Sail Date: December 2012
Well let me first say the crew on the boat was wonderful, no hesitation there, friendly, helpful and an absolute joy. Now on to viking. We got started on the wrong foot when the river was to high for the boat to get down river and pick ... Read More
Well let me first say the crew on the boat was wonderful, no hesitation there, friendly, helpful and an absolute joy. Now on to viking. We got started on the wrong foot when the river was to high for the boat to get down river and pick us up. Not much viking can do about that. But they could have done something about the bus trip, things we missed such as stops along the way, and hotels we got stuck in. We were told that we would all receive a refund of 25% of what we paid plus a credit for 50% off another cruise from what we paid. That seemed fair at the outset. What followed was hardly worth it. We went from hotel to hotel, which is a pain but again, not exactly Vikings fault. The places we stayed at were however Vikings choice. Spending new years eve at the airport, with food that would gag a goat was not my idea of a pleasant cruise. While we could hear the huge fireworks display at midnight we were not part of the celebration. Having gone thru the Hogmanay in Edinburgh decided not to head out but would have enjoyed being up on the upper deck watching, which of course did not happen. Not only that, the upper deck was never even opened for reasons never really explained. The basic 90 minutes we spent walking around in Vienna was a little short to see the city and guess I will have to go back another time. But the real kicker was in seeing how, after a disappointing trip viking lived up to its word. I did receive a check in the mail. It was for about 12% of what I paid, not the 25% as promised and never did get the voucher as promised. As far as I am concerned, if this is how a company stands behind their word, I will look elsewhere to spend my money next time. Fortunately, there are plenty of lines out there, that want my money, and don't lie and cheat people after they give their word. Again, my frustration is not with the crew, or the boat, it is with the company, based in southern California, which might say something right there. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2016
BUYER BEWARE!! Viking purports to be the cruise line that takes care of everything for you. You can't even book a cruise on line - you need either a travel agent or a Viking representative to do it for you. They take wonderful care ... Read More
BUYER BEWARE!! Viking purports to be the cruise line that takes care of everything for you. You can't even book a cruise on line - you need either a travel agent or a Viking representative to do it for you. They take wonderful care of you.....Until you pay your money. Once you pay, you are on your own. We paid $18,989 for a 12 day Prague to Paris cruise. Viking took care of the airfare. We left our home at noon on Wednesday and arrived in Prague at 8:30 PM on Thursday (no airline delays) only to find that everyone else on the cruise had arrived at 9 AM on Thursday. There was a reception earlier in the day. There were no Viking representatives to greet us - actually the airline lost our luggage and there was no one who we could talk to at Viking. We filled out the requested survey - and heard nothing. I sent a letter to Viking and got a call. Their representative told me that it was up to me to "raise any questions I may have regarding air arrangements" when I received our documents. I didn't know I had any questions until we arrived in Prague and found out that we were the only ones who had lost a full day of travel. The bottom line is that you will be charged for a 12 day cruise (we had to leave at 6 AM on the last day) but you will only have a 10 day vacation. Other than the airfare the food was ok (dinners in particular weren't great), our cabin had severe ceiling water leaks which they had to fix twice. The staff is excellent and does whatever they to help. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We started poorly. The hotel in Paris was not able to have our rooms ready by the 3 p.m. deadline. Instead, we were not allowed into our room until well after 5 p.m. Our wake-up call did not materialize and thus we missed our assigned ... Read More
We started poorly. The hotel in Paris was not able to have our rooms ready by the 3 p.m. deadline. Instead, we were not allowed into our room until well after 5 p.m. Our wake-up call did not materialize and thus we missed our assigned bus ride to our port of embarkation, Trier. Our cruise should have lasted 6 nights. Instead, the Odin broke down and we were stranded at a small German town - Ashafenburg - if my spelling is correct, for three of those nights. Our river cruise turned into a bus tour - not what I signed up for! There was sporadic electric service, toilets did not flush, a/c was non-existent and the kitchen staff ultimately ran out of the food they had intended to serve. However, when the kitchen was running at full tilt, the food was very good. Tour guides tried their best and the staff in the dining room and the cabin crew did their best. The officers not so much. The captain did not speak English - this on a boat with 189 Americans aboard - and the Hotel Manager who translated for him, did not give us the captain's full explanation. I don't speak much German but I do know the word propeller. That was never mentioned in the translation. The entertainment on board was mediocre, the wine tasting, at an additional expense, was disappointing although the tour of Prague was well done. The final straw was that the plane, the flight arranged by Viking, from Prague to Heathrow was late in leaving Prague causing us to miss our connection back to the states. When we finally boarded the following day, we sat on the tarmac for 21/2 hours before departing. Altogether, the trip from _ _ _ _ !! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
On the previous week's sailing, the Viking Odin was stranded for several days in a small port near Frankfurt because of engine and electrical mechanical problems. for our trip, the following week, Viking decided to allow the trip to ... Read More
On the previous week's sailing, the Viking Odin was stranded for several days in a small port near Frankfurt because of engine and electrical mechanical problems. for our trip, the following week, Viking decided to allow the trip to continue by staying at the boat still stuck near Frankfurt and bussing us to all the cities in Germany, such as Bamberg, Nuremburg, Rothenburg, Wurzburg, Heidelberg, Trier, etc. We would spend hours and hours on buses each day, with very little time for actual sightseeing at each destination. This was not a river cruise; it was an autobahn trip by bus. By the third day of the trip, the 180+ passengers were ready to mutiny. On day 4, the captain abandoned the boat. Yes, he got off the boat carrying his suitcase. Because of electrical problems, we had no water in our cabin for several days, and no A/C. Dinners were always late becuse of complications in the galley. I thank the city of Bernkastel Germany for providing free outdoor showers to campers and Odin passengers. Viking offered no compensation, except for one-night-only open bar in the lounge only after 9 pm. Very poor customer service, with no regard for passenger comfort. While the Hilton in Prague is very good, with a great breakfast bufffet and pleasant service, the Meridian in Paris is the opposite. The Meridien caters exclusively to large tour groups and conventions; the Convention Center is directly across the street. The room for the breakfast buffet is much too small to handle the hunndreds of tourists who all leave at the same time in the mornings. The buffet is slim pickings; the trays are mostly empty. Front desk staff, housekeeping, dining room attendants are rude or indifferent. There are no coffee or tea facilities in the room. There are vending machines on each floor near the elevators that charge 2.5 euros. The machines on the 2nd floor, where our room was, and 3rd floor were broken. No ice either. The machine on the 7th floor worked. The Odin sun deck was closed off almost the entire time. Not sure why, beacuse we didn't go anywhere. The boat was clean, and the staff reasonably pleasant considering the circumstances. The German chef certainly tried his best in the galley with limited electrical power. The cheese soup with grapes and walnuts was outstanding. Our cabin had only a total of two drawers for my wife and me. The nightstands could have used some drawers or shelves. The 4-inch wide shelving unit in the closet is totally useless. What can you put in a 4-inch wide shelf? There were no drawers under the vanity. The tv did not work, not that we had any time because we went straight to the dining room after spending 9-10 hours every day on those buses. Viking could have and should have done much better. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2013
We were looking for a great river cruise experience but it was a total disappointment. We had many ocean experience and because we saw the good reviews on Viking river cruise so decided to try the river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. ... Read More
We were looking for a great river cruise experience but it was a total disappointment. We had many ocean experience and because we saw the good reviews on Viking river cruise so decided to try the river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. What a big mistake! First, the cruise ship had absolutely no facilities except one lounge and one dining room which are extremely small and the décor was very ordinary. The food was lousy. The menu was extremely small. There are only 3 options every night, a vegetarian, meat or fish entrée. I had fishes 4 times. The names of the fishes were different every time but it was the same fish. Two of them were sea bass, halibut. The other two had some exotic names. I know exactly what sea bass and halibut taste and look like but what was served was definitely what they claimed to be. How can they serve the same fish but told us different names! We experience lot keepers strike after the first few days. Because of that, the cruise ships along the river were all back up and our cruise had to park in some remote terminal. We ended up spending 4 hours each day on the buses. The bus drivers didn't even know the way around to the remote terminal and had to stop along the way and ask for directions along the way. We were only given an hour or less free time at the cities we visited. One thing we didn't know was by regulation, the cruise ship cannot discharge the waste to the river. I suspect because at the remote terminal, they were not able to discharge the waste, The lavatory and the shower were clot up most of the time because the drain was extremely slow due to all the waste built up. I was standing in a pool of water in the shower and it took me half an hour to wash my face because the water would not drain. There was absolutely no program to speak of. The only program they had was a pianist every night. Occasionally the cruise ship would bring some one from the shore to play music or to dance except the dance floor was only 10' x 10' square. The dancer was dancing at the same spot which was so boring. The quality of entertainers were low quality. You would think one can go on the deck to get a nice view of the river except they closed the deck most of the time. The employees had to lower all the rails and collapse the furniture so the ship can pass under the bridges. On top of that, there were about 69 lots along the entire river. Almost every couple of hour or so we passed through the lot. It took almost an hour to get through each one and all we could see were the concrete walls on both sides. We toured their kitchen. I could not believe my eyes. The kitchen was only slightly bigger than my home kitchen. There are hardly any cooking equipment in there. When we asked the chef, the answer was they put the food in the oven or the microwave. The food was prepared in advance and heated up and garnished to appear good. No wonder the food had no taste. For the whole trip, most of the time we were eating sausages of different types. We were expecting some good food but very much disappointed. Although we had lot keepers' strike but the management did nothing to resolve the problem. While we were still on the river, we heard that other cruise ships were able to booked the guests into hotels so that the guest could visit the cities instead of busing them every day for hours. Our program director kept telling us he was waiting for the corporate office to tell him what to do. The only compensation we got while we were on the river a free drink for one night. Who cares! Originally, we booked the extra excursion to concert at Vienna which cost around $70 each which we gladly pay. But because of the lot problem, the management decided to treat us to the concert for free. The problem was in place of the nice concert, they took us to a tiny little chamber music with a tiny stage and the seating were packed so close together that we were rubbing elbows with the ones next to us. Even though it was free but it was cheap. When we visited the Vienna, we saw the ancient dress up orchestra was only $18 Euro per person. For the money we paid for the Viking cruise, we could have cruise with Crystals and had a good time but instead we had the worse cruise experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2012
My wife and I took the Viking Odin Christmas Market trip over Christmas week. It was supposed to be a river cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest. We only made it to the first port. For the brief time we were on the ship things were ok. The ... Read More
My wife and I took the Viking Odin Christmas Market trip over Christmas week. It was supposed to be a river cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest. We only made it to the first port. For the brief time we were on the ship things were ok. The staterooms are nice as are most of the staff. The food was just ok and the onboard entertainment was poor. Once we were told that the ship could not go any further due to changes in the river water level, the trip became a horrible experience. We were taken by bus, for 3-4 hours at a time, to the next stops on the itinerary. Once at a new stop we were placed into a hotel. So much for the luxury cruise. Most of the amenities expected on the trip ceased the moment we left the ship. Many elements of the itinerary were lost; such as, - Although we booked the Christmas Market cruise, the Christmas Markets were closed in all but Nuremberg. - The ship did not go to Passau. Instead we had a 3-hour round trip bus ride that resulted in reduced touring time. - We had a limited tour of Melk and a poor lunch. - We did not experience the "scenic cruising" through the Wachau Valley due to the bus ride. - The optional concert in Vienna was moved to a different night, again limiting our tour time. - We did not have the "Captain's Farewell Reception and Dinner." We also lost the amenities of the ship, such as, - We had free Wifi on the ship. There was no Wifi on the bus and the Wifi in the hotel was limited to 1 hour and could only be accessed in the lobby. This significantly limited our ability to have needed contact with our home. - We had to unpack and repack several times. One of the key selling points of the cruise is that we only have to unpack once. We also had to get up very early as the buses left at 8am - so much for leisure time. - We lost the companionship of our fellow passengers as we were stuck on busses for many hours. - We had originally purchased the bar package on board which provided our drinks at reduced prices. In order to continue to enjoy social time with our fellow passengers, we had to pay full price at the hotel bar. - On the ship we had choices at every meal. Once we left the ship for the substitute itinerary we were provided with no choices and meals were served banquet style with a take it or leave it attitude. Although we spoke with Viking personnel on board the ship and at the hotel many times to express our dissatisfaction, nothing was offered or done. When we returned we contacted Viking both in writing and by phone to no avail. We asked for either a refund or a replacement cruise. They refused. Although their brochure speaks of a satisfaction guarantee, it isn't worth the paper it is printed on. They clearly failed to provide a comparable experience once we left the ship, and then failed to take responsibility. We certainly will never cruise Viking again and strongly encourage others to avoid them as well. The true measure of a company is not in how they handle things when they are going well but in how they respond when things do not go well - Viking has a lot to learn about customer service. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2012
We were due to sail aboard the Viking Odin on a New Years Cruise between Budapest and Nuremburg, we actually only sailed from Passau to Nuremburg. The problems started a day before we were due to leave, when we received a phone call at ... Read More
We were due to sail aboard the Viking Odin on a New Years Cruise between Budapest and Nuremburg, we actually only sailed from Passau to Nuremburg. The problems started a day before we were due to leave, when we received a phone call at home stating that due to high water on the Danube we would have to spend the first night in hotel in Budapest. We actually spent 3 nights in hotels, 2 nights of which were spent in a Vienna Airport Hotel. We were coached from place to place living out of a suitcase. No choice of meals at lunch. Buffet evening meals at hotels. Only one drink allowed with meals. Then back on a coach next day to continue the tour. The fact remains that Viking knew that the potential for major disruption to our cruise but decided not to notify us of the potential for over half the cruise to be affected. Whilst they were informing us of 1 night problem they were booking hotels to cover the 3 nights, to say they were economical with the truth is an understatement. The fact also remains that the ship was moored in Regensburg for over a week during the xmas period before our arrival due to the high waters 350 miles away from Budapest. You can imagine the chaos and congestion and the hours travelling on a coach and this is not what I planned I wanted a relaxed cruise on the Danube and not a coach tour around Hungary, Austria and Germany.To say I am disappointed with Viking is an under statement. Now that we have returned home they do not care less in assisting to resolve the situation. To finally round things off when we did eventually get on the ship due to an administration error they did not remove our on board credit, so I also had that issue to sort out to which they replied that they would add it onto our next on board account when we travelled with them again. They have got to be kidding!!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Summary: City of Lights Cruiseon Viking Odin with time before and after in Prague and Paris. Poor Value for Money primarily due to maintenance issue with the ship, and poor customer service. Would recommend travelers considering a river ... Read More
Summary: City of Lights Cruiseon Viking Odin with time before and after in Prague and Paris. Poor Value for Money primarily due to maintenance issue with the ship, and poor customer service. Would recommend travelers considering a river cruise seriously consider Viking competitors such as Avalon or Grand Circle. Travel Dates: 29-July-15 to 10-Aug-15 with pre-cruise in Praque, 8 day “cruise” and post-cruise in Paris. Our cruise was booked at the same time as my in-laws with our reservations cross referenced using the same departure and return cities. This was done so that we could assist these other two travelers, both in their eighties. FIRST SURPRISE: After paying in full, but months before departing, we were notified that we would now embark at Bamberg (normally the second port) rather than Nuremberg. SECOND SURPRISE: When notified of our flight details we discovered that Viking had placed us on one airline and my in-laws on a different one. The cost to get the same flights would cost hundreds of dollars above what we had already paid. THIRD (and Biggest) SURPRISE: We were informed upon our arrival in Prague, Thursday 30-July, that our ship had broken down the day before. We were not notified of this problem prior to our departure from the US. Passengers on the cruise prior to ours were stuck at an unplanned location from Wednesday to Saturday. We were informed on Friday night that we would be bussed an additional distance to the ship on our schedule embarkation day on Saturday, and that we would be staying onboard even if the ship wasn’t capable of moving. Viking would attempt to keep as much of our itinerary the same even if it was by bus versus a river cruise. Mega bus ride: Because of the additional distance to be covered, our time in Nuremburg was shortened with the time for lunch and our tour very rushed. Some guests missed have a lunch for fear of missing the bus departure and ate at street vendor stands. We spent over 8 hours on a bus that day. Arrival at the Odin: When we reached the Odin, the good news was that the air conditioning was functional in our staterooms. The bad news was that the ship was still incapable of moving, with no firm projection on when things would be fixed. Additional problems persisted with air conditioning in the dining and common areas, and no TV or internet service. More Busing: We were given the option (but declined) to spend about 4 hours on buses to see some our planned itinerary. Some guests did that touring while we remained in the local town where the boat was stuck. The next day, Monday, the ship was able to start moving, but time wouldn’t allow it to reach the intended itinerary location of Bamberg, so we were bussed the remaining distance. We spent a total of nearly 4 hours on a bus, and due to time constraints had less than 2 hours in Bamberg. The first stop in Bamberg was waiting in line for a pay toilet. On the bus ride back to the ship the Viking representative apologized and said that because the problems that day we would be treated to an open bar. With about 15 minutes to spare before our delayed dinner (due to bus delays), I attempted to get a free drink at the open bar and was informed that it wasn’t going to be a free open bar until after dinner. Positives: Once the ship was actually moving and we were having a “River Cruise”, the sites from the river were as picturesque as the commercials and brochures. A few more scares: Even once the ship had been “repaired”, there were a few instances of brief power and water outages. Follow-Up: We handed in a cruise evaluation to Viking at our disembarkation where we asked to be contacted by Viking. I waited several weeks and made my own attempt to contact Viking via email. After waiting weeks for a response to my email I attempted to reach customer service by phone. The representative I spoke with apologized for our cruise issues and offered a credit for future travel. I indicated that I believed that their offer was too small based on all of the problems. She said she would investigate the possibility of a larger credit (a refund of any money was out of the question), and that she would get back to me within a week. A week later I called again, to have her apologize for not getting back. Viking offered a 25% credit on the cruise portion of our bill. She mentioned that this credit might not apply to offers already heavily discounted by Viking. That is a terribly stingy policy. It means that a prior customer with a poor experience due to Viking performance can possible get no better pricing that anyone without a voucher. It has now been over a month since the verbal communications and STILL NO COMPENSATION. Viking certainly knows how to contact me as they have sent over a dozen emails offering new cruise deals since our return home. 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2012
My lady friend having had a cruise on a European river before Viking Odin sounded like a terrific chance to have holiday in a floating river hotel. No such luck, probably the worst holiday I and many of the other passengers to whom we ... Read More
My lady friend having had a cruise on a European river before Viking Odin sounded like a terrific chance to have holiday in a floating river hotel. No such luck, probably the worst holiday I and many of the other passengers to whom we bcame friends felt the same way. The staff were terrific except for the cruise director who would have been better off on a club 18-30 trip. A very condescending attitude towards us Senior Citizens who had probably traveled half the world before he was born. Activities were non existent, no space and the interminable time cruising especially through locks was extremely boring. For the first four days we were not allowed to use the upper deck for fear we would be decapitated by bridges confined to the main lounge with a book to read could have done that at home. Cabin useless, so small my dog would not have felt comfortable. After showering I had to leave the "shower room" in order to dry myself I could barely move my arms. Entertainment was pathetic and that is being nice, the only good time was dinner when we sat with the friends we had made and had a good laugh and chat. The only good excursion which my Lady enjoyed was an opera trip, we did our own thing when we could get off the ship and it turned out we had been quite wise to do that. Not worth the money and if it had not been for the staff and food would have been an absolute disaster. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Just completed the Viking River Cruise "Paris to Prague" which includes a river cruise from Trier, Germany to Bamberg, Germany. The Paris to Trier part and the Bamberg to Prague part of the trip are by bus. Trier to Bamberg is ... Read More
Just completed the Viking River Cruise "Paris to Prague" which includes a river cruise from Trier, Germany to Bamberg, Germany. The Paris to Trier part and the Bamberg to Prague part of the trip are by bus. Trier to Bamberg is along portions of the Moselle, Rhine, and Main rivers. My wife and I booked what we thought would be the vacation of a lifetime. On the Viking ship Odin, we booked a two room suite with small balcony looking forward to amazing views and luxury service. The entire trip was good - but not great. The pros: Nice ship, wonderful service by the Viking employees, good food, Paris and Prague were amazing. Loved the scenery along the Moselle and Rhine. The optional excursion to the charming town of "Rothenburg ob de Tauber" was the best of the cities/towns on the cruise portion. The cons: Way too much use of busses along the river cruise portion, the top "sundeck" was closed for the entire back half of the trip because of low bridges (that's the place you want to be with a glass of wine and taking in the scenery), some of the docking areas were is industrial areas far from the cities/towns centers (ergo the overuse of busses). Viking needs to be more honest with their advertising...this is not a "river cruise", it is a "river and land vacation" (and I'm not talking about the Paris to Trier and the Bamberg to Prague portions)...they use busses at nearly every cruise stop and some of the bus trips are hours long. What my wife and I dreamed would be a vacation of a lifetime turned into a bit of a disappointment...good, but certainly not great. If we wanted to to spend hours and hours on busses, we wouldn't have booked a Viking Cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
For a purported "river cruise" there was way to much riding on buses. Two days were spent getting to the boat and then going to our departure city, Paris. Plus during the cruise there were long bus rides to Heidelberg, ... Read More
For a purported "river cruise" there was way to much riding on buses. Two days were spent getting to the boat and then going to our departure city, Paris. Plus during the cruise there were long bus rides to Heidelberg, Rothenberg, and one other city whose name I forget. The boat itself was well laid out. Our cabin was more than adequate, with nice touches such as a heated floor in the bath/shower area. The crew also worked very hard to make everyone happy. Food quality was OK, but nothing special. Because we were in Germany there was a lot of emphasis on "heavy" foods, i. e. sausages. The local guides were of inconsistent quality. Two were outstanding, one was just awful, and the rest were average. Since we had heard the the guides were special on Viking cruises, this was a disappointment . If I were to do another Viking cruise I would focus carefully on how much bus riding was involved. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
My first cruise ever. We were treated wonderful for the most part on the Oden. The food was great! The cabin was more than adiquite and the boat was wonderful. Going down the rivers were great. We did encounter a problem in the ... Read More
My first cruise ever. We were treated wonderful for the most part on the Oden. The food was great! The cabin was more than adiquite and the boat was wonderful. Going down the rivers were great. We did encounter a problem in the service the last evening we were there by the servers. They were usually servicing a group of ladies at thier table and another couple came and sat there, we joined them. We were one of the first in the dining room and the last served, feeling somewhat snubbed . The main problem was the shore excursions with many groups of people and lots of tours around us. I like going to a place, taking time to learn and absorb. The hotels were fine, although far away from elevators and such. I think it is just what my needs are. I am an artist and would have liked to just sit and sketch more and take time to learn more about the people and the envirament. We did have some time at one of the German towns. I did a little sketching while waiting for the bus. My husband did not like being withen crowds of people all the time. 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
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 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
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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