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
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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
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
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 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
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