34 Viking River Viking Osfrid Cruise Reviews

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
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
Sail Date November 2016
Expected to see much more, although the writing up of the cruise was quite accurate in the brochure. A lot of time is spent sitting on board a coach for up to two hours and the sights and excursions are all very, very samey. Food was only ... Read More
Expected to see much more, although the writing up of the cruise was quite accurate in the brochure. A lot of time is spent sitting on board a coach for up to two hours and the sights and excursions are all very, very samey. Food was only O K with some cold dishes being served at room temperature (e.g salad / a prawn starter) and the variety was quite limited, and fairly uninspirational. Portion sizes were, in general, quite small. No lunch buffet - the waiters were absolutely great but very, very overstretched. Meals were described by the Chef as "local" but we have seen the same meals on other Viking cruises. Evening entertainment was to 'care home' standard only. This is a cruise for those who don't mind being treated as children and seeing the 'same old, same old'...Company asks for suggestions but only take notice if money can be saved or if the suggestion meets with their initial approval. Great at saying "it will not work...". Have a suspicion that the Douro River cruise is run / directed by the local Portuguese authorities primarily to enhance the profitability of the local businesses and communities. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Our latest Viking Voyage (we go on our 6th trip with them this year) was absolutely wonderful. With a 2-day pre-extension in Lisbon (and a 2-day post on our own in Lisbon), we ended up spending 6 phenomenal days in one of my new favorite ... Read More
Our latest Viking Voyage (we go on our 6th trip with them this year) was absolutely wonderful. With a 2-day pre-extension in Lisbon (and a 2-day post on our own in Lisbon), we ended up spending 6 phenomenal days in one of my new favorite cities on the planet. Lisbon is gorgeous, very compact and highly accessible. Don't even think about going unless you book the Lisbon pre-extension. And whatever you do, don't miss the Taste of Lisbon optional excursion. The river part of our serene journey started on September 6, 2016 on the Viking (baby longship) Osfrid. While I will tell you many ways the whole trip could have been better still, my five star rating stands. Overall, we had an absolutely fantastic time. And, man oh man, did I get some great pictures. Portugal is one very picturesque country. (Photography and traveling are my hobbies. You can see my best pictures from our recent vacations here: www.RhodesVacations.com) LISBON PART OF TRIP From the time we got to the lovely Tivoli Hotel, we were already having a great time. The hotel has much to recommend it. When you go to breakfast (a large buffet in a beautiful room full of rich wood paneling and large picture windows), be sure and get a table that looks out onto the Avenida in front of the hotel. This is one of the most tranquil streets I've ever seen. With a very wide central pedestrian median that goes on for at least a mile, it is lined with huge trees hundreds of years old and has large walkways made of colorful stones set in mosaic patterns. I could spend days sitting on one of its park benches. So relaxing. But I digress. Back to the hotel. One final note, be sure and go up to the bar area on top of the hotel at night. It’s a hopping scene with great mood lighting and music. Half of the young adults in Lisbon seem to be there. But, most of all, it has great views of Lisbon's lights at night from the top. Be sure and take your camera when you go up to it. We had such a fabulous time in the endlessly charming Lisbon that it's hard to list everything we did, so I'll just stick to some of our favorites. We heard a lot of excellent fado music (something I didn't even think I would like), but none was better than the performance we got during the optional Taste of Lisbon excursion that we went on. But more than just the music and the dinner were the acting and dancing on the stage. It was a near perfect evening. My favorite was of one of the leading singers, who was so emotive in her acting and so compelling in her smiles that I couldn't stop trying to capture pictures of her. The best walking tour of trip was the one of the Bairro Alto in Lisbon, which is part of the pre-extension. In contrast, the tour of the Alfama District of Lisbon, which is part of the regular tour, was good but way too much of it was done on a bus. The Bairro Alto tour was all done on foot, so you really got to see the lovely tiled buildings with their intricate grill work, the enchantingly narrow and colorful streets and the overall charm of the byways of the city. Our Bairro Alto guide was terrific. She realized that the best guides aren't rapid-fire fact machines but entertainers who know how to weave humorous stories and make cute little remarks. Also, the Alfama tour spent time at the Maritime Museum. It's almost always a waste of time when a guided tour includes museum visits. You will have a fair amount of time on your own in Lisbon, and there is so much to do. Taking one of the fun old trams is a must but follow the Viking guides recommendation, as we did. Don't go on the public trams, which will have you waiting hours to get on and quite likely make you stand for its hour and a half trip. Instead go on one of the private trams, which look exactly the same. While they cost more, they will save you hours of wasted time standing and waiting for the public ones, and they will always have a seat for you once on board. Supposedly too, the public one is frequented by pickpockets. The tram whips around narrow streets and provides a constant steam of great visuals. Arguably the most stunning site in Lisbon is the Jeronimos Monastery, which should be on your must-see list. Also good is the castle, which, although in ruins, provides breath-taking views of the city since the castle is set high on the hill above the city. The way to get to the castle is with a taxi. Taxis in Lisbon are reasonably priced and easy to hail. The coach museum near the Jeronimos Monastery is well worth a visit. Filled with restored coaches, it really takes you back in time to when traveling was particularly elegant. One day we hired a private car and driver, which wasn't that expensive, and went to Sintra, most of all to see Pena Palace. A fantastical and ridiculously colorful place, it is a palace as Walt Disney might have imagined one. The town itself too was pretty. Later we went to the westernmost part of continental Europe, Cabo da Roca, and admired its jagged cliffs and crashing surf. An extraordinary day out. Finally, just walking around Lisbon's various squares and narrow streets provide endless delight. We ended up eating outside several time at LVSO Central Italian Restaurant in Rossio Square. The people watching there is great fun, and the waiters are real charmers and clowns. We always got one of the tables closest to the wide sidewalk. And, while we were in Lisbon during an unseasonable heat wave with temperatures in the upper 90s, the trees, the awnings and the good breezes made for very relaxing and quite comfortable outdoor dining nonetheless. SHIP PART OF THE TRIP Of the 13 days we spent in Portugal, 7 of them were on the ship, so let's talk about that part of our adventure. First and foremost, the staff and the people we met on the ship were extremely friendly. Our tour director Elia and our guide Iuri were uniformly terrific. My wife has mobility issues, and Iuri was constantly checking on her as we were walking to make absolutely sure she was always ok. The restaurant staff, which sometimes weren't quite as organized as they should have been, were extremely friendly and hard-working. On land and on the ship, everyone spoke very clear English, and they were able to easily understand a wide variety of accents easily, even my thick Texan. Quite a surprise was that, unlike all of the other Viking cruises we've been on, the captain was around a lot and liked to strike up conversations with the guests. His English too was perfect, and he proved to be a good story teller. The part of the ship we liked the least was the food, which was at best ok and was the worst of any Viking trip. Ironically, the best food, which was consistently fabulous, was on the Viking Truvor this summer in Russia. The chef on the Truvor is scheduled to move to one of Portugal ships next year. Almost made me wish we'd waited. But, to be honest, we didn't care much for the food off the boat either. The worst meal I got was some inedible cod for lunch in Lisbon. Being a baby longship, everything was shrunk, but it was a still a longship. On the regular size longships, there are many round tables for six at dinner, so meeting people is easy. The baby longship has many fewer such tables, and they are oblong rather than circular. The problem with an oblong table is that there are almost always 2-3 conversations going on simultaneously while, with round tables, it is usually just one. One conversation makes it a lot more fun and easier to hear people. But the ship did have a very large top deck, which proved to be a great place to gather while cruising and after dinner, when the lights on the hills were truly magical. And, speaking of magical moments, one of the best occurred the first evening on the ship when, just after dinner, the captain took us on a slow ride up and down Douro River to see the lights of Porto at night. All I can say is WOW! The Douro River provides endless scenic vistas while cruising. The high hills (or low mountains or whatever you call them) are full of vineyards, olive trees and almond trees. While you are there you live in a blue green world. Lush green hillsides are on your left and right while the rich blue of the sky and river are above and below you. Because of a broken lock on our trip, they had to re-sequence the days, which ended up giving us a full day cruising at the end. This proved to be a blessing, not a curse. Just about everyone spent the day on the top deck enjoying the great views and the lovely weather, which had cooled back into the normally seasonal 80s. We only had one early morning of rain the whole trip, and the rain was gone by the time we left the boat. Since I've been writing for a while now and still haven't mentioned any of the places we visited from the ship, you might wonder why. It's because this isn't a trip where you go to see a few big sites. It's more one of enjoying the smaller ones. But we did visit some pretty sites during the cruise. Castelo Rodrigo was fascinating and beautiful. A stunningly pretty little rocky and isolated town set high up on a small mountaintop, it was perhaps the best thing we saw while on the ship part of the trip. I am very glad that I chose the "strenuous" walking tour that day. Very mislabeled, it wasn't even up to a moderate level. Lamego was a peaceful little town to wander through, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Salamanca was quite pretty, but the included lunch there was almost inedible, and the flamenco dancing we were shown wasn't very good. My wife had suggested we skip the included lunch and flamenco performance and wander around Salamanca instead. Should have taken her advice. Others did this and had a much better time than we did. One night we had a dinner at old monastery. The setting was lovely and the fado singing was pretty good but not nearly as good as in Lisbon or Coimbra. Actually, the only part of the Coimbra visit I really enjoyed was the excellent fado performance after lunch there. DISAPPOINTMENTS Some of the places like the inside of the Mateus Palace, the library in Coimbra, the main church in Lamego didn't allow photography even without flash. This is just plain stupid in my opinion. I saw many people ignoring the rule and snapping pictures with their cameras and cell phones. The low point of the tour was Favaios, where we saw one of the world's smallest and most boring bakeries and visited a not very interesting small museum. On the optional tour to Guimaraes, the only good part was a brief walk through the streets of the town. There just wasn't much else there other than a very plain castle. Don't waste your money. Stay on the ship and enjoy the cruising instead. A couple of times after dinner, the crew led us all in a big conga line, which proved to be a whole of fun. What was very disappointing was that there were no team games as entertainment as there have been on every other Viking trip we've taken. For example, in Russia they had a game called Liar. Three members of the staff would give us the definitions and derivations of obscure English words, but only one of them was telling the truth. We divided into small teams to guess who was truthful each time. It was hilarious and marvelous fun. Internet, internet, internet! Viking, come on. In this day and age, there is no excuse for painfully slow speed internet. The days of dial-up class speeds are so last millennium. Airplanes and other cruise ships are adopting faster technologies and so should you. We ignored this failing by chewing up lots of cellular data at very pricy rates. OVERALL We had a terrific time that we will never forget. We are busy having fun now thinking about our 7th (and maybe 8th) Viking trip for 2017. So many places; so little time! FYI - The regular Veranda rooms on the baby longships that Viking uses in Portugal are much smaller than on the regular longships. While the bathroom is fine, there is no space on either side of the bed for a chair. Because of this, it makes good sense to go for the Veranda Suites, which have lots of room and are extremely well laid out. Couldn't have been more comfortable. LOVED our Veranda Suite! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Have been on several river cruises in Europe and worldwide but had not done this one before. The Douro seemed a quiet,restful and unspoilt river. Preceded by 2 days in Lisbon. Enroute to Porto stopped off at beautiful old University ... Read More
Have been on several river cruises in Europe and worldwide but had not done this one before. The Douro seemed a quiet,restful and unspoilt river. Preceded by 2 days in Lisbon. Enroute to Porto stopped off at beautiful old University town-Cuimbra. Lovely ship and cabin with sitting room and balcony. Good public rooms and excellent dining. Friendly well informed crew. Always ready to help.Too many excursions and not enough time to enjoy sailing so skipped some excursions. Well informed local guides with good English and good audio arrangements. Comfortable coaches with good drivers.A good supply of water on coaches-it was very hot in Portugal with unusually high temp. Well arranged embarkation and disembarkation. Viking staff at Airports readily identifiable. Did not like Vikings suggested arrangement for tips, tho voluntary. Seemed excessive. Obviously their staff depend on tips to supplement their income but it should not fall on the shoulders of passengers. Viking prices are quite high but everyone seems to have had a discount! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
As usual Viking River Cruise Line treated us like Royalty. Fabulous ship, Fabulous food, Fabulous staff, Fabulous Company. Loved Portugal- hope to return some day! People were so very friendly and welcoming i every Port.Tour guides were so ... Read More
As usual Viking River Cruise Line treated us like Royalty. Fabulous ship, Fabulous food, Fabulous staff, Fabulous Company. Loved Portugal- hope to return some day! People were so very friendly and welcoming i every Port.Tour guides were so knowledgeable and familiar with customs, people, education, and politics of Portugal and Spain. Cabin was spacious with a walk in closet. The Osfrid is a small intimate ship with staff willing to make you comfortable what ever your needs.Viking Company never left you wondering how the day will go giving updates as needed. Shore excursions were educational and well run. Always on time and exact in panning. The scenery along the Douro River was incredible. The ship sailed during the day allowing you to have the best views of the river and the countryside. The itinerary was set to give you free time in every port. River Cruises are a fabulous way to meet people from other countries and well as from the USA/ We will continue to travel with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We chose Viking because of the recommendation of friends who'd previously sailed with them. We chose the Douro cruise due to interest in seeing Portugal. This review is not intended to slam Viking, but rather to simply share the ... Read More
We chose Viking because of the recommendation of friends who'd previously sailed with them. We chose the Douro cruise due to interest in seeing Portugal. This review is not intended to slam Viking, but rather to simply share the facts about a very disappointing experience on many levels. The trip began with 2 days in Lisbon which were very good - beautiful city, nice hotel, good food, and good mix of tours and free time. Then Tuesday morning we boarded the bus to head to Porto to meet the ship, or so we thought. Halfway there, cruise reps informed us the ship was unable to make it to Porto due to high river levels, and instead they were diverting us to meet the ship in northeast Portugal. This was the first problem - Viking had known about this for about a week and chose not to inform any of us before herding us on the bus. As it turned out the boat was moored in Ferradosa, which was EXTREMELY isolated - literally nothing nearby (within an hour), no cell service (AT ALL) and no wifi either. We were cut off from the world - might sound good but after a while it was very troublesome. They tried to make us believe we might sail within a few days, but members of the crew privately told us bluntly we weren't going anywhere - and the ship indeed never moved the entire week. They turned it into a bus tour with daily bus rides which were miserable due to the winding roads and long rides to get to places where we didn't stay long. One day we rode 1 hour 45 min each way (3.5 hours total) for a tour that lasted 40 min, and 20 minutes of that was spent standing in line for a very substandard toilet with no toilet paper. It was miserable. The food on the ship was simply not good - there was one dinner that I would give high marks to - the rest were below average. Other passengers who'd sailed with Viking indicated the food was not nearly as good as other Viking cruises we've been on. We felt trapped and had Viking been forthright about the situation, we could have made alternate plans from Lisbon and done something different. But their intentionally delayed communication resulted in us being trapped. The daily long bus rides were truly brutal and not what we paid for or expected. We tried to make the best of it, but it was probably the worst vacation we've ever had. One interesting thing we learned was that the ONLY Viking employee involved with the cruise was the cruise director. The ship and the entire rest of the crew are subcontractors. As all this was playing out they would not communicate to the passengers about what they were going to do for us in terms of compensation - we were told to individually call headquarters upon our return and speak to them. Nice! As it turned out, their offer of compensation was extraordinarily disappointing, condescending, and will guarantee I will never patronize Viking again. It was a total bust and very sad actually. So I don't overlook the positives, the cabin was very nice, the ship was clean, there were some crew members who delivered excellent service (and some who didn't). But on one of these ships, when it is stranded there is NOTHING to do, and I mean nothing, unless you just want to drink. Sorry Viking, but this was an epic fail on your part, and your treatment of your passengers, primarily the deceitful communications, was inexcusable. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our third Viking river cruise and we enjoyed it very much. We started with two days in Lisbon pre-cruise. This was a little disappointing - we had Viking book our flights and we did not arrive in Lisbon until 3 pm on day 1, so ... Read More
This was our third Viking river cruise and we enjoyed it very much. We started with two days in Lisbon pre-cruise. This was a little disappointing - we had Viking book our flights and we did not arrive in Lisbon until 3 pm on day 1, so our first day was basically lost. The second day we had a half-day city tour that was very good, in spite of terrible rainy, cold, windy weather. Our tour guide Walter did the best he could under the circumstances. We saw the Belem Tower and Monument to Discoveries, and had a short walking tour of the Alfama. We did not go to the Monastery of Jeronimos because it was closed that day, did the Maritime Museum instead which was very interesting. We spent the afternoon on our own exploring the city. We liked the hotel Tivoli Lisboa, comfortable rooms and very friendly and helpful staff. On day 3 we departed Lisbon and stopped once for a quick rest stop along the road, and then in Coimbra for a tour of the university and lunch. The university was impressive, especially the Joanina Library, and it was fun seeing the students in their black capes, an inspiration for Harry Potter. Lunch was very good - choice of chicken or cod - I am not a fish lover but the cod was delicious! We could have tried both, the wait staff came by with seconds of each main course. Wine was also included, as was an excellent fado show. Our final stop was to join our ship in Porto. We had cabin 309, a veranda cabin. It was small but functional. We loved the veranda and used it often. Unlike other cruises, we did not "raft" with other ships very often, only once or twice that I can remember. Bed was very comfortable, drawers and closet space were adequate, bathroom worked well. Dining on the ship was good, but not as good as we have had on previous Viking cruises. Breakfast was the same, a buffet with menu option, and we always had a good breakfast. We didn't eat lunch very often, but had a good Portuguese sandwich (francesinha) one day. Dinner was very good some nights and so-so some other nights, but we always found something to eat without having to resort to the American side of the menu (steak, chicken, salmon). I wish there had been some more traditional Portuguese dishes. The staff on the ship was wonderful. We really enjoyed Carmen the cruise director, loved Tom and Fernando at the bar, and our waiter (forgot his name, one of the side effects of aging!!). You are assigned a certain bus at the beginning of the trip and stay on that bus with the same tour escort throughout the week. We had Iuri and he did an excellent job describing the scenery and history of Portugal every day no matter where we were. Every member of the staff went out of their way to make sure we had a perfect cruise. One small glitch - we always buy the Silver Spirits package and enjoy perusing the wine list and ordering and trying different wines. This ship did not even have a wine list available for the first two days and then had a different list for the bar and another for the restaurant. On other cruises we have been able to try a glass of something at the bar and then order a bottle for dinner if we liked it, not as easy to do on this cruise. However, once Tom and Fernando at the bar figured out what we liked, they were quick to recommend different wines for our dinner, and they did a great job! On board activities included a piano player (Sal) who did a great job, playing lots of oldies for the senior crowd on the cruise. Other "enrichment" activities included a presentation about cork, along with a small sale of cork items, talks on Portuguese food, on the Douro River and region, and Portugal's history, a Portuguese language lesson, an evening of folk music, and a ceremony of vintage port opening with fire and tongs. All were very enjoyable and informative. Because of the short length of the river, most days we were bused to different locations to see interesting things. We had a half-day tour of Porto including a visit to the impressive tile-covered train station and a port wine tasting before returning to the ship. There was an optional tour to Guimaraes that afternoon, but we opted to stay on the ship and enjoy a little cruising. Note that cruising often took place in the morning and tours in the afternoon - the ship could not sail at night due to restrictions on the river. Nice because we didn't have to get up really early, but sometimes it was a rush getting back from an afternoon tour and getting ready for dinner, with time for pre-dinner cocktails! We enjoyed the visits to the Mateus Palace (beautiful gardens), Quinta do Seixo wine tasting, and Castelo Rodrigo (be sure to visit the food shop and gift shop, they are both small but we found some nice things and really liked the variety of almonds). The full day trip to Salamanca included a bit longer bus ride, but the scenery was beautiful and Salamanca was worth the trip. Note that you are not at sea level, and at the higher elevations, the weather can be cold in windy in the spring, as it was when we were there. Bring your jacket - you can always leave it on the bus if not needed. We had lunch at a hotel in Salamanca (not very good food, except for the Iberian ham), followed by an enjoyable flamenco show. One of our favorite days was the trip to Favaios. We first visited a bakery to learn about bread making and tasted some delicious bread. Because it was Sunday, the bakery was not operational so we could only imagine what it was like when the ovens were working,. Then we went to the museum for more information and stopped at the wine cooperative for a taste of muscatel. We had lunch at the Quinta de Avessada, good food and wine, along with lots of interesting and humorous information presented by Luis Barros, who had a resemblance to the comedian Mr. Bean. Our final excursion was to Lamego where we saw the beautiful shrine of Our Lady of the Remedies on top of the hill. Some people chose to walk down the 686 steps to the bottom, but we went down on the bus. We also visited the Lamego museum, a small museum with a nice collection of art and other items from the Roman days to present. Long review - but overall we really enjoyed ourselves. This cruise was a little different from other Viking cruises because the staff do not work for Viking (other than the cruise director), but there was no lack of service or any significant problems because of this. We would highly recommend this cruise primarily for the interesting excursions and wonderful Portuguese people! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Viking Osfrid Ratings
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