1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
Our first river cruise. The hotel in Paris (Le Meridien) was nothing special, small room looked a bit worn but Prague Hilton was nice. It was hot in Paris/Germany/Prague during our trip. The A/C in the ship's dining room had some ... Read More
Our first river cruise. The hotel in Paris (Le Meridien) was nothing special, small room looked a bit worn but Prague Hilton was nice. It was hot in Paris/Germany/Prague during our trip. The A/C in the ship's dining room had some trouble keeping it cool during dinners but our cabin (Veranda Suite) was always cool. Most of the tour guides were excellent. Entertainment on-board was just okay. Enjoyed the sun deck when it was open (part of the trip has low bridges mandating closure of the sun deck). If we we do another river cruise, we will do one where all nights are on the ship. The long bus rides Paris--->boat--->Prague and all the baggage handing were a hassle. But all-in-all it was a good, fun experience. Met some great people. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Our very expensive Cities of Light Cruise proved to a huge disappointment. The service crew and tour guides were stellar - God bless them every one. But the boat crew and management not-so-much. There were a number of problems that ... Read More
Our very expensive Cities of Light Cruise proved to a huge disappointment. The service crew and tour guides were stellar - God bless them every one. But the boat crew and management not-so-much. There were a number of problems that weren't properly addressed - some that began on Day One and continued until we disembarked. • Mooring locations o On our final night, we docked in a dismal industrial basin with a view of rusting railroad cars, cranes, shipping containers and a grain elevator. Not what I expected nor what I feel that I paid for. o On at least two occasions, our ship was rafted with another Viking ship. Our expensive balcony was just inches away from a cabin on the neighboring ship. There was no view possible, and for privacy we had to draw closed the heavy drapes making our cabin as dark as a cave. Once this was remedied within a few hours (a few too many), but on another night we had no view and no daylight from before sunset to after sunrise. The blocker was another Viking ship, so I feel strongly that Viking should have planned to avoid this. o The boat rarely stayed in any location long enough for evening strolls through the towns. Often we were too far away from the towns anyway! • HVAC o The thermostat in our cabin was programmed such that we simply could not get adequate cooling. When we reported this on the first day, we were told “we’re working on it.” But from start to end it was never repaired. • No internet access o Access wasn't just spotty -= it hardly existed at all. Nowhere on the ship was the wireless signal any better than 50% and most often it was a single bar that incessantly failed. o I purchased my own router in Nuremburg and installed it in our cabin. This gave me a good feed into the wired network on the ship but the ship’s satellite link never worked at all well. It appeared that antennae at the rear of the ship could have been raised for a better signal, but to the best of my knowledge they never were. o Another passenger bought his own router but his wired feed to his room failed altogether after two or three days. • Buses, buses, buses o We spent far too much time riding in tour buses. Not just at the start and end of the cruise, which was expected, but there was constant bussing from poorly-situated moorings. The hope of taking an evening stroll through some quaint ‘old town’ was seldom realized. • Water problem o Late one afternoon, I stood covered with soap in the shower for just under 10 minutes until the water started running again. One expects that some interruptions might occur when switching between on-board and shore-delivered services, but one also expects to be forewarned. • Food o The food was good, but the ship’s “banquet style” service model let us down. Hot food was often tepid on arrival, and beef dishes were over-cooked. • Sun Deck o The sun deck was closed for about ¾’s of the trip with no explanation until we asked. Stairways were blocked with a chain labeled “closed temporarily” but really it was more like “open” was the temporary condition. • Different walks for different folks o On two of the walking tours, “leisurely” walkers (elderly and handicapped) were mixed in with the fitter folk. This didn’t work well for anybody: the infirm felt rushed while the others were frustrated by the snail’s pace of travel. On balance, I do not feel that I got fair value. There were so many easily-avoidable issues that it is difficult to imagine that Viking will be interested in improving anytime soon. I conducted an un-scientific survey of fellow passengers. Many shared my concerns but few were ready to publicly admit that they’d spent so much money for so little value. Their skewed public ratings may beguile prospective travelers so don 't get taken in. On a final note: I sent this complaints to Viking immediately upon our return to the States. I was assured that someone would contact me to discuss my concerns, but of course they never have done. So much for Viking's customer service... and that's why my renting fell from "poor" to terrible. Regrettably, I must recommend you avoid taking a river cruise with Viking. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
I know most people have had excellent experiences with Viking, but unfortunately I cannot claim to be one of them. Our tour started in Prague in the midst of one of the worst heat waves that has hit Europe in the last hundred years. The ... Read More
I know most people have had excellent experiences with Viking, but unfortunately I cannot claim to be one of them. Our tour started in Prague in the midst of one of the worst heat waves that has hit Europe in the last hundred years. The Hilton was a nice enough hotel and the rooms were good. The Viking representatives were very nice and since we had arrived several hours early they were able to get us into a room before the normal check in time which we greatly appreciated. We settled into our rooms, took a shower and then ventured out into the city. We found a wonderful little craft fair and wandered around town. Hints: 1 - Money Changers at the airport or train station (TravelEX) have poor rates and high fees. There are a number of places in old town that had better rates and no fees. The best no fee place to change money that I found was outside the main train station. Go out the main doors, turn to your right, walk down the path and when you come to the road there is a small shop across the street on the corner. The guy was very honest and even advised me to "wait until tomorrow" if I could because the rate was going to be even better due to what was happening with Greece. Getting Euros here may have been a good idea as the only places you could change money for the rest of the tour was in banks (until you get to Paris). The ATM machines were always available but many of those in Germany did not have an English Language menu. Also some of them required you put your card in upside down. 2 - Taxis - there were four of us so a larger taxi was needed. The taxi stand inside the airport told us it would cost 700 crowns but we were able to get the driver to agree to 600. 3 - if you go out of the Lower level lobby there is a small shopping center down the steps, right across the street that has a grocery store and coffee shop. 4 - If you continue straight through that shopping center then there will be a metro station and a bus stop. You will need coins to buy a ticket for the metro or bus (inside the metro station) but there is a small smoke shop to the left of the metro station that sells tickets. Make sure you only stamp your ticket one time or if the ticket police check you they will think you were trying to get a better time stamp to cheat the system. Yes there are ticket police and they do check tourists and will confiscate your passport until you pay a hefty fine. We were checked and the fellow in front of us ended up in trouble because he didn't have a valid ticket and they were demanding he surrender his passport as we were leaving. Day 2 - Buffet breakfast was very good in the hotel. Eggs cooked to order and a very nice selection of other cooked items. Coffee was ok but the Starbucks down the road was much better. (Lower lobby, through shopping center, turn right about 1/2 mile down on left side) The tour - It was very hot and when we got off the bus at the castle the tour guide told everyone to buy water at the stand. Viking for some strange reason does not provide water on any tours that originate from any of the hotels but they do for all the tours off of the ship. It took a good 20 minutes before everyone was able to get water. The tour was of only what the non-paying tourists could see. If you wanted to see more of the castle you would have to but a ticket and drop out of the tour or come back later in the day to do the full castle tour. They gave us a break to wander around the court yard for about 15 minutes. Unfortunately we wasted so much time getting water earlier that we did not get to tour the gardens on the way back to the bus. The rest of the tour, the bridge and the clock tower were fine but very hot. We were given the option of staying in old town or riding back to the hotel. We decide to explore a little more. Day 3 - the bus ride Our Cruise Director Suzy was very organized and worked hard to make sure everything went as it should. Unfortunately, we had a couple who were 15 minutes late to the bus so we started out far behind everyone else. Hint - when you get to the rest stop go to the McDonald's they have 5 stalls where as the other shopping area only had 2 which meant long slow lines for the ladies. Nuremberg - we got there about a half hour behind the other buses. Had the famous sausage sandwich. Walked around the shops. Of course there were a couple of other people who were late for the bus this time around. We did have an excellent local guide. We saw the parade grounds. Drove around the Palace of Justice on the bus. Finally off to the ship ; we arrived about an hour later than originally planned. That gave us less than a half hour to get to our cabin, unpack and head to the Captain's reception. No time for a shower. There was plenty of champagne at the reception as much as you wanted. However, I don't drink champagne and was given a single glass of draft beer. When I asked for a second glass I was told I could charge it to my cabin or purchase their drink package. Seemed kind of cheesy to me just didn't make sense. Our cabin steward was not there to greet us when we arrived, nor were our bags placed on the bed to unpack. We were on the top deck of cabins. It was definitely warm in the room. Turned the AC down as low as it would go. Day 4 - hot as the dickens again. Our cabin would not cool below 78 degrees! We had a very personable local guide in Bamberg who had actually lived in the former synagog with several room mates for a bit. She was able to really give that personal touch to the tour and everyone seemed to enjoy her stories and tales. At the end of the tour we were talking and she confided in us that this was only her third tour! She handled it like a pro. It was Sunday so we were not able to go into the church due to the services. The staff in the lounge is getting to know us and we are having fun with them. Some of the dining hall waiters are also very nice. Though, it appears ordering a dark beer with dinner is the exception. I was finished with the main course by the time the beer arrived. Perhaps it was because I asked for a dark beer and they had to get it from the lounge (that's the only reason I can think of since the fellow at the table next to us came in after us and had a couple of light beers). The dining hall was so hot that sweat was rolling down our table mates face. Halfway through dinner they said they couldn't take the heat any longer and left without finishing their meal. Also, there was a very strong unpleasant petroleum smell in the dining hall. This was also true for the next night's dinner. Day 5 - Wurzburg woke up to a most beautiful sight this morning. The fortress on the hill was absolutely stunning. Later in the day we walked up to it and were able to wander around but the museum there was closed. We did the walking tour into town. Saw the Bishops' Residenz. It was certainly built to impress. This was one of the best stops on the entire cruise. Our friend was celebrating her birthday and the waiter allowed us to go into the kitchen. It was surprising how well designed (and compact) it was when you take into account how many people they had to server at each meal. It was also the chef's birthday so it was even more special being able to get a picture of both of the celebrants together. After dessert they bought out a special passion fruit cake for our friend. It was a nice touch. I had to run back to my cabin just before dinner and finally met the cabin steward. Day 6 Heidelburg - Katia was our guide today and she was great! To begin with, she explained to everyone that there was an arm rest on the sides of the seats and that the seats could be reclined if so desired. We were riding the same bus all this time and no one else bothered to explain how the bus work. The cabin was very hot yet again and the wifi which had been spotty was totally out this afternoon. There is no place to go to cool off since all of the common areas are also hot. You have to keep the shades closed to keep the sun out so the dining hall had no views during dinner so far. The upper deck has been closed this whole time because of the low bridges on the Mainz River. At least someone finally explained to everyone why the upper deck was being kept closed. We wanted to sit outside in the shaded portion of the area outside the lounge, but all the tables in the shade had reserved on them. I asked if I could "reserve a table in the shade" and was told no. The explanation for the reserved signs was that there was a group of 30 people and hence they were able to have the tables reserved due to their groups size. Day 7 - Slept until 8 what a treat! There was a storm last night and the heat wave has broke. A lock also broke so we had to take buses into Mainz. The church and Gutenburg Museum were nice. Try the small stand selling ice cream. The ice cream here was very good, Rudesheim is definitely a tourist town with lots of little shops to walk through. We took the cable car to the top of the mountain. It was a relatively long ride and we enjoyed the views and the pleasant breeze. Definitely worth taking. The status at the top was also impressive though not a lot to do there. There was a little stand selling wine that a lot of people seemed to be enjoying. We had dinner on the boat and then went and walked away from town. At the end of the trailer park there were the remains of a bridge that had been boomed during the war that we found interesting. Day 8 - on the Rhine and the top deck is finally open! The weather turned from unbearable heat to the 60's and it was very cool up on the deck. I took the opportunity to see the pilot house. The captain explained all of the workings and even dropped the pilot house a few inches so we could see how that works. There were many castles to see. One of our fellow passengers had a map of the Rhine from a Steve Rick's tour book that was helpful. It'd have been nice if Viking had a map or even a listing of the Castles in the order we saw them so we could have taken notes. We did take a photo of the map so we'll be able to identify the castles after the trip. Cochem was a nice tour. Found the shop selling mustard that is made there and picked some up for a friend. The castle has many interesting features and a lot of original furnishings. Some people were making a big deal of he Captain's farewell dinner. I didn't think it was anything special. For the most part the menu selections that night were fixed with only one or two options. The food and presentation were not quite the cruise ship quality that many have experienced but it was none the less very good. Day 9 BernKastle a nice town and we were out early so we saw the town waking up. The people were very friendly. We decided to hike up to the castle ruins at the top of the mountain. They are in the process of restoring it so we were not allowed inside. However most of the exterior was accessible. We felt it was worth the effort to see it. However, it also took away from the time for exploring the rest of the town. Trier was quite the city to visit. We had another excellent guide. The ruins,castle and churches were again impressive. By the way the Quiet Boxes that were used on all of the tours were the best audio boxes that I have ever used. They were top notch. day 10 Luxembourg - our driver seemed to be a little confused over where the American Cemetery was and took a wrong exit. Late again to the party. Needless to say, it was a very somber visit for all of us. day 11 - I arranged a meeting with a representative from the Paris Greeters organization and he gave us a tour of Montmarte. This was without a doubt the most enjoyable day of our entire trip! We passed on the tour with our group, but had made arrangements to do it with another group the following day. However, after speaking with several couples who had taken the tour they convinced us it was not worth the time. We cancelled with the other group. day 12 - the end of the viking tour. We extended our stay on our own since I wanted to be in Paris for Bastille Day (July 14th). I had made reservations 90 days ahead of time for the Jules Verne Restaurant on the second story of the Eiffel Tower. Seating requests and arrangements are made based on the order the reservations are made. Hence I made sure to be among the first to get my reservation in. I had reservations for 7 PM. The dinner was definitely a fine dining experience. We were there at the table until almost 11PM. The waiter told us we'd have free range of the tower and could go anywhere as guests of the Jules Verne Restaurant which made us feel very special indeed but in the end that was a total lie. You have to have a ticket to get to the top. And the lines were very long even at that late hour it was a minimum of 45 minutes wait for the lift. In the end we just gave up and left. day 13 - our friends decided they wanted a nice leisurely day so we did a boat ride of the canals. It was a very laid back day. We bought some crepes from the fellow down the street from the Meridien hotel. Picked up some wine & beer from the shopping center (bottom floor towards the very back) across the street and had a "picnic" in the hotel lobby. The crepes were outstanding and I highly recommend trying them. day 14 - Bastille day We foolishly thought that we would be able to get close enough to see the parade. That was virtually an impossible task. However, we did get some excellent shots of the air force flyovers on the Champs Elysee. It was a huge party and was well worth the extra days to be part of it. After the fly over we worked our way to the Louvre. It turns out it is closed on Tuesdays, but the exterior is simply amazing. That evening we went back to see the fireworks being shot off of the Eiffel Tower. The fire works didn't start until 11PM. What an amazing display the best I've ever seen. After the fireworks ended it was a quick rush to the Metro since it shuts down at midnight. HINT - the Paris Metro is very easy to navigate. The train direction is indicated by the last stop of that line so it is easy to figure out what direction you want to go in. Also the Meridien has a Metro entrance at the end of the block. It is the Yellow line which has the majority of the things you'll want to see in Paris on it. Note - the cabin (I had a french balcony) was very tight but efficiently designed so that you made the best use of space possible, The showers on the boat were some of the best on the trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - Paris to Prague. However we did not read the itinerary carefully enough and "Paris" and "Prague" turned out to be only half day bus tours. That was very disappointing. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - Paris to Prague. However we did not read the itinerary carefully enough and "Paris" and "Prague" turned out to be only half day bus tours. That was very disappointing. Once there are paying for the trip, I was at least expecting a full day with some meals thrown in. The other bid disappointment about the cruise was how little time we had to enjoy the boat itself. The boat was beautiful, but we were on buses off to see sights everyday. One of our party quipped that he wasn't sure if ours was a bus trip with a river cruise or a river cruise with a bus trip! That sums it up though - we were constantly being bussed (anything from 1/2 to several hours) away to see sights. The other downer on our trip was that by the end, everyone on the boat was sick. on the first day, there were maybe 2 people coughing, but by the end more than 70% of the ship was sick. In our party of 8, one became seriously ill and all of the other 7 had to take at least one day off because of illness. Though there were plenty of exhortations to people to wash their hands, etc. spending hours every day in a bus with sick people was probably the cause of the spread. The best part of the cruise was the day we spent cruising down the Rhine, in the sunshine, watching for castles on both sides of the river. It was relaxing, and the commentary was lighthearted. As a vegan, I was pretty hard pressed to find the food I wanted to eat. All in all, I thought the food was just average - though I enjoyed the lunches more than the dinners. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
We have taken five Viking cruises to date and are already signed up the sixth. Rating the trips on we have had on Viking I would rate this the lowest. Usually their cruise run like clock work with never a flaw to find. The pre cruise ... Read More
We have taken five Viking cruises to date and are already signed up the sixth. Rating the trips on we have had on Viking I would rate this the lowest. Usually their cruise run like clock work with never a flaw to find. The pre cruise extension in Luzern was wonderful and they put you up in a great hotel overlooking Lake Luzern. We arrived in Basel to begin our cruise and were not impressed with the docking location, in the middle of recycling complex. Check-in was a breeze and our room was ready when we arrived around noon. The evening another Viking ship, the Sum tied up alongside of us. Their air conditioning exhaust, the width of our room, was immediately adjacent to our veranda. This took away our view that we paid extra for but the worse part was the noise all night long. It was so loud we could not talk to each other. This happened two more times on our trip. Another item that detracted from the trip were some of the long walks from the ship to get to the excursion buses, at one stop the walk was over 20 minutes from the ship to the bus and the same on the way back to the ship, plus the 40 some odd stairs to climb at the bus location. The excursions were nice but were not organized as in the past. Ten to twenty minutes of free time at most and then one with an hour and 45 minutes on a day that all of the shops were closed due a national holiday plus no fault of theirs it was raining and the buses were no were to be found so everyone got soaked. In Paris at the end of the trip there must have been three Viking trips in and about Paris at once and they all used the same location for the bus pickup. This made for total confusion and it did not help that the tour guides were actually yelling at people if they got on the wrong bus which happen a number of times. Usually on Viking there is time when you return to the ship for a cocktail or a little relaxation but that did not happen on this trip, when we arrived home we were exhausted. This is just not up what we expect from our past Viking experiences. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
My wife and I started our Rhine River Cruise in Paris. A Viking representative was there to direct us to our bus. We had a visual journey to our hotel. The hotel was great as well as the staff. Again, a Viking representative was in the ... Read More
My wife and I started our Rhine River Cruise in Paris. A Viking representative was there to direct us to our bus. We had a visual journey to our hotel. The hotel was great as well as the staff. Again, a Viking representative was in the lobby to help with sightseeing or anything else. Really first class. We traveled by bus to Trier and the Viking Odin. A most beautiful sight. Sleek, Clean, moored to a small dock with the city of Trier behind it. I knew we had made the right travel decision. The cabins are clean and I mean clean. Every day when we left Lubka would be there already cleaning. She also made sure each room had a personal touch. Towels wrapped like dogs. Butterfly's. Amazing she found time to do that but that's the Viking way. I know that now. You become family. The food was excellent. I felt like I was on a Food Channel show. And the presentation was just as good. The Chef took great pride in his work and it showed. The nightly Pre-Excursion lectures were wonderful and set you up for a most memorable day. I can't say enough good things about every excursion we went on. Each guide was knowledgeable and courteous and made every day fun and informative. After a day of Castle Climbing it was always good to come back to the boat, clean up and have DaDa make me a drink at the bar. Dinner and then maybe a little music in the lounge. Then it was time to go to a clean shower in our clean cabin and fall asleep with dreams of what tomorrow would bring. Thanks to all the staff of The Viking Odin! And tell Lubka and DaDa hello. It's been a year or so and I still remember their names. But then again, that's Viking. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
This cruise was a gift to me from my husband, to revisit my roots. I was born in Basel, Switzerland and left from Le Harvre, France to immigrate to the United States of America as a child. My desire was to replicate the pictures I had from ... Read More
This cruise was a gift to me from my husband, to revisit my roots. I was born in Basel, Switzerland and left from Le Harvre, France to immigrate to the United States of America as a child. My desire was to replicate the pictures I had from Basel, so this was to be an enjoyable cruise for my husband and I, but I was also a woman on a mission– to see and photograph my roots. Anyway– we were on the Viking 'Odin' which afforded us luxury and a perfect home-away-from-home. Our stateroom was always kept immaculate by our 'housekeeper' Eloisa, and our meals were always 5-star delicious treats, served by friendly and efficient servers. The size of the number of guests on board- under 190, made it personable. We enjoyed the excursions offered to us by our Ship's Director- Dianna and made the most of them. The cruise ended in Trier, where we all boarded buses to our next destination: PARIS! That city was unique! We stayed at Le Meridien Etoile, with a Paris extension. Our room was clean, but we had problems with our room keys the entire time. I still am not sure what the problem was. The city tour along with our own touring using the Metro was simple and painless. I am so very glad that I had gone online three weeks prior our leaving the states and reserved tickets for the Eiffel Tower. The final day of our 'cruise' ended far too quickly, but it was indeed a delight! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
The hotel in Paris was very good, not great. It was very close to the Champs Elysees so touring around before the start of the planned tour was very easy and good. The Tour in Paris, like the other cities, was excellent. Using tour ... Read More
The hotel in Paris was very good, not great. It was very close to the Champs Elysees so touring around before the start of the planned tour was very easy and good. The Tour in Paris, like the other cities, was excellent. Using tour guides from the places you are visiting is great. You get good information from locals, not what is printed by somebody for another talking head to repeat. The use of head sets and a dedicated wireless channel was a great idea. You don't get 'duelling tour guides' yelling over each other or not being able to hear what is being said. There was enough free time in most ports to be able to walk around on your own to experience the local area. This was of particular interest to us as we are both Geocachers and were interested in finding geocaches where we stopped. The ship was fantastic with excellent service, crew, and food. The crew members are approachable and willing to chat. We had an excellent talk with one of the officers during an evening cruise. I recommend this cruise to all my friends. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
We stared our trip with a pre-stay in Lucerne organized by Viking Cruises. The pick up at the airport in Zurich gave us the opportunity to see sights on our way to Lucerne. The Schweizerhof Hotel was fabulous. Location was right on the ... Read More
We stared our trip with a pre-stay in Lucerne organized by Viking Cruises. The pick up at the airport in Zurich gave us the opportunity to see sights on our way to Lucerne. The Schweizerhof Hotel was fabulous. Location was right on the Lake. From there you could stand next to palm trees and see the snow covered Alps. Lucerne was a wonderful city, and with the Viking guided tour we got a good feel for the city and explored a lot on our own. Since all was booked through Viking, they then transported us to the ship in Basel. This was our third Viking cruise so we knew to expect really good guides at each of the stops. We were not disappointed. They timed our walks through the cities so we would have special experiences in each port. I am more impressed each time I cruise with Viking with the quality of their shore excursions. I walk slowly and always sign up for their leisurely group. It is so nice to have that option. We ended in Trier, then a bus to see Luxemburg, and on to Paris for two nights in Le Meridien Etoile. Great area for interesting restaurants, and a nice walk to the Arc de Triumph The ship was a Viking Longship. I really loved waking up and going to the lounge to have a couple of cups of Latte while my husband woke up. With the machine I could make it as weak as I like it - half water and half latte. I loved watching the Rhine and the castles as we cruised from the Lounge. This time when we booked all of the full balcony rooms were already taken so we booked a French Balcony. We decided that we do not like a French Balcony, and the full balcony is definitely worth the extra cost. Viking staff is always so helpful and really want to make the trip a special experience for you. The food has a nice regional touch, but with some choices for those that want more traditional food. I love the way the whole ship is invited each evening to learn the plans for tomorrow's activities, followed by the chef telling you what his dinner recommendations are. We normally spent so much time enjoying dinner, talking with the new folks we met at dinner, and the complementary wine with dinner that we just went to bed, and missed the evening entertainment. We have learned that booking the air, pre-stay, and cruise with Viking means you are fully taken care of. They pick you up at the airport, take you to the hotel, then ship, then back to airport. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
This is the first Viking cruise for my wife and I. We were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. The cruise was excellent, service, food, cabin, etc... all excellent. The staff was wonderful and very helpful. All the tours were ... Read More
This is the first Viking cruise for my wife and I. We were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. The cruise was excellent, service, food, cabin, etc... all excellent. The staff was wonderful and very helpful. All the tours were well organized and very interesting. We liked it so much that we are scheduled to go to China and Hong Kong in Oct of 2016 and considering the Med cruise in 2017. My wife enjoyed the gourmet meals the most. She owned and operated a restaurant for almost 20 years so she knows good cooking and food presentation. Service in the dinning room was excellent. The wait staff was excellent, they went the extra mile to accommodate our every need. Since the ship was small, entertainment was average; live piano. I had a slight disagreement with the piano player in that 'as time goes by' was not a classic song. Any film buff will tell you that this song is an all time classic. Highly recommended Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
This was my first trip to Europe. I had high expectations for the Viking River Cruise experience and I was not disappointed. The service, from the staff, was excellent. Everyone was super efficient and organized. I felt pampered because ... Read More
This was my first trip to Europe. I had high expectations for the Viking River Cruise experience and I was not disappointed. The service, from the staff, was excellent. Everyone was super efficient and organized. I felt pampered because the staff was very attentive and accommodating. The environment was intimate and encouraged the passengers to interact with each other. The ship was small enough to allow everyone to become acquainted and large enough not to feel crowded. The cuisine was outstanding and plentiful. The tours were fun and very educational. I was awed by the spectacular architecture of the historical buildings that were built centuries ago and were still standing and, in some cases, still functional. I loved touring the old castles, of which I had only seen pictures, and I marveled at the lifestyle of the people who lived during that era. The only negative comment I have, about the cruise, is the weather. It was cold and rainy in both France and Germany. April in Paris did not have the mild spring weather I am accustomed to in the U.S. Nevertheless, I would highly recommend taking a Viking River Cruise vacation and I am looking forward to my next Viking adventure. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
My daughter & I just got back from the Cities of Light cruise. We added two nights in Prague & then cruised the Main, Rhine, & Moselle & eventually ended up in Paris. It was a wonderful trip & worth every penny. The ... Read More
My daughter & I just got back from the Cities of Light cruise. We added two nights in Prague & then cruised the Main, Rhine, & Moselle & eventually ended up in Paris. It was a wonderful trip & worth every penny. The ship is immaculate & all the staff people are exceptional -- friendly, helpful, & gracious. The food was outstanding. Viking organized everything, including luggage, transfers, guided tours, & several on-board activities. Diana, our program director, was 100% on top of everything. We will definitely consider Viking again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
The actual port of embarkation was Trier, Germany. My wife and I took the Cities of Light trip along with another couple from Paris to Prague. The crew were super friendly and very helpful. The program director (Claudia) was fantastic ... Read More
The actual port of embarkation was Trier, Germany. My wife and I took the Cities of Light trip along with another couple from Paris to Prague. The crew were super friendly and very helpful. The program director (Claudia) was fantastic and very knowledgeable of the areas that we traveled. We found that the captain of the ship was very approachable and friendly. We were allowed to spend time in the wheelhouse and see how he navigates the ship. Entertainment was quite limited on this trip but is to be expected on river cruises. The crew was quite good about keeping everyone informed about the upcoming plans for both that day and the next. Breakfast each day was exactly the same and did not vary one bit. Being in Germany, one would think that we would be blessed with abundant German food. That was not the case at all. One day for lunch, we stopped at the restaurant entrance to read the menu. It looked wonderful. It listed snitzel, purple cabbage, and other German delights. When we arrived for lunch a half an hour later.....Lunch had been changed to some sort of sandwiches. Thursday night was "German" night. Viking turned the sit down dining room into a huge buffet. This was a complete disaster. There were people on top of people. Very long lines......The kitchen struggling to keep up. In general it was a very unpleasant experience. Getting on and off the ship each day was easy and very efficient. The included tours were informative and nice. We may or may not travel with Viking. My wife and I may want to try another company to see how they size up. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
The following is my review of my recent “Romantic Danube/Christmas Markets” river cruise on the Viking Odin. A little background; I am 53, DH is 57 and while we have 20+ cruises under our belt, this was only our second river cruise ... Read More
The following is my review of my recent “Romantic Danube/Christmas Markets” river cruise on the Viking Odin. A little background; I am 53, DH is 57 and while we have 20+ cruises under our belt, this was only our second river cruise (The first was on the American Queen-Mississippi River), and our first European river cruise, and our second time to Europe. I like to think of myself as a “Glass Half Full” kind of person, but I must admit I was beginning to worry that this trip would not come anywhere near my expectations after reading several reviews that were full of doom & gloom with all that could go wrong; River levels too high or too low making a river cruise into a bus trip, strikes by the lock workers on the rivers, strikes by the Lufthansa pilots, broken locks, bad weather, etc. It just seemed that with a river cruise more could, and often did, go wrong. I am happy to report that my fears were unfounded. I won’t bore you with our flight details, sufficient to say that 7-hours from Philadelphia to Frankfurt, a 5-hour layover in Frankfurt, and another 1.5 hour flight to Budapest made for a rather long day plus. After arriving at the Budapest airport we gather out luggage, were waived through passport control, and we met by at least eight representatives of Viking to ensure we got on the right bus for our transfer to our boat. Apparently there were four Viking cruises starting in Budapest that day; two were doing Romantic Danube, and two others were doing the Danube Waltz itinerary. A very cheerful man gathered his weary flock of travelers, and got us settled on the bus, where they passed out bottles of water, and away we went. Embarkation-Fastest ever! Once we go to Budapest, and to where the boats dock along the Danube we were met by a chaotic scene of multiple tours buses of all kinds that were discharging or picking up passengers. However, it was all quickly sorted out, and soon we were on our way to boarding. We were met by a smiling Viking employee who handed us a warm, moist wash cloth that we could use to wipe our face and hands of the stain of travel, got in line to receive our key card (Took 3 minutes tops), then we were handed off to another employee that escorted us to our cabin. Within another 5-minutes our luggage had been delivered. Cabin-We had booked a window (Known as an aquarium class) cabin, and found it quite comfortable. The layout was efficient, and plenty of storage for hanging clothes such as coats, shelves for folded items, and 4 drawers for underwear and socks. The bathroom was tiny, but I loved the heated floor, and the fact we had a glass shower door, rather than a curtain. There were shelves here too for all of our toiletries. Every day our cabin was serviced twice a day by our marvelous room steward. The only drawback was I found the two pillows per person to be too thin for my liking, but we asked for, and quickly got an additional pillow each. There was a flat screen TV, and a selection of movies, and all the episodes of Downton Abbey available on demand. There was also a limited selection of TV stations available (Mostly news), and music too. Dining-There is one main dining room that is used for all meals. Normally breakfast was served between 7am-9am, but the hours were slightly adjusted depending on what time we were docking for the day’s tour. I think once it opened as early as 6:30, and on the morning we arrived in Nuremberg they served breakfast as late as 10am. Lunch was normally served between 12-2pm, and dinner most nights was at 7pm, but one evening they didn’t start serving until 7:30 (Night of the Captain’s Dinner). I thought the food was excellent. There were usually 2/3 starters to choose from as well as a soup and three entrees to choose from as well. For dessert there was a featured dessert, as well as several ice cream flavors to choose from. All seating was open so you may sit where and with whom you choose. Most of the tables seated 4 or 6. There were a few 8 tops. I didn’t notice any tables for two. There was a more casual alternative for those that wished on the Upper Deck called the Aquavit Terrace. A Continental Breakfast was served in the mornings, available about half an hour earlier then when the dining room would open, and at night you could get a lighter meal. Items served included; Cheeseburger, Chef Salad, Caesar Salad with Steak or Chicken, Chicken Quesadilla, and a Jacket Potato (Think loaded baked potato with bacon wrapped around it). We ate there two nights; the first night on board when we were so tired we only wanted a quick bite and be off to bed, and the last night when nothing on the menu appealed to me. Entertainment-They had something scheduled every night, starting around 9pm. We missed most of the entertainment as we normally turn into pumpkins around 9, but one night was a Christmas Sing-a-Long, another night was Hungarian Folk dancers. Ports: We had 6 ports on this itinerary; Budapest, Hungary, Vienna, Austria, Melk Abbey, Austria, Passau, Germany, Regensburg, Germany, and Nuremberg, Germany. Budapest-We arrived in Budapest around 4:00 in the afternoon on Saturday. After dropping off our luggage in our cabin we decided to go the Christmas Market on our own. The Program Director gave us easy to follow directions (Within walking distance) and we quickly found the market. However, being a Saturday afternoon/evening it was very crowded. By crowded I mean could not move forwards or backwards at one point. That proved to be too much for me, and we made our way to the Danube River, where we admired the Buda side of the river illuminated beautifully. We found a street vendor selling hot spiced wine who accepted euros, drank our wine and admired the view. We tried to find a boat ride that would have taken us up and down the Danube so we could see the Pest side of the river as well, but the only one we could locate was a dinner cruise for 40 euro each that took 2-hours. I wish Viking had taken the opportunity to give their guests a little scenic cruising that first night. The next morning we were up early for the bus portion of our included tour that drove past various points of interest including a cathedral, the opera house, several parks, the zoo, spas, and Hero’s Square. While our guide was very good, and was very knowledgeable about Hungarian history, it seemed that everything she pointed out was on the left side of the bus. Naturally, we were sitting on the right. Things improved when we go to the Buda side of the river, the Castle District, where we had the walking portion of the tour. After our guide was done we had about an hour of free time to explore the area, which included some shopping, and great views of the Pest side of the Danube. Then it was off by bus to meet the boat. Vienna-Vienna was our longest day. We arrived around 7am, and our bus tour left at 8 or 8:30. We started with a bus drive on the Ringstrauss and saw many impressive buildings, and then it was time for the walking tour. We had signed up for the leisure paced tour after being assured we would see everything everyone else did, and we would have plenty of free time. Our tour guide was excellent, and she did point out a number of interesting sites. We did go past the Famous Spanish Riding School, but it being Monday, the horses were having their day of rest so we saw no more than a horse or two poking its head out a stable door. What was disappointing to me was we ended up with only 35-minutes of free time, while other groups had at least an hour. I had wanted to go to Café Central, and managed to get to it in our free time allotted, but there was no time to actually have a cup of coffee. All too soon it was back on the bus to go to back to the boat for lunch. After lunch they had two shuttles for those that wished to go to the Christmas Market. One left at 2:00, the other at 2:30. There was also an optional tour to Schonbrunn Palace that had a cost of approximately 40 euro. We opted for the 2:00 shuttle to the Christmas Market. When we arrived at the Christmas Market we were told there were two return shuttles; one at 3:45, the other at 4:45. I had thought we would stay until the 4:45 shuttle, but we ended up returning on the 3:45 shuttle as we found the Christmas Market in Vienna disappointing. While large, most of the stalls were filled with mass produced items. I don’t think I was the only one disappointed as it appeared everyone was trying to get back on the 3:45 shuttle. There were two sittings that night for dinner; one at 6pm for those that had chosen to go to the optional Mozart/Strauss concert that evening (Cost was 63 euro pp) and another at 7:30. As we were going to the concert, as was about half the boat we ate at 6:00. The concert was excellent and appeared to be enjoyed by all. When we got back around 10:15 they were serving a light supper in the lounge of Hungarian Goulash Soup (Excellent). Scenic Cruising through the Wachau Valley & Melk Abbey-Day four found us sailing through the Wachau Valley, which I found to be as beautiful as advertised. Have your camera ready, especially around 8 in the morning as that’s when we passed Krems on the right, which is postcard pretty. It was one charming storybook town, church and castle after another. In the afternoon we docked at Melk Abbey. For those that were feeling fit, you could walk up, for the rest of us there were buses. One group left at 1:00, and the other group left at 1:30. Melk Abbey was very impressive, and once again we had an excellent guide. The Basilica of the abbey is jaw-dropping beautiful, and even my husband, who normally doesn’t get that excited about churches, was impressed. Passau, Germany-Passau is a charming, very walkable town, with narrow, twisting cobblestone streets. Unfortunately for the town they do have an issue with flooding. We had yet another great guide. There were a couple of options for the end of the walking tour. You could choose to end at a bakery for a demonstration in gingerbread baking, or end at St. Stephen’s Cathedral for an organ concert (The organ at St. Stephen’s is the largest in Europe). Because I love torturing my husband we went to the organ concert. There was no additional charge for the concert, which lasted about half an hour. The inside of St. Stephen’s is very impressive. After the concert we went to the Christmas Market which was just outside the Cathedral. This was a nice market, which a nice selection of booths, and great food. My husband enjoyed a bratwurst kabob, while I loved my steak sandwich slathered with sour cream and topped with raw onion. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Yum! The boat was leaving right after lunch, but for those that wished, you could stay in town and take a bus at 5 that would bring you back to the boat up river. We opted to stay in town, exploring and shopping. We found a charming store, where my DH finally got his longed for cuckoo clock. Regensburg, Germany-Here we had another walking tour. However, I personally didn’t enjoy it as much as the one the day before in Passau. Part of the problem was the town was over flowing with tourist from river cruises. Not just Viking, but other lines as well, and unlike in Passau where the tour guides would take different routes to avoid congestion, it seemed like every guide wanted to go to the same place at the same time. We also didn’t have a very good guide. He walked very fast, and kept leaving members of our group far behind. I kept running up to him, to no avail. He seemed to think it was the group’s responsibility to keep up to his pace, rather than for him to adjust to the group’s pace. He also used some crude language that I found off-putting. We finally gave up on him, and with another couple bailed on the tour when we came upon the Christmas Market in town. After perusing the stalls, and drinking a glass of a hot, eggnog punch (I was getting tired of gluhwein) that was delicious we went into St. Peter’s Cathedral, an impressive Gothic Cathedral, before making our way back to the boat. That afternoon we took the optional tour to the Thurn & Taxis palace in Regansburg. The palace was very beautiful , and once again we were blessed with an knowledgeable tour guide. After the tour we then went to the Christmas Market on the palace grounds, and this was my very favorite market as there were a number of vendors with beautiful hand-crafted items. Nuremberg, Germany-Our final stop. We didn’t get to Nuremberg until a little after noon on Friday. There were two tours to choose from, one that focused on the WWII history, and one that didn’t. We picked the one that didn’t, but still got quite a bit of WWII history before we went to the “Old” part of the city (Nuremberg was nearly destroyed in WWII and what appears to be medieval buildings are actually rebuilt since the late 1940’s). There you could continue with a walking tour, or go straight to the Christmas Market. About half of the bus went on the walking tour, while the rest of us opted to go straight to the Market. This was another great market as I felt it had something for everyone. There were stalls with hand crafted items, and stall with less expensive mass produced items, and enough food choices for any palate. It’s very large and in the 2+ hours we were there I don’t think we saw everything. So, to sum it all up. I loved this trip. I thought the food, service, accommodations, and tours offered by Viking were top-notched, and would sail with them again in a heartbeat. I also loved the Christmas Markets, the towns we visited, and the people we met.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
The ship name is Viking Orient and leased from Pandaw, but not on the list so I've put the name of the ship as the closest to "Orient". The cruise started in Mandalay, and not Yangon, but there is no such option for the port ... Read More
The ship name is Viking Orient and leased from Pandaw, but not on the list so I've put the name of the ship as the closest to "Orient". The cruise started in Mandalay, and not Yangon, but there is no such option for the port of embarkation so I choose the closest available option- Yangon. Please keep in mind that the opinion expressed here is my personal and could be very different from your personal experience. I'll tell it chronologically with some practical advises as it goes. Flight: we flew from NY to Taipei and from there to Bangkok one day prier to "official" day of arrival- to get used to 12h time difference and to see more. We've used pills "No jet lag" which, probably, helped, because we've arrived to Bangkok at noon in, I'd say, pretty normal condition. We did not purchase transfer from Viking, so we got a taxi to hotel on our own. Here is how to do it: When you leave Custom area, don't go out, but to the right on the escalator, down, and only now leave the terminal (the door will be on your left- 90 degrees to the escalator) and on your right (45 degrees) you'll see few counters with girls. You're getting to any of them, specify what hotel you want to go (the taxi driver usually stands behind her and listen to it). she gives you piece of paper with your destination and info about driver/taxi- (in case you forget something behind or would like to complain), driver takes your suitcases and lead you to his car. The moment he is in it and if he did not turn on the meter, say to him (and this is going for all your future taxi usage in Bangkok) "meter, please!" He will turn it on and it will show 35B. He will ask you "highway"? Tell him "yes" and be prepared to give him 25B on first and 50B on the second stop at the toll booth. At the end of trip (between 35min to 1h, depending on traffic and hotel. Millenium takes longer, Shangri-La is shorter) you need to pay him whatever on the meter 250-300B plus 50B for the girl's booking at the airport. Tip is not expected, but common to round up to the next 10 B. So, 5B-15B tip will do. In general try to use skytrain or Chaya river boats and not taxis, because the traffic in Bangkok is really bad (see about it further) and while taxi is not expensive (most rides in the center should cost between 60B-90B, but you can spend much more time in taxi then exploring.... Before leaving the airport you'll see a lot of currency exchange booths- all of them have the same exchange rate (it was 30.78 on 11/1), so change SOME money, because in the city you'll get better rate. (For example in hotel it was 31.29 and near Wat Triamit 32.2). We've expected to be in Millenium so I've booked it for additional night in advance and on non-refundable basis ($160 including breakfast), so when Viking informed us that Shangri-La will be our hotel, we did not have much choice, but stayed 1 night at Millenium and then 2 nights in Shangri-La. To compare: both hotels are VERY nice, swimming pool & breakfast is better at Millenium, but Shangri-La location is better. There is Wi-Fi in both hotels, but in Millenium it works only in common area. BTW, the time difference with Bangkok - 12h (compare to NY) Day 0. We arrived at hotel, went for short swim and went for two major attractions - Wat Arun & Wat Pho. Wat Arun is much smaller, you can climb to the top (recommended) and then took boat across the river (3B cost, the pier located to the left of Wat Arun) and went to Wat Pho,- it is about 150 feets from the pier- on your left will be the walls of Royal Palace and after 150 feets on your right the entrance to Wat Pho. It is extremely large and beautiful place. Prepare to take your shoes off periodically. It is getting dark around 6pm so about when we were heading back to hotel it was dark. We went to the same pier, caught a boat to "Safam Tsakin"- central pier, about 5 stops. You buy ticket on board, 15 B. Millenium ran free shuttle service from the central pier to the hotel, so when get out at the pier, turn right go the pier on the right, ask, policeman there "Millenium"? and he will tell you when the right boat comes. We did not go for Dinner to Millenium- the prices there....main entry $80-$100 plus service and tax, so we went to the left of hotel by the river and in about 150 feet got to local restaurant where prices were "Thai prices" - main dishes 90B-200B and food was ok. Day 1 (official arrival day) Next morning after having breakfast- very large selection, including a lot of "Chinese breakfast dishes" we took another shuttle from hotel (to the left of complimentary shuttle boat) across the river to "River City" shopping complex (do not bother if you're after shopping- see later; the complex mostly empty) 3.5B cost of the transfer. We were on our way to self-guided walking tour of China town. The first stop was Wat Triamit (golden budda), but it was about 15-20 min walking from the pier thru typical China town When we looked unsure where to turn one of the locals asked (with his hands) what are we looking for and showed us where to go. (In general people in Bangkok where extremely nice and pleasant in communication). wat Triamit was ok. (I'm not going to describe the tour- if interested you can download a lot of different versions of it). Then we've passed a lot of gold selling stores, China town market with plenty of kick-off bags- my wife got 3 for about 400B each- after negotiations, took a river boat to hotel and took a taxi to Shangri La. The official "cruise" has began! At Shangri-La we met Viking representatives Tum & Tango and got keys to our room. We wanted to see traditional Thai dance show so they've recommended one at the nearest hotel (Oriental), but since it was on the short notice, we're informed that the sits will be too far from the show, so we opted for another place $65/p including dinner. We'd be picked up from hotel and dropped off. That place we were told an hour from the hotel. Well, this day we got first hand knowledge of Bangkok trafic: it tooks us 2.5 hour to get there and 20 min to get back! The dinner was nothing to write home about and the show was very interesting and nice! Pick up time was 5.30pm and we've back about 10:30pm. Day 2 At 9am we've first briefing with Viking reps (Tum & Tango), were divided in two buses (total 50 people)- and this division will hold for the whole trip, got "quiet boxes" with spare batteries (keep them, you almost for sure will need them later) and informed about day schedule (10am-12:30am visit to Grand Palace by boat, 6:30pm leaving for the Thai restaurant dinner) and collected $10/p for tips to everyone in Bangkok besides them-selves (this amount seems reasonable, even though it is not acceptable practice in Thailand to tip...). There is no canals included in the tour, even though it was supposed to be included according to Viking brochure. Piece of advise: if for some unlucky reason you're in Tango's group, insist on going with Tum. In my view Tango's English is absolutely is incomprehensible and while he is very nice guy this does not compensate for the fact that you'll be not able to understand his explanations in Royal Palace and/or on the way there. IMHO, he should not have been employed at all. In the afternoon we went for Thai massage (300 B for 1h.) I recommend it- you'll be streched, pushed, pulled, but eventually will feel better. If not go for foot massage - the same cost. And we went for shopping in MBK. This is very interesting place (including food court on 5 fl) and if you've some time to spare, go for it! It is 5 stops by skytrain ("National Stadium" stop), 37 b each way. Dinner was fine,- community style service, most of the dishes too spicy for my taste, but manageable. And it will be your first chance to sit with your companions - stupid and poor people don't go to such cruises so, I think you will (mostly) enjoy it! (in our group the oldest lady was 90y old, the second 86 y.o and my wife - 52 y.o was the youngest one). Day 3. In the morning we got transfered to airport for our flight to Mandalay. It was well organized process, no complains. The fly leaves around 12:30pm, lasts 1:30 h, they feed you lunch (extremely spicy so you better off to make some sandwiches in the hotel). When we arrived, we where met by Andrew & Nan Da- our PD's (program directors). They're going to be with you for the duration of the cruise until you leave from Yangon back to Bangkok. It is not sure that you'll get the same guys- there are 4 PD's for each ship, so which 2 you'll get is unknown. In any case, Andrew's English was easier to understand than Nan Da's, but Nan Da was more open about things and it is hard to say who was better. You can exchange money at the airport, but if you ask PD to do it tomorrow in the city you'll get 3% more for your money. I suggest to exchange only $100 per couple (they suggest twice that much),- a lot of places accept $$$, but some not. In any case you can exchange back or leave it as a tip at the end of the cruise. since it was already too late to go to monastery as planned (it closes at 4pm) we went directly to the ship and all planned things were moved to the next day. the trip to ship takes 45 min. On the bus, PDs will suggest to give $50 each toward tips for everybody not from the ship. At the end of the cruise you'll get the breakdown how that money was spent. We all (besides one couple) agreed and from looking on the breakdown of expenses I strongly recommend to give them only $30 p/p- it seems sufficient enough,- the tip IMHO, was not only exessive in some cases, but also given to some people that simply should not have got it at all. The ship (Viking Orient). Huge disappointment. Not even close to European river ships. The room is too small (about 140 sf), the storage space is very limited, the only "window" is the door that you came thru, but if you keep it open, then, everyone who passes will see inside your cabin. There is no A/C common space and sun deck is too hot during the day. There is also extremely bad acustics in dining room and you need to raise your voice in order to be heard. Put A/C on the "wave" you'll get better cooling. There is no Wi-Fi on board, but 2 computers with slow internet available, most of the time. Nothing blocked. Regarding clothing: don't worry about what to wear to monasteries or pagodas- every day it will be announced what is appropriate and worse case scenario you'll be given something to cover yourself. I suggest to pack light, the dress code is super-casual, no formal nights and no ties, suits, evening dresses- this is not like in Europe. Wear flip-flops, if you can. The schedule looks like that: 7-9am breakfast (very limited choice. You won't go hungry, but this is not Shangri-La) with tea or coffee; 9am -11:30am sightseeeing 12am- lunch. (Very good salads, poor main dish). 3:30pm- second sightseeing. 6pm- coctail hour; 6:45pm briefing for the next day. 7pm dinner. 8:30pm some kind of entertainment- movies ("The Lady"- highly recommend, and "The life of Budda"- put me to sleep), local productions- worth to try and once trivia game. At 10pm the computer is all yours- everybody is sleeping. There is no tea/coffee served during the lunch or dinner- there is machine at the bar where you can get very bad cappuchino or so-so coffee and normal tea. The drinks are included, besides imported hard alcohol (so local Wisky or Rum and local wines and coctails as much as you can). I'm not much drinker so have no clue about quality of any drinks, including beer. The desserts are mostly nothing to write home. BTW, Viking use to issue every traveler name tag (very convinient), but for some reason stop doing it few weeks ago. When you leave the ship for the daily excursions you'll get battle of water; when you come back you surrender your foot wear for the cleaning (do it) and get it in 1/2 h. Regarding sickness: I'm 100% sure that nobody ate anything from outside the ship and still every time someone was sick for 1-2 days. I think the reason for it the spices and the combination of unfamiliar food with drinks. At some point about 9 people were sick and did not show for excursion. Don't use Imodium, but rather Pipto-Bismol. Back to the day 3. At 6:15pm we got briefing with Hotel Manager- Dominiqe from Switzerland. Very nice and open guy. What is important, is that he said that in the area we pass there was no malaria case in the last 5-7 years so you don't have to take any profilatics. Day 4. The full day of Mandalay, including lunch in local (Chinese) restaurant. Very nice. Here you'll get your first real taste of Myanmar,- the city of 3m, looks like oversized village and simply different from Europe or USA. I'm not going to describe what we've seen (mostly), because you'll see it yourself, but rather just prepare you for any logistics or surprises. Day 5. Ava . Here you're going for the first time encounter local vendors,- mostly girls 7-17y old. They will try to sell you some costume jewelry (negotiate) and try to make you feel gilty ("what is your name? will you think about buying? (we're going thru them again) do you remember me? You make me unhappy if you don't buy" etc). My advise: if you like something- negotiate and buy, it is not expensive. If not, then tell them that their happiness is not your concern. The horse ride was unplesant. Amarapura. The visit to monastery is really waste of time; the gandolla ride on the lake is much more interesting. Unfortunatelly because of the time spent in monastery we don't get the chance to walk on the teak bridge. The entertainment: classical Burmese Ballet. highly recommend. Day 6. Your real encounter with village in Burma. Well, if you're after church-castle-palace-square, you'd be better off in Europe. Here it is totally different.... Evening entertainment: lecture about Bagan. While the subject is really interesting the lecturer was falling asleep and was done in 12 min on the subject that could be told hours. Very disappointing. From my later discussion with Dominiq it seems that there is a problem to find English speaking lecturers. Day 7. Bagan. Extremely interesting area, magnificient views. A lot of vendors. Some women bought "elephan pants" $4-$5, T-shirts and other touristic souvenirs. Vendors- see day 5. We dock near reasort where you can get Wi-Fi. Some people went to their coffee shop in the afternoon, but we choose their pool (they did not charge us, but I've heard about $10 fees). Very nice! Entertainment: Puppet show. Could not stand it more than 15 min. Very repetative. Day 8. Another village. Afternoon in Sale with monastery. Day 9. Another village. Afternoon in Magway, by trishaw to Pagoda with very nice view. This was very interesting- the city is not spoiled with tourist attention so we got to feel like on parade. Day 10. Monk blessing on the ship. Works for 26 days. Visit to local market. My wife got "Tanaka" 70c a jar plus some remedy against headachack- another 65c. I bought some bag for my camcorder- $3. In the afternoon we went to Minhla port- total waste of time and another small town. Day 11. Visit to local school where they made serious reception for us with dances, meals etc. (The tip money that left over get contributed to this school) Day 12. We get to Pyay and this is the last stop. For some reasons instead of going by ship to Yangon (160miles), they choose to get there by bus - 7 hours of not pleasant ride. We visited Shwe San daw Pagoda- very interesting and archeological museum- really nothing. Afternoon on your own. But it is so hot that no desire to go and explore more of that town. Disembarkation briefing. Tips: Viking recommend about $200 to crew (per couple) and the same to PD. In my view it is really exesessive,- I think 1/3 to 1/2 of it will do. To crew you can put it on credit card, but to PD only in cash. could be given later in Yangon. Dominiq also collected from everyone e-mail addresses and distributed list with it. Day 13. After breakfast we hit the road to Yangon and by 3pm we're there. Yangon, is the first normal town you'll see. A lot of traffic, normal streets & shops, even supermarket, squares with fonutain. Nice. We went for a swim & then to downtown- very close. The dinner in hotel is included, a lot of selection, but nothing to eat.... Day 14. The climax of the trip Shewdagon pagoda. Unforgettable! It is good thing that we started from Mandalay, because have we started from Yangon everything after that would be really downhill. At the top we got calendar for 2015 (50 cents) with the pictures of Pagoda. Extremely beautiful (both)! In the afternoon we went to supermarket to get idea about local production. Rum- 80 cents bottle. the other imported things are on par with US. Farewell dinner at hotel. Day 15. Moving back to Bangkok. 1 hour flight. The time difference with Birma 1/2h (compared to Bangkok). The same Tango met us, transfer to hotel, return your head pieces and we done. Day 16. Flying home! All in all was very interesting trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
This has been a dream of ours for years and before I booked I talked to a classmate who had been on several Viking Cruises. On her rave reviews we booked a "pre 50th wedding anniversary cruise" that started in Prague and ended in ... Read More
This has been a dream of ours for years and before I booked I talked to a classmate who had been on several Viking Cruises. On her rave reviews we booked a "pre 50th wedding anniversary cruise" that started in Prague and ended in Paris. Viking took great care of us! No worries, no hassle! They picked us up at the airport and from then on we were in their capable hands. The hotels were nice, close to town so we could walk and explore. The tours were fun and interesting, the guides were very knowledgeable . We never would have seen so much on our own. The ship was fantastic! We loved sitting on the deck watching the amazing landscape of castles and vineyards and especially enjoyed going through the river locks. The program director was energetic, friendly, and super organized. Each night there was an opportunity for live music and a fun activity; we really liked the glassblower! The food was fantastic and there was always a nice variety and excellent service. One night I asked the head chef about some mustard that we had tried on German night; he said it could be purchased in the grocery store at the town we were stopping at in a day or two. A few minutes later he came to our table with a jar of the yummy brown mustard! So nice! Another day he took some of us into town and we went to a sausage tasting narrated by our chef! At every turn and opportunity Viking staff met or exceeded our expectations. The intimacy of the ship meant you got to know one another quite well after a few days and we made some new friends!This trip of a lifetime was more than we ever hoped it would be! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
The highlights: Everything while aboard the Odin. It could not have been any better. Excellent officers and staff, excellent food, excellent accommodations with roomy shower, and sliding glass French door. Beautiful scenery. The tour ... Read More
The highlights: Everything while aboard the Odin. It could not have been any better. Excellent officers and staff, excellent food, excellent accommodations with roomy shower, and sliding glass French door. Beautiful scenery. The tour director was outstanding. Good entertainment. Rated five star, A+ The low lights: The long airline flights in uncomfortable, narrow close together seats, whether on Delta Air France or KLM. We were surprised that even though it was called a city of lights vacation, there was no evening tour included in either Paris or Prague. In between: Some excursions were outstanding and interesting with local guides. Others were rushed. As an example, in Prague, we toured the Palace and walked on cobblestones for nearly four hours, with a fifteen minute break. The earphone system was a plus on all of the tours. Since we were in a part of the world where the history spans centuries, it was difficult to keep up with the narratives at times since they were about Norman times at one minute and the World War II in the next. The hotel in Paris, le Meridian was adequate, and although our room was ok, many people had comments about broken tiles, carpet problems etc. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
Cities of Light is advertised as a 12 day cruise, an 11 night tour, with 7 nights on the ship, the other nights are in a hotel. The 12th day, the last day, is a travel day, and for those who have to leave the hotel at 5 am, a hell day; but ... Read More
Cities of Light is advertised as a 12 day cruise, an 11 night tour, with 7 nights on the ship, the other nights are in a hotel. The 12th day, the last day, is a travel day, and for those who have to leave the hotel at 5 am, a hell day; but all cruise lines do the same thing. I am sure that most people who have taken this tour have loved it, but for us, and I repeat, for us, this was not the right tour. Long bus rides everywhere, wall to wall tourists so that one can barely walk at the major sites. Also, I could be wrong, but I think that the top deck on the ship was only open/available for 3 days. However, the onboard ship experience, as always, was impeccable. The lowlight of the trip was the departure from the ship in Bamberg. 1 hour ride to Nurnberg, restroom stops, quick tour, quick lunch, and a 3 hour plus bus ride to Prague, then, the chaos and lack of organization by Viking at check in at the Prague Hilton hotel. The highlight of the trip was the 2 day extension in Prague, loved it and recommend it. By the way, we felt that both hotels were very good, but it should be no surprise to anyone that the restaurant prices will be high. Breakfast buffet was excellent, at both hotels and the ship. Finally, having done the Romantic Danube, we feel that the short tours, all nights on board the ship, is the best way to river cruise for us. If we do another river cruise, we would likely do a similar one to Romantic Danube, with stops at cities where you can walk off the ship right into town. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
This was our first time on a Viking Cruise - The Cities of Lights tour that began in Paris and ended in Prague. Paris and Prague were wonderful, hotels very nice, and the visit to both cities was very enjoyable. The on board experience ... Read More
This was our first time on a Viking Cruise - The Cities of Lights tour that began in Paris and ended in Prague. Paris and Prague were wonderful, hotels very nice, and the visit to both cities was very enjoyable. The on board experience was great. Very attentive, competent and professional staff, the cabins were comfortable and the restaurant and food excellent. Our complaint is with reference to how the visits to the towns en route are handled. We were under the impression that we could use the ship as our hotel and that once docked it would stay there and we could come and go until it was time to leave for the next port. This is not the case. At most ports the ship departs for the next port after the traveler leaves to visit the sites. After the tour of the town (which can be as long as 4 or 5 hours)you are then transported by bus to the next destination. The bus ride sometimes was as long as 2 hours! Also, when visiting certain sites, several Viking cruise ships would converge at the same attraction (castles, palaces, etc.), thereby causing a crowded and somewhat chaotic atmosphere. When the ship landed at its final destination (Bamberg), we disembarked and headed to Prague. We never realized that this bus trip would last over 8 hours, although it did include a stop in Nuerenberg. The bus ride was too long and too tiring. We would not do another river cruise with Viking because of the way they handle their port visits. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
Wow! We really loved our trip from the pre-trip in Prague; River Cruise from Bamberg, Germany to Trier; Luxumborg; and post-trip in Paris! Viking's attention to detail, and friendly, efficient staff, made us feel at ease in foreign ... Read More
Wow! We really loved our trip from the pre-trip in Prague; River Cruise from Bamberg, Germany to Trier; Luxumborg; and post-trip in Paris! Viking's attention to detail, and friendly, efficient staff, made us feel at ease in foreign countries. We never felt alone and knew that if we needed anything, Viking staff would be there to help us! From our Captain, Cruise Director, Chef, Concierge, waitresses and waiters, and cabin steward et al - Thank you for a wonderful cruise! Our Concierge on the Odin was amazing! She was able to link us up with another couple, who already had reservations for dinner and show at the Moulin Rouge in Paris. As a result, long after we left the ship, we were able to fulfill our plans to have dinner and show with our newly found friends! Accomodations for the entire trip was top of the line, and comfortable, allowing us to soak in all the sites and sounds of each location with ease! Lastly, the quality of guides and ability to use the "quiet box", made each tour a delight. We were able to hear all the comments and as a result, learned a great deal. Our champagn toast on top of the Eiffle Tower topped it off! Thanks Viking for making our 50th Anniversary all that we wanted it to be:)   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
This was our first experience on a Viking Long ship . It was truly a great experience and the upgrades over the regular ships is great. I sure that in no time all the ships with be long ships. The meals and the service has really improved ... Read More
This was our first experience on a Viking Long ship . It was truly a great experience and the upgrades over the regular ships is great. I sure that in no time all the ships with be long ships. The meals and the service has really improved or our previous cruise 6 years ago on Viking. I wished we had paid more attention to the bus rides that we were gong to have as it can as a surprise to us and that maybe partly because we did not get our tour information three weeks in advance as it should be. The shore excursions were all very good but a couple of them could of had more detail in the places we visited. For example we did not get to see enough of Nurnberg as it s such and important place in history. I suppose that this these trips are to tweek your interest and cause to want to return and see more. We appreciated the addition of the head sets for touring they were a real plus. The cabins were nice size with a larger TV than before and the fact that you could use 110 or 220 power was a great plus. We will no doubt be back Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
I received so many helpful hints from others prior to my cruise that I thought I’d share some highlights from my experience. I’m in my early 60s, an active, experienced traveler in good physical shape. I did this cruise with my sister, ... Read More
I received so many helpful hints from others prior to my cruise that I thought I’d share some highlights from my experience. I’m in my early 60s, an active, experienced traveler in good physical shape. I did this cruise with my sister, who has walking difficulties – she walks with a cane, can go steps, but walks slowly and can’t walk far without resting. So, some of this review will be from the perspective of someone with walking difficulties. Overall, we had a fabulous time and would happily sail with Viking again. However, there are a few small things that Viking could do to make it easier for people with limited walking abilities. Viking does offer a leisure/slow group for city tours and there were several others walking with canes that joined us for these. I did lots of research before the trip to make it as easy as possible and enjoyable for my sister – who had never been to Paris, Germany, or Prague before. I’ve been to Paris and Prague several times and to most of the places in Germany once, so I had a sense of what would be doable for us. For Paris, I relied heavily on Rick Steves’ guide. We had booked Vikings precruise tour of Paris, but ended up arriving a day earlier than expected due to a pilot’s strike by Air France. I had booked our airfare via Delta and received an email about 6 days before departure. I called Delta and easily moved the flight up a day. Some who had Viking book didn’t find out until the day before departure. Viking had us staying at Le Meridien and I booked another night myself. Tip: I booked a room for about $ 350 per night. The Viking precruise tour package ended up being about $ 500 per night. I would have booked it all on my own, but didn’t want the hassle of changing hotels if Viking made a last minute change. I didn’t get breakfast included in the $350 room rate and didn’t want to pay the 20+ euros for breakfast, so went across the street to Starbucks (in the shopping mall) for coffee and pastries. Breakfast was included in the Viking rate – it was good but not 20+ euros good. The shopping mall also has a fabulous gourmet grocery store. Several evenings, my sister was too tired to go out to dinner. I got takeout from the store and we enjoyed that in our room. Found some small items for gifts and bought some wine to take on the cruise. Transportation Tip: If you don’t have a Viking Transfer from the airport, the Air France bus stops directly across from the hotel. I bought our tickets in advance online – the transfer was very easy and I didn’t have to stress watching the taxi meter rise while stuck in morning rush hour traffic. The hotel isn’t in an area I’d choose to stay in, but transportation connections were convenient. Monday, 15 September Our flight came in about 5:30 AM so we arrived at the hotel well before checkin time. I didn’t expect that we could check in – and we couldn’t. Checked our baggage with the porter. I went to the metro station to buy a carnet of metro/bus tickets (a carnet is 10 tickets – cheaper than buying them individually). We walked up to the Avenue de la Grande Armee to catch Bus # 73 to Arc de Triomphe where we caught the Open Air Hop On/Off Bus. Thought this would be a good easy thing to do on our first day and would give my sister a feel for the layout of Paris. I bought my tickets in advance. We had a beautiful warm, sunny day, so enjoyed riding on the top. I wouldn’t recommend this as the fastest way to get around. We were often stopped for fairly long periods of time as people bought their tickets while boarding. We got off to visit Notre Dame here, so skipped this part of the Viking Tour – later in the week. Tuesday, 16 September My sister was very tired so I went out on my own – after my breakfast run to Starbucks. Returned and we had lunch at Le Sud, just up the street from the hotel. Took bus # 73 again to Musee D’Orsay. Let me start here by saying how access-friendly Paris and Parisians are. If you are handicapped, admission to museums for you and your companion is free. Wheelchairs are also free (just need to leave an ID). I knew that walking around museums, especially the Louvre, would be difficult for my sister, the wheelchairs made it possible. The staffs of the museums went out of their way to show us to the elevators – not always easy to find. Wednesday, 17 September We’re officially on Viking tour now and enjoyed the hotel buffet breakfast. Each day, the host/hostess seated us at a table close to the buffet so we didn't have to walk far. We took the Metro to the Louvre – fairly easy walk from station directly into the Louvre’s underground shopping center. I didn’t plan on use Metro much as there are steps and often quite a bit of walking if you’re in a station with connections. (People readily gave up their seats for my sister). Again, the museum staff were very helpful – we were even directed to go in front of the velvet rope at the Mona Lisa, so my that my sister had a great view. Dinner this evening was at the Eiffel Tower. Tip: If you want to go up the tower for a tour or a meal, be sure to book in advance or face waiting in a very long line. To avoid this, I thought about booking lunch. In June, lunch reservations were already sold out for our dates in September, so we splurged on dinner. Expensive (about $ 110 each), but food was great and the view was fantastic. We took a cab both ways. Thursday, 18 September Another morning on my own. In the afternoon, we went to Giverny with Paris Tours. It’s easy to get there on your own, but Paris Tours picks you up at your hotel. We were dropped off at the back, close to the lily ponds – there are steps. We did that first before walking up to the house and gardens. There were benches to sit on to rest. The bus picked us up near the house, so walking was minimized. Note: I really wanted to go to Versailles as I hadn’t been there in more than 20 years, but was concerned that my sister wouldn’t be able to keep up with a tour and if we did it on our own, it would involve lots of walking. And, recent reviews on TripAdvisor complained about the crowds. Also, I knew that Wurzburg would give us a baroque palace experience. Friday, 19 September Decided to take Viking’s morning tour of Paris (I wish they had 1 or 2 busses do this the first day of the precruise tour – kind of too late after you’ve been tin Paris for a day or two). The first part of the route took us through a part of Paris that we didn’t cover on the Open Air Tour. We got off near Notre Dame. I don’t recall if there was a slow group organized, but we wouldn’t have been able to keep up to get to Notre Dame. Decided to skip the rest of the tour and took bus # 63 to Pere Lachaise cemetery to see Jim Morrison’s (The Doors) grave. Used Rick Steves’ directions. I’d been before, but my sister wanted to go and it’s not a far walk from the bus stop and there are benches in the cemetery to rest. We took the same # 63 bus back and got off to visit the Rodin Museum – my sister’s choice. The gardens were lovely with roses and sculptures, but the house was not very accessible – just stairs. My sister was worn out by then – taking a bus would have meant a transfer and the taxi stand was quite a walk away. A woman in the gift shop offered to call us a cab – well worth it. Saturday, 20 September Left Paris about 8:00 for Luxembourg City. We were assigned to a bus with other “leisure travelers”. Here’s a little thing that Viking could do to help – have the bus with the leisure group parked closest to the hotel, ship, etc. While walking a few bus lengths isn’t a big thing for most, if you can’t walk far, it does make a difference – many times, our bus was the furthest one away. Had one stop along the way (bus drivers are mandated to stop for a break). Long lines at the restroom as all busses stopped at the same place. Nice shop to buy champagne, snacks, etc. Arrived Luxembourg City around lunch. With Saturday crowds and some kind of festival going on, it was hard to see and keep up with the guide on the walk to the center. She wasn’t very clear on when/where to meet for the city tour and some people missed it – we only had about 30 mins for lunch before the start of the city tour. We opted for a nice lunch instead. We went to The Chocolate House, recommended by Rough Guide, and across from the Grand Ducal Palace. Beautiful view, great food, and yummy desserts and bought some chocolate spoons to go (you dip these in hot milk for a hot chocolate drink). Stopped by the American Cemetery. Hard to keep up with our guide, but we heard what he said via the Quiet Boxes – what a great invention! Finally arrived in Trier to board the Viking Odin. Fast easy boarding process – if you’ve only cruised on ocean liners, you’ll be amazed at how fast checkin and getting your luggage can be! I booked our tour in December and the only cabin left was on the lower level. There is no elevator down. One flight of steps was ok for my sister. Being on a higher deck would have been easier. There is an elevator from Deck 2 (Dining Room) to Deck 3 (Lounge), with just steps up to the sun deck. If I cruise again with her, I’d go for a higher deck to minimize steps; with someone else, I’d be perfectly happy on the lower deck. We didn’t spend much time in our cabin and I’d rather splurge on something else. Had pre dinner brief by our program director, Titiana (I hope I spelled her name right). She’s an enthusiastic, ball of energy and did a wonderful job, as did the entire crew. Sunday 21 September Had a quick bus tour of the outskirts of Trier to see several Roman sites and then started our walking tour. We went with the leisure group. Had several opportunities to sit down but it was still quite a long walk. Couldn’t go into the basilica (primo Roman site) as it’s now used as a church and there was a service. We had time at the end of the tour to sit and have some hot chocolate. If you were on the fast tour, there might have been time to visit the museum by Porta Nigra. Note, my husband and I usually prefer to travel on our own and we’ve visited Trier before. This is one place where I’d have been very frustrated by the tour – we love Roman archaeological sites and I would have missed a lot if the Viking tour had been my only experience, but that’s one of the disadvantages of taking an organized tour. We had a late afternoon stop at Bernkastel. Did some window shopping. Monday, 22 September Docked in Cochem to visit Reichsburg Castle. Minivans took us up to the Castle and then back down the hill for a walking tour of the town. I asked if we could go up in the first van so that we’d have plenty of time to walk in the town (without slowing anyone else down). The Castle was doable for my sister and we enjoyed the tour. We left the walking tour early to slowly make our way down. We had a leisurely afternoon – watched a movie in our cabin before docking in Koblenz. Tuesday, 23 September I visited Marksburg Castle while my sister relaxed on the ship while it cruised to Brauback– you never have to get off for port visits if you don’t want to. Titania made it very clear that this tour would be difficult for those with mobility issues and she was right. The walk up to the castle isn’t too bad, but once inside the gate, there are places where it’s rocky, steep, and uneven. The afternoon was spent cruising the Rhine and viewing the castles. We had lunch on the Aquavit Terrace and stayed there most of the afternoon enjoying the view. The crew brought lap blankets as it was cool and cloudy to start. There are plexiglass panels at the bow, so we were fairly well protected from the wind. Titania broadcast which castles were coming up so we knew what to look for. Rick Steves also covers this area well. Docked in Rudesheim about 5. It was a long walk into town from where the ship docked. Another tip for Viking – in Rudesheim and a few other places, the ship docked quite far from the center of town. Some of these towns had little tourist trains/trolleys. It would have been nice if Viking could have arranged for these to meet the ship – or offered to call a cab. We’d have gladly paid extra for the convenience. Tip for Christmas decoration shoppers – our first Kathe Wohlfahrt shop was in Rudesheim. There are also stores in Heildelburg and Rothenburg. One of our tour guides offered brochures for a 10% discount. Had a special German dinner on board along with a tour of the galley. Wednesday, 24 September Disembarked in Aschaffenburg and took a bus to Heidelberg Castle. Quite a steep walk to the entrance from where the bus parked. The leisure tour did stop at several scenic places to sit so it worked out ok. Bus took us to the outskirts of the Old Town and we walked to Zum Ritter for lunch (included) – a fairly long walk. We had a very good beef dish but you could order a vegetarian option in advance. A student from the University was seated at each table, but we were too far away to converse with him. Restrooms were upstairs, but Titiana showed us a hidden elevator. After lunch we were on our own and did some window shopping. We were to meet at Zum Ritter for the walk back to the bus. Unfortunately, there is no place to sit on the square – except for restaurants where you had to order something. We ordered coffee, just to have a place to sit and wait. Bus took us back to ship which had sailed to Miltenberg. Thursday, 25 September We had signed up for the Rothenburg tour – I had been there more than 20 years before and would have liked to revisit, but it would have meant a full day of touring which was too much for my sister. Don’t miss if you haven’t been. We had seen some medieval towns, but hadn’t seen a baroque palace and didn’t want to be too tired to enjoy Wurzburg Palace. The bus dropped us off near the entrance. There is a magnificent staircase, but the guide told us where to find the elevator to join the tour at the top. We left the tour after the Palace portion, foregoing the city tour to take more time to enjoy the gardens. We made our way through town on our own, crossed the old bridge (and saw our ship going through the lock) to catch our bus which took us on a short ride to the ship. Our afternoon was free and I walked back to the city. Except for the Palace, it’s not a very touristy town and you’ll find shops and department stores geared towards the locals, not tourists. Captain’s dinner tonight and most people dressed up a bit more – as others have posted, whatever you wear during the day is perfectly acceptable for dinner. A group of men had T-shirts imprinted with a tuxedo – a nice touch. Friday, 26 September A leisurely morning with a disembarkation briefing followed by a lecture on the European Union. Arrived Bamberg after lunch. Took the leisure tour through the city and had lots of time after to enjoy a local beer and do more shopping. Bus back to the ship, our final dinner and I paid our bill after dinner. Unlike ocean cruising, there were few extras to pay for. We added our tips and I had a few slacks laundered – that was it. We had no bar bill. We found that wine or beer at lunch and dinner was plenty for us. We bought 2 bottles of wine in Paris and only drank ½ of one! A note about services on the ship. We didn’t use the services of the concierge, but she provided information about tours and concerts in Prague and would gladly book for any of those interested. We talked with several people who used her to book trips to Cesky Krumlov or a car/driver to take them to other places outside of Prague. Saturday, 27 September. Bags out by 7 and we were to be out of cabins by 8. After breakfast, we went back to our cabin – about 7:30, only to find that beds had been stripped and all towels were gone – a bit tacky, but we still left an extra tip for the cabin steward as she had been great all week. We also had to leave our quiet boxes – not sure why. The busses took us to Nuremberg. We didn’t have quiet boxes and couldn’t hear our guide most of the time. We went to the Zeppelin parade ground, the castle and then back to the Old Town. I liked Nuremberg more than I thought and will revisit if I'm in the area so that I can see more of it. We had lunch at a café on the square – we tried to pay by credit card and the waitress told us that the restaurants on the square don’t take credit cards, so be sure to have cash. The clock on the Church of Our Lady on the square has a mechanical show at noon – wish our tour guide would have told us that – maybe she did, but we couldn’t hear. We caught the end of the show. Bus to Prague for stay at the Prague Hilton. Like Le Meridien in Paris, I wouldn’t choose to stay in this location. But, the hotel is really nice. There are ATMs and currency exchange machines in the lobby so it’s easy to get Czech currency. I’m a Hilton Gold member and the Executive Lounge is probably the best I’ve encountered. My sister was too tired to go out, so we ended up eating “dinner” here every evening (a shame to miss out on real Czech cuisine, but we did have great lunches!). Tip: I had wanted to go to Pivovarsky Klub Microbrewery, 272 Krizikova –about 2 blocks beyond the Floenc Metro. My husband and I dined at their sister restaurant several years ago and enjoyed it. Be sure to try Becherovka, an herbal liquer made in Karlovy Vary. I also love Czech bread dumplings - often offered with goulash - the sauce on the dumplings is delicious. The hotel is not far from the Florenc metro/bus stop, but for us it was a long walk. There is a small shopping mall across the street with a grocery store and pharmacy (walk through here to get to metro). Sunday, 28 September We got new quiet boxes for the tour - yeah! Took the leisure tour to Prague Castle. Disappointed that we couldn’t visit St. Vitus Cathedral (Sunday services again) but we did hear the bells pealing which was almost as good. Saw the end of the changing of the guard ceremony. We had plans to meet family at 12. The bus was going nearby our meeting point and the driver kindly let us off. The fast tour had planned on stopping at the Charles Bridge and the group would walk over this to the Old Town. The slow group would have missed the Charles Bridge part. Monday, 29 September This was the end of the Viking Tour, but we extended one day in Prague and another 5 days in the Czech Republic. We took a taxi to the Mucha Museum (I love Art Nouveau). We walked from there to Obecni Dum (Municipal House) to see another Art Nouveau exhibit and had lunch in their beautiful café. Would have loved to have come back for a concert – it’s a really beautiful building. Walked to Old Town Square to see the Astronomical Clock and then shopped at Erpet Bohemian Crystal – across from the clock. Tip: Someone who used to work at the US Embassy Prague recommended this shop as a reputable place, especially if you want to ship your purchases. We bought some garnet jewelry here, but if I had wanted to make a large purchase, I’d do it here. We probably should have asked the store clerk to call a cab for us, but we walked to the Mustak Metro station and took it to Florenc (near the hotel). There is an elevator at Florenc but we had to wait a long time for it. Someone with a bicycle got on and there was no place for us so we had to wait for the next one (bikes aren’t supposed to be allowed). We had a drink at Hilton's rooftop lounge for a nice view of the city. Tuesday, 30 September – Friday, 3 October We had breakfast in the Executive Lounge – same food as the lobby buffet, but not as crowded. We had arranged for a Hilton car to take us to the airport (800 kc) and the car dropped us off at the car rental place as requested. We drove to the palace at Horovice (my great grandfather was a guard there) and stayed at nearby Chateau Zibrou – very interesting if you’re in the area and want a castle hotel stay and an interesting tour. I didn’t know it when I booked but Mucha spent several years here and there is a nice exhibit of his work. Next to Cesky Krumlov for 2 nights. Then to Putim, a small town outside of Pisek where we visited more relatives. I only mention this if there are any fans of the book “The Good Soldier Svejk”. Parts of the book take place here and a movie of the book was filmed here. There is now a statue of Svejk here as well. Saturday, 4 October Drove back to airport to return car and stayed at Airport Marriott. Since we had a very early morning flight, it seemed easiest to stay here. Very reasonable priced – about $ 85. And there are walkways to both terminals. We enjoyed a good dinner and our final Czech beer here. I hope that some of you find this review useful. I'm happy to try to answer any questions. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
We recently took the Paris to Prague cruise on the Viking Odin. While the ship and staff were exceptional, I would not recommend this particular itinerary. The cruise had 2 nights in Paris at Le Meridian Hotel. While at the hotel, the only ... Read More
We recently took the Paris to Prague cruise on the Viking Odin. While the ship and staff were exceptional, I would not recommend this particular itinerary. The cruise had 2 nights in Paris at Le Meridian Hotel. While at the hotel, the only meals included are the buffet breakfast. Day one is the arrival date for most of the passengers and day 2 there is a morning bus tour. Very early on day 3 you leave Paris by bus and travel to the ship with a tour of Luxemburg along the way. During the 8 days on the ship, you are taken on a bus tour in the port and then taken by bus to the next port where the ship is docked. You are unable to cruise the river on the ship because if you do, you can't visit the port. I would have like the ship to stay docked at each port so I could visit the cities while we were there and cruise with the ship. This was the case in the town of Bamberg. We arrived in Bamberg and were docked in at an industrial dock (not pretty at all) and were unable to walk into the town. If you did not take the bus tour, again, you did not see the city. The following morning we were again put on a bus and went to Nuremberg for a tour. From there we went by bus to Prague and arrived in Prague around 5 PM. It was a long, long day on a bus. The next morning there was a bus tour of Prague and we had the afternoon to wander in the city. The hotel was quite a distance from the city center, so you needed to find your own transportation back to the hotel. Both hotels booked by Viking were business hotels and not very well located for touring. I would take another river cruise, however, I would make sure it was a river cruise, not a bus trip. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
My family discovered the ultimate vacation in 2013- a Viking cruise on the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Basel. It was fantastic from beginning to end! We just couldn't stop thinking about the great experience, so we booked another ... Read More
My family discovered the ultimate vacation in 2013- a Viking cruise on the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Basel. It was fantastic from beginning to end! We just couldn't stop thinking about the great experience, so we booked another Viking cruise the following year, in 2014- this time from Paris to Prague, aboard the ship, Odin. The staff and crew were welcoming and the atmosphere was always relaxed and fun. The daily excursions were fabulous and interesting and included local guides. There was plenty of free time to enjoy the destinations. And we enjoyed everything on the ship- most of all- the food. We took thousands of pictures! We had an extended stay in Paris prior to the cruise and Viking took care of everything. Both of our cruises with Viking have been fabulous; I would call them both vacations of a lifetime. We are pleased with the quality of the Viking cruises and the planning that Viking has done to provide us with great destinations, great rooms, great food, and great fun! Life doesn't get any better than being on one of these cruises. And it won't take us long to get back to Europe next year for a third Viking cruise. They are absolutely the best! Counting the days, Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
Our trip did not start out very well.....Flight delays gave us only 12 hours in Prague, which we made the best of. Then our luggage did not arrive. The Concierge and Di Ana spent 4 days tracking our luggage and working very hard to get it ... Read More
Our trip did not start out very well.....Flight delays gave us only 12 hours in Prague, which we made the best of. Then our luggage did not arrive. The Concierge and Di Ana spent 4 days tracking our luggage and working very hard to get it to us 5 days after departing Prague. The ships crew was very accommodating, providing laundry service. We purchased some shirts and at least had a change of wardrobe. The Cruise itself was fabulous. We enjoyed every stop, especially the guides, who were very knowledgable and understandable. The restaurant staff was great. The food was good and plentiful. The on board activities were very entertaining. The hotel accommodations were first class. The only disappointment was the sun deck being closed most of the time, but it was understandable. The cabin was very comfortable and clean. All in all I would rate the cruise on a scale of 10 a 9. Read Less
Viking Odin Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.5
Dining 3.5 4.6
Entertainment 3.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.0
Family 1.0 3.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 3.5 4.2
Service 5.0 4.8
Value For Money 4.0 4.3
Rates 4.0 3.6

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