My family recently took a Viking cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. Our group was made up of myself and my fiance (28 + 27), my parents (55 + 57), and my Grampie (79). We decided on this cruise because it had been a trip my Grampie had wanted ... Read More
My family recently took a Viking cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. Our group was made up of myself and my fiance (28 + 27), my parents (55 + 57), and my Grampie (79). We decided on this cruise because it had been a trip my Grampie had wanted to take for years, and we wanted to make sure he got to take it.
Generally, this kind of vacation would not be what my fiance and I or my parents would choose for ourselves. We prefer to spend more time in each city, do less tours, get to know the area, etc. My parents prefer to relax and not really explore. However, we all got something out of this trip that we didn't expect and honestly loved it! My fiance and I were well and beyond the youngest people on the ship, and these tours truly were not designed with our age group in mind - so if you're around our age, I would suggest looking elsewhere unless you're traveling with family. My Grampie loved the pace of the trip and only got tired/sore because we dragged him on a full-day walking tour in Strasbourg, which the rest of us loved but he probably could have done without.
The fact that the itinerary was set meant that there was no tension or bickering about what we each wanted to do each day. We never had to worry about what cafes were open for breakfast, where we could stop for lunch, etc - meals were all planned on the shi[ and the food was good. We also loved that we only had to unpack once and that we got used to our stateroom; very different from packing up a bag in every city. I really enjoyed this aspect of the trip.
The tours were well planned. Actually, everything was well planned. We never had to wait around, never felt stressed out, it was all 100% smooth. This is RARE when traveling and it was much appreciated. It's good to note that the itinerary is really organized to be fully guided. If you're looking to go off on your own and explore the city while the group tours around, please keep in mind that this could be VERY hard in some areas. On our itinerary, we had a few days where we could get off the boat on foot and explore - Cologne and Koblenz. We had an entire day and evening in Cologne and we were able to break away from the planned tours and explore the city ourselves on foot. We found local spots to eat and shop, and it was the best day of our trip. In other areas, like Colmar, you basically cannot get to the city from the ship unless you book an excursion through Viking. My mom and fiance and I did that, and we were able to get a good history lesson on the bus ride into Colmar. When we got there we ditched the tour guide (she wasn't pleased about this) and explored the city without the damn earpiece in our ear. Heidelberg is another stop that requires you to do the planned excursion in order to see the city. We were able to talk to the program director about what we wanted to get out of the trip, but he pretty much (kindly) told us upfront that we would be better off just going along with the plan. He was right - we surrendered to the planned tours and relaxed into the pace.
The ship was nice, it only ever felt crowded during the "port talks" when everyone crowded into the lounge before dinner to hear about the next day. But the information was very valuable so I always squished in.
The dinner is good, the wine and beer pour freely at lunch and dinner, and you can always top up your glass at the end of the meal to have an after dinner drink without having to pay at the bar. When it came to alcohol we were glad that we did not get the silver package (the all-inclusive drinking package) as we would have had to spend essentially 30$ a day per person to make it worth it, and at the end of the trip, we didn't come close to that. The house wine and beer are local and enjoyable, and you can always opt to pay for one or two drinks from the bar if you want something different. There also is no corckage fee, so if you want to bring a bottle of wine into the lounge that you bought when touring around, they will open and pour it for you!! Same goes for beer, or bottles of scotch, anything.
The bottom line: this trip was well planned and comfortable, and did feel like a luxury experience. However, if you're under 40, this trip is probably not for you unless you're travelling with older family members. Read Less