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60 Viking Spirit (Retired) Cruise Reviews

This cruise was a great experience from the day of our initial booking to our return flight from Paris to Chicago. Although it was our first experience at cruising and we have no way to compare other cruise lines, we were comfortable and ... Read More
This cruise was a great experience from the day of our initial booking to our return flight from Paris to Chicago. Although it was our first experience at cruising and we have no way to compare other cruise lines, we were comfortable and well-cared for the entire time, beginning with the airport transfer in Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. We felt we were welcome guests on board the Spirit. The crew was very helpful and friendly. Our cabin was always well-maintained by housekeeping server, Dori. Now that we are home, we are already spreading the word that we highly recommend Viking River Cruise Lines. On our cruise, everything was very well coordinated. The on-shore excursions to various sites along our route to Normandy and Omaha Beach were timed so that we often had a presentation, some free time, and we were back on board the cruise ship in time for meals. The meals were delicious and healthy, too. Open seating afforded opportunities to meet other passengers. We agree that open seating is a great idea for beginning new friendships and sharing experiences. We liked everything about our Paris and the Heart of Normandy Seine River Cruise. The excursion tour guides were very knowledgeable about the history of the areas we visited. The entire cruise was a unique experience we will always treasure. Thank you to everyone who made our first cruise so memorable. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We used frequent flyer miles to make this trip possible. The service, meals, beverages, entertainment, and seats in Affaires class on Air France Boeing 777 eastbound and Airbus A300 westbound was surprisingly good. We arrived in Paris ... Read More
We used frequent flyer miles to make this trip possible. The service, meals, beverages, entertainment, and seats in Affaires class on Air France Boeing 777 eastbound and Airbus A300 westbound was surprisingly good. We arrived in Paris two days prior to sailing well rested and ready to explore the city. Two nights in the centrally located Hilton Arc d'Triomphe gave us a good spot to easily see everything on our list. We were blessed with excellent weather each day. Embarkation on Viking Spirit, located next to the Pont de Grenelle and very close to the Eiffel Tower, was pretty easy for us as we are familiar with VRC boarding policy and did not arrive too early. We felt badly for those who arrived early in the day only to be required to wait until 3pm to gain access to cabins. Cabin: adequate size-wise with plenty of storage space for 2 weeks of cruising. A pump of some sort ran at times during the night and we figured it must have had something to do with the sanititation system. We got used to it. We didn't notice bow thruster operation at all during the sailing. Bathroom was OK but the shower was a bit cramped. We thought the L'Occitane bathroom amenities were a step up from previous VRC trips. The audiovox headsets were in the cabin with their chargers and that is a big step forward from previous VRC experiences. At least one 1.5L bottle of water was in the cabin every day. Dining: We felt as if the food offerings on this sailing were quite good. We dined nightly with three couples we met on day one and we enjoyed their company at the same table daily. I hope our paths cross in the future. Dining room service was good for all meals and our waiter Peter made certain our wine glasses were filled throughout our dinner. The selections for dinner starters, soups, entree's, and desserts were varied for the week and always presented in a professional manner. Again, we would assess the dining on this sailing to be better than what we have experienced with VRC in 3 previous river cruises. Itinerary: Our stops in Vernon, Rouen, Conflans and Les Andelys were very nice with wonderful scenery and good local guides who were a wealth of information and personality each day. Our favorite excursion was to Arromanches for its D-Day Museum, Pont du Hoc, and views of the remains of the Mulberry Harbor from WWII. The fall foliage was in full bloom and we enjoyed views along the river and in each town. Crew: We were impressed with the Captain (Davy) who was very visible and friendly every day of the trip. His positive enthusiasm seemed to filter down to the entire crew and that is the sign of a great leader. The cruise director and staff were top notch in all respects. Our cabin attendant was friendly and efficient and very "attention to detail" oriented. Extras: The trip to the bridge was informative and the Captain again was very outgoing and anxious to answer questions. The "local" lunch served one day in the lounge was not one of our favorite meals--the mussels were tiny and a bit tough and the sausage and didn't taste good. The galley tour was quite revealing. It's amazing the crew can serve so many people quickly from a confined space. The galley space was clean and left us feeling the crew was paying close attention to cleanliness. In every area of this sailing we were left with impression that VRC has stepped it up a notch and is listening to suggestions from passengers as how to make their product better. Well Done! For Part 2 of France's Finest cruise go to my review at Viking Neptune. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Background: We are in our late 60's, and have 7 ocean cruises and now 3 river cruises behind us. Travel: We made our own fight arrangements through Air France, and flew out of Washington Dulles direct to Paris. The aircraft was an ... Read More
Background: We are in our late 60's, and have 7 ocean cruises and now 3 river cruises behind us. Travel: We made our own fight arrangements through Air France, and flew out of Washington Dulles direct to Paris. The aircraft was an Airbus 330/200, and was the most comfortable international flight I have taken. The planed was set up in a 2-4-2 seating configuration, and we snagged two outside seats in economy both ways. The leg room was the same as what we have experienced in United Economy Plus. We arrived the first day of the cruise and went directly to the boat, using a private transfer company for 55 Euros. The Ship: This was our second trip on the Viking Spirit, having made the Tulips and Windmill cruise in April 2007. She is in very good condition, and Viking has really improved since then. The bath products are excellent now, very similar to what you find on Holland America. Stateroom: We were in cabin 215, next to the stairs. Very quiet actually, with the exception of the sanitary pump that ran quite often during the evening, but then most cabin heard it, and we quickly became used to it. It only runs when a toilet is flushed so at night it seldom ran. Beds were very comfortable, and there is plenty of storage. Staff: Very good. Always smiling and will go out of their way to assist you. Dining: The food was very good to excellent. Dinner typically started around 7pm, and finished up between 8:30pm and 9:00pm. Contrarily to what we found on another river cruise line, the wine poured freely and you really didn't need to bring any aboard. The red wine was a decent Merlot, light and smooth. The white was a Chardonnay that those that drank it said was very good. Our glasses were never empty until dinner was over. If you sail on the spirit, try to get Peter as your waiter. Very, very good. Tours: The tours offered were good, however we personally do not like a lot of detail on a tour. Give us the basic description and move on. Our guides were obviously very knowledgeable, but standing in one place for 10-15 minutes listening to a complete history of what we were looking at is not our personal cup of tea. On a couple of the tours, we actually left and went off on our own to see some of the town as our time there was limited. Summary: Overall we had a fantastic time and met some really great people. We wound up at a 8 top table with three other couples and got along great. We really enjoyed their company and feel we made some really good friends. We do not think you will be disappointed if you take this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
I had never been out of the country (except to Canada, I wasn't sure I cared to leave the country, but I knew I wanted to treat my wife to something special. I looked at Disney World and decided I could go somewhere else in the world ... Read More
I had never been out of the country (except to Canada, I wasn't sure I cared to leave the country, but I knew I wanted to treat my wife to something special. I looked at Disney World and decided I could go somewhere else in the world for that kind of money. So I looked at Paris. Now if I was going to go to Paris, I knew I had to get to Normandy. On most maps, Normandy is about 2" from Paris. Unfortunately that equals approximatley 250 miles. No one, including my wife is ready for me to drive 250 miles each direction in a foreign country, National incedent. The I was told to look at something called a river cruise. I googled Paris to Normandy river cruise and found Viking River Cruise lines, as well as a few others. After reading and playing on each website I was definately feeling as if Viking was the way to go. I e-mailed them asking for information, feering the dreaded sales call and hard pitch program. What a pleasant surprise. Someone called me back quickly, they were VERY helpful, they were not pushy and they invited me to check some things out and then call again whenever I wanted more information. I did my part called back and signed up, painless, no hard sell, no over-promise under-deliver. My wife and I arrived, we used the optional shuttle service from the airport to the ship, well worth the cost. Then the fun started. Every day was great, every tour was more than I expected. The tour guides were knowledgable and fun. Dennis, our feerless leader did everything with a smile and he did it well. I was not expecting this, they exceeded my expectations daily. The staff, the ship, the Capitan, the chef, the sailors, were all exceptional. We were a couple of the younger guests and we did not feel out of place. All the way to Normandy. The most emotional trip I have ever been on. I would do it again. The history, the manner in which we were treated by the staff and the citiens was exceptional. I have every intention of going on this same trip again, I also have every intention of finding Dennis and taking whatever cruise he is leading. We looked forward to every meal, the way everyone had the option of sitting with people we didn't know was fun. When we entered the dining area, people would yell out "Montana, come sit with us!". How extremely wonderful this feeling. The food, especially the food of the region was great. Frog legs, escargot, oysters, fantastic wine, oh the list goes on. I will go with Viking again. THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
I felt very comfortable with Viking from the very first time I spoke to a representative to the minute I said goodbye. We were sure that it could not be as simple and as easy as the people said, but I was wrong. Everything went without a ... Read More
I felt very comfortable with Viking from the very first time I spoke to a representative to the minute I said goodbye. We were sure that it could not be as simple and as easy as the people said, but I was wrong. Everything went without a hitch. No sudden surprises, no additional bill because it was in the fine print. The meals were excellent! The wine and company makes us smile yet today when Iwe think back on it. I had never wanted to leave the U.S. or take a cruise, but I did want to make my wife happy. I now plan to take her on as many more Viking River Cruises as I can manage. There were absolutley no, none, zero unhappy members of the staff. EVERYONE smiled and it always felt real. The ports were great, the excursions were fantastic! I loved the way we each had an ear piece so we could hear the tour guide. I watched other tours come through us, in a hurry, in a tight group so they could hear, and then the rest of their group straggleing behind with no clue as to what they were seeing. EVERYONE on our ship could tell you about any part of the tour because they were all able to hear it! The tour guides really seemed to know their stuff, partly because they actually live there. The guides had humour, the worst guide was better than I expected for all of them. We were close to the youngest couple aboard and we did not feel out of place. I can't say enough good about this cruise line and its people. THANK YOU--Jeff and Mandie from Montana Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We took the Eurostar to Paris, where we were transported to our awaiting boat, we were very impressed with our cabin, small but very clean and plenty of storage space. We arrived at 2.40 pm, there was a buffet lunch for us to have a snack. ... Read More
We took the Eurostar to Paris, where we were transported to our awaiting boat, we were very impressed with our cabin, small but very clean and plenty of storage space. We arrived at 2.40 pm, there was a buffet lunch for us to have a snack. The food on this boat was first rate, the menu was quite varied, and for anyone who wanted something plain there was chicken and steak always available ( steaks were large and well cooked) complimentary wine served with dinner. Tea/coffee and cookies available all day. Complimentary water in your cabin, and bottles to take on shore excursions. The day we went to the Normandy Beaches was an early start, 8am and a 2-3 hour bus ride, in Arromanches we were booked into a lovely restaurant for lunch, wine included. This holiday was more or less all inclusive, a drinks package 150 euros each could be purchased, unless you are an all day drinker or perhaps like a few shorts, it would be a waste of money, we found the wine served with dinner plenty for us.The majority of our fellow passengers were American, they were all lovely and friendly and good amusing company at dinner. There are no tables for two and no seating plan, so you can sit with different people every night if you so wish.It was quite a busy holiday with a few trips with early starts organised, ofcourse if you wanted to stay on board and relax you could do so. Sitting on deck while cruising down the Seine is a splendid way to see the countryside.Our only gripe was cabin 215, there was a water pump beside it, this would run for a few mins, cut out and start up again, most nights it was switched off at midnight and start back up at 6am, earplugs are a must, but didn't drowned it out completely.The on board entertainment was a pianist/singer, pleasant to listen to, on our last night in Paris we were entertained by some local opera singers.On the whole it was an excellent holiday, and we will certainly think about taking another Viking River Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Trip Review, Viking Spirit Amsterdam Roundtrip April 8 through April 15, 2005 Who we are: Bill and Sharon (64 and 62 respectively). Previous cruises include one Mississippi River cruise on the Mississippi Queen, and two ocean cruises, ... Read More
Trip Review, Viking Spirit Amsterdam Roundtrip April 8 through April 15, 2005 Who we are: Bill and Sharon (64 and 62 respectively). Previous cruises include one Mississippi River cruise on the Mississippi Queen, and two ocean cruises, one on the MS Volendam to Alaska, and one on the MS Maasdam to the Southern Caribbean. We are a laid back couple that enjoy the outdoors, and are both avid amateur nature photographers. The Trip: A seven day Tulip Festival river cruise starting in Amsterdam, and visiting the cities of Enkhuizen, Hoorn, Edam, Marken, Volendam, Arnhem, Dordrecht, and Rotterdam. The Boat: The Viking Spirit is a relatively new boat, built in 2001. There are a total of 75 cabins onboard, with a maximum passenger capacity of 150 people. Twelve of the cabins are "standard" cabins, of 120 square feet, and the rest are 'deluxe cabins" of 154 square feet. We had cabin # 238, on the middle deck. The forward end contains the lounge where you could sit and watch the river go by, the daily briefings were held, and nightly "entertainment". The aft end was the restaurant, where the meals were served in one seating, usually around 7pm. Amidships was a lounging area just up from the reception desk, and on the starboard side was a "library" area. The Cabin: Our cabin was well appointed with the beds pushed together forming a bed about queen size. As you enter the cabin immediately on the right was the "cozy" bathroom, on the left was a closet with enough room for about 15-20 hanging items (depending on how close you want them) with two upper shelves one of which contained your life vests, down the right side were about five additional shelves approximately 24 inches square. Next to the closet was a built in vanity with five drawers on each end that ended at the window. A large mirror was centered over the vanity, with one chair. In addition there was a night stand on each side of the bed. We found the storage to be more than adequate for our needs. The cabin is quite cozy for two people. If someone is sitting in the chair, the other person must go across the bed to get to the other side, or the person sitting must get up and move the chair under the vanity and then move themselves. The window is quite large, about five feet high and almost the width of the cabin, and one side does open if you wish. The bathroom is just large enough for one person. Don't even think about trying to get two people in it at the same time unless one is taking a shower. The shower is quite small as well, but sufficient. I recommend that you bring along your own shampoo as they only provide a combined shower soap and shampoo in liquid form. While it didn't work badly for showering, I was not happy with it as a shampoo. The Food and Service: We found the food excellent. The only disappointment was that there were no snacks available between meals or into the evening like on ocean cruiseships. But the meals were sufficient, and seconds could be had if you wanted them. The staff of the Spirit was top notch. Always smiling and very accommodating. If you needed something just ask and they will bend over backwards to provide it. Excursions: Amsterdam: We arrived in Amsterdam early on Sunday morning, and got to the boat around 9am. As the cabins would not be ready for occupancy until 3pm, we had decided that we would drop off our baggage and take public transportation to the Keukenhof Gardens even though the boat was providing a tour there on the last day. The boat was docked at the PTA terminal, which was about a 20 minute walk from Central Station. We walked up and caught a train to Lieden and from there a bus to the Gardens. The train cost was 9 Euros round trip for both of us, and the bus and entrance to the Gardens was 36 Euros for both. In hindsight I am very glad that we did this. The boat tour gave us only about two hours at the Gardens, which is not enough time to really see them. If you are in Amsterdam from late March to the end of May, I highly recommend spending one day of your time at the Gardens. Everything that we read about them is true. It is absolutely gorgeous and a trip not to be missed. The next day included a bus tour around Amsterdam, and trip to the Rijksmuseum followed by a canal cruise. The bus tour was very nice, and gave us a good perspective of areas that we wanted to visit later that day. The museum was interesting, but unfortunately most of it was closed off due to renovations so the tour was not as extensive as it could have been. The canal cruise however was very disappointing. The boat was extremely crowded and the chairs and tables so close together that you could barely move. Some people simply didn't bother and stood at the back. While it was interesting seeing the canals and the buildings along them, on a sunny day as we had, it was very difficult to see anything through the glass roof and almost impossible to take pictures because of the reflections. Personally, I would not recommend a canal cruise. You can see as much or more by walking the canals on your own. Enkhuizen and Hoorn: Enkhuizen is a delightful little town, where the Zuiderzee Museum is. This is not to be missed. The Zuiderzee is a replication of the original fishing town, with about 130 buildings. Well worth the trip there if you can make it. Hoorn is also very nice, with a quaint feel and lovely buildings. We were on our own in Hoorn but it's a small village that is easily gotten around. Edam, Marken, Volendam: At Edam we had a walking tour that ended near the center square, were you can purchase fresh Edam cheeses to take back with you. The taste of the cheese there was quite different from the Edam cheese bought in the states, and is well worth the money to purchase a couple of rounds to bring back with you. Marken included a walking tour and some free time. It is primarily known now for the manufacturing of wooden clogs. Volendam had no tours scheduled so we spent our time simply walking around. Arnhem: A bus ride away is the Paleis Het Loo, what used to be the home of the royal family. A beautiful palace with lovely garden views, and a very interesting place to visit. Dordrecht, Rotterdam: The highlight of Dordrecht is the Kinderdijk windmills tour. An area with 19 working windmills, one of which is open to the public for tours inside. You will get your fill of windmills here!! To be honest, our time in Rotterdam was only OK. We didn't have but a couple of hours there and by this time we were pretty well burned out on Dutch architecture. The last day was back in Amsterdam and the sponsored tour of the Gardens. The best part of the tour is when you get to the gardens, the bus will take a small back road right through the middle of the tulip fields. Have your cameras ready as it is a beautiful sight seeing rows and rows of tulips in every color imaginable. That about sums it up. If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask, we will do our best to answer them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
For this adventure, we booked our own hotel stays in Amsterdam (before the cruises began), Budapest (at the end of the cruise), and our own airfare because it saved money. The transfers to and from the airport and cruise ship were very ... Read More
For this adventure, we booked our own hotel stays in Amsterdam (before the cruises began), Budapest (at the end of the cruise), and our own airfare because it saved money. The transfers to and from the airport and cruise ship were very easy to book on our own. We boarded the Viking Spirit in Amsterdam for the "Dutch Journey", 7 night cruise, thru the Netherlands. Our overnights in Amsterdam gave us plenty of time to see all the sights and visit museums. Our cruise took us to Enkhuizen where we visited the Zuiderzee "outdoor" museum. We enjoyed the free time in Hoorn. Our stops in Marken, Edam & Vollendam were interesting and we had time for sightseeing, shopping and cafe stops to taste the local brew. We toured the Paleis Het Loo at our Arnhern stop. At Dordrecht we toured the amazing Kinderdijki Windmills! We both enjoyed the Delft excursion and our relaxing stop at a sidewalk cafe in the town center. Be sure an order the tiny, buttery pancakes with LOTS of powdered sugar. Delicious!!! This cruise ended back in Amsterdam with a trip out to the Keukenhof Gardens. We had planned this trip around the "tulip season" which was supposed to be at it's peak in April. But, this year the tulips were late so not at their peak. The indoor display was fantastic and the gardens and grounds are worth a visit any time of year. Our next cruise started after another night in Amsterdam: 14 nt. Grand European Tour. We chose these two cruises back to back because we were able to book the same cabin and not have to move our belongings for 3 weeks. We stayed in cabin 214 which was located next to the stairway making it very convenient. Perfect location. The cabin was 154 sq. ft. with plenty of storage. The Grand European Tour's first stop was Cologne where we visited the Cathedral. We enjoyed all the stops along the way: Rudesheim, Mainz, Wertheim, Wurzburg, Rothenburg. Each town has it's own uniqueness and we always enjoyed our free time to explore. Nuremberg was one of our least favorite stop but maybe because we were there on Sunday. We discovered that this 2 weeks cruise was much more relaxing than the previous one. We had plenty of time to spend on the upper deck and view the magnificent scenery. My husband especially enjoyed experiencing our journey thru the locks. Because of the time of year and the recent rains, we had to leave port early one day to make it under a bridge before the river got too high. The crew removed the upper railing, chairs and lowered the pilot house so we could clear the bridge by 3 inches. We met people in Budapest that were stuck and couldn't move on the river because they didn't have enough clearance. We were so glad that our captain and crew were so good that we could continue on our river cruise. We make stops in Regensburg, Passau, Melk, Durnstein and Vienna. One of the reasons that we chose Viking again (we had taken a Viking Cruise in China) was because almost all the excursions are included. Each town we visited we had guided walks to see the most important features and then plenty of free time to leisurely explore. The local guides were great; friendly and well informed. We enjoyed our visit to Vienna and the evening concert of the Resident Orchestra was well worth the extra expense. Our least favorite stop was Bratislava and from there we headed into Budapest. We arrived at night and what a sight to behold! This city is so beautiful as you enter along the river and see all the city lights. Our cruise ended here and we extended our trip by staying in hotel for 3 nights. We will definitely take another Viking cruise someday. The crew and staff are excellent. The food was very good. We enjoyed the open seating at meals which gave us the opportunity to meet new people. We made several new friends and established our own little dinner group where we shared our daily activities and our local wines. The only disappointment was that when we were traveling thru all this wonderful wine country, the wine choices on board didn't change. My husband was also disappointed that we couldn't get local beer on board. We solved the wine problem by buying our wine on shore and opening it in our room before dinner. (7 Euro fee to have it opened at the dinner table.) Our friendly bartender was always willing to give us a couple of wine glasses to take to our cabin. The Reisling wine we bought in Rudesheim was the best we've ever had: So smooth and fruity. DELICIOUS!!!! We loved our time in Amsterdam. There is so much to see in this OPEN City and we walked all over. Warning! Watch out for the bikes! They will run you over. Our stay in Budapest was great and we used the tram system to get everywhere. WARNING! Every time you change from one line to the next. (Yellow to red, or green to red, etc.)  Be sure and validate a new ticket. If you get stopped and you haven't got a validated ticket for that line-you will be fined!!! Don't ask me how I know this. Good Traveling!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
We were on the cruise from Vienna to Nuremberg for their "Christmas Market" cruise. A great way to see Austria & Germany. Walking tours and bus tours very informative. The tours were in the morning with a return to the ship ... Read More
We were on the cruise from Vienna to Nuremberg for their "Christmas Market" cruise. A great way to see Austria & Germany. Walking tours and bus tours very informative. The tours were in the morning with a return to the ship for lunch then plenty of time in the afternoon to explore each town on your own. If the ship was not docked within walking distance of town (this was only in Vienna and Nuremberg) they provided bus transportation. Plenty of room in the cabins with more than adequate closet and drawer space. The crew all speak English and are very helpful and friendly. Because of the small size you are given good personal service. The ship capacity is 150 passengers but there were only 84 -all Americans - on this cruise. The entire ship was immaculate. The food was great! Breakfast and lunch is buffet style or order from their menu. Dinner had two choices for appetizer, soup, main course and dessert. They also offered chicken or prime rib each night if you didn't want to select from the menu. River cruising is a great way to see the country. We thoroughly enjoyed Viking River and are planning on the St. Petersburg to Moscow cruise with them. Read Less
Sail Date November 2004
We took the cruise down the Danube which was fine until a certain point. They neglected to tell us there had been a drought on the Danube for several months, & had run into a problem with other cruises. We found out we could go no ... Read More
We took the cruise down the Danube which was fine until a certain point. They neglected to tell us there had been a drought on the Danube for several months, & had run into a problem with other cruises. We found out we could go no further to finish the cruise & had to be bussed for 4 hrs each way back & forth to the ship. The personnel on the ship were not accommodating at all. They would not even consider you making a phone call to make other arrangements. They made us pay for a hotel in Nuremberg which was not on the agenda, just so we did not have to be bussed back & forth 4 hrs ea way. They made us pay to have our luggage transported & were not even going to have transportation for us to get to the airport. So, instead of cruising down the Danube, because the ship could not get thru, we were bussed to our other destinations. We wrote to the cruise line several times to ask for reimbursement & were refused each time. I would never recommend Viking for a river cruise. Other people on the ship were on previous cruises & were given free cruises for the inconvenience, & they say they knew about it before we booked. We should have been informed & given a choice if we wanted to take the chance. Read Less
Sail Date November 2003
Viking Spirit (Retired) Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins N/A 4.8
Dining 3.0 4.8
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms N/A 4.8
Fitness Recreation N/A 3.5
Family 1.0 3.5
Rates 3.0 4.3

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