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108 Budapest to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

We chose Scenic because our friends sailed with this company and everything was included. We attended a seminar and we were impressed with the information. The high water situation was discussed and so we booked in September to avoid the ... Read More
We chose Scenic because our friends sailed with this company and everything was included. We attended a seminar and we were impressed with the information. The high water situation was discussed and so we booked in September to avoid the spring rain falls. Before we left on the cruise, we heard rumours of low water levels and scoured the internet for information about cruise interruptions but could not find any. 2 days before we left Canada, we received an email from Scenic saying our ship had been changed to the Amber and further in the email a paragraph "The upper Danube river between Passau and Regensburg is experiencing low water levels and our Cruise Director will keep guests informed of the changing river situation and required cruising amendments." My travel agent called Scenic and was told they knew of no issues with the ships sailing the route. Once we got there, we learned not 1 ship made it all the way along the route since June! We had cancellation insurance and could have rescheduled everything at that point. Scenic would have had their money and we would have had ours. If we had known we were to pack up and change ships twice and spend hours on a bus, we never would have gone on this cruise! Misrepresentation and lies is all we got. As well, on the Rhine gorge portion, you know, where you are supposed to be having a glass of wine and gazing at castles, they put us on a noisy, stinky public ferry. Adding insult to injury, as the ferry ground along, we looked over and a Scenic ship went by. They make it seem like they are doing you a big favour by moving your luggage for you and rearranging the schedule to get as much in as they promised but it is a huge inconvenience to be jumping up early and packing and unpacking to be shuttled on a bus where there are a bunch of people coughing. We both got sick from being cooped up on busses for hours. Don't be fooled by the advertising. More than 1/2 the time we were docked beside another ship, staring into someone else's cabin. The top of the ship is closed a lot as well, to get under the bridges. This route is packed with ships, way too busy. Having said all this, I must add that the facilities on the ships, the food, service and tours were amazing! I only regret I was not offered an opportunity to go at a time I could have enjoyed it to the max. I have been offered an insulting refund amount according to their "cruise guarantee" which I am disputing. They have acknowledged receipt of my letter but have not responded. It's been more than 2 weeks. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We have had two ocean cruises on the small motor sailer Winds tar. Outstanding. We expected similar experience from the heavily advertised Viking Danube cruise. This was another low water summer, but we were lucky. We did not have to ... Read More
We have had two ocean cruises on the small motor sailer Winds tar. Outstanding. We expected similar experience from the heavily advertised Viking Danube cruise. This was another low water summer, but we were lucky. We did not have to change ships. We were unlucky in that we were docked three ships abreast turning our stateroom into a dark cave most of the time. I gather this is often the case. Our balcony was not a balcony. It was a sliding window. We had one day of no a/c. We had fumes overpowering us when our neighboring ships exhaust lined up with our intake. Passengers were ill and no one could stay in their staterooms. Another half day, no water. Throughout this, no information disseminated to the passengers who finally had a harsh confrontation with the ships steward. Tours were adequate, with a couple exceptions...biking in Wachau Valley was fabulous and could have been twice as long. Dining was in a dreary room, never outside. Food was good but menu choices repetitive. Passengers were surprisingly underdressed in the evening, many in their shorts and tees from the daytime. Don’t bother taking much in the elegant casual realm. The demographic was quite frail on the whole and the day trips labeled active were only moderate. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Re: Danube - Nuremberg to Budapest Aug 24-31, 2018 I understand that water levels are beyond Viking's control. But the manner is which information is dispensed is, to put it mildly, not customer friendly. Only the information that ... Read More
Re: Danube - Nuremberg to Budapest Aug 24-31, 2018 I understand that water levels are beyond Viking's control. But the manner is which information is dispensed is, to put it mildly, not customer friendly. Only the information that Viking chooses to dispense, is dispensed, and only when Viking chooses to dispense it. Crew is tight lipped. Requests for information to Viking corporate go unanswered. I feel like I'm in an information controlled environment. We're told about excursions being cancelled only at the last minute. Viking needs to to better. Amenities on-board are sparse. Little to do to pass the time when excursions have been cancelled. If you like shuffle board or putt putt golf, that's a different story/ Also, Viking gave me a 25% off coupon for future cruises but refuses to honor it for a cruise that I previously booked for next year. That may be my last Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Having arrived in Budapest from NZ, over 32 hrs in transit, we were informed that due to low water levels Avalon Panorama could not sail from Budapest to Vienna. However we saw Viking, Uniworld, Tauck and many European River Cruise lines ... Read More
Having arrived in Budapest from NZ, over 32 hrs in transit, we were informed that due to low water levels Avalon Panorama could not sail from Budapest to Vienna. However we saw Viking, Uniworld, Tauck and many European River Cruise lines sailing to Vienna. We were rather disconcerted by this! We had our first night Tuesday in hotel( lovely Hilton) then bus to Vienna. Ordinary bus not coach! We were paying Suite rates of over $1350.00 NZD per day for 2. Boarded our ship in Vienna. Second day bus back to Bratislava from Vienna.Did not sail until Early Saturday morning! On board and sailing was fantastic! Panorama Suite lovely! Food fabulous and service. Then boat change after another bus trip from Passau to Regensburg.Same standard of room and food. So far we forgave the disruptions! Nature cannot be controlled! Then again told we could not finish last 3 days from Rudesheim to Amsterdam. No Rhine Cruise at all. Put on bus and then cheap public boat cruise with dreadful lunch literally tossed at us! Taken from our boat and bused 10 hours, through Cologne to Amsterdam. Hotel was just 3.5star and we were all put in entry level rooms (even though most of us were paying Suite prices) which were dingy, smelly, hole in sheets and toilet bowl black! Buffet meal with cheap wine both nights! No more coffee, fresh baking, happy hour drinks! No more service. We were literally “dumped” by Avalon and our Director. We were ALL devastated at shocking treatment as this is NOT a cheap mode of travel! Cruised just 8 of 15 days promised. Avalon did compensate 50% hotel accommodation and 200USD for ship change for which we are grateful, but nothing for so many days bus travel, poor food and wine, no social area to meet others from ship, no coffee, tea, snacks, no service( for which we had prepaid tips! Don’t prepay tips) We will NEVER travel with Avalon again! Nor recommend. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I wanted to try a river cruise as I don't want to sail the ocean. It looked like so much fun. I wanted to see Europe from the water. In most of the commercials we would see the huge building in Budapest with the red roofs. I ... Read More
I wanted to try a river cruise as I don't want to sail the ocean. It looked like so much fun. I wanted to see Europe from the water. In most of the commercials we would see the huge building in Budapest with the red roofs. I wanted to go there and see that. We saw it from a bus ride through Buda and Pest. We slept on a boat docked on the Danube near the Chain bridge. It was beautiful and magical. The next morning we took a bus tour around Budapest and then took a 3+ hour bus ride to Vienna. This would be wonderful trip turned out to be a huge disappointment. We met lots of new people who all felt like we did. This is not what we were sold, not what we expected or what we paid for. The water level was low on the Danube but it had been all summer. Viking didn't let us know until days before we were to embark that levels were low. They did not give us the option to cancel our trip. We were on 3 ships in 7 days and traveled half the river by bus and the other half at night with the exception of one afternoon and one late evening. We upgraded to a Veranda room so we could enjoy the river from there but that was a waste of money. What a major disappointment. It wasn't relaxing. We couldn't unpack and kick back. We were on the go all the time. We had to get up early and put our bags in the hallway to be ready for the next ship change.. Not much of a vacation. The food was ok. The ships were clean. We saw some beautiful and interesting sites. The staff did their best to make the trip pleasant. They seemed understaffed on the last ship and not as attentive however. We'd get our disappointing news in the evening about what the next day would bring. I cannot recommend Viking. They have not tried to make this right. They offered 25% off a future cruise....to be taken within a year. That does nothing for the unsatisfactory trip we just had. Viking is the only winner in that scenario. We wasted a lot of money and don't want to see others do the same thing. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
First time cruising on a ship. Saved a lot of money for this. Looked like a good deal free air fare 150 E credit. We arrived a day earlier than the cruise to allow for jet lag to wear off a bit only to be informed by the hotel that are ... Read More
First time cruising on a ship. Saved a lot of money for this. Looked like a good deal free air fare 150 E credit. We arrived a day earlier than the cruise to allow for jet lag to wear off a bit only to be informed by the hotel that are cruise would Br be leaving for another day as the ship could. Not sail into Budapest. A shock hearing this from the hotel and not the cruise line. So we were bused to our next stop Bratislava. We got on the boat a day later. Nice cabins lower deck level 1. Boat full. My wife and I are 54 years old. Average age on boat 70 plus. Even though we attended a emerald cruise event in our city after booked and specifically aske the age range and was informed that lots of 40 and 50 year olds were in these cruises. Crew were excellent in every way. Sailed for 4 days back and forth the last days in and out of Austria only to find when we got back from a really poor and expensive excursion on the Thursday that the ship could not go on. We had a few choices. Stay with the program and BUS around nd in and out of hotels. Meaning lots of unpacking. Hotel meals etc. Or they would fly us home. We had already extended our flight to accommodate extra days with friends at the end of the cruise so that was out. They would only compensate for seven days of lost travel. Web in fact we lost 10 nights. Saw an interesting note on this site in June emerald having water issues but did not bother informing passengers ahead of time. As well you can tell me the ship did not realize they’ve ever not traveling on a river past 5 days. Food was not 5 star. 3.5 at best. Lots of same old for breakfast and lunch. Don’t stay in the lunch or dinner room past the allotted hours or they would flash the light for you to get out. Having them boost about unlimited beer and wine for lunch and dinner is a joke. Draft beeer , one brand. A few glasses maybe but you only have a just over an hour and get out of the room. Fitness rom hold maybe two people. Emerald failed. Expensive excursions that are not included are a rip off. We are still in Europe after paying a lot of money to see things the cruise line failed to provide . Did not expect have to play travel agent for 10 days , truly is a crime. If you plan a summer cruise and don’t get to do it. don’t do it book with another company later on in the year if you go. Not with Emerald as they do not care about their customers just the booking. Poor planning all around. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
As a repeat cruiser on Viking, I was disappointed to find that low water levels on the Danube significantly changed almost every aspect of the cruise. We were notified that we could not cruise to the last two ports only 2 days before our ... Read More
As a repeat cruiser on Viking, I was disappointed to find that low water levels on the Danube significantly changed almost every aspect of the cruise. We were notified that we could not cruise to the last two ports only 2 days before our departure and then found out when we got there that the ship could not even be at the embarkation point. It was a week of multi hour bus rides and required a total of 6 hours on a bus one day to reach our tour of Nuremberg. Although I realize the low water levels were not within Viking's control, I believe they should have given us the ability to cancel in advance. Once we got there, it was just a series of disappointments including docking at a port in Passau that was industrial with multiple Viking ships side by side so there was no view out our window except the ship next door. We were never in a situation where we could walk off the ship in a port in the evening and rarely docked for any longer than the time it took to do the excursions. A discount on a future cruise is not enough to compensate for the inability for us to make a choice to go on the trip as I have discovered through research that the water levels were dropping prior to that and should have triggered Viking to give us that choice. What we would do from day to day was a mystery until after dinner when we got the program. And then it was "where would we be bused to today". I will say that the on-board crew did everything they possibly could to make up for it, especially the program director (Deborah) who worked very, very hard to coordinate a plan for every day, which was always changing. We will never take a cruise on the Danube again and will think twice about committing to a Viking trip knowing that these type of major changes would not net us a choice to cancel. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise because we were told it was all inclusive and fantastic. Our first five days were pretty good but we didn’t know that the river levels were an issue and we asked every day but no one would tell us anything finally we ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were told it was all inclusive and fantastic. Our first five days were pretty good but we didn’t know that the river levels were an issue and we asked every day but no one would tell us anything finally we were told one night before dinner that the ship could no longer navigate the water. We were given three choices with no real plans to either of them. We were given two hours to make a decision after asking for days what was going to happen. The coach tour of the trip was a nightmare we went from five Star to three-star. We were given one drink at lunch only wine and beer at dinner and we would have to pay for all her other liquor food etc. other than breakfast lunch and dinner or 24 hour service and food and drink was done. I know I’m one of many who are unhappy. Scenic has not got back to me yet nor my tour guide as to what my compensation will be. They offered us $250 a day but I will not except that. I’m hoping soon scenic will get a hold of me But I’m sure it’s going to be me running after them. I will not be cruising with scenic again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
European heat wave while we were there. The excursions were incredibly hot temperature wise, so much so, that I had to take frequent breaks whenever I could find shade. We were there during a drought of sorts so we were not moving for ... Read More
European heat wave while we were there. The excursions were incredibly hot temperature wise, so much so, that I had to take frequent breaks whenever I could find shade. We were there during a drought of sorts so we were not moving for the last three days. That's fine; they don't have control over that; I completely understand that, but it felt like the excursions were then just thrown together and some were cancelled, of course. A few of our excursions included a local meal...the food was just not good (I'm being polite) which included the Sound of Music tour lunch. It was so incredibly hot during these lunches, as well, that I couldn't enjoy the food. The places we went were nice, but no cool interior air. I wasn't happy with 7:00pm dinner time. I would have liked a choice, at least, to dine earlier, but I knew this going in. I thought it would be ok, But dinner was usually over around 9:00. I will say this...they have great food choices, but when I asked the waiter one night to have my salmon cooked medium rare (as it was completely overcooked the day before) he replied with "I have no control over that; they all go in at the same time." I didn't like that response, but took my chances, and yes, it was overcooked again. I just didn't order that again. Sorry, Viking, it was too hot, but I know you don't have any control over that. They do have an amazing cruise director, Oliver. The bartenders were outstanding. The housekeeping service was also great. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Our son and daughter in-law wanted to see Nuremberg again because my wife grew up there during the war.We wanted to see places we had never seen before in Europe. Taking this river cruise allowed us to do both. None of us had ever been on ... Read More
Our son and daughter in-law wanted to see Nuremberg again because my wife grew up there during the war.We wanted to see places we had never seen before in Europe. Taking this river cruise allowed us to do both. None of us had ever been on a river cruise before. We had friends that had been on many Viking cruises. We didn't consider any other cruise line. The food was great the waiters and service could not have been better. The included tours were all very good. The ship was nicer than we expected. The included tours were great. The ports were outstanding.We went on 2 optional tours that were very good. We found out in Passau the ship could not go any farther because of low water conditions. We had to take a bus to Regensburg and Nuremberg. We missed out on 2 tours but were refunded for them. We were sent a voucher to cover the inconvenience we encored. We are not happy with having to take a second cruise within a year to get the refund. I can understand Viking is at the mercy of the weather but we should have been at least given 2 years to use the refund or better yet given cash for the inconvenience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
we chose this cruise because it was two weeks and ended in amsterdam. I will start with the food i like my food and expect it to be of good quality and sufficient meat fish and vegetables. It was none of the above the fish and meat ... Read More
we chose this cruise because it was two weeks and ended in amsterdam. I will start with the food i like my food and expect it to be of good quality and sufficient meat fish and vegetables. It was none of the above the fish and meat were meager portions with miniscule vegetables which were often just a squeezed paste on the plate, and the sauce was just three or four dots on the plate and gravy when mentioned was brown scrape on the plate. Desserts were always with cream cakes etc if you like cream you will enjoy and squirty cream every where Breakfast ok lunch and dinner as above. One thing i will say here is that in the uk emerald are offering unlimited drinks package . That is rubbish it is only spirits and cocktails and the wine that is produced at the lunch and dinner which is included in the ordinary package and is free, it is marketing scam, Entertainment was piano player which was good and a couple of nights extra guests performed. What they do not tell you is that the lovely top deck is out of bound for three quarters of the cruise due to low bridges Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I chose this cruise because I have osteoarthritis in my knees and they advertised "gentle walking". I've been on over 20 cruises, but this was our first river cruise. We stayed at the Corinthia in Budapest for two nights ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I have osteoarthritis in my knees and they advertised "gentle walking". I've been on over 20 cruises, but this was our first river cruise. We stayed at the Corinthia in Budapest for two nights before leaving on the cruise. The hotel is affiliated with Uniworld and we booked through them. We really loved the hotel; it was lovely, comfortable, and centrally located. Our transfer to the ship was smooth. The River Dutchess was built in 2003, and needed an update. We had one of four suites, which was considerably smaller than I expected. One of the amenities advertised for suite guests was a spa service. When I asked about that on board, the spa manager told me that this amenity was discontinued. On our first evening underway, the cruise manager told the passengers that the gentle walking option was also discontinued. Some of the passengers were using canes. Many of us were upset by this. The cruise manager then agreed to see if some gentle walker guides were available for the excursions. As it turned out, about half of the walking excursions offered this. Although these groups were supposed to be for slower walkers, if you stopped to take a picture or look in a shop window, the group moved on. Almost all of the excursions involved 2 to 4 miles of walking over cobblestones. 16 to 24 mile bike excursions were also offered. The excursions were centered around wine or beer tastings, and alcohol was the prime entertainment activity on the ship. Alcohol was included in the price, and some people drank from early morning to midnight. The food was plentiful and tasty but tended to be heavy German dishes. Wine was sometimes added to soups and poured over ice cream. If you prefer not to imbibe, you are out of luck. The service was very good, and we enjoyed the ports, but unless you are a brisk walker and heavy drinker, find another vacation alternative. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
My husband and I recently travelled from Budapest. We explored Budapest on our own and joined the ship under our own steam. We spent an hour trying to find the boat, which was not where they explained it would be, and we were lucky to have ... Read More
My husband and I recently travelled from Budapest. We explored Budapest on our own and joined the ship under our own steam. We spent an hour trying to find the boat, which was not where they explained it would be, and we were lucky to have a patient taxi driver who did endless u-turns and asked many questions of the locals to finally find it. Travel Marvel is at the cheaper end of the market, so you get less of the items you might not want less of. It is also clear their boats get the least central berths in major towns. For the cheaper amount you get very average food, less communal space, and cheap deckchairs on top with no waiter service. The roof-top as a space is also very limited, since it is shut down for days at a time, because of low bridges (this may not be limited to Travel Marvel boats, but should be remembered if you like to get out of the confined space of a river boat). The saving grace was our French Balcony cabin which was very comfortable with lots of places to stow your gear. We were most disappointed in the food and the dining room. They squashed us in and the air conditioning strained to provide the coolness we all craved. The food was poorly cooked, a lack of fresh vegetables (very little green) and the fruit lacked variety, mostly melons of varying colours. One day we had fresh strawberries. The German fields were full of ripe strawberries - but we only had them once. The soups tasted like reconstituted Oxo cubes with rehydrated bits of vegetable. The ubiquitous roast chicken (always the fall back position on the menu), came with oversalted gravy. Wines served with meals, were low-end and unvarying, the white mostly a chardonnay, and the red nearly always German (neither of which were good tasting wines). The staff were extremely hard-working, always smiling and very polite, but most had little English, so it was a struggle to be understood, especially noticeable in the dining room when you wanted information on the food or wine. Finally, the evening's entertainment was held in the one Lounge Area which also contained the bar. If you didn't like the entertainment, and the roof deck was shut down, there was nowhere to sit with friends for conversation and/or after-dinner coffee/drinks, other than a few chairs in reception. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We selected this cruise because we lived near canals for two years and it looked like fun. The advertising promised convenient, in town docking locations, small tour groups and excellent dining. Instead, we discovered that there were ... Read More
We selected this cruise because we lived near canals for two years and it looked like fun. The advertising promised convenient, in town docking locations, small tour groups and excellent dining. Instead, we discovered that there were usually four to six Viking ships in town at a time. We often docked 20-30 minutes from town in a cargo area and were bused into town and back. This meant that the tours involved around 1,000 people - more if you included the ships from other companies. The next to last stop was supposed to be in Kinderdijk. Instead, we docked in Doordrect and rode on buses for 30 minutes each way. The food ranged from good to terrible. Several of the meals were inedible. They were bland beyond belief and often poorly prepared. The standard "always available" lunch entrees were a hamburger (overcooked and dry) or a hot dog. The local menus on the Danube were good. From that point on, the local menus ranged from standard sausage and kraut (good) to incredibly bland, and definitely not representative of local dishes. The Dutch ones were particularly horrible. Unlike anything available in the Netherlands. We also did not appreciate the overdone drinking culture. There were no non-alcoholic options available at the "free receptions" and the whole cruise seemed to revolve around alcoholic beverages. I guess that is one way to keep some gusts happy. The included shore excursions were mostly 1 1/2 hour walking tours through town. Some were interesting. The guide for the Vienna city tour was irritating. The two optional music activities in Vienna were the highlight. I would never do this itinerary. The four days cruising the Danube-Main Canal were the worst and mostly a waste of time. I would recommend choosing either the Rhine or the Danube (preferred) but not the Grand European. The entire environment was geared towards relatively untravelled Americans. It was too structured for our taste and lacked the international flavor we have enjoyed on other cruises. The crew worked incredibly hard and were efficient and friendly. The Program Director had to work constantly to compensate for Viking's disorganization and oversold activities. He was knowledgeable and certainly among the best in the business. Our French Balcony cabin was small, but worked fine, especially since we spent little time in it. The internet service was simply awful by any measure. The free internet on European trains works 100 times better. It was incredibly slow when it was semi-functional. Most of the time it was not, unless you tried it before 6:00 AM. The onboard WiFi system did not provide adequate coverage, the authentication system was buggy. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We were recommended to Scenic by dear friends who have had great experiences with this company. We were told about the 5 star food, drinks and accommodations. We booked a balcony suite 2 years in advance and saved to go on this cruise. It ... Read More
We were recommended to Scenic by dear friends who have had great experiences with this company. We were told about the 5 star food, drinks and accommodations. We booked a balcony suite 2 years in advance and saved to go on this cruise. It started off on a bad note on day one. We went to the bar and ordered champagne to celebrate our cruise. We were told to go sit down and that they would bring us our drinks. What they served us was not champagne. It was something sparkling but of such poor quality that we returned the drink. The bartender, Alin, explained that most guests preferred prosecco, so that is what he pours. No. We specifically ordered what we wanted. We didn't want a substitute of something inferior. This was the tone of the entire cruise with the bar staff. Eventually, we just stopped ordering drinks. If you ordered Remy Martin cognac you received something that would burn your throat. The bar staff would give us rude comments and show mocking behaviour about our champagne request whenever we came in the bar. We were always polite but insistent on getting what we ordered. They would pre-pour drinks and have glasses lined up with who knows what. When you asked for something specific they would substitute it for something inferior. If you did not insist that they pour it in front of you, you could never be sure what you had received, you only knew that it wasn't what you ordered. When you save your money and pay for a high quality experience you have every right to expect it. At the end, we were charged for items we did not order and had to argue it at settlement. The food was horrible. 3 star at best. As I have read of others, we lost weight on the ship. The salads were browned lettuce with no dressing. We could see no reason for the poor produce as we visited the central market in Budapest before the cruise and could see the beautiful produce available. The quality of everything served was just mediocre. We were so thrilled with the land excursions and the chance to eat a tasty meal that we willing paid of our own money for these experiences. The wine quality on the ship is very poor. The serve it freely at dinner but after tasting it, I usually drank water. At the Portabellas restaurant we left before dessert because it was such a poor meal. I will include photos I took of the breakfast selections, you be the judge if it looks 5 star quality. The coffee is vending machine coffee. At least they served Moet champagne at breakfast, but who wants to drink in the mornings? On the last evening, the menu produced was so lacking that my companion asked for a burger instead. The restaurant manager came over with snarky comments about "Here is your McDonalds". We don't eat a McDonalds at home. We don't eat fast food at all. The food is so poor, we figured they couldn't screw up a burger, could they? Many people ordered specific things not on the menu because the menu was just so poor. The ship itself was fine. Our room was fine. David, who offered the entertainment was great and was a nice, friendly diversion when we needed to go to the lounge/bar for updates. Yvonne, the cruise director, did an exceptional job and offered great suggestions. Dennis, our housekeeper was a highlight of our cruise. He always had pleasant conversation and was so attentive. We saw the butler once. After that it was kitchen or wait staff that would bring the things we ordered to our room. Dennis was the most attentive. The only negative about the room is that other ships dock right next to you so the balcony use is very limited. Mostly you are looking into the room of the next ship. Our best part on this cruise was when it ended and we did the land portion. The Scenic guides in Prague, were the best. The Marriot was a real treat after the ship. I'm glad we didn't start in Prague because getting on the ship would have been even more of a let down. I loved hearing the personal stories of the guides. It brought so much to my enjoyment of the cruise. We cannot, in good conscious, recommend a Scenic Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Every day since we left, our ship docks next to at least one other. Sometimes there are 3 abreast - this, in the low season. As a result, our view from our balcony (which we paid extra for ~silly us!) is into the window of the cabin of the ... Read More
Every day since we left, our ship docks next to at least one other. Sometimes there are 3 abreast - this, in the low season. As a result, our view from our balcony (which we paid extra for ~silly us!) is into the window of the cabin of the other ship. So, no view. One night, we were apparently near the exhaust vent of another ship and so for days after, our room and all others on this side smelled of cooking grease. Food is average to poor, you have to eat at 7pm regardless if ypu’d like to eat later, so no opportunity to have a leisurely cocktail hour, most of the towns in between are largely unremarkable, just a means to provide some diversion between the two main cities of interest (in our case, Budapest and Prague). No one on the ship other than the cruise director knows anything about the itinerary, landmarks, upcoming events, so if you can’t find the cruise director, you’re in the dark. There’s about 20 of us in our mid`50s and all have did “never again”. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
It was all about the itinerary. To list all the defects would be redundant from others who have already complained. The food was cold, the meat was tough and grizzly. The lack of vegetables that were not over cooked was negligent. The ... Read More
It was all about the itinerary. To list all the defects would be redundant from others who have already complained. The food was cold, the meat was tough and grizzly. The lack of vegetables that were not over cooked was negligent. The service in the dining room was almost non-existent. Extremely under staffed and poorly trained staff. Exception: bar staff on 3rd floor was Great! Ran out of Hendricks though!! Food servers reaching over others to deliver food that was not theirs but belonged to another table. Tables were never cleared between courses. The excursions were excellent, if you were a 20 year old and could walk 1 mile in 15 minutes, otherwise stay on board or go to the local area. If you like to sleep do not get a room on the 3rd floor. The track is above you and people run early and late, just as you are sleeping. If you were disabled, forget it. No elevator from 1st to 2nd floor, where the dining room was. Egress and ingress to the boat requires a degree in obstacle courses and climbing equipment. Someone asked me if I had complained to the company? I said no. The reason is: read the complaints and you will see the company never answers the complaints online, in writing. They always want to call the person lodging the complaint and mostly do nothing. If they do something it is usually giving the complainant a discount on a future cruise. Why would you want to cruise on a boat with such lousy service? I have lodged my complaint with my travel agent of over 30 years. She informed me she will not book with them again. I strongly recommend you do not also. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I was part of a 29 person travel group from the US, traveling Oct 13-26 on the Grand European Tour. I had high expectations as this was arranged by Collette vacations and they have a very good reputation. (I have traveled with them ... Read More
I was part of a 29 person travel group from the US, traveling Oct 13-26 on the Grand European Tour. I had high expectations as this was arranged by Collette vacations and they have a very good reputation. (I have traveled with them several times). However, I was disappointed in the Lueftner cruise line. The Pros: - very good to excellent meals, with exceptional presentation (kudos to the chef) - very good local tour guides - very good (friendly, helpful) reception and officer staff - excellent housekeeping The Cons: - an overall "tired" ship. Lobby carpet especially on stairs was worn and dingy. - slow, indifferent dining room wait staff. I'm convinced they did not have enough well-trained servers. Water glasses were rarely refilled. After dinner coffee was never offered, and if you asked for it, it came only after a prolonged wait. One time, we arrived for breakfast about 25 minutes before it officially ended. We were admonished and advised to hurry up with choices (mind you, this is buffet service). Another diner was refused more bread, since his table had already consumed their allotted portions! One more example... every morning without fail, I had to ask for gluten free toast even tho I had the very same waiter every day. I guess I expected at some point, he'd have a slice ready for me, but no. I had to be seated, wait for him to come around, and ask. - the casual breakfast service was NEVER replenished. If you weren't lucky enough to get coffee and coffee cream early (6-7am), you were out of luck. You had to go to the formal dining room for coffee, and then hope someone would get you some. Nothing happened quickly. - the public computers were a joke. The Internet Explorer browser was such an old version, a warning appeared when you tried to use it. I tried to access mail and was prevented from entering my userID and password (which I'm glad about actually). I'm confident no one has been maintaining the software on these PCs. Lueftner should be embarrassed to offer these PCs for passenger use. - No beverages except coffee, tea were provided at lunch. Everything else was extra. - Dinner beverages included red wine, white wine, and only 3 non-alcoholic soda choices. Anything else was extra. - You could purchase bottled water, but it was never included in excursions (as we've found in other cruises). This seemed very cheap of Lueftner. - We booked the highest category cabin (not a suite) and were a bit disappointed it wasn't anything special, really. The 2nd floor cabins were identical from what we could tell. Not sure what we got with our upgraded category. Overall, I felt we were on a budget cruise, but I didn't realize that's what we signed up for. Also, I felt strongly that there weren't enough wait staff, and those they had were not well trained. Perhaps it is a cultural thing The wait staff was not as friendly and welcoming as I experienced in other travels. That wasn't the case for the ship director or the reception staff. They were very nice and engaged in friendly conversation whenever they could. The Collette tour guides (2 were on board) were also extremely helpful. I would also like to acknowledge the Ship Reception manager who went out of her way to get beautiful flowers for a birthday surprise. The gluten free birthday day was fabulous too! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
-Little information available prior to departure for the whole trip. Inappropriate boarding information made available to us -Change of ship received by e-mail on day of departure when I requested location to board. -Spouse and myself ... Read More
-Little information available prior to departure for the whole trip. Inappropriate boarding information made available to us -Change of ship received by e-mail on day of departure when I requested location to board. -Spouse and myself had to carry our own bags onto pontoon next to ship upon arrival prior to being taken care of by attendant. Rushed on-board welcome although we were ahead of time. -Dining and wine experience is below average compared with what I have received on prior cruises with other companies and hygiene practices require improvements. Repetitive limited daily buffets where passengers were touching food with their hands and about 40%++ of passengers were sick during cruise. -Service below what to be expected, if you did not ask repetitively, you did not get. -Cabin was very clean. -Upper deck on ship was closed for about half of trip duration. -Disembarkation activity at end of trip was well organized. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Thought it might be good from past cruises with scenic but very disappointing. Our panorama suite was not as expected from literature and video. Definitely not value for money. The table and chairs were not suitable for eating a room ... Read More
Thought it might be good from past cruises with scenic but very disappointing. Our panorama suite was not as expected from literature and video. Definitely not value for money. The table and chairs were not suitable for eating a room service meal. The balcony was no bigger than those on ordinary rooms. The noise from the engines kept you awake and the vibration made everything move, rattle, tinkle and roll! What food we had in our room was cold as these panorama suites are at the back of the boat miles from the kitchen. The food in the dining room was not as good as it was on our last cruise with Scenic. Standards seem to be slipping... The crew tried hard to please as always but the whole experience seemed to be geared to what was easiest for Scenic. Up at 6.30 for leaving the ship! Then locked out of our room at 8 am as they started to get the ship ready for next cruise. Great way to finish your Scenic Luxury Enriching Cruise I think not, Never again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Wanted to take a river cruise and see eastern Europe. We had extreme heat from Prague to Bucharest. In Belgrade the ship broke down due to extreme heat of 110. Two of the three generators failed and couldn't be fixed. It probably ... Read More
Wanted to take a river cruise and see eastern Europe. We had extreme heat from Prague to Bucharest. In Belgrade the ship broke down due to extreme heat of 110. Two of the three generators failed and couldn't be fixed. It probably couldn't be fixed probably because the ship was so old...17 years. They didn't have a part and who knows if that part was even made. Other ships, i.e. Viking withstood this heat because they were new and well maintained. This is my biggest grip along with missing the best part of the trip going through the Iron Gates and the locks. We then had to be bused from Belgrade to Bucharest as this ship couldn't be fixed to meet our deadlines. The 4 directors were wonderful and worked very hard arranging for what was to come next. They were busy day and night. They did their best under the circumstances. The food on the ship was excellent and Grand Circle certainly takes care of their passengers. They deserve a lot of credit. Bottom line... We will never take any old ship again whether it is a river ship or ocean ship. They all seem to have problems. Combined with the horrible heat, which couldn't be helped, the trip was very disappointing. This was not the way we wanted to see eastern Europe on a bus. We did not get what we paid for. I'm sorry but I cannot recommend GCT because of their old ships. This may not have happened if the weather was the way it should be, but the ship should have been able to within this, as other newer ships did. We really enjoyed the first part of our trip seeing Prague, the Czech Republic and visiting a family's home, seeing the beautiful lights sailing at night in Budapest. That part we highly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
A first ever boat cruise after a dozen sea cruises. Of course the facilities had to be fewer even though I have usually sailed on relatively small ships, 600-800 passengers. A bar pianist was really it or a movie in your cabin on the well ... Read More
A first ever boat cruise after a dozen sea cruises. Of course the facilities had to be fewer even though I have usually sailed on relatively small ships, 600-800 passengers. A bar pianist was really it or a movie in your cabin on the well sized tv. Two of 7 nights we had buffet dinner bun fights for the main meal. Never ever had cafeteria food on a cruise before. Of the remaining 5 nights the two gala dinners were almost OK, the others poor. Wine was street cafe quality certainly not fine dining but in that sense it matched the food. Cabin concierge was excellent keeping the small cabin clean and tidy. The route was interesting, apart from the final 1 and a bit days along a canal with so many locks and low bridges, the consequence of which was a schedule that slipped by so many hours special disembarkation points had to be arranged. The bridges meant the top sun deck was out of bounds. Transfers to and from the airport worked smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The start and the end of the vacation is the horror story, the middle of the vacation was very good. I'll start with the bad part. After departing our first airport a little late due to plane issues, we missed our international ... Read More
The start and the end of the vacation is the horror story, the middle of the vacation was very good. I'll start with the bad part. After departing our first airport a little late due to plane issues, we missed our international connecting flight. After multiple rebookings due to weather and spending 2 nights at Atlanta and one night at JFK we finally arrived late in the day on day 3 of our cruise with no luggage. Luggage didn't arrive until day 7 of the cruise. Due to the late arrival we missed all of Budapest and all the activities of Vienna. Now here's where the horror story really got ugly. When we returned Delta apologized for the flight delays and said they would refund our ticket price but since Viking bought the ticket they would get the refund and we should contact the purchasing agent. When Viking was contacted they refused any refund and said that the cruise included free air so we were not entitled to any compensation. Therefore I will not cruise with Viking again ever. Once we were on the cruise, the scenery and stops were beautiful. River cruising is so different from ocean cruising due to the constant scenery while underway. We encountered low water at the continental divide so we were bussed passed the low water area and transferred to another ship that was cruising from Amsterdam. The ships were identical and the transfer was not a big hassle. I did want to see the river around Regensburg and the continental divide but river conditions dictate that decision. Due to the low clearance of the overhead obstructions at the locks, the upper deck was closed for a few days starting around Nuremberg. I believe this would happen even if the river levels had been different. The castles, cathedrals and palaces are all very interesting in their own ways. The cathedrals are amazingly beautiful. The Danube-Main-Rhine rivers are a great venue for a cruise. I just regret the way I was treated after the difficulty of getting to Budapest. One other thought, don't think that because you have trip insurance your losses will be covered. This is where the fine print comes into play and the insurance company is the policy interpreter. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
It covered areas that we had not visited before or had not been exposed to that culture. We had sailed on the Oden previously from Paris to Prague and enjoyed that cruise even though there were snags in the itinerary. We would never ... Read More
It covered areas that we had not visited before or had not been exposed to that culture. We had sailed on the Oden previously from Paris to Prague and enjoyed that cruise even though there were snags in the itinerary. We would never have taken the cruise on the Embla if our experiences on the Oden had been the same. The first part of the cruise was in Budapest and enjoyable. Croatia was the only part worth going ashore for. The visit to a citizen home was a joy. Bulgaria and Bucharest were the worst of all tours. Food was just okay most of the time and the day of boarding the vessel was very disorganized and we had to find a place to sit in the dining are to await the preparation of our rooms. There were a few snacks but generally we waited without food or service. Considering the cost of Viking River Cruises, I think that I will stick to ocean cruises. Maybe try a Viking ocean cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Please beware that Viking does not get the premiere ports on cruises. As we cruised on the Danube we went by all the beautiful locations tomport in Passau, Germany & ended what I would call a “ghetto” port. Please look at the ... Read More
Please beware that Viking does not get the premiere ports on cruises. As we cruised on the Danube we went by all the beautiful locations tomport in Passau, Germany & ended what I would call a “ghetto” port. Please look at the photo I have posted that shows our table with 2 glasses of champagne with our scenery of rusted out machinery and water tanks. This is not the type of image that you see on Masterpiece theatre. And to make it worse the Viking customer service people were not helpful. They had arranged for a couple of shuttles to take us to Passau maybe one in the morning and one in the afternoon. We ended up calling a taxi. I would not recommend Viking River Cruises. Ships are new and beautiful, but not having good customer service and getting the worst ports does not make Viking a desirable cruise line Read Less
Sail Date May 2017

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