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Sail Date: August 2019
Always dreamed about being able to experience a Viking Cruise and it did not disappoint! We did a 2 day extension in Budapest prior to boarding the ship. One of the best things we did was hire a private guide to show us the city from a ... Read More
Always dreamed about being able to experience a Viking Cruise and it did not disappoint! We did a 2 day extension in Budapest prior to boarding the ship. One of the best things we did was hire a private guide to show us the city from a locals perspective and it was well worth it! The embarkation process could not have been more smooth and even though we arrived 2 hours early, our room was ready within 5 minutes! We were fortunate enough to have one of the two Explorer state rooms, and it was well worth the extra money. To have a living room space as well as the wrap around balcony was a huge advantage, especially on such a long trip. Most importantly...the staff! I have been on many cruises in the past and I can say with absolute confidence...they were the best I have ever seen! By the second day, they knew everyone's name, cabin # and even what you preferred to drink. Every person we encountered was exceptional. The Program Director had more energy and personality than you could ever hope for and the Hotel Manager was truly amazing. He went above and beyond in every way. We did most of the included tours and each one was a great introduction to the city and it's highlights.We have already started looking at which cruise we want to do next! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We sailed the Passage to Eastern Europe with the added pre-extension in Prague. Overall Viking is very organized in terms of transporting you from place to place. Starting at the airport, there was a Viking Rep waiting for us. We were kept ... Read More
We sailed the Passage to Eastern Europe with the added pre-extension in Prague. Overall Viking is very organized in terms of transporting you from place to place. Starting at the airport, there was a Viking Rep waiting for us. We were kept waiting for another couple, who never showed, for an hour and a half. Here’s where some common sense should’ve kicked in. Maybe wait a half hour and then take us to the hotel. We were exhausted from a long flight and wanted to rest at the hotel. We were booked at the Corinthia, which is a wonderful hotel The room was a good size and very clean. They have three good restaurants and a lounge for late-night coffee or drinks. Breakfast was included and very good. They have a Viking Desk at the hotel which is convenient. They had signed us up for the city tour, which we opted out of, so they arranged transportation for us to join the food tour which we had signed up for. The tour was good with three restaurants and several dishes to try. Very little walking. We also did the Prague by Night tour which drove us through the city at night with some beautiful stops for amazing views of the city. They also had a complimentary shuttle to the Old Town from the hotel, which we took advantage of to explore on our own. To get to Budapest was an 8-hour or so bus ride. We stopped a couple of times for bathroom breaks and lunch. It was essentially a lost day. We stayed at the Hilton in the castle district, which is absolutely stunning. Check-in was less smooth with everyone crowding the desk to get a room key. At this point I had pulled a muscle in my calf and was unable to go on one of the tours. Beware: Once Viking has your money, YOU WILL NOT get it back. We were told no refund unless we paid $130 Euros for a doctor’s note. We were looking to get back $180 US. Having traveled several cruise lines, Viking is the only one who wouldn’t refund our money for missing an excursion. We paid $20K for the trip and they have lost a customer forever. I hope the $180 was worth it. Awful service. Budapest is stunningly gorgeous. We went on a few of the tours, which were part bus, part walking tours. After two nights, Viking takes you on a day tour and then finally to the ship. Getting on board is relatively easy as you just check-in at the front desk and relinquish your passport. They had a light lunch waiting for us and shortly after 3:00 we entered our cabin. The ship was in good shape, clean, and inviting. It’s color palette is blonde wood with beige furniture and accessories. Because it’s a river boat, the spaces are smaller and fewer. The largest spaces are the lounge, dining room, and top deck. We never had any issues finding a table or seating for lounging. At night there is a pianist/singer in the lounge. That’s about it for entertainment unless they bring in locals for dancing and other activities. The food is good. Each night they have a tasting menu based on the country you’re docked in. Everything we tried was very tasty. Dining times are rigid for each of the three meals. However, if you do miss a meal, the staff is extremely well trained and accommodating so you can likely get something if you ask. We traveled through Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. Most of the tours are around 4 hours and some combination of bus and walking. All of the guides talked about the wars and Communism, which was really interesting. We had two full-day tours the last two days. On one of the tours we drove out to Veliko Tărnovo for a bathroom break, coffee, and photo op. Then on to Arbanasi for a walking tour and lunch, and then back to the other village for an “hour+ of free time.” Why not just head back to the ship? Instead we arrived back with less than an hour to spare before dinner. It felt like they just wanted us to spend money in town. The next day we disembarked, en masse, in 100 degree heat to be driven around all day and kept away from the hotel until after 4:00. There were no other options but to be forced on to this tour to get us off the boat. So, it says 11 days, but you’re only on the boat for 7. This means some of your meals are on you in addition to what you’ve already paid for the cruise. Overall we saw some beautiful places that have not yet been commercialized. We learned a lot about this part of the world. We met some wonderful people and had some great food. There were a few things that did leave a bad impression, most notably the refusal to refund one of the excursions. We expect more for the high cost of the trip. For our next cruise, we’d select a company who understands that fully accommodating its customers means repeat business. Viking, unfortunately, doesn’t get that part. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
This is only the second cruise ever for my wife and me - our first was a brief ocean cruise from Florida to Bahamas on another major line, and we were not overly impressed. For years, though, we always wanted to try a river cruise, and ... Read More
This is only the second cruise ever for my wife and me - our first was a brief ocean cruise from Florida to Bahamas on another major line, and we were not overly impressed. For years, though, we always wanted to try a river cruise, and after years on Viking's mailing list, we decided to take the plunge. We are so glad we did - we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We took the Grand European Tour, a 15-day river voyage down the Danube and Rhine from Budapest to Amsterdam, and every aspect of our trip was enjoyable. Each port of call was a fascinating visit, including Vienna, Nuremburg, Cologne, and some less well-known cities and towns such as Melk and Wertheim. We visited 12 cities for at least a day each. (Amsterdam was our disembarkation point so we only saw it from the shuttlle bus to the airport.) Each stop had a tour included as part of the package, as well as a few optional tours for an additional fee. (The only optional tours we took were the evening concert in Vienna and the wine country tour in the Moselle Valley.) Our guides were all excellent, but we were particularly impressed with our guides in Regensburg and Wertheim, who gave us a "Jewish history" tour. Also, since we are both in our late 60's and my wife was nursing a sore knee and recovering from a rib injury, we appreciated and sometimes took advantage of the "gentle tour" options. The cruise experience was everything we hoped for and more. If you are expecting an over-the-top experience like on some ocean cruises, you may be disappointed. You won't find wall-to-wall 24-hour buffets, Broadway-style musical reviews, "formal nights", noisy casinos, infiinty pools or mini-water parks. What you will find is a quieter, more low-key experience. The boat is only four decks, three of which have staterooms and suites, and accommodates less than 200 passengers. Delicious food, including international cuisine, is served three times a day, either buffet-style or table service. Meals include soft drinks and beer or house wine. You can pay for an optional "silver spirits" package which provides unlimited beverages, but we didn't choose this because we are not big drinkers.There is nightly entertainment in the Aquavit Lounge - the "house band" was a talented duo on guitar and piano, and on two evenings some talented local classical singers and musicians came to serenade us. We also welcomed a funny, fascinating and informative local glassblower, and enjoyed a Beatles sing-along night, as well as trivia and game nights (our team won the trivia contest). My wife also celebrated a birthday on board - the staff brought her a delicious little cake and sang to her, and we returned to the stateroom to find a birthday card and balloons on our bed. We met many very nice fellow passengers, most of whom were in our age range, and most American, though some were from Canada, Australia, and other countries. The staff was, without exception, courteous, friendly, and very attentive, from the reception desk to the restaurant, lounge and staterooms. And one couldn't ask for a better cruise director than David - very organized, informative and personable. Our voyage was smooth and scenic, with lovely towns, castles, churches and vineyards along the way. (We found the system of canals and locks along the rivers and the way they operated to be almost as fascinating as the scenery along the banks). The best views could be found from the top sundeck, although access was limited at times because we traveled under some rather low bridges. We were worried early on that due to low water on the rivers, there was a chance we might have to disembark for part of the tour and be transported by bus, but Mother Nature was kind to us, and despite a hot, dry summer in Europe, there was enough recent rain to eliminate that possiblity. Our weather was generally quite good - a bit hot at the beginning, but more temperate through the rest of the trip with only two days we would describe as rainy. Our package included free airfare, and we were lucky to get nonstop flights to and from our home airport in Philadelphia. The Viking staff were very helpful getting us to and from our ship upon arrival and departure. All in all, we had a wonderful time, and we're already thinking about booking another Viking cruise in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
First ... a shout out to our wonderful “included” tour guides. We especially enjoyed Sylvia Seifert whose extended tour in Regensburg (including Jewish history and the Stumbling Stones Project) was spectacular. Another terrific guide ... Read More
First ... a shout out to our wonderful “included” tour guides. We especially enjoyed Sylvia Seifert whose extended tour in Regensburg (including Jewish history and the Stumbling Stones Project) was spectacular. Another terrific guide -whom we were with today in Cologne- was Ralph (sorry no last name). His knowledge of history was extensive. In a very brief period we learned so very much. Finally and sadly (sorry!!!) we cannot recall the name of our Wertheim guide, another terrific individual (woman in her 60s) who brought her home town to life -past and present. For example she told us that her husband was 5 years old when US tanks rolled through town at the end of WW2: an image he has never forgotten. She shared a great deal of her own life experience as well as history and both helped us get a true flavor for her river town. Food was outstanding. Thank you Marc!! My husband is a vegetarian and there were excellent options and the chefs also made special meals for him which were great. Note: no special milk products like soy, cashew or almond milk on board. The staff took exquisite care of us. They took care of everything. We have loved our cruise experience (we have one more day). I have 2 items to critique: I would have liked another day in each of the larger cities: Vienna and Cologne. Of course I knew the schedule in advance. I would like Viking to know this preference however and will put this on the evaluation they provide. We did the pre-extension in Budapest and so we did have more time there. The second item is that for a good part of the cruise - maybe half - the sundeck was closed due to very low bridges. This is something that I would have liked to know about in advance. It would not have stopped me from coming. Still, if one does not have a private balcony, not having access to the sundeck makes a difference. Last but not least this trip is great if you are very active (you can hike and bike), if you have limited mobility and need to be in a “gentle” tour group or if you are anywhere in between. We were told the average age was 68 with a range from 20s- 83. A terrific experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Viking does a great job marketing and we were sold a “first class experience” when booking one of two explorer suites. These suites are right above the engines in the back of the boat. Low water on the Danube exasperated the loudness ... Read More
Viking does a great job marketing and we were sold a “first class experience” when booking one of two explorer suites. These suites are right above the engines in the back of the boat. Low water on the Danube exasperated the loudness if the suite and the vibrations made our teeth chatter. We had to be moved to another room on the cruise. Horrific experience and very poor customer experience. Viking also has no automation for passenger boarding and leaving ship. Traditional ocean liners have an automated system where you put in your card upon entering and exiting the ship. Viking does this work paper cards that you are given (and have to wait in line for) each time you enter or exit the ship. Ridiculous and so old school! They cruise officers were always looking for people at each port. I would also never add anything port extensions on with Viking. Very poor hotels, especially the Corenthia in Prague Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Viking River Cruise on “Embla:” Bucharest to Budapest w/ 3-nt Prague Add-On Overall: Terrible experience with Viking aboard their boat Embla due to major maintenance issues known to them before our cruise started. Half speed at ... Read More
Viking River Cruise on “Embla:” Bucharest to Budapest w/ 3-nt Prague Add-On Overall: Terrible experience with Viking aboard their boat Embla due to major maintenance issues known to them before our cruise started. Half speed at best; little to no air-conditioning with room temperatures ranging from the high 70s into the 90s. The dining room felt even hotter with everyone assembled. This was a boat maintenance issue, NOT a river problem. We did not have a river cruise; the boat stayed in Russe, Bulgaria for 3 days. Then we were on buses for the rest of the trip. No choice/options as to what we ate. Viking gave minimal refund and never answered my emails to Customer Relations and several senior management personnel. Specifics: Immediately after boarding we were informed that: • The boat would be going slower than normal because the river level was low and that caused the water to be warmer which had a negative effect on engine cooling. A crew member later told us that the boat had previously hit a submerged object and had to travel slow coming to Bucharest because of propulsion problems. We saw other longboats passing us (on the one day we “cruised” from Russe to Lom); the “warm” water did not affect them! We also saw tugboats pushing loaded barges which rode much lower in the river than our boat. – We were misled from beginning!! Viking was aware of problems with Embla before we even boarded. Viking could/should have told us in Bucharest that the ship could only sail at half speed and that we would not be able to make our ports on time. They could have offered to cancel our cruise, receive a full refund for the cruise and Prague portion, and given us one more night in a hotel in Bucharest to make travel arrangements. Instead, Viking elected to hide the problem and have us board a ship that could only travel at a very slow speed with 50% a/c capacity, and sent us to spend 3 days in the small town of Russe. • We should not open our balcony doors, especially during the evening & night, as the mosquitos were very bad. This was also the case on the open upper deck. Thus, outside air was not a solution for the 80-90 degree (F) temperatures in our staterooms. The first day in Russe we elected to stay on the boat and not walk into town. We went to the dining room for lunch and were told lunch would only be available in the small eating area in front of the lounge. This “meal” consisted of a buffet of soup, cocktail sandwiches, and Bulgarian meatloaf; not exactly what you expect on a cruise. The next day we were told that we could stay on the boat, but there would be no a/c for several hours. We opted to go on a 3-hr tour of the old and new city squares of Russe. Once on the tour we were told that we would be eating lunch in Russe after the tour. Following lunch, we were informed that we must not return to the boat. We would tour 3 museums, attend a piano recital (at least it was in an air-conditioned room) and then have dinner at the same restaurant where we had lunch. At both lunch and dinner we were given what they wanted us to eat; no menu to select from. Again, not what one expects when traveling on a cruise. The boat set sail from Russe after midnight that night. The next day (Saturday, 27 July) we cruised at a very slow speed all day. This is the day we were supposed to be “scenic cruising past the Iron Gates.” That is one of the reasons we selected this Viking itinerary; we wanted to see the Iron Gates – this did not happen! We had lunch and dinner in the dining room. There was no ice cream available for dessert at dinner; the chef said the freezer was turned off. We were told before dinner that we would be getting off the boat the next morning in Lom. We were told that we would be driven by buses to Belgrade and then to Budapest. Keep in mind, temperature in the staterooms was 80-90 defrees (F). The rest of the boat (lounge, dining room, etc.) was even hotter. Sun, 28 July: After sailing over 36 hours and not even getting to Viden, we boarded buses in Lom and less than 3 hours later stopped for lunch with a distant view of the Belogradchik Rocks. That’s as close as we got to them and the Fortress (tours touted in the Viking literature). The lunch was a small buffet, no “ordering from a menu.” After a 12-hour day on a bus we arrived at the hotel in Belgrade. We had dinner around 9pm (more than 9 hours after we had lunch). Mon, 29 July: Spent the day in Belgrade. Had lunch in Old Town and dinner at the hotel. Again, we did not get to order from a menu. Tues, 30 July: Departed Belgrade via bus. Had noticed on the internet that it was a 4-to-5 hr bus ride to Budapest. Instead, Viking bussed us through Croatia where we had lunch in various private homes. We did not choose this; Viking did. When given the option prior to the cruise to have meals in private homes, we declined. This is not something we preferred to do. We, once again, did not get to select our meal. We were not offered the choice of a 4 or 5 hour bus ride vice a 12 hour bus day! After arriving at the hotel in Budapest around 9pm we had another buffet dinner. Wed, 31 July: Following two 12-hr bus ride days, two of our party were in poor physical condition and could not attend the included “Panoramic Budapest” tour. We were not meeting the objectives we had when we selected this itinerary. Since two members of our group were not on the tour, they were not provided lunch by Viking; the rest of us ate, once again, what & where Viking prescribed. Thurs, 1 Aug: Spent the day recuperating at the hotel. Note: Since we arrived in Budapest a day earlier than planned, we could not stay at the InterContinental Hotel as originally planned. This hotel is very conveniently located to Old Town, the river, and most the popular tourist attractions. Instead we were assigned a hotel that was not within walking distance of the tourist areas. Fri, 2 Aug: Took a 9-hr bus ride to Prague. Had this been our first “bus day,” we would have been in much better physical condition upon arriving in Prague. As it was, taking this 9-hr ride after the previous two 12-hr bus days was too much. This whole trip was a miserable, painful, terrible experience. As disastrous as it was, the Embla Captain never addressed the passengers and apprised us of the situation; it was like he was hiding. We were not consulted about what we might have wanted; we were not given any options. It was strictly, “Do what Viking says!” This was supposed to be “the vacation of a lifetime.” When we planned it, we did not choose a bus tour of Eastern Europe. We have several reasons for NOT wanting to spend hours riding a bus. We did not get to enjoy any of the advantages of a cruise. The few days/nights we spent on Embla were extremely uncomfortable. We chose a balcony room, and upon boarding, were told not to open the balcony doors in the evenings or nights! We only had a few meals in the Embla dining room where we got to select our meal from a menu. The rest of the time we had no choice as to what we ate. We all ate more meals consisting of chicken and potatoes than we ever thought possible when on a “cruise vacation.” We spent $13,494 on this cruise (two were refunded a small amount since they used their frequent flyer miles for the air travel), four of us paid an additional $50 each so we could choose our airline flights and seats, and we paid various amounts (average was approximately $1000/couple due to differing age) for travel insurance. Each couple spent approximately $15,000 to spend a miserable two weeks on a poorly-functioning boat and a bus. We were unable to enjoy places like Budapest and Prague because Viking’s choices had us so exhausted and physically impaired. To make matters worse, Viking has refunded $3,999 and claims that is 50% of our cost. Viking can most likely justify this with some “creative accounting.” $4,000 per couple does not come close to compensating us for our expenditures and the pain and suffering we endured. If you do book Viking, I recommend that you ask for a maintenance record of the boat. Specifically, for Embla: ask for the maintenance they performed after July 28, 2019 in order to fix the problems that led to our ‘bus tour”. I would also ask for the exact cost breakdown that they show for the trip to be sent directly to you, not just the travel agent so you are aware how they are pricing it. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This is was our first river cruise. We are seasoned ocean cruise travelers. This cruise started with a delay in boarding the ship of one day due to maintenance problems on the previous cruise. We only had one day that we went to a port and ... Read More
This is was our first river cruise. We are seasoned ocean cruise travelers. This cruise started with a delay in boarding the ship of one day due to maintenance problems on the previous cruise. We only had one day that we went to a port and got off the ship and toured the venue. That was on day 12 when we visited Cologne Germany. All the other days we spent more time on buses than at the scheduled venue. We had an additional day when the ship was put in dry dock. Thus we were now 2 days behind. In order to make up time scheduled venues were skipped. The crew and staff were excellent, but the cruise was very bad. One of the highlights of the cruise is to cruise the Rhine and see all the mid evil castles. When we got to that point on the cruise it was 8:30 at night and dark! No castles I was notified via “form” letter 4 days after returning off the cruise that Viking was sorry and that they would give us 25% off our next cruise. Who would ever go on another cruise and get this type of cruise. Viking must think I am stupid. To spend $14,000.00 for this and get no compensation is totally wrong. Viking should be ashamed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We paid for our cruise with all the expectations of neophyte river cruisers and are crushed that our river cruise of a lifetime ended up being a horrible bus ride through Eastern Europe. Due to mechanical malfunctions on the Viking ... Read More
We paid for our cruise with all the expectations of neophyte river cruisers and are crushed that our river cruise of a lifetime ended up being a horrible bus ride through Eastern Europe. Due to mechanical malfunctions on the Viking Embla our tour was unable to hold to schedule resulting in canceled excursions, creative docking at unknown sites (we even had to break through a factory fence at one point in order to re-board our ship) closed locks, restricted use of the sun deck, after dark "scenic cruising", and days of sailing without stopping for excursions in order to "get back on schedule". We thought the staff was superb, they tried valiently to make us happy and service was impeccable, however after day 10 or 12 I began to think I was suffering from 'Stockholm Syndrome'. Our on board program director explained daily what was going to happen the next day, because of where the ship was in relation to where it should have been this excursion or that excursion was cancelled but we are offering a substitute or we could "stay on board with us..lunch will be at 12:0 in the in dining room...etc. " After several of these substituted excursions many of us stopped going as the excursions involved hours of bus rides each way. We wanted our cruise, not a bus ride. Viking is not making a significant compensation offer to us, in fact their offer shows little respect or understanding of our ruined trip. They seem not to care about customer satisfaction. We want our money back, Viking should have given us a full refund and canceled the cruise rather than take all of us down the river to the bus embarkation points. Viking knew before we boarded that the Embla could not deliver the cruise as promised. The schedule disruption was not due to river depth rather it was the Embla's malfunctioning engine and Viking's money grubbing refusal to cancel the cruise and refund our tickets. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Our first river cruise; wife and I, and 2 grown girls wanted to see some of Europe and thought a river cruise was a good way to do it. Booked 1 of 2 suites for ourselves and I standard balcony room for kids. I booked with Viking because ... Read More
Our first river cruise; wife and I, and 2 grown girls wanted to see some of Europe and thought a river cruise was a good way to do it. Booked 1 of 2 suites for ourselves and I standard balcony room for kids. I booked with Viking because told "the best" and seemed to have good overall reviews. Expensive. Booked the airfare with Viking travel; excellent value and flexibility (started with a few days in London). Arrived in Budapest; Viking reps met us, and took us to ship. Included with the suite was a private car; gave us a van, which was ok since we had girls with us and they then came with us instead of bus. When checking into room, was told the "hotel manager" would take us to room (part of the "suite" deal). Manager was from previous cruise and begrudgingly took us and showed us room, all the time talking about how he was supposed to be on vacation now. Not a good start. Began with some excursions in Budapest; including a food tasting. That night my wife and I became ill, we assumed from the food, and stayed in the next morning. I attempted a walking tour in Bratislava that afternoon, became ill and passed out/hitting my head. Ended up in ER, but was OK. The guide was able to contact ship and advise my wife; they put her in a taxi to Hospital. We were basically on our own from that point; understand there are no doctors on board unless they are cruising with you! Fortunately there were very nice people on board who helped us out. Made it back to ship, not much from staff other than please fill out an accident report. Ship itself was clean and pretty nice. It seemed there may have been nicer ships on the river, but Viking seemed to be on the better side. Our suite was roomy and nice, but its in the very rear of ship and is noisy when moving. Cleaning staff excellent and very nice! Food was usually good; did return a few plates, with food overdone. Everyone eats meals at same time, so I can understand would be hard to serve that much at the same time. You don'd have much privacy at meals, tables seat at least 6. There is an optional spot upstairs however very limited seating as they only have 1 server there, so first come first serve, and was a popular option. Would be nice if they allowed mover service there. Waiters very nice, however some have limited English- not a big deal however some cruisers had difficulty communicating. Excursions were OK; we noticed later that many people did self-tour which I would have preferred, as I don't need all the details the guides sometimes over explain; sometimes I feel to fill the time. They want you to book early; however they always had space and were trying to get more people on them, so don't feel pressured to advance book. Towns very picturesque! Enjoyed walking around. Upon departure, they again supposed to take us in private car to Munich airport. They tried to put us and they people in other suite on 1 large bus by ourselves, because "the bus has to go to the airport anyway, so just go on the bus." The other suite complained enough to get a private car; we at this point didn't care so went on the bus (by ourselves); our kids had already left on another bus. That was unacceptable; we paid a lot for the suite that included the car. Overall, the managing staff on the ship mediocre at best. The working staff very nice and helpful. I would not do a Viking cruise again; the value not there. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We have been to the Viking River. We are happy with the cruising along the River Danube. The cabin is small, the entertainment is OK, could be better - mainly piano playing, One time the cruise director Dawn gave a nice concert, a ... Read More
We have been to the Viking River. We are happy with the cruising along the River Danube. The cabin is small, the entertainment is OK, could be better - mainly piano playing, One time the cruise director Dawn gave a nice concert, a Sparano solo -the only best concert. Another time a team of two GERMAN musicians playing the accordion. Food is nutrition with limited choice in the menu. The ship Viking Tor is very new. Port excursion consists of a lot of walking. Viking puts out lots of optional excursions. Viking river cruise does not welcome children, probably person more than 21 cannot drink any alcoholic beverage, also there is no children's program in the ship. Viking Cruise company gives out lots of incentive for a passenger to return for another cruise in the future, like $200 onboard credit if returning within 2 years. I probably would go back. I enjoy the river cruises over the ocean cruises. The service & staff are excellent, very friendly. The ports & shore excursions are excellent & well organized. the reasons-smaller ship, more intimate atmosphere, more personal care, less line up for everything, wine & drink is included during mealtime, no formal wear ( makes it easier to pack.), we get to go ashore every day, the ship disembarks right in the city center. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our 5th cruise with Viking (2 river and 2 ocean cruises) and made us realised once again why we like cruising so much with them. Was the ideal way to celebrate our 50th anniversary and Grand European Tour on Viking LIF was the ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise with Viking (2 river and 2 ocean cruises) and made us realised once again why we like cruising so much with them. Was the ideal way to celebrate our 50th anniversary and Grand European Tour on Viking LIF was the perfect option. Based on our previous experience with Viking we saw how they started to cut corners especially with the quality of the food. But Chef Michael was a magician and every breakfast, lunch and dinner were kind of gastronomic events. And the service in the restaurant was simply sublime: Christian our server was very attentive, taking care of my wife medical requests, suggesting all the time the best from the menu and smiling every moment when serving our meals. What I would love to see on our next cruise is that Viking ban shorts and t-shirt during the dinner. It is a cruise ship not a fast food restaurant! I always thought that the lounge is a little bit small, especially when all the events (presentation, demonstration or shows) were very good and attracted a lot of people. On Lif one of the TV screen didn’t work and the sound was terrible sometimes which made quite hard to follow all the interesting information presented during the evening. The musicians were not our cup of tea, repeating every night the same songs and in a very amateurish style but all the other artists invited by the cruise director on board were excellent. A special mention to the bartender Ivan; we loved his knowledge and cynical sense of humour. Capitan Ana was the best we ever had. A gentle giant always talking with the passengers and keen to answer to all type of questions. His nautical presentation was a real treat, a fantastic double act with the cruise director. We never saw a captain so close to the passengers on board ever! The reception was another strong point of Viking Lif. Suzanna and Peter were knowledgeable, polite and efficient despite the fact that sometimes the place was very busy. We were impressed with the fact that if they didn’t have an answer the were asking the cruise director and come back to us in no time! A staff manning the reception night time was a little bit out of his league, forgetting couple of times our wakeup calls (we missed the wall on the Main) and spending to much time listening to his music than solving passengers issues. What a asset the Hotel Director Ionuts was for our trip! Very polite with excellent manners and extremely professional, Ionuts had always a genuine smile, being almost everywhere and leading the entire staff in a very efficient manner. He knows how to balance his skills with his age (he was 20 something). And my wife loved his hair! Viking excursions are always amazing but, this time was more than that. The guides were very informative without going over the top with historical information, mixing always personal stories with facts. Our top favourites: Rothenburg, War tour in Nuremberg, Jewish excursion in Wertheim and the cooking class in Regensburg. I save the best for last! If Lif is the crown of Viking, our cruise director Leo was the Hope Diamond. What a personality, what a passion and what a pleasure to have him. Leo was working non stop for 2 weeks at least 20 hours a day: coordinating and supervising the excursion in the morning, helping the reception during the busy lunch, answering questions in the afternoon, giving excellent briefings before dinner and organising parties or giving presentations in the evening. Somebody was joking about the possibility of having at least 3 clones of Leo on-board because he was everywhere when needed, always smiling and ready to help 24 hours a day for 2 weeks. His presentation during the sailing days were amazing: history, culture, legends everything mixed with an excellent narrative style, a war voice and a fantastic sense of humour. Leo had an answer for almost any questions, knowing all the cities as his own pocket and, at least for us, his recommendations were 100% perfect. He was a real one man show with a fantastic personality, a genuine care for the others (passengers and staff) and an encyclopaedic amount of knowledge. What can I say, and I heard other passengers saying the same, without Leo the trip will be very good but not excellent. It will be a privilege to have him as a cruise director on our next Viking cruise! Viking rules the river’s waves, Lif rules Viking and Leo ruled the excellence in our cruise in Europe. What an amazing experience. Thank you all! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We too had a bad experience due to a broken lock. We shared the horrible port with 3 other Viking ships. Cement factory working through the night. Homeless family living under bridge. Not the picturesque view we imagined to have. We ... Read More
We too had a bad experience due to a broken lock. We shared the horrible port with 3 other Viking ships. Cement factory working through the night. Homeless family living under bridge. Not the picturesque view we imagined to have. We spent three days traveling by bus from boat at dock. Sunday, we traveled 20 minutes each way to see sites ofcity of Nuremberg. Then Monday, Nuremberg to Regensburg(4 hours round trip) - back to horrible port, then Nuremberg to Passau (7 hours round trip)- back to horrible port, then on Wednesday finally on a bus once again Nuremberg to Ybbs(6 hours) to be transferred to Viking Gulliveg. Viking knew on June 22 locks were broken and contingency plans needed to be made. This was the best they could come up with?? Shame on them! More time on bus than traveling the river. Their response? A voucher to use for future travel. No credit for "time served" on buses. No apologies. Just matter of fact.. this is what we are offering. This was our first river cruise. Not sure what was more disappointing...The broken lock with our "port view", Viking's "best" contingency plan of more than 20+ hours on a bus, or Viking's response. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We had been planning for our Romantic Danube cruise on the Viking Var for over a year. Eight of us were traveling together to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We have never spent this much money on a vacation ($12,000) before and we ... Read More
We had been planning for our Romantic Danube cruise on the Viking Var for over a year. Eight of us were traveling together to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We have never spent this much money on a vacation ($12,000) before and we were so excited to cruise from Budapest to Nuremburg. The first four days of our trip was a dream. The crew on the Var was fabulous and we could not have been happier. On the 4th day, rumors started circulating around the ship that we were going to have to change ships. We understood from our contract with Viking that river levels or other issues could cause a change in itinerary, but how Viking handled the change is completely unacceptable. Viking has known a lock on the Danube between Regensburg and Nuremburg was broken since a Viking ship broke it on June 5th. We did not sail until June 28th, Viking knew about this itinerary change and did not notify its customers. We were told the night before a ship change that we had to have all our things packed and outside our cabin doors by 8:15 am to be transferred to a new ship. Here’s where it got worse: 1) We were bussed (1.5 hours) to Passau, Germany for that day’s tour and then bussed for 4 hours to Roth, Germany where our new ship, the Viking Tor, was docked in a dirty industrial canal. 2) When we boarded our new ship after four hours on a bus, not a single crew member apologized, a drink wasn’t offered…nothing. 3) At that night’s port talk, we were told that if we wanted to go to Regensburg, we would have to be bussed 1.5 hours each way for a two-hour city tour. We declined to take that tour and found our own way to the Roth train station and made our way to Nuremburg on our own and at our own expense. We were only 30 minutes from Nuremberg and the Viking crew would not help us arrange something different than what they had planned. 4) We then sat in Roth, in a dirty industrial canal for two days. 5) We sailed to another industrial canal in Nuremburg and disembarked the next day. Upon arriving home, I contacted Viking Customer Service to provide feedback and to ask for compensation for spending a third of our “Romantic Danube” cruise on dirty canals. I was told by the Agent for Viking that Viking Executives were reviewing compensation for all of the passengers. He told me that after I received that communication if I was not happy, I should call him back. About two hours later, I received an email from Viking offering us each a $250 voucher for another cruise. That is roughly 4% of the cost of our trip when we spent almost a third of our trip either on a bus or a dirty canal. What an insult from Viking. All of Viking’s advertising touts their world class service…that’s all true when everything is going fine, but when issues arise, Viking takes no responsibility or accountability with their customers. When I called the Agent back, he confirmed that $250 was the offer and that it was “more than generous”. He also explained to me how itinerary changes are made by Viking and that the experience I explained to him was not what had happened. He offered me $500 each for an ocean cruise, “but, that is the best I can do and we are at an impasse.” He was nice in our first call and very rude in our second. Here’s the truth: 1) Viking knew about the lock before we boarded our ship. They chose not to disclose it. Other river cruise companies did and one cruise line even put their passengers up in a 5 star hotel rather than make them spend days on a dirty canal. 2) Viking gave us 10 hours’ notice of the change. No one ever apologized. If they would have offered everyone a free drink in the bar that night after a 4 hour bus ride, that would have gone a long way. 3) We spent one-third of our vacation in a dirty canal and Viking could care less. I will never take a Viking cruise again, I will never recommend Viking, I will proactively tell my friends and family to never take a Viking cruise and I will use all social media and cruise review sites I can to tell my story. What a truly disappointing experience. Viking is dishonest and does not care about its customers…plain and simple. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We had done the Rhine and couldn't wait to go again. I can't believe this is even the same cruise line. The crew was very standoff-ish. But, we made nice friends and the first few days were decent. Then, at Gottwieg Abby, we ... Read More
We had done the Rhine and couldn't wait to go again. I can't believe this is even the same cruise line. The crew was very standoff-ish. But, we made nice friends and the first few days were decent. Then, at Gottwieg Abby, we were informed that due to a broken lock, we would have to do a boat swap with Tor that night. We'd pack, they would transfer our luggage to another boat while we were touring, we'd return to the new boat and be on our way. What happened is that they stuck us on a 6-hour bus ride and delivered us to Tor - parked in an industrial waste site, complete with rumbling dump trucks and trash. There we stayed for 3 days! We found out it had already been there for 3 days prior! Most of our tours were canceled for two days. If we wanted to do anything we had to be up at 5:30 AM and on a bus for a 2-3 hour bus ride to a faraway city....where we would get to spend a whole hour touring! We finally mutinied and told them we were staying till 4 and they had better come and get us. They did...but at 5:45! Yet, we met other Viking passengers who had boat-swapped with little disruption. We understood the lock issue... until they tied us up for 3 days! No explanation. Calls to Viking upon return home were met with the rudest, nastiest treatment imaginable. "What do you want, lady?" I paid $10,000 for half a cruise. I would expect decent compensation. Nope, they acted as if we should have been grateful that they said, 'sorry.' Our Rhine had lectures and classes...this one had nothing! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Our original ship, the Lif was diverted just two days before our 3-week trip, to replace a Viking ship that hit and sunk a sightseeing boat in Budapest (28 lives lost). Our replacement, the Embla had a very excellent staff, but struck an ... Read More
Our original ship, the Lif was diverted just two days before our 3-week trip, to replace a Viking ship that hit and sunk a sightseeing boat in Budapest (28 lives lost). Our replacement, the Embla had a very excellent staff, but struck an anchored barge our first night out, and subsequently lost one of its generators (which power the electric motors) and 1/3 of its required speed. This cut short or eliminated our time to explore, and caused us to be bused ahead while the ship caught up. Viking management kept dodging responsibility, talking about how last year the water was too low and passengers had to be bused. They offered no simple apology (which is all we needed from them). They made no supportive gesture to us (would an open bar once a day have been too much?), and they kept blaming every late arrival on the locks. Thankfully, our time on the Embla was cut short when another Viking Longship disabled a lock at Nuremberg, shutting down all river traffic for nearly three weeks. (The captain of that ship had caused another accident just three months previously, raising questions in the press about Viking’s standards.) We were again bused past the broken lock and transferred to another ship, the Viking Aegir. While most of the staff was very good, we and several of our new friends had very bad experiences with some of the restaurant staff, the lounge staff, and the "Hotel Manager" who basically told us "this is my ship and I run it how I like." Our bathroom door had to remain shut to trap the raw sewage gases that came up through the shower drain (this was widely, if not universally experienced). Our shore experiences were terrific. The food onboard was above average. Overall we enjoyed our trip, making new friends aboard ship, seeing beautiful landscapes and Bavarian towns, and experiencing local cultures. Perhaps Viking has grown too fast and lost quality control. There are better cruise lines at about at the same price point—Avalon, Tauck, AmaWaterways. We will be returning to Crystal Cruises in the future—the somewhat higher price is more than made up for in accommodations, food quality, amenities, and top-rated service. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Don't mean to sound negative, but didn't have the fantastic experience so many others report. Airport pickup at Budapest went well, as did the pre-cruise experience, despite poor weather. Guide for Jewish Budapest one of the ... Read More
Don't mean to sound negative, but didn't have the fantastic experience so many others report. Airport pickup at Budapest went well, as did the pre-cruise experience, despite poor weather. Guide for Jewish Budapest one of the best on entire trip. However ... Had no lunch on embarkation day as it was supposed to be provided on board. We were a bit late arriving at the dock, so nothing available until dinner that night. Many passengers in larger groups, so a bit awkward at mealtimes; not to say we didn't encounter many nice, interesting folks, just that they tended to gravitate in their groups. Staff were unfailingly nice, excursions very well presented, although one guide I found very political. Director did a terrific job advising of photo opportunities from ship, as well the lock process. Food was adequate, if not outstanding. Breakfast the best omelettes I've run across, lunch a hybrid salad bar + pasta station, along with ordering from a menu. Dinner was truly a mixed bag. Soup wasn't just broth-based, but downright oily. Fish was very good, but meat selections not so much. Dessert varied from terrific to ho-hum. Want to give the staff full credit for being zealous about catering to dietary needs - at breakfast they made a point of consulting with passengers to plan the day ahead for them. We were warned ship wifi wasn't the fastest. Unfortunately, my phone signal did not work well in the cabin, though off the ship it was fine. Laundry a bit expensive, but prompt service with good results. Held several hours on boat for last transfer to Munich Airport, cutting departure closer than I'd have liked. Not sorry we went, but just didn't get the "Wow!" factor. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
I chose this cruise because I saw pictures of the castles along the route and it included stops in cities I wanted to visit (ie Vienna, Amsterdam Passau). My sister accompanied me and we chose to add extra time in Amsterdam before the ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I saw pictures of the castles along the route and it included stops in cities I wanted to visit (ie Vienna, Amsterdam Passau). My sister accompanied me and we chose to add extra time in Amsterdam before the cruise. The welcome at the Amsterdam airport by Viking representatives was truly appreciated as we did not have to spend time figuring out what to do next. The walking tour and visit to the tulip garden was fantastic and we had free time to explore on our own. Once we got on board the ship and shown to our stateroom we explored the ship and relaxed with a drink before dinner. The ship was very clean and bright and our cabin, while small, was well appointed and contained everything we needed. The beds were comfortable and I loved lying on my bed by the open window and just enjoying the sounds of the river. So relaxing. We were served excellent meals by friendly and courteous wait staff. The shore excursions were well organized, interesting and the guides offered great stories about the areas we were visiting. I really can’t say I had a favourite. Due to high water levels on the river we had to abandon the ship at Regensburg and continue by bus. We were kept informed on alternate plans and the accommodation and meals they arranged were second to none. All staff on board the ship were polite, knowledgeable and fun. I loved the cruise and would love to go again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We had thought about a Viking Cruise for several years and when A brochure came in the mail and we decided it was time. Our cruise was from Basel Switzerland to Amsterdam. The crew of the Idi was absolutely wonderful. In a day, most staff ... Read More
We had thought about a Viking Cruise for several years and when A brochure came in the mail and we decided it was time. Our cruise was from Basel Switzerland to Amsterdam. The crew of the Idi was absolutely wonderful. In a day, most staff had learned our names. The service was superb, as was the food. The included shore excursions were all very well run and interesting. The activities director as well as the hotel manager of the ship were exceedingly professional helpful welcoming and more than willing to help a first time traveler. The ship was absolutely modern and extremely clean. The wines and beer served with meals was excellent. We met several other couples with whom we have continued to correspond. This vacation ranks as one of the top two of our lives! We have booked for the Nuremberg to Budapest Danube Cruise this Fall and can’t wait. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Having done many ocean cruises this was our first river cruise,so had no idea what to expect. The ship was great, crew brilliant, food fantastic quality and great fellow guests, it was perfect. The included trips were informative with ... Read More
Having done many ocean cruises this was our first river cruise,so had no idea what to expect. The ship was great, crew brilliant, food fantastic quality and great fellow guests, it was perfect. The included trips were informative with knowledgeable guides. The customer service was the best I have experienced from the lovely Joana in housekeeping, Tommy in the bar and Carla and Cruz in the restaurant . Nothing was too much trouble and we felt thoroughly spoiled and extremely well looked after. The management team were excellent and continually asked guests if all was well . Briefings on the up and coming ports were really helpful and good fun. The daily menu featured regional as well as a varied menu. Quality of food was 5 star and we were particularly impressed with the way special diets were catered for. We would highly recommend this trip and Viking and will be booking our next trip soon! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our second Viking cruise and we enjoyed ourselves the entire time, as was the case on our prior cruise. We cruised from Budapest to Nuremberg, and took a Prague Extension for 4 days. The crew was professional, courteous and ... Read More
This was our second Viking cruise and we enjoyed ourselves the entire time, as was the case on our prior cruise. We cruised from Budapest to Nuremberg, and took a Prague Extension for 4 days. The crew was professional, courteous and thorough in all they did. The food was plentiful and delicious. The crew kept us on schedule the whole trip. We enjoyed all the excursions in the various towns and cities. The excursion guides were very knowledgeable and courteous. The various ports were conveniently located and the ship was always at the rendezvous waiting for us. The transfers to and from airports, hotels and excursions were on clean modern buses with courteous drivers and guides. Baggage was handled efficiently and timely. The hotel accommodations were excellent . Our last cruise was Southern France with extensions in Nice and Paris, and everything was on a similar level of quality, we have already booked two additional Viking River Cruises. Next the Northern France Chateaux, Rivers and Wines. After that we will sailing Viking from Paris to Zurich. In both cases we will have extensions before and after the cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Viking is a Premier company. The ship, staff, cuisine, side trips were all amazing. The wait staff was absolutely amazing. After only one day they were aware of your personal preferences of beverage coffee, tea, soft drink, white or ... Read More
Viking is a Premier company. The ship, staff, cuisine, side trips were all amazing. The wait staff was absolutely amazing. After only one day they were aware of your personal preferences of beverage coffee, tea, soft drink, white or red wine) My travelling companion had many dietary restrictions and our Maitre de was at our table every evening to help her making choices and adjustments that the kitchen would be able to make. The ship in general was totally clean...no dust, no stains. We participated in most of the included tours and did take 3 or 4 of the additional add on choices. I was so impressed that I have already booked a second cruise for next year. My only complaint was with the hotel in Amsterdam for our post cruise stay. Our last night we were subjected to 'neighbors' who were fighting, screaming, banging on the wall and making attempts to enter our room. This went on well into the night. I called the front desk at about 1:30 a.m. and was promised it would be addressed. It stopped briefly and then started up again and I called about 2:30 am...this time I finally did stop. Although this is certainly not any fault of Viking, it was a awful experience. I can not believe that the hotel did not in any way apologize or offer some type of compensation. As we were two senior women, it was quite a frightful experience. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
I loved everything about this cruise (except the weather which was cold and rainy). Our cruise went from Budapest Hungary to Amsterdam. Castles, vineyards, beautiful scenery, churches, shopping, history, demonstrations-so much to see and ... Read More
I loved everything about this cruise (except the weather which was cold and rainy). Our cruise went from Budapest Hungary to Amsterdam. Castles, vineyards, beautiful scenery, churches, shopping, history, demonstrations-so much to see and do. Our cruise director/stand up comedian/singer was positively amazing and multi-talented. He coordinated all the activities and shore excursions so everything ran smoothly. He was very knowledgeable about the ship and the history of the places we saw along the way. He was also very entertaining, cracking jokes and keeping us in stitches. All of the staff were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. Our Cabin Steward was really sweet and did an excellent job of keeping our room tidy. The meals were amazing, I think there was something for everyone and everything was top notch. Our room was a tiny bit cramped, but there really isn't any way around that. The ship can only be so wide to sail the rivers and get through the locks. Even though a bit small, there was ample storage and closet space. Just to manage expectations, if you are used to sailing the big ocean ships like carnival where there are pools, rides, Broadway shows, spa, casino, gym and all kinds of shops etc. This ship is tiny compared to those big ocean cruise ships and space is limited. They have internet, a small library, a tiny shop, a bar and a nightly singing duo, and occasionally demonstrations and history classes about the places we sailed by or visited. Most everyone of the guests on the cruise were retirees. If you can't live without all the bells and whistles, this is probably not the cruise for you. That being said, we sailed during the night and were in another port the next day with an included walking tour or optional excursions, shopping and sightseeing on your own. Even when we sailed during the day, there was so much beautiful scenery to see along the way, we were never bored. I gave a 3 star to the fitness and recreation catagory because they don't really have any fitness or recreational activities per se. There is a walking track on the top deck. On the other hand, I felt like the shore excursions themselves gave us plenty of walking exercise. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We wanted a small ship cruise in the spring to this part of Europe. Viking was recommended by a friend so we booked the Grand European Cruise. The daily itinerary was busy enough to meet our exploratory and educational needs and balanced ... Read More
We wanted a small ship cruise in the spring to this part of Europe. Viking was recommended by a friend so we booked the Grand European Cruise. The daily itinerary was busy enough to meet our exploratory and educational needs and balanced with relaxation and down time. We loved the Thermal baths, the architecture in the cities and villages, the castles, the hikes, learning the history of the various regions by our tour guides, dining out to sample the local cuisine, the operatic vocalists in Vienna, the numerous cathedrals and town squares, etc. On board our ship, we became very comfortable within a few days. Checking the TV for weather helped to know how the dress for our busy excisions. The lounge was a great place to just hang out and chill when needing time to relax. The staff and people on board were very friendly as well! Our meals were delicious and everything went off like clockwork. We had a blast!!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Having been on two previous Viking cruises (one river, one ocean), we knew the high standards we could expect from Viking. We traveled with another couple and had adjacent rooms near the front of the boat. Our rooms were comfortable and ... Read More
Having been on two previous Viking cruises (one river, one ocean), we knew the high standards we could expect from Viking. We traveled with another couple and had adjacent rooms near the front of the boat. Our rooms were comfortable and our balcony provided a lovely vantage point from which to watch the scenic villages on warm cruising days. Our room was kept clean and tidied up during the day. Loved the cappuccino machine (and visited it often), and meals were always delicious. Tours were always well organized and informative. I liked the freedom to roam our port villages whenever we were docked, especially when others in our group preferred to stay on the river boat. Port talks were informative In planning the next day's activities. Entertainment was varied and indicative of the areas we were visiting. Traveling with Viking is always a pleasure. Even when a problem occurs, Viking is prompt in making amends. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
My friend found this cruise for a great price. My wife had always wanted to do a European river cruise. We heard great things about Viking from others who had done one or more cruises. Nice, intimate (just the right number of ... Read More
My friend found this cruise for a great price. My wife had always wanted to do a European river cruise. We heard great things about Viking from others who had done one or more cruises. Nice, intimate (just the right number of passengers), well kept, well run ship. Very comfortable, clean lower cabin with all the amenities (make sure that after you have unpacked you store your suitcases under the bed - lots of room and out of the way). The food was absolutely amazing, great entertainment by locals, wonderful shore excursions and I cannot say enough about the crew - WONDERFUL IN EVERY WAY. The program director, Wez, was energetic, fun, creative and OH SO patient with us (was teased almost constantly). Warning, to all you avid photographers, they don't warn you until you're on the bus that many of the buildings you will be touring during shore excursions will not allow photography inside so you don't need to take the 40 lbs. of equipment I took. For most shots just a really good "point and shoot" or "bridge" camera for the external pics would be adequate. Read Less
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