation was unacceptable. Lunch at the local village homes was decent but rushed due to the delays at the Croatian border. No dietary accommodations were made. We faced a pouring rainstorm in Croatia where it was discovered that the bus roof escape hatch leaked. The bus toilet on this leg of the trip was also out of service. It should be noted that by this time in the journey the poor Cruise Director was beyond shattered. She had lost her voice. More importantly, she had lost her ability to be at all empathetic. She was simply trying to endure until we arrived in Budapest. They failed over 180 passengers as well as failing several dedicated Viking employees. By this time information flow for us and the onward Amsterdam travelers had gone to zero. We just rode on busses. Vikings motto is “Travelling the World in Comfort”. This was an epic failure. We basically felt like we were kept in the dark and held hostage by Viking for almost the entire trip. Once in Budapest we got somewhat back on track. However, our accommodation was changed from the Hotel Intercontinental to the Corinthia. Corinthia is a nice hotel but is not situated along the river and is a long walk from most major attractions. The food served by Corinthia was largely uninteresting and the service was mediocre. The Maitre D’ informed us that he was not given much time to prepare and react and as a result was waiting tables himself. In fact, the exact same meal was provided at the Spoon Restaurant while on tour at lunch and then again in the hotel dining room. Again – Viking was simply reacting, not planning. Upon retiring for the evening, we discovered that our room had no air conditioning. We spoke to Viking’s Desk at the Hotel the next morning. The young man quickly pointed out that the hotel was “completely booked”. Another young lady from Viking stepped in and said she would have a word with the hotel. Upon return that evening, the problem persisted. We went directly to the hotel and they dispatched repairman that evening. Again – Viking staffs’ lack of urgency and total apathy was appalling. We understand that a Vice President of Viking came to Budapest and conducted a meeting for those people that were continuing to Amsterdam. At that time, they were offered compensation. Why was a meeting not held for the rest of us? Total silence is all we received. No apology, no compassion for what we were experiencing, no recognition of our disappointment due to what we anticipated versus what we were experiencing. Upon departure from Budapest for the airport, we were met by Viking staff and rode the Viking bus. The young lady who met us at the airport told us to line up in que 1, 2 or 3 which reflected our airline status (premium economy and Star Alliance Premier Access). Upon opening the check in, the airport officials redirected us to the end of the long economy que. Another nuisance reflecting the lack of training of Viking staff. Of course, by that time, Viking staff had departed the airport, so we got in line and waited. Recommendation – never sail with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Having (Ocean) cruised for a few times we decided we should try a river cruise. We had heard good reports from friends so gave it a go. We arrived at Bucharest expecting to go on Emerald Destiny and found out it was going to be Emerald ... Read More
Having (Ocean) cruised for a few times we decided we should try a river cruise. We had heard good reports from friends so gave it a go. We arrived at Bucharest expecting to go on Emerald Destiny and found out it was going to be Emerald Star. We had not been told, in fact our agent had checked only a few days previously and was told there were no changes. No matter, the ships are virtually identical. We found the plusses tp be ALL inclusive, a more personal feeling (only 169 passengers) able to regularly meet the same people who we enjoyed being with and more to see as always in sight of land. On the minus side we found cabin space quite limited especially hanging space which was only fifteen inches of usable rail. Despite having a 'balcony' passengers were encouraged not to open the window when moving. Entertainment was very limited unless you are keen on quizzes and games. The couple of performances by local artists were however very good. The dining room was so noisy. All glass and chrome it did not absorb any of the sound. It was almost impossible to talk to people on the same table. This was made worse by only the one sitting where almost everyone came in at once which significantly affected the time it took to be served. Dinner times were consistently over two hours long which may be fine for some but too long for us. Mooring places could sometimes be a bit grim. Just a floating dock in the middle of nowhere. Two or three of the trips took place whilst the ship was moving to another place so with quite a bit of overnight cruising there was not a great deal of moving whilst on board during the day. We had to try it but I think it will be big ship cruising from now on. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. This cruise was very interesting and informative. The crew could not have been better. To say they were wonderful would be an understatement. Our waiters were amazing and attentive. The front desk was helpful and ... Read More
Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. This cruise was very interesting and informative. The crew could not have been better. To say they were wonderful would be an understatement. Our waiters were amazing and attentive. The front desk was helpful and informative. Our cruise director was very genuine and knowledgeable, and always made an effort to talk to everyone. The ship is beautiful. There is a lovely pool and in the evening the floor goes over it and it is turned into a cinema! Our rooms were always kept neat and it was truly refreshing coming back to the room after a full day of activities! After dinner, it was always a joy coming back to a pillow chocolate! We even had adorable towel bunnies which were quite impressive! The activities were great for people of all ages, children to the elderly, and I could rave about the service forever, but I am about to go sit atop the lovely sun deck on the ship!:) (We are on the Emerald Star traveling from Bucharest to Budapest. It wouldn’t allow me to properly click which destination or date! We boarded 07/13/19 and disembark 07/21/19! We are on the Danube additionally not the Rhine, this website wouldn’t allow me to properly click my cruise but I just had to fill this out because my experience was unforgettable.) Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We choose to cruise as we wanted to experience something different. We thought it would be a relaxing and luxurious way to travel whilst being able to visit several countries on the way. From the moment we arrived at the ship there was a ... Read More
We choose to cruise as we wanted to experience something different. We thought it would be a relaxing and luxurious way to travel whilst being able to visit several countries on the way. From the moment we arrived at the ship there was a warm and friendly welcome from the cruise director Balazs and the other staff that greeted us. We found our cabin to be well equipped, comfortable and quite spacious. We soon got used to life on board and found there were and good choice of excursions and activities to suit everyone. The friendliness of all crew and staff made the trip very enjoyable. They were helpful, polite and efficient and nothing was too much trouble. There was a wonderful ambience on board the ship and it was very easy to join in the social activities on offer. We enjoyed this cruise so much, it exceeded our expectations and we would not hesitate to cruise again with Emerald. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We had never been cruising before as a full holiday, only as part of a longer holiday and for less time. We did not really know what to expect. We chose Viking Cruises because they were recommended and have a good reputation. We were not ... Read More
We had never been cruising before as a full holiday, only as part of a longer holiday and for less time. We did not really know what to expect. We chose Viking Cruises because they were recommended and have a good reputation. We were not disappointed! Viking are extremely efficient and well-organised down to small details. The pre-cruise preparation was very good and informative. Flights, pick-ups and transfers were meticulously organised. Hotel accommodation prior to, and subsequent to the actual cruise was excellent. Accommodation on board was very good. We had a stateroom with a balcony to the river. Although we did not actually spend much time on the balcony it was nice to have it. A great strength of the experience was the ship's crew. They were all excellent from the management staff and organisers to the chambermaid. The food and catering were excellent as well. We had the 'Silver Spirits' package for drinks, paid in advance. Not sure we would do that again. Viking arranged shore excursions every day and they were very well organised. Other excursions were always on offer. We passed along the Danube through five Eastern European countries and were fascinated to see them, though they are probably less spectacular than, say, The Rhine. Eastern Europe is poorer than Western Europe and has had a sad history. We never felt pressured to do things or overwhelmed. We felt there was a sense of space on the Viking Idun (135 meters long) despite some 180 passengers. Our fellow-passengers, mostly Americans, were absolutely delightful. I think Viking are probably a more expensive line - but you get what you have paid for. We felt very secure and confident with Viking, and if we were to go cruising again, our first choice would be Viking! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The duration and locations, especially starting on the Black Sea. Very happy we went from east to west as it consistently got better all the way to Prague. Budapest and Prague were great large cities and the smaller towns like Durnstein ... Read More
The duration and locations, especially starting on the Black Sea. Very happy we went from east to west as it consistently got better all the way to Prague. Budapest and Prague were great large cities and the smaller towns like Durnstein and Pecs were great surprises. The Passion was very nice with a small spa, but the exercise room was way too small. I couldn't lift the weights up as they hit the ceiling and the max weight was 10k. Matre'd was very accommodating to my wife's pepper allergies and there were some vegetables at the breakfast buffet for me. The tours of the towns and cities were well done, although most of the guides have their speech idocincracies. The presence of the Habsburg family made it a special themed cruise and more personal (only the portion from Budapest to Regensburg). By the end, we had heard the stories repeated so many times about Sissy, that we didn't want to hear anymore. Would have liked to have been involved with more sustainable activities and performances, like our Avalon cruise on the Mekong. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This trip was with Vantage Deluxe World Travel. Grand European Sojourn Bucharest to Bonn on June 23 2019. Since we live in the Phoenix Arizona area, we experienced a very long flight from Arizona to Romainia. Several transfers with ... Read More
This trip was with Vantage Deluxe World Travel. Grand European Sojourn Bucharest to Bonn on June 23 2019. Since we live in the Phoenix Arizona area, we experienced a very long flight from Arizona to Romainia. Several transfers with reasonable lay-over times to get to Romainia. We used Vantage for airline routes which was better than what we found on our own. Arriving in Burcharest I was very tired due to not sleeping at all on any of the flights. When we finally reached the airport, customs was a breeze & retrieved our luggage headed for the exit. A Vantage representative was waiting for us & gave directions for our transportation to the hotel. As we had to wait for other connecting flights it took over 90 minutes to finally board the bus & no help with our luggage. This process was a disaster with all the arriving passengers upset & tired. Vantage should have handled this much better. The groups arriving at this time were going on a pre-extension excursion by land to the Romainia town of Brasov for the next 4 nights after a short day & evening in Bucharest. The Aro Palace Hotel in Brasov was excellent with a great location in easy walking distance to the center of old town. Town has it's historical sites, with many restaurants, churches, & bars. The food was very good, the atmosphere lively, servers friendly & spoke good English. Town was very busy with many travelers from North America & all of Europe. Our excursions were mostly out of town & through the countryside. Our group consisted of about 70 people loaded in 2 buses. Our local guide Vio was very informative & friendly throughout the entire time all 4 days. He offered us many things we could do on our own, restaurant suggestions,& some local sites we should visit. Group was split up with 2 local guides used the entire time while in Brasov. Both guides were excellent. After a short tour on the last morning we headed to Bucharest & the port to embark on the riverboat to begin the cruise. This process was very smooth & we were quickly in our cabin with our luggage. We organized our clothing with suitable storage & plenty of closet space. Super bathroom & a large shower bigger than any I have experienced on ocean cruises. Cabin had a small french balcony so we could open the glass door & experience the scenery & fresh air. Then the next day we would visit Rouse, Bulgaria. Itinerary as follows: Donji Milanovac Serbia Danube River Sailing Belgrade Serbia Vukovar Croatia Mohacs Hungary Kalocsa/Budapest Hungary Budapest Hungary Budapest/Sailing Hungary Sailing/Vienna Austria Vienna Austria Krems Austria Passau Germany Regensburg Germany Nurnberg Germany Bamberg Germany Wurzburg Germany Marktheidenfeld Germany Aschaffenburg Germany Rudesheim Germany Heidelberg Germany Cologne Germany The last port Cologne,after a full day's visit is a 2 hour bus ride to Frankfurt early the next morning to catch the plane home. This is a very port intensive trip with lots of walking on each excursion. Everywhere was interesting with it's own unique adventure. Some ports offered as many as 3 choices from Vantage for the day. You always have the options for DIY trips in port. Group size is usually around 25 people with headsets. Dress is casual & comfortable. No shorts in the dining room for dinner. Most travelers usually wore the same outfit for dinner as they used on the excursion. No formal nights, however most dressed better for Captain's Dinner or a special event only 4 nights during the entire trip. Captain & crew were very friendly. Front desk was exceptional in handling your requests & informing us of any changes. Housing keeping was the absolute best. Food average with many buffets & several choices. Some dinners were great, but mostly average. Servers seemed over-whelmed with too many tables to handle at dinner. Beer & wine is served & included with dinner only. If you want more than one glass of wine, you must request it. None of the alcohol was free flowing. The rest of the crew was very good in handling the boat & moving passengers on & off the boat. Total passenger count was 176. The cruise director & his assistant did a nice job engaging with the passengers & their needs. Never to busy to answer your questions. Finally: This was a wonderful trip. Mostly good weather & enjoyable entertainment brought on board in the evening to perform in the lounge. We also enjoyed the piano player who played nightly on the cruise. It became obvious that some passengers should not have taken this trip due to their mobility issues & missed some very interesting sites. My single complaint is this: With all the cruising on the river & spending most of my time on the sun deck enjoying the weather, there is no place to obtain a water, coke, or adult beverage. You had to walk down to the lounge to obtain any of the items & return to the upper deck. Absolutely no service on the sun deck. Why ??? Think Vantage is missing an opportunity to sell more beverages. Since there is no alcohol package, I thought prices were high. All purchases were in Euros & same high price as the mass market cruise ship lines. This did not slowdown my purchasing but did make it rather inconvenient. We chose this trip because we have never visited Eastern Europe or further east than Budapest. We learned much history, current Russian interference in several of these countries, more about food, music, dance & customs. We found the locals to be friendly & helpful. Most of the young people were excited to practice their English when speaking with us. Most of the areas visited now realizing the value of tourism. Vendors were not pushy & really appreciated any purchases made. This added greatly to the overall pleasures of this trip. Our age is early 70's & in good health with no mobility issues. Strongly suggest you exercise, get in shape, & can walk 2-4 miles when on land. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
After a not very pleasant experience last year on the Rhine with Viking we decided to take this time Lif on a cruise between Bucharest to Budapest. What a massive difference! Everything was far above all expectations. The food was ... Read More
After a not very pleasant experience last year on the Rhine with Viking we decided to take this time Lif on a cruise between Bucharest to Budapest. What a massive difference! Everything was far above all expectations. The food was amazing, and we had the chance to visit Chef’s Michael kitchen were all our lovely meals were prepared daily. The cabin steward Raduh was the most friendly and efficient we ever meet on cruise ships. In the restaurant our server Martina was always smiling with excellent manners and coping perfectly with my husband’s complicated diet. We spend a lot of time in the bar chatting with chief barman Christian for Bulgaria; his stories was as great as his cocktails! Johnny and Susan were extremely attentive, with a lot of knowledge about the cities we visited and always having a suggestion for our free time. Being so approachable they manage to balance the arrogance and “I know all” attitude of the hotel manager Joseph, a personality a little bit to big for his shoes. The excursions were fantastic opportunities to discover a new world and the new stop in Iron Gate was a pleasant surprise from Viking. Sometimes the guides in Bulgaria and Romania were a little bit annoying talking too much, like reading a script but to one in Belgrade were fantastic! The only failure of this trip was a lecture about Serbian war incredible balanced and the lecturer manage to upset everybody, blaming Western Countries. for the horrible war from 1990. I save the best for last: our Cruise Director Leonard. He really made our trip: extended knowledge, dedication, sense of humour, a talent to mix historic facts with legends and traditions and a 24 hours genuine smile and passion made him the best cruise director we’ve meet in more than 12 cruises we took. The stories when sailing the Iron Gate were at the level of Discovery Chanel documentaries, his lecture about European Union and Dracula perfect mix between facts and sense of humour and the evening with memories from Ceauseschu time was overwhelming. No wonder why he got tears and standing ovations for more than 10 minutes. What a great personality. We are thinking very seriously to repeat our cruise on the Rhine but only is Lenard will be on board. Viking Cruises – you are a great way to travel and that’s 95% because of the crew and people like Leonard. tell us when Leonhard is again on board and we will be there! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We went from Bucharest to Bonn Germany. Wanted to visit the lower river mainly. We have visited most of the ports from Buda - Pest to Bonn. We arrived in Bucharest on June 24 2019. There was much confusion at the airport about waiting ... Read More
We went from Bucharest to Bonn Germany. Wanted to visit the lower river mainly. We have visited most of the ports from Buda - Pest to Bonn. We arrived in Bucharest on June 24 2019. There was much confusion at the airport about waiting for more connecting flights to arrive, before we were taken to our hotel in Bucharest. This process took over 2 hours with a Vantage rep, who was also confused about how to get our luggage down several flights of steps to a designated area were the bus could park. No assistance or help from anyone. This was very difficult for most of the passengers. No carts or luggage handlers available to assistance after having a 14 hour flight to Romainia. Also one must consider the average of these travelers is 70+ Once at the hotel things improved & were much better organized. Next morning a quick city tour & a bus ride down to Brasov, which was about 2.5 hours. Transylvania is beautiful & we enjoyed our stay in town during our 4 nights. Touring days were long, as we returned to Brasov each evening. The last day we would tour locally & then meet the boat outside of Burcharest to the northwest about 1.5 hour drive to embark on the next 16 days on the river. Arriving at the boat was quick & simple. Cabins were ready & finally we could hang-up all of our clothes & not use the suitcase for the next 15 days... The River Voyager is Vantage's newest boat built in 2016. The cabins are modern & good size with a french balcony. The showers are large & well appointed including a hand held shower head. The theme is jazz throughout the boat. Funny tho... I did not hear any Jazz background music during the entire voyager. We took most of the optional excursions & all the included ones. Most were very good with local guides. Nuremberg was a very poor tour & extremely short on time. This is not the local guides fault, but a decision made by Vantage. ( Change this ) The Medieval City needs much more time to be explored. Food is subjective: Thought most of the dinners were very average lacking quality & taste. Few spices used, most items seemed very bland. Breakfast is a buffet & lunch sometimes. Many choices & happy with these offerings. Wine & beer served at dinner. For my taste the wine were of poor quality & did not represent the countries we were traveling thru. Also felt the pours were small & not too often. Service is slow up in the lounge before dinner. Need more servers & 2 bartenders. No service on the Sun Deck. They need a mini-bar service especially on full cruise days. Laundry service is adequate, but expensive. The cruise director & his assistant were excellent. Crew is friendly & officers & captain engaged with the passengers. The on board entertainment was good with classical music & dancers performing their specialties. Finally... overall cruise was good. Weather cooperated most days. Passengers are well traveled & friendly. Due to some outstanding service by housekeeping, one bartender, the head waiter & assistant, along with the piano player, we tipped extra to these individuals. Our trip from Bonn to Frankfurt for the airport was almost 2 hours on the bus. We boarded at 5 am for 10:15 departure back to the USA. This made for a very long travel day. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was our third Viking river cruise. The ship, staff and food met Viking's high standards. The itinerary was uninspiring and I would not recommend it. That's not Viking's fault - they can hardly recreate such awe ... Read More
This was our third Viking river cruise. The ship, staff and food met Viking's high standards. The itinerary was uninspiring and I would not recommend it. That's not Viking's fault - they can hardly recreate such awe inspiring countries as Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Croatia. They all seemed very much the same. One low light excursion was the Viking provided excursion when the contract tour guide the Balkan war by saying, "Remember, we (Serbs) were the good guys". He brushed aside the facts about Serb committed genocide. That "rewrite of history" was disappointing. The best excursion was when we had tea and "cookies" with a Croatian family. it was a residence that was also a B&B. An authentic visit. The ship's staff were amazing. They were attentive and has a great sense of humor. The daily briefings were always interesting and informative. I am now adding more words to meet the standard for submission. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Chose this cruise as it was an area we were interested in seeing. We stopped at very interesting places which gave us access to local history and culture in a comfortable manner. The guides were particularly good and made the historical ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it was an area we were interested in seeing. We stopped at very interesting places which gave us access to local history and culture in a comfortable manner. The guides were particularly good and made the historical information very interesting. We had an extended stay in Bucharest at the beginning of the holiday at the Raddison Blue hotel which proved to be a good start to an excellent holiday. We were able to explore this wonderful city as well as having a city tour before embarkation. We joined the ship and were shown to our cabin by one of the ships stewards who told us about the facilities in the cabin. The meals on board have been excellent and good choices at each sitting. The restaurant staff have been very helpful and attentive throughout. We have enjoyed the entertainment on board but on a special note was Brett's performance. Also our cabin steward was excellent and always mindful of our needs. The shore excursions we joined were interesting and helped us understand local culture Our Cruise Director,Patricia, was most excellent at her job, very helpful and very pleasant at all times. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
* Scenic river boat cruise from Bucharest to Budapest. * It was nothing short of a nightmare. * We will never set foot on a cruise ship again. * The cost of the cruise was very expensive and I expected there to be checks and ... Read More
* Scenic river boat cruise from Bucharest to Budapest. * It was nothing short of a nightmare. * We will never set foot on a cruise ship again. * The cost of the cruise was very expensive and I expected there to be checks and balances in place to protect the traveler. ie there was no doctor on the boat to administer to people who got sick. * We were sent 2 Scenic back packs which was a waste of money. I wish we had been asked if we wanted them. * The limo service sent to pick us up and return us from the airport costs 3 times what I could have made the same arrangements for. We did not pay the limo driver directly for this but Scenic would have this built into the cost of the cruise. Again, another waste of money. * Our cabin on the boat was at the back and our bed vibrated while the boat was moving. This made me feel nauseous. * A number of people arrived on the boat sick with a respiratory infection which quickly spread to other passengers. I was one of the people to get sick and spent several days in my cabin sleeping. I was so sick that I couldn't eat or drink at most meals. * When we finally got off the boat in Budapest I had the hotel call me a doctor. He put me on 7 days of antibiotics. Scenic were negligent in not bringing on a doctor to tend to those who were sick. * Every day the cruise director spent an inordinate amount of time patting himself on the back and telling us what a good job they were doing. This was totally un-necessary and a waste of our time. * Also time spent on the buses on the first 2 days of the 'cruise' was excessive. When we asked our tour guide how far we had travelled in the 2 days, he told us it was 500 kms. Never did we think that we had signed up for that amount of motor coach travel. * I'm asking Scenic to step up to the plate and offer us a rebate on what we were charged for this cruise. I feel like I just threw away $11,000 on this cruise and I'm asking for a sizable rebate. I'm NOT interested in any coupons for future travel as I will never set foot on a cruise ship again as I classify them as floating germ incubators. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We joined this cruise to see a snapshot of Eastern Europe. WOW what a wonderful experience. The ship was beautifully equipped and staffed by very hard working staff. Nothing was too much trouble for them and they never stopped working. ... Read More
We joined this cruise to see a snapshot of Eastern Europe. WOW what a wonderful experience. The ship was beautifully equipped and staffed by very hard working staff. Nothing was too much trouble for them and they never stopped working. The cabin was a delight and the balcony, a great sanctuary. The food throughout was delicious. The excursions were excellent particularly the concert in Bratislava which was a brilliant experience. The variety of excursions on each day meant there was something for everyone. The Cruise Director Hunar was tireless with a wonderful sense of humour. The crew were a credit to the ship. The Pianist Martin was excellent. The Butler service was superb and always given with a smile. We suggest that making them partners/ shareholders in the business would reward their efforts. The Captain can be rightly proud of his crew. We look forward to our next cruise with Scenic. Trish and Terry Turner Read Less
Sail Date April 2019

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click