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7 Night Europe Cruise from Nuremberg

7 Night Europe Cruise from Nuremberg

Viking Alsvin
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Viking Alsvin

Viking Alsvin - Viking River Cruises


Ample public space and abundant storage in all cabin choices


A lack of variety among included shore excursions and on TV in the cabins

Bottom Line

Attention to detail in ship design and service make this an enjoyable ship

Cruise Reviews

We just got back from the Cities of Light cruisetour (August 7-18th, Prague to Paris on the Alsvin) and had a great time! This was our second Viking river cruise having gone on the Danube Waltz last summer (Budapest to Prague on the ... Read More
We just got back from the Cities of Light cruisetour (August 7-18th, Prague to Paris on the Alsvin) and had a great time! This was our second Viking river cruise having gone on the Danube Waltz last summer (Budapest to Prague on the Legend) which we also really enjoyed. I was worried that August would be unbearably hot and crowded. However, we found the crowds quite manageable and the weather was very nice: low 70s and sunny/clear most days; there was only one day when it rained steadily throughout the day. We had no problems with low or high water levels on this cruise. Viking is not the most luxurious or all-inclusive (or expensive) river cruise line but, for the price we paid which included air, we have been very happy with what Viking offers. Our vacation unfortunately got off to a rocky start. We used Viking Air and, through no fault of Viking’s, the first leg of our Delta flight to Prague was cancelled because of weather. We were re-routed all over the place and ended up on three connecting flights. Instead of arriving in Prague at 11 AM, we arrived closer to 6 PM that day. I had called Viking en route to let them know of the delay, and a very nice Viking representative was waiting for us at the airport when we finally arrived (the one bright spot to an otherwise miserable, exhausting flight). To top it off, my checked bag with a two-week supply of clothes, shoes and toiletries did not make it to Prague. The concierge at the Prague Hilton hotel was basically useless in helping me track down my bag. However, the minute the Alsvin Program Director, Bjorn, became aware of my situation, he took over and contacted the airlines; my bag was delivered soon after directly to the ship. Bjorn even arranged to have my one change of clothing laundered (at no charge) until my suitcase arrived. Thank you, Bjorn! The two hotels we stayed at, the Hilton Prague and the Le Meridien Etoile in Paris, were fairly good but I would probably choose to stay somewhere else if returning to Prague or Paris. At the Hilton Prague, the air conditioning didn’t work in our traveling companions’ room and was never fixed despite repeated attempts to inform the front desk. At both hotels, I was disappointed in the quality of service offered by the concierges and front desk. One the other hand, they are centrally located, the rooms/bathrooms were attractive, clean and spacious, and the breakfasts were very good. The Alsvin is a beautiful ship with a modern, clean, Nordic décor. It’s kept sparkling clean and is in great condition for its age. The staff with very few exceptions were outstanding, very friendly and attentive – we were treated like royalty on this cruise! As already mentioned, Bjorn, our Program Director, was remarkably knowledgeable, helpful and attentive… and very funny too! Last year on the Legend, we had a French Balcony cabin. Although it was nice to open the sliding door at night (if not rafted next to another ship), we spent very little time in our cabin during the day since most of our time was spent dining, touring, and lounging in the public spaces. On this cruise, we booked the least expensive “aquarium” class cabin, saving about $1000-2000 compared to a balcony cabin, and were happy with our choice. Our cabin was very small but comfortable and efficiently laid out. Our cabin steward was excellent and kept everything very neat and clean. Meals are served in the main dining room and in the Aquavit Terrace which opens to a lovely, outside deck with expansive views. We really enjoyed the Aquavit and had about a third of our meals there. I would say the food on our cruise ranged from very good to excellent. Food quality can vary across ships depending on the Executive Chef and kitchen. Our Chef, Thomas, prepared some excellent regional dishes (mostly German) and we tended to order those most nights. For example, on the German buffet night, everything was delicious and perfectly prepared. The soups on this cruise were especially good, a highlight of the cuisine I thought. My husband had the ‘anytime’ steak one night and he said it was excellent. There was only one night when I wished I had ordered something else: I tried a lamb dish on the menu one night and was a little disappointed. The dining service was usually very good to excellent although not quite as outstanding as on the Danube Waltz Legend cruise we took last summer. On one or two nights depending on where we sat, the service seemed to drag on a bit, and we had to ask our server to refill our wine glasses (something we NEVER had to do on the Legend!). The included excursions and guides ranged from very good to excellent, and were very enjoyable. I think Viking does this very well! You visit many of the ‘berg’ towns on this cruise (Nuremburg, Bamberg, Wurzburg, Rothenburg, Heidelberg) which are very picturesque and charming – think of those quintessential German half-timber houses and thatched roofs. We went on only one optional excursion, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, for $99 per person. Rothenburg is a walled medieval village with a fascinating history and some interesting shops and museums. However, we were disappointed that we had little free time to explore – only an hour after the fairly long bus ride, guided tour and a somewhat mediocre lunch at a local restaurant that took too long. In retrospect, we should have skipped the lunch to allow more free time to explore on our own. On most river cruises, the evening entertainment after dinner is often fairly dull and boring. On our Danube Legend cruise last summer, there was an uninspiring piano player and the lounge was usually empty after dinner. On this cruise, however, the entertainment seemed much more lively. There was a husband and wife keyboardist/singer team on board who were quite talented and seemed to encourage people to dance. Bjorn organized a couple of ‘quiz and game nights’ which people seemed to enjoy. On a couple of nights, there were onboard performances from local classical and jazz musicians who were quite good. I was surprised to find the lounge full of people many nights after dinner, “partying” until the late in the evening. There are a few downsides to be aware of when booking this particular itinerary (not a criticism of Viking, just the nature of the itinerary on this cruise). First, in order to pass under the MANY low bridges along the Main river, the sun deck remains closed for 3 of the 6 days on this cruise, from Bamberg until reaching Mainz on the Rhine river. It takes a long time for the staff to open and close the sun deck, so it may be standard for most cruise lines to close the sun deck while sailing on the Main river. However, it wasn’t too much of an inconvenience for us because the Aquavit Terrace on the third deck was available and has lovely outdoor seating to enjoy the views. Second, for those adverse to bus trips, this may not be the cruise for you. There are several long bus trips on this itinerary: the bus from Prague to Nuremberg takes over three hours and Luxembourg-to-Paris takes over 4 hours. There are also fairly lengthy bus rides (45 minutes to over an hour) to reach the Heidelberg and Trier excursions. Heidelberg is located over an hour’s drive from the river; for Trier, you depart the ship at Wintrich and are bused to Trier for the excursion, while the ship continues sailing on to Trier. The coaches, however, are very comfortable with guides that provide interesting information about the region. Finally, I would have liked to have had more time to experience sailing along the beautiful Moselle river. Although we had a full morning of sailing through the Rhine castle region (which is spectacular!!), our time on the Moselle was limited and we had to choose between going on the Trier excursion or staying on the ship while it sailed the Moselle to Trier. None of this detracted from the fabulous time we had on this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
From the start: 1. Corinthian Hotel, Prague - quite a distance from city center, old bed with springs coming though, price for 2-night extension through Viking was $399 per person, price per room through hotel was $100 per night, rude ... Read More
From the start: 1. Corinthian Hotel, Prague - quite a distance from city center, old bed with springs coming though, price for 2-night extension through Viking was $399 per person, price per room through hotel was $100 per night, rude employees, kept requesting toilet paper but ultimately had to take from public WC in lobby. 2. Ship - Booked a balcony room and when our luggage was brought to the room the attendant told us to make sure we didn't open the doors to the balcony because it would let in all the spiders. On two occasions, the ship did not dock were it was supposed to dock and on one occasion we were tied up to another Viking ship whereby our balcony was connected to a french balcony on the other ship which blocked all sunlight during daylight hours. All night, heard voices and the ships rubbing together. Additionally, the river had 44 locks (which was never divulged in any cruise docs) whereby the entire view was a concrete wall which the ship constantly bumped. The sun deck was closed for almost the entirety of the cruise. Food was terrible. One night there was a semi-coiled wire with a sharp edge in the onion soup. 3. Excursions - included excursions required extreme, long walking distances and are not suitable for people with ANY mobility issues. Some tour guides were rude, especially a guide in Cochem that yelled at a traveler that she was too slow and he would not let her continue on the castle tour and town tour. He embarrassed this person so much she was literally in tears. 4. Transport from ship to Paris - Required sitting on a cramped bus for 10 hours. Made a stop in Luxembourg, but again not at the scheduled stop, creating a very long walk to town. The bus would not allow anyone to stay on, so a passenger was forced to sit on a bench at the bus stop for more than 2 1/2 hours because she was unable to walk the more than a mile distance into town. Bus driver further caused complications when he unnecessarily parked as far away as possible from rest stops, etc. Total lack of consideration. 5. Paris - beautiful city, but the hotel Viking uses is lacking. Our view from our room was the loading dock for the hotel. Viking's lack of respect for passengers was shocking. They are not upfront in their advertising. They are overpriced, overrated and insensitive. Viking may be the most advertised river cruise company, but it is certainly not the best. Also note, there really isn't any entertainment or activities on board, so if you have any mobility issues that preclude you from walking more than a mile or two, your trip will be a very boring experience. I would never sail Viking again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Just returned from our first cruise with Viking. In all, there were amazing and some disappointing parts to the trip. On the positive, the food was close to the best I have ever had on a cruise. This was our first river cruise but we ... Read More
Just returned from our first cruise with Viking. In all, there were amazing and some disappointing parts to the trip. On the positive, the food was close to the best I have ever had on a cruise. This was our first river cruise but we have cruised with Royal Caribbean, Regent Seven Seas, Disney, and Norwegian. The cabins were nice and our cruise director, Jerome, was hilarious and great at what he does. The itinerary was good and if you get the chance to go to Prague, don't miss out. Absolutely fantastic. I took my wife and two teenage sons on the trip and I would say that the first strike against a Viking cruise is the focus on an older age group. My wife and I are in our mid 40's and we were very near the youngest people on the ship and most of the ship board activities and excursions were geared around an older age group. In fact, I heard but never asked, that Viking is not allowing people under 18 to cruise on their ships after this season. Not sure but I do believe they are going to steer the middle age group with families away from their product if they don't address this. I would not recommend this for anyone under the age of 40 unless they are traveling with a group of friends. We enjoyed all the people we met on the ship but there were not many people our age and only one other family with kids near our teenagers age. A second strike against Viking was never having enough time in each port to do things on your own. It seemed that we were always late to pull into a port and when there was free time allotted, it was usually only 30-60 mins at most. EVERY person we spoke to on the ship was disappointed in the lack of time to actually spend shopping and exploring. Each excursion included a lunch but European restaurants are not in a hurry to feed you and we would spend 1.5-2 hours at a meal which took all the free time away. I would strongly encourage them to offer a lunch box option for people who go on excursions and don't want to sit all afternoon for a meal. The worst example was Rothenberg. I was so excited to revisit this town that I remembered going to as a young boy growing up. We were late leaving the ship again, hit traffic, had a 1.5 hour lunch and were left with 45 mins to explore the city. We quit eating with the group and broke free on our own. We also played second fiddle to multiple other Viking cruises that pulled into port on the same day. For example, on our trip to Marksburg Castle, we actually left on time, got to the castle and the first of our groups to tour went into the castle. Then another Viking boat with a 50-60 people arrived late and they moved them ahead of us. This caused the remaining people in our group to have to wait outside in the 90 degree heat for about an hour until the other Viking tour group went through. Then came our final stop in Bamburg where other Viking ships ported before us and we were sent to a shipping yard outside of the city to tie up for the night. Had a beautiful view of metal shipping containers with something rotten in them that smelled awful. We couldn't get off the ship to explore Bamburg at night and didn't want to be on deck because of the smell and view. Not everything was bad but it was not what we were told to expect which was why I gave it a 3* rating. Excursions that we did..... 1) Panoramic Paris- great overview by bus. Problem was Paris traffic which makes a bus tour strenuous and we were supposed to have 1-1.5 hours on our own at Notre Dame (which reopened to view but not go inside) and St. Chappell. We actually had only 25 mins so we didn't explore 2) Luxembourg and American Cemetery- Amazing experience and the walking tour of the town was nice 3) Trier city tour- part bus and part walking and very nice with time to explore which was great. 4) Bernkastle-krus wine tour- great wine tasting but very little time left to explore the town which would have been amazing. 5) Koblenz Marksberg Castle- fantastic castle but being stuck as mentioned above in the heat because another Viking ship got to the castle late was frustrating for everyone. 6) Heidelberg- neat town but we finally realized that if we want to explore the town, we would have to quit eating the provided lunches so we left the group and toured it ourselves and had a blast. Heard the lunch was good but restaurant was not air conditioned well and very hot. 7) Rothenberg- as mentioned, was really looking forward to this and was very disappointed in the amount of time spent in the city. The boat was an hour late arriving to port so that removed all the time we could have had to see it. The trip to Wurzberg Castle was perfect but very few people on the Rothenberg itinerary went to the Castle and missed it. I thought it was great and would strongly encourage people to go. 8) Versailles- amazing castle but it is VERY crowded. Not Vikings fault but really difficult to enjoy when each room is packed with 80-100 people. Would have liked time to spend in the gardens but only had 30 mins sooooo...... 9) Cochem- castle was beautiful and had a bit more time to explore the city which was nice. 10) Nuremberg- bus tour as well as walking tour of city which was nice and we were given a bit of time on our own to explore. 11) Prague- this was truly the highlight of the trip. The hotel was spectacular ( Hilton Prague). The old city is spectacular and the tour to the Palace and downtown was worth the trip. If you get a chance, there is a fantastic 1930's style bar in old ruins under the city called the "Black Angel Bar" which was a real find and worth a stop in. We did the silver package and think it was worth the purchase but remember that house wines and beer are included with lunch and dinner. Top shelf wines are not and liquor is not included so many people choose not to get it and remember that all people in a cabin must be on the package. We stayed in a Veranda room but no balcony. The windows are full length and slide open for a nice view. Rooms were larger than most cruise ships with nice full showers and heated floors. Musical entertainment was a nice married couple that sounded great but all of the music was based around an older crowd as mentioned above. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
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