4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
First of all let me start by saying I don’t usually bother giving any reviews as I believe nothing can be absolutely perfect in life and I like being tolerant and giving the benefit of the doubt. However I do feel that our experience on ... Read More
First of all let me start by saying I don’t usually bother giving any reviews as I believe nothing can be absolutely perfect in life and I like being tolerant and giving the benefit of the doubt. However I do feel that our experience on the A-Rosa Viva does warrant a review, especially as an ‘educational’ exercise to non- German speaking travellers like us. Will seek to make the review as detailed and fair as possible. The ports Let me start with a description or the trip itself. The ports which we visited were Secondary ports. Some locations were nice such as in Les Pays where we walked to St Germain. But the rest were nothing to write home about. Minor ports not much to see. The ship The vessel is average. Small to medium sized and with nothing much to do. It has one Main buffet restaurant and a lounge. The cabins As a family of four, 2 adults and 2 kids, and with just 3 family rooms on ship (which were all taken very early In the day), we had to be split and take two rooms and these were not even interconnecting. Pillows were awful and the ship offered no solution. I had to sleep on 3 folded towels. Toiletries were very very basic even for us premium payers Entertainment This was Average to mediocre. Practically it just consists of a DJ who changes music genre every night. Kids enjoyed dancing but for us adults it was quiet boring. There was no other entertainment except for this. New Year’s Eve was slightly better as two singers were brought in for 1.5 hrs. Fitness and leisure This consists of a Very small area for what they call ‘gym’ consisting of 3 cardio machines and a mat. Kids club The kids animator was a lovely caring lady. She organised crafts for kids and they loved it, but from a parent point of view, this solution was scant. This lady was on her own and kids club was not the usual organised club we are used to where kids are catered for with a full programme and with high security etc. This Was an informal arrangement with a very caring and nice animator. Food & Beverages This was average to high quality. Some nice dishes here and there but the genre was mainly German food except for one French cuisine night. The chefs were lovely people and very caring and good at their work. Excursions This was the cherry on the cake and the matter that literally could have ruined all the experience, were it not for the fact that we were a nice group and good company to each other. First of all, as soon as we went on ship, before any presentations were given to us on the excursions, we already knew which excursions we wanted to book. There wasn’t much to choose from anyway as it was practically one main excursion per port and we were ready to book immediately. But every time we went to book (three times in all) we were told off by two stern reception/admin ladies. We were practically put in place and told sternly to wait for the presentation on excursions which would tk place on the evening of the first night. We dutifully complied. We patiently waited for a 45 min presentation in German and a 15 min summary in English. Then we went to book. Only this time we were bombed by two main facts, mainly 1. Vernon excursion was now fully booked (but they had not taken our booking in the first place on the morn!) 2. All excursions would be in German! This cruise was sold to us as an international one. We were basically told we could book excursions at half price but these would not be in English. This was shocking to us! We wanted to pay full price fair and square but for something we could understand! How could one endure a 6 hour excursion in a language of which we understood nothing! We tried the first excursion and the experience was horrible to say the least. The guide was very rude to us and when we asked to have some points delivered briefly in English (just a couple of pointers), she practically shouted on top of her Voice that we have not paid for this! This Was highly embarrassing infront of other guests also since we had never asked not to pay full price. So we decided to just cancel all other excursions as it was a useless exercise. Of course this matter did ruin the rest the trip since we then went to towns on our own, and with no detailed guidance whatsoever. This leads me to a description of the staff on board the ship Staff - hospitality The cleaning and cooking staff were lovely people. They made sure nothing was a problem. One example is the fact that food on board is not very ‘child friendly’ but the chef always prepared pasta for kids to make sure there was something child-oriented. Staff- admin The receptionists and admin were a major issue. This relates to two ladies from three. The cruise manager tried his best to make things slightly better. However for such two ladies in question, everything was a problem. They always replied in an unfriendly, stoic way to our questions, they sent us away when we tried to book excursions early morn, they literally huffed and puffed at our questions, and never went out of their way to make things happen for us, despite knowing that the ship was at fault at having advertised its services and facilities as international and sold them as such to non-German passengers but did not live up to this promise. When we asked for a mere printout of a power point presentation in english of the locations we would visit, even this was a major issue. Our major complaint in fact is not merely that the cruise does in no way cater for non-German speakers but also the fact that our plea was handled so unprofessionally and with no empathy by these administrators. As a summary I would not recommend this cruise at all to non- German speakers and would give it an average 2-3 stars for entertainment Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Disclaimer - this was our first river cruise, and first cruise on a non-American ship, therefore hard to compare. Will give thoughts based on overall experience in case other nonEuropeans are considering. 7 day New Years cruise on ... Read More
Disclaimer - this was our first river cruise, and first cruise on a non-American ship, therefore hard to compare. Will give thoughts based on overall experience in case other nonEuropeans are considering. 7 day New Years cruise on Seine River. 2 cabins, 4 guests. (Including on child and one in a wheelchair) Expectations/Assumptions: smaller ship, older passengers, not a “party” ship, not catering to kids, Americans in the minority. All correct. Language: yes it is primarily German. Yes they have some things in English. About 1/2 the time dinner buffet was in English (but staff willing to explain). Most on board information was in English, with a few exceptions. “Library” had 2-3 books in English and the rest (30) in German. Some staff spoke better than others. There was always an English translator for on board activities (if needed). Some excursions were ONLY offered in German, however. But most staff and guests spoke better English than we spoke German! Ship: Clean. Modern. Amenities included a jacuzzi and sauna open during some evening hours. Note - sauna was VERY European. Yes - men and women in there naked! Should have peeked in before we walked in with our 12 year old! Spa where massages, etc could be booked. Gym was a yoga ball and 3 elliptical machines. Too cold to use sun deck and other outdoor amenities such as shuffleboard. Lounge area where dancing/music was in evenings. Small gift shop. No other on board activities to speak of. Cabin: larger than expected. Room was kept clean and housekeeping was in there often. Comfy bed, but no sheet - just a comforter. Housekeeping staff was AMAZING. Bathroom had large shower with high pressure and HOT water. Dining: German ship + Romanian/Hungarian cooks + French flair = some interesting dishes. We did not use formal dining room since it was an up-charge. The buffet with mostly European foods and food that were fun to try. Lots of fish/seafood. Great breads. Separate section for gluten free. Breakfast - good variety of pastries and jams. Fresh made omelette/eggs. One meat (sausage?). Juice, coffee, hot cocoa, and tea available. Good selection of fruit and cereals/granolas. Lunch and dinner - hearty. Small salad area (lettuce, tomatoes, corn, radishes and cucumbers. Period). One soup - usually a purred or broth/consume one. Great cheese/antipasto selection. Entrees included many fish, a few pork dishes and a carving station. Rarely chicken. Usually a pasta and a potato. Great selection of vegetables. Dessert was usually fresh made crepes, fruit, and hard ice cream/sherbet. One small bar area (15- 20 seats, maybe) with many house beverages. Activities/excursions: Very disappointing. As mentioned earlier some were only offered in German. We were led to believe we were docking in Paris for the new year. However a “loch was broken” and we were about an hour outside of the city. They did provide gratis transportation to/from the city for an on your own day, New Years celebration, and ride on Paris river boat/tour. However no bus tour of the city and we had to figure out how to see what we wanted to see on our own - with a wheel chair. (FYI Paris streets are not the best for a wheelchair, however seemed pedestrians ALWAYS had the right of way.) We were so close to Versailles and Giverny, yet nothing was offered. The little towns we did on our own, since they did not have an excursion to the Normandy Beaches (that would have been a little uncomfortable anyway!). Service: mixed. Some staff - like Jennifer and Marie - were awesome. Both could not do enough for us. About 1/4 of the the staff was nice and were very welcoming - like the housekeeping staff and reception desk. Other staff was tolerable and would greet us when spoken to. Perhaps it was a culture difference. And then there was the staff who got really nice the closer we got to tipping - I mean the closer we got to the last day of the trip. Even though about 200 on board bar staff still did not know our preferred drink (red house wine) even after ordering it multiple times every night. As far as handling the wheelchair the support was great. We were not the only ones in a wheelchair but they were always ready to lend a hand to get it on/off the ship with as little problem as possible. MIL celebrated 75th birthday and room was decorated beautifully, but no other celebrations by staff. Kids Club: we had our 12 year old with us and she did not want to go. (She preferred to play cards with her grandmother.) However the director seemed nice. The children who went made bracelets, interviewed the staff, made pizzas in the kitchen and did a few other things that we heard of. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Since they did not offer airfare from USA we had to arrange. Not a huge issue but since they did not arrange they would not offer to transport us from airport to ship. We had to pay out of pocket for an hour long taxi ride to the ship. Also we we never notified of the ship having to move it’s first dock and only found out by accident when we saw the ARosa staff member in the airport. What would we have done if we did not run into her? Probably take a taxi to the original berth and then what?... Disembarkation was much smoother and they arranged transport to airport and train station for guests. Overall comments: We really enjoyed our first river cruise. We liked being in the minority and exposing child to other cultures. Would cruise again, maybe a different river next time. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
An interesting itinerary visiting some small Normandy towns not usually on the agenda. Docking right in the centre means you're just a few minutes easy walk and don't lose time getting into town. Whilst the Paris berth at the ... Read More
An interesting itinerary visiting some small Normandy towns not usually on the agenda. Docking right in the centre means you're just a few minutes easy walk and don't lose time getting into town. Whilst the Paris berth at the Quai de St Ouen in St Denis is not in the middle of Paris, there's a Metro station about 10 minutes walk away with a direct line to the city centre and just a single change at Invalide if you want to get to Versailes (and it's a very cheap form of transport). Very enjoyable cruise on the 200 passenger Viva, had a comfortable cabin with 2 large portholes and everything you need in a cabin. A wide of range and variety of food with plenty of options - cannot fault the food. The inclusive package of drinks was highly acceptable - my palette isn't sophisticated enough to tell whether my G and T has Gordon's (included) or Hendricks (a supplementary charge)! Staff very helpful and obliging and generally good service. Used the Jacuzzi once (not enough time to use it again) whilst my partner used the mini gym. Had never heard of A-Rosa previously but would definitely use them again. Very good value for money compared with some of the more luxurious lines, but it's all a matter of personal choice. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I am on the last night of the Seine cruise and I'm so sorry to have it end. A ship that met all my expectations, a friendly crew, good food, enchanting small French towns: who could ask for more?I can hardly wait to rebook this ... Read More
I am on the last night of the Seine cruise and I'm so sorry to have it end. A ship that met all my expectations, a friendly crew, good food, enchanting small French towns: who could ask for more?I can hardly wait to rebook this cruise. Embarkation was a snap. The cabin was small but the floor to ceiling windows on the Juliette balcony made the room seem larger. Nice touches like a table that can be rolled over to serve as a working place lying in bed. Air conditioning always function perfectly in my cabin as well as in the rest of the ship. Crew I met were mainly from Slovakia and Hungary. All were capable of communicating in German as well as English and willing to try their hand at any other language they knew. Les Andelys and Caudebec -- I had never heard of them but what a joy to discover their charming old towns, churches and castles. Excursions were available but I only took the one to Monets museum and garden in Vernon, well worth the money. We usually docked only a few steps from the middle of the old towns and it was a joy to walk off the ship and into the center of town to explore. I found the amount of preparation for each town by the crew adequate. I booked basic tarif with full board. There was Always plenty to eat and most of it quite good. The cooking inspired from the French atmosphere also contained Italian and Indian elements that were welcome. The desserts were not the High Point. Restaurant manager Frank ran the restaurant efficiently and always trying to please at least this customer. Waiters and waitresses always professional and friendly. I booked this cruise due to the spa on the ship and it didn't fail to live up to my expectations. Although small there was enough room for exercise classes in the mornings and masseuse Leila gave a wonderful full body massage while her colleague Daniela a wonderful manicure. Both were always polite and cheerful. The sauna with the glass panorama window was piping hot, and the Jacuzzi at the bow of the ship was wonderful to sit in while sailing along. Unfortunately there was a problem controlling the temperature of the Jacuzzi that needs working on. There were only two cross trainers and one bike but at no time were all three occupied. Plenty of fresh towels. Prices for massage and manicure were extremely reasonable. Fellow guests were German and English, a few Americans and Russians; mostly the older crowd but a few families with younger children. The atmosphere on the ship was relaxed casual and friendly. I have a criticism of their advertising: what is advertised as cake at coffee and tea time does not include coffee or tea. I found this misleading. I'm looking forward to booking another cruise with a Rosa perhaps even again on the Seine. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Was it good? No. Was it bad? No. I need to make it clear from the outset that to some extent we were comparing this cruise to our only other river cruise, which was on Scenic. So business class to economy is probably the best explanation I ... Read More
Was it good? No. Was it bad? No. I need to make it clear from the outset that to some extent we were comparing this cruise to our only other river cruise, which was on Scenic. So business class to economy is probably the best explanation I can provide. Similar price differential. Viva departs from St Denis, which is more than 5 miles from the city centre of Paris. It shares a wharf with a cement company. Apparently it's too big a vessel to navigate into the more interesting areas of the city. No mention of this when booking. As we had been to Paris several times before this was not a big loss to us, but if you were expecting to glide past the tower etc .... some grumbling heard. So don't book this cruise if you want to sail through Paris. We spent our first day sitting at St Denis in this middle of nowhere because of a strike somewhere. Nothing the ship could do about that but it did provide some short notice excursions, so credit due (that doesn't mean they were free!). This meant the itinerary for the next few days had to be adjusted and we lost one port. No offer of compensation. Except for Rouen, where we stayed overnight and had much history, we stopped at several small, pretty, but meaningless towns before returning to spend another afternoon and night at St. Denis. Boring. The itinerary aside, what about the boat? The cabin. Ours was on the top deck. Corridor smelt like a sewer. Room small but adequate. No odour problem. No fridge. Aircon struggled when temperatures rose. Sparse but functional shower room. Exceptional cabin attendant Csilla (sorry if I got the spelling wrong). The cabin was value for money. The boat. Apparently there was a spa, gym and hot tub upfront. Never got to any, but that's our fault. Lounge with bar, cafe and restaurant all aft on deck two. Restaurant aircon was poor. Far too warm. So people went early so they could sit in the cafe, which was a cool extension of the restaurant. Most entertainment was in the Lounge; most entertainment was DJ Andy. Who tried hard. The food. Not bad. Not good. This is a German ship that mainly offers German inspired catering. Sometimes a struggle to satisfy an English pallet, but generally good quality. However some translations into English needed to be much improved otherwise people with allergies could be caught-out. The staff. Room attendant great. Bar and wait staff so-so. Sometimes brilliant; next time chatting together and ignoring guests. But generally cheerful. The senior staff. Difficult to comment. Saw the Captain a few times but never spoke. First failure on many cruises. It was only half-way through the cruise I realised the lady who was wearing a flack jacket on even the warmest days was the Hotel Director. She did smile at me once in passing. The drink. Only low quality alcohol free to Premium guests. We bought some wine at prices which were very reasonable compared to ocean cruises ships. The summary. My wife and I have been fortunate enough to have sailed the Suez Canal; the Panama Canal; the Kiel Canal ... even the Amazon. We have hired our own small craft on French rivers and canals. Good fun. But if you want a good river cruise holiday in France I would suggest the Rhone. You choose the cruise line! The security. My final point has to be about the apparent lack of security on this boat. Those who have travelled the oceans will be well aware of the hoops we have to jump-through each time we board a cruise ship. On Viva anybody could walk on-board and as long as they didn't want a drink, which entailed showing your room card, enjoy lunch, maybe try the hot-tub or the gym, then walk-off. Read Less
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