1 Helpful Vote
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
2 Helpful Votes
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
Sail Date: July 2018
After a wonderful stay in Lisbon, we transferred to Porto, where we boarded the Osfrid. This boat cruised across Portugal on the Douro River to the border with Spain. The voyage certainly met Viking's high standards for service, ... Read More
After a wonderful stay in Lisbon, we transferred to Porto, where we boarded the Osfrid. This boat cruised across Portugal on the Douro River to the border with Spain. The voyage certainly met Viking's high standards for service, fine food, and comfort. This was our seventh river cruise with Viking and they do a consistently excellent job. Anyone who fancies fine wine should consider this cruise - there were winery visits in every stop. The cabins tend to be small, but the food is excellent. The enrichment lectures about llocal customs and culture were interesting. At the conclusion of this voyage, we took the optional extension to Santiago de Compostela, which we thought was exceptional. We enjoyed the various parts of Portugal a lot more than we expected to. In the past ten years, we have visited more then 110 countries and we had not previously had a high interest in Portugal, but we found the country interesting and the people very friendly and hospitable. We highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
My experience of my first river cruise totally turned me off from going to future river cruises. Not only for 3 consecutive days, my mini suite cabin with balcony, is in total darkness because the boat double-parked with another and ... Read More
My experience of my first river cruise totally turned me off from going to future river cruises. Not only for 3 consecutive days, my mini suite cabin with balcony, is in total darkness because the boat double-parked with another and blocking all the sunlight into the cabin. As a result, there was no river scenery to enjoyed. In addition, my cabin had the odor of diesel fume and the noise of the engine plus the water discharge sounds made sleeping difficult at times. Even though this is the maiden voyage after its refurbishment, Osfrid was acting funny. For the first day, my cabin door could not open. Then the reading lights turned on by itself in the middle of the night. Next, due to the rising water level of Douro River and the multiple locks that control the water level of the river, the boat could not reach the towns we were supposed to go. As a result, most of us were bused to our destinations through winding roads. Even so, I enjoyed the land tours and the predetermined site visits, etc., due to the tremendous efforts made by the Viking program staff who arrange the itinerary to satisfy the unhappy crowd. I must say the night spent in a hotel in Salamanca, Spain was one of the highlights of this river cruise. Food was much better on shore than on boat. However, compliments to all the serving staff on the boat, especially Manuel, who tried his best to make dinners happy with their requests. Perhaps, the chef on boat needed to know many of the dishes were cold when they reached the tables. For this river cruise, I think the air fares they arranged far exceeded my upcoming trip with Smithsonian, same business class. Did I get my money's worth for this cruise, I should say "no". Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
This refurbished ship had its maiden voyage in March. This is relatively a small flat bottom boat. Our suite with open view balcony is on the second level of the ship. The foods on board was not up to standard. Cold dishes were served ... Read More
This refurbished ship had its maiden voyage in March. This is relatively a small flat bottom boat. Our suite with open view balcony is on the second level of the ship. The foods on board was not up to standard. Cold dishes were served in the dining room. However, the officer of the dining room did his best to accommodate the diners. Entertainment was minimal. Due to the water level of Douro River, our ship after passing several locks could not advance to the border of Spain. Lucky we had a young and energetic program officer who planned our land trips with success. The sleeting, cold and rainy weather did not help either. We sat in the bus for hours on winding roads to reach a destination. But the buses were comfortable and spacious. We enjoyed an overnight stay in a hotel in Salamanca and got to see more of the universities of Salamanca, and the great cathedrals. The land cruises and the foods served on land were very impressive. This trip is totally over priced and the business class airfares with a so called discount is totally unreal. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
After several longer river cruises (i.e., Budapest to Amsterdam) we thought that we might like what would be a much shorter trip (Douro river is only what, 125 miles long?) and kind of quirky itinerary; small towns and wineries with time ... Read More
After several longer river cruises (i.e., Budapest to Amsterdam) we thought that we might like what would be a much shorter trip (Douro river is only what, 125 miles long?) and kind of quirky itinerary; small towns and wineries with time to walk and explore. Wow did we like it! Beautiful countryside in Fall colors, visits to often tiny towns, and so on. Castelo Rodrigo, for example, is a hilltop hamlet with about 48 residents. We had time on our own in some very small towns to just wander. Very restful, actually Quite different from say, Vienna! I don't recommend this for one's "first cruise". Take a longer one, or several, with Viking and then try The Douro. Doing that really helped us notice the differences and fully appreciate the laid back leisurely nature of this trip. It is very well thought out and complete. I think you'll find it wonderful. As always with Viking there are little extras; to be met back at the ship with a Port wine toast, local foods acquired almost every day, and some unique entertainments. Portuguese Fado music. for instance. I HIGHLY recommend the post-river add-on trip to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. The shrine of Saint James is not only the ending point of "The Way" pilgrimages, but also a UNESCO Heritage center. We loved the city and its foods. Tapas three times a day! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
Past cruises were on Viking. We are spoiled, we wouldn't choose any other. The hotel in Lisbon was first class and the little outdoor market yielded some unusual treasures.Our cabin was fine and ingeniously designed, although we ... Read More
Past cruises were on Viking. We are spoiled, we wouldn't choose any other. The hotel in Lisbon was first class and the little outdoor market yielded some unusual treasures.Our cabin was fine and ingeniously designed, although we missed having a chair - something that was provided on previous cruises. Having a veranda is great for relaxing and watching the scenery. The dining is exquisite, with many many menu choices. The service is excellent. Waiters and waitresses go out of their way to be of assistance. The shore excursions were fine, and Fatima and Our Lady of Remedies were particularly appealing. There was one very scary trip up a mountainside and I think the cruise director should warn people ahead of time that it will be alarming. Many of us were unnerved, some to the point that they did not want to go back down. Anyone who is afraid of heights would be terrified. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose to sail Viking's Douro River after talking with a member of Viking's staff on our last cruise in Bordeaux. She said the fall was a fantastic time to visit Portugal. She was correct. We began our trip in Madrid 3 ... Read More
We chose to sail Viking's Douro River after talking with a member of Viking's staff on our last cruise in Bordeaux. She said the fall was a fantastic time to visit Portugal. She was correct. We began our trip in Madrid 3 days earlier on a pre-trip extension. Madrid is very modern and easy to get around on ones own. Viking's representative met us everyday and gave us ideas and tips for things to do. We would recommend the optional "Tapas Tour in Madrid" and the optional day trip to "Toledo". The Intercontinental Hotel in Madrid was near the Metro and several tasty restaurants. The included breakfast was great. We left very early on day 4 to meet the rest of Viking's passengers in Lisbon. We arrived at 7am at our hotel, the Trivoli. Of course the room wasn't ready and the Viking staff was tied up with the previous cruise who were leaving Lisbon for the ship in Porto. The hotel stored our luggage and provided us with coffee. We were able to meet with the Viking staff at 830am and get some advice for our first day in Lisbon. The hotel was less than a mile walk to the touristy section of town. We spent a fun day exploring on our own and then met the rest of the passengers at 7pm for introductions. Day 2 in Lisbon was spent touring the city in the morning. Plenty of time in the afternoon for independent exploring on ones own. That night, we did the optional "Taste of Lisbon" excursion - money well spent. Weather permitting, visit the Skybar on the Hotel's roof for a great night time view of the city. We left Lisbon at 830am in 4 buses for our trip to Porto. One bus took the optional excursion group to Fatima. The rest of us traveled for about 2 hours to Coimbra for a short tour of the university and then a fantastic Fado Lunch at a local restaurant. Good music, food, and endless wine. We arrived at the ship about 4pm to meet the crew. Day 1 in Porto included a morning tour with a stop for a Port tasting. The weather didn't cooperate today as rain kept us from really exploring too much on our own. We tried the optional "Graham Port Dinner and Tasting" this evening. The cost was 260 euros PP but I must say it was worth every penny. Viking has 3 other optional scheduled tonight and so only 6 of us went to Grahams. If you are a Port lover, this excursion is a must. We sampled 4 vintage Ports and then 10,20,30, and 40 year old tawney Ports. Afterwards, we had a 5 course dinner paired with wine and Port. A great evening. Day 2 we set sail at 7am for our Cruise on the Douro. The fantastic scenery starts about 35 miles inland and doesn't seem to end. I won't go into each days activities as this review is getting windy. I'll just touch on a few highlights. 2 included excursions not to miss are the whole day trip to Salamanca and the 7 hour trip to Favaious. They both were fantastic and fun filled days. A wonderful lunch in Favaious left us all in great spirits. A few words about the crew and ship. The Osfrid crew was amazing and friendly. Everyone from the 3 Cruise Directors to waiters to housekeeping were outstanding and hard working.. The ship seemed roomy, clean and comfortable for all 106 passengers aboard. The food was plentiful and ranged from good to okay. Part of that is a matter of taste -- we are not fond of fish - others will love it. This was our 3rd cruise with Viking. The Douro was probably the most scenic and friendly. The Rhine had the best ports and excursions. Bordeaux had the best wine and food. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose the Viking River of Gold cruise on recommendation by friends and in place of our Elbe River cruise in 2016 that was cancelled because of low water. In order to ensure we would have airport transfers to and from the ship we asked ... Read More
We chose the Viking River of Gold cruise on recommendation by friends and in place of our Elbe River cruise in 2016 that was cancelled because of low water. In order to ensure we would have airport transfers to and from the ship we asked that Viking make our travel arrangements The start was a disaster. Viking had booked the last possible connection for us to Lisbon through Toronto which failed because of bad weather earlier in the day. Hotels in Toronto were fully booked so we spent the first night of our holiday with no luggage in a taxi going from motel to motel looking for a bed. The Viking help line informed us that due to our delay in arrival, the Viking transfer in Lisbon would probably not be available and we would have to make our own way to the hotel. Viking had also booked a 16 hour return itinerary which could have been competed in 8 hours with a more direct routing home. .We had to leave the ship at 3;45 AM on disembarkation day. We had tried well in advance to change bookings for a more convenient routing but, Viking replied that it was too late to alter the reservations. No doubt the disastrous travel arrangements colored our appreciation of the cruise itself. Despite that we can say there were many enjoyable aspects. The ship although small is well arranged, the staff of mainly Eastern Europeans is enthusiastic and wanting to help at every turn. The kitchen and menus are high average but there are not many local specialties to sample. Free excursions were offered every day and several of them were one-of-a-kind experiences you would not find elsewhere. The summer landscapes of the vineyards and olive groves were spectacular. There was a good amount of shade on the top deck to shelter from the blazing sun in the afternoon and the pool although only a meter deep provided welcome relief from the intense heat. One thing about the Douro is that even with 7 or 8 spectacular locks, the navigable portion is only 70 miles long so there is not much cruising. With 17 cruise ships on the river and few port facilities there are often two or three ships lashed side by side overnight in the dock obscuring river views from the common areas and rendering balconies virtually useless for those who seek a bit of privacy. Porto is the only city on the river but Viking offers a day trip by bus to Salamanca in Spain mid way through the cruise which is well worthwhile. For people who like to be cocooned in luxury, Viking is probably a good choice. If we use them again, however, we will make sure to book travel to and from the ship ourselves and would strongly recommend that others do the same. . Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We would not normally have done this cruise, but it was for my Mother-in-Laws 80th and she wanted us there. We had a lovely time. Everything exceeded our expectations, from the boat, food, crew, and cabin. We have sailed Silver Seas, ... Read More
We would not normally have done this cruise, but it was for my Mother-in-Laws 80th and she wanted us there. We had a lovely time. Everything exceeded our expectations, from the boat, food, crew, and cabin. We have sailed Silver Seas, Regent, Uniworld, Princess, and other Viking Cruises, but this exceeded them all. The crew was amazing, always smiling and anything they could do for you, they would. The food and the house wine were both exceptional. Our only complaint were the excursion, they was lots of bus time and we don't like that, so we created our own tours, and did lots of walking. It just seems that more active excursion could have been offered. However; many people enjoyed the excursion, just not what we like. The common rooms were lovely and there was always plenty of room available and waiters on hand. I can not recommend more highly! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Dear community, we really had a fantastic cruise lately on Viking Osfrid. It is our 3rd Viking Cruise already and this time we decided to see Portugal, started in Lisbon and finished in Madrid. The Lisbon part was Hotel and Bus only ... Read More
Dear community, we really had a fantastic cruise lately on Viking Osfrid. It is our 3rd Viking Cruise already and this time we decided to see Portugal, started in Lisbon and finished in Madrid. The Lisbon part was Hotel and Bus only and ok, its rather a city trip but once you board the ship in Porto the feeling changes. Porto what a great city to explore and if you love wine and port than this is a must cruise. Don’t expect too much of an entertainment on those small ships but look forward to the tours. The landscape you see from the ship is not comparable with any other cruise and the fact that there is a lot of daytime sailing makes it even better. Our Cabin had a balcony which is a must I would say, keep in mind its quiet hot in the valley and rather colder in Porto. Food was exceptional compared to previous cruises and always with a local touch. Crew went out of their way to serve us and did a great job. They seem to be less personal than on other viking ships but really surprised us with their smile and service. Generally we felt this was the best viking cruise so far after we did the Rhine and China before. Thanks to the Osfrid team, job well done – we are coming back…. The Fellons Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Always wanted to see Portugal. We had been on a Rhine River cruise and were easy "converts" to river cruising. Having mentioned the Rhine, our only "criticism," if that's the right word, is that the scenery on the ... Read More
Always wanted to see Portugal. We had been on a Rhine River cruise and were easy "converts" to river cruising. Having mentioned the Rhine, our only "criticism," if that's the right word, is that the scenery on the Douro is quite monotonous, i.e., vineyards, olive trees, almond trees, vineyards, etc, etc. One sees little life on the Douro probably because this was Spring and not the fall harvest. This is not a criticism of Viking. They can't change that. But we did enjoy the boat and the many people we met on it ! Weather was absolutely glorious even in Santiago which was optional where I had been told by a friend "it always rains." It didn't. Service on the Osfrid was quite good. Staff in the dining room was exceptional especially our waiter Augustin and the Maitre' d Dragos. Entertainment was a little thin. "Flamenco Night" featured three female dancers to recorded music. They could have sprung for a guitarist if nothing else. It didn't matter. We were thoroughly tired after a long day Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
This was our 6th Viking cruise and certainly one of the best we had so far. We started in Lisbon which was ok as we been there before but when we embark the ship in Porto for the actual cruise the have been overwhelmed. The boat is ... Read More
This was our 6th Viking cruise and certainly one of the best we had so far. We started in Lisbon which was ok as we been there before but when we embark the ship in Porto for the actual cruise the have been overwhelmed. The boat is very small and intimate which we really enjoyed, the crew took good care of us and made this trip really special. What a small world it is within the Viking family as we had the same Hotel Manager as last year in Russia. Rebekka from Germany really made us feel like home. She managed the ship really well and you could see that she did this with passion. Food was great as always with Viking, could have been a bit more with local touches as always. Our Cabin was really specious with fantastic views every day. We book one of the Veranda suites this time. Our cabin girl was from Porto and gave us really good inside hints, we really enjoyed the mix of international crew with the local touch. Tours are fantastic but due to the longer bus rides sometimes we skipped some as the weather in Spain was already reaching the highs. Our only criticism of this trip was the entertainment as this was not as ever before on Viking, perhaps due to cruise director team who seemed not to be Viking and entertaining, also they are 3 and so far we always had 1 only. They always escorted the busses but would have been nice if they also comment on something at least. Well I guess Viking needs to improve this but the rest of the team was superb as always. We really enjoyed this cruise and booked another one and since this is our first online comment ever, thanks to Rebekka who ask us to do so, we would like to spread our positive experience herewith. March and Jean Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
We so much enjoyed our previous Viking cruise, Amsterdam to Budapest, that we were eager to try a second Viking cruise. We had never been to Portugal, and we had heard others praise its beauty. Also, this was at the perfect time, because ... Read More
We so much enjoyed our previous Viking cruise, Amsterdam to Budapest, that we were eager to try a second Viking cruise. We had never been to Portugal, and we had heard others praise its beauty. Also, this was at the perfect time, because it started just after we finished a convention elsewhere in Europe. The Duoro river is beautiful. Because the ship is small, we got to know our tour guide well. The first day in Lisbon was a highlight. Another other major highlight was the very old library, where they let bats live behind the stacks because the bats eat moths that would eat the books! The ancient college in Salamanca was another highlight, with a very informative guide. The only weak spot was that because this was the first cruise of the year, the kitchen had a little trouble getting organized for dinner... sometimes ran out of a popular food, or had slower than expected service. But Viking did everything they could to remedy the problems, including hiring some extra staff after a day or two. We learned much about Portugal and its history and culture. We are big fans of Viking, and we have already signed up for another cruise next year. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We had previously taken the Viking Bordeaux cruise in 2015, and shortly after getting home signed up for the November 2016 Rivers of Gold cruise on the Douro River. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and the land portions - we started with ... Read More
We had previously taken the Viking Bordeaux cruise in 2015, and shortly after getting home signed up for the November 2016 Rivers of Gold cruise on the Douro River. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and the land portions - we started with two nights in Lisbon with well planned and interesting tours of the city over the two days. Then a comfortable bus trip up the coast of Portugal to Porto, where we boarded our vessel in Vila Nova de Gaia, across the Douro from Porto. November is not shirtsleeve weather in Portugal, we had rain on the first day in Lisbon, but Lisbon takes on another sort of beauty in the rain and soft contrast of an overcast day. We arrived in Porto to sunshine and two beautiful days of incredible light and fascinating tours. Then the Viking Osfrid headed up the Douro, the weather turned more rainy and cold - but the river valley was so beautiful with the vineyards and mountains rising out of the mist. As we'd experienced in France in 2015, the Viking crew and staff were unfailingly helpful, cheerful and knowledgable. On this cruise, the guides were engaging and fun to spend time with, and the tours were excellent. This is another cruise, like the Bordeaux cruise, in which there are significant motor coach tours away from the ship, while some passengers didn't care for that, we recognized that it was the only way to get to the many fascinating places we visited, many of which were on the tops of the surrounding mountains. The food and wines were fabulous as usual, the staterooms were comfortable, the fellow passengers were interesting and diverse. We had a fabulous time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Wonderful destination with a beautiful country and very friendly people. The itinerary and Vikings staff and accommodations were beyond prior cruises. Great optional tours and sights. The opportunity to be entertained on the ship with ... Read More
Wonderful destination with a beautiful country and very friendly people. The itinerary and Vikings staff and accommodations were beyond prior cruises. Great optional tours and sights. The opportunity to be entertained on the ship with specialists that entertained and educated us was very important. The social director was professional and provided a knowledgeable support to help us understand the people,country and customs. the menu varieties offered territorial foods, grains, cheeses and beverages that allowed us to enjoy the flavors and tastes of origin creativity. The staff were meticulous in their attention to our requests and keeping our cabin, dining areas and common use areas of the lounge, decks and atrium both clean and fresh. The bar and lounge area offered a local and very good selection of beverages. Evenings were enjoyed with alternative entertainment with local performances both on the ship and off in the local venues. The evening serenades of the piano and songs provided a chance for karaoke and professional song performances. Overall, the Osfrid's cruise was a satisfying delightful adventure that fulfilled our cultural and relaxing goals in what we wished to achieve. Read Less
Viking Osfrid Ratings
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