34 Bucharest River Cruise Reviews

We sailed on 13th sept 2017 We chose this cruise from Bucharest to Budapest because of the itinerary and we were not disappointed. The various trips out and the insight into the history was excellent. We were supposed to be on Sky ... Read More
We sailed on 13th sept 2017 We chose this cruise from Bucharest to Budapest because of the itinerary and we were not disappointed. The various trips out and the insight into the history was excellent. We were supposed to be on Sky but it was changed to Sun, which was no problem as the ships are identical. The ship itself was spotless, every one of the crew was helpful and polite. The shiny surfaces, glass and mirrored surfaces did take a bit of getting used to, and could be a bit of a problem especially the stairs where we saw a few near accidents. The balcony suite was fine, always kept immaculately clean by Darko. Plenty of hanging storage as the safe has now been moved. The dining experience however was nothing like as advertised. The dining room itself is extremely noisy, and the only way to converse with fellow passengers is to shout, making it an uncomfortable experience. The food was to say the least disappointing and not at all as represented in the brochure. I have to say however, a fellow traveller who had recently been on Sky said the meals on there were excellent. Portions were extremely small, bland and unappetising. Several guests felt they had to order double to be satisfied. A starter of meatballs should not only consist of one meatball, neither should the cheese board consist of three tiny cubes of cheese with a similar thumbnail size of chutney and no crackers. We flew KLM Manchester via Schiphol threw Emerald. When we arrived in Bucharest our luggage along with quite a few other couples failed to arrive. We duly filled in the claim form, went out into arrivals to find all the transport had gone. Ourselves with one other couple after landing at 1.20pm had to wait until 5.20pm for transport, despite the Emerald rep telling us first of all it would only be 10mins. She then asked us to wait for the London flight promising us to be first on the transport. We were then totally ignored when the transport arrived but managed to tag on at the end. When we got to the hotel our cruise director Yana took details of our lost luggage, but after that showed no interest in it unless we asked her. We were not informed the night after when it arrived and the following morning it had disappeared again, thankfully found on another floor!! As a result of this we went from Wednesday morning till Saturday afternoon in the clothes we stood up in. Yana did say on the Friday, again after asking what we should do, that we had €100 each for necessities. This experience soured what should have been a very enjoyable holiday. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We had serious limitations as to the dates and the amount of time for traveling this year; we have always been intrigued by some of the former communist countries with a great past and their way back to democracy. While we were told that ... Read More
We had serious limitations as to the dates and the amount of time for traveling this year; we have always been intrigued by some of the former communist countries with a great past and their way back to democracy. While we were told that this trip went to places that were not that interesting, we found that, on the contrary, they were very different from other places and enjoyable in their own way. The cruise might not be at par with some of our previous cruises that went to Praga, Budapest, Amsterdam, etc., but the ship made for it. Brand new, the cabins were bigger and more comfortable that all the others in Avalon and Viking. There were 2 dinners that were spectacular with 5 course meals; all the others were very good. Tours were interesting and the price unbeatable. Highly recommended. The only negative was the lack of entertainment at night. Even the hiring of local artist in the different ports or a good DJ would had made a difference Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Went with spouse and long term friends - everything i wanted and more. The land trips could be arduous - "The Land of Stone Steps" - ramps anyone...? But the value of the inclusive stuff is that you just get in the habit of ... Read More
Went with spouse and long term friends - everything i wanted and more. The land trips could be arduous - "The Land of Stone Steps" - ramps anyone...? But the value of the inclusive stuff is that you just get in the habit of going and enjoying. The accommodations were fine - this is not the class of a luxury cruise or dining - but very nice, well served and varied, and the off ship service was excellent - varied, friendly folks, and delightful settings. The Lower Danube was a sobering experience when you really looked into the infrastructure details - the civil engineering and utility issues they have after 40 years of communism and , tragic in many ways - a slow recovery; but a determined people. Serbia - Bosnia - et al - equally sobering, and not at all a settled matter - the powder keg of the Balkans is still smoldering. Of course, Budapest and Prague - lovely,and fascinating. We will be doing the rest of the trip - Budapest to Amsterdam - 2018. Bon Voyage Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
To learn about the Balkan discovery and country's of the area very good river cruises from the first day we arrive all was perfect and the beautiful smile from every body ,to the housekeeping was perfect and so good every day and ... Read More
To learn about the Balkan discovery and country's of the area very good river cruises from the first day we arrive all was perfect and the beautiful smile from every body ,to the housekeeping was perfect and so good every day and looking 3times a day , the dining area from breakfast , lunch and all beautiful dinners was more the 5stars all the food with Michael chef commando , and all the team working so hard was good to remember and the customer service so happy to found every solution to us , all the tours we take was good , but the only thing they need to review is the job of Sara tour manager , we need more professional point in this job , more communication and better preparicion many peoples was taking about her , but for us was okey this was my second river cruises and already planned the next one thanks Avalon to make my days so beautiful for my and my wife mr Martinez sciutto , Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
the grand euorpean cruise began in Ruse and ended in Cologne. The pre cruise extension was 5 days in Romania and were fantastic. A beautiful, but poor country was very clean and the mountain citiy of Brasov is a city I would return to ... Read More
the grand euorpean cruise began in Ruse and ended in Cologne. The pre cruise extension was 5 days in Romania and were fantastic. A beautiful, but poor country was very clean and the mountain citiy of Brasov is a city I would return to again. Some of the stops had extensive bus rides which now knowing I would avoid in the future. The ship was well run and the crew was exceptional. Evening meals could drag on for two hours but the dinning area at the rear of the ship was an always available buffet. The cabin was well designed and the bed and shower were fine for a guy of 6'6". The big problem I have with Vantage is the post cruise excursion was promoted as three additional nights in Amsterdam. Reading further I noticed it said two nights at the Barbizon Palace. I called Vantage and on the phone that the day they said that when others would be flying back we would in Amsterdam. We ended up with almost a full day and a half in Amsterdam. The new promotion for 2017 now states 2 more nights in Amsterdam and the price is less than the quoted 3 night 2016 extension. I can only say the same as the others who were on this extension that we were misled. Too bad the ship and crew work so hard because their customer service replied to my complaint with the 2 nights is the industry standard bull. They just wanted to get rid of me, not address the fact that there was not three nights in Amsterdam as promoted. If you go with Vantage be certain to question everything they promote and even then as happened to us they lied. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Amazing staff who cannot do enough to help, they work very long hours but always have a smile for you. The boat is dated, the rooms and bathroom are really tiny, but well equipped, no bar fridge in the room, the food on board is ... Read More
Amazing staff who cannot do enough to help, they work very long hours but always have a smile for you. The boat is dated, the rooms and bathroom are really tiny, but well equipped, no bar fridge in the room, the food on board is excellent, the dining room is lovely, the bar is also nice but on the small side. The top deck has very basic relax chairs, but once again the deck service on board is outstanding. The smoking area at the rear of the boat is an issue, I think the entire boat should be 100% non smoking, as several guests including myself found the cigarette smoke offensive. The included shore excursion's tours are good, the older guests enjoy being taken around in a big bus but if you are young at heart you might find the bus trips a bit tiresome. We enjoyed the cycle rides, and hoped we might have had some more fun activities, but we understood that the age group is older and their mobility is not that great. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
For our 20th wedding anniversary, we wanted to explore Eastern Europe with ease and this Viking Cruise exceeded our expectations. Everything was wonderful and we learned so much about the countries, people and history of each place we ... Read More
For our 20th wedding anniversary, we wanted to explore Eastern Europe with ease and this Viking Cruise exceeded our expectations. Everything was wonderful and we learned so much about the countries, people and history of each place we visited. We also got to know and understand the culture (food, entertainment, lifestyle) of the countries we visited. The service was 1st rate; we didn't have to think about anything, as they handled it all for us and were so pleasant. Embarking and disembarking was so smooth and easy. The shore excursions were quite the mix of activities and explored the various aspects of each country and culture. The entertainment was fun and lively. Our cabin was spacious, comfortable and had everything we needed. The food was awesome and there was such a variety. The waiters in the restaurant and lounge were so kind and generous. The ship was the perfect size with just the right amount of people... we got to know most everyone, but could also find a quite spot to take a nap or read. We would go again and plan on taking other Viking Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We recently returned from a Viking cruise on the Danube. The parts of the cruise planned by Viking are well done. One guide in Budapest was awful but the rest were outstanding. The Best of Budapest optional excursion is expensive ... Read More
We recently returned from a Viking cruise on the Danube. The parts of the cruise planned by Viking are well done. One guide in Budapest was awful but the rest were outstanding. The Best of Budapest optional excursion is expensive but truly worth it. The food is good and the wine/beer at meals is included. Unless you drink A LOT you rarely have to buy anything on board. There's little time outside of meals and an hour or so in the evening. Doing laundry on board is VERY expensive. $2.00 for a pair of underwear or socks. Our luggage was lost by the airline and Viking was indifferent in their response to assisting us getting it returned. The concierge (Darko) on our ship (Viking Aegir) was useless in either retrieving our lost luggage or booking tickets for events in Budapest after the cruise. Viking cruises are wonderful IF everything goes as they've planned and you don't want anything more. We saw other ships on the river and I'm not at all sure what we received was heads above the others. The price certainly is. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
It went to the countries we wanted to visit. We've never done a river cruise or large cruise of any type. We preferred small group tours. We were impressed with the way the "local" staff took a personal and caring ... Read More
It went to the countries we wanted to visit. We've never done a river cruise or large cruise of any type. We preferred small group tours. We were impressed with the way the "local" staff took a personal and caring interest in all of us. Having some seafood and GF issues, Brian made sure I knew what I could eat and he took personal responsibility to be sure my needs were met. Each day was comfortably filled with cultural experiences with a briefing the night before, often from locals who shared their personal experiences. We learned much from the locals on the ship and on land. We were amazed at how calm the boat docks and takes off. I could never tell, even while looking, when these things happened. Accommodations greatly exceeded our expectations with incredible efficiency. The bathroom with heated mirrors were efficiently designed. We traveled with another couple and we made new friends from all over the world. Fascinating, informative sharing of differences and similarities in our countries. We have just arranged our second trip! We had not planned to do it so soon...but conditions made available to us were impossible to resist! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We had wanted to try a European river cruise. We had lived in Europe for 3 years during the Cold War so we chose Eastern Europe to see 5 countries and 3 major cities where then behind the Iron Curtain. Highlights: Planning was easy ... Read More
We had wanted to try a European river cruise. We had lived in Europe for 3 years during the Cold War so we chose Eastern Europe to see 5 countries and 3 major cities where then behind the Iron Curtain. Highlights: Planning was easy Making travel plans allowed for routing and upgrade options We received all the information we needed to plan & back Reception and return support was individual or small groups for individual flights Viking obviously selects only the best personnel, trains them to high standards and compensates them well enough to retain them and sustains exceptional service. While they anticipate every need, if you have to ask for anything, the answer is "yes sir, of course, right away, how many would you like, was that satisfactory, is there anything else and so on. But they are not overly solicitous. I felt like the crew were friends, easy to talk with and interested in our impressions and questions. Selection of tours allowed us to see and learn so much more than being on our own and yet there was time on our own to wonder around or take short side trips. Facilities, food, and service inconstant exceptional. we have planned the next trip and evaluating the options for the one after that. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our second cruise with Viking; and, like the first (Prague to Paris 5 months earlier), the experience was wonderful. We appreciated and Viking's focus on the cultural and historical aspects of the places we visited, in both ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Viking; and, like the first (Prague to Paris 5 months earlier), the experience was wonderful. We appreciated and Viking's focus on the cultural and historical aspects of the places we visited, in both their shore excursions and their on-board programs. (Thank goodness no Vegas-like shows.) On this trip, we were able to really get to know the history of the area and understand what gave rise to the term "Balkanization". The in-home cooking lesson in Bulgaria and afternoon tea in Croatia gave us a chance to really connect with local folks. And our program director's slide show about growing up in Slovakia combined with other cruise presentations led us to a realization that, behind the "Iron Curtain", the quality of one's life varied with the "benevolence" of one's own local dictator - Romania pretty bad, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia pretty good. The food and the ship were both top-notch. But Viking's true strength is in the people it hires. On both our cruises, we had great cruise directors. But more than that, the entire on-board staffs were truly (not just overtly) friendly and helpful, almost to a fault. This is what leads us to recommend Viking without hesitation. And we've just booked our third cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our first Viking cruise, but it CERTAINLY won't be our last! We've done several ocean cruises on different lines, but we hit the jackpot on our first river cruise. We sailed from Bucharest, Romania to Amsterdam with the ... Read More
This was our first Viking cruise, but it CERTAINLY won't be our last! We've done several ocean cruises on different lines, but we hit the jackpot on our first river cruise. We sailed from Bucharest, Romania to Amsterdam with the most impressive crew we've ever encountered. When we told the waiter during our first meal that my wife has a shellfish allergy, he immediately brought over the Maitre d' who not only took my wife's order for that and subsequent meals, ensuring no entre she wanted contained something she shouldn't eat, but he typically served them as well. The Concierge was equally exceptional. When my laptop computer 'died' during the cruise, she took it into the next port of call and had it repaired while my wife and I were on a shore excursion. The entire crew was the epitome of outstanding customer service! Our cabin was always spotless, the food superb. Shore excursions were well thought out and masterfully executed. No detail was too small to be overlooked. An absolutely phenomenal experience! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was a great experience on The Viking Alta. Great crew and wonderful accommodations with many interesting visits along the Danube River. This is for sure to "old world Europe" do in part to the influence of communist ... Read More
This was a great experience on The Viking Alta. Great crew and wonderful accommodations with many interesting visits along the Danube River. This is for sure to "old world Europe" do in part to the influence of communist occupation but all the strength go the people. We meet so many wonderful people along the way from the various tour guides, to the village people we meet along the way to all the passenger and crew we meet during our trip. The Alta was a beautiful and comfortable ship and our suite was very tastefully presented, and quite spacious. The entertainment was just right and the crew did a wonderful job keeping us busy. The ports were vey interesting and the tours were outstanding and very educational. The on board dining experience was very good and there was always a good selection at each meal. We would highly recommend Viking and the Eastern European Cruise to all. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was a very good experience for our first river cruise. I like Viking's business model where you pay up front and don't have to worry about paying for tours, lunch and dinner beverages, and much of the tipping. The crew was ... Read More
This was a very good experience for our first river cruise. I like Viking's business model where you pay up front and don't have to worry about paying for tours, lunch and dinner beverages, and much of the tipping. The crew was pleasant and helpful and we really admired how they handled the Danusbe's low water complications without breaking a sweat. The excursions were worthwhile but, like I'm sure many people say, I wish there had been just a bit more time to shop for souveniers, etc. By the time we returned to the ship, I was usually too tired to go out again. My problem!! I thought Viking did a nice job getting people off and back on the ship each day. The small number of people on the Aegir was most welcome and the open dining room was a nice way to get to meet new people throughout the journey. One ctriticism. The ship sold a thumb drive with pictures from our trip for $20 or euro (can't remember). The photos were not good enough nor plentiful enough to be worth that price. And how refreshing to be told that we were welcome to buy local wines and beers and bring them on board--no charge to open them for dinner. I didn't experience that on a big oceanliner! Most of the enrichment and entertainment brought on board were very interesting. The local guides were well informed and pleasant to speak with. Also enjoyed the Home Visit very much. Please consider including in the packet sent out before the trip a little nicer and more detailed map of our adventure. We will be back for more Viking pampering. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
My husband and I decided to take our first river cruise in celebration of our 45th wedding anniversary. Several different friends had tried Viking's river cruises and loved them. When we were growing up, most of the countries visited ... Read More
My husband and I decided to take our first river cruise in celebration of our 45th wedding anniversary. Several different friends had tried Viking's river cruises and loved them. When we were growing up, most of the countries visited on this cruise were ruled first by the Nazis and then the Communists, so we were really interested in visiting these places that had been closed to the West for so long. (Also, I had visited Holland and East Berlin 50 years ago, just before the Wall, so wanted to see how they had changed.) We arrive in Bucharest 2 days early to recover from jet lag. The Viking representatives in our hotel were very friendly and answered our questions about getting to the ship and boarding. The Elba is a beautiful ship. Everything looked new, and the managers and crew couldn't have been more competent and helpful. We enjoyed seeing the beautiful views of villages, landscapes, and even some wildlife from our veranda stateroom. The dining room was comfortable, and seats were not assigned, so we were free get acquainted with many of our shipmates and re-join those we found compatible. Food was plentiful and delicious, with many options, on or off the menus. Room service also was offered. The summer heat (close to 100 degrees) and drought (Danube about 6 feet lower than normal) were major challenges that the staff handled expertly. Leonard, our amazing program director, kept us informed of every development as early as possible. When the river's level finally was too low for the ship to proceed through the locks, we were told to leave our packed suitcases outside our rooms in the morning before boarding buses for our city tour of Nuremburg. When the tour ended that afternoon, the buses delivered us to the Viking Lis, where we boarded and found our luggage already delivered to a stateroom almost identical to the one we had left, and with the same number. The entire exchange had been seamless. Even better, Leonard and the concierge from Elba transferred with us! So we missed only the Elba's delightful hotel manager and expert chef and dining room manager (each just enough better than those at the Lis for us to notice a slight difference). We can't say enough good about Leonard. I don't know when the man managed to sleep, as he arranged all the excursions, accompanied most of them (rotating among the buses), took photos of everyone on the tours, gave a pre-dinner video presentation of the next day's schedule and events, and arranged and introduced an hour's entertainment every evening at 9 p.m. He also wrote and printed an informative newsletter about each next day's ports-of-call, which we found on our beds after dinner. On the days we went through locks or didn't have all-day excursions, he gave a running commentary on the sights we were passing, including interesting anecdotes related to their history and tales associated with them. We appreciated the bottles of water offered before every excursion and the optional excursions to accommodate different interests and physical abilities. There were walking tours as well as bus tours, opportunities to visit homes of local residents as well as churches and museums, and many options for sampling local cuisine and experiencing the arts (visual and performing). The Elba's concierge also was very helpful in arranging a couple of personal excursions for us. When one turned out to be disappointing because the guide ignored our preferences, the concierge discussed the problem with the local contractor and took steps to be certain that this would not happen to a Viking passenger again. We're now looking forward to both an ocean and a river cruise with Viking to explore Northern and Eastern Europe in September. It won't be as warm, but we were assured that the water level won't be a problem then. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We booked this about 18 months ago to celebrate a milestone birthday. We had been told at that time that Avalon did a drinks package like most of the other lines, but when they eventually replied to my many calls and emails, they said they ... Read More
We booked this about 18 months ago to celebrate a milestone birthday. We had been told at that time that Avalon did a drinks package like most of the other lines, but when they eventually replied to my many calls and emails, they said they were no longer doing this. This was disappointing, as they only include wines, beer and soft drinks with dinner. 24 hours before we were due to leave we had a call to say that due to low water levels in the Danube delta, we would have to spend two nights in Bucharest instead of one and meet the ship somewhere else. They offered what we thought at the time was a reasonable amount of compensation, and in any case we were staying (we thought) at the Athenée Palace Hilton so how bad could it be? When we arrived at Bucharest my husband's luggage was missing. The airline said it would come on the next flight and they would deliver it. Then Avalon took us to the Ramada Plaza, half an hour out of the city in an area with no shops or restaurants. It was a dump. There was no power when we got there and it took over two hours to fix the problem. During this time the power was going on and off and an elderly lady in our group got stuck between floors in the lift. We refused to use the lift to our 7th floor room until they could assure us that the power was fixed. No refreshment was offered apart from a small bottle of water and some of our group had been travelling for over 24 hours. When we complained they eventually produced some tiny sandwiches and to glasses of tap water (which we had been warned not to drink) - but only for us. I felt sorry for the poor lady from the lift, who was very traumatised. Their attitude to this was poor. They tried to fob us off with a tale of the power outage being citywide and due to the high temperatures, but the people in the Pullman two minutes away said they hadn't had a problem. Our no smoking room stank of smoke. They did change the room but in the second one the safe didn't work and the lights blew with an almighty bang and the bedside light bulbs were not replaced. Breakfast was horrible and we had to be bussed for dinner to the Pullman down the road where the rest of our group were staying ( a MUCH nicer option, but even there the food was only average.) When my husband's luggage arrived early on the second day they refused to bring it up to the room. this was not by any means the 5* luxury we had paid for. Then they informed us that it would be a 315km (about 200 miles) trip to the ship. This is how I spent my birthday- 6 hours on a bus. It turned out that the ship was at Calafat, some 795km farther up the Danube than where we were supposed to start. Avalon had carefully forgotten to mention this! We had not been told that this was actually two cruises back to back so we had to get off the ship on the transfer day. We didn't mind too much because we went with those transferring to Vienna and had an extra afternoon there. It did mean that we had to suffer the lengthy life jacket drill again though. The public rooms on the ship are noisy. I get up early and had to suffer loud muzak in the lounge with my early morning coffee. They turned it down a little when I asked, but not off (and I was the only person in there at the time). During the day there were particular groups who insisted on having loud conversations and there was nowhere quiet to read or enjoy the scenery other than our cabin ( where you only get half of the view.) The "entertainer" - a rather average pianist, played at various intervals during the day which just added to the noise. There were several other entertainers, including a rather poor classical group on the first leg and a good one after Vienna. We had a singer who sang show songs and a zither player, who we had seen previously with Viking. The guided tours were mostly fairly good, but there were a few times when the guides were so boring we left the group and did our own thing, On one occasion the guide in Bratislava refused to tell us where the meeting point for the bus was and insisted that we stay with her. This meant that we lost about two hours' free time seeing things we were not interested in as we had seen Bratislava before. The Amsterdam guide was equally poor but fortunately we already knew our way round and went off on our own as we were not relying on a bus. Avalon included some extra trips which you would normally pay for to make up for missing so much of the start of the cruise, but my husband isn't very mobile and in the 38 degree heat, climbing steps and slopes didn't appeal so we were quite happy to remain on board and see bits of the river we had missed previously. There was an excursion to the Danube gorge and Weltenberg Abbey which we enjoyed. Moorings were not always in the centre of things and at one point we found ourselves by a large scrap metal facility! I have known worse, however (with Scenic last year, when we were frequently in such places and miles out of town.) They sailed past Wertheim and bussed us 40 minutes back to visit the town - not sure why. Due to very low water in the Linz / Passau area, we had to keep sailing solidly for two days, often at walking speed with only 30cm of water under the ship, as levels were forecast to drop still further and they didn't want to get stuck (as a freighter did the following day). This meaant that we missed Durnstein and Linz, the only two stops we had not previously visited. Avalon did stop to drop people off for a visit, but then they spent 4 hours in the heat on a ferry with no air-con travelling through the Wachau valley, then visiting Grein. People who did this wished they had stayed on board like we did because they didn't enjoy such a long day. Food on board Illumination was disappointing. It was hardly ever hot and the breakfast buffet never changed. When we complained they said there were 64 items on it but I don't enjoy pickles, raw peppers, salads, soured cream and boiled rice for breakfast and got very fed up with the few hot items which were always the same. Lunch was a buffet. Salads were poor - mostly just lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber with the odd mixed or dressed thing. They often served the same meat or fish for lunch and dinner and we had perch at least 10 times during the trip. The gala dinners were both the same. At dinner there was a meat choice, a fish choice (mostly perch or cod) and a vegetarian one. They seemed to buy in job lots of vegetables - first eggplant, which appeared at every meal except breakfast for the first 10 days or so, then carrots, then green beans. One of the starters was always Caesar salad (which everyone hated) and it was also available as a main course. Steak, chicken and salmon were available each day too. There were usually two desserts and cheese. Cheeses were largely of the rather rubbery tasteless sort but there were a few good ones like Roquefort. We grew very bored by the lack of variety after 3 weeks. Wines were average. On board drinks prices were steep, but there was usually a half-price happy hour before the port talk each evening, when they were more reasonable but still not cheap. A gin and tonic was over 4 Euros even at half price! On the whole, I wouldn't recommend Avalon. Their admin is poor and they don't seem to understand what British people want from what is a pretty expensive trip, especially compared to ocean cruising. They cater far too much for American tastes. I know they had to find hotel accommodation at short notice when the water levels were low, but they had been low for a while ) and I think they had left it until the last minute instead of having a Plan B for such events, which happen pretty regularly. In view of this, I don't think much of the compensation they offered. Had I known all this would happen at the Black Sea end, which was the main reason for doing the cruise in the first place, I would have cancelled. I wish I had! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
This was our first cruise on Viking River Cruises. We went from Bucharest to Budapest which is the direction I would recommend for anyone that hasn't been in Eastern Europe before. Our prior cruises have all been ocean cruises and we ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Viking River Cruises. We went from Bucharest to Budapest which is the direction I would recommend for anyone that hasn't been in Eastern Europe before. Our prior cruises have all been ocean cruises and we loved the more intimate feel and personal attention of the river cruise. I believe that Viking does an exceptional job in this regard. We opted to extend our stay an additional 20 days which Viking allowed us to do. We arranged our own transportation form Budapest, Hungary (the end of our tour) to Bonn, Germany. Viking made our flight arrangements from Germany back to the USA for us. This allowed us to stay with friends in Germany for that additional time. We enjoyed our river cruise so much that we will probably forgo ocean cruises for now. We enjoyed the smaller number of people and the personal attention that we received. When we departed Budapest, Hungary on our own to Germany, the Viking staff were very helpful even though their responsibilities to us had ended. The shore excursions were great. We are usually interested in learning about the countries and people we visit and these were very informational and well done. Not to mention the opportunities to interact with people. I think the most extraordinary thing about visiting this part of the world earlier this year was that the immigration problems that Europe and especially Hungary began facing several months later were so much clearer to us. We felt that we have a greater understanding of the situation and problems. It turned into an incredible eyeopener for us. This was a unique trip at a unique time. We enjoyed the great service and personable staff. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
The cruise from Bucharest (port was 1 hour drive away) to Budapest in May 2015 was excellent. We have been on 16 cruises (2 with Viking) and the food on this ship was the best that we have ever had. Our original ship, the Lif, was not ... Read More
The cruise from Bucharest (port was 1 hour drive away) to Budapest in May 2015 was excellent. We have been on 16 cruises (2 with Viking) and the food on this ship was the best that we have ever had. Our original ship, the Lif, was not able to get to our port near Bucharest due to high water levels on the other side of Budapest on the Danube so the Embla was substituted. The ships are identical so this was no big deal. In fact Viking is getting rid of their older river boats and changing them to the Longships so if river levels are a problem, they can bus people from one ship to another if they cannot get under a bridge. So you pack up on one ship and they transfer everything to the other ship and you are on your way again. This is a great move by Viking to keep the water complaints down over which they have no control. The boat's crew were always helpful and the excursions and the guides were excellent. We did the 3 day extension in Bucharest which included a overnight stay at a Ramada on the way to Dracula's castle. The Hilton Athenee Hotel in Bucharest where we stayed a total of 3 nights is a beautiful hotel which was changed from the Radisson Blu that is right across the street and is not as nice a hotel. The Budapest hotel where we stayed for 2 nights was the Marriott where all rooms look out on the river and look toward the Buda side. This was also a very nice hotel and right in the middle of everything in Budapest. The only complaint I have with Viking is that you have to pay for the cruise a year in advance. Also I originally booked the 3 day extension to Prague with Viking but they changed the hotel from the Hilton to the Corinthia Hotel which is not located near the city center (although Viking did provide a shuttle). Since I wanted to stay near the city center, I cancelled the extension and this apparently made me ineligible for the bus transfer from Budapest to Prague according to the Los Angeles office. So I booked RailEurope train tickets for 2 for $330.00. When I was at the hotel in Budapest, I spoke to the Viking reps at the hospitality desk and asked if I could get on the bus with the other extension people to go to Prague instead of taking the train. They said OK and I just filled out a credit card authorization form for $240.00. So next I had to take a taxi to the train station in Budapest to get my train tickets stamped NOT USED and then had to mail them back to RailEurope when I got home. Might get about 60% of the cost of the train tickets back eventually after they deduct from their handling charges and shipping charges. there were 20 empty seats on the 8 hour bus trip to Prague so capacity was not an issue. Viking should change their policy on this and allow anyone to take their transfers whether or not you are staying in their hotel. The Four Seasons hotel that we stayed in in Prague was the same price as the hotel that Viking booked people into. Looking online you could book the Corinthia hotel for about 110 Euros and Viking was charging about $1600 for the 3 day stay in Prague and the only extra was a city tour that they provided. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Our first river cruise. Previous cruises were on typical medium size ships to Caribbean, Alaska, Bermuda and Greek Islands. We liked the Viking Embla best. It was built in 2012 but looked brand new; not a speck of dust in any corner of the ... Read More
Our first river cruise. Previous cruises were on typical medium size ships to Caribbean, Alaska, Bermuda and Greek Islands. We liked the Viking Embla best. It was built in 2012 but looked brand new; not a speck of dust in any corner of the cabin. Entertainment on board was limited but fun. Hotels (Intercontinental, Hilton) were excellent and well located. A dinner cruise in Budapest (suggested, but not operated by Viking) was inconvenient because of the long walk from the meeting point to the boat. The optional excursions were mostly worthwhile, but anyone who has been to Vienna or Versailles could skip Godollo. The included attractions, guides, and land travel were all good. Dining was convenient and the food well above average for buffet service. Every Viking emplyee we met was competent, friendly, and helpful. When we left our hotel at 4:30 AM, uniformed Viking staffers were waiting in the lobby and took good care of us all the way to the airport check-in counter. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Many comments on this Viking River Cruise were very much like our recent cruise with them. We traveled from Bucharest to Budapest. I won't provide as much detail as most of you have done but briefly try to 'compare notes'. ... Read More
Many comments on this Viking River Cruise were very much like our recent cruise with them. We traveled from Bucharest to Budapest. I won't provide as much detail as most of you have done but briefly try to 'compare notes'. Pre-cruise: Since we have extensive experience in cruising we felt Viking was very over hyped to us and made all pre-cruise experiences as unaccommodating as possible. This includes giving me a hard time in making our regular travel agent our agent of record, requiring we not contact them about anything and only get information from our agent, not working with us to obtain satisfactory air transport via their resources we were using. Like you, our Viking hotel representative at our 1st hotel was also not properly trained in customer relations. The person in front of my wife in line for information from this person had a substantial complaint and was not picked up at the airport. Instead of just apologizing and trying to make up for this, the Viking hotel person arrogantly and loudly made it this woman's fault totally and worse she carried her bad attitude into my wife's questions. Our 1st night hotel of the cruise was quite nice, available at 1:00 PM and service was extremely good. We were not so concerned about the ships exterior as you but found the interior design poor. We have done a lot of 'luxury' level cruising and weren't expecting that but found the 'sliding' door to the bathroom very noisy. The closet door was very difficult for my wife to use and not having an electrical outlet near the cabin's mirror was very inconvenient. Dining is such a personal matter and saying what is good really reflects one's own tastes and cultural background. We did not expect 'luxury' level dining but what we received was satisfactory. Just not much special to talk about other than the waiter, Jorge, who I surfaced early on with a little interviewing. Jorge, made sure our wine glasses were always kept full during dinner. I should note that this cruise was the last of the season for the ship and crew and was only half full. Your comments on inappropriate timing hit home with me. During the cruise we were awoken at 3:30 AM to be ready for a mandatory face to face passport check going into Hungary. Why couldn't we have waited a couple of hours so this could have been done during breakfast? Also, most all of our scheduled excursions were also inappropriately scheduled, often so that during the last hour or two of our excursion we were in total darkness. Yes, really! Our departure times were much like yours, extremely inconvenient, but this sometimes is just because scheduled airline departure times seem to run early going to the USA. In conclusion, I can say that Viking does an excellent job on the destination part of cruising. Their concept of sort of putting all the excursions together that you would find on an ocean cruise into a 1 day longer excursion is really a great way to immerse yourself into a new adventure. We particularly liked the excursion we had with a 'local' family. Their tour guides were excellent. However, we have found that the more we travel the more we savor the "journey" to a "destination" as much as seeing more new destinations. Since Viking did not help us do this, in fact, made it difficult for us, we also do not think we will travel with them again.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We have done 12 cruises; this was our 4th w/Vantage. We had previously taken the Amsterdam to Vienna river cruse so we booked the Black Sea to Budapest. We spent the first night in Bucharest then transferred to the ship, Some where between ... Read More
We have done 12 cruises; this was our 4th w/Vantage. We had previously taken the Amsterdam to Vienna river cruse so we booked the Black Sea to Budapest. We spent the first night in Bucharest then transferred to the ship, Some where between the hotel lobby where we saw our undamaged suitcase and getting to our cabin on the ship, the entire wheel assembly had been broken off and there was a hole in the side of the luggage approx. 5" x 4". I reported it to the Cruise Director who was totally unconcerned asking me if I saw it happen. No, but it was damaged when it was in YOUR control. She said she was going to ask her management and get back to me; never did. The brochure said that we would be offered soda and wine with the evening meal. The first night several in our group ordered soda and were told that it would cost 6.50 euros. We told them what the tour booklet said and they denied it. I went to he tour desk and showed the counciere the booklet and she looked like a "deer in the headlight" saying she'd look into it. Went back the next day and saw that she'd taken the booklet off the counter. Food was OK but awfully small portions and seemingly the same items shuffled with different names. The waiters were rather snippy. They did not want us to choose items; they wanted us to take the set menu. Often I wanted the salad from the Lighter Fare rather than the soup or appetizer from the regular menu. They also almost wanted to remove your plate while you still had the fork up to your mouth. A gratuity of 55 euros for the Cruise Director and the Concierge of 55 euros was automatically added to bill however none was added for the hardworking crew. We asked that the amount be amended to a much smaller amount for them. Management gets paid and does not depend on tips according to one crew member. We found that the excursions from the ship were not as enjoyable because they no longer employed group leaders that stayed with the group for the duration of the trip and those groups were larger - 43 in our color group - too large for the guide to point out things and have everyone see what they were indicating. On one outing, 5 of our members got lost because the leader was so far ahead and although they could hear his voice, they couldn't find us in the "maze" and left the building at the first door that said exit. One of them fell and sprained her ankle which left her unable to enjoy any of the subsequent tours. I am hoping this is was an anomaly and not a sign that Vantage is losing it's reputation of a top of the line trip providers. We will try them again for a future trip. . Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Yes we experienced both good and sad ever lasting memories from our September-October 2014 twenty-seven day Black Sea to Bonn trip. The events that developed on this cruise have prompted us to share our exceptional experience with you. ... Read More
Yes we experienced both good and sad ever lasting memories from our September-October 2014 twenty-seven day Black Sea to Bonn trip. The events that developed on this cruise have prompted us to share our exceptional experience with you. The Marriot Hotel in Bucharest was off the chart, one of the best Marriott’s we have stayed at. The day of our 2-3 hour bus ride to meet the boat in Constanta was cold, dismal, and rainy. We barely got through as the rain changed to snow, 4+ inches which cause the authorities to close the highway (snow in Bucharest in September!!!). The storm propelled 20 to 30 foot waves at the harbor throwing rocks the size of watermelons over the seal wall and causing the harbor master not to allow our boat to cross the open bay to get to the river. This forced the staff to scramble to find lodging for 4 bus loads of passengers (approximately 160 people). The next day the staff had to arrange for our busses to find an out of the way, obscure dock, in the dark, heavy rain for us to finally be on board. All this was accomplished by the staff with a seamless, no inconvenience to all of us. As a result of the furious storm, the river was full of debris and many floating large trees and logs. Unknown to the passengers the propeller was damaged due to hitting a large submerged log/tree trunk. The boat had to make an unscheduled trip to a dry dock near Frankfort, again causing the staff to scramble and locate 4 buses to accommodate another change in plans. We received an extra bonus due to the dry docking – an unscheduled trip to Salzburg!! Again, thanks to the superb efforts of crew and staff we never missed a beat of the original schedule and itinerary. So much for the good part of our trip. On Sunday early morning 2:00 AM we received a call from California, my wife’s son advising us to get home ASAP, as her 58 year old daughter, curator of the Abilene, TX zoo had a seizure and was in a coma. At 2:30 AM we woke up the cruise director with the request to get us back to Dallas. By 4:00 AM he had us booked out of Frankfort/London/Dallas. (2 days short of our planned trip) Our boat at this time was en route from Frankfort to Rüdesheim, Germany. They had to stop and berth the boat at 7:00 AM along the river, arrange for a taxi to pick us up at a remote city park for a one hour drive back to the airport to catch a 10:00 AM plane to London. We were back in our house in Plano, TX at 8:00 PM Sunday night!!! What an effort by the staff on that boat – We will never forget what they did on our behalf. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We began our trip with Viking in Bucharest Hungary. We checked into the beautiful Radisson Blu for a overnight stay. Be sure to bring your bathing suit as their pool is beautiful and they have a wonderful hot tub. Had to have our ... Read More
We began our trip with Viking in Bucharest Hungary. We checked into the beautiful Radisson Blu for a overnight stay. Be sure to bring your bathing suit as their pool is beautiful and they have a wonderful hot tub. Had to have our suitcases out in front of our rooms by 6:30 am. Came back after breakfast and they were still there. Not sure why we had to be up so early packed up with suitcases out by 6:30. Had a nice tour of the city some were drive- bys and some walking tours. The local restaurant lunch with local entertainment was not to our liking. The food was pretty good but you felt like you were a herd of cattle. Rushed in and served so quickly in a very noisy room jammed packed. Just an unpleasant experience. We arrived on the Rinda in the late afternoon. Our room was a AA Suite which has a separate living room and bedroom. Very nice with the French balcony in living room and a veranda in the bedroom.The room was very comfortable and the bathroom had a large shower. The food was very good as was the wait staff that took very good care of us. The tours had too many people on them. Way too crowded... We also wished we had a bit more time after the tours to freshen up for the evening. Most times only about 45 minutes until evening briefings. The all inclusive didn't really represent an honest representation as you were given a sheet at end of cruise with suggested tipping amounts. Couldn't have any sodas or cold drinks between meals unless you paid for them. The amount per item for cleaning or pressing clothes was over the top too high. Three different morning we had to be up extremely early to either have our bags outside our room on day of embarkation at 6:30 am. Another day we had to be downstairs at 6:30 am for customs check our passports. Last morning have bags outside cabin by 6:30 am prompt. We noticed when we left the boat around 9 am that morning the bags were still outside cabins. These may seem like little things to you, but could make a huge difference in our desire to travel with you again. Once again the service on the ship was excellent. The term Viking uses in describing all inclusive is misleading in my opinion. They give you a sheet with suggestions on tipping at the end of your voyage. If you want a soda or drink other than coffee or tea during the day you must pay for them. Meals do cover your drinks. Don't even consider sending out any laundry unless you are prepared to break the bank. Our dining experiences were excellent. Fantastic wait staff and lots of fun throughout your meals. The destinations we visited were very interesting, but the tour groups were quite large. I guess my opinion of the riverboat cruise with Viking is somewhat mixed. This is our third riverboat cruise but our first with Viking. We had two incidents that were somewhat of a bother. Had to be up and out of our cabins at 6:30 am for a customs check of passports, and had to have our bags out for pick up at 6:30 am last morning of cruise. One other matter was the amount of time they gave us to freshen up after our day cruise. It was 45 minutes before the evening briefing began. Hardly enough time to really change and freshen up. Felt very rushed on more than one occasion. Some of you may not be bothered by any of my issues, but felt like it might be of interest to others. Just my thoughts.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
The ship was clean, attractive and the crew outstanding. That said, much was negative. The dining experience was dreadful. One seating for 180 people in a crowded, noisy room made for a rude crush when the dining room doors opened. There ... Read More
The ship was clean, attractive and the crew outstanding. That said, much was negative. The dining experience was dreadful. One seating for 180 people in a crowded, noisy room made for a rude crush when the dining room doors opened. There was one table for 4, none for 2; the rest were for 6 or 8. If you weren't with an already formed group it seemed like you'd have to beg for 2 empty seats. We gave up on dinner in the main dining room and ate in the Aqavit lounge nightly. In addition to the space disaster, the food was only fair. The ship closed the sundeck for 6 days! This caused crowding in the already busy lounge. With this large group, there was nowhere else to go except your cabin. The noise level was awful. How nice it would have been to have more lounge spaces. We will not take another River cruise no will we recommend Viking to others. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We started out in a bit of un certainty and ended up in total enjoyment and a great learning experience. The Trip was very easy and not pressured, with many off path adventures to some very neat places( Transylvania} to see & visit ... Read More
We started out in a bit of un certainty and ended up in total enjoyment and a great learning experience. The Trip was very easy and not pressured, with many off path adventures to some very neat places( Transylvania} to see & visit Count Dracu's haunts. So very interesting. On to a lot of small area's and got to visit with the local people and had a chance to mix and learn customs. The entire staff was so very friendly and helpful. We had one of the best Cruse Directors ever. He was one of the best I have ever meet. A total joy to be with and very smart about all the varied places we went to. With Him, everything flowed just like the River, smooth and easy going. We returned home after this great trip and had made some new friendship's and so many great memories. We look forward to the next time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014

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