Sail Date: October 2018
We really enjoyed this Viking River of Gold cruise along the Douro. We have travelled before with Viking as a few years ago we did the Yangtze River cruise which was amazing and so we expected a lot from Viking. We were not disappointed. ... Read More
We really enjoyed this Viking River of Gold cruise along the Douro. We have travelled before with Viking as a few years ago we did the Yangtze River cruise which was amazing and so we expected a lot from Viking. We were not disappointed. Everything was wonderful from start to finish. We flew from Heathrow to Lisbon on October 20th 2018 and spent 2 days there in the Tivoli Hotel. The hotel was about 10 minutes walk from the centre and was very good. In fact it was so good that the King of Belgium was staying there! Security was high but never affected our stay. The room was lovely as was breakfast. We had to provide our own dinners whilst in Lisbon but we were spoilt for choice by the many local restaurants. The first day we had a guided tour of Lisbon provided by Viking. Our first stop was Belem Tower and then on to Jeronimos Monastery where we arrived, of course, at the same time as the King of Belgium. Next we visited the Alfama old district of Lisbon and then had an afternoon’s free time.We really enjoyed Lisbon although it does not have the wow factor of a city such as Rome. The weather was warm and sunny. Left for Porto the next morning. This is a longish coach journey but we stopped at Coimbra and visited the oldest university in Portugal and then went for a great lunch accompanied by Faldo which is the local guitar music. Arrived at the Viking Osfrid at 4 o’clock. The ship is built especially to go through the locks on the Douro and is, therefore, quite small. There were 93 guests on board. Our cabin was also small but excellent. We had paid for a cabin with a French balcony which in hindsight was a mistake as we only opened the balcony window a few times and spent very little time in the cabin. We sailed along the Douro on the first evening and then back to our mooring. During our cruise we visited some wonderful places, drank lots of port (naturally) and ate great food. The food on board was all of a very high standard and was accompanied by wine at lunch and dinner. We did buy a drinks package although not many on board did but we like to drink a good quality wine at meals and we certainly had our money’s worth. I drank lots of Veuve Cliquot! Dinner was at 7.15 most evenings. The entertainment was low key but ideal for us. There was a pianist who played and sang but who also provided dance music later in the evening. I need to add though that there was often only a very few dancing. This isn’t a trip for a wild nightlife! Many people went to bed early although most took part in a Majority Rules quiz and a music quiz, nothing too demanding. We also had brief talks on our destinations and a demonstration on how to open a vintage port. I was a bit disappointed that people didn’t particularly get dressed up in the evenings. I don’t mean dinner jackets and cocktail dresses but that many didn’t even get changed for an evening. I am on holiday and like to get ready for dinner! The crew are all excellent and the service we had was first class. Viking usually use a system of gratuities paid in an envelope handed in at the end of the cruise but they are trialling a new system of adding the tips to your final bill. I like to tip individuals and so I took the gratuities off the bill and tipped separately. Yes I know all the arguments about tipping and I change my opinion on the best way to go all the time! The Douro is only a small river. The locks were amazing as was the scenery but the river can only get you to a limited number of places. This meant that we often went on quite long coach trips e.g Salamanca. It was certainly worth it. Viking try to ensure that you see the local life and culture. We visited port cellars, churches, villages and even a local bakery. We walked lots of cobbled streets and was glad of comfortable shoes. One evening was a Portuguese dinner and the crew all wore local costume. We added an extension visit to Santiago de Compostela and travelled by coach. There were only 10 of us who took this option. We left the ship at 9 o’clock and travelled by coach. As it is quite a long trip Viking as always make sure you get value for money and we stopped on the way to visit Bom Jesus and Braga. We arrived at Santiago at 5 o’clock and stayed in another lovely hotel. Our guide took us for a stroll to the cathedral to orientate us and showed us the main streets for restaurants. We loved our stay in Santiago visiting the cathedral and seeing the walking pilgrims. The only disappointment of this trip cannot be placed at the door of Viking, although if they had the power I am sure they would deal with it. The weather! We arrived in Lisbon to 25 degrees. The first few days were warm and sunny. I even went for a dip in the small but pleasant pool on the first day aboard. After that it was cold. Even very cold! 3 degrees one particular morning. Yes it did warm up to 10 degrees but I was completely unprepared for the weather. My research and according to Viking’s website said it would be low 20s although 50% chance of rain. I, along with most people on board, had packed the wrong sort of clothes. Those who had flown from snowy Canada and even America had warmer coats. The evening the Programme Director said to take gloves and scarves the next day was a bit of a shock. We were, however, very lucky and managed to avoid most of the rain. All in all this was a fantastic trip and I can thoroughly recommend Viking. Our fellow travellers had lots of recommendations for other trips with Viking. I would love to do a Viking Ocean Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
The ship is stunning and very well laid out. There is a large lounge and the sun deck has ample space for all 100 guests and has a (0.7 metre deep) pool. Cabins are a good size, well-appointed, and comfortable, but with no-where to sit, ... Read More
The ship is stunning and very well laid out. There is a large lounge and the sun deck has ample space for all 100 guests and has a (0.7 metre deep) pool. Cabins are a good size, well-appointed, and comfortable, but with no-where to sit, except for the balcony. There are no cabin Tea or Coffee facilities, although there is a 24 hour coffee & snack station outside the restaurant. Our cabin steward was probably the best that we have ever had, and we appreciated the Towel Elephant & Duck. The restaurant has plentiful selection of food, but with a variable quality. Breakfast is the most disappointing, with no freshly squeezed juices, poor fresh fruit and warm cooked food. The Eggs Benedict was my favourite choice, always piping hot and tasty. The Omelettes & Eggs were cooked fresh and looked good.Cremated Bacon was supplied for our American cousins. Wine was free-flowing, but sometimes they needed a little encouragement. There was a good Port Talk each evening before Dinner and the obligatory Newsletter, both of which were really helpful. Most of the Shore Excursions were really good, especially Salamanca and Lamego. Otheres were 'average' or 'poor'. Paid for ones were always excellent. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We had been with Viking before and generally appreciated their level of organisation and the standards they set on their vessels. We had two nights in Lisbon after flying out from Machester and then embarked the Viking Osfrid at Vila Nova ... Read More
We had been with Viking before and generally appreciated their level of organisation and the standards they set on their vessels. We had two nights in Lisbon after flying out from Machester and then embarked the Viking Osfrid at Vila Nova de Gaia on the left bank of the Douro, opposite Porta. Very friendly crew and very high standards of cleanliness and cuisine. Three Viking buses (massive legroom) met us at every port for the day's included excursion led by one of the three highly competent Programme Directors. All days worked well and each excursion was well thought out and nicely balanced, especially the trips to the wine producing "Quintas".. Downsides are the tiny cabins (riverboats on the Douro are not close to the size of the boats that operate on the Rhine and Danube. Nevertheless they are ergonomically designe and everything packs away amazingly well. Just nowhere to sit which means you rely heavily on the public areas, which are numerous and comfortable. Dining was by a single sitting in the restaurant and the food was generally imaginatively prepared and tasty with plenty of choice. There is a comfortable bar/lounge which is also used for port/excursion briefings and the information on each following day's activities was accurate and detailed. Also used for evening entertainment when local musicians etc would occasionally perform. All in all a thoroughly satisfying cruise experience run by a very professional team. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
After our first river cruise (Waterways of the Tzars) and then two big-ship-cruises (Viking Homelands, Empires of the Mediterranean), we decided to book the Douro river cruise with our courteous booking agent who also took care of all ... Read More
After our first river cruise (Waterways of the Tzars) and then two big-ship-cruises (Viking Homelands, Empires of the Mediterranean), we decided to book the Douro river cruise with our courteous booking agent who also took care of all flight arrangements. Viking was the right choice for us again. Before departure Viking sends the 'Cruise Documents' booklet, containing all travel info for flights, transfers, hotels, cruise summary, info for needed personal documents, packing hints, dress code on board, and tipping. Thus we were aware of the suggestion how much to tip the crew and of the tips to the different tour guides and bus drivers, thus we knew the right amount of dollar bills to bring before departure. On all our Viking cruises we handled our luggage only at departure and upon arrival at our home airport. Viking organizes all transfers, including pick-up from and to the airports as well as delivery/pick-up of luggage to and from hotel room or cabin. Our pre-cruise accommodation was Madrid's InterContinental; a very good choice. The Viking representative took care of all questions and gave advice freely. Our local guide was extremely informative, an art historian, perfect for guiding us in the Prado Museum and within Toledo. We always had enough free time to visit places of personal interest. After the flight to Lisbon the main-program started. We stayed in the Tivoli Hotel, another very good choice, learned of Lisbon's and Portugal's history on guided city tours, and tasted tappas with local wine. A comfy bus ride brought us to Porto and to our ship Osfrid. Our cabin was spacious with a sitting area and a balcony, a good sized closet and drawer space, a well appointed bath room, and enough outlets (american and European) to recharge our phones. We also liked the selection of TV programs available when we relaxed in the cabin. Our room service team was excellent and had a sense of humor: the towel elephant they had made wore at times one of our sun glasses or a hat -- the elephant was good company. We sailed by day and enjoyed the cities, landscape and vine-yards 'passing by'. Of great interest were the river locks through which we passed. These transits we observed from the top deck. At times we came upon a low bridge, and to pass underneath, the wheel house got lowered and the captain stuck his head out from an opening in the top - amusing. Our 'Cruise Documents' booklet described all included and optional tours and guests had the option to book or cancel tours in a timely fashion while on board. Furthermore, the distribution of the 'Viking Daily' was very helpful, as it detailed the next day's happenings and informed of the weather situation, the boat's departure and arrival time, as well as local history; it was delivered the evening before. Two four-page-leaflets, one US the other British, with recent articles from newspapers, were also available daily. The local guides, the program directors and Viking guides were very knowledgeable, always friendly and helpful. We also praise the bus drivers for they handled a bus like we would a small car. It is an art to drive so skillfully up and down on the serpentine roads clinging to the sides of the hills on both sides of the Douro river. The on-board-entertainment included info on upcoming destinations and excursions, a scenic sailing during our first dinner, cocktail parties also for returning Viking travelers, live piano music, dancing, quiz-evenings, cooking demo, info on Portugal's cork industry as well as olive oil production, informal gatherings with finger food, and folkloric music. We were very happy with our choices of included and optional excursions, learned a lot about wineries, wine-makers, Port Wine and its production, storage and ageing; we tasted Porto of different ageing stages in several Quintas and wine cellars and noted the various patterns in terracing on the hills. On board, too, we had plenty of wine with our meals. Breakfast was in a self-serve-style, but the Chef himself, prepared orders for omelettes, eggs Benedict and eggs any-style. At lunch and dinner all cruise participants ate together and always several choices of dishes, sometimes local cuisine, were offered. Our trip to majestic Madrid, historic Lisbon, the University town Coimbra, Porto and the 'azulejo' Portuguese blue tiles depicting large scenes of the country's history, Guimares, the amzing Quinta da Avessada, Regua and the Quinta do Seixo, Regua and the Mateus Palace and Gardens, Pinhao and our rustic-elegant lunch in the country-side setting, our wine tasting and pic-nic amid the grape-vines high up on a terrace with a grand view, beautiful Salamanca, charming Lamego - we truly enjoyed, as well our post-extension to Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage site and destination for us and of many devout pilgrims, young and old, since the Middle Ages. In both pre- and post-extension programs a Viking representative welcomed the participants, answered the where-what-when-questions and was available throughout our stay in hotels. We appreciate Viking how well it is organized for our arrival and departure, in all aspects of our travels and cruising, and not to forget, for the good food and service...... and our next river cruise (Provence) is already booked. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Poor expensive cruise on the Duoro River, Portugal 1. Food of poor quality -first night I had grilled prawns which were focally raw in the cehter. I think they grill without thoroughly defrosted the prawns. -last night, it was ... Read More
Poor expensive cruise on the Duoro River, Portugal 1. Food of poor quality -first night I had grilled prawns which were focally raw in the cehter. I think they grill without thoroughly defrosted the prawns. -last night, it was chateaubriand. It was sliced, and seemed to be microwaved! No taste and tough. -at lunch, canned sardines were served! -cake/custard dessert was partly frozen in the center, crunchy with ice crystals. -lots of cheap wine (3/4 euros a bottle). Make you drunk so you can forget the bad food. -we were served cheap white port mixed w tonic water and ice. The last day we were served 10 year old late vintage port, not real vintage port, although they opened a bottle of vintage port. However they did not served that to us, but to the maitre D and other staff only! We thought that being on the wine region, we would be having meals in the vineyards, but we had only eaten in the vineyard once. It was the only decent meal. 2. Servers were inexperienced -I was drenched in orange juice by the server once, and sprinkled in beer a second time. The ship even had the nerve to bill me for laundry of my soiled clothing. Adding insult to injury! -On the whole, they crew try to be helpful, except one bar tender, Marcio, who has a racist attitude. There were only a handful of non-whites on board. Initially I kept this to myself. Later independently, another non-white mentioned the same thing to me! 3. facilities The "swimming pool" is only a one foot deep kiddie pool. I was the only one who tried to swim before realizing the actual depth. Nobody else used it. Might as well eliminate this useless decoration! No fitness facilities. 4. Don't use their air service. They will put you on the cheapest way possible, except if you want to get more miles. E.g. flying back from Porto to LA, they fly you first to Frankfurt, then Vancouver, then LA! Read Less
Viking Cruises, Community Team has responded
We appreciate the time you took to provide a detailed review of your recent voyage aboard Viking Osfrid, gsyuuu11. It is disappointing to learn that you found our culinary offerings, as well as the onboard activities, below expectations. Rest assured that all of your post-cruise commentary, including the unusual experience of our bar staff , has been recorded for review by management. Even still, should you like to share additional comments about your recent holiday, we would welcome a discussion at TellUs@vikingcruises.com. We hope to hear from you, and wish you a restful day.
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our first trip to Portugal and it didn’t disappoint. Visiting Lisbon and Porto allowed us to enjoy the wonderful things that historic, urban cities in Europe can offer. The cruise down the Douro gave the opportunity to ... Read More
This was our first trip to Portugal and it didn’t disappoint. Visiting Lisbon and Porto allowed us to enjoy the wonderful things that historic, urban cities in Europe can offer. The cruise down the Douro gave the opportunity to experience the beautiful countryside and unique vineyards in the area with the beautiful terracing. The service provided by all staff members was simply outstanding. They were attentive, friendly, and fun without being intrusive. Our needs were sometimes anticipated before we realized we had them. They also worked well as a team and presented as a cohesive unit. Our program director had the great combination of being extremely knowledgeable about history and a talented presenter with a great sense of humor. He was very entertaining. This is not a trip that I would recommend for people with mobility issues. This section of Portugal isn’t a good one for people aren’t steady on their feet. This area of Portugal requires bus transportation to get to many sites. The roads are very windy and people prone to motion sickness may wish to have some treatment with them (e.g. Dramamine). Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
The Douro river was one of the ones on our "to do" list we had yet to experience so we chose this one by Viking. My wife and I had travelled with Viking 5 times before so we knew their strengths - and their weaknesses. Their ... Read More
The Douro river was one of the ones on our "to do" list we had yet to experience so we chose this one by Viking. My wife and I had travelled with Viking 5 times before so we knew their strengths - and their weaknesses. Their organisation is usually brilliant and this trip was no exception. We were all asked to wear stick-on Viking badges on exiting Lisbon airport arrivals so we were spotted immediately and directed towards two more Viking reps. Our luggage was taken from us and we were whisked to the Tivoli hotel, probably one of the best in Lisbon, where we were due to spend two nights. There was an included coach tour in Lisbon and we were given plenty of free time to ourselves. No meals were included apart from breakfast and this was superb. After our second night we were taken with our luggage to Porto, where we were to embark our ship. I really must say this was one of the best coaches in which I have travelled, with on board wifi and masses of legroom. The driver, in fact every driver of every coach we used, was so considerate for our comfort. There was a stop in Coimbra en route where we had a splendid lunch with entertainment. Unfortunately, as we were to discover, it was probably the best meal we were going to get for the next week - on the ship at any rate. On arrival at Porto we joined our ship. First great surprise - we were given a cabin upgrade. Details about the cabin follow. One slight downside about an upgrade is that your cases are fitted with the original labels so there was a small delay before they arrived but it gave us a chance to explore the ship. First impressions were very good although it was obvious that there wasn't much to do on board. There was a small putting green and a pool measuring five metres by three and 0.7 metres deep. That might sound useless but it was equipped with a powerful pump and I found you could swim against the pump indefinitely - or at least until your stamina ran out. The temperature was 32°C. After settling in we had dinner - the first of many disappointing ones. There was nothing on the menu I particularly fancied so I settled for the available everyday steak. It was only partly edible, containing far too much fat and gristle. That happened all too often throughout the cruise and I think I saw only one person who managed to eat the whole of his. Breakfast next day was also disappointing when I saw the poor choice of cereals. Muesli was available but only as the Bircher variety. A very nice banana pancake was on the menu but if you ask for it be prepared to wait for anything up to 20 minutes for it. Oh, and if you are kept waiting don't mention it to the staff - they don't like it one bit. Throughout the cruise we had a number of included tours but I found most of them boring. The saving grace was the scenery. I've travelled a fair bit and I found the Portuguese countryside amongst the most spectacular I've seen. One particular trip was over 9 hours long which was just too much. The trips are optional, of course, even though you've effectively paid to go on them, and a few people decided to stay on the ship. I wish I'd done so once or twice. There were a few lectures and demonstrations on board during the cruise. How much you would like these would depend on your interests but I enjoyed the one given by the head chef on how to make Pastel de Nata. Evening entertainment was pretty dire. I just had to walk out on one (claimed) musical group. There was one quiz evening run, not particularly well, by cruise director Matthew. At the end of the cruise you are asked to complete questionnaires. These are written so badly that I refused to fill mine in. So many of the options were not applicable. We were asked to comment on our Cruise Director. The problem was that there was more than one so how are you supposed to answer that? The one who accompanied us on all our tours, Henry, was superb. Another one, Matthew, probably the senior one, I found uninformative and not nearly as amusing as he seemed to think he was. The one thing he was good at was touting for tips and this if one of the worst features of every Viking cruise I've been on. In Russia the recommended rate was an obscene $25 per person per day. Even in the Grill Suites on Cunard's Queens the rate is only $13 per day. Here there was a more or less compulsory 15 euros per day added to every guest's bill and Matthew was still suggesting we give more. Tipping is the subject of many conversations at the end of any Viking cruise and most guests seem to dislike the current situation. I have a suggestion for Viking. I used to go to a restaurant and the following was written on the menu: "Our staff are adequately remunerated and no additional gratuity is expected or should be given. Your simple thanks are enough." If Viking would do this I would be delighted, even if it added £100 to £200 to the upfront cost of the cruise. It would cut out all the uncertainly and the constant fishing for change at the end of every excursion. Overall, though, I'm glad I took the cruise. I liked the ship and I loved the scenery and you couldn't fault most of the staff. The food seemed to disappoint nearly everyone and I can't remember any cruise I've been on, river or sea, where it has been so dull. I suggest you research the places you are going to visit on the excursions and see if they are really for you. There are plenty of Douro cruises to choose from so it might be prudent to shop around if you are thinking of doing one especially if the food is important to you Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose is cruise to explore northern Portugal, starting in lisbon with a few nights stay at the hotel Tivoli and then onto porto for our river cruise. The room that we were alicated on-board was clean and well designed although we did ... Read More
We chose is cruise to explore northern Portugal, starting in lisbon with a few nights stay at the hotel Tivoli and then onto porto for our river cruise. The room that we were alicated on-board was clean and well designed although we did notice a low drone of engines/generators running. The meals onboard were average at best. The evening entertainment was poor even by river cruise standards. The trips were well organised and with Vikings own coaches which were very nice. The problem for us was that we were in room 221 and at 05.30 the next morning the main engines started and the noise was terrible the whole room was vibrating. This is a veranda room which we found unusable as when we were going along the river the noise was unbearable and when docked was usually next to another ship. I wrote to Viking about the room and noise over five weeks ago but they never replied a bit disappointing really. The other thing about Viking is they never mention gratuities until you get your final documents and then charge 15 euros per person per day automatically to your bill on our cruise there was 103 guests and 35 crew so over a week that's 309 euros per member of staff and the staff at the Tivoli were quick to tell us that they were not part of the scheme and that we should tip them separately. I have booked my next river cruise with a company that has let me chose my room and gratuities are included in the price Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this cruise specifically to experience the Douro river valley and vineyards. Unfortunately, this cruise was not an ideal way to do so. The navigable part of the river is relatively short, two days of cruising each way. To make ... Read More
We chose this cruise specifically to experience the Douro river valley and vineyards. Unfortunately, this cruise was not an ideal way to do so. The navigable part of the river is relatively short, two days of cruising each way. To make up the additional time Viking starts the trip with a full day in Lisbon followed by a full day riding a bus to Porto to meet the ship. You spend another full day in Porto before the ship sails. That leaves five days on the river, or so it would seem. The daily tours involve riding a bus to the attraction and then meeting the ship at a different location so you have about half a day of cruising. The third day is an all day excursion to Salamanca, Spain; two hours on the bus each way and returning to the ship at the same location. The following day is another long bus ride to visit Favois and long stop for lunch at a vineyard and a bus ride to catch up to the ship at Pinhao (or in our case, Regua). The last day is a morning bus trip and finally a long cruise from Regua back to Porto. If you really want to experience the Douro river valley consider renting a car and staying in the small hotels along the way. The roads are excellent and you'll see much more of the local culture on your own. All this having been said, Viking does provide excellent service and accommodations. The veranda suite we booked included laundry service and complimentary mini-bar. The crew was attentive, program director terrific, and the chef presented excellent regional menu choices every day. Considering we were in a wine region, the daily offerings of wine were particularly disappointingly dull. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
My wife and I booked the Portugal's Rive of Gold (booking No 483693). We flied 21 hours from Australia to join the river cruise. On the first embarkation day, we were told that one of the engine failed. As a result, the river cruise ... Read More
My wife and I booked the Portugal's Rive of Gold (booking No 483693). We flied 21 hours from Australia to join the river cruise. On the first embarkation day, we were told that one of the engine failed. As a result, the river cruise turned into coach tours, and the ship Osfrid became our hotel. At first, a coach took us to Caldas De regos, a Portugal small town where the ship had docked. On the following days, we had to travel on the winding hill road 4 to 7 hours a day, and hurried back to sleep in the vessel. One day, the coach's air-condition stopped working at the inside temperature as hot as 84'F(29"C). We were very sick while one guest started vomiting. Meanwhile our veranda cabin 203 was on the middle deck, diesel stink and engine noise annoyed us all the times. We are totally dissatisfied with this cruise, and request for compensation. Although the manager promised at the meeting that their customer relations would contact us on this issue soon, we have not heard from them. We sent an email to Viking, there is no any response. Read Less
Viking Cruises, Community Team has responded
We appreciate the opportunity to respond to your review, zhuanghu, and are sorry to learn of your displeasure with your recent voyage on the Douro river. We hear your disappointment with your stateroom, as well as the unplanned busing due to engine difficulties, and assure you that your comments have been recorded for review by our Executive Team. Zhuanghu, if you haven’t connected with us already, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss your concerns in more detail at TellUs@vikingcruises.com. We hope to hear from you, and wish you a pleasant day.
Viking Osfrid Ratings
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