127 Viking River Viking Tialfi Cruise Reviews

We chose this itinerary because we wanted to go to the markets and we were not disappointed! We started in Amsterdam (we have been there before) and then traveled to Kinderdijk, where we have also been before. We then went to Cologne and ... Read More
We chose this itinerary because we wanted to go to the markets and we were not disappointed! We started in Amsterdam (we have been there before) and then traveled to Kinderdijk, where we have also been before. We then went to Cologne and our first Christmas market. It was absolutely magical! We continued to more markets in Germany and one in Strasbourg France. The markets did not disappoint and i filled an entire bag of gifts from the markets as well as ten different mugs from the markets. If you don’t care for the hot wine at the markets, get the hot chocolate, it’s incredible. The ships captain was probably the best of all 6 of our Viking cruises as was the hotel manager. Our favorite by far was Renee, our program director. However, quite a few of the crew seemed uninterested in us being there. As a matter of fact I had a bartender be incredibly rude to me which has NEVER happened on Viking before. Another crew member who witnessed it came over to me to apologize, but I was so upset about it I left the lounge and was uncomfortable seeing this crew member the rest of the trip. The ship seemed a bit run down and housekeeping was a bit lax although our cabin steward was very sweet. The food was incredible and, as usual, my food allergies were taken care of with extreme attention. We have another trip with Viking booked and my hopes are that we will return to the service that we are accustomed to with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We had been on an ocean cruise with Viking before and spoke to fellow travellers about their experience of river cruising which was very positive so we wanted to try it for ourselves. We were not disappointed, in fact quite the reverse. ... Read More
We had been on an ocean cruise with Viking before and spoke to fellow travellers about their experience of river cruising which was very positive so we wanted to try it for ourselves. We were not disappointed, in fact quite the reverse. it exceeded our expectations. The service was good, the food outstanding. Our cabin was clean and functional and it was nice to be able to sit on the balcony and watch the world go by. The excursions were well organised. We particularly liked the food and wine tour of Strasburg which was probably the highlight for us. All in all a great trip. We also liked Cologne and Heidelberg but one of the best days was spent scenic cruising through the Rhine Gorge, past the Lorelai and the vineyards of the Rhine spent sipping the Riesling which those vineyards had produced. I would have no hesitation in recommending this trip although I would suggest that the best direction would be not the one we took from Amsterdam to Basle but from Basle to Amsterdam as you would be cruising with the tide and not against to so the journey would be quicker. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My family recently took a Viking cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. Our group was made up of myself and my fiance (28 + 27), my parents (55 + 57), and my Grampie (79). We decided on this cruise because it had been a trip my Grampie had wanted ... Read More
My family recently took a Viking cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. Our group was made up of myself and my fiance (28 + 27), my parents (55 + 57), and my Grampie (79). We decided on this cruise because it had been a trip my Grampie had wanted to take for years, and we wanted to make sure he got to take it. Generally, this kind of vacation would not be what my fiance and I or my parents would choose for ourselves. We prefer to spend more time in each city, do less tours, get to know the area, etc. My parents prefer to relax and not really explore. However, we all got something out of this trip that we didn't expect and honestly loved it! My fiance and I were well and beyond the youngest people on the ship, and these tours truly were not designed with our age group in mind - so if you're around our age, I would suggest looking elsewhere unless you're traveling with family. My Grampie loved the pace of the trip and only got tired/sore because we dragged him on a full-day walking tour in Strasbourg, which the rest of us loved but he probably could have done without. The fact that the itinerary was set meant that there was no tension or bickering about what we each wanted to do each day. We never had to worry about what cafes were open for breakfast, where we could stop for lunch, etc - meals were all planned on the shi[ and the food was good. We also loved that we only had to unpack once and that we got used to our stateroom; very different from packing up a bag in every city. I really enjoyed this aspect of the trip. The tours were well planned. Actually, everything was well planned. We never had to wait around, never felt stressed out, it was all 100% smooth. This is RARE when traveling and it was much appreciated. It's good to note that the itinerary is really organized to be fully guided. If you're looking to go off on your own and explore the city while the group tours around, please keep in mind that this could be VERY hard in some areas. On our itinerary, we had a few days where we could get off the boat on foot and explore - Cologne and Koblenz. We had an entire day and evening in Cologne and we were able to break away from the planned tours and explore the city ourselves on foot. We found local spots to eat and shop, and it was the best day of our trip. In other areas, like Colmar, you basically cannot get to the city from the ship unless you book an excursion through Viking. My mom and fiance and I did that, and we were able to get a good history lesson on the bus ride into Colmar. When we got there we ditched the tour guide (she wasn't pleased about this) and explored the city without the damn earpiece in our ear. Heidelberg is another stop that requires you to do the planned excursion in order to see the city. We were able to talk to the program director about what we wanted to get out of the trip, but he pretty much (kindly) told us upfront that we would be better off just going along with the plan. He was right - we surrendered to the planned tours and relaxed into the pace. The ship was nice, it only ever felt crowded during the "port talks" when everyone crowded into the lounge before dinner to hear about the next day. But the information was very valuable so I always squished in. The dinner is good, the wine and beer pour freely at lunch and dinner, and you can always top up your glass at the end of the meal to have an after dinner drink without having to pay at the bar. When it came to alcohol we were glad that we did not get the silver package (the all-inclusive drinking package) as we would have had to spend essentially 30$ a day per person to make it worth it, and at the end of the trip, we didn't come close to that. The house wine and beer are local and enjoyable, and you can always opt to pay for one or two drinks from the bar if you want something different. There also is no corckage fee, so if you want to bring a bottle of wine into the lounge that you bought when touring around, they will open and pour it for you!! Same goes for beer, or bottles of scotch, anything. The bottom line: this trip was well planned and comfortable, and did feel like a luxury experience. However, if you're under 40, this trip is probably not for you unless you're travelling with older family members. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The service and trips are always excellent. The highlight for us was the trip to a cheese factory and visiting the Kinderdijk Windmills in the Netherlands. Our guide was brilliant full of information. Enjoyed cruising down the Rhine ... Read More
The service and trips are always excellent. The highlight for us was the trip to a cheese factory and visiting the Kinderdijk Windmills in the Netherlands. Our guide was brilliant full of information. Enjoyed cruising down the Rhine counting all the castles on the way. Lovely buffet breakfast and a choice of buffet or restaurant dining lunch. Always went for buffet lunch on the Aquavit Terrace. Viking staff are great, nothing too much trouble for them, can never fault them. The trip to the Black Forest involved a long coach trip, but it was worth it the scenery was breathtaking, my husband enjoyed the Cuckoo Clock demonstration! Our cruise included trip to Heidelberg, we had a super guide who even sang to us in the courtyard of Heidelberg Castle and he got the historical facts right about the castle and its occupants over the centuries. Does'nt always happen! We enjoyed this cruise, with our American friends who we met on previous Viking cruise. Already planning our next Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Based on reputation and reviews, Viking were the obvious choice for our first cruise. Having chosen the Rhine Getaway River Cruise, we were not disappointed, it was better than we expected. Great organisation, flights and transit to ship ... Read More
Based on reputation and reviews, Viking were the obvious choice for our first cruise. Having chosen the Rhine Getaway River Cruise, we were not disappointed, it was better than we expected. Great organisation, flights and transit to ship were faultless, staff and crew were welcoming and very helpful. The Tialfi was clean, comfortable just the right size to be immediately at home with. Food excellent with ample selection and service. Shore excursions were well planned and executed with plenty of 'me time' to explore on our own if that's what you want. The cabin was clean, comfortable and we were looked after by the service staff to a very high standard. No complaints whatsoever! We are so impressed with the Viking experience that we are going to celebrate our golden wedding anniversary on a Danube cruise this coming August. Can't say more than that and have no hesitation in recommending the to like minded people, be they new to river cruises or experienced. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Viking is best value for money. All the staff treat you as if you are the only person on the ship.food and choice is out standing. The staff can not do too much for there guests. My wife struggles with walking so the staff accommodate this ... Read More
Viking is best value for money. All the staff treat you as if you are the only person on the ship.food and choice is out standing. The staff can not do too much for there guests. My wife struggles with walking so the staff accommodate this and make sure that all her needs on the visits are taken care and that they get to go on all the on shore visits. The staff in the restaurant if you would like something different let them know and they always do there best to accommodate your needs. Rooms are clean at all times by cabin staff. The head chef comes around at meal times to explain what food is being cooked. The talks on the trips is always very informative. We are about to go on our third trip and have one booked for next year. Can not say to much about Viking Cruises all the staff go the extra mile for there guests. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We have cruised about 15 times, but this was our first river cruise.....and it won't be our last! We have already booked two more. The whole trip was fabulous. The beautiful ship, the super friendly staff & crew, and the ... Read More
We have cruised about 15 times, but this was our first river cruise.....and it won't be our last! We have already booked two more. The whole trip was fabulous. The beautiful ship, the super friendly staff & crew, and the gorgeous scenery. I can't say enough about the crew on the Tialfi. They greeted us by name from the very first day. Our waiter knew our drink preference, and even secured special bottles of wine for our table. One of our travel companions was "gluten free", and she had a great dinner every evening. They even made gluten free bread for her. The cabins were great. I recommend the balcony - you will travel through locks and it's pretty interesting to watch. The tours were awesome, informative, and the tour guides were great. We did the three day extension to Lucerne. The tour guide was fabulous and the scenery breathtaking. Well worth the extra cost. Embarking and leaving the ship were a breeze - no long lines! Can you tell I enjoyed this cruise? lol A 10 out of 10! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Reportedly Alexander the Great wept when told there were no more lands left to conquer. In that spirit, after 30 Celebrity ocean cruises, I decided to try a Brandy Alexander on our first river cruise. Amsterdam to Basel 8-day Rhine river ... Read More
Reportedly Alexander the Great wept when told there were no more lands left to conquer. In that spirit, after 30 Celebrity ocean cruises, I decided to try a Brandy Alexander on our first river cruise. Amsterdam to Basel 8-day Rhine river cruise starting Dec. 15, 2018 on 180-passengers Viking Tialfi. We added Viking’s 2-day Lake Lucerne extension for $599 pp at 5-star lakefront Schweizerhof Hotel (built 1845), 1 guided tour, transfers and breakfast included. This review compares the Celebrity ocean and Viking Rhine river experience. Meal service is suspended during this irreverent? flight of fancy. Our TA had advised that the Rhine river was particularly scenic with hills and medieval castle ruins (nearly 40). The Rhine also has a heavy volume of commercial ships rushing close by at 12 knots when we were docked at the riverside. The first port’s guided visit let those inclined climb up the interior of a 500-year-old family-managed windmill. Included guided tours featured the Cologne and the Strasbourg Cathedrals and the 11th century Marksburg castle. The guided tour to the romantic Heidelberg Castle featured the world’s largest (58,000 gallons) wine barrel built in 1751. This Viking trip was titled Rhine Christmas Markets offering the attraction of bright festively decorated specialty seasonal stores set up in town plazas. However, the port stops allowed visiting only during daylight hours. Some markets closed at 7pm. Staff were scrambling at the end in Basel to organize and store all the supplies, kitchenware, etc. because it was the last trip until late March 2019. Background: I’m a frequent Celebrity cruiser, sailing accompanied by my starter wife of 43 years, Joan. Even after all this time I’m still a little chagrined that her favorite song is Deanna Carter’s “Did I shave my legs for this?” Some may have run into me since 2000 on past CC Celebrity roll calls and on board socials. Others on past Celebrity trips may have also crossed my path. If you overheard a woman telling her husband “Remember what happened the last time ….” – that was me! Alternatively, if you noticed a woman among other ladies saying “Now what’s he think he’s doing ….” – that was me! Advance message board “Roll Calls” are uncommon among the typically 150-200 passengers on a river trip. I normally organizes a review under the “Miniskirt” rule (short enough to be interesting but long enough to cover what’s essential) Times have changed however. I will modify the advice of “Sing like no one is listening”, etc. and instead will write like no one is reading. So liberating. Passenger comparison: The presence of only 180 passengers soon led to a comfortable relaxed familiarity among the predominantly active well-traveled 55-75-year-old couples (I’m sure the wives were much younger). On this trip I presume Mae West’s dictum that “good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.” did not apply. It’s rumored that Celebrity stopped publicizing ceremonies for the renewal of wedding vows after Guest Relations was flooded with hopeful individuals asking about expiration dates. Many were first-time river cruisers also. I understand E. Hemmingway said he drank (a lot) in order to make other people interesting. We found everyone cordial and welcoming in the lounge and at shared dining tables (irrespective of my drinking). Brings to mind Paul Hornung’s statement “I read about the evils of drinking, so I gave up reading.” And M. Mokhonoana’s “Millions of deaths would not have happened if it weren’t for the consumption of alcohol. The same can be said about millions of births.” The river ship held a safety orientation that was smaller scale than on ocean mega-ships. On ocean cruises, having grown up watching the Twilight Zone and X-files, I would look around my muster group hoping no one closely resembled William Bendix and/or Tallulah Bankhead. Stateroom comparison Viking’s bottom-deck ‘river view’ and upper-deck veranda cabins are generally similar size and layout to Celebrity’s but neither inside cabins nor super-size suites are offered. Viking river ships are not outfitted for mobility impaired passengers. A non-mix Patron margarita was $8. WIFI was free but laundry priced per item. For budget and packing convenience I brought light weight quick-dry polyester undershorts that I could wash in the sink using shampoo. I later realized a potential downside of combining liberal amounts of shampoo but limited hand rinsing. If I fell overboard, rescuers could be perplexed by a foaming crotch. We had the lower deck standard cabin with long horizontal windows (“aquarium view”) at head height. The propeller sounds of from each of the many ships passing nearby were transmitted for 1-2 minutes through the hull. I planned to describe the passing propeller noise like briefly being within __ feet of a sloshing washing machine. So I tried to measure by sitting nearby but my wife had me to leave so she could do laundry. So the precise noise level remains as inexplicable as Al Capone’s secret vault room. Other Viking features: adults only 18+, no smoking, no casino, no photographers, no art auction, no theatre shows, no formal nights. Daily attire for men featured blue jeans or chinos. Our trip had a pianist nightly in the lounge and two guest acts, a rock trio (Eagles, Beatles) and classical violin duo. Food, dining As some wag noted “Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” And rotund Orson Welles weighed in “My doctor told me I had to stop throwing intimate dinners for four unless there are three other people.” The food was available in a small casual buffet off the lounge or in the table-service dining room. Breakfast had the standard offerings including omelets to order and fresh breads, pastries. A self-serve fresh-grind Espresso/Cappucino machine was always available. There were fewer entrée choices but some local cuisine was included. In general, food was satisfactory and on par with Celebrity. Spa services are based on the proposition “Time may be a healer, but it is no beautician.” Viking river fleet does not have fitness equipment or spa facilities. Their website’s FAQ reports that the ship’s Concierge can arrange access to partner facilities in many ports. WEATHER Downsides Dreary gray, foggy, chilly drizzle was common on the river route but most seem prepared. The universal recommendation to ‘wear layers’ to flexibly adjust was in order. It occurred to me that the ‘layering’ lesson had been disregarded to their detriment by the area’s Neanderthals. They might have survived if they had used a deer skin base layer, fashionably accented with a interwoven pastiche of muskrat pelts, with a final poncho-style bearskin outer-layer – snake skin belt optional. Of course, only dark bearskin after Labor Day. It was too uncomfortable to use the topmost unsheltered viewing and lounging deck. Viking Tialfi did not have a pool but I saw a small lounging pool on a competitor’s river ship. WEATHER Upsides Unfavorable weather conditions lead to ‘Christmas Markets” trips being the least expensive of the season. It was $3,000 each for the ‘standard’ cabin but included round trip economy air (major US hubs), airport transfers, 2-4 hour guided tour at each port, free (slow) WIFI, house beer/wine with lunch/dinner. Balcony cabin fares jumped $1,000+ pp above standard but the weather precluded sitting out unless attired as recommended for a Neanderthal. A -$1,000 pp air credit applied if you provide your own travel. A Bayerische draught lager, a cabernet/merlot blend and a pleasant dry white Burgundy was included at meals. Suggested tips reached $190 for the cabin. The wintry weather held a pleasant advantage - crowds in major tourist areas were low. Along with other sites, we noted that popular areas such as Lake Lucerne would be practically impassable in peak season. Our guide claimed that Marksburg Castle, Braubach has 6 million annual visitors. There were only a couple hundred tourists on the dreary day our ship’s tour visited. River depth, noise vs Ocean Water is not as deep (at least on Rhine) - no Poseidon catastrophe here – even Shelly Winters could clamber up the TWO decks to escape. Most long-haul river ships have three cabin decks with upper open sun deck for viewing. The floor of the lowest cabin deck is below the water line. I saw another new river ship with 5 decks and our Captain said it could only travel between two middle-Rhine cities because of low bridges. Indeed, unusually high or low water levels for the Rhine can restrict ship travel. We learned that in a recent major drought, people could wade across the Rhine in some sections. Both Viking and Scenic offer a ‘water level guarantee’. They intend to bring another ship from the opposite direction to transfer passengers to bypass the unnavigable section. Refunds are offered if they can’t manage that substitution. LOCKS The lower Rhine is navigable because of numerous locks that each raise/lower a ship about 40 feet in about 10 minutes. The river cruise spends each day in a town or city, traveling overnight – no relaxing sea-days. At worst, the river is choppy, so no sea sickness. At one point there was a long loop in the river so passengers were transferred to busses and rode 30 minutes into the city while the ship travelled 3.5 hours to catch up. This conserved time for the morning tours. Another time the ship pulled to the river edge to let 12 passengers embark on a paid tour – a drop-off taking only 20 minutes. All included walking tours provided individual ear-bud listening devices to hear the guide. The ship carried power-assist bicycles for use in ports. Service was pleasant and attentive. The CD had 5 years prior ocean ship experience. The crew was predominantly from eastern Europe and seemed efficient and competent. Lake Lucerne (2-day Viking guided extension) Twenty of us were transferred from the Basel endpoint on a coach to Lake Lucerne’s elegant lakefront Hotel Schweizerhof. On arrival, most joined the guided 2-hour walking tour of the historic district. Viking stationed an concierge agent during the morning and afternoon for both days. On the third morning the included coach transfer left our hotel at 6am for Zurich airport to connect through Amsterdam to Atlanta. Others had later shuttle departures. Many tree sellers were along the avenues – apparently its common there to buy trees just before Christmas day. We hoped to ride the 100+-year-old steam-drive side-paddle-wheel ferries but they were in for maintenance over winter. We visited a local museum, took long walks and retired early. In summer, many sail to ascend 7000-ft Mt. Pilatus using variety of cogwheel rail (world’s steepest), cable car and gondola. SUMMARY A river cruise offers an attractive small-ship alternative to ocean cruises. A river cruise is more suitable to touring countries interior areas as opposed to coastal ports. A river cruise is more oriented to adults touring historic sights but provides only limited ancillaries like casinos, pools, and floor shows. Since I’ve written like no one is reading, I’ll end with an Oscar Wilde remark “I don’t want to go to heaven – none of my friends are there.” Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
To start, I would like to say I feel so bad for people who booked a River Cruise, but got cheated out of their vacation due to the low water levels. I hope someday you have a trip that will more that double your expectations. Next, for ... Read More
To start, I would like to say I feel so bad for people who booked a River Cruise, but got cheated out of their vacation due to the low water levels. I hope someday you have a trip that will more that double your expectations. Next, for those who will be traveling on the Rhine soon (Basel to Amsterdam), I want to say from the start that, Yes, the Water Levels will affect you. I say that right away, because I wish someone was honest enough to tell me that from the start. Instead, I got cryptic emails from Viking. I then call them as the website suggests for updates, and they tell me I'm doing the right thing by trying to stay informed and to call as it gets closer to the day to find out about water levels. I called the day before I was going to leave and the cruise representative I spoke to had to put me on hold two times just to come back on the phone to tell me that they are still unsure if my trip would be affected by the low water levels. Now that I have gone through the Rhine River cruise, I can tell you with certainty that your cruise will be affected. Even if it rained for a week, I don't think that would be enough to help the water levels. Let me put it this way, there were parts of the river that I could walk on. On the very first night when the Cruise Director welcomed us aboard, he said "I know you are all concerned about the water levels, but we won't know if we have to swap ships until the night before". Then, the captain got up, and made his welcome speech and said, "Yes, you will be affected". At least someone was telling the truth. The Cruise Director though, still insisted we won't really know till the day before. Then sure enough, on the day before, he explained that due to the low levels we would have to "Swap Ships". A lot of people had questions of course, but the Cruise Director stopped the Q&A session after a certain point stating it was time for dinner. Myself and other passengers realize there is nothing they could do about the water levels, but we didn't appreciate being left in the dark. The Ship Swap meant we had to pack up before our tour of the day, and at the end of the day we would be 'bussed' to a new Viking ship, Tialfi, that was docked where the water levels would allow us to continue travelling to Amsterdam. The passengers from the other ship would then be bussed to our old ship. Our luggage would already be in our new ship, same rooms #'s, however, different crew, which was another disappointment, because I had gotten to know the crew members on Viking Alruna. We didn't mind packing up again, but what I did mind was skipping a port, Koblenz Germany. And even though Viking committed to making sure we got to go on all the included tours, the ship swap meant that we would not be able to go on the optional tours. I was very disappointed, because I was really looking forward to having dinner at the Eberbach Monastery. The low water levels also meant we couldn't do the "Middle Rhine Sailing" portion on our ship. We had to take a 2 1/2 bus ride to board a smaller boat that would allow us to cruise in the low water levels of the Middle Rhine. Note, the food on this non-Viking boat was "Horibleeeee" ! (A dry piece of Chicken (no sauce or anything) that was inedible with french fries - I just ate the fries). The Middle Rhine cruise itself, however, was magnificent, with memorable views of castles & fortresses. This is probably my favorite part of the whole Trip ! After cruising the Middle Rhine, we toured Marksburg castle, and then had a 3 1/2 hour bus ride to our new ship. They handed out lunch bags with a sandwich & fruit for the bus ride. Despite all the disappointment associated with the water levels, I still give Viking a 3 star, because the crew was amazing, the food was amazing, and the included tours, although short (Not enough time on your own), were really amazing. (I'll do separate reviews with tips on each of the ports). Also, Viking is very organized with the Embarkation and Disembarkation process. They will give thorough instructions and help you if you need guidance. I realize Viking and other cruise companies can not do anything about the water levels, however they can do something about treating passengers "Fairly" and with respect. I just wish they were truthful about the trip up front. I also wish the 25% credit off our next cruise "due to the disruption in our itinerary", would have been applied to the Current cruise - that would have made more sense, and have been a more sincere gesture. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Thought of trying river cruising in early 2017 and the Rhine River with castles along the way seemed enticing. Compared prices of different river cruise companies and Viking stood out as the more affordable one, without sacrificing quality ... Read More
Thought of trying river cruising in early 2017 and the Rhine River with castles along the way seemed enticing. Compared prices of different river cruise companies and Viking stood out as the more affordable one, without sacrificing quality of accommodations, food and excursions. Chose early November sailing when price is a bit less (definitely still not cheap), booked cabin with balcony and chose to stay 2 days in Amsterdam prior to cruise. Got flight arrangement from Viking too and it really turned out to be a good deal for us. Loved every minute of this trip -- Viking reps met us at the Schipol airport early in the morning and drove us in a comfortable van to the Movenpick Hotel, where other Viking reps gave us a short briefing, then we checked in our room at around 9 a.m! Our room had a good view of the harbor and Central Station. My husband and I were already having breakfast in the cafe nearby after an hour of checking in and off we went to explore Amsterdam. The things we planned to do in Amsterdam were all accomplished, thanks to early online reservation for Anne Frank House and Van Gogh museum. We got the I Amsterdam Card for 48 hours which allowed us to go to the other museums without waiting in line and use the tram. Amsterdam has a great public transportation system but too many bikes for our comfort. Embarkation was simple and easy on day of sailing, our cabin was very clean; all places of the ship were spic-and-span actually. All the Viking crew were very welcoming, shout out to Nelly, Gil, Michael and of course to Morgan, our cruise director. Though we had to swap ships on the 3rd day due to low water levels in the Rhine, we still didn't miss out on anything because we took a day boat to cruise the middle Rhine and have lunch there as well. The view from the top deck of our day boat was truly amazing, with castles and vineyards lining the mountains and Fall colors at its best!! Will never forget this experience. After this, we had to take a motorcoach for 2 hours to embark on the other ship, Viking Altuna, which was exactly the same as the Tialfi. Luggage transfer went smoothly and we kept the same cabin. The V Altuna crew greeted us warmly, with music and hot cocoa. Shout out to Evelyn, Mark Anthony, Suzana, Michael, Judy, Ben and the rest of the crew who spoiled us all with good food and wine, made sure we were safe whenever we left and came back from excursions. Chose an optional excursion in Alsace --went for wine tasting in Mittelbergheim but got a bit disappointed as we only went to 1 winery. Expected to go to at least 2. However, we were able to go to a vineyard and enjoy the colorful landscape. This review will be too long if I reviewed each included excursion. Overall though, the experience my husband and I got from this trip is priceless -- great weather, peak Fall foliage, less crowds and meeting new people, who vary from experienced cruisers to first-timers like us. Thanks to all that Viking has done to make this trip a memorable one. Will definitely go Viking river cruising again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Overall the cruise was very disappointing. Due to the low water in the Rhine, the ship was not able to dock at any of the ports on the itinerary. We were bused to all the cites which took away from the convenience of getting on and off ... Read More
Overall the cruise was very disappointing. Due to the low water in the Rhine, the ship was not able to dock at any of the ports on the itinerary. We were bused to all the cites which took away from the convenience of getting on and off the ship during the day. We did a ship swap on the 3rd day and spent 8 hours on a bus getting to towns and the next ship. For 4 days the ship was docked at a commercial area near Cologne, Germany along with many other ships. The ships were all joined side by side together – at one point we were 4th in a group of 6. When we opened our cabin curtains all we saw was the side of another ship, or the inside of someone else’s cabin. Could not use the balcony! I know that Viking is trying to do their best with the low water situation, but in my opinion the best would be to cancel the trips until the water levels are back up. Its not right to pay for a cruise, but receive a bus tour. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I recently took the Viking Rhine Getaway Riverboat Cruise, sailing Oct 20-27 2018. Thought I’d share my impressions and experience on this cruise. Some background information. I am a 52 year old married gay man. I offer this because ... Read More
I recently took the Viking Rhine Getaway Riverboat Cruise, sailing Oct 20-27 2018. Thought I’d share my impressions and experience on this cruise. Some background information. I am a 52 year old married gay man. I offer this because it was a non-issue, on Viking. We happened to celebrate an anniversary, and were treated just the same as the many other people who had birthdays and anniversaries. This was the third Viking riverboat cruise we’ve taken, although the first on the ‘Long Ships’. My overall impressions of Viking, and this cruise in particular, are extremely positive. So much so that we came home and immediately started considering a Viking Ocean Alaska cruise. That said, I thought I’d be honest about how things went, and where we did, and did not, enjoy things. That way everyone would receive my honest opinion of the cruise. We cruised from Amsterdam to Basel. We arrived in Amsterdam 5 days before the cruise, and visited Amsterdam on our own. It’s a beautiful city, so I advise taking the time to visit it. Viking sent out multiple emails about problems with the low water on the Rhine. We were forewarned that we would have to do a ‘Boat Swap’. A ‘boat swap’ is when you pack up and are taken to another boat, and continue sailing on the new boat. The two boats are mirror images of each other. One of the emails was a mistake, but it was quickly corrected. On the day of embarkation we very easily found our boat, without help from Viking. The stops: Our first stop was Kinderdijk- a historic group of 18th century working windmills. We also added the optional ‘Cheese Making’ excursion. The cheese making excursion was great, and we still were able to get the full free excursion of the windmills. Guide was great and it was not a lot of bus traveling. Day three was Cologne. We took the standard Tour of the city, with some extra time. I have to say I was a bit disappointed with Cologne. The cathedral is beautiful, but we only had 15 minutes inside, and the guides were not allowed in with us. That was not enough time. The rest of the tour was primarily talking about current events, and the fact that most of cologne has been rebuilt, or replaced with modern features. I wish we could have had a guided tour of the cathedral, and less time wandering. We had some free time, and took a later bus back to the boat. That worked out ok for us. We also did the optional Kolsch Dinner excursion. This was a lot of fun. Lots of beer and great, silly, young guys as guide. Really got the feeling of what it was like to go out on a beer crawl. I have to say I thought the price was very expensive, especially since we were giving up a paid for dinner, on board. Otherwise I really enjoyed this. We did have a bus problem – the bus was late. This was cleverly mediated by the guides using their power to secure some additional Kolsch to drink on the streets until the bus arrived – really felt like a German, after a football game!!! Thanks, guys. Day four was supposed to be Koblenz. Here’s where the low water of the Rhine made it necessary to do a ‘boat swap’. This mean much longer bus rides (like 5 plus hours total), BUT, Viking was able to mostly salvage the day. Yes we did have to pack and leave the boat very early, but we still visited Marksburg Castle and do our scenic cruising through the Rhine Gorge (lots of castles). What we could not do was any optional excursions and we did not stop in either Koblenz or Rudesheim. We did not choose any of these optional excursions, so we were ok. Others may not have been so happy. We were bused to Marksburg Castle, and then to a day boat, for Rhine Gorge cruising. There were two upsides to this: 1. The Rhine Gorge was virtually free of traffic, so the speed of travel, and the views were pristine. 2. We ended up in Strasbourg for an extra day (more later). The down side was that it was an exhausting day (5 plus hours of bus rides), started far too early, and the lunch and quality of the day boat was nowhere near up to Viking’s standards. That said…we did get our scenic Rhine cruise! Good for Viking. Day 5 was Heidelberg. We opted out. We did this for two reasons. The bus ride to get there was increased by an hour because we were not docked in Strasbourg. Also, Strasbourg was the number one reason we booked the cruise, so an extra day in Strasbourg was a very big PLUS, to us. We also don’t always like to follow, so a day on our own was exactly what was called for. Viking did a good job at accommodating buses to and from Strasbourg, since we were not that close to the historic portion of the city. Boy did we have a good day. We were primed with information, and the crew was very helpful with providing a few choice shopping and eating recommendation. It was a great day!! For our particular needs and desires, this change in plans worked in our favor. Day 6 was our planned day in Strasbourg, and we did the full day, optional, food tour. This was a very good tour. We tasted our way through gingerbread, kougelhoph, macarons, cheese, bread, pretzels, tarte flambé, wine and pastries. It was fun. There was some free time, and a tour of La Petite France, and the Cathedral. Our guide was very good. When we returned to our boat, it had moved, and was far enough from the bus that they had provided taxi’s to get us the rest of the way. Nice touch. Day 7 was Breisach, Germany. In the morning we took an optional tour of the town of Colmar, France. This was well organized and timed. I was disappointed with Colmar which is not as charming as the brochures would want you to think. La Petite France, in Strasbourg was more charming. Not Viking’s fault, just my opinion. In the afternoon, the tour was a bus trip to the Black Forrest, and to an inn, where you watched demonstrations of Cuckoo Clocks, Glass, or Cake making. It seemed a bit too commercial, and at this point we had had enough of the bus trips. So we stayed on the boat and walked up the big hill to Breisach. This is a charming town, with great views, a small gothic church, and a lovely sense of how real people live. It was a nice option to the standard tour. The last day we arrived in Basel Switzerland, and were taxied to a hotel, where we spent 4 days on our own. Some comments on the Viking: The staff and crew are really well prepared and excellent at their job. Our Cruise Director, Morgan, worked like mad to make everything as smooth as possible. He really helped steer the group past the few bumps really well, and should be commended. There was some sense of detachment to the crew, because we switched boats. Morgan came with us, but we otherwise had two crews. Usually, Viking is amazing at getting to know the guests. Here we had two crews, so we didn’t have the usual bonding. The food is generally quite good. Better than I remember from previous cruises. My only complaint is there are only large tables in the restaurant, and the guest are forced to all eat at once, at appointed times. We opted for many meals in the Aquavit Lounge, where a few small tables were available. IMHO, it is a much better option to the raucous atmosphere of the main dining room. I acknowledge that my opinion might not be the norm. Judging from the number of people that wanted to eat in the quieter lounge, there should be a bit more space for that. The rooms: We had a Veranda Stateroom, with a balcony, on the third floor. The room is small, but sufficient. The balcony would have been nicer if we had not had to switch ships, but we liked it a lot. What boarders on unacceptable is the bathroom. While decently appointed, it is WAY TOO SMALL. The shower especially. Nothing you can do, I suspect – it will always be a problem. Just be aware that this is the trade off if you want to do a river cruise. The low water did cause some issues. The ship swapping meant a very long day, and having to pack and unpack an extra time. This, of course, negates that best reason for riverboat cursing- not have to pack/repack in between each stop. It was out of Vikings control, and they did the best they could. Also, the docking locations were VERY industrial, and in one case we were docked where Viking leaves their ships, over the winter. There were some really precarious stairs to navigate. My guess is that the disruption, due to the low water levels, made it difficult to secure the best, and closest docking locations. I was glad we got to where we needed to go, but there were some lousy docking locations. Regarding the optional excursions, they were excellent, however, I did feel they were overly expensive. We did a number of them, and generally really like them. I would always recommend that a guest do as many as they can afford and interest them. I suspect the high costs causes some people to not book them. Finally, we met a number of people that seemed annoyed at the amount of activity, and the early starts for some of the excursions. The Viking Longboats are beautiful, but the purpose of a riverboat cruse is to get out and do. Sometimes there is a slight feeling of a forced march, but that’s what riverboat cruising is all about, I think. So buyer beware! So to recap, we had a trip interruption, due to water levels, which Viking handled about as well as they could. It caused a tiring day, and some excursions and stops were not possible. That said, I think the overall trip was really great. Looking forward to our next Viking cruise – maybe a switch to try the ocean ships- maybe Alaska? Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We booked this trip as it was the first part of a river/ocean joint vacation. The first part was the river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam, we then transferred to the Viking Sky to go from Amsterdam to Barcelona. Both parts of the trip ... Read More
We booked this trip as it was the first part of a river/ocean joint vacation. The first part was the river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam, we then transferred to the Viking Sky to go from Amsterdam to Barcelona. Both parts of the trip were excellent. Service, food, excursions, everything was well done. There was some concern that we might have to change river boats due to low water levels, but we lucked out. We were told we cleared the river bottom by 6 inches. Before we left the ocean cruise, we booked another Viking river cruise from St Petersburg to Moscow in fall 2020. Only possibility of a problem was only a one hour layover in Heathrow. Our flight out of SFO was 30 minutes late leaving. We just made the connection to Basel, but I would never go into Heathrow without at least a 2 hour layover. Be advised that you need to book tours of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona in advance. We were unable to book a tour there. Our fault, not Viking. Overall, an outstanding vacation. Even the weather cooperated. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This trip was taken by a group of friends that have vacationed together for 35 years.It was everything we imagined. The food was exceptional, service A+++, room accommodations very nice (my husband felt the internet was too slow at times, ... Read More
This trip was taken by a group of friends that have vacationed together for 35 years.It was everything we imagined. The food was exceptional, service A+++, room accommodations very nice (my husband felt the internet was too slow at times, but hey - we are on VACATION!). I liked the fact that all excursions were exactly at the time scheduled. Most all of the tour guides were great; a couple were moderate, but none of them bad. We got to see places that we never would have on our own. Our group is looking to do another cruise in a couple of years. When we got on the boat, my bag got misplaced - I had not put on my "Viking" tag, but was going to do it when we got off the bus from the airport. But, I was told I didn't need to since my name was on my suitcase. However, it got misplaced and it took a few hours before found. the crew, however, was very concerned about it and went out of their way to be sure it was found. So - next time - make sure the tag that is given to you is put on your bag, even if they say you don't need to. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Our group of 3 couples, all friends from college, are in our mid 50's. We chose this cruise because of the destination and the fine reputation of Viking. We loved every minute! From the moment we stepped on board, I knew this was ... Read More
Our group of 3 couples, all friends from college, are in our mid 50's. We chose this cruise because of the destination and the fine reputation of Viking. We loved every minute! From the moment we stepped on board, I knew this was going to be fun! Their attention to detail was so impressive. Our favorite Bar staff extraordinaire, Martin, knew what we wanted before we asked! He was exceptional! All the staff was wonderful! We could have had less time in Cologne. The city was not so great. Other excursions, like the bike ride in Kinderdijk, was amazing! The Black Forest trip was also a highlight. We did an easy hike into the forest and would have loved more time here. I thought the food was very good. I didn't have a meal that I did not enjoy. One of our friends had a 24 hour virus and one of the staff(Martin) went out of his way to get him a special meal sent to his cabin. We ended our trip in Basel with a very early departure. Breakfast was served at 4:45 with with a genuine smile from all who were up to serve us! Viking is the only way I will Cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We are a middle aged same-sex couple. From the moment of arrival we were made welcome. The service was impeccable. Although we had booked the lowest priced stateroom it was spotlessly clean with very comfortable beds. And although we ... Read More
We are a middle aged same-sex couple. From the moment of arrival we were made welcome. The service was impeccable. Although we had booked the lowest priced stateroom it was spotlessly clean with very comfortable beds. And although we were in the middle of a heat-wave our room was always at a comfortable temperature. Meals were excellent; I think the best of all was the "German Evening". We were also given a guided tour of the kitchen - how they managed to produce such wonderful meals in such a small space I have no idea! Evening entertainment included a superb performance from two young musicians. There were also two quiz evenings but we gave them a miss. The included excursions were well thought out and interesting. This was our fourth Viking cruise and we have already booked the next! Viking aren't the cheapest going but the quality is so good it i more than worth spending the extra. One other thing - although the water level in the river was very low, our splendid Captain and his crew navigated even the shallowest parts of the river without mishap. I understand that vessels following us had to turn back. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Saw advertisements, looked like fun. Great service, Friendly, good and excursions all top of the line. Crew and all related employees always there to assist you. No problems. English spoken by everyone. Really enjoyed the shore ... Read More
Saw advertisements, looked like fun. Great service, Friendly, good and excursions all top of the line. Crew and all related employees always there to assist you. No problems. English spoken by everyone. Really enjoyed the shore excursions all with great guides. A very personal and friendly service by all, many crew members remember you and name as well as your favorite food and drink. Daily updates on what to expect and do while onboard or your next shore excursion. Love having the local history for the various ports plus while on the shore excursions. Your airline trip is always set up in advance and with great assistance to start and/or end your trip. Easy travel at the immigration/customs. You are issued an ID card for all onboard needs, room door, drinks and food. Spot on room service when needed plus your stateroom is kept in super clean condition for the whole trip. Overall, a great organized experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My husband and I chose this cruise for our 30th anniversary and I wanted to go somewhere in Europe! This cruise checked all of our boxes! The crew and the people on the ship were absolutely fantastic! We made lots of new friends and even ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise for our 30th anniversary and I wanted to go somewhere in Europe! This cruise checked all of our boxes! The crew and the people on the ship were absolutely fantastic! We made lots of new friends and even put money down on our next cruise! The food was spectacular but the best part was the friendliness of the crew!!!!! They made it magical!!!!!!my husband is gluten free and the chef and his staff made sure he had not only gluten free meals but they were home made!!!! I also loved the excursions and the guides were knowledgeable! I could hear very well with the headsets which was a genius idea!!!!! Morgan our cruise director made sure we were having a good time! I liked the fact we got a preview of what was to come the next day!!! My husband and I are still talking about it and are trying to decide on the next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We wanted to be on a ship with fewer people than the large cruise ships. Our experience was one of perfect harmony with the people we met, the sights we photographed and the food and drinks provided by this amazing group of people. We have ... Read More
We wanted to be on a ship with fewer people than the large cruise ships. Our experience was one of perfect harmony with the people we met, the sights we photographed and the food and drinks provided by this amazing group of people. We have never been on a cruise before so we studied a long time to see what we could afford and the services each line would provide. We decided Viking was a perfect fit for us so we took the chance and paid for the trip up the Rhine river. We also added two days to our trip to stay in Amsterdam for a longer period of time to get to see and know it better than just landing there and having just a day to explore. After learning how to use the trams, we had the city to ourselves. The restaurants were cozy and served wonderful food and I had a lot of time to photograph the city and its inhabitants. The rest of the trip was perfect and we are now thinking of taking another Viking trip in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise because Viking was rated #1 in river cruising and it’s so true. We had an amazing time. From great staff to amazing food and awesome excursions it was fantastic. It was our first time on s river cruise and we ... Read More
We chose this cruise because Viking was rated #1 in river cruising and it’s so true. We had an amazing time. From great staff to amazing food and awesome excursions it was fantastic. It was our first time on s river cruise and we didn’t expect to have this much fun. The onboard entertainment was great. Our cruise director Morgan was awesome. We met people from all over the world and made new friends for life. We are planning to take another Viking cruise in 2020 to Bali. The food was so delicious. We never had a problem of knowing what to eat. The selection was always new and interesting with every port of call. Definitely missing our afternoon tea and sweets. Looking forward to making more memories aboard a Viking cruise ship. See you again in 2020!!!! Thanks to our amazing friends for recommending Viking and joining us on this trip. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Went on a Rhine cruise July 2018 with my husband and our two daughters, 14 and 16. It was a great introduction to multiple countries and towns/cities with all the hard parts taken care of! Food, lodging and major excursion decisions were ... Read More
Went on a Rhine cruise July 2018 with my husband and our two daughters, 14 and 16. It was a great introduction to multiple countries and towns/cities with all the hard parts taken care of! Food, lodging and major excursion decisions were covered. And the crew of the Tialfi went out of their way to exceed all expectations. The food was amazing and they always made something extra or special for the girls. The rooms were very comfortable and more than roomy for us. And the included excursions (as well as the extra excursions/adventures that were offered and that we took advantage of) were a big hit with everyone on the family. All our tour guides were well informed and entertaining. We also had plenty of time to go exploring on our own each day to make our own excursions, become more immersed in the culture, try some local delicacies etc. A great family vacation. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I have always been interested in trying a Viking cruise. The organization was very impressive. From the flight arrangements, transports to and from hotels, transportation to and from excursions, to the way guests checked in and out at ... Read More
I have always been interested in trying a Viking cruise. The organization was very impressive. From the flight arrangements, transports to and from hotels, transportation to and from excursions, to the way guests checked in and out at ports, EVERYTHING was timed perfectly! There was a lot of attention to detail. The food was amazing! The service was above and beyond! The rooms were always super clean, and set up in an extremely efficient manner. The excursions were excellent! The tour guides were so informative! I loved the way we used the Quietvox system on tours! You could clearly hear what the guide was saying no matter how many people were around. The dining room seating was not assigned, so you could sit with different people at every meal. It was interesting to meet people from so many places. It’s the best thing that I have ever done for myself. I can’t wait to go again! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I had planned a two week trip to Scotland the year before our Viking Cruise. It all worked out great and we loved it but it was SO MUCH work making all the arrangements for everything! When I've seen the Viking advertisements on PBS ... Read More
I had planned a two week trip to Scotland the year before our Viking Cruise. It all worked out great and we loved it but it was SO MUCH work making all the arrangements for everything! When I've seen the Viking advertisements on PBS they've always looked so wonderful and carefree - everything included and taken care of, no moving from hotel to hotel, but seeing so many beautiful and interesting places - and all very classy, no big crowds, plenty of time to explore on your own. We decided to try it, having heard nothing but good things from people who had been on a Viking cruise. It more than lived up to our expectations, and those of the younger generation who traveled with us (our daughter and her husband). We would all definitely go again! Most people I know who have been on a Viking cruise, including those we met on the ship, said they have been more than once, or if this was their first time, they plan on taking another River Cruise on Viking. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise to have the opportunity to spend time in Amsterdam. We had 3 days in Amsterdam prior to embarkation allowing us to see the Anne Frank haus, the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum as well as many other sights. ... Read More
We chose this cruise to have the opportunity to spend time in Amsterdam. We had 3 days in Amsterdam prior to embarkation allowing us to see the Anne Frank haus, the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum as well as many other sights. Viking booked us into the Radisson Blu in the Center City. The central location meant we could walk to many attractions. The small ship experience is wonderful. We'd met most of the passengers by week's end. Shore excursions are guided by locals providing personal perspective on each locale as well as extensive history. I can't say enough about the local guides and their expertise. Viking service onboard ship is impeccable. We felt quite pampered no matter where we were on ship. Dining is first class. We so appreciated the "tasting menu" which provided regional foods and changed daily depending on our location. Highly recommend Viking and would travel with Viking again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
It was our 50th anniversary and this cruise was recommended by friends. It met and exceeded our expectations. The scenery was spectacular. The food was excellent and provided a diverse menu with great options. The other passengers we ... Read More
It was our 50th anniversary and this cruise was recommended by friends. It met and exceeded our expectations. The scenery was spectacular. The food was excellent and provided a diverse menu with great options. The other passengers we met and dined with were, without exception, wonderful and friendly folks from various places. We thought that the shore excursions were less satisfactory. There was often not sufficient time to enjoy the sights. Some leaders were more informative and better organized than others. On German night in town, the dinner was German but did not offer any options for entrees. This seemed to be due to efficiency, with everyone given the same menu. We had assumed we could choose bratwurst, kraut, and red cabbage since that is what we think of when we think of a traditional German meal but that is not what was on the menu for all of us. Need more choices and more time! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
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